Skip

I know it's the right thing to do. Why don't they?
December 21, 2011 2:12 PM   Subscribe

How do I handle the reaction of my family and (people I thought of as) close friends to the news of my divorce? Lots of special snowflakes ahead.

This is a follow-up from an anonymous askme a few weeks ago (end of November) about Jodie, my (soon-to-be) ex-husband, and the way in which he has systematically abused me and emotionally manipulated me for the several years we've been together. You can find it by searching the archives for "anger soul-killing." I'm not putting the whole link because some people have seen it and this is about them, so I didn't want it directly connected.

If you read the final update, you'll see that I got out of that situation and have now filed for divorce. I left on a Thursday, filed for divorce on Tuesday, and he left on Saturday to go back to his home country. It seems, for the time being, that he has accepted that I'm serious, and he knows I'm not wearing my wedding ring and (obviously) that I've filed papers.

From what I understand, he doesn't even seem that upset over it. It certainly did not change his behaviour towards me in the slightest. He did send me a LONG email today, which Grant parsed into this: everything in his language suggests that it's my fault, but that he loves me and that should be enough. So more of the same really. He did promise to get help to treat his depression/whatever, get a job, and go to counselling.

However, this is more about the other people in my life right now, and their less-than-helpful responses to the situation.

He called my parents the night I left and told them I had left him and (most likely) told them how confusing it was and how he didn't know "what he did," etc. I sent them a text telling them I was okay but not much else until I saw them on Sunday. I did send them a link to the askme thread on Sunday, and they finally read it yesterday (but haven't commented on it at all).

Even after reading that, my parents think I need to talk to him and explain things clearly and rationally. They also think that this happening is their "karma" for the time that my mom left/divorced my dad (before they got back together and remarried a few years later). They think I'm making a mistake and that I should try counselling before I take any radical steps, like divorce. They told me that I don't seem to want to be around them lately (last year or so). I did explain that Jodie hated spending time with them, and we would fight on the way there and on the way home about every freaking little thing that irritated Jodie (which was my fault, obviously), so it was just easier not to see them. The same thing with other friends - it was painful, so I withdrew.

My sister is also freaking out and is making demands to speak with me on the phone. I sent her an email explaining what had really been going on and how difficult I was finding it right now. She said that she "would not subscribe to the new terms of our relationship" and told me to "call her when I wanted to talk."

One of my closest friends, and a bridesmaid in our wedding sent me an email (in response to my email to her a few days ago giving her a quick run-down of the situation) where she essentially said that her life was too difficult to deal with anything I was going through, but she was "sending healing thoughts" my way.

I don't mean to make it sound like all my friends are not supportive. My work colleagues have been amazing, and Grant is still amazing. He's been with me every step of the way, and our friendship has strengthened and deepened, and he's given me SO much strength when I had none. We've talked about this, and his advice has basically been to ignore anyone who is not supportive. He told me last night that, no matter how much I wanted it to be true, there is no magical combination of words that would make them truly understand and accept my point of view. He told me to stop engaging in these conversations, at least until they were ready to listen (i.e. probably never).

Something I've seen pretty clearly since I left is that my family, several close friends and Jodie are making this all about them, and how hurt THEY are about this situation. None of them seem at all interested in how I'm feeling or helping me at all. I can see that Jodie's self-absorbed behaviour is fairly similar to many other formative people in my life, and it helps explain a lot, actually. I'm not sure how I came to be surrounded by people who don't really seem interested or invested in me or my life.

Then there's Christmas. I have an invitation to go to a holiday party with an acquaintance, and I've got another close friend who just got divorced, so we'll spend some time together. But this is the first time I've ever really been alone for the holidays. It's scary. My parents said I could come there and spend Christmas with them (they live 3 hours away from me). That seems like a really bad idea to me.

