Why are some people so blitheringly useless? Or selfish. Or both. Maybe the very fact that one is selfish means that one is also useless since one only does things for oneself. Either way, it sucks.
Let me explain the situation: I have a daughter. Sixteen in less than four weeks. Her father and I were married for almost 18 years. He was - unpleasant, shall we say - and we finally divorced when Flavia was seven. Since then we've been to Court three times ostensibly for residency but in reality because he likes the power kick. The last time was instigated by Flavia herself because she was tired of being continually reprimanded, hearing him bad-mouth myself and my husband all the time and generally being treated as a whipping boy. They had no contact for 2 years (primarily because he didn't see he had anything to apologise for...although he did kindly say he forgave her...I'm not sure what for).
Since Flavia was eleven Daddy hasn't done much. He has been fired from two jobs (apparently I say horrible things about him to the Head - as if I could be bothered, even if I were so inclined) and went to stay with a friend for a few weeks in December 2009. He's still there. Poor Howard - he'll never get rid of him. No rent, no council tax, little in the way of bills...trust me, he's there to stay.
Daddy is also ridiculously poor. Yes, he has a car. Yes, he goes on foreign holidays and tootles about Southern Britain with gay abandon and yes, he goes to the cinema at least once a week and buys clothes from gentlemen's outfitters. But he's poor. I know that because he can't possibly afford to pay child support. Right now his contribution to his daughter's upkeep is around £1.50/day and falling. The CSA are worse than useless and, although they don't know it yet, I'm suing them. I'm just waiting for the Court system to catch up on the paperwork.
Simon is desperately keen for Flavia to go to Oxbridge. He wants her to be a barrister (she doesn't, but when has that got anything to do with it?) Years ago I wanted her to take an entrance exam for a local independent school but he wouldn't pay half the fee (£25.00); so she's gone to the local comprehensive. Since he's not paying child support I thought he may like to help pay for her to go to the best sixth form college in the country - which just happens to be half an hour from here - but no, he's sure she'll do just fine at her present school even though the results are less than half as good. What about helping with extra-curricular activities? Universities are very keen on them. So was he - until he realized he'd have to put his hand in his pocket. Then he decided that she would get into University quite well without 'interests/hobbies'.
Now he tells her that it is possible he may be able to help her financially in three years. It makes my insides go all warm and snuggly. Wow. Possible. May. Gosh, don't hold back, will you?
All this is because he wants to keep any money he gets for himself. He is, apparently, reading for an M.Phil or some such which is great - but we've had our opportunities and now it is her turn. Although it isn't. Because, as usual, he is putting himself first. If I had oodles of cash, if I could afford to give her these things then I wouldn't give a damn ( in fact I'd probably cheer because he couldn't put conditions on his 'help') but I can't. I have Sarc. I have FMS. I spend most days feeling pretty lousy, actually but there we go. I deal with it. I juggle finances and borrow from Peter to pay Paul (then vice versa) in the hopes that I can provide enough food for us, that we have electricity and gas and that when Flavia needs a pair of shoes I can pull a rabbit out of a hat and provide them. They may be cheap, they may not be made to be worn in the rain but at least they are something to put on her feet.
It comes as a sad fact when one wants to apologise to one's child for providing them with such a useless person as a parent. And it is even sadder to know he doesn't even realize he's doing anything wrong or that he's damaging his relationship with his daughter. And that's probably the most pathetic thing I could say.