Is Happiness Really The Best Revenge?

They say “Happiness is the best revenge”. But after a certain point, I wonder, does the pursuit of revenge make one truly happy?

I’m writing from the point of being divorced about 7 years ago. Then I remarried and had another couple of kids. When I got divorced, my depression spiraled to the depths of hell. The property settlement and child custody battle with my ex husband took a bashing on my mental health. Then I read somewhere that the best revenge was to be happy. To appear happy was the best I could come up with at the start.

After years of working on my own mental health, I learnt that showing my ex husband that I was happy, wasn’t actually making me happy at all. It felt like a competition in my own head that I had to make sure he knew how great my life was. I had to make sure I did everything I could to outdo his own happiness. And the competition was draining.

Of course, I wasn’t exactly pretending. My life – since I left him, really is great. I’m married to a man that is amazing. I couldn’t ask for a better man, husband, father and step father to our children. But somehow, I still kinda wanted my ex husband to know that I was doing fantastic – without him.

When you see children playing at the park with their best friends, you see pure happiness in their faces. They don’t try and pretend to be happy in order for their other friends to think they’re happy. They’re just happy.

That’s when I realized how silly I was.

Did my ex husband care about my current happiness? Probably, most likely – No. So why was I trying to prove something that didn’t need proving?

So over the last 4-5 years, I decided to just be happy. For me. I worked on myself. I still continually find ways to make my life better, to learn to be comfortable with who I am. To concentrate on my own happiness, which led to everything else pretty much falling into place.

Revenge became irrelevant to me. Revenge put a negative slant to my own pursuit of happiness. The need for revenge made my ex still part of my life. And so I decided that revenge, isn’t for me.

And dare I say… I’m even happy for my ex. I’m happy he has a family and new additions as well. 

So “Is happiness really the best revenge”? It may work at the beginning, when you’re still angry… And being angry… is not being happy. You don’t see truly happy people going out seeking revenge. But you can fake it til you make it.

Don’t forget to actually work towards your own happiness and inner peace. Once that is achieved, revenge is no longer relevant, nor will it be in the forefront of your mind.

Pursue happiness for YOU. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How To Live Life As A Blended Family

This is an online interview I did with 55 year old Annie. I hope her story can inspire those who are just starting out living as a blended family.

How old were you when you and your ex divorced?

Separated when I was 36, divorce went through about three years later.

What led to your divorce? Describe the marriage.

Where do I begin? Basically, I eventually just stopped loving him. The marriage started out well (as they all do). We shared the same values, had the same ambitions and loved each other. We started seeing each other after I had gone through a series of very unsuccessful relationships with men very different to him, and he swept me off my feet with his charm and complete devotion/infatuation – no one had ever been so attentive to me before!

We were only married for about six months and I fell pregnant with our first son. That’s when he started to change. I suffered from shocking morning sickness, and he didn’t cope with my sudden need for him to become the nurturer and look after me. This was the 1980’s, and men still expected women to do all the ‘looking after’. So when I was out of action, he struggled to cope. This was the first sign that things were not as perfect as I had thought.

We had the three boys within five years, bought a house, I stopped work after baby No 1, and things just got more and more difficult. He was an amazing father, completely devoted to his sons and very hands on. But, he was not a good husband. He was, I think, jealous of my relationship with my babies, wanting me to reserve all that affection for him alone. He became critical of my appearance (I gained a lot of weight after the babies and probably due to being secretly unhappy), critical of most things I did, and became an entirely different person. He worked extremely hard (six days a week) and provided very well for us all, but in doing so, we grew apart and spent very little time together.

The most significant factor in the breakdown of the marriage – was his erratic behaviour. He would be really good for a while and then slip back into weird behaviours. He sulked, laid in bed, or would storm out- crazy stuff! As it turns out, years and years after our divorce, I found out that he had in fact, been diagnosed with bipolar disorder- explains everything!

I have to accept responsibility for half of the breakdown of the marriage, it was not entirely his fault! I know I threw all my energy into my boys, I eventually gave the relationship very little attention, and I gave up on working on us as a couple. I was getting so much strange behaviour from him, that I eventually just ignored him. The more I ignored, the more he performed.

