Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Sick of sympathy for cheating ex, woman feels urge to lash out
Don't want to go to the party: Is it ever okay to make a real scene at a social gathering? The kind that may be talked about for generations to come?
I have a major family gathering soon that I can only get out of by hurting one of my children. The ex-husband will be there with his new boyfriend (nope, not a typo). I've already endured a few conversations in which family members express how hard this must have been for him, and I managed to bite my tongue. (After all, lying and cheating are hard work, right?)
But I don't think I can stand to listen to any more sympathetic support for my ex. I've had my life destroyed and lost almost everything I own. I fantasize about telling these people off or even just handing them the detailed sex ads my ex and his friend have posted online so they get a clue about what I've been through. But then I remind myself how upset my children would be.
Carolyn: No, making a scene isn't okay, but "whether" is not the interesting question; the "why" is. Why is the impulse so strong?
Specifically, why did your husband's coming out mean you "had my life destroyed and lost almost everything I own"?
It's as if you just told us that 2 + 2 = 10. Where's the 6 you left out? Then I'll be better able to help. Thanks.
Don't want to go: Everything I had planned for the future is pretty much gone. I've lost my house. After a few years off work to help raise the kids, I've only been able to find a job that pays a small fraction of what I would be making had I kept working.
And, perhaps most important, after finding out the person I trusted the most in life continually lied to me and cheated on me, I find myself purposefully isolating myself from everyone. And when I do force myself to be social, I get to hear how hard it must be for my ex! Mostly I just want to be left alone.
Carolyn: Please get some counseling. Marriages fall apart, in many spectacular ways, as do future plans of all kinds. When you're the one standing in the smoking wreckage, you have two choices: Stand there cursing the wreckage, or grab whatever you can that's worth salvaging and start building a new life.
You have excellent reasons to be supremely (ticked) at your ex-husband, but hanging on to that anger isn't going to change what happened; garner you any extra sympathy, deserved though it may be; find you a better job; make you a better mother; get your house back; or stop the PC clucking about your husband's pain.
What hanging on to your anger will do is gnaw through your digestive system, and alienate you from the very humanity that could be helping you to your feet.
Enlist the help of a reputable professional, find a place to put all that bitterness, and get your life back.
Yes, your ex took away a big part of it — and that's all the more reason not to torch the rest yourself.