I have a very good friend I am watching go through the final throws of a divorce. A new perspective for me as I am watching through the eyes of the person who left instead of the person who became the victim. I am thinking about my behavior during my divorce almost 5 years ago. The anger. The hurt. The lashing out. I was the one fighting for the marriage. I played the victim. I was the one who once it was apparent it was over just wanted to hurt him.
I started to think about the lashing out. The hurt that I may have caused. As I have been reflecting on this I have had some harsh realizations. I keep thinking about the hurt, and the betrayal and how I wanted to just hurt back. And I did. Today, I can say that I am not proud of some of my behavior during that time. The comments I made to him and others. The fact that I forgot about everyone else and focused on my hurt. I tried not to hurt his children but there were nasty comments on social media that had to hurt them. They had to question their own dad as well as me, someone who they cared for. They were now seeing a side of me that I don’t like to show many people. The victim who focuses on retribution not understanding. A victim whose heart is closed.
As I think back to how I felt at the time, there was so much rage simmering just under the surface. I wanted to blow! I worked at spewing ugly horrid comments at him any chance I got, whether they be through voice messages, text messages, social media, to his family. It didn’t matter, I wanted the world to know what an ass he was! I physically slapped him in a bar and followed him. I left nasty messages for his mistress. I behaved like a teenage girl enraged that her boyfriend cheated on her.
Watching through the other party’s eyes has caused me to really reflect on how I have changed since then. I was so focused on hurting, on vindication, on being vindictive that I lost me. I lost what was important which now I see clearly. Moving forward and healing me was what was important. Being me and trying to understand with an open heart what had changed was not important. Instead I was stuck in a place of hurt and anger and assuming I was unloved. I allowed all that he said and did to seep into my soul and convince me that I wasn’t worthy, that I deserved to be treated the way I was. Therefore I had to lash out, not understand. I had to react instead of ignore. I had to make an example of him any chance I got instead of allowing me to heal my hurt so that I could love myself again. I had to learn to forgive so that I could move forward.
As I reflect, I see how far I have come. I went through other difficult situations since then, other situations that tested my anger and feelings of betrayal but have reacted differently. I have watched my words. I have thought about it from the other person’s perspective. I have tried to come at issues with an open heart, understanding and compassion. I wasn’t always successful but I know I tried to look at things from their perspective and not always from my hurt.
I have a good friend who told me during these difficult times that she has always known me to do things from the heart. That reminded me that my authentic self is someone who does just that. When I went through my divorce, it was not with an open heart. It was with a ravaged hurt heart. I lost my empathy and compassion. I lost myself
I wish I could take back some of what I did and said. Not for his sake. I truly do not care about his sake at all. But certainly for mine. I wasted time on anger. I wasted energy on anger and hate. I felt the black gunk of hatred throughout my body during that time and didn’t really like anyone. I became less social and certainly had no intention of ever dating again! Who wants to be hurt again?
Seeing all of this through someone else’s eyes has really helped me to not only learn from how they are reacting, which is the opposite of what I did, but also reflect on my behavior and forgive. Forgive my ex for the hurt. Forgive me for the anger.
I have grown a lot over the last few years. It has been a lot of work, and I take steps back, but my anger is gone. I no longer feel rage under the surface. I no longer am afraid of a future that may be alone or may be with someone else. I no longer believe I will punish the next person based upon the last.
Hurt and betrayal can bring out the worst in someone. Compassion and empathy can bring out the best. I am focused on compassion and empathy toward others and most of all toward me. That has become my greatest lesson.