Friday, October 15, 2010

The Quicksand of Anger

I was on top of everything and moving on. The divorce was finalized at the end of August. The property settlement was less than half of the temporary settlement amount.  But other decisions were in my favor.  It's the nature of an adversarial situation that even when the parties aren't bad people, the game is played. I want to receive more, he wants to pay less. This is one of the many reasons why divorce sucks.

My anger and sense of betrayal is a spiral, just as is my sense of blessing, grace and gratitude. Early on, the sense of betrayal and abandonment were my primary emotions. That's what grief is. And the death of my 30 year marriage was worth mourning.

The grief process is so painful, but through the pain there is growth. I've spoken about some of those revelations here.

Yet with each new surprise comes the wellspring of hurt yet again. The quicksand of anger attacks me by immediately grabbing my ankles, slowly pulling me down, down, down into the pit. The more I struggle and fight the feelings, the more quickly I sink. Thrashing my arms and legs creates an agonizing, imminent death.

Our emotions deserve to be acknowledged and expressed. A wonderful therapist taught me that we can train ourselves to express our emotions without becoming them. I am angry. I have anger. But I am not Anger Personified.

Two months after moving out, when I was still under the impression that this was a trial separation, my husband became involved with someone else. It became serious. It's what he went looking for. Seek and ye shall find.

I found out through an innocent, lovely mutual young friend on Facebook several months later. It was devastating to both myself and our son; here was a chance to be honest and forthright, to let me know that there was no hope of a reconciliation. Instead we were the last to know.

We (my then husband and I) managed to work through the divorce process and just last week we were able to label ourselves "friendly exes."

The reason the spousal support was reduced so dramatically is that he showed documentation in court of his expenses compared to his income, including his rent.  Therefore, the judge reduced the spousal support.

Today I came home to find mail from my bank acknowledging my new change of address. Excuse me? I'm living in the starter home we bought almost 30 years ago. The one that my husband named DisRepairadise. The one that he insisted we re-mortage just 7 years before it would have been paid off. So I called the number included on the bank's letter. I was informed that this was actually my ex-husband's new address. They apologized for the mix up.

The upshot is that he's now living in a house owned by his new significant other (although not yet married). It's worth about twice the marital property that I live in, which he refused to maintain while here. I painted the walls, I held the drill, I hung the pictures. He mowed the lawn 4 months out of the year and complained about it. Now I owe him almost $30K for his share of our property. So, the result of the divorce is that he's actually doing much better financially and living in a much nicer domicile/neighborhood. Meanwhile, I'm working two jobs, approximately 15-16 hours per day, 12 days on and 2 off, just to pay my bills.

I feel angry. My suspicious nature is telling me that this was the plan all along, in order to make sure that the spousal support was as little as possible. His rent payment doesn't exist anymore.

Not only do I feel betrayed yet again, but the quicksand has me screaming for the name of my younger son as it pulls me down. I want my boy to throw me a lifeline, hand me a branch to pull me out. Instead, despite my warnings, he nears the danger himself. I fear he'll go down with me. The relationship between him and his dad has been tenuous for many months. This is a major step backwards.

I must become calm and deal with the NOW. How can I save myself and thereby save my son's relationship with his dad? I can't. It's that simple. The only one who can save me is the One who faced his own pit, his own sense of anger, hurt, disappointment, and a betrayal that took him to the cross.

I will forgive my ex-husband. I understand that what happened is the nature of the process. I will remain joyful and peaceful as I continue to forge my new life. It's God's grace and my commitment to living a life of Christian love that will allow me to do so. I'm not there right now. The sand is still pulling me in, weighing down the cuffs of my pants, my shoes, filling my pockets. But I'm calm. I'm not fighting against the emotions. I'm observant of all that's around me. God will let my eye land on a vine to grab, or discover that the rock of ages is directly under my feet, or bring forth an angel to lift me. I'll sing His praises for releasing me from this sorrow.

I may not be his, and he may not be mine. Maybe we stopped belonging to one another a long time ago. But I am HIS, and that is enough.


Linda said...

These are the verses I have been claiming. They are from Jennifer Rothchild's "Self Talk-Soul Talk" chapter 5. I am holding you in prayer!

Peter 5:8 "Be of sober spirit, be on the alert, Your adversary, the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour."

Ephesians 6:18: "With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with a perseverance and petitions for all the saints."

Matthew 26:41: "Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation, the spirit is wiling, but the flesh is weak."

Ephesians 6:16: "In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one."

susan said...

Beautiful, Linda. And so sad. (xo)