Ok, you guys are going to think I'm a total nutcase. I promise I'm not. I've been through hell my whole life, and I've made some really REALLY bad decisions. Here's the short story. It is EXTREMELY GRAPHIC, and perverted. But I'd like your opinion. My mother was physically and verbally abusive toward me up until the age of 6 when she sent me to live with my father. Because of this I had seperation issues, and "friendship" issues. It screwed me up so badly that I allowed people to take advantage of me. When I was 6-8 I let someone sexually abuse me so that I could be their "friend". It's something I bury deep in the back of my consciousness, it still comes up to haunt me under certain circumstances. I do not receive any kind of gratification from any of this, in fact it makes me want to puke when I think about it. The lack of attention, and the guilt for what I had done caused me to act out in school. I was taken out of public school and put into an institution, heavily medicated, mis-diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and years of constant therapy. I never once mentioned it to anyone else. My birth mother would pop in and out of my life every 2-3 years. She's show up, I'd spend a summer or two with her, and then she'd disappear again. It was rough. When I turned 15 they let me back into public school. I met who I thought was a "normal" girl, and fell madly in love. She turned out to be a stalker. During this time I started drinking and smoking marijuana. One night she put her fist through my bedroom window because I told her to go home- I had found out she was fucking people in order to have a warm place to sleep. I broke it off, she got pissed, next thing I know I'm covered in glass, 30 minutes later she's in handcuffs. A few weeks later I get a phone call, she's pregnant. I could really care less, I was 15, didn't give a fuck about anyone but myself, she had cheated on me so it probably wasn't mine. I was high most of the time anyway. About 11 months later I get another phone call, she has had the child (2 months prior) and wanted to know if I would like to see him. I figure that since she lives about a block away from my coke dealer, the trip wouldn't be a total waste (by now I'm doing LSD and coke 3 days a week). I drive over and pick up a bag, get to her house and do a bump before I walk in. As I walk in I see her son. He was a cute baby, looked like every other newborn. She asked me to hold him, and after 5 minutes of arguing I finally pick him up. I had never been around babies as a child, I am an only child with half siblings who are 10+ years older than I. No one in my family had young children, and nobody I knew from the neighborhood ever had any. I didn't know how to hold him properly. And honestly I thought I might accidentally break him. He was soft and warm, I gave him a bottle, and he calmed down. He was cute, looked just like his mother, even had her eyes. But there was no "connection" between he and I. After about half an hour I left. She never called me, I never called her. I went on to get into opium and ecstacy. I had dropped out of highschool before completing the 9th grade. I worked full time, lived at my parents house, and spent all my money on drugs. From the age of 15 to 17 all I did was party and get so shit faced that most of the time I can't remember my own name. Then 6 months before my 18th birthday I started to get sick, really sick. Like a flu that wouldn't go away. I figured it was the drugs, so I quit. But I kept getting sicker. I started having hallucinations (I figured they were acid flashbacks). But no matter what the doctors gave me, I didn't get better. Months of tests, 5 different doctors. Then finally 2 months after my 18th birthday I had a test done that required my new doctor to take a close look at a chest x-ray. After a catscan and a biopsy they said I had a severe paracardial infusion (the membrane around my heart was full of fluid and putting pressure on it), and Hodgkin's Lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes). They said I had two choices, I could go home and die within 6 months, or I could do an intense run of chemotherapy that would last 6 months, that it would either kill me or cure me. I chose the chemo... And intense was an understatement, after the second treatment I had a heart attack and was rushed back to the haspital. Weekly treatments of ABVD, chemo on friday, puking until Wednesday. Every week for 6 months. I made it up to the last 3 treatments on my own, after that I had to have someone go with me because I wouldn't walk into the hospital on my own. I was at the point I would rather die than endure the chemo, even for only 3 more weeks. Two weeks before my last treatment I recieved a phonecall from my ex's brother, she had been worried about me (her family and my family didn't have any contact, it was either coincedience, or she's psychic). I called her back and