It’s very hard to tell the story in a few paragraphs, but basically, I was fooled into thinking I was marrying someone completely different from who he turned out to be. I matured, grew up and became a parent – he stayed young and hated the responsibility that came with a wife and family.

In the end, he confessed to infidelity, I think expecting me to beg him to stop, and I responded with a very firm “GET OUT”- and that was it!

How did you cope raising your three sons?

In a word – barely! No, not true. It was hard, as you can imagine, but I found it much easier being on my own with them and being able to just get on with raising them, than coping with the crazy stuff that went on with their father whilst trying to raise them!

At first, people rally around and give you lots of support, feel sorry for you, take care of you, invite you to things you normally wouldn’t be invited to, etc. That soon stops, and you find out who your real support network are. In my case, my Mum and Dad and other family members were it. Lots of ‘friends’ disappeared, and others stepped up.

There were three things that were the most difficult:

  1. Coping with the kids’ heartbreak. Whilst I stopped loving their father – they did not; and being separated from him was devastating for them. The oldest was 7, middle one 5, and the youngest 2. The two year old was fine, he became very clingy and developed a dependence on me. The five year old had started preps three days before the separation, and he became wildly angry, presenting all sorts of behavioural challenges. The seven year old was a heart breaker! He cried, and cried and cried for years. He could not understand why I didn’t want his Dad in our home, and hated having to say goodbye to him after weekends spent with him. In those days, the norm was access for Dads only every second weekend, so the kids went long periods without seeing or speaking to him. Lots of counselling, play therapy etc helped them, and me a lot. There are amazing agencies out there, designed to help kids with these sorts of issues, and I’m sure they have improved since the 1990’s.
  1. Coping with the never ending responsibility – one of the things I found the hardest. At the end of the day, every little problem, every task, every need, every difficulty, is yours and yours alone. There is NO ONE to share the burden with, so after the day’s crazy schedule had been met and the kids were finally settled for the night, I would sit alone with all that responsibility – EXHAUSTING!!! This is something I did not admit to at the time, but in hindsight it was very, very hard. There were times when I would have happily run away, but of course, the love you feel for your kids stops you even considering that.
  2. Coping with the emotional loneliness. I would often say to friends “I’m not lonely, I’m alone”. By this I meant, I was never on my own physically, in fact, I couldn’t even go to the toilet on my own. I had plenty of friends and family, and a very full life with my kids and their activities. But, I was emotionally alone. Nobody took care of my needs, nobody nurtured me, and nobody made sure I was ok – including me! This was probably the hardest thing to cope with – presenting the brave, mother / lioness face to the world, but inside, dying for some attention that was about ME, not the kids!

Did you have any support raising your sons?

Yes, I had lots of amazing support from my wonderful family. My Mum and Dad came to the rescue. Dad became the man of the house, repairing things, lawn mowing etc. But more importantly, providing an amazing role model for my boys. Mum took us all under her wing, had us over for countless meals and sleepovers, fussed and doted and basically, allowed me a break from the day to day care of three wild little men! To this day, my sons have an amazing relationship with my parents (who are now 86 and 90), and know the value of family in a different way to most young men.

There were also other friends and relatives who stepped up in a big way. As I mentioned, lots of people retreated and no longer wanted to know the ‘broken family’, but those who really cared were amazing. The Stalwarts invited us over for meals and holidays, spent time with the boys (providing activities I couldn’t afford to give them), and brought lots of fun and love into our lives.

Did their Dad see his sons?

Yes, for a long time he did, but he no longer does. Every second weekend was the norm back then, so they would pack up and go to Dad’s happily at first. Things went well, until he got himself a new partner. She was kind to the boys at first, but after a while things changed. From what they tell me, she made them feel like they were in the way, a nuisance, costing too much to feed, basically not good enough sons. She badgered them to be kinder to their father, who eventually had very little contact with them, and finally, they all stopped going to see him at all.

