A little worse for wear

Dear globalcounsellor,

It’s been a tough holiday season for me. My husband of 25 years has finally moved his second wife with their five children close to where I live.  Since we belong to the same community, I have been running into them or avoiding accepting invitations to where I know they will be present.  My heart breaks to see this young woman about 30 years my junior and her brood frolicking around with  my husband whom I had spent the better part of my life with. We were a respected couple in the community and now I am this bitter old woman battling Lupus all by myself with the help of my children but I cannot depend on them because they are raising their own family.  My husband ought to have been here to help me that is what our vows said “for better or for worse.”  I was such a good wife, my friends often chided me that I did too much for him and this is what I get in return…. a slap in the face.”  How can I move on, how can I forgive this man?  I know I am killing myself with rage and I want to stop.  I have my own children to think about and they want me to be around. Please help me stop the hate.

Help me

Dear Help me

Holidays are indeed tough when there is so much togetherness and family love in full display and then there is you.  It feels terrible and you want to burrow a hole in the ground and curl up or you feel like taking an ax to the head of that object of your disgust and sorrow.  But none of that helps nor are they constructive.  This may sound trite and even corny but like the good old book says, you have to find a way to forgive, not to set your ex free from responsibility but because you need peace in your heart. When you think of him see him as someone who needs to seek help for himself.  For a man to do what he has done to you and to himself – I assume he is past 60 – starting a new family at that age, he has to be out of his rockers. Send him your compassion, see him as someone broken and he is trying to fix himself by going out and having sex and children with a woman who could be his daughter. A man in his right mind will not do such a thing.  Summon all your spiritual beliefs to help you through this gateway of hate. Hate is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die from it Stop taking the poison.

The first step is to make a commitment that you will love yourself enough to stop torturing your self.  This will not happen overnight, be patient with yourself, take it easy.  It may be helpful to write down how you feel each day and note your progress.  When you find yourself getting into that zone of hate what can you do to distract yourself?  Maybe call a friend and have a chat, do a chore you’ve been putting off for a while, go for a walk, take up a physical activity you like, volunteer at a place where you will see people ten times worse off than you, if necessary speak to a professional counsellor. Maintaining hate is bad for you physically and spiritually and mentally.

Join a group where you can meet new people, read self-help books and whatever it takes to pull you over the hump. Each day as you set your intention to forgive you will find the weight slowly being lifted.

It is going to get better but you have to do the work.

Until we meet again.

Empowerment-quote

“Do not look back and grieve over the past, for it is gone; and do not be troubled about the future, for it has yet to come. Live in the present, and make it so beautiful that it will be worth remembering”

Ida Scott Taylor

 

Guilt-ridden but relieved

Dear Global Counsellor,

I have just committed my childhood sweetheart and partner for more than 30 years to the nursing home.  I am 73 years old and he is 80 years old. We`ve been together since I was in high school. He was married to another woman but had left her and hooked up with me. We have one child together.  Over the years he worn thin but I loved him all through that. He never divorced his first wife so we`re not legally married. He has no will, nothing and it did not seem to mind.  I bought my own house and it is only a few years ago on the prompting of family and friends that I made sure that it was only in my name because I believed that if he had died his children and ex could have come and claimed part of my home.  Anyway, my honey has early onset Alzheimer`s disease and he was becoming more and more difficult for me to handle at home. He messes himself, he is a pack rat and keeps his room very dirty. I didn`t know what to do and I could not commit him because I was not his wife and his  wife wanted nothing to do with him. I had to give him over to the state and together we concocted to get him out without incident. Told him he was going to the hospital.  The men came with the ambulance a few days ago and took him away. I cried that entire day and the next, feeling guilty but relieved that I don`t have to deal with that. I could not handle it by myself. I feel I had no choice. I am dreading to go visit him because I expect he  will dress me down good.  This is one time I wish he will not remember anything.  Am I a d woman.  I feel it was my only choice.

Guiltridden

Dear guiltridden,

You are not a bad woman. In fact you are a sensible woman.  First cardinal rule in life is to take care of number one first.  You are taking care of you and that is not a crime. You sound like a loving person who has given everything to this man and from the sound of things who has not given you much in return except your son. Putting him in a care home where he can receive the care he needs by professionals is the best and most loving thing you could have done for your honey.  Breathe, visit him and try not to let his anger if any affect you. It is a difficult stage of life for the best of us so be compassionate and let him have his say but I doubt whether he will be like that. God bless you.

 

Frustrated with racist girlfriend

I am a 20 year African Caribbean man. My girlfriend is a 20 year old Caucasian. We both attend University and love each other a lot but I feel my girlfriend is a racist and the more I think about it, the more I become disappointed and aware that this might not work out or may take too much work to get her to understand that she is a beneficiary of the white privilege. She argues with me that she is not privileged and came from a poor family and take exception to me saying she is privileged. She talks about reverse racism and Black folks doing exactly to white folks what were done to them and it does not make it right. She said we‘re trying to guilt trip people into buying into this white privilege BS. She calls it all propaganda. How can I educate this woman to get her to understand that white privilege is real? I am fed up with her and am ready to call it a day because of cultural or social impasse. She is wonderful and I don‘t think she is consciously a racist but her refusal to accept white privilege is like an alcoholic refusal to admit he or she is an alcoholic. Am I being judgemental here should I leave her in ignorance and continue our relationship?

Frustrated.

 

Dear Frustrated:

Maybe this is something you have to leave for someone else to do. Your girlfriend appears to have a mind of her own and that’s okay.

It sometimes takes an alcoholic years to admit that their drinking is a problem.

Understanding white privilege is not an easy concept for white folks to get because the privilege blacks see in society white folks take for granted and their right. To them it appears neutral. It took Peggy McIntosh serious self-reflection to realize that her world was a lot different from that of the Blacks around her. It was a white woman who put a name and a framework around white privilege through examination of her own lives. If you and this woman should have children and through their experience she might come to understand that society favours white skin. Hopefully by then, things would have changed.