Pity and Forgiveness

sad

sad (Photo credit: Kalexanderson)

I’ve been thinking a lot about forgiveness.  As I’ve written before, I find it hard to forgive the ex for the constant disappointment he  inflicts on The Boy.  When he cancels a week of visitation, when he only makes time to see him 4 weeks out of every 52, it is difficult to control the “mama bear” instinct inside of me that wants to thrash him within an inch of his life.  When I have to hold my son while he cries because “it’s too far” for his dad to come and pick him up, forgiveness is probably the furthest thing from my mind.  And I know forgiving him would be healthier for me.  But it is one of the most difficult of my internal struggles.

Today, though, after receiving a text from the ex on Friday saying that due to getting his tax refund back, all of his arrearages in child support will be paid in full as of next Friday, and that he would call The Boy on Saturday (he didn’t)… Today, I find I feel pity.  Pity that the man has a college degree, and is almost 40, but cannot hold a job long enough to prevent this situation.  Pity that his anger sometimes controls his actions, never for the good.  Pity that he just can’t get his sh– straight.  Pity that he just has no clue about what he is missing.

And I suppose pity is closer to forgiveness, right?

Forgiveness

I'm okay, you're... well, maybe not

I’m okay, you’re… well, maybe not (Photo credit: pdxjmorris)

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.