What's frustrating is that I'm struggling more with the reaction of my family/friends than with the actual divorce. I still feel like leaving and filing for divorce was the right thing to do, and I haven't had ANY second thoughts. The thought of going back makes me want to scream, actually. I've never been so convinced that I'm doing the right thing, but it kills me that the people who (apparently) know me so well can't accept that I have lived through something awful and can not go back, as much as I hate how I have to go about it. I haven't spoken to Jodie at all, and both Grant and I feel like it would be a bad idea to try. Is that horrible of me?

I guess I imagined that my family would be a lot more helpful, and I definitely expected my friends to step up. I can't imagine hearing any of my friends tell me how they had been abused for years and refuse to even talk to them. My entire life has changed and they're acting like it's a personal attack on them.

How do I come to terms with this? Should I really just ignore them and hope that someday, they'll understand? Is there a "magical combination of words" that will work, or is Grant right - I should just stop trying because it's too hurtful?

How do you continue to believe that what you're doing is right when a lot of the people around you think you're wrong? Is it wrong of me to not agree to trying counselling or to continue not to talk to him?

Hive Mind, hope me, please.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (27 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Should I really just ignore them and hope that someday, they'll understand?

Yes.
posted by John Cohen at 2:16 PM on December 21, 2011 [26 favorites]


How do you continue to believe that what you're doing is right when a lot of the people around you think you're wrong?

You just move forward. It helped me to look at the people who wouldn't support me in my utmost time of need very clinically. "Oh, you aren't capable of extending compassion in a very obviously screwed up situation. Hmm. Okay. Too bad." And then I cauterized the little part of me that was reaching out towards them for comfort and went inwards. I knew that what I was doing was right and that's all I needed.

If your friends and your family cannot see that you are doing what's best for you, then they have no business being in your life right no, no matter how they've supported you in the past.

Period.

Take solace in your relationship with Grant, and just move on. I also recommend seeing a counselor to help you manage the residual damage that may result from the process of going through a divorce from not only your husband but also those people in your life who are thwarting your attempts to do what's best for you.

Good luck.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 2:21 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]



One of my closest friends, and a bridesmaid in our wedding sent me an email (in response to my email to her a few days ago giving her a quick run-down of the situation) where she essentially said that her life was too difficult to deal with anything I was going through, but she was "sending healing thoughts" my way.


Note that she doesn't think you're wrong--she just says she can't take it on right now. That may hurt, but she's not saying you're wrong or that she doesn't care. It's okay for someone to say that things are too hard, even if it doesn't feel good to hear it. I think it feels bad partly because your family is supposed to be there when shit falls apart even if they can't take it on, and you want someone to stand in for them. I get that, and I'm sorry that this friend can't do it. But don't count her out just yet.
posted by liketitanic at 2:24 PM on December 21, 2011 [16 favorites]


Should I really just ignore them and hope that someday, they'll understand?

Yes.
posted by John Cohen


Yes.

Even though my friends and family were all very supportive during my divorce, one of the most valuable things I learned was how to not worry about what other people thought of me as long as I was true to myself. You will learn that too.
posted by The Deej at 2:28 PM on December 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


I haven't spoken to Jodie at all, and both Grant and I feel like it would be a bad idea to try. Is that horrible of me?

Is there a "magical combination of words" that will work?

Is it wrong of me to not agree to trying counselling or to continue not to talk to him?

No, no, and no.

I think These Birds of a Feather's suggestion of seeing a counselor is a good one. You have a lot to process right now, and while it sounds like Grant is being wonderful, it might help to talk to someone with an external perspective, who can help you identify healthy patterns of behavior and thought, and unhealthy ones. A counselor might also be able to help you figure this out: I'm not sure how I came to be surrounded by people who don't really seem interested or invested in me or my life.

On preview, I think liketitanic is right about your friend -- it sounds like she's giving you all the support she can right now. It's unfortunate that it isn't the support you need, but unless there's more to the story, I don't think you should lump her in with the people who are being actively counterproductive.

