Strike First. Strike Hard. Show No Mercy.
There you have it: a look into the mindset of the kind of person who suddenly abandons a long term marriage without notice. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you The Cliff Notes on your ex’s motivation. Look no further. Waste no more time and energy. It’s not any more complicated than that.
Sorry. There’s no hidden psychological meaning to your ex’s leaving you. It wasn’t unresolved childhood psychological abuse that “drove” him/her to do what they did. They did what they did because THEY WANTED TO. Period. End of sentence. Coming to grips with this fact is the first step on the road to healing and getting back to living life pain free.
That said, I was a very slow learner, forever grappling with the need to find a reason that was not as simple as the truth stated above–although it really was. Day and night, I looked for a reason … until I made myself sick. Literally.
Out Of The Mouth Of Babes
One day while I was just two months into the process, my 17 year old son* [grandson that we raised from birth] was riding along with me to a counseling appointment. He was long past the point of being sick and tired of hearing my incessant gut wrenching crying and sleep-robbing sobbing every day and night. He screamed at me and said, “Why do you that?!”
“Do what?” I asked.
“Why do you keep spending all your time and your energy grieving and crying over him? Why do you keep thinking that you are going to find a reason for all of this? The cold hard facts are that he wanted to, Mom. You want a reason? There you go. There’s your reason.”
But You Don’t Understand …
I poured my heart out about how I was the kind of person who just HAD to find out WHY things happen. He again repeated the question, in an increasingly louder tone, this time challenging me by saying, “Yes, Mother but what, specifically, will knowing that information change?”
I proceeded to tell him that if I could ascertain why it had happened, I would then know where to mentally file all of the pain and anguish, and I could learn whatever lesson I was supposed to learn. I ended by saying that then (and only then) could I begin to heal and move on.
His response was immediate, curt, and laser-accurate. “No Mother.” he said. “You think that if you can find the WHY, that the next step would be to correct whatever you found to be wrong and then things would magically go back to the way they were. That is NOT going to happen. What you do not see, and what you do not want to accept, is that this is not fixable because you can’t fix crazy! Dad’s got some very big issues–call them emotional, mid-life crisis, or whatever–but they’re his issues, and only he can fix them. Or not. Your job is fix yourself and figure out how to move on … because it’s over. He’s simply not coming back. “
Well That About Covers The Fly-By, Doesn’t It?
I was dumbfounded by the sage words of a 17 year old, who himself was struggling with being abandoned by the same man. I’d like to say that I was able to internalize this and immediately let this go, but the truth is that it took quite awhile. A long while. Years, actually.
But, as it turned out, my son was 100% correct. That’s exactly what I was trying to do. As an Administrator by profession, I was used to fixing things. It took me several years to fully accept the fact that there were going to be things in my life that I may never be able to fix/change. And now that more time has elapsed, there are many things that I would never wish to restore and put back into place.
There Are No Magic Bullets … Only Time
A corollary lesson that I learned during this process is that change (whether that be improvement, acceptance, resolution of a long standing issue, etc.) is a process and not an event. I was blind to my own limiting beliefs and was looking for an instant fix to my pain. It simply doesn’t work that way.
I’ve learned that, similar to labor contractions, one has to sit with the pain. Feel the pain. Not be afraid of the pain. (it’s survivable.) And it was only through that process that I was able to reacquaint myself with ME and uncover (this time with the help of my son) the erroneous things I had been believing and doing that was causing me to stay in pain longer–at our own hand.