Having said that, there were a lot of years that they went every second weekend as little kids, the breakdown came when they were teenagers and we all know how tricky relationships with teenagers are!

How did you meet your current husband?

Would you believe, on an Internet dating sight?! After the disastrous marriage, I was determined to never go near a man again – I had never chosen well!  I was on my own for about eight years, and a friend put my profile on a dating site, and she and her husband then ‘fielded’ candidates (unbeknownst to me) and sent out ‘expressions of interest’. Thank goodness I was unaware, or I would never have met my now husband! Eventually, they convinced me to email the only one who responded and sounded half normal, so I emailed, we then spoke, arranged to catch up for coffee, and have been together ever since.

Was he divorced/ widowed at the time?

He was divorced, and had three children to two different women (two girls from one, a boy from another), so plenty of baggage!!

What were your struggles of being in a blended family?

Huge question! Well, the biggest struggle was letting go of expectations. I truly believed (perhaps naively) that love would conquer all – we loved each other, so blending the families would be easy. Again… Wrong!

Another misconception is that, because you love each other you will instantly love each other’s kids. Just like it takes time to learn to love each other, it takes time to love each other’s kids.

A huge struggle in blending our families was that it didn’t just involve the two of us and the kids. There are LOTS of other important people in the mix – other parents, exes, grandparents, partners, friends etc, and they all weighed in on the situation, causing all kinds of dramas. There was never a week went by without a drama involving someone’s mother or father, and this puts HUGE pressure on the relationship. They have, finally, all accepted the situation, or moved on and ignore us now, but during the early years this was a massive problem for us.

As mentioned above, different rules and attitudes for different kids is a very real struggle, and one that takes a lot of working out.

How did you overcome these struggles?

It took us a long time, and countless disagreements, to come to a point where we truly are a family, in every sense of the word. We are now in a place where everyone has equal importance and feels totally accepted and secure with their roles in said family.

As before mentioned, my husband was very good at letting things go unnoticed with his kids, but picking up instant faults in mine. Never maliciously, but nevertheless, a fact. On the other hand, I was so busy trying to be ”Supermum” and keep everyone happy (felt like walking on a tight rope at times!) that I turned a blind eye to this and let my kids deal with this behaviour alone, thinking that it would ‘all work itself out in the end’.

Blended Family Rule # 1 – It does not work itself out on its own!!!

It takes honesty, and lots of negotiation to make sure EVERYONE is equally important, and treasured.

We realised at a certain point, that we had both come to the relationship with different sets of parenting values, experiences and insecurities, and once we figured out what they were, we were able to work on each issue and sort them out.

Blended Family Rule # 2 – Don’t expect others to parent the same way you do.

Perseverance and honesty was really how we overcame the struggles.

Blended Family Rule # 3 – It’s incredibly important to be brave and honest about what is going on.

Despite the fear of losing the relationship you have with each other, it is paramount to be an advocate for all the kids and their happiness. In the end, if you truly love each other, it should be possible to bend and compromise – otherwise the relationship isn’t worth keeping.

Time and patience has seen us all find our places in this large, happy, loving family. The boys have gained two beautiful sisters, a brother and three amazing, adorable nephews and nieces. I have been given the gift of daughters, and grandchildren and couldn’t be happier with them all. It really is true that family relies not at all on biology, but on love.

What was it like to be a step mum at the very beginning? How did you feel?

Being a step mum has never been difficult for me. At the very beginning I just assumed that I could love these kids and do what was best for them without any issues. The two older girls were, to their credit, delightful! They had been through a couple of difficult episodes with their Dad’s partners, and at their ages, could have given me lots of grief. Instead, we became firm friends immediately. At first I assumed the role of friend and support person – careful not to step on their mum’s toes. As the years have progressed, I think we now honestly love each other as close to mother and daughter, as is possible. I am very aware that I am not their mum, and I don’t try ever to replace her, but I support them and love them and their children like a mum.

