Was I the easy target?

April 24, 2009

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 scapegoatfamily 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.





  1. Re: Prolonged bitterness and blame.

    I pray to God (not that I’m known for much prayer) that I don’t carry such bitterness over my own “situation.” At least for as long as your ex. You’re right, it’s amazing what complex creates we humans are. Chaz, I’m always amazed at your ability to analyze these things and state the facts so clearly and succinctly. Great post!

  2. Yo Teev….

    Well… anything I have to offer by way of reports or insights from the valley of darkness, or emergence there from, are only a result have having walked through and asked a lot of questions.

    I truly feel that much has been revealed on my journey. I feel blessed to have such things brought to me. Rest assured, there are very few original observations. Most things I share are the result of developing a good listening ability. And I think I did this because of how desparate I was.

    Like I have said many times…. A year (or 2 or 3) of pain is far more valuable than a lifetime of comfort. The pain was worth something so I simply like to share it.

    I do truly hope that your wife is not caught in the kind of web that I believe my ex is. Where she is directing so much of her anger to me. I think this is a natural human tendancy. We pick the most convenient target, and blame them for unrelated pain and injustices that we have experienced.

    Some people live their entire lives this way. And I believe that only an awakening from God (often delivered in a package of pain) can shake them loose enough to see that they are doing this.

    Anyway…. glad this was helpful.




  3. Relationships are a lot of hard work. I know that from my own continued struggles with it. Playing the “blame game” never gets anyone anywhere, and all it does is make the other person feel badly. I think the key is being able to communicate- to rationally talk things out with one another, this way you can get to the bottom of the issue of what’s bothering you.

    • MH Recovery…. thanks for your comments as always.

      My challenge in being able to rationally talk things out with my ex is that I experience her wishing to avoid the whole issue. She has a history of stuffing unresovled issues which I suppose has become a lifestyle with her. Certainly a habit.

      All I can do is be the best me I can be and surrender the rest. I used to fight it and expect her to be different until it drove me completely nuts.

      Surrender and trust in God to deal with the situation, as uncharacteristically as it comes to us self-reliant alcholics, is an amazingly effective way to live. We get more done by doing less because we don’t waste time on things we cannot change. It is the serenity prayer in practice.



  4. My wife too stuff emotions away. The problem in our current scenario (her infidelity), is that she wants to stuff that away. Like it never happened. Like she never did it. Like she never told me that she hasn’t loved me for years. She compartmentalizes every bad or unfortunate thing that ever happens, and never deals with them. I KNOW that has had drastic effects on our marriage, even as we try to work through reconciliation.

    I feel for you here.

  5. Hey Mike…. I guess you can tell I can relate.

    I think a lot of people do not want to open the Pandora’s box of their wrongs for fear they can’t face what is inside.

    My ex did end up leaving me for another man but is unwilling to acknowledge it in any kind of a meaningful way. She is hiding from it and continues to re-state what she feels my wrongs were seemingly as a diversionary tactic. But she is really only diverting from herself. We all see what is happening. Even (especially) her own family.

    So similarly, you wife is probably fooling herself the most.

    There is a belief that “truth sets us free”. I feel that on the practical level, being able to admit the truth about something we did that was wrong or painful is the pathway to freedom from this truth.

    Keeping it concealed/compartmentalized is confining. It handcuffs us to the event rather than freeing us from it. If we ignore it, it will not go away.

    I think that chronic stuffer and avoiders become master-compartmentalizers. My ex certainly is. Like no other I have known. One of her favourite sayings is “This has nothing to do with that”… in an effort to detach cause and effect of something she did.

    Maybe what your describe of your wife is similar?

    Is there anyone she trusts who can speak into her life and possibly crack the shell on her inwardness?



  6. It absolutely is similar. 100%.

    There are people she trusts, but unfortunately they are mostly silly girls whos ideas of advice basically boil down to the if it feels good do it variety. They are immature for the most part, and have no base to advise from. It’s just another piece of juicy gossip to most of them. To some of the others, they like to play drama class and send me hyped up emails about how they care for her more than I ever have. Funny stuff, really.

    Anyway, yeah, I can tell you can relate. I love the interwebs. So good at facilitating the connection of people with similar problems to one another.

    Good luck to ya Chaz,


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