Sometimes I look back and wonder exactly where I went wrong in this whole ordeal with Eliza.  Now that I’ve had to time to figure out what my “crimes” were, I must say that I am guilty as charged.


In hindsight I realize that I was a little too eager to make our relationship known to the world. I paid little attention to how she might have felt.  I mistakenly assumed that she had accepted the divorce and moved on with her life.  Boy was I so wrong!  From her point of view I’m sure I came off as Ms. Goody-Goody–ready and willing to step in and take her place.  


The first time I met her I smiled and extended my hand in greeting.  Eliza glared at me disdainfully and ignored my gesture.  She declined to say hello.  In that moment I understood I was the perceived enemy. I was a little alarmed by her lack of decorum, but at the time, I really didn’t take her rebuff to heart.  In my ignorance I figured she would eventually soften when she saw how well I treated her children.  Wrong again!!!  This approach had the opposite effect.  It seemed the more I bonded with the boys, the more irate she became.  Later down the line Eliza accused me of wanting her boys for my own. 


Another offense I committed was my refusal to be scared off.  I have to give it to Eliza; she really had some creepy, morbid, desperate weapons in her arsenal that would have caused a saner girl to break camp.  I know that my diligence puzzled her especially considering she had successfully ran off several other women he had attempted to date.  My dogged determination to stay with my husband only served to fuel her fire.  She was willing to do anything to get rid of me.


 Any time that they had court dates, save one or two when I just couldn’t alter my schedule, I was there.  It didn’t matter that my husband had actually requested my presence.  My presence was a constant reminder to her that she was no longer his wife.  My courtroom cameos were an affront  to Eliza.  It meant that I was overstepping boundaries and “meddling in her business.”  She told my husband several times “out of respect do not bring your wife or whatever you want to call her any where near me.”  Seeing us together must have seemed like I was rubbing salt in her wound of a failed marriage.  This was not my intention; but now I can see why it could have felt that way to her at the time.  Really, I was simply a thorn in her side.  She and my husband had many separations during their short time together.  As long as he was single, there was always a chance for reconciliation.  Our marriage was the end of this ever being a chance again.


However, I was not content to be a shadow in my own life.  I didn’t feel that it was realistic of her to expect me to be invisible for the sake of her insecurities.  My most felonious crime was being lovable in the eyes of my husband.  Our marriage aggravated her obviously low self worth.  Her solution to this problem was to compete with me.  While he might have had me, she had their two children.  Even though he divorced her, he could not truly cut ties with her because of the boys.  She constantly reminded us both of this. 


So what would I do differently you ask?  I think I would have made my self less visible—not invisible.  Perhaps I could have been gracious enough to give her the space she desperately needed to come to terms with her situation.  This action could have saved us a lot of stress down the road, who knows? 


Today I read a beautifully candid post by Thirty Something Mommy of Two Boys that details her journey at the other end of the spectrum. 

5 responses »

  1. Maybe that would have worked and maybe she would have just found something else to fixate on.

    It’s most gracious of you to think of it all!

  2. I agree with Amy, I think she would have found fault with no matter what you did. You shouldn’t have to hide because your husband loves you. You are always so thoughtful, and such a great role model for us all!

  3. I agree with Amy and Stacy as well. How could you be anything other than what you are? That would have been an affront to God. You honor God when you do the right thing for the better of the innocent and in support of your family. Eliza had nothing to do with it.

    Like many women, she blames you for what’s missing in her life. And what’s missing is more than her “ex-husband.” You KNOW you took nothing from her. You tried to extend “community”, be gracious, to ease the road for all. She opted NOT to take grace and continues to do so.

    It’s like when you’re with the kids. Some kid will say something hurtful or mean. You KNOW it’s not about the kid who got the name or look. It’s about the other kid. This is about Eliza and you know, from other sage women who read your post, you CANNOT fix crazy.

    I think this drives “us” crazy because we want things to be fixed. We believe that it’s possible. We are workers who will push boulders up-hill daily knowing that “just a little bit more” will make the difference. We don’t give up. We are tenacious, persistent, caring, and working to make the world better. I think, even though we know better, we still reside in the world where people SHOULD rather than people DO.

    I also think Eliza hates you because you’ve known love. Because you’ve known love, you give it freely. She hasn’t, so she can’t. She hides love and uses it to hurt or to punish. I imagine it pains her to see you, which further fuels her rage. Her desire to hurt you is because what you have, and have always had, is inside of you. It’s something she can’t take. Love is a powerful beacon.

    Continue to be strong. You have real purpose on this Earth. You are delivering the messages you’re meant to deliver about grace, and glory, and love.

    It ain’t easy. You need to rest when it’s hard. However, you can do this. You are meant to be great. Don’t let ANYONE take that from you.

    Happy Saturday M.

  4. Suzanne~

    I do live in a world in which I expect people to behave a certain way! And I am always disappointed when they don’t!

    I’ve also come to realize that Eliza will always have a bone to pick with me. My bad qualities will continue to outweigh the good ones in her mind. And there is nothing I can do about that. But it is so hard for me to accept the fact that love, grace, and kindness did not save the day!!! Ah, but as you pointed out, she CHOSE not to accept the grace. This was something that I couldn’t force on her.

    Because she is such a “heatseeker” she doesn’t understand how I have been able to leave her world so quietly and without fanfare. I did not attempt to write her to explain anything or argue with her regarding her badmouthing me to Jazmine’s mom. I refuse to do this. I should no longer be a factor in her life–yet I am! As far as I am concerned I am done with her; unless by some miracle of God I was to get the boys back. If that were the case, I would continue extending courtesies to her.

    I am in a resting phase right now. When I reposition myself, I will be back to my old self again.

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