My stepson has been a different story. At first I was incredibly maternal towards him, and there were times when I spent more time with him than his mother or his father! His mum was, in a word, crazy! She disagreed, argued, stalked, manipulated and abused her way through the first ten years of our relationship. In fact, she was the number one reason why our relationship faltered at the times it did. Despite her, his relationship with me was a loving one, and he was more at home in my home than his mothers. As the years progressed, she worked on him and little by little, convinced him that he should not love me, and that he should see me as a threat to his relationship with his dad. As a result, we now have a friendly, but quite surface relationship. He is a 16 year old boy, and relationships with them are always monosyllabic, so I’m hoping we will work it out as he gets older.

I have always felt very protective and loving towards my step kids. I am strongly of the opinion that the kids should never suffer due to their parents’ mistakes. I have never played games or used them as pawns in any way, and I love them very much.

What Do You Want The World To Know?

There are a few things I would like young mums to know.

The first is that parenting / step parenting is not easy – but it is not rocket science either! From what I observe, there is enormous pressure on young parents at the moment to produce extraordinary kids, who reach every milestone on or before time, and arrive at adulthood unscathed and totally well-adjusted due to incredible knowledge and dedication from helicopter parents!

Whilst I agree totally that parenting is the hardest job you will ever do, my advice would be – don’t take it so seriously! Don’t beat yourself up because your child is not walking/talking/toilet training/reading at level 20, at the same time as some other kids – they all get there in the end. People have raised well adjusted, intelligent, successful kids through wars, depressions and world crises for thousands of years – and there were no ‘milestones’, or ‘wonder weeks’ in sight!

What is most important is the sense of love and security they get from a happy home life. The milestones they truly need to reach are the development of respect for themselves and others; the desire to be kind and give back to the society they are a part of; and the joy of knowing they are truly loved and valued.

Co-sleeping, attachment parenting, schooling, immunisation debate, and the countless other concerns you are forced to deal with seem incredibly overwhelming, and must make the job of parenting more complicated than it needs to be. I’m not saying that advances in the world’s understanding of children’s needs and stages of development are not relevant, I’m just advising to not worry eternally about stages and labels. Just have fun raising your kids – enjoy it, because it passes by in a heartbeat and the little person that you hoped would become a Brain Surgeon – is a plumber, and a happy, well adjusted, fully functional, amazing young man! Things don’t always go to plan, but they generally work out well in the end.

The second thing is that if your marriage ends; learn from it. Don’t repeat the same mistakes in your next relationship.  Learn to bend and compromise, and expect some problems. Life is not like a romantic comedy – relationships are not fairy tales or love affairs, they are sometimes difficult, sometimes messy, but always wonderful! Don’t give up on your relationship because your Prince Charming is out there somewhere – he is probably sitting on the couch next to you, just wrapped in a different package!

That Taboo Subject Called – Domestic Violence

This is Rachel’s (not her real name) story about her experience with domestic violence, by her ex-husband, the father of her children. This is her own account, in her own words.

 

As I write this, I now truly understand why people keep quiet. Yes, that’s right. Quiet. That taboo subject called – Domestic Violence. I started seeing my ex-husband 15 years ago. I was an innocent Catholic girl who fell in a love with a “naughty boy”. At the start, it was fun and he showered me with expensive gifts. Then the control and the abuse started sneaking into our relationship. Over the years it became more and more intense and controlling. We went on and got married, had the two children, built our dream home and started our own company.

To the outside world, we were the “The Jones”, and I was the “trophy wife”. But in reality, I was the most loneliest, abused wife and mother that had no escape.

He promised over the 15 years – if I ever left him, he would portray me as a drug addict. He was, and still is, a controlling narcissist. So basically, I was held captive in my own home. Everything was in his name, most days I would have to beg him to have our Eftpos card, just so I could buy food. Meanwhile, he would be drinking beer and entertaining most nights in our home, where I was always playing the perfect host to his friends.

I have sustained many physical injuries from stabbings over the years. I was even stabbed when I was pregnant with my daughter.

