hand me downs

i’m a reactor. truly. i like to think of myself as someone who can breathe in & out, breathe in & out and then offer a pithy comment, low key. quiet. thoughtful. enlightened a bit.
but i am not that person.
i imagine at times that i am that person, but that’s when i’m in an altered state.
i am sharing a story that i am both amazed to share, and also somewhat anxious to release. on the glint of it, at first look, this is not a very good story. but if i dig and breathe, i will find a nugget. i will. that is the purpose.

ken and his son have been estranged for the past year. and depending on who you speak with, the story is shifted, re-aligned, told from a different point of view. or as my grandfather so wisely said, there are three sides to every story. yours, theirs, and the truth.
word is – from his son’s point of view – i am much too powerful, controlling, overbearing, and his son doesn’t like me. at all. apparently an incident happened many years ago and his son was unable to let it go, and forgive my overbearing behavior. he is holding a grudge against me, and because of that the threads all unravel. the relationships become thread bare at best. and my feeling about that, holding on to a grudge … when you hold on that tight to some event or moment and never share it with the person who hurt you, or did you dirty, or said something to make you cringe, or cry … by not saying something you never ever give that person the opportunity to say, “i’m so sorry, or, i didn’t mean to hurt you, or … hey, fuck you, you are so fucking wrong about this…” a couple of scenarios, options. but when nothing goes said, and years go by and then an argument bubbles and all those icky bad thoughts come back up and you decide to cut all ties and never see that person again — wow – that is the behavior of a coward. you severe, you run, you say it with a bitterness that leaves a bad taste, the “i never want to speak or see that person again” taste, and life as you know it changes.
my husband is a good man. i think that’s pretty clear in my yearly blogging. a complex kind good sweet funny passionate man. and his relationship with his son has been difficult at times, joyous at times, profound at times, a gift at times, horrific at times, and filled with years & years & years of all sorts of memories, moments…a bunch of unforgiveness (hmmm, that word doesn’t look right)
and so now i am the bad, mean, overbearing step mother influence and yes it bothers me terribly, but some men just don’t like strong willed women. it’s a fact.
and a few days ago, while in florida, i found ken ‘cheating’ on me with his son. he was sneaking a phone call. hiding all messages, reading text messages in a corner.
and i find out, and boy oh boy oh boy did it sting. big time — OMG! OH WOW, THE BEE, A STING…HOLY SHIT, IT ALL COMES FULL CIRCLE. ohhhhhhh. woo woo.
okay, i digress.
i was angry, confused, hurt… i felt a bit betrayed, and mostly i felt deeply sad that he – ken’s son – was unable to forgive something i did years and years ago (and trust me, it was a small incident, two personality clashes, and yes, there are probably 3 sides to that story – how can there not be?) and now ken feels that he can’t have an open relationship because he thinks that will hurt me more.

wowee zowee, how fucked up, how sad.

this is what happens when shit festers, when words are kept secret, when folks don’t speak the truth in the moment out of fear that there will be a confrontation of sorts.
we’re guilty of it. oh, no, not all of us, but some. it’s the crazy glue that binds so many of us. better to sever ties, run… hit the road, make someone the bad guy. keep yourself at arms length so you don’t have to engage.

it doesn’t shock me one bit that folks are raging at each other, that violence is erupting all over the place, that intolerance is now a way of life and that folks who can’t seem to see eye to eye bolt and leave a mile of tire tracks. we hurt each other consistently. repeatedly.

there is nothing noble – nothing – about holding a grudge.
nothing. it should be banned, like off shore oil drilling. it leaves a horrible mess, destruction all around and it goes so very deep, cuts to the core, and then bubbles up to the surface, leaving debris for the next generation to clean up or … repeat, which seems to be the trend.

do you think it’s possible we can leave them something kinder to remember us by?

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2 Responses to “hand me downs”

  1. Hollye Dexter

    Oh my god I have so much to say about this it can’t be contained in one comment here, but ….I’ll try.
    being the over-therapized person I am, I have some theories about this, mainly because I have been through this exact same thing with my husband and his parents.
    It’s called “triangulation”. The son can’t bear to admit that there is something missing in his relationship with his father, that their relationship is weak and flawed, so it can’t be about the two of them. They have to bring a third party in (the triangle) and project the problem onto that person (you).

    If they had a truly solid foundation, the bossiest most overbearing person in the world couldn’t shake it. The problem is theirs. Step out of the triangle, and let it be their problem. Let go of any guilt, my friend, because even if it were true that you had an incident where you behaved in an overbearing way (so what), if they were solid they could have just shrugged and laughed it off.

    But Ken is at fault for not being open and honest with you. He should have told you – “I am going to attempt to make things right with my son. Will you support me with this?”

    But…coulda shoulda woulda…Yes, we do hurt each other all the time, and every day is a new opportunity to get it right KEN. ( love ya, Ken, just projecting my issues onto you right now because my husband used to do the exact same thing to me!)

    Believe me Amy – this is NOT about you. You keep being you, keep being strong and loud and YOU. Leave their problems to them.

    love you.

  2. Carol

    OMG, Ms. Hollye, THANK YOU!!!
    I had the exact same experience with my ex-husbands daughter, which would be my ex-step daughter, ugh, I hate these labels!!
    I was the wicked step mother indeed!!
    Meanwhile, it really was about their bad relationship! The more I tried to help, the more I got blamed.
    Wowie, WoW!!
    Amy, she is 100% correct. Just step away from the scene if you can. Then if something goes awry, you weren’t there. You will have abscence as your alibi.

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