Sorry you're going through this. I wish you well.
posted by EvaDestruction at 2:31 PM on December 21, 2011


I think that you should give your family and friends a -- well, not a "pass" -- but at least some time to come to terms with what happened. From your first description, it sounds as if most of the strife in your relationship was not in public. It may be a shock to your friends and family that something that looked OK from the outside was so flawed/damaged on the inside. We'd all like to think that our friends and family will support us without question, but in some ways, their world was turned on its head even more than your world. I mean, you knew (at least on some level) you were in a damaging, destructive relationship with an abuser; they didn't.

I'm not trying to say that they have some excuse for not supporting you; they absolutely should. However, I think you shouldn't take their lack of full-throated support as an indication that they will now be out of your life. I would think the healthiest attitude would be, "This has happened. I am getting a divorce. I realize this is a shock to you, but I'll be here when you catch up with reality again and are ready to support me." That's, of course, incredibly hard to do in reality, but I think it can be a really healthy thing if you can be the bigger person.

Best of luck on your new life. I think it's going to be awesome.
posted by Betelgeuse at 2:38 PM on December 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm an athiest, but this prayer has gotten me through a lot in my life:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Getting a divorce and moving on with your life comes under the "courage to change the things you can" category. The opinions and reactions of other people comes under the "accept the things I cannot change" category.

Good luck.
posted by bananafish at 2:43 PM on December 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


You should definitely make your mental health a priority. Get a therapist ASAP. You deserve it. And, on that note, schedule a massage. You are stressed in a way that is pretty impossible for others to really understand. You are like a taut wire with every nerve ending exposed. Massage can help you a little to release, to focus on the now, you. If only for an hour.

The therapist is someone who is a professional at dealing with these kinds of life traumas. They are far better equipped than a friend or family for listening and truly helping. It really sucks when our own trauma suddenly becomes other people's trauma. When you are most hurting, other people who you want to be supportive are reacting with their hurt. It's maddening but so common. And if they are taken by surprise, they may need time to come to terms with the information.

So, yes, you have the difficult task of not just pulling back from your support system but protecting yourself from it too. Some of these people may come around. Your friend who said she couldn't deal? She may come around. You may even feel like reaching out to her and seeing what's going on in her life. Sometimes other people really can't deal and that's frustrating but her candor is maybe a good thing.

You've made the announcement. Let it percolate with the people who love you. I think your alternate holiday plans sound excellent. Those friends sound like the perfect holiday pals who will let you just sit and drink some wine and cry if you need it and not talk if you need it and maybe make you laugh, even. Some family just isn't wired that way. I know mine isn't.

Just keep breathing. Make a short list of things you are going to do for yourself: book a massage, have an enormous sundae, go to a really goofy movie, buy a new pair of shoes. You'll make it.
posted by amanda at 2:58 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


They also think that this happening is their "karma"...

She said that she "would not subscribe to the new terms of our relationship"

Woo. I can't imagine this is the first time your family has failed to act the way you want them to act, so being surprised now seems counter-productive.

Your bridesmaid did exactly the right thing. She's got her own problems, and she told you that instead of avoiding you or making something up. That's how to do it. (And why would she "step up" for you when you don't care about her problems?)

People don't do well with change, and you're the only one who knew that this was coming, so you're more used to it than anyone else. Let them figure out their own stuff and you worry about taking care of yourself. It's nice when people support us, but we can't dictate that people do so in the way we want when we want it.

You've dropped a pretty big bomb on them, including the fact that they all stood by not knowing while you were being abused. That's heavy stuff.

Time is the thing that everyone needs right now, probably. That may mean making your own plans for the holidays, unless you and your family think that some time together might be helpful for everyone.

