Sunday, January 13, 2008

Balancing the Blame

It was interesting to read Lunanik's post regarding her ex and his addiction. I'd be shocked if anyone reading this wasn't aware of my own ex's drug addiction.
The comments were also interesting - particularly the referral to exes like myself who haven't managed to overcome the bitterness. It brings about the question of how much of my own recent struggles of dealing with more fall-out of his problems is self-induced.
Now part of why Lunanik can be so healthy about this is because her ex is firmly rooted in her past. Being the father of my children makes it more difficult for my own ex to only belong in the past. Seeing other women's experiences, it doesn't seem to me to be possible to entirely ever be unemotionally involved when dealing with the children that they left behind.
If the father walked away without a backward glance, there are the abandonment issues. If the father is an active participant in the child's rearing, then of course they are always there in the present as well. If the father is like my own daughters', that fades away for a while and then makes a re-appearance of some crabs...well, I'm still working on that.
If the father is an emotionally unstable, drug-addled person, it becomes all the more difficult. I've struggled for 5 years now, trying to find the right balance of allowing the girls some interaction with their father, and protecting them from any possible outcome that enters my (or my family's) imagination.
I've also done the inevitable self-blaming and self-questioning and self-victimization.
Truth be told, it isn't all his fault or my fault. Sometimes, the biggest fault is in even trying to find a direct source. Sometimes, it just is. Sometimes, things just happen.
I've also watched his family struggle with finding the right balance between loving him and protecting themselves. I can no longer feel any anger towards any of the decisions they made along the way - people do the best they can.
I guess what I struggle with the most is, have I done the best I can? And is my best good enough?
In the past week, I've come to the realization that I cannot completely fill the hole left by their father's absence. I cannot be both father and mother to them. And I'm going to make my own mistakes with them. I can only hope that just being their (imperfect) mother can be enough.
I'm not over all my anger and bitterness and sense of betrayal. Still. 5 years later. Does it make me a bad person? A weak person? I'm kind of in a place where my answer to that is, whatever. I don't care. I at least have to face it. I at least have to be honest with myself about it. I think any attempt to deny it would be detrimental - has been detrimental - to maybe getting to that place where I can say, "I'm over it."
Which I'm not fully convinced will ever happen. But pretending to be "over it" hasn't exactly helped, either.
My name is April, and I'm not completely balanced. But I'm working on it.

1 comment:

LunaNik said...

i don't think not being "over" your anger and bitterness is a weakness. i was lucky enough to make a clean getaway from my ex. i realize now that the mistakes i made were my own fault and not his. i chose to stay with him for as long as i did...i could have left him at anytime. not quite the case with you. you and your ex made two beautiful children together...his involvement (or lack thereof) in their lives will always be a reminder of the pain and heartbreak you experienced during that time and so, your healing time may just take a bit longer.