My ex doesn’t understand he’s the villain in the story.
When my realtor first met him, she told me she didn’t trust his “good guy” persona and boy was she perceptive. Because when you first meet my ex, you think he’s just that. A good guy. The All-American, patriot with good “family values” and a solid moral compass. But when you pull back the veil and look below the surface, the reality is he’s just not a good person.
For months after he left my life in ruin, my ex would constantly lament about how hard HIS life was. How stressed HE was. That between the divorce proceedings and finding his “new normal” he was struggling to put his life back together. Not to mention, I’m of course “taking all his money.”
Oh, the delusion is REAL!
This man cheated on me, lied to me, took my son from me, forced me out of my home, and kicked me off “his” health insurance without any warning. I’m moving out of my home in four weeks and just like that, I’m also uninsured. Freaking Awesome.
Meanwhile, my ex and his mistress sit comfortably on their double income and complain to each other about how I’M the horrible person. Contented in their delusion they discuss how I’M the person who’s causing all the problems. They have at least four affairs between the two of them and yet I’m the A-hole. Okay, cool story.
Well, let me make something extremely clear.
I didn’t deserve what was done to me. I do not, and have not, deserved the way my ex-husband and his soon-to-be new wife have treated me.
And for months this REALLY bothered me. I used to discuss my frustrations with my counselor. I would explain how I felt no one was defending me. How I desperately wanted SOMEONE to stand in front of my ex and say, “No. This is wrong. What you did to her was wrong. She didn’t deserve it and I’m not okay with it.”
As I sat there crying on the couch, my counselor softly said, “Don’t take this the wrong way. But you’re acting like a martyr.” Which immediately had me on defense. How could he call me a martyr? I’m hurting and he decides to throw salt on the wound? At the time, it bothered me. But a year later, I agree with him.
I was being a martyr, because I didn’t understand at the time; real life… is not like the movies.
When you’ve faced injustice, of any kind, you want the knight. You want a hero who will storm the castle and slay the dragon. We’ve been raised in a culture where you expect Luke Skywalker to destroy the Death Star, or Harry Potter to defeat Lord Voldemort. But unfortunately, in real life, sometimes the bad guy gets away with it. Injustice not only survives, but thrives. And what makes it worse is the “great wrong” you felt was committed against you, is just a statistic. An occurrence so common, it’s white noise.
But one of the greatest lessons I have learned in this process is that I cannot live my life waiting for my ex to face consequences. I cannot live each week, each month or each year waiting for him to understand the depths of pain he has caused me, our son, our friends, and my family.
I have come to terms with the fact that I may never get an apology from him. And that’s okay. Because his apology does not determine my direction. I will continue to grow. Continue to learn. And continue to thrive without an apology. Because the course of my life will not be conditional based on retribution.
My ex may never face judgment in this life. But one day, he will face it. Christian, and non-Christians alike, we ALL will give an account before God on how we lived our lives. And just as he will have to face the Father, so will I. And that last thing I want is to unintentionally, or intentionaly, hurt another person because of unresolved emotional baggage from my ex-husband. Or drift farther from God because I can’t let go of the pain.
I understand wanting justice. I really do. And at times, I still really want it. But if I sit in that “martyrdom” space, the only person I’m hurting is myself. My anger will grow. I’ll become bitter at the world and never move past the pain. And it’s SO easy. Because the reality is it’s not fair. It’s just not.
But letting go of that anger and giving it to God, has freed me from my sadness. I am no longer bound by a need for justice. I’ve become less affected by my ex-husband’s hurtful behavior. I’m more peaceful in my understanding that no one will escape judgement or consequences. And even if he never says he’s sorry, I can forgive him anyway. Because strong women don’t need a knight. We can slay the dragon all on our own.