This quotation from my DailyCalm recently resonated heavily with me.
This is mostly to do with the father of 1son who is an alcoholic. He drank heavily while I knew him and up to several years after we divorced.
He claimed that he woke up one morning and decided that he would be a better father to 1son if he quit drinking and so he just did. I didn’t believe it was quite that simple but he certainly never had a drink again.
I am very grateful that he did quit as it enabled him to be a better father to 1son who subsequently went to live with him which he couldn’t have otherwise done.
But, for all that I’m also just really angry that he’s never apologised to me. He’s never said sorry for the pain that he caused me, whether due to the alcohol or otherwise. He’s never acknowledged that he put me through all that and that quite simply pisses me off.
I put up with his drinking, his being drunk, his snoring, his siphoning of all money to drink. He got fired while I was pregnant as one of his departing work colleagues complained about working with someone in potentially hazardous conditions who would be drunk at 10am. They opened his locker and the empty bottles cascaded out, despite him having had sufficient warning that he could have cleared them out. Every time I hoovered I found bottles stashed behind the furniture and in weird places. He claimed that getting fired was deliberate as he wanted to stay at home and look after me whilst pregnant. Which would have been nice except that I’d been made redundant so we had no money coming in.
The day I brought my son home from the hospital, after three days stay, should have been one of the happiest days of my life as the new mother triumphantly returns home, babe in arms. Instead we got home and my then husband collapsed on the bed and started snoring. The place was in a tip and he’d clearly not done anything other than drink since I’d given birth. I scrabbled around emptying his pockets to find enough money to order a pizza, the only food that delivered, as the fridge was empty and seriously contemplated for the first time ever the fact that maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but one day, I would have to leave him. And then I cried.
Just writing that leaves me shaking with anger. It wasn’t how it was supposed to be. It took me another two years to accept that being a father wasn’t going to change anything and to get started on divorce proceedings. That whole period of itself was traumatic as he refused to leave our home so I took 1son and went and stayed with the local vicar for far longer than they were happy for. I’m very thankful to them, even if I cannot remember their names. Eventually 1ex went back down to London, to his mother’s and we returned home. He contested the divorce as I cited alcoholism as the reason and said he would agree to it if I changed it to no fault which I refused to do and he did give in. It was important to me that I didn’t back down and pretend that the reasons were other than they were or that the blame for our marital breakdown might have been more 50-50.
Despite all my wishes I didn’t however actually break off communications and let him see 1son whenever he could. This wasn’t very often until I moved down to London a few years later but he did make day trips to see his son and I would always find an empty bottle, anywhere from a half to an eighth, of the cheapest whisky, neatly tucked next to a garden hedge or hall within a door or two away.
I now appreciate that even if he hadn’t been a drunk I would probably have ended up divorcing him. I welcome the fact that we can get on as long as we keep our conversations (preferably by email or telephone) to matters relating to 1son or IT and rarely anything else. He has done his bit by 1son who got more attention from his father and grandmother than he could have done from me with three other children to take care of. I recognise all that.
But I still want him to say sorry and that isn’t going to happen. I cannot make it happen and I’m definitely not going to ask. So I have to let it go. I have known this for multiple years though and I haven’t.
I feel anger towards him in a way that I don’t towards my parents. I may not have realised it at the time but he was supposed to be my way out from my childhood, from the mess that my life was at the time that I met him. Instead of being my saviour, he instead reinforced many of my already existing feelings of inadequacy and made matters worse. So really I am angry at him for not being the person I needed and wanted him to be even though that wasn’t really within his power.
Maybe then I have transferred to him the anger that I should have felt towards my parents for all that my upbringing led me to feeling completely disempowered and without identity at an age when I should have been leaping forth into the world. It’s easier to feel angry towards him, who I have mostly cut out of my life, than it is to be angry towards my parents with whom I have much more complicated bonds.
So I have to let go of my hostility towards him because, ultimately, it’s simply not his fault.