PART 6: Revelations
David had 5 weeks of classes left in Arizona before he’d be coming home. During that period, the assaults on both David and me only continued.
The Surprise Call
David called me one afternoon and said he just got off the phone with his mom.
Within a week, while out driving with Emily, she broke the silence by saying,
“Em, you may want to talk with David. Maybe he can help you, since he was recently placed in the same situation.”
“OK.” And that was the last I heard of it from either of them.
But shortly after,
When it went to trial about eight months later (January 2004), the judge threw the book the book at her, and increased her payments retroactively. She lost big time. Kathy’s attempt at helping her get custody was a big failure — her resentment was only growing.
Confirmation of Character Assassination
While David was finishing the school year in Arizona, I received a phone call from dad. His call seemed fairly benign at the beginning, but quickly changed when he opened the bomb-bay doors.
I recall there was virtually no segue, just a pause and complete topic change — it was obvious why he called me.
He then went on to say that “… maybe the kids would be better off with Julie.” ["Maybe" as in what Kathy had been brainwashing him with?]
I believe shock played a part into why I just stood quietly, listening to him state not even one truth, while my mind raced. Although he never even hinted at his source, he confirmed it with my first comment. When he paused, I said,
He continued his assault on my perceived parental disabilities, as if he had been a model father. He was an absent father. What he wasn’t prepared for, though — no more than I — was that he was bringing my childhood back into focus.
You see, my dad never even took me to a team practice, let alone attend one of my games. Never, not even once. And there were many — year after year. It was always mom or a ride with a teammate. I played Little League baseball every year, I was on basketball teams, football teams … even a soccer team. I don’t believe dad even cared.
He stepped into uncharted territory – my childhood – a topic I knew to avoid with him as it would only incite his defensive hostility. But the parallels couldn’t be avoid. The fact is, David did play Little League, and I took him to every practice and game – his mother couldn’t be bothered. I also enrolled both he and Emily in tennis lessons at our city’s elaborate tennis facilities. I took Emily to all her softball events.
They both went through a period of interest in music, so Emily got into piano lessons, while David took guitar lessons. And I was doing this all as a single parent, just as my mom was helping me as if she were a single parent. Dad eventually pushed me a bit too far, and I unceremoniously opened up at him. How quickly he got defensive.
His reason for not being at any of my practices or games was that he had to work, and, “Who do you think puts the food on the table.” [He may have worked, but mom cooked and placed the food on the table … as a single parent, I did both.] Funny, but many of my practices and games were on Saturdays and during evenings, when he was home drinking.
Surprisingly, it was as if he walked right into a left jab, and actually gave me the opportunity to say what I never thought I would. The call ended with dad acting admonished, struggling for something to say, but he was left speechless. And of course, dad didn’t apologize. Something he never did.
What It Confirmed
In retrospect, I thought it was the beginning of Kathy’s attacks on my character — something I later discovered had begun long before. As soon as I hung up with dad, I dialed Kathy. She answered with her cheerful persona, but that quickly changed when
At that point,
It also told me that dad was in on this with Kathy, and I’d eventually discover that so were my other two siblings. The Bad Gene Team was taking form.
David Returns Home
One of the reasons David’s counselor stated, “If David were my son, I would do nothing different” was because I had let her in on my plans for David when he returned home. Relatively speaking, David had a tough childhood: his mother abandoned him, his step-father abused him, and he struggled with ADD.
My plans were to bring him back to the psychiatrist who initially diagnosed his ADD, six years earlier, for a further evaluation. David and I had also agreed to enroll him into Taekwondo (Karate) to increase his own self-esteem, and not feel defenseless against bullies in the future.
At the appointment with the psychiatrist, John, a few unexpected revelations surfaced. First, it was David’s PCP, Jerry, who had continued to treat his ADD. When John saw the dose that Jerry had raised him to, John stated, “What is Jerry thinking? That’s a dose most adults would have a tough time tolerating.”
David had begun that dose exactly one day before the bully attack which led me to withdraw him from that school, and how he ended up at Kathy’s. He continued that dose during the entire time he was in Arizona with Kathy.
But the second revelation was a biggie: after John spent an hour alone with David, he asked David to wait out front so he could speak with me. John introduced me to a diagnosis that I never heard of, “David has Asperger’s Syndrome.”
“He’s got what?”
John took a few minutes providing an overview, then handed me a book with a long series of about 40 questions, each identifying one trait of someone with Asperger’s. John asked me to go through all the questions in his lobby while he spoke with David again. He said that if at least half apply to David, he likely suffers from Asperger’s.
When I completed answering the questions, and returned alone with John, I informed him that only three traits did not apply to David. His response was another surprise, though a positive one, “David couldn’t be in a better school district — they have an advanced special program for those with Asperger’s.”
I asked John if it would be OK for me to break the news to David, as I wanted to research the condition thoroughly to be able to answer Dave’s questions when I told him. John agreed. He also stated, “I suggest you start the process with the school district now. Let me know how I can help in any way.”
For everything negative Kathy fabricated about David, and that it was my fault due to being a “bad father,” I decided to give Kathy the update. I called her, began with non-related chatter, then I said, “Oh yea, David has Asperger’s Syndrome.”
Her response was very incriminating, “NO HE DOESN’T!” How compassionate [not]. Her eldest son has Down’s Syndrome.
She knew it had just cast an invalidation over all her baseless claims. Asperger’s Syndrome is in the autism spectrum, specifically considered high-functioning autism. In summary: very intelligent but struggles with social skills — both define David with precision.
From national test scores, David was consistently in the top 1% (99th percentile) for math and science, and the top 10% (90th percentile and above) for all other subjects. The nationwide average score is 50%. Though he had lost all his same-aged friends, he was very comfortable with, and admired by adults.
By the second week of summer, David had begun Taekwondo training, something he quickly began to enjoy. Once again, his mother would not take him to events during her weekends, so I fulfilled her obligations without hesitation. Before the summer ended, David earned his second belt.
I contacted the school’s district administration regarding David’s diagnosis, and was given an overview of the program. The best part I heard was that he would need to attend another school, since the entire program was contained in one elementary, one middle, and one high school. All three of the schools were situated together, and were the newest schools in the district. If accepted in the program, a bus would pick him up right at our house.
I was also informed that even though a psychiatrist had diagnosed him, the district’s own psychology staff would need to test David and concur with the diagnosis for him to be accepted into the program. Additionally, they said that there was little chance it could happen before school started again, since some of those required in the process were off for the summer.
They said he would likely need to return to his old school for a month or two, but once approved, he would transfer immediately. I politely stated that would be unacceptable, and for him, we needed to do everything possible to make it happen starting with the first day of school. I never let up over the summer — I was the proverbial “squeaky wheel.”
The day before the new school year was to begin – the very last day of summer – David was approved for the program. The following day, when he arrived for the first day of school, they had not even received his paperwork. So for his first two days, he sat in the counsellors’ offices waiting for everything to be processed, and his class schedule to be determined.
I still remember one teacher’s comment to me regarding the third day of classes (David’s first day): instead of David simply entering her classroom and finding an empty seat, he approached her, shook her hand, and introduced himself. His confidence had taken an about-face. His problems of being targeted by bullies would never appear again. My plans had succeeded.
All of Kathy’s malicious plans had failed. But now she had a new concern: in her paranoid mind, I was a risk to her exposure, something I was not even considering. At that point in time, I still did not have enough reason to place “Kathy” in the same sentence as “sociopath.” Yes, she was a ruthless liar, something she’d always been. But that alone does not make for a specific personality disorder. More evidence would appear that eventually awarded her that sinister title.
to be continued