Emotional Abuse: If You Can’t “Get Over It,” You Have to Get On With It
By Cathy Meyer, Founding Editor - November 27, 2013
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My ex was a great husband and an outstanding father, right up until the moment he decided he no longer wanted to play those roles.

Once we no longer fit into his life plan he revealed who he truly was during and after the divorce. If you have never been involved with a narcissist there is no way to explain how quickly you can go from seemingly meaning everything to them to meaning nothing.

For me, going through that divorce was horrendous and confusing. I will never understand what it was for my sons. I witnessed what they went through, adjusting to having a loving father one day to no father at all the next. It was emotional destruction at its finest! I can’t put myself in their place though because I’ve never lived that kind of abandonment and rejection.

And what was the advice the three of us got from family, friends and professionals we turned to during that time…” you need to move on,” or “you need to get over it.” Oh and, “try to find it in your heart to forgive him.”

Really?

Aren’t there some behaviors that are unforgivable? Aren’t there things in our past that are impossible to “get over?”

Just because bad treatment is behind us doesn’t mean it is gone from us or will ever be gone. William Faulkner said, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” Until it is, we should not expect to get over it.

Fotolia_45440901_XS.jpgWhat my sons went through will live within them for the rest of their lives. It is a part of them, one of the reasons they are the men they are today…good men. The emotional abuse left scars that won’t heal BUT it also taught them lessons about how not to treat others, about their own value in spite of their father’s rejection…too many lessons to list here.

If we “get over it” or “move on” from it aren’t we taking the risk of failing to learn the lessons “it” can teach us? Emotional pain is nothing to fear. Granted it is no fun to embrace it, accept it and learn from it but it can’t play the role it is meant to play in our lives if we aren’t willing to fully experience it.

I’m a mother who witnessed her children suffer at the hands of their own father. I don’t want to “get over it.” I don’t want to ever forget what one human being can do to another. That doesn’t mean that “it” rules over my life, determines how I live my life but “it” is part of my life and I wouldn’t have the sons and life I have now if “it” had not happened to them and me.

It is said that to err is human but to forgive is divine. That’s an interesting concept and a very open minded way to behave but I’m not sure that it’s always logical. The three of us learned during the divorce that there are people who will do unspeakable harm. For some “human error” and insensitive behavior is the norm. Some people, like my ex simply lack the ability to behave appropriately.

Knowing that aren’t we better off not trying to ‘get over it” but instead, using “it” to protect ourselves from further harm? Both of my sons can spot a bullshitter quite quickly. El, my oldest asked me one day, “what spins, spews and digs all at the same time…a bullshitter.” His ability to spot a bullshitter is unprecedented. That is a skill he wouldn’t have if not for the lesson learned from his father. That is what comes from getting on with it instead of getting over it.

And that is how we dealt with that time in our life. We got on with life instead of stewing over our supposed need to “get over it.” We did the only logical thing available to us. We took what happened to us and used it to our advantage and it worked…for us.

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