You should absolutely see a therapist for yourself, and you will probably get a lot out of it.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:02 PM on December 21, 2011 [7 favorites]


i am nthing therapy. i think it would at least help you stay strong, and potentially get a little more clarity about why things happen they way they do, since it helps to talk things out.

one of the things you have to remember, though, when dealing with your friends and family: this is the outcome that was best FOR YOU. your family and friends were not around this man for the majority of the hours of the day. your friends and family did not live with this man, and they were not subjected to his asinine, childish behavior. YOU were. this was toxic to YOU, not them. so they may not understand, they may be angry with you, but hey - do you feel better? more like yourself? less stressed out? lighter? then it was the best thing FOR YOU. you can't change him, you can't change them. and yes, ignore them, and if you want to hope they understand, rock on. but they may never understand, and that's okay too.
posted by koroshiya at 3:10 PM on December 21, 2011


You sound very nice and reasonable, and after reading how hard you worked to try to keep your ex happy, I wonder if your whole circle is used to you doing that for them, too, and think you should now do what *they* think is the right thing to do. They might not ever really get it. I know of two women who were urged by their mothers to go back to abusive relationships - I have no idea why you'd want your child to go back to a situation they describe as dangerous, but, well, who knows what motivates some people.

Agreeing with everyone who encouraged you to seek a third party to talk about this. And good luck!
posted by thylacinthine at 3:15 PM on December 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


You can't make other people see things your way, and you can't make them help you or be supportive. You can work on being comfortable with seeing this your way. Nthing therapy. Make sure to talk about assertiveness and boundaries while you're there.
posted by SMPA at 3:21 PM on December 21, 2011


Yes, it sounds like your family is in shock, since they haven't been able to see this coming the way you have. One way to think about it is that it shouldn't be surprising that they were taken in by Jodie like you were; the guy's obviously pretty good at being manipulative and charming and I suspect he's had a fair amount of practice at it. I would leave them to their own devices for a while and see if they come around.

I agree with SMPA that boundaries seem to be an issue here--your family seems to see this as something that's happening to THEM rather than something that's happening to YOU. Karma for their own past behavior? That's a bit weird, don't you think? My mother did this to me when I moved in with my first boyfriend: How could you do this to me, etc., etc. It apparently didn't occur to her that it didn't have anything to do with her.
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 3:26 PM on December 21, 2011


I'm so glad that this is finally starting to work out for you!

With regards to the people in your life who aren't being supportive, there are maybe a few things going on. They might not have the skills to be supportive at all, in which case they can't really help being the way they are. They might not know what you need or want right now, and so can't give it to you (though even if you tell them, they still might not care or be able to support you in the way you want). They might even be doing this maliciously, and deliberately withholding help you need.

In only one of those situations can you do much about it. Tell people what you need from them, explicitly. If they can provide it, great. If not, move right along. Sharing genes or memories with someone doesn't necessarily mean they can help you in the way you need helping.

To actually answer your questions:

Come to terms with it by thinking about the fact that this is who they are. If you have a strawberry, then you have a strawberry. Wanting a different fruit is fine, but it's going to have to be another piece of fruit. That strawberry isn't going to change into a pineapple. Perhaps look at it this way: at least now you know what these people are going to be like when you need help. You know now not to rely on them, and can start to look elsewhere for sources who will actually support you. You're not going to have to rely on these not-working sources any longer. You are now free to go find your pineapple.

I don't know about ignoring them, in the sense of cutting them off, but I do think it's a good idea to not discuss something this traumatic (which it seems to be, even though it's not acute) with someone who is going to rub salt in the wound. It's "karma" for your parents that this is happening? What the fuck kind of bullshit is that? These people are your family and friends, but sometimes, you have to hold your family and friends to a higher standard than everyone else.

Grant seems to be a very sensible individual. These people are like seagulls; good for squawking and excreting on things. They're a lot prettier from a distance. There is no set of magic words that can transform someone into what you want them to be. At least now you're a bit more aware of what you want/need from people and can go look for people to fulfil those needs and wants.

