Soul destruction

It is a balmy late afternoon, the light is soft and golden, and when the doors open, I see her without seeing. She is wearing something off-white, floaty and elegant, a pretty blond, ten years younger than me: My replacement.

I shrink inwardly, feeling frumpy, old, and defeated.

The situation has an air of absurdity. We are standing outside the building where we used to live as a family, the children are playing with T, and I am thanking the woman he now lives with for agreeing to meet me.

She does not even seem stupid or arrogant, and replies something reasonable along the lines of I understand, it is legitimate. We chit-chat pleasantly for a minute or two before I make my excuses as I have left dinner cooking upstairs.

I keep smiling as I say good-bye to my daughter who is laughing on her dad’s shoulders, get back into the lift, into the flat, automatically check on dinner, and try to reassure my son, before I finally sink down to the floor and howl.

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28 thoughts on “Soul destruction

  1. Oh Lady E how tough, how horrid, how heart wrenching. What more can I say.

    Lots and lots of hugs winging there way to you through the ether.

    I have yet to face that moment.

    You did it with amazing dignity. Well done.

    More and more hugs

    Caroline

  2. Honestly, I don’t recommend it. Unless you really need to, don’t face that moment…
    As a woman, it’s like having your heart shredded by a blunt knife. And I am still mopping the floor with my self-confidence.
    As a mum who wants to do the best for her daughter, it felt necessary to build a minimum of rapport with her step-mum.
    Thanks for the hugs, I truly need them today x

  3. You’re neither frumpy nor old. You’re pretty and full of life. These I can vouch for.

    She who is The Replacement is unproven. She’s never had kids, learned how to run a family unit, or ‘survived’ as you have.

    Yours better and stronger than her, and T’s loss will be someone else’s gain. It’s a shame he had to hurt you and TWO children along the way…I’m so sorry for how this has affected you. You deserve better.

    • Thank you SD, that’s just what I needed to hear. My self-confidence is just so fragile… The thing is that we don’t know that I am better than her or worse or whatever, but yes, I deserve better than T.
      xx

      • For even having the ability to do that, you are a better person than I.
        I can feel the wrenching gut from across the world. SD is correct in his words and i agree.
        This showed your concern for your kids, your ability to face the pain head on and your strength.
        The howling may have felt like a lull….but it was honesty and truth. I would be more worried if it did not happen.
        You are doing so well. You are polishing the shards of glass. Painful to do, but it is growth.
        I admire you.
        Peace to you
        LFBA

        • Thank you for your kind words LFBA.
          I am concerned for my kids, I think we all are in our own ways. And perhaps on this one occasion I should have protected myself, rather than think about my child.
          The price I am paying for polishing this particular shard is some pretty deep cuts to my confidence.
          Was it worth it? The jury’s still out…
          Hope things are improving for you.
          x

    • Thanks Pat, this was really, really hard I have to say.
      But as my friend told me, the New Ms T is probably in a right state this weekend, thinking that T’s ex is such a pretty brunette, even though she’s ten years older and has two children. I rather like that idea :)…

  4. Now that you have met her once you need never fear her again. Nor do you have to speak to her again. Leave Mr T to deal with any backwash.
    I have never had to face that situation but how hard it must have been for you. But of course, you faced it with your usual aplomb (and didn’t fall apart until you were on your own). Each time he picks up your/his daughter will be easier even if you don’t believe this right now.
    Hugs from Aotearoa (NZ). 🙂

    • Well, I would like to see her again to have a “proper” discussion about her experience of looking after children, her views on child-rearing, her experience of parental separation perhaps, that kind of stuff…Background…In my mind building rapport with her helps ensure she will treat my daughter well.
      But I need to really weigh out this potential benefit against the devastating consequences on my self-confidence, while it remains so fragile.
      Thanks for the hugs, they’re definitely what I need. x

  5. You really don’t need to build a rapport with her or have any sort of discussion just yet. She will either be the kind of person who loves kids or does not, being a sort of ‘friend’ to you will not change how she treats your daughter.

    She will be wanting to score brownie points with T right now, so she will look after your daughter. You do not need to put yourself through so much discomfort and pain at the moment. Leave that part until you are stronger.

    Take comfort from that fat that she is 10 years younger. My replacement was 22 years younger. I wouldn’t even try to compete with that!! 🙂

    You will heal. Yes, it takes time, but quite frankly, you deserve much better than the moron who left you.

