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.
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.