If someone would have told me when I got married that I would end up a single parent a dozen years later I would never have believed it. I waited until I was 30 to get married and 40 before I was blessed with motherhood, thinking my marriage to Jay Scott Berry was secure. Boy was I wrong on all accounts. I told my friends when I met him that he was a magician. The advice I received jokingly was, “Be careful! He’s going to pull a disappearing act on you!” That turned out to be an omen of things to come.
No, I thought, not this one! He was the best of all the men I ever partnered with. This one was different. Oh he was different all right … he turned out to be the worst of all the men I got intimately involved with. The man whom I believed to be prince of princes was actually a malevolent immoral individual with ethical incompetence that lacks emotional intelligence. How else can I describe a guy, that sucked every possible source of energy he could out of me; physically, emotionally, financially, and psychologically? Needless to say, even after waiting thirty years before I thought I finally met Charming, I discovered he was really what I identify as an energy vampire.
I left a prestigious career in the music industry to form a partnership with this person. I invested body, mind, and soul into our relationship and business enterprise for over a dozen years. Ten years into the relationship, we were blessed with the greatest gift of all, a beautiful baby girl. It was one of the happiest days in my life! I was so honored. I waited 40 years for the privilege of motherhood, I was elated.
What I didn’t realize is that motherhood was my awakening to find inner strength to face the nightmare that was my marriage. I just wanted a partnership with my best friend. The sad reality was that I was just a support system to this man. My sole function in his view was to serve his wants and needs. He gave little support to me or any of my needs as a mother. Two weeks after my baby was born, we hit the road and lived in hotels for a few months. I was not in the best of shape. I was struggling with a newborn and caring for her in a van 60% of the time driving from one gig to the next gig, with the remainder of the time in hotel rooms. It was the only way I knew how to keep my family together then.
We finally settled in a small flat in central Germany when she was about four months old; a country in which I did not know the language. I tolerated these conditions because I was in a co-dependent situation. I invested everything I had in Jay’s career and our relationship. Europe was a main hub of operations, for many reasons, one of which included his evading U.S. tax laws.
With everything that I had invested in the marriage, I thought focus on motherhood would be healing for me and would be incentive to bring our family closer together. Quite the opposite transpired. I was on the baby’s schedule and could no longer focus on his needs. Eventually, he found another woman more suited to him ten years my junior.
He returned one day in mid-November from a short tour. It was the first time he’d gone on the road and didn’t communicate his whereabouts nor was he phoning to check in. Very peculiar behavior I remember thinking. At this point I wasn’t concerned – I was focused on the baby without the distraction of his pointing out everything that’s wrong with me and his life. When I inquired why he hadn’t checked in his reply was, “Our relationship is about to evolve to another level.” What the hell did that mean I wondered? He continued, “I met an amazing woman and I want to spend the rest of my life with her and her two children.”
Huh? … Dead silence for a while. My knees buckled, I lost balance and dropped to the floor. I had never been this shocked and stunned in my life. I reminded him we were still married and asked why he didn’t just wait to end it with us before moving on? How could he break our vows so dishonorably? His reply, “I never took a vow of fidelity!” We didn’t actually write those words into our matrimonial vows he pointed out. Guess I should have had a dialog about that before the wedding. (Note to all women!) It was a downhill battle with after that. I was blamed for everything, and rather than doing what he could to make the divorce transition easy, he did what he wanted and created lies to justify his unethical behavior – he abandoned us, financially, physically and emotionally.
I was in crisis for the first two years he disappeared. I didn’t know what to do, where to go or who to call? Each decision for me was filled with challenges and turbulence. I did my best to find an amicable way to make the transition. Friends had recommended great books like Moms House Dad’s House to read to help us. He was not open to anything: counseling, parenting schedules, etc. He couldn’t wait to get the hell out and start his life with the new girlfriend and her two children.
He stuck us in the middle of nowhere on a farm near Indianapolis where this woman lived. When he rented our new place of residence in the US, it was under the pretense that he and I were moving back to Indiana to raise our daughter, as we were still situated in Germany. She was now almost two and articulating in English at kindergarten level and I yearned to return to the states near friends and family and most important, a support team for me. Renting the farm-house was an indication of forward movement in our relationship. I was hopeful and inspired to find ways to work through our issues starting fresh with our little child. We also talked about adding a sibling to our little clan as well. Little did I know it was all a cleverly disguised ruse! He had been plotting to move in with his new mistress and kids, in her new $300,000 home that she had just been awarded in her own divorce settlement. In the meantime, he rented for me and our daughter a rundown old farm-house, with furniture that was contaminated with cat urine from the previous renters. This is what I had invested fourteen years in; to end up in a broken down rental farm-house in the middle of nowhere? This was a new definition to the term outer limits!
