You need to stop being the victim of divorce.
My head snapped up. I looked at her and felt as though she just slapped me. My whole body jerked and I felt the dreaded rush of heat going through my body. The roaring in my head grew louder. I blinked. Again and again. Trying to keep the tears from falling.
Just like that, I realized she was right. I am. I have played this role well. Wrapping it around me like a gorgeous red velvet cloak. Showing my scars and hurts to whoever was around. Look at me. I am sad. I was left. I was tossed aside like an old worn dress. I never wanted pity. But I did want something. For I was the victim.
I know it takes time to grieve. I know it takes time to accept and understand this new life that was handed to me. Healing doesn’t happen instantly. It is complicated and complex. But I will never achieve true and real healing if I keep playing this game. I stated at the very beginning I didn’t want to be bitter or angry. The title bitter ex-wife makes me sick. But so does victim of divorce. And victim of single motherhood. And victim of an affair. The victim.
Somehow I turned into all of these.
It is never easy to hear negative but true comments about oneself. But when our new family therapist said this out loud, I knew it was true. The next day I repeated the conversation to my therapist and she just smiled and nodded. Yes. I have been. Yes. It is time for a change.
The change begins with me. I admit when it comes to my former husband and his life, I am very judgmental. I am negative and full of resentment. Yes, he has hurt me and our marriage is over. He is living a life with someone else. And I am so focused on how they are living their life and criticizing them, I was harming myself, them, and our boys.
So here I am. Admitting it out loud. So I can end how I have been living and start working on how I can more forward. Do I know what to do to change this? Not really. But then I have been fumbling my way through this entire process already. Making mistakes. Trying again. Apologizing.
I have to stop with the negativity. Thoughts are powerful. I notice when I focus on the negative I feel horrible inside. I don’t enjoy who I am. I also don’t have to be overly positive when I think of them either. But I can look for the good. I can look for kindness. I can look for love. Because it is present. It is real.
What has been done is done. I can’t change it. Neither can they. Rather than me constantly throwing it back at them wearing my cloak of victim, I can stop. I know by writing this out and making the steps to change, it won’t happen overnight. This is not magic and the snap of my fingers doesn’t make my heart stop hurting and grieving. I know my thoughts will pop up negative automatically and I will have to consciously switch it to neutral or positive. I have to begin the hard work with my therapist of taking off the cloak.
I have been allowing what has happened to me lead me. It has been the shield protecting me from the world. Rather than admit I feel shame from the end of my marriage, shame of being divorced, shame in resentment and anger, I have been the victim. And I am sorry.
Yes, what happened has broken me, hurt me, and changed me. I am still healing. However, I am done with allowing events to become who I am. I want to be someone who isn’t a victim, but someone who found a way to forgive—them and myself—to move forward with my head held high in a humble way, to change my thinking and perspective.
I am the victim of divorce.
And working to be no more.