I’m writing this on the anniversary of my father’s death back in 2011. Hard to believe it’s been eight years. He was a great guy, and I miss him a lot.
He was also super bitter after divorce. Both of them.
They say that if your parents divorce, you are more likely to divorce. I always thought that was horseshit until my wife walked out on me. Her parents were divorced as well. Double whammy.
Last night I listened to some old radio spots that my father did. He was a psychology instructor at various colleges around the country, and he was interviewed several times on the KMUN radio station in Astoria, Oregon. I’m glad that I have those recordings. It’s nice to hear his voice every so often.
But as much as I loved my Dad, he was a flawed human being (aren’t we all). He drank too much, and he smoked, and he had a knack of saying the wrong thing—which cost him several jobs. He and my mother divorced way back in 1978 when I was just four years old. Although I spent some time with him when I was a kid, I didn’t really get to know him until my teenage years. But we made up for a lot of lost time.
What does this have to do with divorce, you ask?
Like I said earlier, he went through two of them. Both of them were ugly. He and my mom were sworn enemies, and I learned to carefully navigate the emotional battlefield they created. He remarried in the early 80s—and that marriage quickly fizzled out too. For the rest of his days on earth, he held on to the bitterness and resentment he felt for both of the women in his life who had “wronged him.”
I can relate.
Three years after my divorce I’m still kind of bitter. When my wife left me, my whole world fell apart—and I’m still rebuilding it. It’s been a long and rocky road, with numerous surprises and stressful situations. But I’m still here, and I’m not as bitter as I was a couple of years ago.
I guess that’s the point to this article. Unlike my father, I want to fully let go of that bitterness and resentment. I can’t carry it for thirty some years—it’s too heavy. I’m sure my ex has fully moved on and rarely thinks about me, if at all. To be honest, I don’t really think about her too often either. I’ve moved on as well. New apartment, new girlfriend, new life.
I’m not sure how or why my father carried his divorce resentment for so long, but that’s one family tradition I want to lay to rest. That kind of bitterness eats you up inside. My dad led a troubled life and passed away at age 63. I’d like to do better, and I’m sure he would want the same thing.
They say that resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die, and that about sums it up. I’d say I’m 90% over the hurt, anger, and bitterness that consumed me in the immediate months after my wife walked out on me—and that last 10% will probably dissipate soon.
So, divorce blog readers, if you’re holding onto a big bottle of poison, put it down. Don’t be like my father and sip that poison for the rest of your life—it’s only hurting you.