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.