This is about the emotional roller coaster I went through during the property settlement and child custody court process which lasted nearly 3 years. I may write about the children’s experience in another post one day.
The decision to leave my ex-husband was the easy part. Lots of people get divorced, right? It can’t be THAT hard?
Now, when I hear any of my friends who say they’re getting divorced, they would always assure me (or rather to themselves), “It’s going to be amicable. We won’t let it get ugly.”
Oh, it’ll get ugly. Maybe different levels of ugly, but I can tell you, it will get ugly. That, my friend, is what you call a divorce. They say the only winners in a divorce, are the lawyers. How true.
I was caught in a tornado of emotional feelings. Nobody told me it was going to be THIS hard? The slandering, oh my god, the slandering from both parties. We had nothing nice to say about each other to our lawyers. It very, very quickly became HIM vs HER.
Gloves are off. Take no prisoners.
Spite. Hatred. Anger.
Stab, stab, stab. Punch, punch, punch. Kick, kick, kick.
Anger ate me up like a cancer. I would walk around, completely unaware of my surroundings. Everywhere I went, there was a thick fog around me. People I knew would come up and talk to me, but all I could do was nod and mumble a few words. No idea what they were saying, but I just wasn’t rude enough to say “Can’t you see I’m in pain? Please, just get out of my face.”
I was a useless friend too. I was not able to be of any emotional support to anybody else. I just couldn’t. Come on. MY shit is way worse than YOUR shit.
You know what else might happen during and after a divorce? You’ll lose some friends (some more unexpected than others). You’ll also lose some of the family members that you once loved. Yes, you might not love your ex anymore, but you did love some of his family. But I do get it. Loyalty is strong. Blood is thicker than water (and all that crap).
I felt betrayed and hurt. Mix in those two new feelings in with spite, hatred and anger. That is a very potent concoction for depression and self-destruction.
Anyone that fell into the trap of asking me how I was, I would simply offload, like a dump truck offloading a ton of dirt onto their front yard. Then I would simply drive my dump truck away and wait for the next person to ask me the same question again.
Repeat. Offload. I had become a dump truck.
And to those who were nice enough to say kind words to me: “Oh, it must be SO hard for you right now. It’ll be fine though. You’ll see!”, “But you’re so strong, you’ll get through this!”, “There’s light at the end of the tunnel!”
Honestly, all I wanted to do was punch you in the face.
But, I had to get up. Every morning. I had to peel my swollen eyes open, every god damned morning. I had to get out of bed and start my day. Was that strength? The simple act of getting out of bed, that’s strength, right? Start the day. Get the kids ready for school. Get myself ready for work. Get in the car. Move, move, move. Stop… Hide in the work store room… Cry… Wash my face… Start again. Move, move, move.
How did I gain more strength? During this time, I armed myself with knowledge. Someone once told me “Knowledge is POWER. Nobody can argue with facts.” I learnt everything I could learn about my rights. I learnt about the court process, I learnt what I was worth, what I was willing to fight for and what I was willing to let go of. I even learnt to be a private detective.
I realized that, I am what I tell myself I am.
I am strong. I am loving. I am smart. I am goofy. I am also very short.
I did finally get to the end of the tunnel. My husband and our 4 beautiful children were there all along.