Therapists are big on forgiveness, aren’t they? The books I read post-divorce include forgiveness as a necessary step to healing. In my own case, it’s been hard.
I had so much anger before, during, and after the divorce. I placed all of the blame on the ex’s shoulders. I had so many stories to tell, and people listening would shake their heads, amazed that I had put up with it for so long. The day after my divorce was final, I remember sharing the news at work, and having others look at me funny because I wasn’t supposed to be so happy.
I reveled in my singlemomdom. There was so much freedom. Take a weekend trip with The Boy? Why, I could, couldn’t I? Buy a duvet cover with flowers on it? Yes, please. Fall asleep in a quiet house? Heaven. I also reveled in my anger and my indignation. The ex was clearly the spawn of Satan, and I had been a saint to last as long as I had.
As time passed, and upon more reflection, I began to realize my part in the downfall of our marriage. I realized that I had stopped communicating, that I had belittled him, that I had not been strong enough to fight him more on the big issues. And that maybe he wasn’t the spawn of Satan. Maybe.
Four years later, I am to the lovely point at which I am mostly indifferent. The thought of this person that I was married to for ten years rarely even crosses my mind, if at all. If it does, the thought is apathetic, with no real malice or anger. He can live his life as he pleases, and it has nothing to do with me.
Except when it does. When our little link is affected. When his actions hurt our little boy, I get angry, I blame, I shake with emotion. And this is why I am not, and don’t think I will ever be to the point of forgiveness. Lots of moms have this fierce emotion, this snarling-mama-bear-oh-no-you-di’nt reaction, that I think is even ferocious in those of us with kids with special needs. Because in many cases, our kids can’t express or process their emotions as well as the rest of us. Because our kids already go through enough. Because we go through enough. ENOUGH.
I can forgive strangers, because you can dismiss strangers as not knowing any better, being ignorant, or hateful, or stupid. But the ex is not a stranger, and he cannot be written off as ignorant.
It’s really hard to forgive someone who should be protecting his son as fiercely as I am.
And I don’t think I’ll ever be able to do it.
And I’m OK with that.