I never told the authorities that they were sustained from my husband. The last assault happened early this year, where I came home and found a woman in our pool fraternizing with my husband and his male friends. For some unknown reason, I felt I was strong that night; and I finally stuck up for myself. In doing so, I sustained two blows to my face in front of my 5 year old son and 3 other adult witnesses. He knocked me out and I was bleeding profusely.

I finally told all the proper authorities and the paper trail begun. Now my children and I are no longer living in that awful, violent household. It’s been hard, we have had to flee our home and leave all our belongings. So, in a nutshell, my children and I have had to move 1,900 kms from our home and recreate ourselves. Yes, we have happier days now but it’s still a struggle for me financially and emotionally.

My ex-husband was charged with aggravated occasional bodily harm. He has 52 prior criminal convictions and 22 prior criminal charges against his name. Plus, a few years ago, he was incarcerated twice. His latest charge of my last assault, he pled guilty and walked away with a $1,800 fine, back in our matrimonial home and still living the lifestyle he had.

I feel my children and I have been let down by the justice system. What is it going to take? Another death? Is his next partner going to be treated the same, are my children going to witness this horrible behavior again from their father on another woman?

He also has portrayed me as a drug addict since I left him. He lied to the courts and to everyone about my made up status. I’m now having to take random drug tests constantly. This is a bit of an unusual experience for this, once innocent, Catholic girl to take in. The tests have always been clear though.

It’s just bittersweet how I’m still having to fight and justify myself as a mother and a model citizen, when I’m the victim.

 

 

 

 

“Falling In Love With Someone That’s Been Emotionally Manipulated and Bullied Can Be Hard.”

“Carl” has asked to remain anonymous so all names in this story has been changed. Also, please be aware that there are profanities in this interview.

This is Carl’s story. Carl is in a relationship with Shannon, who has 2 children (aged 6 and 2) from a previous relationship. Carl currently doesn’t have any children of his own. Carl and Shannon are both struggling with issues to do with Shannon’s ex (John) and how he deals with the children.

John would attempt to aggravate Shannon with nasty emails before he would go over to pick his kids up.

“We already have the ex blatantly recording us when he comes to pick up the kids because he knows he’s been antagonizing us via email and wants to record a reaction from us. We also recently found out he’s been recording Miss 6 and coercing statements out of her.”

“Apart from the antagonistic, competitive bullshit, he’s just a shitty fucking parent. How hard is it when you’re a part time parent to do the right thing? At one point, he wanted the kids on random week nights and then would say things like ‘she doesn’t need to do homework at his house because it’s a fun house.’ Then we would have to try and get her to do double (of her homework) so she could catch up.”

“Lately, Mr. 2 has been potty training. We told John that he needed a potty at his house. We found out after three visits to his house, he still hasn’t bought one. It’s fucking $5. And then last time Mr. 2 came back, he would have an accident, which he started having a lot of, and then he would get really upset with himself. It’s just heartbreaking and frustrating watching him fall behind because his dad is too much of a cunt to buy a potty.”

“The whole ordeal just makes me so fucking frustrated and angry. Why doesn’t he just do what’s best for the kids? He’s a bully and I don’t think he’s dealing well with me stepping in now. I stayed passive in the background for as long as I could, but there’s only so many abusive emails your loved one can receive before you have to step in. I tried my hardest to remain impartial, after all, my parents separated. But the ex is a cunt, I just wish he wasn’t around. He’s not as bad as some, don’t get me wrong. But he loves causing drama and has said some fucked up shit to the kids. He’s so delusional that he doesn’t realize how much it’s going to hurt them. He just thinks he’s ‘beating’ us. Not that there is an ‘us’ when it comes to the kids, because apparently, I have nothing to do with them.”

“I’ve been told in an email I need to butt out because the kids don’t have anything to do with me, which is annoying at best. It’s also the same thing he told Shannon’s lawyer. That’s why I’ve stepped in.

At some point, it had to change from ‘oh that’s those two arguing about their past’ to ‘this is some dickhead abusing my partner’.”