I didn’t find any of this out until the first night we were to stay in the new farm-house, in the middle of nowhere. The nearest convenient store was a 10 mile drive! That first night, he abandoned us to stay with his girlfriend. I don’t know how I made it through that time … focusing on my baby girl kept me busy … but when she napped or slumbered, it was wail and tear duct city for me. I remember being online reaching out to everyone, anyone really … Oprah, Dr. Phil, whoever would listen … no one listened.
The first time he took our little girl with him to his new house was devastating. He left me alone at the farm-house with no friends or family nearby for hundreds of miles. I bet you could hear my wailing miles away. Apparently you could also hear my daughter’s wailing from miles away, because within a half hour of his departure, he returned with her. Turns out she would not stay anywhere without her momma!
When rent was due, the very first time … he assured us he’d make sure he’d get funds in time to cover it. How could I trust him now? He was on the road again touring and no longer aligned with supporting us. It was a few days before rent was due and there was no money in the account. Bank transfers took three days and I began to panic. I made my mind up I wasn’t putting up with any more of this nonsense! I packed what I could, and with my little toddler in tote, drove to Ohio to hide out with my brother until I could find a lawyer to help sort this mess out.
I invested 14 years into Jay Scott Berry’s career putting all of my dreams aside to support his. When I really needed him after giving birth to our daughter, he bailed. I was not going to take this lightly. After a few weeks, he found us in Ohio. We talked and worked out a meeting. He was accepting (it seemed) of my choices because he was moving forward with his new lady in Indiana. He wanted to set us up in a two bedroom condo near them so he could be an active participant in our child’s life. My daughter missed her father and I wanted him a part of her life, as long as she felt safe doing so. We drove to Indiana to meet him. When we arrived, he confessed all was not going as planned with the new lady and asked if I was open to discussing reconciliation. At that time, I was receptive because my daughter still wanted her dad in her life and I still cared about him. I was pissed off, but I was mature enough and wanted to heal. I thought giving him another chance would benefit us all. And if it didn’t work out, at least I knew we tried.
The mistress dumped him and he blamed me. He purported that it was because I was honest to her about how much his leaving us hurt and how it affected us emotionally. In truth, I later discovered he was getting into very heated debates with his new lady over her 7-year-old son. The little guy didn’t want his mom’s new boyfriend in his life. He wanted his own father back. He made getting along with Jay a nightmare apparently. He was furious at the little boy’s behavior and rejection. He told his mistress that if she didn’t get a handle on disciplining him, the boy would turn out to be a serial killer. I think that was what pretty much nipped the end of that relationship in the bud.
Needless to say, I took him back because I was still jobless and straddled with a two-year old with no reliable family for support nearby. I believed his intentions were sincere, but in truth, he came back because he had nowhere else to go until he could figure out (or target) his next new girlfriend that could focus on him and support his needs.
The morning of September 11, 2001, he left for another 2 month tour. When he returned he had a new girlfriend and was preparing to leave us again. I still wasn’t over the first one when I heard about the second one. This time, I was less diplomatic. I was pissed. I kicked his ass out, took the little money I could from the joint account and headed to my other brother located in Omaha until I could figure things out. Every time Jay Scott came back into our lives and left again it was torture to my little girl. She would cry and beg him not to leave. She would threaten to tie him up so he couldn’t escape. That was more unbearable to me than his cheating and betrayal. What I watched my daughter experience was heart wrenching. I never would have believed this man, whom I believed was so gentle, so in touch with his feminine side, that was great with other children would be so cruel to his own flesh and blood! It was and still is mind-boggling.
I vowed I would protect her after that. When she said she didn’t want to take his calls, I honored her wishes. When she said she didn’t want to see him, I honored her wishes. I was accused of keeping her away from him. I was merely supporting her and helped shield her heart from breaking further. At some point, she made a conscious choice to disengage. She didn’t want to cry any more over his leaving again. At some critical moment she realized her pleas went unheard and her desire to connect to him became extinct. I merely supported her wishes and followed her lead to protect her. He sued me and took me to court for visitation rights. They convinced opposing counsel I was a psycho keeping his child away from him. He didn’t have to do that had he been open or participated in active listening to his daughter’s needs. All he had to do was show support to us. He didn’t, and as is customary in legal battles, I was painted as imbalanced and deeply enmeshed in my daughter’s life to where I didn’t know whose life was whose. It was a nightmare. To make matters worse, she was forced to have visitations and at this time she and her father had become estranged. You see, after he met girlfriend number two, it wasn’t until 4 years later he made an attempt to sue me for visitation. He was too busy traveling and enjoying the honeymoon phase of the new relationship to bother to make time to spend with his daughter. That is was at the core of why she was no longer interested in him when he called. She wanted to have a real relationship with her dad, not via a telephone receiver. He never scheduled quality time with her during those crucial years.
