Tuesday, December 23, 2008

on whether pigs have wings

"the time has come, the walrus said, to speak of many things, of shoes and ships and sealing wax... and whether pigs have wings."

i love lewis carroll. no other writer, it seems to me, more perfectly captures that sense of nonsensical absuridity that has so often characterized so many moments of my life. it certainly characterizes my interactions with the person i like to call mister ex.

mister ex and i have been apart almost as long as we were together. this spring in fact, marks fourteen years since i filed for divorce, fourteen years into our marriage. so you'd think, so much time having gone by, so much water washed over the dam, so to speak, you'd think maybe he'd be Over It by now? nah, gentle reader... not a chance.

long ago i realized that part of the problem is that it is always better to be the one who does the leaving as opposed to being the one who gets left. however, mister ex has not only not moved on - despite being remarried - he continues to blame me for the poisoned relationships he has with our (mostly adult) children. what's really sad is that not only does he remain unable to understand what behaviors drove me away, he doesn't understand what behaviors continue to keep his children at arms' length. they are simply too healthy to want to have any kind of relationship with him, except on their terms, and he... goddess bless him... doesn't get it.

he just - poor guy - doesn't get it. he doesn't understand how he shoots himself in the foot, he doesn't understand demands and bullying and manipulation don't work with healthy people. he doesn't understand why they can't buy into his dysfunction. it's frustrating for them, because the older two - 28 and 23 - have attempted to get through to him on numerous occasions. no child wants to divorce his or her parent. he doesn't get that, either.

it makes me sad to think of him, in the same little row house we lived in, his law practice collapsed, his future dim, all the brave bright promise i saw in him tarnished like silver gilt. there was something good in him - our children are all beautiful and strong and healthy. but there was also something very damaged, very broken, at such a fundamental level, i doubt he has the ability to reach inside so deep.

why did god let me be born to the kind of parents i had, he asked me one day, in the midst of what i believe to be the one truly lucid period in our entire relationship, when for one brief shining moment i believed he might get better.

i dont know why he let that happen, i replied, but then he sent you me and the kids. yes, you had lousy parents, but look who you're with now.

but he couldn't, and apparently, he still can't. the demons that live inside his head continue to project themselves onto other people's skins.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.


Dina said...

my father died still living with all of those demons. It never got better, and he never got it. Worse yet he was narcissitic and abusive. I believe he is still in complete turmoil in the afterlife.

Martha said...

Pigs don't have wings and they can't fly. Pigs also like to wallow in their own excrement.
I'm so delighted this man gave you the best part of himself, half the DNA of your beautiful children.

Veggie Mom said...

I don't know how you put up with it as long as you did, but good for you for getting away!

P.A. GIbbons said...

sadly my ex gave my kids all his BAD DNA...and they got some of my bad DNA, but then again, they got some good DNA too. You throw it all up in the air, shake it around like a snow globe, and see what settles out. Mine are still settling, but then again, it took a good 40 something years for mine to settle so...... xxxxp

Kathy said...

I am impressed with you for being able to get away from him and I am very impressed with your children for being able to see him for who it, try to deal with him on their terms, then let him go when he won't. That clarity and strength is a prize.

Walk in the Woods said...

The ugliest rarely, if ever, look into their mirrors.

And ya know - to me this is a *paradox* for they are the ones who could gain the most, benefit so much, and mend their wounds by doing so.

Free will. Dig it.


Dia said...

I also have been divorced about as long as I was married - 18 years - & while my X is a kind person, he also struggles with life, depression, & a brilliance that I *wish* would shine more! Fortunatly, some of our best work was around our kids, & we can share genuinely pleasant times with them. Love that snow globe image - isn't that the way it is?

As you say, it's easier to be the one who left; I'm also glad I did, & celebrate your independence :)