Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Stiff Upper Lip

I have gotten a lot of compliments on how strong I have been. I have also been told I can be a bit harsh when offering support to others. That maybe I should sugar coat things more or be gentler with some of the “broken women” I have been in contact with. You see I am a regular on a couple forums for those going through divorce or starting out as single parents. I hear a variety of stories from mutual separations to dramatic ones much like my own. From bitter battles to civil adult interactions, I have heard them all.

A lot of the other regular posters know me and understand me. They often agree with me or will offer similar if not the same advice. I love those women. At one point they helped to knock sense into me. It is not that we do not think a person doesn’t have the right to a bad day or a grieving period… but at some point you need to pull yourself back up. Push forward and not give into the darkness anymore. Especially when you are a parent, you can’t let it affect your livelihood. Providing for your family is of the upmost importance.

So, when a woman (most of the people on the boards are female) tells me that she is going back to her emotionally abusive X, that her work is suffering, that she has done nothing but cry for days, that she doesn’t have the energy to fight her X for custody/child support, up all night stressing or worse trying to “stick it” to their X by not agreeing to perfectly reasonable requests… well… it bothers me. Ok, some of it bothers me and some of it makes me sad. I want all of the people I speak with to understand that strength is not always automatic. It is a decision you make and work towards. WORK. There is a difference between venting and wallowing in misery. You can’t fool a person who has been through a trauma like mine. I can tell when a person loses control of their grief.

When I give advice, I give advice that has worked. For me or others who have been through a divorce/separation/family court battle and more. It is not that I do have sympathy for you, but sympathy gets you almost nowhere, inner strength and hope on the other hand can move mountains. I will not celebrate the nasty worded email that you sent your X even if it made you feel so much better to “show him how much you don’t need him..” because you just told that man that you still care what he thinks and you gave him evidence that he can show in court about how you are not cooperative or even threatening. When I hear that you have been in bed for a few days I will tell you to get in the shower and call your therapist.

I operate like a trainer or sports coach. We all have the ability to get through our sorrow if we decide to work on our strength. Our hearts are muscles after all. If you do not push yourself it becomes weak, whereas if you fight through the pain you gain power. It is because I care that I do not baby you. Of course I feel for you. I think it is good and necessary to mourn and cry. Emotions are very powerful and healthy as long as you do not get lost in them. Contrary to popular belief “following your heart” can be deadly advice in some cases. I prefer to listen to my heart, trust my gut and ALWAYS use my head.

In a nutshell I built my strength up over time. I worked hard for it. I listened to those who were further along in the grieving process than I was and I used my brain. That is how I got to where I am. I trust myself, love myself, love my life and feel more secure than I ever have. So, my advice may not always be filled with puppies and rainbows, but neither is life.

1 comment:

Amanda said...

congratulations for being able to be real!