I had one of those what the hell will I blog? moments this morning and started trawling through my April back catalogue for inspiration …
It didn’t make pretty reading. April 2014 was a bitter affair due to the freshness of my marriage separation. April 2013 is retrospectively coloured by knowing why travelling to the American South with my ex for a wedding was so stilted and miserable. And April 2012 was mostly about a 17-night cruise the kids and I took without my ex to Hawaii … also retrospectively coloured in unbloggable ways.
I was vaguely tempted to repost the Southern wedding photos and wax lyrical about all not being as it seemed … insert dramatic dun, dun DUNNN!!! sound effect … and then I thought, nah, I’m past that. I’m not interested in sucking on that misery like a giant gobstopper.
There’s still a kernel of anger inside me that pop out every now and then, surprising myself and others with its white-hot heat.
But mostly I’ve decided what’s done is done, it can’t be undone, so why dwell on it? And the experts seem to agree I’m taking the right approach.
Psychotherapist Abby Rodman, author of Without This Ring: A Woman’s Guide to Successfully Living Through and Beyond Midlife Divorce tells The Chicago Tribune:
The gifts of divorce may take some time to reveal themselves, but there are gifts. One day you wake up and it hits you that you no longer have to manage an unhappy marriage. You no longer have to manage your spouse’s unhappiness. That clears the way for more of your own happiness.
Family attorney Angie Hallier, author of The Wiser Divorce: Positive Strategies for Your Next Best Life, adds:
Accept who your ex-spouse is and isn’t and move forward without wanting revenge and without anger. Get rid of the notion that this divorce will somehow vindicate you as the one in the right. Certainly there are emotions that have to be dealt with, but if you focus these negative energies on the process of divorce you lose this golden opportunity to reshape your life for the better.
Psych Central suggests:
At some point, the time comes to ask yourself: “Who have I become through all this?”
If your answer is, “A whining, needy, lost individual,” then the intention being placed in the world is that you believe that you have lost something valuable of yourself though the divorce; somehow you’re less than who you were before. To genuinely thrive, you have to change what you believe to be true about your story. Yes, it was painful and yes, you lost things. Yes, you made mistakes and yes, you played a part in your marriage’s demise. But, that does not doom you to a life that’s less than wonderful.
And a last word from Jackie Pilossoph at The Huffington Post:
I think it’s normal, healthy even, to grieve, feel angry, and feel sorry for yourself. FOR A LITTLE WHILE, that is. If you truly want to recover from your divorce, there comes a time when playing the victim needs to stop, and it’s time to pick yourself up off the floor, dust yourself off and start your new life. I’m not trying to make it sound simple or easy. It’s not. But, you have two choices. Play the victim and blame everyone else for the rest of your life, or go out and grab the life you want. And THAT is a simple choice, isn’t it?
… Here’s the scariest part about playing the victim. People who don’t get out of that mindset end up miserable for the rest of their lives …
The opposite of “victim” is “criminal” or “culprit” so I don’t want to tell people to be the opposite of a victim. But, in a sense, yes, be the opposite. Be the culprit (which technically means “the accused person.”) Be accused of pursuing your dreams, finding things you love to do, having as much fun with your children as you possibly can. Be accused of going out on dates, traveling too much, smiling excessively. You’re only a victim until you decide you’re not one anymore.
I’m not keen on the culprit word … I prefer to think of myself as a victor.
I’ve survived the battlefield that was marriage separation and emerged a better person.
I still have a long way to go. Sometimes it hurts soooooo much to be starting all over again … and occasionally I mutter a certain terrible “C” word under my breath in connection with my ex’s name for the way he stuffed up our family and set me back financially.
But mainly I’ve embraced my second chance at a happy life. And that’s why I’m looking forward, not backwards, from now on.
Song of the day: Katy Perry “Roar” (sorry, sometimes I’m a sucker for a catchy pop song)