“It’s getting better for now, I guess. The kids go there again this weekend. He actually asked about how to potty train Mr 2. I’m taking that as a small win. He has them every second weekend for a night. It’s been regular for the last few months which I’m taking as a massive win, considering his inconsistency when the parenting agreement was put into place. He used to ditch seeing the kids so he could go party. It’s heartbreaking for the kids, but it’s also frustrating for me in a selfish way. He could dictate when he could see the kids so he could party with his girlfriend. But our relationship didn’t have any such leniency when we were getting to know each other.”

What Do You Want The World To Know?

I asked Carl what advice he would like to give to other men in his position.

“Nothing that shouldn’t need to be said. Don’t be a piece of shit and involve the kids. Also, you need to put yourself first sometimes. If you’re not happy, how can your kids be happy? Falling in love with someone that’s been emotionally manipulated and bullied can be hard. You’ll pay the price for the shit the ex has done, but they can learn to love again, really love, if you give them the time and help them to find the strength.”

“I would never have dated a woman with children before I met Shannon. It just didn’t fit into my lifestyle. But, when you meet the one…. Ya know? We’re not married, but it’ll probably happen at some point. It doesn’t bother me either way, but I think secretly it’ll mean a lot to her. Plus I’m a sappy romantic, so I’ll be able to plan some ridiculous and over the top proposal haha!”

My Thoughts

Wow, Carl. Thanks so much for coming forward to telling your story. You have shown great strength in holding it together, not just for the love you have for Shannon, but also help take responsibility of her two children. You have shown, that you’ve not allowed external forces (the ex) to stop you from continuing to be a pillar of strength for Shannon and the kids. From what you’ve said, you seem like someone, despite how angry and frustrated you get with the situation, you are still walking right beside Shannon through it all to support her. You are indeed, a real man in my eyes. I wish you, Shannon and the kids all the best in the future.

Your Child Might Not Hate Your Ex

A friend of mine has recently just been through a very emotional and bitter child custody battle with her ex. They share a 6 year old son together. It’s been a very traumatic time for her – she became very depressed and withdrawn. One morning I bumped into her, and very visibly shaken, she said to me, “I received an affidavit from him. And he said such horrible things about me.” I asked her to email it to me.

So I got the email that evening, with her saying (tongue in cheek), “Want a bit of light reading?” There were over 50 pages to read. And wow. The sledging. The accusations. Some things said were true, and some were things that I knew were just absolute rubbish.

It brought back memories of the hatred I had for my ex, and the hatred he had (or still has) for me. During our time at the Family Court, we had nothing but loathe towards each other. I let all my anger and hatred spill onto our kids. I’ll admit, I bad-mouthed him to our kids. We both said awful things about each other to them. Why? Because we had hopes that they would see one parent in a better light than the other. Did that work? Obviously not.

They say “Hindsight is always 20/20”.

If I knew the damage it did to my children, I wouldn’t have done it. But, my excuse was… I was angry and hurt. And I felt he was being unfair to ME. And he was bad-mouthing me too. So it’s tit for tat. 

At the time I couldn’t understand how my children, the children that I loved so much, and loved me back, could also love the very same man I hated to the very core of my soul? I just couldn’t understand why. Couldn’t they see how he was hurting me? They were 9 and 7 years old at the time. Of course they couldn’t understand. All they were experiencing at the time, was being stuck in the middle of their parents’ endless fighting.

I read in plenty of articles, and through the advise of my lawyer,  that children of divorces needed to be with one parent majority of the time, to provide them stability in their lives. So I hung on to that and I fought. 

Sadly, I fought, not just for the best interests of our children, but I fought because I hated him. I used my hatred to justify why they needed to be with me more, instead of with him.

The Family Court finally ruled. I had them 9 days out of a fortnight, and he had them for the other 5 days. It devastated me for about 10 minutes. Then the feeling of relief came over me. The battle is over. It was bittersweet. But no more court dates. No more court fees. No more lawyers.

Last year, I got a soul-crushing email from my ex. He told me the kids, now 17 and 15, wanted to be with him 50/50 of the time. My current relationship with my ex still isn’t the greatest. So hearing that from him was hard. I spoke to the kids about it, and they explained it to me in a very different way to his email, which made me see it through THEIR eyes, and not his.

