Wednesday, April 17, 2013


wow, sometimes it's so hard to take the high road.  I mean really.  someone walked up to me and said, "i know your ex husband, i see him at [[random leisure activity]]" in front of other people who know about the divorce, but don't know me very well.

the first thing I wanted to do was explain.  such a powerful knee-jerk reaction.  to say:  actually, no, you don't "know" him.  for example, the person you "know," pushed and shoved his small children around, kicked our baby in her mouth, and threatened to put a bullet through my head.

the second thing I did was bite my tongue.  And smile.  and say, 'uh huh.'  i wasn't satisfied with this response either.  perhaps it was taking the eff-ing high road, because i was not bad mouthing my children's father in front of people who are familiar (but seriously fuzzy on the details) with our situation, who know my children because they've seen them.

after considering this for a while and consulting with a trusted friend (also a veteran of an abusive relationship), i found a different way to respond.  there's no reason to explain, but there's no reason to agree, either.  there's no reason to bad-mouth or say anything negative.  simply respond with something that's noncommittal, but one that doesn't make you a pushover, either, i.e. oh, that's nice, that's one aspect that you know.  and then leave it at that. keep emotion out of it, keep explanation out of it.

because the people who matter to you, KNOW.  the people who don't, don't need to know.

one day, i know my children will ask me.  and i need to write this down so i don't forget.  I can respond in a way that will not affect them negatively but that will not lie:  i.e. i don't want to say anything negative about your father.  there are aspects about him that you don't know about and were not in the best interests of you as young children, nor me as an adult woman.  however, he is your father and i wish nothing more than that you have a loving, positive relationship with him.

something like that.  i hope that will do.  i hope that will be enough.

Monday, April 8, 2013

cry, laugh, cry

one of my mom friends texted me asking:  do you just get one of those days where all you do is cry?  and you feel all alone?

i responded:  YES

and picked up the phone and called her.  and listened.  and heard her tell me how her friends tell her he's not that bad, and he's certainly not like my ex (which is good by the way, but he is failing in so many ways, you don't have to be an abuser to hurt people), and that she feels bad for feeling bad.

and i told her:  it's okay to feel this way.  it's OKAY to be upset.  he is not helping you.  he is constantly not there for you and the children.  of course you'd be sad and lonely!

i'm not knocking happy marriages and happy families, not at ALL.  and i am so lucky to have my little family--just me and my two children, it is perfect now, just the way it is.  however, i absolutely understand that people who are in happy marriages cannot understand, fully, how bad a marriage can be.  which i told her.  her friend who is expecting and is so happy--for her to say: 'it's not that bad' to my crying girlfriend...well, frankly, that friend has no.idea.  just none.

for which we laughed at.  seriously.  i mean, come on.  really?

she told me:  i woke up this morning and all i wanted to do was cry.  my neighbors think he is such a caring guy, but it's not true, it's only skin deep.  he only SAYS things, but he doesn't MEAN them.

(oh do i know that feeling).  and she is left with 100% of the parenting, 100% of holding her family together, while he is out drinking until 3am, forget if there is an emergency and sirens are going off.  no, it's not okay.  spend some time with your kids.

i think one of the reasons she calls me and speaks to me is that she is wondering what to do with her unhappiness, wondering if she should make a change in her life.  it comes in cycles, sometimes i hear from her a lot, other times, i'll go for months.  and i know that my divorce and being a single parent can at times make people uncomfortable.  i'm okay with that, because i understand.

i reminded her that i'm her friend no matter what. and that no matter what happens, she will still be a great mom to her kids, still have their best interests at heart.  whether that is holding her family together the way that she is, or making a big life change, no matter what happens...she will be all right.

maybe it's because it's a message i kept repeating to myself, quietly, for the last two years.  it will be all right.