A couple of pretty sad things happened to me over the weekend and I’m not sure quite how to absorb them. They are related I suppose, so maybe it’s really only one thing. I was speaking with my ex-husband about our middle daughter taking an LNA class and the possibility of him helping her pay for it. He has been more than generous contributing to our other two kids and their schools, ventures, life etc. It’s a long story but suffice to say before I knew it the conversation became about how he felt I haven’t been a good mother.
While I was unprepared for this statement during this particular conversation, I had known deep down he had felt this way for some time. While he masquerades with proper manners most times and a controlled temper, underneath I know has been an unfinished resentment and unforgiving heart. Sometimes words are said that make it known how he truly feels and his anger bubbles to the top.
It’s been over a decade since our divorce, and even though I wanted it, it seems to me plenty of time for us both to have moved on. He has since remarried (I have not), has a lovely huge home (I do not), a job where he makes large amounts of money (I do not), a partner that is extremely devoted to him (I do not) and pretty much everything going his way (often I do not). I have never once resented anything he has, and in fact, been happy that he is happy. Or at least thought he was so.
But the huge, burning disdain for me and my ability to care for our children, made it clear to me that either he isn’t happy with his life now or he is simply someone who can just never move on and live in the present. I personally cannot live being that way. Letting something like this eat you up inside. It’s self destructive.
I’ve never claimed to be mother of the year–and I’ve apologized for the mistakes I’ve made to him and for hurting him. But he never accepted it. What more could I do? I was not happy and we weren’t right for each other. I see that more than ever now! We have two very different hearts. But what really saddens me is that my oldest daughter seems to be rather like him and feel the same way about me as he does.
Whether she has come to this conclusion on her own or was influenced by what he feels, I do not know. But words that were said to me yesterday were some of the most hurtful words that I have heard in my lifetime. It’s hard to believe that one we raise from a tiny baby could utter things so cruel and not understand how deeply they cut.
But apparently they both feel the need to place blame and I am the focal point. I have thought about it all day. It makes one feel very lonely indeed. A family is a place where one is supposed to feel safe, accepted for who we are, where we can make mistakes and not have them thrown in our faces for the rest of our lives. And when these things don’t happen we feel shame, depression, isolation and even self-loathing at times.
Luckily I have two other daughters that are mostly OK with me. They know I’m not perfect and that maybe we don’t have the greatest relationship in the world. But they accept I did and am doing the best I can. And I have friends that are helping me through this too. They are giving me perspective. And luckily I’m pretty strong and in a time in my life where I am feeling OK about who I am. I understand that our past shapes who we are and how we may handle our lives.
Maybe my mothering style was poor. Maybe I made a lousy wife. I own both those things. But they are both mostly in the past. My kids are young adults now. They don’t need as much mothering. And I wasn’t such a bad mother as I know are out there. I had my faults like any, but I wasn’t nearly as crazy as my daughter made me sound! And as for my ex, well, they both have selective remembering. It is very interesting what I recall about the past and the things he did ‘wrong’ while we were divorced. Or what he is still continuing to do wrong now! But we pick our battles. And I look at the overall. I would never say he is a bad father because he is not. Is he perfect? No. But who is? The kids love him and he’s there for them. And I would never turn them against him.
I have no idea how I will get those words out of my head: I am bad mother. It haunts me because I have always felt like I could have done better. It was my Achilles heel and he shot an arrow right into it. And then my daughter put salt into it. I will keep trying to breathe, stay calm and do the best I can. For now I can avoid speaking with my ex. And hope one day my daughter has children of her own so she may understand what I am feeling after all this. Should that day ever come, I pray they only say kind words to her.