I didnt realize that my husband would play around with her emotions the same way he did with my sons Bar Mitzvah and the same way he has behaved for the past 20 years. In short he has told her that he will give her spending money for the year that she is in Israel. She took it at face value, and because he is her father she trusted that he would keep his word.
Instead he is toying with her emotions. She has become a nervous wreck, she doesnt know if she should go, or if she would be better off getting a job and staying in New York..
This is the way it began: On Pesach she asked him for some money so that she could go out with her friends on Chol Hamoed. He never hands over money unless there is something in it for him. He usually tries to get the kids to spend a couple of hours with him in exchange for a few dollars. That particular day he was in a rush so after about ten minutes of delay tactics he finally pulled fifty dollars out of his pocket. The money was in ten dollar bills and he counted them out into her hand.
"Twenty dollars for the months allowance, ten dollars for chol hamoed, ten dollars for purim gelt, and 10 dollars for extra spending money".......until he got to fifty. She thanked him and went back into the house. About half an hour later she received a text from her father telling her that being that she will have very little money in Israel she should save the fifty dollars that he just gave her.
She felt so confused and angry that he was playing these games with her. I finally explained to her that this is his way of exerting control and that she needs to figure out a way to deal with it so that she doesnt get hurt every time.
After Pesach she told him straight out that she needs to know how much money he is planning on giving her so that she can make a decision about whether she wants to go or not. He told her that she should not worry and that he will give her everything she needs. He refuses to tell her how much and he refuses to tell her if he will buy her an airline ticket. Some times he tells her that mommy has to pay, and sometimes he says that he will pay. Once he told her that he is so sorry but that she picked the "wrong" parent to live with. Had she picked him she would have plenty of money.
It is so hard to watch my child go through this. It is so unnecessary, the situation is difficult as it is, why does he feel the need to add to her stress? On Friday she worked up the courage to tell him that she doesnt feel she can go to Israel under the circumstances. His loving response was; "I am only paying for Israel, if you choose a seminary in New York, I will not pay!"
She came home and cried, and asked me if I think Tatty cares about what she wants, or if he only thinks about himself. I didnt know what to tell her. I didnt want to say that hes an abvusive controlling bastard, because he is her father. I ended up telling her that this is how tatty controls people. That right now he is the one with the money and so he is using it in the only way he knows how- the way his father taught him. And that she should try not to get sucked into his games, because she will keep on getting hurt over and over again.
I explained that hopefully soon Hashem will allow me to make enough money so that I do not have to rely on the few dollars he is forced to give us. Once we are financially independent my kids can build a relationship with their father on their terms which will be less likely for them to get hurt.
We talked about it over Shabbos, and she decided that she is better off staying home and getting a job while going to seminary/college in New York. She seems comfortable with the idea, and I am glad she has finally made her own decision and that she will no longer be "strung along" by her father.
I, on the other hand feel more stressed, because of the fact that now he will not pay for her tuition next year. And I will have to fight and go back to court and waste everyone's time and energy.
The crazy part is that he has the money. He makes a good salary and also makes a lot of money from side ventures- things that I cannot mention on this blog. We have an agreement that he is supposed to give me half the value of our home. we have been to court and Judge Morgenstern was upset that I was being forced to relocate from the family home with all my children.
I have no money to buy him out, so I have no choice but to look for a small house and get a mortgage. It is a daunting task for me to go through with such a transaction on my own. I did not own a check book for the entire 20 years that we were married. I never stepped into a bank and any money that I made I handed over to my husband like a good little girl. He used to tell me that we have no money and every month he would "worry" out loud about how he was going to pay the bills. It turns out that all of a sudden he managed to come up up with a few hundred thousand dollars in cash. I wonder where he was hiding it all these years.
Needless to say, I am starting from scratch- learning how to use a bank account, how to write checks and pay bills. I refuse to play the tricks that he played with his money, and i hope that one day I will become independent and have the ability to take care of my family and if i am lucky enough to have extra money I would like to help people who are in my situation.
I trust that Gd will lead me in the right direction. He has saved my life twice, from two abusive marriages- I think that He can do anything- even save me from financial ruin.