Since starting this blog last January, I've received many e-mails from hurting people, mostly mothers who've left their marriages, sometimes remarried but who've all lost relationships with some or all of their children. One sad father shared his story about being estranged from his three children. In many of the letters, the writers tell me how they try so hard not to put their former spouse down but that the effort is not returned. I realize I hear only one side of their stories, but I tend to believe them. Just this week, a mother wrote me and said everyone in her life encourages her to "get tough with her ex husband...and play the same games. But I don't feel the same way." I wrote back and told her that she was handling everything right, even though it's very difficult to be the bigger person when all you want to do is strike right back.
Sometimes I wish I could ask those former spouses how they treat and regard their own mothers. Do they love their mother deeply? Would they protect her, help her, no matter what? Do they honor her memory if she's already passed on? Then why can't former spouses see and understand that they're belittling and disrepecting someone ELSE's mother? That mother happens to be the mother of the very children they say THEY LOVE so very deeply. Sad, eh? I wish they could realize how much they hurt their children when they hurt their children's other parent.
Awhile ago, I looked around some more on the Internet and found a book written by Dr. Joshua Coleman, When Parents Hurt. He's also got a forum where people can post and share. I haven't spent much time reading posts, but the little I saw mirrored the letters I receive.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
Above all, I wish I could so much more for each and every one of you who write. But please know that I do pray for you and keep you in my heart. God DOES answer prayer. In His Time.
A few minutes of yesterday's "Dr. Phil" show, "Exes Behaving Badly" (Oct. 27, 2011), touched on what I tried so hard to express above.....
Mark posted an online ad that compared his ex-wife, Sabrina, to the used car he was trying to sell.
Dr. Phil: 'This was my latest way to get back at my soon-to-be ex-wife.' But let me change that sentence. What you were basically saying is 'This is the latest way to hurt my children's mother. If I can win out and show that I'm the tough winner in this, that's good for my ego. But my children pay the price.' For every percent that you gain, those children lose ten-fold. Your measure of success is how much you can hurt the mother of your children. How sick does that sound to you?
Mark: Sounds horrible.
Dr. Phil: But that's exactly, precisely, what you're doing! Tell me that I'm wrong when I say that in your absolute heart of hearts you want to say 'I have been childish because you've hurt me with rejection. And I'm sorry.' Tell me that's how you feel.
Mark: That's exactly how I feel.
Dr. Phil: Then tell her. Man up right now and tell her!
Mark did. He apologized to his wife and even cried.