Monthly Archives: February 2015

Ex rant

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As exes go, mine is pretty good. We can cooperate on many things without yelling or putting each other down.

Things could be better, in my opinion. Things could also be a lot worse. I’m saying this because many people will be reading this thinking “get over it” or “I would do the same as the ex here” or “you have it pretty good” and I completely get that. I really, really do. I have been extremely lucky, so I think it’s even more difficult now to be losing the comfort and respect for each other we had as exes for the last few years.

The heartbreak of realizing we could no longer be together is long past, but sometimes his lack of general empathy as a person and father astounds me and I have to remember that it’s not about me to avoid hurting all over again.

It isn’t fun to watch my children struggle with the way he communicates and the things he feels the need to say about me. And I know with some things, he just doesn’t get it, but I can’t accept that someone wouldn’t want to do better. Make changes. Work to not hurt the people they are supposed to love the most. Make changes in your own self to support and help them learn about how to be good, loving people in the world. It isn’t unacceptable or unnecessary to make changes to who you are, it’s called personal growth.

As only coparents now, I don’t need any warm fuzzies from him, like birthday greetings or general emotional support, I really don’t. I have wonderful, supportive people all around me now. We are divorced, so he doesn’t have to care at all about me if that’s where he is at. But when our daughter calls to say she’d like a ride to pick something up to surprise me for my bday after a rough night at group therapy and he says he won’t take her for a simple, quick trip to the store, that boggles my mind. Because it hurt HER, not me. Because to her it meant “I don’t care at all about your mother as a person and I won’t help you do something important to YOU for her.”

I know, I know, MANY divorced people would do the same as he did, but that is just not what we have been up until…

I set a boundary he didn’t like. I stopped watching his dog. Not kidding. He firmly believes that decision was out of spite or something and he cannot treat me the same as before now. I like his dog, but I didn’t want to keep watching her and interacting with him so much. It wasn’t emotionally right for me. I miss his dog.

The kids don’t need the details and they sure don’t need to keep hearing him say I won’t watch his dog. If there is something to get over, it might be that he should get over that I will not watch the dog.

End rant.

KK

Can you give her a blanket?

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The girl in the corner came up at group this week. I was completely honest about her and had a physical reaction to talking about her–I got warm, my breathing was weird, and my body shook as if I was freezing.

She came up because we talked about fear and vulnerability. And things we avoid.

I absolutely avoid her.

After listening to me talk about her, the room was quiet. The group facilitators always know just how long to let you just sit there with your emotions so you can completely feel what you need to in order to figure out how to get through it. I quietly said that I can’t like the girl in the corner, I can’t give her a break, I can’t absolve her of guilt, and I don’t even like her. I won’t give her any credit and I just ignore her most of the time.

Then, the main facilitator said, “can you at least give her a blanket?”

I laughed. Cuz that’s what I do. Then I sat with that a minute and said, “I can try.”

We created our fear in a project I enjoyed during the last group and this group as well. It really is cool to just follow the instructions given and see what comes out in a project. First, we talked about what triggers fear. Some things for me were right there, almost waiting in the pen ink. I quickly wrote cigarettes, hometown, and high school people/connections. Then, after a pause, I added woods and card games.

I likely should have added the girl in the corner. Because clearly I am scared to have to face her. She’s not to blame and that feels true sometimes, but then all the victim-blaming attitude flows into my head. I try to put it into perspective and I just can’t quite get there. I feel defeated by her and by the idea that sometimes I said yes to this person. That over time, I got used to being treated so poorly by him that it was easier to say yes than no. That I convinced myself what we really shared was love. The kind in ridiculous teenage love stories.

But it was never real. And I can see that now.

And that’s when I punish the girl in the corner. How could you be so stupid? Why would you go along with something that made you feel sick to your stomach? Why wouldn’t you just walk away? Why didn’t you tell someone?

And the worst one, which is so often in the media today: why did you wait so long to say it??

Fear and shame. Denial and disgust. That’s why.

I have a lot of work to do here. I have to face someone I don’t want to forgive.

Myself.

When I had individual therapy before group I told my therapist I’ve been frustrated in group. Distracted. Feeling like I don’t belong there. Like my assault is “less than” because it isn’t the same as the other sexual assault I experienced. It isn’t clearly assault in my head. She asked me to pay attention during group the same night to what was really going on in my body. Am I really feeling distracted? Or am I putting a lot of energy into avoidance and denial, and punishment of the girl in the corner? Am I minimizing the assault because I’m more willing to victim-blame the girl in that corner forever?

It was absolutely avoidance. An “l don’t deserve to be here like the other group members do.” And that scares me. It’s the kind of assault people, apparently me included, want to explain away as not that bad. But it IS as wrong as the sexual assault I experienced in college. And in many ways it is more harmful to who I am because it shaped who I was from age 15 on up to 38 years old.

Enough is enough. I will work harder in this group than I did before because what’s at risk is the real me. The girl I left in the corner. What’s to gain is more of what I’ve been experiencing since starting therapy and that is forgiveness and healing and freedom and acceptance and love.

I can’t hide now that all my therapists know I have been doing so up to now. They’ll help me understand and forgive the girl in the corner. They will help me understand that I am not to blame for what happened, even if I thought I loved the guy.

They will help me heal. And tonight, I promised to try by giving that girl in the corner a blanket.

It’s the least I can do.

KK