explained the situation. She was supportive, we spoke on the phone for the remaining weeks of my treatment. I had been through hell, I couldn't believe in god (and still don't to this day), I couldn't believe that "the allmighty" could put someone through that. But at the same time I felt that I should make a difference with the second chance at life that I had received. I didn't care if it was my child, I had stepped into her life, and screwed it up in the past (I wasn't thinking very clearly at this time), I figured the least I could do was to try and make things better for her. I met her son, who was now running around like a madman. We talked, and then she and I had sex. We started a relationship again. After a year and a half I realized she was still the same manipulative little girl she was at the age of 15, our relationship was yet again based on just sex. She would go into violent rages, assaulting me (decked me twice, head butted me once) for the littlest thing. One time it was because I was shaving in the bathroom sink, and the stopper broke. She decked me that time. In one of her rages she ranted on about how her younger brother was always getting her in trouble (this is a 20 year old woman complaining about a 14 year old half-brother), how she hated her life, how she wished she never had her son, and that the ONLY REASON she had him was so that I would STAY WITH HER! I wanted to pack my bags and leave at that moment. I didn't, I couldn't love her anymore. But I stuck around because it seemed like the right thing to do. She started talking about getting maried and having another child. I was sitting on the fence about the marraige proposal, but more children was definitely off the table. (Looking back, it seems like she wanted to follow in her mother's footsteps). A few weeks later we were laying in bed, we just had a marathon of sex, and she started talking. She asked me what the kinkiest thing I had ever done was. I told her that she was my first, and that I had a few relationships after we broke up the first time, but that it was all vanilla. That the kinkiest things I had done were with her. I had told her the first time we dated about my abuse as a child. She then proceeded to tell me about how she had been abused by her uncle (ok, I can understand that), that she had ENJOYED it (ok, that's pushng it), but that the kinkiest thing she had ever done was with a "pet" she used to have. I almost puked right there, I made a comment about "keeping it in the same species" and she head butted me, giving me a bloody nose. That was the final straw. I packed up my stuff and left. I sent her a letter explaining that I couldn't have a romantic relationship with her ever again, but that I would like to spend time with her son on the weekends. And that I wanted to do a paternity test. I received my letter back, chopped into confetti, and a nasty hate letter from her telling me that she would never put her son through the trauma of a DNA test just to satisfy my doubts, and if she ever saw me that she would break my kneecaps. Since she had admitted to sleeping around with several people within days of the conception, my lack of building a bond with her son, and her adamant objection to a DNA test, I took it as a sign that I probably wasn't the father. And though I felt sorry for him having to grow up with a psycho mother like her (though I NEVER SAW HER HIT HIM). I felt like it would be best if I just kept my distance. Fast forward another 3 years. I recieve a phonecall one evening, it's my ex. She says that her son has been having problems at school, the teacher said it started when they were teasing him about not having a father. Hearing this crushed me. I offered to help any way I could. She didn't want me to come over, but she did put him on the phone for a few minutes. Being a typical 7 year old he didn't talk much. In fact I'm not even sure if he knew who I was. The next night I talk to my ex some more, she says that she had a one night stand with her boss and got pregnant again, when her mother found out she kicked them all out. (Ok, this is begining to creep me out, it's the same scenario her mother went through). I ask if there is anything I can do to help, she says there isn't. I ask her if she has enough food, if she needs any help with babysitting etc. She says she's ok. 6AM the next morning I get a rude awakening, it's the Sherriff's Office serving me with paternity papers. I go through the 2" stack of papers on my lunch break. That evening I called her and explained what happened that morning. She sounds surprised and says she didn't expect them to serve me that quickly! I raise my voice and ask her why she didn't tell me the night before, why she didn' warn me in any way. She said it would take 6 months for the results to come back, and that if I'm the father that I should "just look at it like a car payment or a bill, because that's all it is". I cursed her out and she hung up.