You hear a lot about not letting divorce and/or infidelity make you bitter. I just saw a comment recently on a fellow blogger’s page where the person said that the blogger seemed “really bitter”. I’m looking at that comment, thinking, “That’s not bitterness; that’s anger! This person’s marriage is crumbling and they are sad and angry about these events!”
To me bitterness is not letting go. Bitterness is remaining hateful and angry long after a new life has been made. Bitterness is dwelling on the wrongdoing years after it has happened and not being able to move on because of it. Anger is not bitterness. Anger is recognizing the wrong. Anger is saying, “This isn’t right and I’m not going to take it lying down.” Anger is making sure you get what you deserve out of whatever bad situation you find yourself in. Anger is letting a person or entity know that what has happened is wrong and unacceptable and you won’t tolerate it. Anger is not covering for the person and his or her misdeed.
My theory is that people are uncomfortable with anger. They like happy and grateful. They like bubbly and positive. Scared is okay. Sadness is even alright. They will usually accept grief but typically there is a time limit on it. Usually about a year. But anger? Oh my! That is something they don’t want to deal with and they frame it in such a way as to make you feel bad about it so you’ll shut up.
You know what? Some of this stuff should make a person angry! When you’re going through a divorce, when someone has broken your heart, when someone has ransacked your life, when you have been deceived and manipulated repeatedly, when you have been taken advantage of, it’s okay to be angry! I have much anger towards CF. It doesn’t matter how many people tell me it’s going to be okay because right now my life is total shit, I have lost almost everything and I hate his fucking guts. I know the more adult emotion is to be indifferent because that is truly the opposite of hate but fuck that! I am not indifferent; I hate him! I have every right to hate him.
My daughter is miserable here. On a scale of 1-10 with 1 being the most miserable and 10 being pretty damn happy I’d give her a 3, maybe a 4. She doesn’t like her new school; she is having problems finding her way around, she doesn’t think people are all that friendly, she has made a total of 4 friends, and her current plan is to not get involved at all in school but rather to work after school instead. Hey, why don’t you just drop out and go to work in a factory right now, sweetie? I’m glad you thoroughly enjoyed your first two years of high school because they’re going to be the only two good years you had. No Homecoming. No Prom. No football games. No more buying t-shirts and hats to support all the other sports teams at your school because you have no friends. Well, she has 4. Instead of being one of the most popular girls at school she’s now a nameless, faceless person in the crowd. Instead of a full page spread in the yearbook because she’s a star on the gymnastics team she’ll get her class picture. Instead of cheering on Friday nights and competing gymnastics during the winter and being inducted into her high school’s Sports Hall of Fame she’s going to work. There won’t be any senior picture for the Booster Club sports program. That stupid cousinfucker did that to her! He took everything she loved away from her, not once, but twice! And I am pissed on her behalf. If someone wants to call that bitter go right ahead. I do not care. That person would be incorrect but I’m sure I have better things to do than try to correct someone’s misinterpretation of my emotions.
Divorce sucks. Starting over sucks. It’s not all that strange that someone would be angry under those circumstances. I think I would worry more about the person who isn’t angry. Plus, as Chump Lady says, you need that anger to fuel you through those beginning days. In my case, it seems like those beginning days never end because CF is always doing something new and spectacularly horrible that I now must adjust to. I don’t even bother with asking, “What else could he possibly do now?” because there is always something. There is always a way that he can sink even lower and he always manages to bring me down with him. I’m not bitter; I’m angry. I’m angry about everything that has happened to me and my kids, and rightfully so. I don’t give a damn if he parades Harley through downtown Main Street and declares her “the most special person to ever live, the love of his life, the oxygen in his air, and the only one who can complete him.” I don’t care if he marries her the very day our divorce is final. I truly do not. She can have him. But as long as he plays this bullshit game and puts me and my children in poverty I’m going to be angry. If I hit the Lotto- probably won’t be as angry. He starts paying what he should be paying me- okay, I’ll probably still be a little pissed because I had to uproot my kids again but I won’t be as pissed as I currently am. And eventually that anger would subside because as Picasso says, “It is what it is and you can’t change it.” Hey, I’m nothing if not truthful. The blogger that I’m referring to wasn’t bitter either: they were angry and hurt. It hurts when a marriage ends. It hurts when someone we love treats us like shit. When you are repeatedly hurt you can get angry. That anger is what propels us. If I’m still *angry* a year or two after the divorce is final and he’s actually paying what he should be paying, then people can start worrying about me and my anger. If at that point I’m still fuming I will gladly cop to bitterness. Until then… I’m rightfully pissed off.