Saturday, 29 March 2014

Divorce (continued)

Been there - got the 'T' shirt.

I'm still 'friends' with my ex-wife. I like her a lot for all those qualities that led us to marry.

Recently she said that I should tell my adopted son why we got divorced.

"First of all, it reminds me of how you felt when we split up.  You didn't think I should be saying anything to . . . . about why we had done so and I thought that if the parents didn't explain that there was a good reason for them to split up it must be extra hard for a child to understand."
To which I replied:
"I still think I was right. Finding reasons is impossible. One has to accept the reality : people are far too hung up on 'understanding'. I don't understand why we spit up so how can I explain it to anyone else. Basically we were two fragile human beings who didn't know how to cope with their situation. Emotions took over and reason went out the window."
That was many years ago. Now I'm able to look back with reason rather than emotion and perhaps have a saner view to what happened.

Only a year before we split up we were discussing the possibility of buying Eternity Rings because our relationship was going so well.

Then we hit an emotional problem. One that we couldn't discuss in a reasoning mode. An emotional problem that a counsellor spotted earlier and when raised, made me want to take cover - I had an image of being in a prison cell, crouched in the corner with by arms held over my head as though I was being attacked with a baseball bat.

Emotions were high. Emotions that were buried deep in our psyche. Emotions I certainly didn't understand and on reflection now are still buried there as they still haven't gone away. Emotions that may have built up from early childhood and were never sorted out - and still aren't.

What I and other psychiatrists refer to as 'Baggage':
baggage |ˈbagɪdʒ|noun
• figurative past experiences or long-held ideas regarded asburdens and impediments the emotional baggage I'm haulingaround 

 more than others. Presumably resulting from emotional experiences from our past - possibly our childhood.

We carry this with us through our life and some of us learn to cope with it - others don't.

It has always intrigued me that well known people who have the money, like Woody Allen go in for deep psychological therapy when they grow old. Presumably trying to sort out their baggage which when they stop and reflect, they realise they would like sorting out - with success or failure. Others of us realise it's there but learn to live with it. For me his face reflects that he is troubled:

Other people, I have got to know, have accepted the baggage and appear to us all as very normal people, living contented lives. For all that, they regularly trip over their baggage and have flaming rows with their wives or partners. You'd never know unless told. They are what we all call 'well adjusted, loving couples'. My partner and I are one.

More to follow - I'm off to play chess in the Market Square.

If we've got a bit of self esteem left, we all in fact have flaming rows. Perhaps, the difference to those that get divorced is that we get over these very real emotional upsets and get back to 'normal'. In our case we both know we've got sensitive areas and we try to steer away from these or when we hit them, we take deep breaths, calm down ready to re-engage again. My 'deep breaths' consist of going and bashing hell out of our piano which amazingly produces lovely sounds - albeit with lots of discords - which when they've hit the four walls and reverberated down the street - lead into some contrasting calmer harmonious passages - and the outburst is eventually over.

What else helps? Gaining a bit of perspective from others that know us and from getting to know others that also have rows and are willing to talk about it.

I was amused that this is becoming an open subject of conversation. The train manager when selling us our tickets to Lancaster said " Are you sure you want a return on a single ticket? You may have a row when you get there and want to return separately."

On the Coast Road bus the other day. Full of people that know each other well, people were quite frank about the disagreements they had with their partners. They talked about these in a relaxed way as though they had learnt to live comfortably with their baggage.

Personally, I don't think the baggage can be sorted out, it's more helpful to accept it as a very annoying old friend/enemy that drops in now and again. He/she has an airing like a jack-in-a-box and gets put stuffed back where he belongs.

Coffee and my regular coffee call. And perhaps a cuddle in the lovely body-filled sleepy bed I've left. Besides look outside - there's no rain! Things are looking up - yes we had a brief 'rowette' last night - all over now.

Coming up Janet Street Porter and a couple here in Ulverston who have declared that they are planing on divorce:

 Janet Street-Porter:

" If only more couples could be as honest as Gwyneth and Chris

Marriage is a practical solution to bringing up kids and finding companionship, but if it doesn’t work out, don’t beat yourself up"

What do you think?

No comments: