Monday, May 5, 2008

Forgiving others, because I am forgiven

I have not posted any new blogs, this weekend, because my emotional well-being has been through highs and lows. Strap yourself in, because I need to unload:

My husband and I had the luxury of sleeping in on Saturday morning, and catching up on household chores that had fallen behind. The last four weekends have been spent commuting 2 hours to where B is in an outpatient treatment program. Saturday night, the two of us finally had a chance to redeem a gift certificate at an upscale restaurant—where we celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary. Our anniversary date is New Year’s Day, but illness and bad storms forced us to postpone our celebratory dinner, twice. This weekend, we vowed that we’d go to dinner, no matter what. “No matter what” resulted in my husband waking up not feeling well. He mustered up enough energy for us to spend two hours, with the cell phone turned off. For the first time in a long time, I felt as though we could focus on our marriage.

For B’s father, he spent Saturday driving up to see our son. (B is moving to his new Sober Living Environment today). From what I heard, B was happy to see his dad and to enjoy a game of golf. My BFF (best friend forever) was shocked to see that B’s dad has not aged kindly. She has known me, for 32 years--eight years before I had met my future husband and father of our only child. She can see that years of smoking and complications of diabetes has taken a physical toll on him. B’s dad (I will refer to him as BM) has become a bitter person and he looks much older than his 63 years. I don’t say this with any malice intended. But it’s the truth. I was to find out, later that day, that BM made a mean-spirited comment about me, in the presence of our son and my BFF. My BFF was shocked at what was said. Essentially, BM blames me for spending all of his money. I've been blamed and belittled so much, that I'm not surprised. I'm just tired of it.

I have finally come to terms with our divorce, 12 years ago. What I mean is that I don't hold any bitterness nor resentment towards BM. There are things that happened between us, that I haven't divulged to our son. Depending on whom you talk to—BM’s friends and family have been convinced that it is all my fault that our marriage failed. I am portrayed by BM as a controlling woman, who ruined his business and spent all of his money. My friends and family see that I became a lonely and neglected wife. I was given the illusion that our lifestyle was easily afforded by BM. Little did I know that his father financed our material lifestyle. I'm not free of blame, mind you. I became an angry woman, and I needed to learn how to change the willful behavior that I inherited from my mother. I dispute the accusation that I spent all of his money. However, being willful-- that part is very true... I just wish B's father would stop beating me up in from of our son. I don't do that to my son because B loves his father.
Sure, I've slipped here and there. For the most part, I know it's wrong for me to vent to my son. He does not need to be involved...then again, how could he not be? I'm sorry that our marriage didn't work out for my son's sake. But, it is done.

When I was told about BM's negative comments about me, I felt as though I’d been dealt another sucker punch in the stomach. She didn’t tell me with the intention of upsetting me—she told me because she is incredulous at how untrue his accusations are. For most of the weekend, I had a really hard time letting this go. Once again, I am reminded that my efforts to keep a peaceful and forgiving attitude towards BM is not a mutual one. I felt a need to defend myself, but I know that it's useless. I found myself rehearsing my own defense, to the point that I realized that one of my co-dependent behaviors has been triggered.

I have been reading the book “Facing Co-Dependence” and focusing on my personal 12-steps to recovery. I have narrowed down that I do become highly defensive when I feel my personal integrity is under attack. I become upset when I find out that someone has talked behind my back or accuses me of something that has been taken out of context. My son and I have been engaging in this for a long time, I have come to realize. All my son has to do is to accuse me of something, and I jump into defense mode. This pattern has led into futile discussions where I feel I am an incompetent mom—and I doubt my ability to know how to talk to him. Sometimes, I feel resentful that the things my son accuses me doing is being parroted by something his father has said about me. These feelings make me feel that we aren't as close as we used to be. I'm reminded that he's a typical teenager...and he is. I just miss him so much.

This posting is become very long, so I am going to stop. There is a purpose between my journaling my feelings about my son's father. I have no doubt that our divorce has affected my son. My own parent's divorce deeply affected my life-- and not in a positive way. I feel frustrated and helpless that B's father and I are not on the same page. We are such polar opposites, that I cannot see how our son has conflicting values and morals. Sometimes I find myself blaming his dad, but that's not helpful to anyone. I also know that this is not God's will.

I need time to find a forgiving heart, towards him. By the same token, it is time for me to disengage myself from him. We have both moved on with our lives. I know that I am happy with my marriage, my job, my finances and my spiritual life.

I just need to work on letting things go. I have allowed my self-esteem to be shattered too many times. It helps me to remember that I am both loved by God and forgiven because Jesus's death on the cross and his resurrection.

John 15:12
12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

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