Single Mother's

Blame vs. Understanding

Victims are cowards who blame—always one in the same. Splashed across the Internet last week was the latest tabloid-celebrity divorce of a billionaire couple with three children.  Suddenly the beautiful wife is being accused of drug and alcohol abuse while she claims her husband has for years, had a volatile character and is a wife abuser of some sort.  There were comments on whether there was any validity to his alleged behavior, yet not so much of hers—and of course the media is focusing on the children and how it appears that they are being used as pawns in the bitter battle between this high profile couple.  Another tabloid story (one of too many) exploits yet another high profile couple who are going through a very public airing of the husband’s infidelities.  A question the wife was asked:  How do you rebuild trust?

I always thought that trust was intrinsic and natural—spontaneous too.  Children intuitively know who to trust and with whom not to.  They doubt when they are taught to not trust themselves.  Once you lose trust, it is not something you can retrieve in the Lost & Found part of your heart.  Even with the first lie, one loses trust. Yet there is always That Last Lie, no matter the size, in which there is the thread of truth that closes the Door to Credibility.

The questions we must ask ourselves:  Why do we, as a society, have interest in the lives of others when they are not in our immediate world?  Why can’t we just wish these couples our best for a civilized and amicable divorce and or a better understanding of trust?  Why can’t we show empathy for their losses and dreams and not get caught up in making judgments, assessments about who is responsible or who is to blame?  Why is one couple’s abundant material world of value so much more important than the internal nightmare and sadness this man and woman must be suffering from?  While there is obvious anger in their departure, underneath, surely there is pain, sadness and a great deal of suffering.  And the wife who blames her husband for his indiscretions?  Anyone with any amount of intelligence knows that affairs are not rooted in the body.  If affairs are solely a matter of the flesh what does that say about the individual's evolutionary process? (primitive at best?)  If there is betrayal outside of the marriage is there not also the possibility of disloyalty within the marriage? If the marriage is cohesive there would be no need for a third party…any-thing.

It is ironic how the illusion of love and marriage deceives us, only until we are at the edge of its departure.  How does love turn so ugly?  Love does not have a role in divorce and it certainly does not seem to have a place in many marriages.  It is not the love that grows ugly, but rather the discovery of its lacking between the partners.  Divorce happens for many and it arrives, sometimes through a slow process which can take years, before the legalities of Paper Work.  However, when love becomes an important aspect of our life and we do not have it with the person we are supposed to be bonded to, divorce is inevitable or we accept the prospects of a life of internal misery, coupled with deception and no integrity.

In a divorce setting, the Illusion of who we thought each other was is brought to an alarmingly brutal and merciless light. Once seen for who each other truly is within the confines of the marriage, there is no going back to being the Possessed or the Possessor.  Since the early stages of my divorce, eight years ago, I began to wonder if love ever had a place in marriage.   When you look at the Puritanical order of our society and its rules, there is very little talk and interest of any kind of sustainable or honest love with regard to marriage.  There is the wedding, the party, the dress, some gifts and maybe a mini vaca before many of us unknowingly and innocently enter the Horror of wedded bliss.  Stop, or at least pause at the altar and think about what Honest Love really is.  The rules come and the love, if there is any, arrives ala cart with a list of Hearty (and not so appetizing) Conditional’s .  There is talk of responsibility, fidelity, affairs and who possesses whom and what, but there is little talk or action of actual love, sensitivity and compassion to substantiate a viable marriage.

From my single mother/divorced perspective, over the past several years, and much contemplation on the place of marriage in our society, I have come to see marriage as the disease that most people are trying to cure, run from or hide behind!  After all, do we ever question whom and what we are married to? Does liking our partner matter? Do we enjoy their company and value their souls?   If they died, would we care?  Really? With deep introspection about the messages we were given about love as children we would have a better understanding of ourselves as well as the person we intend on marrying or married.  However, during a marriage who we are becomes clearer to ourselves as well as to the person we are married to.   We do not necessarily change, but sometimes we grow and not always in the direction of our spouse.   It is not a cowardly act to leave a marriage that is not healthy or unsatisfying.  If we pay attention during our marriages and question what we have with our partner’s we might better understand if what we have is love—or a business/societal contract of some sort.  Perhaps, if we recognize that we do not have love, we might discover and uncover the courage to leave or redefine for society and ourselves what exactly marriage is.

And the children?  The pawns in many marriages and divorces?  They can either be the scarred victims or they can grow into adults with a better understanding of the truth about love and a clearer reality of marriages. Children scar whether they come from divorced homes or not.  Homes can be broken on the inside, while the marriage appears solid on the outside…(But isn’t what’s on the inside what really matters?)

Children are resilient.  They fall down and they get up—so long as we, as parents do not fuss over every bruise they get, whether it is an external wound or an internal one.   Children know if they are loved in the same way a spouse feels loved or not. Children also feel disharmony.  If the children are cared for and loved during their parent’s marriage, they will be loved and nurtured outside of the marriage as well.

