It took 10 years to forgive myself

Forgiveness. Such an easy word to say but so hard to do. Especially if the recipient is not deserving of it. I wasted 10 years of my life holding on to things that 1) was not worth it; 2) stunted my mental development; 3) literally paused my life. I take 100% of the blame for that. I should have known better. I KNEW BETTER. But at the time, I didn’t think I was deserving of happiness. Unfortunately, I was complacent on where my life was at the time – unhappy.

In 2006, when my ex-husband choose another woman over me – his wife – it was time for me to go. After plenty of spiritual counselling and reassurance that I would be doing what was best for myself and the children, I took a leap of faith and left that emotionally abusive situation. I left with the two most important parts of my existence – my daughter and my son. They were all I had. They were all I needed. The children were 9 and 6 years old. Of course, they were distraught over the situation. But I explained to them that the separation was not in any way their fault. Needless to say, the guilt of taking them away from their father was eating me from the inside out – gnawing at me day by day. They could not understand the situation because of their innocence. After our nightly prayers, my youngest would beg me to please “take Daddy back”. What he didn’t know was that it was Daddy who didn’t want me.

As the years went along, so did the aggravation. The mental and emotional abuse continued even after the divorce. It was like I was being tortured for leaving him. The audacity of me leaving to go and stand on my own. But the children were thriving despite of it all. They were both engaged in the Gifted and Talented Enrichment program (G.A.T.E.) and honor roll students. They even competed to see who would get the better grades. (I LOVED IT!) I tried to give them the best life I could have with what I had. It wasn’t always easy. Sometimes I would have to make sure my babies had full bellies before they went to bed – even if that meant me not eating for the night. There were plenty days like that (but it was all worth it). And I made sure I taught my children the “golden rule” in life. Only for them to be taught the complete opposite during their every other weekend visits with Dad. It’s like I had to reprogram them once they got home “Hey… we don’t do that in this house.” Eventually, they began to understand that Momma’s house rules trumps everyone else’s.

The audacity of me leaving to go and stand on my own.

Wendy Shipman

Ten years later in 2016 is when my life took a turn. While seeking spiritual guidance, I realized how much hate, resentment, anger and bitterness I had built up over time. I was holding on to all of this dead weight and I didn’t deserve to. I yelled, I cried, I screamed, I wept… and it was at that moment that I actually forgave my ex. All of the infidelity, all of the times when I needed financial help because of the kids extracurricular activities but didn’t get it, all of the tears I had to wipe away when you favored one child over another, all of the bragging you had done about the kids when you did absolutely nothing for them, and the time you dropped insurance on your child while she was in college because – “as you told her” – you did it to get back at me. You have always been a classic narcissist. Silly me had hoped you would have changed for the kids’ sake. That didn’t happen. But now, our grown kids can see you for the person you really are. It is on them now to deal with you – whereas my season with you have been completed. In the midst of all of that, I forgive you. And I thank you at the same time. Because if it wasn’t for you, I would have never gotten to know what being cherished and respected feels like. I would have never gotten a good understanding of what real love should feel like. I honestly believe I would never have met my now husband (a truly remarkable man) if I didn’t release the anger I had for you that had me bound. Yes … I sincerely thank you.

More importantly, I FORGAVE MYSELF! When someone tells you that they can actually feel weight lifted off after a moment of enlightenment, believe it. It is a feeling like no other. After I left my spiritual leader’s place, my entire body felt empty, but in a good way. I felt like I could breathe. Everything seemed brighter than before. It was then I was able to receive and fill up with the love I deserved.

Until next time … be blessed.

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