Requested Repost. Reader Email. I’m always amazed at what posts my readers remember. They ask for articles I barely remember writing, but here it is.
This post is a mashup of several previous posts. I talk about my ex in this post who was sick at the time. He subsequently passed and only my oldest son attended his wake. The other 2 wanted nothing to do with him.
I am in that place of being angry and wanting my STBX to feel how badly he hurt me. Everyone thinks he is this GREAT guy. I am really and truly not exaggerating either! NO one knows the abusive husband he was behind closed doors as he was always so kind, considerate and respectful of everyone else in his life and careful not to be a jerk to me in public.
I on the other hand was so busy walking on eggshells and doing the crazy dance that quite possibly I think people felt sorry for him as I was never able to settle down or feel at peace especially after a night of drinking and partying as I did not know what would be coming my way. It has always been so very confusing for me as I have seen him be all of these wonderful things to the people around him except for me and sometimes our children. So I know that he is capable of that yet just did not offer that to me or our marriage. Why he could not offer that to me and to our family has been really eating at me lately. He recently was asked to fly on the corporate jet and man every time he talks about it I want to ask him if they would really want him on that big fabulous trip or if he would even have his big fabulous job if they knew what he did to his wife and what he was capable of? Or I would like to scream, “I did not know they let abusers ride the corporate jet!”
He is also keeping our house in the settlement and that too has made me feel like is this man going to not pay for anything that he did to me. It is as if he just gets to keep on keeping on in his life and I am left with nothing. It gets even more crazy as he says that he has finally realized how much he loves me – after 20 years – and that he working so very hard to be nice and make things right. That too makes me angry as if it is that much freaking work to be nice to me and really I have heard all of his please baby baby pleases before! Part of me wishes that like Tiger Woods people would know who he really is and that he would have to work his way back to good standing somehow and not conveniently have his life safely intact except for an alimony/child support check. Really, I am not as bitter and crazy as I sound at this moment. This is a concentrated view of what goes through my head but it indeed is going through my head. As well, this anger seems to come out of left field as I was not feeling this way or at least this intensely this way about a month ago?? We have been separated for 9 months and are still not divorced but have gone through mediation and have most of the details worked out and now are just waiting for the day that we can officially be done. Maybe that is a part of it too? I really thought I would be further along or not be dealing with these kinds of feelings of anger 9 months in after all I have been through with him. I am doing all of the GPYP healing modalities but I have found myself stuck in my own anger and I want to not be here. I do feel/know that it is being fueled by my own insecurities and fears that I will not ever be good enough or will end up alone/broke for the rest of my life. Yes, I am doing quite a number on me it seems.
Nine months is not a long time…however, you should stop talking to him about anything other than the children. Listening to him saying he still loves you and is working to be nice to you is just making you angry. As just about anything he says is going to. You should cut off those conversations.
If you don’t think the settlement is what you’re okay agreeing to, it’s time to say so before it’s final. If it’s what you’ve agreed to, you need to accept that. I gave up a lot in my divorce settlement and it has upset me over the years but I have to keep telling myself I agreed to it and it’s over. It’s hard to let go but everyone who is going through a divorce has to come to terms with the terms and sooner is better than later. Otherwise you wind up bitter and resentful.
About the corporate jet: 1) You don’t need to know that he rides on the corporate jet 2) Anyone who is a secure and knows who he is does not brag about riding on the corporate jet (bush league, my dear, very bush league) 3) Being an abuser has nothing to do with the ability to ride on a corporate jet. People are not vetted as to whether or not they are abusers before someone lets them on the corporate jet. Abusers are probably flying all around the place on corporate jets. I’ve worked for people who OWNED private jets and you knew, by the way they treated people, that they got that jet by mistreating and taking advantage of A LOT of people.
Abusers get to do all kinds of things and skip out on a lot of responsibility. There are people who will forgive abusers or not hold them accountable and think they are still the best (ask fans of Chris Brown). There are people who blame victims or really don’t care. They ascribe to “What goes one between closed doors is their business.” There are many people who simply care about what they care about and if it’s too much effort (taking a principled stand or not buying someone’s charming bs is often too much effort), they can’t be bothered. You can’t make the world hate your ex or see him the way you see him.
I know so many people who believed my ex was charming and I was a shrew and he left me for his second wife because I sucked. And I no longer care what anyone thinks. I was insane when I was with him (had to be to be with him) and whatever the world thinks or thought of him or me is none of my business. Don’t know and don’t care. Any more. Life becomes so much easier when you accept the things you cannot change.
The Santa-Claus theory of life is that if you’re good, you get gifts; if you are bad, you get coal. But life does not work like that. Plenty of bad people get good things and plenty of good people have bad things happen to them. It’s not fair. Life isn’t fair and there is NO Santa Claus. Getting “okay” with that is a KEY to peace of mind.