I knew his intent was to impress his new family with his gallantry and chivalry. It was heartbreaking on the one hand, but I also knew that whatever the method, he was trying to establish a relationship with his daughter and that was important. This time we were getting help from a professional (a court assigned social worker) to assist in the building a relationship between father and daughter process. I myself grew up a daddy’s girl and could not have imagined life without my father. I wanted my daughter to have a similar experience. My dad had his flaws and did the unthinkable as well. Rather than abandoning our family when I was two, when my little girl lost her dad, my father put an ad in the classified section advertising for a girlfriend (while he was still married to my mom) when I was 17. He found a new girlfriend and abandoned us. He lived until I was in my mid-30s, but I did not have a relationship with him because his own shame and guilt made it impossible to do so. It made having a healthy relationship very difficult because he wasn’t emotionally available, and neither was my daughter’s father to her. So I maintained whatever contact I could with my dad through letters while he was still alive.
In the meantime, a child support court order was established when I finalized the divorce papers. Because we had only debts, no real assets, and no established U.S. residency as we had been touring; he came out the winner in the divorce leaving me with no alimony or help in setting up a means to support myself. I focused on building his business and was not in a financially independent situation. In addition, he concealed his true income status. (As a touring performer he is paid in cash frequently and hides money in off shore accounts). Two years after he left us and without support during that time, I was finally awarded $500 a month for support; which he rarely paid on time or consistently in the tens years since the Court Order was assigned. She is now 14, and trying to get support in a timely fashion (the same amount) is still an issue, as he is not in the US long enough nor has he been inspired to make an attempt to review or adjust it now that she is a young teen with aspirations of seeking a college degree. Meanwhile he and his new family are living on a 100 acre spread in Australia, purchased a horse this past spring, spent tens of thousands of dollars on self-promotion while he is months behind in support.
I have been silent for a decade trying to deal with all this alone. In January of 2012 he decided to send support whenever he felt like it. As a result I have received support payments only three times this year. In the meantime, he traveled to Asia with yet another new mistress and went to Vegas and partied with his friends for a week. He has not sent a birthday present or Christmas present to his daughter in years, nor has he made an effort to see her, even though he has been in our city several times the last few years performing a few blocks down the road from us.
In June my teen reached out as an attempt at salvaging whatever relationship she could with her dad. She opened up about herself, what her interests are and a few teen issues she is dealing with. He responded by redirecting blame on me for all her challenges. She decided a healthy relationship with him was useless. She stated it was actually his fault for betraying us; cheating on her mother; and abandoning us that most psychologists agree and look at him as the culprit for many of her issues. She proceeded to tell him not to contact her anymore and because he is so concerned about his pocket-book, she suggested he double child support monies to show he really cared about her … support monies have been scarce thereafter.
He is currently five months in arrears now. I’ve been struggling financially to keep afloat. I have not been able to buy her any clothes, socks, let alone new under garments. We are so grateful for most of her wardrobe that has been donated from friends. When finally does send some support his inconsistently affects the benefits we receive. I do my best to make ends meet.
I’ve adjusted our life to live below our means adding graduate school to my schedule to qualify for a student loan as a strategy and a temporary solution to our immediate financial crisis as a result of his choosing not to keep up with support as a responsible parent that consciously chooses to disengage as a supportive father.
I have turned to a network of women who are experiencing what I am experiencing just to have a safe place to vent … while I continue to work on solutions that include not needing his support any more. I am voicing this information in an effort to bring light to the truth as Berry’s promo continues to paint him as a highly evolved spiritual being. In truth, highly evolved spiritual beings do NOT abuse women and children.
That is our story today … I’m optimistic and don’t give up easy. When I made the conscious choice to enter motherhood … I didn’t do it so I could dump my kid off at a day care and let someone else raise her. With the help of God and blind faith, I’ve been able to adjust my life to work around the most important job in the world … motherhood …