Submitted by Delaine Moore
At three and a half years into my divorce, I no longer feel like I’m mourning my marriage. The grief, the fear, the heartache of betrayal – they lie behind me now, serving as sources of strength and wisdom, not pain.
But getting over my marriage is one thing, getting over my ex’s behavior during our divorce is another. And I know I’m carrying resentment in the latter department. Sometimes it hits me really hard, too.
I, like perhaps many of you, have struggled with the idea that I’m resentful. Some part of me believes feeling resentful means I’m blaming instead of taking responsibility; resisting instead of accepting; playing victim instead of becoming the Heroine of my life; and I don’t want to be those things. I KNOW I’m not those things.
So what I’ve tended to do with my resentment is bury it. Give myself a pep talk. Focus on what I CAN control and do ,verses that which I can’t.
But underneath it all, the resentment has stayed put – lingering…waiting…like a river of molten fire trapped just beneath the surface.
As of today, I’m done trying to suppress it and I’m done with judging myself for my feelings. It’s time for me to finally give this ugly feeling inside of me a voice. For in order to be free of it, I know I must allow it to speak freely.
My hope is that through my being vulnerable enough to share, you too, will see that your ‘dark feelings’ are also important to fully express, either aloud or in writing, even if your brain judges them as ‘bad’ or ‘irrational’. This isn’t about us needing to find company to be miserable with – it’s about allowing negative emotions to move THROUGH us so that they can ultimately EXIT. Otherwise, we’re at risk of never fully opening our hearts to loving again…and resentment will slowly eat away at our bones like a cancer.
1. I’m resentful of my ex’s denial of his poor parenting. By ‘poor parenting’, we’re not talking about trivial things like someone feeding their kids candy bars for dinner one night. We’re talking about parenting that has put our children’s physical safety and emotional well-being at risk.
2. I’m resentful of how he completely walked away from his financial responsibilities for nine months last year and to this day, he is self-righteous about it. While I was worried about how I was going to put food on the table, he was bullying me and the kids and then went travelling in Asia for almost a month instead of working. It’s one thing to ‘stick it to me’, the ex-wife – but how could he do that to his children? Seriously – how COULD he?
3. I’m resentful that on top of everything I do as a full-time caregiver and working mom, I’m also constantly worried about what he’ll do next to try and reduce his support payments.
4. I’m resentful that he still doesn’t have the courtesy to give me a parenting schedule.
5. I’m resentful that he has continually refused to deal with our issues through mediation, even though I’ve practically begged him too. So now, come March, we’ll be in court. Such a waste of money.
6. I’m resentful of how I have to chase him to pay Section 7 expenses. These are the extra costs he is legally required to pay around the kids’ sports activities, schooling and pre-school. What dad shouldn’t want to pay for his kids to play soccer?
7. I’m resentful that his ongoing belief to this day is that if I work regular full-time hours and stick the kids in daycare, all our problems will be solved. If I disappear from my kids’ lives for 10 hours a day, the emotional cost to my children will be devastating – I am the one and only solid person they have in their lives, and they need me now more than ever. Moreover, the cost of daycare will be over $2000/month. It doesn’t take an Einstein to crunch the numbers and see how in the end, the only people who lose are the kids cause they won’t have a parent around!
8. I’m resentful of the fact that to deal with point #3, I instead choose to parent full-time AND work full-time whenever the kids aren’t around or they’re sleeping. I know this is MY choice, I know I don’t ‘have’ to work around the clock. But my kids come first. The sad reality, however, is that I only have so much time and energy to give; sometimes I honestly feel like I’m going to break.
9. I’m resentful that he ignores my requests for help/support. I have no family in town. I’m truly doing everything on my own. Whether he thinks this or not, to me his silence translates into a “Fuck you bitch. I pay you what I think I’m suppose to and everything else is yours to deal with.”
10. I’m resentful and so very, very disappointed that instead of acting like a protector, a guardian, a man of honor, his ongoing actions bespeak a person who is first and foremost concerned about himself. I WANT to like him, I WANT to respect him and I even want him to be happy. But I feel he has failed the children and I so badly, that he is so untrustworthy, unreliable and self-centered, that I’m going to lose any remaining faith I have in him as a man.
Do you harbor feelings of resentment towards your ex? Are you struggling to move beyond them? Please feel free to share your thoughts and stories.
Delaine Moore is a divorced mother of three and the COO & Executive Editor of Divorced Women Online magazine. A licensed dating, relationships and life coach, her passion is in helping divorcing women and men start over, construct the career and life they long for, AND demystify and improve their relationships with the opposite sex. Her controversial memoir, A Woman’s Body Never Lies – which chronicles her wild and profound, ’body-driven’ awakenings during the first year of her divorce – was recently purchased by the feminist publisher, Seal Press. Delaine is nervous, yet excited to ‘bare’ herself in its Spring 2012 release.