My compassionate view, a drastic change in perception…

In the past week I have put a lot of thought into looking at things from a compassionate place.  I admit at first I thought it would be easy now that I had decided to do so, only to find that it wasn’t easy at all.  As a matter of fact the more I thought about it, the more impossible it seemed.

There were a few things I did for myself in the past week as well that I thought might help the situation.  First, as I have said, I went swimming in the ocean for the first time in 19 years.  It was a very freeing experience.

I made reservations for John and I to go away for a night, to get us both to the ocean, swimming in the day, salt water fishing at night.   We are set to go today when he comes home after work.

I also made a point to go visit with my sister-in-law, also divorced.  We had good conversation and had a time of it in her pool.  I hadn’t seen her in just over three years.  She is a beautiful lady, with a heart of gold.

She and I talked about a lot of things.  Our life then as the wives to brothers, our lives now and what happened in between.  She said some very helpful things, that gave me some insight.

What might be surprising to other people is that the three people I have the easiest time having compassion for is not only my two sons, but my ex-husband as well.

When I left a little over three years ago, it was not something I did in order to hurt anyone, rather to stop myself from being hurt.  I believe my husband was very hurt by this.  I also believe that, as opposed to seeing him as this vindictive person, I should take a better look.

Did he treat me exactly the way he did before I left?  Yes.  He did.  He failed to listen to what I had to say and went looking for answers from all the wrong people.  He made accusations against me out of anger and emotional strife.  I can understand why.  The fact is, it was never true.  It may be that he actually believes what he said.  I don’t know.

What I do know is this.  When I take a step back, let go of fear and anger, I can see this in a very different light.

My husband is as dumb as a box of rocks.  About as dumb as I was.  When I look at it this way, I can see the man had no idea he was putting a target on my back.

I don’t believe that my husband, nor I, ever realized the stigma that comes with mental illness.  When he talked to people, and I know he did, whether they want to admit it or not, he told them personal things about me that made their ignorance my enemy.

What I would like to say to the people that my husband went to for help.  Apparently, he was under the impression that you understand.  Clearly, you don’t.

I am going to say this as respectfully as I can.  Educate yourself before you open your mouth.

What I need to say next goes especially for the women in my life who have sons that are diagnosed with Bi-Polar disorder.

Educate yourself, because the way that you treated me in the past three years is utterly shameful and a disgrace.

Bi-Polar disorder does not mean I am stupid.  I know when you are lying.  It does not mean I don’t have the ability to make my own decisions.   It does not mean that if I say something you don’t like or understand I am manic, and/or depressed.   I have an opinion, just like any other healthy adult.

I am not a child, I do not need anyone to brush my hair for me, keep an eye on whether or not I sleep, nor do people need to be protected from me.  I am not violent.  I do not now, nor did I ever need a caretaker.

I am not to blame for your problems.  My diagnosis has absolutely nothing to do with you.  It is none of your business if I take medication, what medication I take, or why I don’t if that is the case.

The fact that I have Bi-Polar disorder does not make me insane.  It is not an excuse for you to insult me, lie to me, or discount me.

Also, I  am not anorexic, never have been, doctors are not Gods.  Not to mention, if I was anorexic, you harassing me about eating would be more destructive then minding your own business.

I never needed, will never need anyone I don’t know all that well quizzing me on my sleeping habits.  It is not necessary to inform me of how horrible I look in the name of your concern for me when you don’t even know me.

I could go on and on, but I won’t, I hope…  The point is, my husband seemingly out of desperation talked to people and asked for help.  Not one person told me that. Not one person gave me the credit of an adult capable of reason and so they alienated me from them.  I don’t know what makes a otherwise intelligent person think they are doing their duty by calling me up and screaming at me, making no sense at all and refusing to tell my why they are saying hurtful things is going to accomplish anything other than hurt.  It also accomplished them losing a very good friend.  I think they are aware of that.

There are times when I have to wonder, did some of these people think I was at a low point and had no choice but to accept their accusations, or did they really believe they were being intelligent. I don’t know.

From my husband’s point of view, it could very easily have simply been, him asking if they knew what was going on with me.

Here is where it gets weird.  He asks a woman I will call N. if she knows how I am.  Says he is worried.  (this is just a guess)  He also tells this woman that I am bi-polar and anorexic.  This woman is uneducated and completely ignorant to what these things actually mean.
I am quite sure his friend N. did not go back to him and say,  “Mission accomplished, I snuck up on your wife, something like a black cloud of doom that she felt before I made myself known, and when she turned around with pasta in her mouth, I asked why she wasn’t eating.”

I am also sure that N. never went back and told my husband that she asked me if I was sleeping and then completely forgot about my sleeping habits when I smartly asked about hers.

