The Crime of Emotions

I was just told by my father “you always do this – you don’t stop and think things through, then later you say ‘oh, I wish I had done this differently'”.    Why did he say this?  Because he didn’t like a decision I’ve made.

I asked him for some examples, and he started to change the direction of the conversation.  I said I had to go and hung up.

Then I started wondering:  Is that true?  Do I always make rash decisions which I come to regret?  I’ve been told this by my family my entire life, and I’m starting to wonder – what they hell are they talking about?

According to my recollection I overthink things.  I ask for everyone’s input, I think about pros and cons, I try to foresee every possible outcome, and even then, I struggle making decisions.  So what the hell are they talking about?

At first I thought my marriage, but that’s not true.  I was with my ex for 2 years before we got married, and I entered into that marriage with forethought and meticulous planning.  It was a mistake, but it was not a mistake I entered into rashly.

I look back over the last 3 1/2 years of my life and look for these examples of me rushing into things, then saying “I wish I had done something else”.  The only thing I can think of is throwing away some of my ex’s belongings that I could have sold.   I also did spend the 1st month after my ex moved out saying I was selling the house, which I ended up not doing.

In retrospect, I was talked into keeping the house  by my family & I can honestly say – I regret that.  Hmmmm……

Over the past 3 years I’ve had to steel myself, over and over and over, to stay the course, all the while suffering one after another insult by my ex.  One by one he’s stopped paying each bill, stopped helping around the house, stopped spending time with the kids, added more to his court filings and legal accusation, showed off his GF in continually brash moves, and I sat here, taking each blow without lashing out.   So where is the example of me making rash decisions and regretting it later?   Yes, there were two times my family talked me out of agreements with my ex, but honestly – 2 times, out of all the shit I’ve endured for three years and not acted on rashly?  That seems like really liberal Monday Morning Quarterbacking to me.

Here is what I do and will not deny:  I feel each and every decision, in every cell of my body, and I show it.  I talk about it.  I wail about it.  I share my greif, and humiliation and fear.  I wear my feelings like a shirt, and I share them with who ever will listen, which most often is my family.

My family really hates feelings.  Especially negative ones.  Fear, sorry, sadness – all are met with great dismay and contempt.

Here is how ironic this all is – my dad goes from o to 100 in a flash.  He’s ripped doors off of hinges because children did not close the door properly.    I can’t imagine how he would have handled what I’ve had to face in the past 3 years.  Someone would be dead, of that I’m sure.

I was recently talking to my father who was suggesting that I buy my ex out of the house and stay here.  I was sitting there, pondering this idea and trying not to lose my shit.  I cried.  In that moment I found myself looking back over things I’d agreed to in my divorce.  It is really easy to go back to that day and think “I shouldn’t have agreed to that”.

On this day, as I sat crying with my father, my mind went there.  And it suddenly hit me, I made all of the right decisions, all of the right choices.   It’s not like I was offered liver and onions or chocolate, and chose the liver and onions.  I was offered liver and onions or nothing, so I took the liver and onions.

And I don’t regret it.  Not for a second.  I don’t regret anything I agreed to that day, because I got divorced, after 3 long years.  I got divorced from a covert narcissist who’s only mission was to deprive me of everything he could.  I survived 25 years of narcissistic abuse and I’m still here to talk about it.  Does that sound like a rash decision maker?

Maybe the problem is that I often express emotions that I don’t act on, whereas most of my family members act on the emotions they feel.  Of course the only emotion they feel is anger, and they act on that very easily.  In fact, it seems like the idea of not acting on their anger has never entered most of their brains: they do so on autopilot.

Which is really odd, don’t you think?

I think this is a cultural issue.  As a society we don’t judge anger as harshly as we judge sadness, or depression, or confusion.  Those emotions are met with a “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” response, whereas anger is often deemed as legitimate.

Is it possible that if, as a country, we heard, without judgement, those feeling pain, confusion, sadness or depression – if we really, really heard them – maybe there wouldn’t be so much hostility?  Just a thought.

Perhaps I’m not the one who makes rash decisions.





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