- She was basically just calling to hear my reaction to the court order. The next day her phone was disconnected. I got all my paperwork in order, go down to the office at my scheduled time, and take the test. 5 months later I get the results in the mail... I'm a father. At the age of 22, he was born while I was in a drug induced dreamland at the age of 16. I took my W4s and my paycheck stubs into the office, and walked out with a $400.00 per month child support order- At the time I'm only making $1,200 per month. The following saturday I drive over to the address she listed on the paperwork. Her apartment is DEEP in the GHETTO. Partially constructed roads, stripped cars, broken beer bottles everywhere. This is not the kind of place any child should have to grow up in. I go up to the second floor and knock on her door. A few seconds later the door opens, and she's standing there wearing a see through nightie! It wasn't like she cracked the door, she opened it WIDE OPEN! I said "hi", and about 2 seconds later I saw her recognize me, she slammed the door in my face. I yelled through the kitchen window that I just wanted to talk. I think the aluminum foil was reflecting my voice. I started to see people gather out of the corner of my eye, so I left. A few miles away I had to pull over because I was crying so hard I couldn't see straight. When I got home there was a nasty message on the answering machine, she said that if she ever saw me anywhere near her or her son that she would file a restraining order. I wanted to fight, I went to the child support office and spoke to them, they said they couldn't help me, that just because I pay child support it doesn't give me a right to visitation, I would need an attorney and a court hearing. I spoke to several attorneys, they all wanted a $2,500 retainer. And then I thought about it. This child doesn't even know me, I wasn't there for his birth, I was barely there for a few years of his early childhood, and now I'm going to drag him through the court system, put him through the same pain and stress that I went through? Is it really worth it? I took a month and thought about it, thought about all the ways it could play out, thought of how I could raise the money for an attorney. I decided it wasn't. Fast forward another 6 years. I'm barely recovering from a breakup of an intense 2 year relationship. The woman I was living with had just gotten out of a SERIOUSLY ABUSIVE realtionship with a violent alcoholic/meth head. I gave her solid footing, and I took over as a "step father". I did more for this child than I ever did for my own son. I took him to the Dr's (he has a skin disorder), I bathed him, I changed his diapers, I read to him, I had lengthly conversations with him (he's only 3, so it was mostly me talking ), I took him to the park, I taught him how to build with his blocks, I played racecars with him. I bonded with him, I grew to love him and admire him. To watch him learn how to form complete sentences, how to go potty on his own, to feed himself, to get into his bed when he was tired. To know that I had a positive influence on his life, that he looked up to me without judging me. It's just amazing. The sleepless nights, the incessant screaming until 5AM, waking up in the middle of the night to make a bottle. Singing lulabyes until my throat was raw. It was all WORTH IT! But it turns out she was just using me to get ahead. I really didn't care if she used me, I was getting more than I could ever ask for. But she wanted "something different". For the first two months I would go and spend time with my "step-son", but it tore my heart out to see my ex sitting there, talking on the phone to her friends at work, not willing to talk to ME, to work things out. It drove me to the edge of suicide, twice. I haven't been back in the last month.... About a week ago I was stopped at a light and I saw a pickup truck that looked like the one the mother of my child drives. I chuckled a little, figuring she was serious when she said to look at child support as a "car payment". I thought there was no way it could be her, I was 35 miles from her last known address. Not even close to any part of town she used to hang out in. The truck got closer...... Fuck me, it's her! She drove right past me, less than 10' away, going no more than 15MPH. I was in such shock I didn't even think to beep the horn or try to get her attention. I tried to make a u-turn, but traffic was so dense that she was miles down the road before I could make the turn. It made me wonder.... And tonight, I wrote a reply to someone reguarding teaching, I've never been a "teacher", but I threw in some words of wisdom. And it reminded me of my situation.... For those of you who have been in a situation like this, from both sides. My son is going to turn 12 in a few short months... Should I stir up this hornet's nest, or let it lie for another 6 years?