(all of this in an A.A. meeting by the way.)

I don’t think my husband is aware that people were suddenly treating me as though I were the dredges of the earth because of what he told them about me.

I can’t see my friend L. reporting back to say, “I called your wife out of the blue, yelled at her for not having a job, although I know she is disabled.  I also yelled at her for expressing her feelings, even though she always listened when I expressed mine.  I told her she was no fun anymore, although I was previously clear about the fact that I didn’t think she was important enough to spend time with, so how would I know.  She tried on three different occasions to reach out to me asking why I said these things to her, obviously she was extremely hurt, but don’t worry, I let her know outright I didn’t care and did not owe her any explanation of why.”

I don’t believe that she said this to him and he came back with, “Well done, Minion.”

I don’t think he is aware of the fact that I never once refused to talk to my friend B.  She just didn’t want to tell him that.  I am also sure she never told him that she blamed my mother that passed away in 2006 for the problems in my marriage.  Nor did she mention that she was upset that I didn’t have a vehicle because I wouldn’t be able to drive to visit her anymore.  (Grow up)

To both of my friends, L and B., I was always a good friend to you and it is plain to see that you couldn’t waste any more of your precious time than the minutes it took to berate me and devastate me in the name of what I am not sure.  The only way I can see to have compassion for the two of you is to look at the fact that both of you lost a very good friend because of your ignorance and lack of caring enough to put yourself out just a little more than to insult someone and call it a day.

To my husbands friend N., I try to understand how impressive he can be.  I try to understand that it feels good to be the one he is looking to.  My point is, if you really cared about my husband, if any of these people really cared about my husband, my kids, or me, they would have put a little more effort into being kind to me instead of scaring the hell out of me with the circus they brought to town.

The things I am absolutely sure my lovely sisters did not tell my husband.  First and foremost, I was not blaming him for their actions.  I was simply terrified of him.  I am sure the words, “She is not trying to hurt you.” never came out of anyone’s mouth.  Not, “She cried everyday for her boys.”, not “She understands why he would be hurtful, but not everyone else.”

My sisters, as opposed to saying, “She didn’t do this.” they told people I did.  How can I have compassion for that.  Two of my sisters were like vultures, only they didn’t seem to realize I wasn’t dead.  Here we go.  How do I have compassion with either of these women?  The closest I can get is to say, there is no one else I would rather be than me.  My two sisters are miserable in their own life.  They both are married, living in beautiful houses, their bills are paid with no worries and they have food on their table.  They have their children in their lives and they present themselves as though they have it all together.  They are miserable.

I don’t have my boys.  I live in a rented room.  Sometimes I do have to worry about what I am going to eat. At times I don’t have $2. to buy shampoo.  What I do have that my sisters don’t is gratitude.

Looking at this from a perspective of compassion has helped a great deal.  The fear of my husband’s intentions towards me is gone, at least for the moment.  I don’t know anything about the future.

As for my sons, there are things I wish I could tell them.  I just can’t.  Not in this way.  I love them.  I miss them and I wish things were not the way they are.  I can not force myself on them, I don’t want to force anything on anyone.  I simply want peace.  I don’t want to hurt anymore, I don’t want them to hurt anymore.  I don’t want my husband to hurt anymore.

I remember my husband used to say, “How can a person trust someone they had an affair with?”  I am sure he wonders about this with me.  Here is my answer.  The only person that has no option to even pretend I they believe I had an affair is John.  He is the only person in the world that knows for a fact, I did not do this.  Others should have known me better.  Others do know me better.  I wonder if the reason they accuse me is because that would have been what they would have done, or they could never even imagine doing what I actually did.

My husband used to tell me I was unsinkable.  He said I was the most courageous woman he ever met.  I used to hang on those words, trying to blank out other words he used.  At times it has been those words from him in my memory that kept me going.  I figured if he had something so good to say about me, it must be true.  Good thing I didn’t know he was a dumb as a box of rocks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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18 thoughts on “My compassionate view, a drastic change in perception…

