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.