The people around you weren't in your situation. Even if they were, they'd handle it differently to you, simply because they're different people. There's only so much you can do to put yourself in another person's shoes, even at the best of times, and the people in your circle don't seem to even be trying. They have pretty much zero understanding of the situation. How could they possibly know what to do?

Run, don't walk, from an abuser. Guilt is a powerful tool to use on someone else, because it comes from within. It's harder to escape. Which means that you have to fight it more. Ask yourself this: do I really want to go back to someone who treated me so badly? If the answer is no, then don't go back. And forget what other people who can't even empathise with you have to say about it, because they clearly don't know jack about what went on.

It would seem that your life is going through a lot of tumult right now. And that's probably scary. It's also good, though, because you're in a position to make some really positive new relationships grow, and get rid of some of the old ones. I really hope that this continues to work out to your benefit.
posted by Solomon at 3:29 PM on December 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Lyn Never: "You've dropped a pretty big bomb on them, including the fact that they all stood by not knowing while you were being abused. That's heavy stuff. "

Bingo. Your friends and family probably had no idea how bad your relationship was, so it's probably hard for them to put your divorce in proper context. To them it must seem sudden, and that you're the instigator. Which is true, on one level, but clearly it was a long time coming.

The way friends react when you get divorced is unpredictable. I went through a very amicable divorce, and some of my friends seemingly took it more personally than I did, were more upset with my ex than I was. So it's not surprising in general that your friends are not on the same page as you.

It's not horrible of you to stay out of contact with Jodie: even after my amicable divorce, my ex and I agreed to a three-month silent period where we agreed to only contact one another in case of emergency. As to everyone elseā€”if your parents didn't get the full picture after reading that whole Ask.Me thread, well, I'm not sure what to do. But your family needs to accept the new terms of the relationship if they want to have any relationship with you. And that's on them, not you.
posted by adamrice at 3:30 PM on December 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


When I was going through something similar (a divorce, bad circumstances, family who believes divorce is bad/assigns moral failing with it), I skipped Christmas at home with the folks and visited a friend in another city who understood me better. It felt like a betrayal at the time, but it helped me get through it without feeling judged.

Can you do something similar? Also nthing therapy - it's not your job right now to "win" people to your side of the divorce or explain why you left.

Seriously though, people are probably wondering mostly why they didn't know what was going on and projecting their own insecurity about being perceived as shitty friends/family to you in your past time of need. Unfortunately, you're not in the emotional or spiritual place to make them feel all better about that right now, because you're focused on keeping yourself safe and sane.

You're doing the right thing; don't put more on yourself than you can handle right now. It's okay to disengage for awhile. After years of manipulation and attacks by your spouse, it's hard to feel good about putting your own needs first instead of walking around worried about how others will react; there's no better time than now to start doing just that.

I remember your past question and wish you nothing but peace in the coming days and weeks. Good luck!
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 3:34 PM on December 21, 2011


You're understandably full of drama right now. Your parents' recommendation for counseling probably seems reasonable to them. Give them some time. They're shocked, and trying to figure it out. Go visit for Christmas, or Christmas Eve, just don't stay long; you sound quite brittle, and it's probably a good idea to keep things simple.

What support do you want? Do you want friends to take you to the movies? come over and make you tea? Ask people for what you want/need. Your divorce process will take a while, longer than anybody's attention span. It's just the way it works.
posted by theora55 at 4:15 PM on December 21, 2011


I'm so glad to hear you got out of that relationship and aren't looking back. Congratulations!

As far as your friends and family not accepting why you're getting a divorce - I agree with everyone else about ignoring them for now and surrounding yourself with the people who are supporting you. I will add that a friend of mine had a similar problem with some of our friends when she left her abusive boyfriend. She had spent a lot of time putting on a good face, her ex was very charismatic, and when people did hear about a fight or disagreement between them, she would characterize it as "not that bad" or "her fault" instead of the reality (him screaming at her for hours and not allowing her to have feelings). So when she broke up with him, to some of our friends it came out of nowhere, and they didn't see how it could have been "that bad" if she "said it was fine."

