May I be real (with you)? I want to share a part of this difficult, painful journey, without embarrassing anyone or causing anyone distress.
Facing the reality that our marriage was "irretrievably broken" was hard.
The process of divorce and what happened during that time ripped my heart out. Someone who had not only made vows at the altar, but also had been through so much with me, could be so full of rage, anger, resentment, and retaliation, that he would go to great lengths to smear my name and to bludgeon any good left of our memories or relationship together. In fact, his main goal involves wreaking as much havoc in my life as possible. The divorce itself was a relief from having any further legal ties to the destructive man.
But the pain-producing, anxiety-provoking sophist antics continue. . .
I suppose if I really took a hard look at my expectations following the divorce, I did not really expect the manipulation and anger spats to stop. It isn't falling short of my expectations that is causing the anxiety and pain. And, I suppose disappointment no longer comes from the fact that someone that was family by marriage, part of my innermost circle, hurt me and hurt me deeply. Though that is true, strictly speaking - he was a person who was intimately close to me, in more ways than one - and though it is true that that made the betrayal all the more hurtful and painful, I am no longer disappointed.
Disappointment comes from having expectations of something or someone and that something or someone falling short of those expectations. Of the sort of person he has become or is or perhaps always has been, I have little expectations of him, in the way of living a productive, good life (a life of good character).
Rather, anxiety and pain seem to come from the fact that I try really hard to do what is right (even if it is difficult or painful), but, I get slapped with slander and jabbed where the wounds are still fresh and tender. I am not expecting a fair quid pro quo between him and me (I may be naive in many ways, but I am not that naive).
I try to give him parenting time with the children under safe circumstances. Recognizing the importance of his time with the children, I have given him time beyond the terms defined in Permanent Orders, to accommodate his time with the children. However, instead of being thankful for that, he has continued in his explosive rage, anger, and retaliation emotions. Perhaps that is I can expect from a narcissistic person who feels wounded.
What I have realized and am still trying to adjust to (in attitude) accordingly is, the only thing I can hope to change is how I react to him and his madness. I do not respond in any reactive way to his spiteful, angry, and accusatory correspondence. I, in a matter of fact fashion, make reference to Permanent Orders and how he has not fulfilled the conditions in it.
But, my heart still hurts.
By claiming that I want to get beyond anxiety and pain, I do not mean I wish to numb the pain and anxiety. If you want to see a discussion of what I say about pain, look here: "Should We Really Avoid Pain at All Costs?" Pain can be an instructive tool. Don't get me wrong, sometimes the pain feels like searing, unbearable pain. The pain, when I read some of his correspondence that was forward to me this afternoon, was pretty intense. And, I do not feel like I am someone who has a high tolerance for pain. Yes, I delivered three children into this world without any pain medication, but those were unique situations. I get really nervous and shy around needles (though I will still get immunized or get blood work done for the benefits), so much so that I cannot look at needles and have to be coached on how to breathe and relax every single time I get immunized or have to have blood taken.
What I mean by wanting to get beyond the anxiety and pain is that I want to work towards a different way of responding to the ugliness. I don't want to lose my appetite or lose my lunch after hearing such spite. I want to be able to not be shocked (out of my wits) but let the junk roll off my back like rain sliding off a rain coat. The man isn't going to change, he's a spiteful and angry man, and I have more pressing things to spend my energy caring, maintaining, and loving. The four children need a loving, consistent, character-building presence in their lives. And I need to put my effort and energy towards them (and me).