Adventures in Divorce

I always wondered why people who murdered their spouses didn't just get a divorce.... I now understand why

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Location: Nap Town, Indie-anne-ahhhhhh!, United States

No, I'm not a prophetess. Cassandra, according to Greek mythology, spurned the advances of the Greek god Apollo and her gift of prophecy was cursed so that her predictions would never be believed. Such is my life. I tend not to think like most people, which is a gift... but also a curse. So step into my mind, take off your shoes and stay for awhile... you're always welcome, loved ones.

July 7, 2008

Seeing the head naked of its skull

Being divorced and having joint custody of children gives a girl a lot of alone time to think and reflect and contemplate and soul search. Over the past year, I've realized just how much of an impact, paticularly negative impact, that The Ex had on my confidence and self esteem. Finally being able to step back from the situation and compare pre- and post-relationship has allowed me to see this.

I am in the process of reading the book "Their Eyes Were Watching God" by Zora Neale Hurston, which is regarded as a classic and great work of African-American literature. (I'm only half way through it, but can already say it was a great $6 find at Half-Price Books.) There's a part where the main character, Janie Starks, realizes that her husband Jody's constant criticisms of her are merely a cover up for his own short-comings (in this particular instance, growing older). "If he thought to deceive her, he was wrong. For the first time she could see a man's head naked of its skull. Saw the cunning thoughts race in and out through the caves and promontories of his mind long before they darted out the tunnel of his mouth." That passage struck a chord with me, and as I was reading it I saw myself as Janie and my Ex as Jody.

As outwardly supportive as my Ex was of me and my accomplishments, and as much as he said he didn't mind that I had more education and income than he did, there was always that part of him that tried to tear me down. Questioning my judgment, my sanity, my intellect, making me feel smaller, bringing me down a few notches from where he perceived me to be. Always trying to tell me what I was doing wrong in my job and my career and acting like he knew all the answers to navigating my profession, when in reality people IN the profession have trouble navigating it. The first time I really realized that this had been something constant throughout our relationship was when I was having lunch with my "study buddy" from law school, and she said "Yea, I remember you coming into the study room one day talking about how he was always treating you like you were stupid" but that I'd said it in kind of an off-hand way, just small talk before we got into studying. That was 6 years ago when that conversation occurred in that study room, and I didn't remember it at all. I now realize that it was just one of those things that I subconsciously accepted as true..... I was just book smart and that's it. But in hindsight I realize that the seemingly small and minor comments that he made to me were designed to make him feel needed..... like I'd be lost without him, when in reality it was the other way around. I began to see his head naked of his skull. Yes, his words said he didn't care that his wife was more professionally accomplished, but his actions and behaviors said otherwise, and such insecurity manifested itself in other ways.

Even though I now consciously recognize when my Ex is trying to bring me down, old habits die hard and things he says still get to me. Now it comes in the form of him questioning my parenting skills, my attention to my children, my career choices, my personal and dating life (or what he thinks he knows of it, which is nothing but the rumors he's dumb enough to allow messy and malicious people to bring to him). It's never overt, and is usually cloaked in an "I'm just trying to help you out" fascade. But he knows how to push my buttons, knows which words will cut the deepest and sting the longest. And they still hurt. That's always been his modus operandi..... his response to his own hurt is to deliberately hurt others worse. Just like Jody in the book. The ones who know and love us the best are the ones capable of hurting us the most.

Every day I grow stronger, though.... I'm learning to trust myself more, listen to myself, respect the validity of my thoughts and feelings that have been marginalized and minimized for so many years. It's a process and a journey that's far from complete, but I'm getting there.

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Adventures in Divorce: Seeing the head naked of its skull

Seeing the head naked of its skull

Being divorced and having joint custody of children gives a girl a lot of alone time to think and reflect and contemplate and soul search. Over the past year, I've realized just how much of an impact, paticularly negative impact, that The Ex had on my confidence and self esteem. Finally being able to step back from the situation and compare pre- and post-relationship has allowed me to see this.

I am in the process of reading the book "Their Eyes Were Watching God" by Zora Neale Hurston, which is regarded as a classic and great work of African-American literature. (I'm only half way through it, but can already say it was a great $6 find at Half-Price Books.) There's a part where the main character, Janie Starks, realizes that her husband Jody's constant criticisms of her are merely a cover up for his own short-comings (in this particular instance, growing older). "If he thought to deceive her, he was wrong. For the first time she could see a man's head naked of its skull. Saw the cunning thoughts race in and out through the caves and promontories of his mind long before they darted out the tunnel of his mouth." That passage struck a chord with me, and as I was reading it I saw myself as Janie and my Ex as Jody.

As outwardly supportive as my Ex was of me and my accomplishments, and as much as he said he didn't mind that I had more education and income than he did, there was always that part of him that tried to tear me down. Questioning my judgment, my sanity, my intellect, making me feel smaller, bringing me down a few notches from where he perceived me to be. Always trying to tell me what I was doing wrong in my job and my career and acting like he knew all the answers to navigating my profession, when in reality people IN the profession have trouble navigating it. The first time I really realized that this had been something constant throughout our relationship was when I was having lunch with my "study buddy" from law school, and she said "Yea, I remember you coming into the study room one day talking about how he was always treating you like you were stupid" but that I'd said it in kind of an off-hand way, just small talk before we got into studying. That was 6 years ago when that conversation occurred in that study room, and I didn't remember it at all. I now realize that it was just one of those things that I subconsciously accepted as true..... I was just book smart and that's it. But in hindsight I realize that the seemingly small and minor comments that he made to me were designed to make him feel needed..... like I'd be lost without him, when in reality it was the other way around. I began to see his head naked of his skull. Yes, his words said he didn't care that his wife was more professionally accomplished, but his actions and behaviors said otherwise, and such insecurity manifested itself in other ways.

Even though I now consciously recognize when my Ex is trying to bring me down, old habits die hard and things he says still get to me. Now it comes in the form of him questioning my parenting skills, my attention to my children, my career choices, my personal and dating life (or what he thinks he knows of it, which is nothing but the rumors he's dumb enough to allow messy and malicious people to bring to him). It's never overt, and is usually cloaked in an "I'm just trying to help you out" fascade. But he knows how to push my buttons, knows which words will cut the deepest and sting the longest. And they still hurt. That's always been his modus operandi..... his response to his own hurt is to deliberately hurt others worse. Just like Jody in the book. The ones who know and love us the best are the ones capable of hurting us the most.

Every day I grow stronger, though.... I'm learning to trust myself more, listen to myself, respect the validity of my thoughts and feelings that have been marginalized and minimized for so many years. It's a process and a journey that's far from complete, but I'm getting there.

Labels: ,