Put It Aside

My nephew recently celebrated his Bar Mitzvah. In the Jewish faith, this is a very important ritual that proclaims that the recipient becomes an adult. And all I can say is that he certainly behaved like an adult, unlike the behavior of two of his grandparents…

My Mother in Law and Father in Law are divorced for about fifteen years. It was an unhappy marriage and an even unhappier split. My in-laws can’t stand each other. And nowhere was it more evident than at the parties surrounding the rite.

On Friday night they were seated at the same table as each other. They sat on opposite ends and did not speak. My MIL did manage to make it to our table and say really nasty things about my FIL… My FIL didn’t say anything bad, but did he have a sour face the whole evening… At some point my MIL couldn’t find her purse and my FIL had it- never did quite figure out what was going on there…

At the big party of Saturday, my MIL managed to tell everyone she spoke to that my FIL cheated her out of all her money- and this includes the hair dresser that helped her before the party (the claim is false- they had to settle and she had been the primary bread winner, so yes, she did have to pay him, but as they both said they were cheated I’d guess it was a fair settlement). But remember, this is a celebration…but never did she mention her grandson, the young man of the hour. Not once.

My FIL on the other hand chose to be morose. He sat as far away from the dance floor as possible, and it wasn’t because of the volume of the music. It was evident that he didn’t want to be part of the action… So tuned out was he, when the DJ announced that the grandfather would slice the challah, three times it was announced, my daughter had to run across the floor to get him… I have to say that the cutting/blessing of the challah is a very important tradition, and it is a great honor to be the one chosen to do this… so how could you not be paying attention?

FIL also didn’t go to the dance floor when they put my nephew up on the chair…another big tradition (for those not familiar- the group encircles the honoree and a group of able bodied people lift the honoree on a chair, raising the chair up and down, while the crowd claps- it’s quite fun even though you swear the person is going to fall off the chair) FIL didn’t dance the hora. FIL didn’t dance with his daughter, his niece, my daughter or even his partner… He sat and stewed. All night.

At the Sunday brunch, my MIL sat down with her ex brother in law, and told him how much she hated his sister… Seriously- she said that the sister was a horrible person who did nothing for the family and she didn’t understand why anyone talked to the sister. Remember, it’s the guys SISTER…and obviously her exes sister…

To recap- my MIL bad mouthed my FIL to literally everyone she talked to. My FIL sat and didn’t talk to anyone and didn’t take part in anything. My MIL said her ex SIL was a bitch. I don’t think I saw either of them smile the whole weekend. Neither of them toasted or made a speech about their Grandson. For people who talk about how much their religion means to them, how much their family means to them…they sure didn’t act that way… This was a big celebration, a huge rite of passage, and they couldn’t get past themselves to enjoy it.

Does hating your ex trump everything else?

There are times when exes who have children and grandchildren must get together. Shouldn’t all parties force themselves to reach some sort of d├ętente? Shouldn’t they get past their bitterness and rage for a few hours and enjoy the good things that came of their union, even if the union wasn’t so great?

Is bitter really what you want to be wearing when your Grandson is celebrating something?

If you had to see your ex at an event, would you try your best to have a good time, and let the resentment pass, just for that time? Or is holding on to the anger the best way to go?

Discuss:

Going Down the Rabbit Hole

My friend M routinely stalks her ex husband. They do not share children together, so really, is there any reason to wonder what he is doing now, almost 30 years past their short lived post college marriage?

I’ve been apart from me ex husband 20+ years. Never once did I look him up online….you know, until I did…

A few months ago I wrote to you about getting rid of some big, glossy coffee table art books. I explained to you that thought they should have brought me joy, yet all they brought me was sadness, anger and regret.

I was thrilled to finally rid myself of the burden of these books.

Then I decided to Google my ex.

I found out he died three years ago.

Talk about dredging up sadness, anger and regret…

It’s odd to think about the death of someone who once meant a great deal to you. At one point in my life I thought I loved this person. I thought that I could care for this person and make their problems go away. I thought that this was the person I deserved to be with because of all sorts of issues with myself.

When you think about why you did something that turned out to be very bad for you, you end up feeling a little bit bad about yourself. You ask yourself how you could have been so stupid, blind….you ask yourself how you could have been so wrong…

Anger

Sadness

Regret

This is why the internet stinks. At your fingertips, in mere seconds, you can really find out anything and make yourself feel bad…search engines are a tool and a weapon. And it has to be treated as such. The internet can and does hurt you. It hurts your friends. It hurts your family. Handled incorrectly it hurts everyone.

Am I glad that I know that he’s dead?

Am I glad that he’s dead?

I don’t know. Three months later and I’m still processing my feelings. I’m journaling and thinking and making notes. Maybe this will too become a memoir…a rite of passage…a closing out of the books. I thought that this divorce, these feelings of sadness, anger and regret were long past me. I thought I was over all of this…but I can only wonder if these feelings ever actually go away. I wonder if they are always inside of us and somehow become part of our DNA, if every decision we make comes with the disclaimer that we have once been hurt very badly and we will forever remember that as we take tiny steps forward…

Do we compartmentalize our sadness, anger and regret so that we can live and find other emotions to balance those out? Or do we always fall back on our negatives?

Do we ever really forget? Or do we just learn to move on?

Do we ever get past the emotional damage in our lives, or do we just learn to live with it, like a scar that will not go away not matter what we put on it. It might fade, but there will always be traces.

I guess we can’t erase our past.

We just have to learn from it.