19 January 2010


There is some drama unfolding among family members and the ripples affect everyone. At the center is a relationship that has expired. Everyone has a bit of experience with this particular episode in the chronicle of living. And the nature of everyone else’s personal experience seems to taint the way that we view and react to what is happening now. There are equal amounts of fear, concern, anger and outrage. These feelings then trigger our tendencies to withdraw, take an offensive stance and/or place blame. I can see parts of myself all over that map.

About 7 or 8 months after my divorce I found myself out of town on business for a few days. In the evenings, I returned to my hotel room, and did some work addressing the things that I had never quite gotten around to processing about my own failed marriage. From that distance, I saw it as though all the players were outside myself. I saw the damaging behaviors, many of which were of my own creation. I even understood why I adopted that behavior. I saw the harmful effects over time and how it contributed to the erosion that finally took the life away from the relationship.

It was painful to put myself there and live it again as an objective witness. I spent most of my evenings in tears, accepting responsibility for so many mistakes, but I completed the work and gained some much needed perspective.

In the present tense, this ugly set of circumstances bears striking resemblance to my own experience. But I find myself unwilling to attribute blame to one party or the other, because the way I remember it, this ugliness, played out in the final act, was set in motion long ago through many other relationship missteps. I suspect in the current drama it is also true. But I can not know for certain, because I have not lived these lives. No one knows. Except for the two people living the experience now.

The rest of us experience it as a replay of the shadows of our memories.


  1. This is a very interesting post. While it is obviously heart felt and emotional it is also a bit cryptic. I can sort of sense the feelings and emotions that are referenced, but obviouly don't have a clue about the specifics. Suffice to say, that most of us have similar experiences. I know my first marriage left me with a lot of scares and a lot of learning, that painted the world a much different color after it was all over.

  2. It's hard to avoid the entanglement of hurt that plagues every break up. Or re-living it through another's similar experience. I hate to think of how much of my own luggage I drop at the doorsteps of others who appear to be going through a situation that mirrors my own past situation. Sometimes, I can help them with that experience, but mostly, just listening is what they want. When two people aren't right for each other, any number of things crop up between both parties until a recognition of that is made. Hoping the pain of your divorce is smoothing out into all good things.

  3. Interesting, introspective piece. I hope you and others find peace. I admire how you can take a difficult topic and approach it the way you do. I have some drama unfolding in the extended areas of my life nad have thought about blogging about it, not sure how to approach it with respect and sensitivty and then thinking maybe it's not enough of mine to touch. You've given me much to think about here.

  4. it is true that you can only write with conviction about your own experience and feelings about that experience. But since an infinite array of external circumstances trigger your memories and invoke (or provoke) feelings, it might lead to something ...

  5. Wow Diane, this one really hits home. Its always the outside parties that try to dictate your relationship. Usually its sad because you don't know when its coming when things are supposed to be fine and dandy then BOOM, stuff hits the fan. Even though it was your relationship, should you really take most of the blame? i don't know the circumstances but something like this happened to me and I took most of the blame but when thinking about it, I shouldn't have.

  6. without using the word blame, it is completely ok to personally acknowledge accept responsibility for your behavior, good or bad. That's pretty much all I ever try to do. One person does not get to take credit (aka: blame) for bringing down a relationship, just as one person cannot take credit for creating a relationship. It's a team effort, either way. Hope things are better for you now...