She no longer speaks to most of those people. It sucks. It was easier for those people to live in a world where their friend (her ex) wasn't a verbally abusive asshole (and she was, I guess, a lying weirdo?). This was all somewhat recent though, and my friend recently reconnected with one of those people after explaining the situation better. I think that with your family and close friends, they may come around someday. But don't wear yourself out trying to force them. Take care of yourself.

I think showing your parents that thread was a good idea. I would also recommend getting them some literature on domestic abuse. I suspect that the dynamic I described above is not uncommon when the person doing harm goes to such lengths to put on a reasonable and charming face in public. There may be literature on just this type of situation, and the denial that can happen in DV cases. (And how abusers can often successfully paint themselves as the victim in appalling ways.) This is something else that a therapist could help you track down.

Good luck!
posted by fireflies at 4:20 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


They also think that this happening is their "karma" for the time that my mom left/divorced my dad (before they got back together and remarried a few years later).

My dad kind of lost his shit when I got divorced. It turned out to be because it dragged up a lot of bad memories from when he got divorced, even though there was almost nothing similar about my situation.

This is all pretty fresh for your family; I hope they come around soon. In the meantime, hugs to you!
posted by shiny blue object at 4:30 PM on December 21, 2011


Stop participating in discussions and debates about the terms of your marriage with people who aren't in it.

These people all have their own shit, whether it be memories like shiny blue object mentions or their own guilt or sense of responsibility about not helping you before or maybe they're just jerks. It doesn't matter. It's not any more of their business than you make it. Since it's not making you feel good to make it their business, stop.

That doesn't make you a bad person, nor does refusing to spend more time on something you've decided you're done with. Help yourself, your ex, and your friends by setting down a hard this-is-how-it-is line and sticking to it.
posted by phearlez at 5:10 PM on December 21, 2011


I'm not saying this is totally fair, but do you think it could have something to do with your methods of communication? Although a lot of things do happen via email and text these days, I think most people sort of subscribe to the idea that if something big happens, the person who it happens to will either see them in person shortly afterwards to talk about it, or if that isn't possible, talk via phone about it.

It sounds like most of your interactions with others about this huge life event have been electronic, and they may not be taking that well. It may make perfect sense to you that you are overwhelmed and not ready to talk about it via phone or in real life, but the people you're communicating with may take it as rude or very informal of you, that you don't see them as worth truly confiding in, etc. For example, my parents are pretty hip with emails and texts, but if I texted them "I'm divorcing my husband. I'm doing OK, See you Saturday and we'll talk about it", I think they would be completely shocked and possibly even appalled at me for telling them that way, possibly especially if I also sent them a link where the situation had been posted and dissected on the internet. Jodie, on the other hand, called them and talked to them about it. They may have related to that and he may have scored sympathy points.

I have no idea how you've phrased things or what you've written to people, this is just a thought.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 5:37 PM on December 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


Here's another perspective - might be true for some of your people, probably not all.

You said they didnt know about what was going on in the relationship. Because you were private about it. Just at the time when you want them to be close to you, you've just revealed to them that the intimacy they may have thought they had with you wasn't real.

You're telling them that you've been deceiving them all along. Even for people familiar with the dynamics of abuse, that can be difficult on a friendship. But if you can have some compassion on them.

For years you prioritized your twosome, not only keeping them further away but deceiving them, and now that you're alone, you want the closeness from them that it sounds like you haven't given to them in years.

People who love you will come around with time, especially if you show that you're committed to creating and sticking to new relationship patterns with them. Those who don't - well - they were friends for a season.
posted by Salamandrous at 6:59 PM on December 21, 2011


Before you write your family off as unsupportive you need to call them. Your sister explicitly asked you to do that and...you post to metafilter, asking what's up with her. You send your parents a link to your previous question. Are they supposed to sort through more than one hundred responses (opinions!) and 25,000 words, ranging from helpful to terrible, and for what? To figure out you followed up via some jessamyn person with more info?

