Break-ups bring out all the nasty in people. Not just in the individuals splitting up, but all their friends and families around them. Most people can understand that it can be hard to recognize all of one’s flaws in a broken relationship, and many others just can’t (or won’t) take responsibility for their part in a marriage’s failure.
So what comes next? Everyone around the couple wants to offer support and can’t help but try to determine who to assign blame to.
If you’re the friend or family member of one of the parties, it’s natural to want to comfort them and it’s easy to direct some anger toward the other spouse because no one likes to see someone they care about hurting!
Both spouses are justified in taking some time to talk, process, and heal from the events. Just like a death or other major loss, this requires walking through all the steps of grief to finally return to a healthy place.
Some in this position take a detour through divorce recovery to host a massive pity party and “trash-the-ex” festival. We all get it…divorce is a massive blow, and very painful! Some exes have committed grievous crimes against the marriage and deserve the full heat of an angry spouse (and his or her posse’)!
However, playing devil’s advocate, I think that most marriages that fail boil down to a combined effort of subpar spousal effort from both parties. So, color me a little doubtful when I see someone going through a divorce go to the effort to essentially burn their ex’s life to the ground. Possibly that ex acted in such a way as to deserve social, financial, and other execution. Who knows? Very few of us are actually front row witnesses to all aspects of anyone else’s marriage, so who can say what really went down?
I tend to believe that people going through a divorce primarily either go through full-blown victim mode (whether a deserved distinction or to gain pity and revenge), while others sort of buckle down and ride through the storm, doing whatever they need to do to complete the process. If someone asks this sort of divorcee’ how they are or what happened, he or she may spill some details about the pain they’re experiencing and what a dirt bag their ex is…without an impromptu violin quartet in the background and never ending tissue dispenser on hand to collect all of their tears.
Should you cry when you get divorced? Should you feel anger? Might you experience resentment and a host of other feelings? Hell to the yes! I am questioning the necessity to host a telethon to broadcast to all the world how much you’ve been wronged. What I am most disgusted by is the slander and crucifixion of one’s ex, all the while ignoring, even denying, one’s own role in the divorce!
Nothing makes me want to shout “hypocrite!” louder than an ex running all about soliciting pity and soldiers for their own divorce army while deemphasizing, if not denying, their own misdeeds! Is this a tactic to draw everyone’s attention over to ring number two under the big top so that we don’t all see the giant elephant right in the center ring?
Do the people who sit through the “poor me” spiel ever stop to wonder what the other side of the story is or how much of the story is true? I am confident that some in the audience can smell through the BS and know the entire story can’t be true. However, I have seen some divorces go down in this way – even my own, to an extent! -and have seen judges, teachers, counselors, and even close family members buy a dose of this snake oil! A wise woman once told me “life is like a pancake, there’s always two sides!”
How is it that the ex with the megaphone is somehow more believable and worthy of empathy? Why does trash talk get more attention than the whole story, logic, or the truth?
I suspect that the average person on the street is so freaked out by divorce that they don’t want to poke around too much for fear of releasing some marriage-eating contagion. Yet, divorce is a tantalizing freak show, like a five car pile-up by the side of the road that we rubberneck to get a good look at. If someone is willing to put on flashy show, rest assured that an audience will gather! So, ten points to the exes with the biggest mouths who are more effective at spreading their message to everyone within earshot. That victory may succeed in alienating their ex from people they care about, tarnishing their reputation, or making them feel temporarily better for the bad situation.
Let’s hope, for the sake of the loud mouth exes, that nothing embarrassing or unexpected comes tumbling from their closet in the midst of throwing stones at their ex’s life.
If, by chance, the loud propaganda of an angry ex is rooted in a completely truthful portrayal of the events of the marriage, then my heart goes out to them for their pain. I would question how effective an ex-bashing crusade is to right the wrongs and alleviate the heartache. Venting I get. Seeking solace for anguish is understood. I would just argue that slanderous behavior might not be the most healthy or productive way to put a divorce behind oneself.
Then, to those exes who have been at the receiving end of lies, character assassination, and been fed to the rumor mill, despite being no more guilty or innocent than your ex, I feel your pain! I found this to be almost as infuriating and damaging as the divorce itself. As if it’s not bad enough that the one you were once married to would smear your name through the mud, the fact that anyone you once associated with would believe it hurts!
My resolution of this matter was to decide that my ex was more than welcome to keep anyone willing to swallow a spoonful of garbage about me after the divorce. I hadn’t really lost anything if these people were so willing to behave like sheep and turn on me based on one side of the story.
I know the truth. The people who matter know the truth. I don’t have to blow my horn all over town to sell a sob story to set my conscious at ease. I acknowledge my wrongdoing and I have forgiven his.
Divorce is painful, but there simply have to be more therapeutic, sane, and ethical ways to cope with divorce pain. Let’s keep it above board, dignified, and behave in a manner becoming of adults and parents. Let’s not forget that karma can turn around and bite really hard! Let’s not take the low road, sling mud, and set fires when we can take responsibility for bad behavior, forgive, and agree that sometimes divorce is an evil necessity that need not become disgusting, especially if children are involved. Are you able to prove that you are made of something more noble by not slumming through the depths of divorce warfare?