taking the passive out of passive-aggressive

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

It's entirely possible all my posts from now on will start out "My therapist says...." Which will be annoying, but seriously.... my therapist says that when you go through a divorce you find out who's really your friend. I've been thinking a lot about my friendships lately because it's surprising who's been supportive and who hasn't.

I haven't been acting in the most considerate manner to all my friends, it's true. Sometimes that happens when you move out of your house, work 10 hour days and then come home to work for 5 more hours getting the house ready to sell, have Verizon and Sprint problems and so end up without a phone for two weeks, attempt to get used to being a single mom, sleep maybe 4 hours a night, and spend an entire month crying. Yeah, times like that make it hard to think about other people's needs. Maybe I'm just inconsiderate, as I've been reminded repeatedly over the last month.

Or maybe there's an air of failure around me, you know? This divorce thing, it might be contagious. And the moral judgements abound, because obviously everyone else has a lock on the Truth and the Right Way To Do Things and I'm obviously the Whore of Babylon, who left a perfectly fine marriage and ruined my children's lives so I could run around and sip cocktails and eat bonbons all day. Never mind that my ex and I are having perhaps the world's most civil separation (not that it's not difficult, mind you, but we're grownups about it). Never mind that I'm finally happy, despite the stess and hard work. Never mind that it's nobody's business whether I'm right or wrong in the eyes of myself, my children, my ex, or my God. Every day that goes by, I am more convinced of the rightness of my decision. And every day that goes by I feel more and more in control of my life, responsible at long last.

It would have been nice if my closest friends had said "Let's cut Claire a little slack, she's going through a really hard time right now." But that isn't how it went down, and I have to take my lumps. If everyone thinks I've made a horrible mistake, so be it--time will tell. If they want to avoid me and talk shit, fine. I got a lecture the other day from a girlfriend who said "It's proof of how good a friend you are if you can be there for people when they're going through a hard time. That's friendship," because I had bailed out of another friend's baby's birthday party.

It hit me then--either no one knows how soul-crushingly, gut-wrenchingly horrible this has been for me, or they don't care. They didn't see me all those months--since December, at least--lying on my studio floor weeping for hours. They didn't see me hauling boxes by myself up three flights of stairs. They didn't see me as the moving van drove down the street, hysterical and unable to drive. They haven't seen me up at 5am every day making lunches for the girls, or up til midnight cleaning and trying to make it nice around here for them.

For that matter, I guess they don't understand what the last five years of my life have been like--the sheer lonlieness and abandonment I felt, the agony of watching my marriage disintegrate before my eyes, my heart breaking as the man I loved retreated and what we once had fell utterly apart. The thought, at six months pregnant, sitting in my living room and unable to stop crying, that I'd be much, much better off dead.

And now--now that I'm finally coming back to life, now that I've finally woken from the nightmare, now that I'm pulling myself back together--now they've decided that I'm wrong. Because I guess I don't deserve to be happy. And I don't deserve any patience or consideration myself, I don't deserve to be cut some breaks. And I don't know what's in my best interest, and I don't know what I'm doing.

So. My therapist says this is all normal and some of them will come back and some of them won't, and there's nothing I can do about it but wait and see. So we'll see.


At 8:34 AM, Blogger sweetney said...

you know i love you and support you 100%, come what may.

that's it. i'm here. xo.

At 1:08 PM, Blogger Prom said...

and you don't know me and I don't know you but I've read what you said and empathize.

I just left my 15 year relationship which by all accounts wasn't horrid but it wasn't right either and hadn't been for a long time.

It is a rough decision to make although for me, by the time I made it, it was with relief, not tears.

Onward and upward dear. Life is what you make of it.

At 3:49 PM, Blogger The Cybrarian said...

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At 3:49 PM, Blogger The Cybrarian said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 12:40 PM, Anonymous tbtine said...

Wow, that was totally harsh anonymous. One of the worst, most painful lessons I've ever learned is that you should never judge someone so harshly, because sooner or later that same plague will be visited upon your own house in one way or another. Oh, it might not look exactly the same, but it will feel the same regardless. I'd watch the way I'm flinging words, because The Evil Eye, she definitely don't play.