I get that some people are more comfortable with email, text, and other online communication. But that's not for everybody.

Call them.

Maybe they won't give you the responses you wish, but you at least owe them that.
posted by 6550 at 11:43 PM on December 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Part of the reason for your friends & family's low-key reactions is that this is a sudden change for them, whereas you, being inside the relationship, have had more warning that this divorce is coming. They're still just at the beginning stages of processing this new situation.

Also: they may not be sure yet just HOW you'd like them to react. I've seen divorces where the divorcing friend/relative wants everyone they know to join in in trashing the ex, and I've seen divorces where they want nothing more than a "gee, that's too bad." They're probably trying to read your reactions, so they can BE supportive and not cause you additional pain from their own under OR over-reacting.
posted by easily confused at 2:19 AM on December 22, 2011


I experienced something like this after the relationship breakup I mentioned in the comments of your previous thread. Several of my close friends did not get it, let me know how upsetting it was for them, openly expressed their hopes that we would "make it work after a bit of a break", and tried to act as peacebrokers between myself and my ex.

I hadn't been very open with them about the abuse, which on reflection I wish I had, but I was still operating under the presumption that people close to you will be helpful and supportive after a painful breakup. And quite often they're just... not. They don't know how to handle it. The old reality was happy (for them) and familiar; this new reality is strange and weird and wants them to readjust the way they thought about a relationship and an ex-partner. You're absolutely right that people close to you shouldn't be making this all about them, but to them, restoring the status quo is likely something they think will be best for you too. It's not that they want you to be abused; it's more that they want the abuse not to be true, or at least not to be that bad, or failing that to be bad-but-fixable, and here you are sticking to your guns about the truth and wanting a divorce!

But you know what you lived through, and you know - because he's made it clear! - that Jodie is not going to accept responsibility and is not going to change. You need to be sticking to your guns about this.

When my friends did start coming round to the idea that my relationship was over, here's what I found helpful in getting them to give me the support I needed:

- Being very, very explicit about what that support was ("I'm feeling a bit teary, I could do with a hug here" or "what would be really great right now would be to go out for pizza and not talk about it").

- Being equally explicit about how I'd like them to talk about my ex in my presence - sometimes this was "can we not talk about his feelings, here?" and sometimes it was "I know he did some awful stuff, but I really don't want to waste my energy talking about how evil he is, thanks", because my friends and family tended to go to one extreme or the other.

- Having a collection of short phrases I'd fall back on in situations where somebody said something hugely insensitive, albeit usually in a well-meaning way. "That's really not helpful for me right now" was one of them.

- Giving up on trying to get support and understanding from the people who weren't willing or capable of providing it.

And finally, I'm really sorry you're going through this, but I am hugely glad that you found a way to get out of that bad situation.
posted by Catseye at 2:49 AM on December 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


You're helping to make a fabulous drama out of what could (and should) be a straightforward situation.

Do it, stop burdening your friends and family about it, and move on. Those who care about you will move with you. Answer any direct questions people have, and otherwise keep it to yourself (and your therapist, if you have one).

You sound like (and may be!) my cousin who has a similar thing going on. But everyday there are 2 new Facebook updates about how miserable she is, how much strength her situation requires, or how "certain people" aren't supporting her enough. The drama and false martyrdom are driving people away.

Good luck!
posted by coolguymichael at 10:55 AM on December 22, 2011


Anon, I was following your other thread and hoping after this post you were able to make it through the holidays OK. Let us know how you're doing, people are rooting for you!
posted by DarlingBri at 8:30 PM on December 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


« Older Ritalin having no effect whats...   |  I want watch on my TV the vide... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.


Post