The bottom line is that bad people get good stuff and good people get screwed. Not all the time, of course, but it happens and when it happens to you personally it is very very hard to accept it (believe me, I know).
I wrote a post once (and reposted it a few times) called “My Karma Ran Over My Dogma” in response to people wanting their ex to “get theirs.” I’m not going to repost the entire thing here,but the gist of it is that when we’ve been hurt by someone who could really care less that they’ve hurt us, even though they once professed to love us, part of our emotional spectrum is hoping that they get theirs.
In that post I talked about Rabbi Harold Kushner who wrote a book called When Bad Things Happen To Good People and it has been a best seller for 20 years because it attempts to reconcile people’s beliefs in a higher being with the seeming randomness of life. When his own child was stricken with a fatal illness, the good Rabbi worked to sort it all out. His book has been a comfort to many over these many years.
When C.S. Lewis wrote A Grief Observed, he was a fairly famous theologian and his wife had died. His grief tested his belief. He called God a lot of names in the book which is essentially his grief process and his reconciliation of his beliefs and his pain. It is a wonderful and difficult book.
Okay so I am neither Rabbi Kushner nor am I CS Lewis. I’m not a theologian or spiritual leader so I’m not going to talk about how to reconcile your spiritual beliefs with your pain because I really don’t know how you do that. But these books have been written because when people hurt they instinctively try to figure it all out. These books exist because many horrible things happen in life and people ask WHY and WHY ME and want to will fairness on everything in a world that is inherently unfair.
What each of these books do talk about is how to come to terms with the feeling that life is just $hitty sometimes and very much unfair a lot of other times. And books can help you with the randomness of that…and how life just happens and how it’s not fair.
Because it’s not.
But that’s not what we’re talking about with “I want him to get his.” That’s more about karma. Karma is different. Karma is a pointed “you did a bad thing, bananahead, and now you are going to get yours” gun at their head. And yes it does go bang eventually. But (caveat) not the way you WANT it to and not in YOUR time.
So the question remains: Seriously, do they get theirs in the end?
You know, I think they do. But it’s just not wrapped in the package we’d like it in.
I AM going to talk about the idea of karma, revenge and getting what they deserve. And how I see it after all these years.
I wanted revenge on the Mother of All Bananaheads for the longest time. And someone told me what goes around comes around. That was not good enough for me. I wanted him to hurt as I was hurting and I wanted his world to be turned upside down. I wanted him to cry and walk the floors and feel the pain I felt. I wanted him to look into my children’s eyes when they were full of pain over his preferential treatment toward his stepchildren and care about them and how they felt. I wanted him to hurt the way I hurt; the way my kids hurt. And I hated that he didn’t and didn’t see anything wrong with how he was acting.
In other words, I wanted him ZAPPED from somewhere up above where this big finger comes out of the sky, like in a Monty Python skit, and just smote him (whatever that is). That is what I wanted. I wanted the very thing that Rabbi Kushner and CS Lewis say isn’t going to happen.
To me, him getting his was karma. Going around, coming around. He blew up my world and I wanted his blown up. One good blow up deserves another.
And I waited.
And I waited.
And I waited.
And not much happened. .
Then they got married.
And for years they seemed to have the normal, regular life.
But not everything was great. For years I asked him to spend time with just his kids. They asked me to ask him and I did and he ignored my requests even when I said they came from the boys. He broke his arm playing basketball when we were separated and was on disability when my child support was calculated. I did not have the money to keep paying a lawyer and fight for everything and I agreed to things I didn’t want to agree to. He was active and paid in his union and that paycheck was never ever (ever) calculated in his support payments. Yet he withheld money and shortchanged me a lot of the time despite the bargain he was getting. And they talked about how greedy I was and I bit my tongue for my kids’ sake.
Eventually the kids figured it all out but when they moved away, the ex blamed me for bad-mouthing him, which I never did. It was a steady stream of trash talk about me FOR YEARS of things that angered me beyond measure and I kept being blamed for things I didn’t do and kept my contact and communication with them to a MINIMUM. I was, actually, a good ex-spouse and rarely called him (single digits in 10 years), yet I was denigrated at every turn.
When he and I were married his family was always around. Sometimes I got upset that there was always this person and that person and another person. When I complained he told me, “Blood is thicker than water.” His loyalty to his family was paramount, according to him. After he married her, suddenly water was thicker. She was more important to him; her kids were more important and even her extended family were more important (I called him once to complain about some things her brother said to my kids and he had to hang up because she was mad that we were talking about her brother…WHAT?)
And the boys who heard him say, over and over again, that blood was thicker than water, were perplexed. Weren’t they blood? What happened?
