Humiliation Sucks - Elisabeth Klein

I had court today.  Not for someone else, like it’s been the past several times, but for me.  Let me state for the record: I hate going to court.  Court sucks.  It’s great for people-watching and if I’m yearning for a security check, but other than that, court is just awful.

But today, I sat in court, fighting for something that was super important to me – otherwise, trust me, I wouldn’t have been there – and I heard my ex-husband’s lawyer say these words about me:

“She refuses to speak to him even when he begs and pleads.”

My knee-jerk reaction was the totally mature laugh-and-eye-roll combination.  Lovely, I know.  You can sign up for my etiquette class really soon.

But then here I am, eight hours later, sitting under the weight of those words.  Not because that sentence was a slanderous lie, but because that sentence was one hundred percent true, minus a bit of the begging and pleading part.  (And let me clarify, I do text him; it’s not like we haven’t communicated in over four months, it’s just not verbally on my part.)

But the truth is: I do not speak to my ex-husband and I haven’t spoken to him in person or over the phone since March.

I am telling you this because it’s one of my biggest embarrassments and I’m guessing I’m not the only person who doesn’t – I’ll go so far as to say can’t – speak with her ex.

I absolutely hate this about myself.  I hate the knowledge that I do not have the apparent maturity or strength of character to say even a few words, let alone attempt to discuss something with him.  It makes me feel small and childish and ashamed and less-than.  It makes me cringe thinking down the road to weddings, hoping and praying that someway, somehow (though nothing changes ever), we will be able to talk to each other, or visit grandbabies in the hospital at the same time or whatever life brings us.

Most people do not understand this in general or about me. Not that I’ve got a skyrocketing emotional IQ by any means, but I have sustained some pretty amazing friendships for many years…there are real people who have chosen to be in my life for a long time and actually like me.  And I can talk with them.  And we’re not unkind to each other.  And I don’t get exasperated.

But I do in this case.  I become someone I don’t like.  I lose all of my footing.  I revert.  I feel that tightness that I used to feel.  That being told what to do feeling.  That I’m stupid feeling.  That backed into a corner feeling.  And I hate that feeling.

But you know what? Though it may seem immature of me that I can’t do this apparently simple thing – i.e. talk to another human being – it’s not so much that I can’t…it’s that I won’t.  I have made a conscious choice not to.  Because I hated how it made me feel.  And not to get all I-am-woman-hear-me-roar on you or anything, but I really am allowed to decide who I will and will not speak to.  In a sense it’s actually more mature of me to know myself well enough to know what I can handle, what’s good for me and what’s bad for me, what I will tolerate and what I just don’t have to anymore than to just keep putting myself in a horrible situation over and over again when I can change the situation.

So there you go, Mr. Lawyer, that is correct, I do refuse to speak to him.  But not without just cause and because I am allowed to refuse to speak to him.  Case closed.

 

If this post encouraged you, you would benefit from “Unraveling: Hanging onto Faith through the End of a Christian Marriage”, found here or “Living through Divorce as a Christian Woman”, found here.