I have a little group of staff that we try to go to lunch once a month or so. I put a FB message out to my girls “Ladies Who Lunch” and said I needed to go to lunch, I have spent way too much time alone. And someone was free.
I spent the first hour listening.
What a relief.
My boss has a saying – If we all throw our problems in a big pile in the middle and then you can go in and pick out any problem – Most of us would pick our own back. Any good gravy! Yes indeedy doo! I only want my own problems back! My friend and other friends we share, are having some awful stuff.
The next hour some topic sparked me and I started talking too. She is the friend who was with me when I received that horrible email at work about me being immoral. She has read it and literally watched how it hurt me that day and in the years after.
We both confessed that we feel so bad about ourselves that we are worried that one day our boys will see us for who we are and be ashamed or embarrassed by us.
We feel good on the inside and then catch a glimpse of ourselves in a mirror and can’t believe we look hideous.
No pictures of ourselves.
It made me feel good to know that my thoughts, as horrible as they sound, are shared. That this is a common theme. She and I are both early 50’s and have teens. We are the oldest parents in the class.
Then we moved on to my wanting to heal this divorce. She said that even though she wishes she had never married her husband, she is so happy to have her boys. I looked at her and said – I’m not. I feel terrible for bringing these kids into a world of divorce and horrible sadness from their father. I truly believed I picked an exceptional man to marry and to become a father.
She reminded me that my ex is making these choices not me. But, I said I am responsible for choosing that man. I missed something horribly rotten. I was only thinking about myself, and being in love and dreaming of a wonderful perfect life. I must have missed something. I feel so bad that I have allowed my kids to be hurt. I wish they hadn’t been born so they would not feel the pain they have had to endure.
We kind of looked at each other and went – Ahhh – maybe there is something here to heal! I told her about working with my therapist and a therapist for the kids and the conclusion was, that when my son decided to not see his dad at age 13, he decision was respected. He was treated so badly. It was a nightmare to send my kids, They would hide under furniture and I would have to extract them and send them crying with him. Then when they came home they would be hysterical from how they were treated. But, I felt it was my job to be sure they saw their dad. I did not want to take away his rights to see his kids.
For the last 6 years, my kids no longer spend any nights, and for the last 3 years my son hasn’t seen his dad. My other one who turned 13, is starting to not want to go. He goes there noon to 3 every other Saturday. My ex’s wife will not allow their dad to see the kids without his new kids or her present. They are not allowed to see their dad’s family, but sometimes his parents and I sneak them over. If his parents are caught seeing them, they are punished by not getting to see their other (her) grandkids.
By choosing this guy to marry, this is the life I gave my kids.
That is on me.
I have forgiven my ex a long time ago. (Haven’t forgiven her yet.) And I think the lesson I learned yesterday is that
I haven’t forgiven myself.
I think that is interesting. I recognize that he did wrong, but once I forgave him I thought I would heal. What has happened though is I did not realize how much of his bad choices I have internalized and made mine.
My friend and I did discuss that if my kids had been able to happily spend time with their dad I may have been able to heal sooner. I know after a few years of grief and when they were still spending the night I had started dating. That was nice. But when they no longer stayed overnight and just went for three hours every other Saturday, dating was no longer something to pursue.
I am glad I reached out to a friend when I realized that I was spending way too much time thinking about myself. I am so grateful for my happy little family and the absolute NO DRAMA of our life currently. I would pick my own problems right now!
Recognition and Awareness are the first steps in healing. This stuff is so painful to write. But the only way out is through.