So when you go out into life with that attitude or adopting whatever attitude suits you at the time and act out of selfishness things happen and to them they happened.
His relationship with his kids doesn’t exist and, in my opinion, he lost so much by not taking care of those relationships. He once told my youngest son that he wanted to see them more but he had to teach ME a lesson. He said that to a 13 year old who never forgot it. As Judge Judy says: you have to love your kids more than you hate your ex and he didn’t. And he didn’t really even have a reason to hate me. So no one got it.
Fast forward to now. He has gotten sick in the past year and, at first, some in his family thought that the boys would reconcile, but they won’t. And I have no idea what is going on with him, but I don’t really care. And that might seem cruel toward someone who is sick, but honestly I just don’t want to see his family (my children’s grandparents) get hurt which is the only reason why I care what happens to him. I don’t ever want to see a mother worry about the health of one of her children as my children’s grandmother is worrying now. I don’t want to see, EVER, any mother have to worry about the health of one of her children, but I do care about her as she is my children’s grandmother so I don’t want to see her upset by his illness.
But I don’t see the illness as anything more than people in their 50s get sick. I do not see his illness as anything having to do with anything that he ever did to me or my kids. It’s just “what happens.”
I stopped wishing bad things on him long ago and when I would have cared about it, it didn’t happen.
I’ve lived a long, hard life and tried to get better, and turn my life around and raise my kids and help people and “be good.” In 1996, after a lot of pain in life, a lot of abuse and abandonment and climbing out of the abyss, I met a wonderful, gentle, kind man who loved me unlike anyone that I ever knew (including my parents and siblings). He was a good and loving man and never once made me cry. For 13 years I knew true and unconditional love of a good man. And then, when we were planning a fun retirement when our youngest graduated college in 3 years, he got sick and died.
So I lost Michael who was wonderful and neither one of us ever screwed anyone, so bad things do happen to good people and sometimes nothing happens to people who deserve it. That is life. I have no idea if my ex is going to get better and whether or not he does or not has nothing to do what he has or has not done. I can’t believe it has anything to do with anything other than people, all kinds of people, get sick and get better and people, all kinds of people, get sick and die. It has NOTHING to do with what things you did or did not to others do before getting sick. Otherwise little children would never get sick. And sadistic bastards would not live to 90. And they do.
And in my grief counseling, I’ve met people to whom horrendous things have happened and they deserve none of it. And I’ve met people to whom fabulous things have happened and they deserve none of it. And even though I’ve had horrible things happen to me, I’ve met a lot of people to whom much worse things have happened, and I try to be grateful for what I have no matter what.
Because…the gifts are where you find them…my children are great. They are adults and they are nice and fun and smart and we do a lot of things together. I’ve had weddings and grandchildren and watching my boys grow into strong and wonderful men.
My four grandchildren are adorable. I spent last weekend with them and will spend this weekend with them. There is no feeling in the world like playing with your grandchildren. OUt of all the pain and heartache, watching them grow and being with them is just wonderful.
But I can’t say tit for tat. I can’t say nyah nyah nyah. I can’t gloat or feel smug. Because I’m long since past wishing and hoping for horrible things and the horrible things that have happened to him are just things that happen to people. It has nothing to do with how good or bad he or I was. The only thing that has a correlation is that I have my kids and he doesn’t. But even that is not karma or revenge. It’s more about consequences of choices. And I’m not even sure, to this day, he gets it.
But there are VERY VERY VERY good things about revenge not happening the way I would have scripted it.
The BEST thing about it not happening the way I wanted is that had it done anything else, my attention would have been focused over THERE salivating or perhaps still involved in the back-and-forth that was us for so long…I had no choice, but to put my focus on where it needed to be: on my life.. Since the time we separated I’ve done things he balked at: go back to school and travel and be my own person. I married someone who loved me unconditionally and never criticized and who raised the boys as if they were his own and we all have expanded our world by knowing each other instead of narrowing it as they have done.
So Karma didn’t happen the way I wanted it to happen and certainly didn’t happen WHEN I wanted it to happen (when I still gave a crap if it happened).
The simplest explanation of karma is that if you are a positive and loving person, you have positive and loving things come into your life (or if you adhere to the Hindu version of karma maybe the next life) and if you are negative, negative things come into your life.
And I think it’s true.
If you put good and positive energy into your life you get good and positive stuff back.
Seriously, it does go around but it probably goes around much slower and in a different form than you would like. In the meantime, work on YOU, work on building your happily ever after NO MATTER WHAT happens to or doesn’t happen to and for the EX.
And whatever you THINK is going on in someone else’s life is probably not…
So leave karma to the universe and concentrate on your own life. It will all work out. Seriously it will.
Trust the process. Trust the karma. Do good and be good to you.
The bad guys/gals will screw themselves into the ground.
Seriously they will.