Not Angry at Him Anymore
When I sat across the courtroom table facing my ex husband and his shiny new wife, I couldn’t help but think that I felt nothing. I wasn’t angry anymore. I wasn’t scared.; I tried to remember what it was like to be married to him, and I drew a blank.
I looked hard at him to see if there was any love left, and it was like trying to peer into the depths of an acquaintance.
When did I heal?
When did I become okay? I don’t remember a specific incident when it happened. I just looked at him today, the culmination of a very long and very ugly contempt court battle after the divorce, and realized I was fine.
I stood up to him. I didn’t back down, no matter how many times he threatened, cajoled or got mean. I didn’t roll over and play dead. It was the first time. This trial. He was used to stomping all over me and leaving large shoe marks up and down my spine.
I remember when I used to ask him about things I had done, what his thoughts were. He would always reply with, “Why do you always need a pat on the back?” I didn’t want validation or even a “Good Job, Honey” -- I just wanted acknowledgment that I existed as more than the babysitter, taxi driver, homework helper, cook, maid and whore.
I spent five years married to this man, sharing his bed and helping him raise his children and our children. I spent the two years after divorce in my attorney’s office, counting up the number of offenses he had committed by not following the decree. Recounting things my children had told me that had happened to them while in his care. I was angry. I was fed up. I was done.
Perhaps it was when we met in at my attorney’s offices to sign a change to the temporary orders regarding visitation, when he had given in over coffee at Whole Foods. Perhaps it was when I told him I was sick and the doctors did not know what was wrong with me, and he cried.
I didn’t know. I just knew that sitting in that courtroom, staring at him and his shiny new wife across that table, that I was not only okay, but I was going to be okay. I knew that after being married and subsequently divorced from him, that he had given me three gifts. My son, my daughter and the knowledge that life will never be as hard as it was with him, and if I can make it through all of this, I can make it through anything.
Acknowledge, Accept, Empower and Heal.