Caution: Divorce may cause incurable unhappiness. Or not.

Yesterday evening I had to deal with possibly the most unhappy person I know: my ex.

You know someone is deeply unhappy when one always seems to want to cause distress in others. We often hear of this type of behaviour during divorce proceedings. The spouse who feels cheated (not necessarily the one who was actually cheated) will often act as the “victim” and remind the other of all the ills that have befallen him/her. In my case, I have been hearing such comments for over 5 years now.  It’s getting quite annoying!

Keeping the victim attitude is essentially:

  • preventing oneself from moving forward, of dreaming of new and better things and giving oneself a chance to be happy again
  • staying stuck in unhappiness without exploring and dealing with the deeper causes of the emotions
  • using the past as an excuse to block growth instead of seeing it as an experience to learn from
  • putting effort in spreading negativity instead of focusing on pulling oneself into the positive

I do not want to minimize the hurt, fear and scars of a victim. There is definitely a period of grief, of anger then of acceptance to move on. The healing process may be more or less lengthy depending on individual cases and that is normal. Some divorce cases unfortunately do have actual victims of severe abuse, of tremendous pain and feelings that will often require the help and support of professionals, family and friends to deal with……….sorry…………..I had to stop while writing this last sentence…………Why is it that I was the one who often ran away from home with my children, from an angry husband bashing walls, that I was the one who had to get help from a social worker and police officers, that I had to answer to a mother in law who blamed me for problems at home, yet that I am now sitting at my desk writing this as if other divorce cases have “actual victims”, not mine………. huh. I have to take a minute to reflect.

The reality of my situation and maybe of many others out there, is that there is one person who learns from the experience, who refuses to stay in a victim’s position for too long, who dreams of freedom, of healthy attitudes towards life, of becoming a good example for the children, and ultimately of happiness. This person will be the first to want to turn the page. The essential is to keep it as painless as possible by communicating to make things work as amicably and equitably as possible.  The pain is still fresh, frustrations and anger linger, but there is an objective that has taken top priority now and all emotions aside, energies must be spent in resolution alone. The outcome is finding happiness and it is so worth it.

On the other hand, no matter what role the other partner played in the separation, the decision to play the victim’s script takes on a whole new dimension. Everything this spouse says or does breathes negativity;  left alone, without a home, without money, hardly seeing the children, dissatisfied with the agreements and emotionally scarred for life by the ordeal. The mind that thinks and speaks this storyline starts believing it. Soon the rest of the details start changing for a better coherence of this scenario. The victimized self sinks further as the negative attitude pushes away friends; deterioration is inevitable, self-destruction inherent, and even further still when the happy spouse starts showing signs of growth. The sinking feeling brings forth the panicked flapping to keep afloat. Needless to say, this only makes things worse.

As the happy spouse I believe I am, although I admit to often succumbing to frustrations of dealing with him on a regular basis, I mostly pity my ex-husband because I believe he could have come out of this a better man and a better father for his children.  What can I expect though from a man who, after lying about his actions and denying the abuse, went on to extending divorce proceedings for over three and a half years needlessly. causing me to spend tens of thousands on court fees only to come back to the agreement originally signed months into the separation? The biggest losers could have been our children, but I refused to let that happen. I saw my promised land of happiness and would not stop until I could see, hear, touch and feel it in my heart and soul.

Now, after tense situations like the one he caused me yesterday evening, I take a step back and think of how far I’ve come since the day he left and I took my biggest sigh of relief. I have learnt to be happy and I am very proud of it.

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