Was I the easy/convenient target for hurts my ex-wife felt from the actions of other men?
This question came eerily to mind this week. My ex projects a bitter anger toward me. Inordinately so in the opinion of family members… including her own family.
None of us are clear on this and a question has finally arisen as to whether she has found a way to express anger at the hurts caused by others by lumping them into the hurts she felt in her relationship with me.
There were at least two men that hurt my ex many years ago. One was a teacher who had belittled her in front of a class at about age 13. I do not use the word abuse too freely and easily. In this case, in the mind and developing emotions of a 13-year-old, the humiliation would have been devastating to any of us at that age.
The second was a family member who she looked up to. It was revealed years after the fact that he had had a prolonged affair with his friend’s wife. My ex was shattered when she found out because of how she admired this man deeply. Her trust was shattered. She eventually got over it to a large degree, but the family member continued to be flirtatious and in fact, inappropriate with other women and his wife continued to tolerate it.
I came to mind that others and I wondered if perhaps my ex’s seeming over-reaction (and prolonged bitterness) to the hurts from my part of the dysfunctions in our marriage was a result of past unresolved situations like these.
To complicate matters more, the family member who disappointed her with his behaviour has now passed away. It was further pondered whether, now that he is gone, and she can never reconcile the hurts and disappointments directly with him, if she is not somehow re-directing those unresolved issues toward me.
In fact by doing so, she can preserve the selectively untainted image of the family member and lock out any blame on him by blaming me.
Again, her resistance to being forgiving and congenial are inordinate in everyone’s viewpoint including her own family’s. And she refuses to seek any meaningful professional help as far as anyone can see.
If any of this is true, and certainly it appears to be, is this not telling of how complicated … and frankly …. messed up… we humans can be? And that without outside help of others, what chance do we stand to untangle the web of complexity thats within us?
That we can sustain complicated toxic bitterness for years, decades or even a lifetime and affect ourselves and others. Including our children and perhaps grand children. And it is all passive and relatively invisible. Nobody gets punched or slapped. But people are hurt and damaged by these behaviours spawned by bitterness and misdirected blame.
With all of that said, I am not saying for a moment that there were not issues that she and I brought to the table that harmed our marriage and led to its failure. I have spent the last 5+ years asking myself what my part was and how I become someone different.
I simply am dumbstruck by the intensity of the prolonged bitterness and blame. Everyone agrees that is must relate to something far beyond what happened in our relationship.