Claire, I've never been through a marriage dissolution, nor have I had to care for my own children. However, I have had to put to bed a seven year relationship that sent me to the hospital for a month as I tried to figure out what the hell happened. I lost 25 lbs in two weeks, cried a lot, lost all the "friends" I thought I had, and wondered what the hell kind of choices I had made which led me to this place in, well, hell. I lovingly call it "the divorce" because that's what it felt like to me--a divorce not only from the relationship, but a divorce from the friends I had and also a divorce from the person I was prior to that experience. I walked away (eventually) a much more empathetic, far less judgmental person.

Because of that experience I have been able to hold my hand out in friendship to several women who have gone through similar things, and sadly I've three times been the only one (thankfully, it seems you have several people backing your play). For what it's worth, I've given a lame ass attempt at doing the same for you (we missed you at the parade!). The only thing I can tell you is that no one else knows what you went through in coming to these decisions except you, your therapist, and if you're lucky, a few really good friends.

If you need or want an extra ear, I'm available.

At 1:16 PM, Blogger sweetney said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 1:58 PM, Blogger sweetney said...

okay, anonymous comments are LAME. if you're going to post shit about someone on their own blog, at least have the guts to OWN IT and not be so spineless. claire, if i were you i'd delete that shit.

but to this person i say: clearly you do not know claire in any depth or the situation of which you write of at length -- as though it is any of your fucking business anyway. and no, gossip and heresay are NOT credible sources of information. unless you are one of the 4 primary people directly involved, you need to check yourself and think long and hard about why you feel compelled to try to (anonymously, of course) hurt people you don't even know, and why you think you are in any position to judge.

get off of your computer and call a fucking therapist.

At 5:43 PM, Anonymous bill said...

OK, that was about the most useless piece of shit comment I've ever read in my life. "Deal with your hurt but dont hurt others just because you are in pain"? Fuck off, you judgemental, hypocritical prick. Do you actually understand what you wrote? Don't presume to know somebody just because you read some stuff they write and heard some thirdhand crap on the street. Jackass.

What people need in times of crisis like this is support, not dumb opinions. If you'd read the original post, you'd get it.

As for you, Claire, we're sorry we missed you and the kids at the parade-maybe next year. All the best-

At 11:05 AM, Blogger the Valve said...

Hi--Special Guest Poster, here... Yes, it's the STOBEX (soon to be ex) hubby!

While that (now deleted) comment was stupid and insensitive, it was more wrongheaded and agenda-laden than it was evil.

As another star in this soap opera, I can honestly say that things are working out better than they would be on "parallel universe Bastille Day" where Claire and I are still together. Things happened in a way that were painful and hard to understand--from my earlier perspective. I am now a man to be envied--yes *envied*. I still have two sweet, wonderful daughters (who are NOT going to be ruined by any of this, I mean--come on), I have Claire as a friend, I have a new SO who is magnificent and sweet who makes me happy, and I have room and time to grow in ways that weren't possible before.

The girls have whole future adult lives where they will play out their own unfolding dramas. The way it's playing out (in the positive fashion it is) will make this nothing more than an historical footnote for the girls. For me and Claire, this is it--these are our lives, and we are living them. So nannny-nanny boo-boo.

At 6:09 PM, Blogger Zenchick said...

okay, I realize that not only am I both a real-life and a blog stranger (found you thru blogtimore), AND I'm a few weeks late reading this post, but nonetheless...
I just wanted to say that I've been through more than one devastating loss and/or crisis, and more often than not people don't understand. Not because they're evil, but because they just don't, and although no one is "wrong" in that situation, well, I empathize with your pain...both the pain of the devastating crisis, and the additional pain of feeling isolated.
{vibes of comfort}

At 8:33 AM, Blogger el mannion said...

it sounds to me like you need some new friends. friends that will actually pay attention. friends that will be more supportive. just a thought.

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