Gray Girlfriend's Guide to Divorce

Hellfire or Holy Water?

orange lightning above a dark body of water
by Amy Lawson, MBA, CDFA®

In an effort to heal the old wounds that tie us to the past, I’m learning to embrace the less-than-attractive aspects of myself; I’m striving to be whole.

The healing balm of wholeness seems illusive at times. It can be difficult to truly see our goodness if we view our flaws as bad. Conversely, it’s difficult to embrace in ourselves that which we consider bad in others.

How do we know what we need to embrace? Based on my understanding, it depends on how we react to behaviors we find repelling in others.

Embracing the Past

In my case, I’m learning to embrace my anger. When I was growing up, I wasn’t allowed to be angry. Despite some horrible abuses inflicted upon me as a child, I wasn’t allowed to get angry about it. Being angry was equated with not being “nice.” And because I wanted to be loved, I learned to be “nice.”

When I grew up, my attempts to voice displeasure were met with unflattering labels. When I was strong and stood up for myself, I was called a bitch. When I refused to be manipulated, I was called hard-hearted. When I refused to listen to one more lie, I was called cold-hearted. When I walked away after the 14th empty apology, I was called heartless.

Have you noticed that the very people who fail to love us well call US names? It’s enough to make you angry, isn’t it?

When I see people rant and rave, I become uncomfortable but quickly feel superior because I keep my cool – on the surface that is. Underneath, I can be seething angry, holding it in, trying to be “nice,” until I explode. I’ve been learning to express my anger like a valve on a radiator, as opposed to going off like a cheap rocket.

Embrace Your Future

As I’m learning to embrace my ability to feel and acknowledge my anger, I’m also perusing the long list of less-than-attractive traits of mankind, gingerly evaluating the next one I’ll attempt to embrace. This exercise through the halls of humanity is showing me that in a different set of circumstances – albeit terrible circumstances – we as human beings have the potential to do things that we might never imagine ourselves doing. This doesn’t excuse the wrongs inflicted upon us by others, but instead reflects how vastly capable we are as human beings of such good and evil. And being whole means accepting the potential of it all, the potential of us all; of all humankind.

What does this mean to you as you navigate this next part of your journey, a journey that for now includes the daunting reality of divorce? Dear friend, embrace every bit of what makes you, YOU. And, if you feel as though you’re lacking in some trait you need to get through a particularly difficult moment, channel those of us who have walked the path before you.

Just Be You

Be sad that your dream died.
Be happy HE will soon be out of your life.

Be angry that he lied to you/cheated on you/beat you up/put you down.
Be delighted that you know you are worthy of so much more.

Be a “bitch” when someone tries to take advantage of you.
Be a saint and forgive someone who has wronged you.

Be a warrior and fight for your future and that of your children.
Be a peacemaker when peace and safety are real possibilities.

Be afraid when your gut tells you that you are in danger.
Be brave and take the right action to protect yourself and your future.

Be compassionate to those in need.
Be “hard-hearted” and walk away from those who seek to harm you or your children, regardless of their need.

We are hellfire and holy water, my friend, and what they taste will depend on how they treat us.

Wishing you peace & plenty!

Your gray girlfriend,

Signiture

About the Author

User Photo
Amy Lawson, MBA, CDFA®

As a divorced baby boomer, Amy, an independent investment advisor since 2001, formally expanded her services in 2016 to help older women navigate the daunting financial minefield of divorce after meeting numerous smart, well-educated, divorced women who lacked the funds to secure their financial futures.  She understands that for older women facing divorce, achieving an equitable divorce settlement is the first step.

Previous Article

Control What You Can, But Stay 6 Feet Apart

Next Article

I Love You Just the Way You Are… Now Change