Saturday, December 26, 2009

A fatwa on 2009 UPDATE

Despite the title, I do want this to be a positive blog.

Wow, I remember blogging.  It seems like my last blog was posted...... far too long ago.  And far too much has happened in the time between then and now.  I've moved to a new place and am trialling shared custody (or whatever the new-fangled word is) of my children.  Having never spent more than 2 days away from my beautiful children, this is indescribably  hard.  Christmas Day was particularly emotional for me, and, truth me told, the spirit and fun of the occasion completely passed me by.  Thrown into the mix with this was a particularly nasty falling out with someone (other than my ex), and just the general sense of horror that accompanies a marriage break up unnecessarily exacerbated by falling out with people.

What has been hard for me is the realisation that there are people out there - increasingly, I am weeding these people out of my life - who feel it is their place to interfere and to comment on things that are actually not their business, but they choose to make it their business by imposing their expectations from their own similar experiences.  If I do not respond to my experience in the same way that they did, they react with anger, resentment, and take it as a personal attack that I somehow think less of them.  They then deign to suggest that I am in denial.

Despite knowing that I should let these people and their reactions just go, I am still left reeling, and in a way that sets me back considerably. I'm not for a second suggesting here that I am perfect, but I do know that if a friend is going through a traumatic experience, I will be there for them, they can confide safely in me, and I will support them through whatever decision they decide to make.  Because I know that they are special people who bring their own wonderful perspective and insight to my life and to the world, and for that I love them.  But it's a lesson that is little learned from childhood that there are just some people out there who do not subscribe to such an approach.

Having always been very dismissive of therapeutic approaches that choose to categorise people, I don't care for textbook responses to emotional trauma, and, anyway, it is no-one's place to rush me through any of this according to their expectations.  This is MY life.  If there are people out there who have issues in their life that need to be addressed, these issues need to be addressed through their own life, not mine.  Just because I am not seething resentment, hatred, and outward anger all the time does not mean that I don't feel it or I don't care.  It means that I am not the sort of person who can physically or emotionally sustain that level of negativity.  It's just not my makeup.  It also means that I have practical responsibilities in my life, like three so-far-well-adjusted preschoolers, and juggling several jobs at the same time, and living in a new home, and a child starting school soon..... I could go on and on, but I'm trying to say that my life isn't going to stop for me.  It means that, for the moment, I would prefer to focus my energy on looking forward and creating a sense of emotional and physical stability for my children, rather than run the risk of getting mired in my idealistic dreams of a past not fulfilled and retribution on those who destroyed that dream.  There is plenty of time for me to reflect on what might have been, but for the time being I find it unhelpful and pointless.

While any falling out is painful, it is also an insightful view into disdainful one-sided and disrespectful behaviour. But, I don't mean to sound so glib.  It is still a falling out with someone you thought you could trust, and this is a morale destroying moment.  In a time as deeply painful as a marriage breakup, the realisation that there are yet more people in my life who cannot be relied upon has an enormous impact, and I am left feeling stunned at the selfishness of others.  In my case, it has set me back significantly and I find I am having to rethink who my true, trustworthy friends are.  It's a painful exercise, but one that I suspect is less painful done now rather than, once again, finding out the hard way.

It is an unfortunate truth that the number of true friends that we have will reduce over the years. This is either through natural occurrence or specific events, as we realise that the person who we thought and classed as a true friend is in fact not deserving of that title.

So, 2009 has been really hard, and I for one am glad to see it go for good. Had it not been for the discovery of blogging, I hate to think just how dire I would be feeling right now.  Blogging has not only given me a much needed outlet and inlet for my otherwise unappreciated brain, it has also provided me with some timely insight into just how kind and generous people can be.  And these are people I have never met.  But I would drop everything to meet them if given half a chance. When I was feeling really down and desperate, there were bloggers out there who sent me emails or posted comments or added me as a Facebook friend; gestures that were incredibly uplifting, and served to strongly reinforce to me that there exist people who do not strive to impose their expectations on me, and who are genuinely supportive and helpful.

I has made me realise that a true friend is not necessarily someone who I have physically met. A true friend is a little more than a very good friend, and it is entirely possibly to have such a friend if only "cyberly". A true friend will support you even if it hurts their own interest (such as revealing their blogger anonymity). A true friend will understand your motives and needs and will know when not to offer any analysis or criticism (such as giving me a phone number or sending me an email, just to reassure to me that I am never alone, and just letting me say all I want to say without fear of judgment). A true friend will come forward to help without any request and be with you in need without showing it or expecting anything in return. To all the lovely bloggers and commentators out there, if I never called you, don't for one second think it was because I didn't appreciate your gesture.  I may yet use it, even if just to personally thank you for being there when I needed someone to remind me that I am actually more than something that can be scraped off a shoe and discarded just because I didn't behave in an expected way.  It's a reminder that I am worthwhile.  And for that I am so very grateful.

Perhaps, now that I have cathartically blogged about this, I should change the title. Perhaps, in fact, 2009 has been a wonderful year for me. A year where I have had to face some very painful personal situations and learn some important lessons, but where the goodness and the kindness of people has also been very apparent. While a few people have set me back considerably, there have been many more people who have made me appreciate how wonderful human nature can be. As painful as I find each day, I also find the energy to continue purely from knowing that there are people out there who are genuinely compassionate and empathetic.

It's been quite a year.

Let's hope 2010 has perhaps a bit less insight and a bit more enjoyment. And a bit more to blog about.

UPDATE: Thank you so much for your kind comments, directly to this blog, or through your own blogs, or through emails. It's a wake up call to not get mired in the actions of very few and to remember that the majority of people are kind. The loneliness and heartache of only seeing your children 50% of the time, and the sense of injustice that accompanies it, is indescribable at the moment, but I am holding on to the hope that it will get easier with time. Blogging output may increase, if only to keep the brain distracted from the lack of noise. Even though, right now, all topics that would ordinarily warrant an opinion feel unimportant.

But, you've given me the motivation to get thinking again. Thank you.


Oswald Bastable said...

To the last two lines- YES to both!

Amnion said...


People giving an opinion is part of the problem of sharing your life events with them. My own reaction to similar traumas was to say nothing. At least then their misguided opinions had no danger of being informed. I'm not sure keeping your thoughts to yourself is the best idea, just one of my own dysfunctional coping mechanisms.

It is hard sharing the kids, it can be a source of insecurity and real loneliness, they fill up your whole life. But they always love you, and you get better at filling the gaps :-)

Oswald Bastable said...

'Well-meaning advice' is like manure- it comes by the hundredweight but needs to be spread very thinly or it stinks!