There’s a young woman in my office (28 years old) who is going through a big upheaval in her life. Just a year ago, “Jen” had her first baby, something she has longed for and waited for for a long while. She and her husband had been married for two years by that point. Four months later, he moves out and leaves them both. Her husband left her and their son and went to her very own brother’s wife, who is now also going through a divorce and his own custody mess. The siblings both were hurt and totally blindsided by the whole thing. Devastated. I have listened to her cry and rant since then, watched her stand up for herself and heard her voice become stronger over the year.
She was so quiet and accommodating before this and did her best to keep her husband happy, or what she thought would keep him happy. Now she is so very angry and bitter and keeps trying to control what happens with her son when he is with his father. She has no trust in the man. She has such a big heart, and this has been a huge learning experience for her as far as her faith in herself and others. I have shared with her that my daughter has gone through many of the same things and there is hope. There are blessings and gifts in this.
Several times, when she has asked, I have offered my own wisdom, drawing on what I have learned over the years and the experiences my daughter has been going through. Today, as this girl vented, two of us moms/grandmas talked to her, listened to her and tried to show her a different perspective. She is smart and will find her way eventually, and we were offering our “crone’s” wisdom. I can see her drink it in, her eyes trained on ours. I think she wants to see the light at the end of the tunnel and clings to that desire that all will be resolved soon and with the baby’s best interests in mind.
As we talked, the other woman took my terminology and flew with it. I told Jen that allowing her ex to control how she feels is giving her power to him. She kept saying, “he makes me…..” The other woman followed my lead, and wow. I had no idea that she would even know what I meant when I said “giving your power away”! This is so cool to hear those words come out of someone older than me, someone I had no idea who was spiritual in the least. And maybe she does not consider herself to be that, but she is. We talked about how carrying this bitterness and anger around keeps her connected to him and lets him control her feelings and actions. I suggested she stay in the present and when she is with her son, to not think about what happened in the past nor plan their future moments with her ex. I told her to be with her son when she is with him and also to enjoy being with him. She worries about her son’s father’s influence and ability to parent and that her son will be damaged. We said, no, you be mom and do what you do best. You can’t control that. Your boy has lots of love and family who will give him what he needs and he will figure out what he needs to know about his father and his family as he grows. Just love him and give him what you have to give (not stuff). He will know who to come to when he truly needs something.
We talked a lot. Little by little, I know Jen will understand and move forward. Right now it feels like she is spinning her wheels. I am going to give her number to my daughter, they are four years apart so they should be able to connect, and I think Erin would be good at talking to her. One time Jen asked me, “is your daughter still sane?!” LOL. Umm, maybe? But you need to laugh and not take it all so seriously. I also think it would be good for both of them to connect, even if only for support, as two young women going through similar situations (and both of them with control issues, lol).
It really makes me feel good to do this type of thing for someone who is open and asking. Sometimes I just want to put my arms around her like she was my own daughter. Her mom works in the same building so she doesn’t need me to do that, but I still care about her and she knows that. Ask me anything, Jen.