I have been divorced 5 years. I have 2 grown daughters, ages 27 & 39, that have been deeply affected by our divorce and my reaction to it.
There was an affair, and alcoholism (both his) involved, and the divorce process was an emotional nightmare. His attorney was cruel and sadistic, and my ex allowed it.
My family is in shreds. My daughters think I should be over it and say that I am no longer the same person. (Actually, they thought I should have been over it almost immediately)
However, they have never been through a situation such as mine, and even though having a similar experience would certainly enlighten them as to why I am no longer the same person, I pray they never have this particular life experience. I will never be the same person. I have come to accept this. I wish they could.
Due to my husbands affair, and cruelty, during the divorce, I have huge trust issues, which at this point makes another relation nearly impossible...and a pain so deep inside that I literally ache at times. Still.
There is no going back, and it feels like a death. It was a death. The death of a family. And trying to create a new life has been an uphill battle. I know you know what I'm talking about.
It is true, I am not the same person, but in many ways, I think I am a better person. I am more acutely aware of the suffering of others for one thing. And you are right, "it is a terrible kind of ability to share in that sorrow."
My daughters think I should "fix" myself somehow. How I wish they could understand that I would do that in a second, if only I knew how.
I do feel as though I am living from one day to the next, though I often wonder why I am still here, and yes, so many days are filled with anguish. Just like you, I also feel that my life is surreal and unreal a lot of times.
Life is still full of possibilitie at my childrens age, which is as it should be. Not so much at mine. But, then again, they can't, or won't see this.
My ex was married 6 months and his new wife, (per my granddaughter) instructed her to call her Nana. Ouch! She is not her Nana. And my daughter cannot understand why this would upset me.
My ex and his new wife, and my oldest daughter were invited over to my youngest daughters house X-mas morning (I was not) because as she explained to me, they were spending more on X-mas gifts for them, and I don't get along with him.
They were to come to my house for X-mas dinner, but never showed and called at 4pm to tell me they were just too tired and I should drive over there. Which I could not do that, as I had invited guest here for the evening.
So no time at all with any of my family at X-mas.
I later learned that my Granddaughter had a birthday party, that again, I was not invited to, because as youngest daughter explained later, oldest daughter was paying for part of it, and ex heard about it X-mas morning and said he would be there. So I could not be there.
What do you say when your 5 yr old grandchild asks "Grandmother, why didn't you come to my birthday party?"
This is just never going to stop, and I am so very tired of it all.
When I try to tell my daughter how hurt I am by all this, she just explodes. So no more trying to get her to understand how I feel.
I just have to swallow all of this pain, paste a smile on my face, and take whatever meager crumbs are offered me.
You wrote, "I am looking for ways to try to defuse my own just generally upset feelings. There is probably no one answer, so I'll just keep plugging along, hoping to find the techniques that work the best for me."
Well, that is what I am doing as well. But, boy is it hard.
The holidays that I once loved and worked so hard to make special for my family are now spent in dread.
Spend it where? With whom? And what secret plans are being made behind my back? Just craziness.
Dear friend, I don't know if others are doing a better job of putting themselves back together again than you and I are, or if they are just better at hiding how they are really living/feeling.
And, you are correct, It taints -- a person's life in ways that non-divorced people could never imagine.
You wrote, "Well meaning and well-intentioned friends have told me I need to stop caring, get tougher, and "forget" about it all."
I think we all have some of these lovely people in our lives. Sadly, I may have been one of them in the past.
You wrote, "Maybe there is a rainbow around the corner -- boy, I hope so!" I had to smile, because "Somewhere over the rainbow" was always a favorite song of mine." Little did I know that one day it would be my theme song. (Smile)
Well, here comes the 4th of July holiday! I'm sure my daughter will tell me she has to work, while they are really having a family holiday together...minus guess who?
I have invited my brother and his family for a pool party, and of course my children will be invited as well. Maybe this time it will be different...But I'm not holding my breath. Wish me luck!
"Once you realize that life is basically ridiculous, you can relax and enjoy it!"