Contrary to the statistics, divorce can been a wonderful opportunity to show children how to live authentically and honestly.  Isn’t it far better to show our children how a divorce is healthier than staying in a marriage that is founded on an inauthentic arrangement?  If we stay and lie to our children, will they not take with them, as grown children, distorted perceptions of love and marriage into their own lives, only to recreate a history of the same mistakes and misunderstandings?  Had I stayed married, my daughter would have had a very unhealthy idea of how she should be treated by a man.  She would have misinterpreted suffering and abuse for love.  Had I stayed married, my boys would have thought it is ok to mistreat their wives and their interpretations of how to treat women would have been justified to them by the example and actions of their father with their mother.  Most of us can agree that example and experience is how we learn how to be in the world around us.  If our messages are unhealthy then we must (and hopefully we will have the sense of mind to) relearn what love is and what marriage should be—outside of the paradigm our parent’s and society bestowed upon us of what love and marriage is.  If things do not work out as we planned and hoped for in our marriage, then divorce is an option for both parties.  Hopefully as mature adults a departure does not have to mean the end of civility.  Perhaps, with a clearer understanding of love, new roles can be established where everyone not only survives, but thrives.

We must remember:  People sometimes stay in bad marriages and relationships, but people do not (normally) leave good marriages or relationships.   Divorce is a revelation of the Lie that one or both parties can no longer live within the confines of.   I left my marriage several years ago.  I loved the father of my children for all the right reasons.  I left the man I married for all the right reasons too.  When I departed I realized that my love for him had conditions as well as his love for me.   While I married for love, I also left due to the lack of it.

Our three children are thriving and while my ex-husband still blames me for things that just aren’t so… our children and I have moved on and accepted our new roles and lives.  It was a bitter divorce, as many are, but unlike the above billionaire story, there was no alimony, no money or home to divide or bicker over and very little child support for our three children.  Instead of houses and assets to fight over, my ex created a story about me as punishment for leaving him.  He turned me into someone that would cast him out to be the victim and I the betrayer. He chose to lie about who I am rather than try to understand why the marriage ended.

Divorce has afforded me the luxury of freedom. The kind of freedom that one earns through living life authentically, the Shakespearian way, “to thine own self be true…” When you do not live your life as a lie, you are Alive with every pulse of your heart and you own every breath you take and every fiber of your being.  When you do not live your life as a lie--your life belongs to you and not some Idea others need to have about who they think you are.  The beauty in this kind of freedom is that you do not rely on external influences to define you or hurt you.  Your posture changes from down- to- the- ground to a Higher Order, tall, proud and closer to the sky… The opinions of others no longer have weight and you discover what a great friend you have in your Self…

My ex-husband accuses me of much.  He blames me of even more and tells me that I blame him.  The irony in this tale (and it is very much indeed a tale…) is that I do not blame him for anything.  Rather, I have an understanding of the nature of what our marriage was and was not—and of life.  It is when we understand ourselves and our world around us that we can be aware and when we are aware we can take action and change our situations; our lives and our selves.  Understanding is very different from blame.   Blame keeps us immobilized, Understanding gives us the freedom and choice to move in a direction that can heal and benefit ourselves as well as those we love…

So, when that Clock is about to strike 12 and that noon train is approaching around the bend; the tracks are laden with golden bricks pointing in a Direction and your life is asking you:  Decide, Decide, Decide...what are you going to do?  Tell the truth or lie?

(only time will tell...)

April 13-April 19, 2009

childhood wounds i don't know why, but this week in between life, drives back and forth into the city and doing homework with my kids, i began to think about the quote from Sartre that always haunted and inspired me: "Childhood decides."

for the most part i think this is true.  if we are conscious of our wounds we try to heal them, but there are so many undercurrents to our wounds that unless one is so passionate about becoming whole and integrated, intellectually as well as spiritually, i don't how see healing can occur.

as creatures of habit and learned behaviors, i think we tend to unconsciously cling to things or people that might superficially comfort us or mask our wounds so they don't fully need addressing-- or more importantly, healing...

think about it: when you look at yourself, and the people you work with and in your personal world-- do you really think childhood wounds have been healed? Maybe they have been addressed, but when we feel vulnerable in the world or need a loving voice to listen to us-- hear us, those very Hurts from our babyhood somehow nastily find their way to the surface of our hearts.

they do for me, and when they do? I am immediately reminded of what love is and is not.  I am brought to Full Attention with my life and the choices I have made and I look at my babies in adult bodies and I see how utterly profound and important being a good, nurturing mother is.  I wish it mattered in our society and in our judicial systems more (but it doesn't).

the week was wonderful in that it was my birthday and i got to celebrate yet another year on this amazing planet of Wonder and Horror, with three of my favorite people--my children.  I love their minds, their thoughts and mostly their hearts...

later on, my daughter and i will watch a taped Ellen show. it makes my daughter and i laugh and reminds us what a living example of an authentic human being truly is:  someone who is not afraid to be who she is and to make herself vulnerable to the world--so much so, that we all cannot help but to identify a part of our Selves with her...