Did it mean they loved me less? No. It actually means they don’t love him less.

So back to my friend. After I read the affidavits that she emailed to me, I sent her a text to catch up. I needed to speak to her before her next court date. Pronto. I said to her, “…if we are gonna be friends, be prepared that not everything I say to you will be what you want to hear…” Her reply was, “And that’s what I need…”

I turned up at her house one morning, we sat out in her backyard and I told her, “You can’t stop (your son) from seeing his dad. It’s not fair on (your son). YOU may hate your ex, but your son doesn’t. They both have every right to see each other. I wish I had someone tell me this when I was going through the Family Court. I wish someone told me to put my anger aside and think about what’s best for my kids, not what’s best for me.” I’m not sure if I would’ve listened if someone DID say those things to me at the time, but at least I would’ve been made aware of my actions.

I told her I learnt things the hard way. I learnt that my kids, whatever their parent’s shortcomings were, that they still loved us both. Just like they would even if we were still married to each other. That’s what love is meant to be. Children, especially when they’re so little, do not understand adult problems. They only know what they can see. They see their parents hurt and sad, and all they want is to make them feel better. Children have an amazing strong sense of loyalty. They give the same level of loyalty to both parents, whether they’re together or apart.

Children will learn over the years, with positive support, that their parents aren’t superhuman beings. We fail at times. We make mistakes. We say and do the wrong things. But as long as they feel love from both parents, they’re halfway there. They’ll learn to be resilient. They’ll learn to make decisions on their own because they know their parents can’t sit down together and have a proper conversation. They’ll learn to be stronger, and more independent people. They’ll learn to trust in their own decision making processes.

Of course, everyone’s story is unique. Each story comes with its own issues. Substance abuse, domestic violence, cheating, child abuse etc. So what I’ve shared with you is through my eyes and my own experiences. 

My friend has since been to court, and the court has decided on the amount of time their son gets to see each parent. The amount of time, while not what she would have liked, is in her favour. But, she is still happy with the outcome, and we will be catching up again to have a little celebration. To celebrate the end of a very painful chapter in her life, and hopefully she will start to write new chapters in her book, filled with happiness and new positive memories.

Here’s the link to my other blog: Divorce – The time I nearly lost my sanity, then gained strength I never knew I had.

One day, I’ll write about the ripple effect on my children’s lives after my divorce.

 

 

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Anxiety and Depression on a Good Day

This used to be my everyday self. I’m thankful I’m no longer this way. 

Today, I’m fed up with the world. I woke up feeling more than just bleh. 

It took me forever to roll out of bed. Had something upset me the night before? Did I have a nightmare? Did someone say something to me and played on my subconscious mind?

I am having trouble pinpointing what it is I’m feeling. Am I angry? Hurt? Upset? Fearful? Anxious? I feel a bit lost today. I feel like I’ve lost my mojo. I thought I had a pretty good day yesterday. 

My thoughts are scattered. I am having trouble holding a single thought down for longer than 10 seconds. The phone rings and I jump. A friend has rung to catch up for a coffee, but I told her I was sorry, I wasn’t feeling too well. Did I sound rude on the phone? I hope she doesn’t think I was upset with her.

I walk around the house aimlessly. There’s heaps of things I have to do but want to do none. Where would I start anyway? Tears well up in my eyes. I blink them away. Don’t be silly, what in the world are you upset about?

My kids talk to me and all I can manage is to hold it together and stare at them blankly. Don’t cry. Not now. Oh no, they look worried again. 

I sit on the couch and turn the TV on. I flick from channel to channel but can’t decide on anything. I realise I’ve been sitting on the couch for the last 2 hours. Turn TV off.

And then I cry. I cry and cry and cry. I cry for the next 20 minutes. I wash my face, and tell myself “I’m never going to be happy. I’m never going to know what happiness feels like.”


Divorce – The time I nearly lost my sanity, then gained strength I never knew I had.

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.