  1. Compassion and forgiveness are not easy concepts for many people to apply however, they are goals worth working towards. The main person in your life should always be you simply because if you are not the best you can be, then you would have to question your value to others. In simplistic terms …. do whatever you have to do to be happy with who you are. If you can look at yourself in the mirror and honestly say “Yes you are special and I really love you”, then you are ahead of most of the population! I have a son diagnosed “Bi” together with a few other things and after many years, I still cannot understand the world as he sees it. All I can do however is support him and love him. I hope your Post unloaded a lot of unnecessary “baggage” from you, and that you will feel inclined to persevere towards a more compassionate (and forgiving) future. You can do no more than your best at any given time, but at least believe that you are a unique human being and a very special one at that. Take care. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Colin, you have been a great help to me. Compassion and forgiveness come easy to me when there is a lack of fear. This has been a great way for me to get rid of that fear. I can forgive pretty much anything, only that does not mean I will allow people to treat me that way more than once. As you said, I should value myself more. Thank you again. Trael.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are very welcome. I think it fair to say that we all have to be sufficiently comfortable within ourselves, in order to ensure that we are treated respectfully. It is also reasonable to conclude that when some people do not get the message, we just have to accept their different perspective and then push them away. Ultimately, you should surround yourself with people who recognize your difficulties and your imperfections ……. but love you anyway! Your social will probably be (like mine) quite small! 🙂 🙂 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, it is Colin, very small at this point and truthfully, I am beginning to appreciate it that way. I have to say though, I wish I wasn’t so hard headed that we all had to go through literal hell to find out who our real friends were. I do wish there was a way to reach out to my husband, to let him know I don’t mean any harm to him either, I can only imagine what he has in his mind. I don’t think he would listen anymore now then he did then. I did say in one of my other posts, anything is possible. Maybe someday he will understand and be at peace with it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Maybe he will, but that is something beyond your control. One of the things that I had difficulty getting my head around was the fact that I cannot control what other people think. Perhaps I can influence, but that is all I can do. Once I accepted that, I found dealing with people in general so much easier because I was not responsible for their actions. The world’s problems were no longer my fault (an exaggeration but you get the idea). 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve suffered from depression my whole life … and it never fails to amaze me the lengths people will go to blame sufferers of mental illness for their own disease. That basic lack of empathy really bothers me … because it often seems like people are more likely to forgive and understand strangers who have these problems than they are to do the same for close friends and family members. I don’t understand that, never have. I’m glad you seem to have a really healthy perspective on all of it. I’m furious on your behalf, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. It is true, it is much easier it seems for people to say “Oh that poor fellow…”, until of course it adds some element to their life. I think my interest in human behavior has saved my behind many times when shocked at peoples behavior towards me.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Kit. I can probably explain a little about the apparent double standards which you mention. People are generally sympathetic when it comes to strangers because they have nothing but the present (what they see) on which to base a reaction on. When it comes to a friend or relative, they now have a history to impact their reactions. Family is particularly prone to this because “We all had the same upbringing so what’s your problem?”. An alternative could be “We’ve known each other for years and you were ok back then so snap out of it.”

      It is so easy to sympathize with a specific situation if you have no knowledge of the person’s background. Sadly, we draw different conclusions when we know the person’s past life. A young girl living on the streets of a large city will attract concern and interest from many strangers passing by. The people that girl went through High School with are probably just going to write her off because (from their perspective) she has no reason to be on the streets!

      All we can do is acknowledge this tendency and make a conscious effort to ensure that we do not do the same. We can either simply believe that there has to be a credible reason for the person’s situation or, we can make an effort to learn about the person’s past by simply befriending. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I am divorced now and my ex was an emotional, narcissistic abuser. I embarrassed him he said because I went to therapy. He has worse mental issues than I do. And I just found this out.

    Stigma is not dead as some seem to think. They see a few people that have it good and think the world is peachy. It is not as we know.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was called an embarrassment as well, although my illness was not pointed out as the reason. More likely that I did not fit in to the picture perfect wife role. And the more I felt he didn’t like me, or anything about me, the further I broke down. It wasn’t so much that he called me an embarrassment, because he eventually apologized for those comments. It was the fact that I knew he felt I was an embarrassment. I could clearly see that and it wouldn’t have mattered if he never said the words.
      The world is not always so peachy.

      Like

  4. Choosing to approach life from a point of compassion for ourselves and others is something that transforms us 🙂 It can be the hardest fight of our lives, and it hurts at times. We go through moments of feeling lost, and in a way……. since we are trying to rediscover ourselves, we are. But as you search for love and compassion for yourself and others, you will find it, and you will find yourself to be a completely different person. Remember always though, to include yourself in your compassion. I heard a saying once, that went something like “If your love does not include yourself, it is incomplete.” There will be times of hurt, of anger, of profound sadness. But having compassion on others doesn’t mean denying yourself time to go through these when you need to. Please remember also that love for ourselves and others is a lifetime journey, and try not to be too hard on yourself one days when you feel like you aren’t moving forward. A lot of times self love is the ability to be at peace with who we are, where we are, knowing that we are still here to participate in the journey, moreso than to reach a destination.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. I do find it hard sometimes to remember that when I am having a good moment it does not mean I won’t have those feelings return, although each time I am a step forward once I go through it. The good part is that I used to feel as though I were taking one step forward and two back. Now I feel it is one step back and two forward. Progress, not perfection.

      Liked by 1 person

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