By Alma Gill
Friend Won’t Let Go of Ex
My friend is a single mother. Her husband left her and their three children to be with a younger woman he had been working with. He said the new woman was his soul mate. My friend was devastated and I understand. It’s been almost a year now and she still continues to spiral into a deep depression. Now I can hardly recognize her. She had kinda let herself go before he left but now she’s just gone downhill. What’s worst is she constantly talks about her ex-husband in the worst of ways in front of her children. She tells them that their father left because he doesn’t love them and she calls him names and lashes her anger out towards them. She will even post nasty things about him on her Facebook page, and I’m sure her teen daughter can see it. I feel sorry for her kids and I’m not sure what to do. How do I get her to understand she has got to get a grip and start taking care of her children?
Sheila, Waldorf, Md.
I hear you and yes, I have a horizon full of advice for her bright as the morning sun. But, TBT, it doesn’t matter ‘cause she wouldn’t entertain this dance at dawn even if it knocked on the front door with a box of chocolates and a dozen long-stemmed roses. I mean no judgment, no shade, truly I understand ~ it’s because her heart is broken. While drowning in the pain of rejection, negativity is all she has to offer. The assassination of her marriage has overwhelmed her and she’s not sure where to go or what to do. When living with a broken heart, unwanted criticism isn’t welcomed. You’ll need to tread lightly and be creative when replacing her sour lemon juice with real cane sugar, sweet tea.
Let’s start with casual conversations about parenting. Discuss the pain experienced by children seated in between an emotional tug of war. One parent’s critical comments about another are extremely hurtful for a child to endure. We’d all agree, kids deserve limitless love and affection from both parents, married, separated or divorced. Down the road, if a mate turns out to be a rubbish receptacle, it’s not the fault of our kids. Bottom line, we must love them, our children, more than we hate our ex partners. Adults adhere a horrible resistance to correction, me included, and I don’t know why, especially when I’m pissed. This will take time and can translate into a meaningful support system between friends. Be patient and kind, she’s hurting. There’s no need to fly a flag of her faults, we all have them and are sometimes blinded by our own unfiltered light. She has been delivered a traumatic blow to her very core. Find out if she’ll consider therapy. Yes, she needs to reroute her anger and be strong for her children, but she can’t give what she doesn’t have and right now she’s not right with herself. She needs professional intervention and a good friend to hold her accountable. Take her to church. Give her a number to reach out to social services. She has a big step to take and she needs your help like yesterday. Don’t waste another day trying to change her. She doesn’t need changing, she needs healing and healing the right way, takes time.
Alma Gill’s newsroom experience spans more than 25 years, including various roles at USA Today, Newsday and the Washington Post. Email questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Facebook at “Ask Alma” and twitter @almaaskalma.