    Hugs in huge amounts.

    • Thanks Katie, and you might be right about not needing to build a connection to the New Ms T, I just don’t know…
      Don’t know how long she’s gonna be around either. How long did your husband’s new squeeze last?
      Still a long way to go to healing…
      Thank you for the hugs x

      • He wasn’t my husband, he was my husband to be and his new relationship is still ongoing.

        Do whatever is best for you. You do need to know who she is, but you really do not need to be connected to her in any way. xx

  6. Awful! What a sad and difficult situation 😦
    Did you want to meet her?
    I’m trying to imagine myself in this situation and cannot. I know I would be in pieces for next few weeks.

    • I did ask to meet her, I wanted to reassure myself, get an idea about what my daughter’s step-mum was like…I’m not sure it was such a great idea, I don’t know yet.
      But yes, I am pretty much in pieces still.
      My only consolation is that realistically, she won’t last either, so is highly unlikely to play a big part my daughter’s life. Pretty lame I know … 😦

  7. This was wretched to read and worse to experience. That you should want to build some bridge with the ladyfor the sake of your child despite the emotional cost to you says so much about you. You are brave even though you don’t feel it now. My heart and thoughts go out to you

    • Thanks a million counting ducks, as usual, you find the right things to say for comfort. That’s quite a skill you’ve got there 🙂 !

  8. Oh, Lady E. I’ve been there. It is *hard*, to say the least, but as a mother I understand why you wanted and needed to meet her. I did the same. I was reassured on the level of safety of my children. On a personal level, it was devastating. Sounds like you handled it brilliantly–and the upstairs howl was completely justified and understandable. Well done, you.

    • Hi Meredith, you are actually the first person I “know” who’s been through this too. It feels reassuring, because I was beginning to doubt my judgement (crikey, I seem to spend my life doubting everything these days) for doing this.

      How did you feel when you met The Girfriend (apart fom the obvious devastation)? The thing that struck me most is that the NewMsT was faced for the first time with the family her boyfriend destroyed (with her own blessing), and she obviously felt no guilt whatsoever, her body language was open, she was trying to be nice. I think that rattled me more than anything else perhaps…

      I was trying to be nice too, and felt like I was condoning the situation, surrendering to the fact that yes, they were better suited so all is well that ends well.
      It’s hard to explain, but it made me doubt myself so deeply and on so many levels, it was horrid.
      x

      • The complete lack of “sensitivity” to the life left behind is one of the things that gets me riled too. They try to be “nicer” and “better” by being open…because after all, this is now the wat it is!!
        It is such a conflict.To be cordial…because that’s who you are at the core…but then that makes it seem like you condone, and you don’t want to give that impression. Or be standoffish m which goes against who you are but also is true in the stance you take against this act.

        As much as I can not seem to do this myself, I know that I would tell people to try for acceptance. You don’t have to condone or approve. You can be open and polite in your ability to state this too…if asked.

        it is just so difficult. There are now right or wrong ways…we just muddle through.
        Peace and Hugs to you

          • Mmm, I agree, the lack of sensitivity is astonishing. It’s probably protection, no one likes to feel bad about themselves (complete guess work here)?
            And I think you’re right, opting for the higher ground ie. being nice, respectful to people involved in your children’s life no matter what you think of them deep inside sets a good example.
            Blast, it’s just all too complicated and hard sometimes!
            xx

            • It is made more difficult for me in that I have known the snake for 30 yrs. I don’t want him in my son’s life, i think it is bad for my son to be involved with him…and I don’t want his narcissism and lack of ethics to affect my son. So…cordiality to him is not an option for me. …AND…he flaunts it at me. Giving me the big, “I took your family smile” as he hangs around at my son’s sporting events.
              I know how difficult this is and I can only commend you for being able to do it.

      • I wrote about it here: http://nowisgoodblog.wordpress.com/2010/06/29/putting-a-face-on-failure/

        Their lack of regret or shame *still* irks me. The smugness of getting what they wanted, no matter the cost or harm to others … that irritates the hell out of me. I have not yet risen to the point of friendliness with her. The best I can do is sort of an ignoring tolerance. We are often both in the same place, around the kids, and the most I can manage is usually a lack of eye contact. The absence of overt friction. The restraining myself from calling her out and smacking her down.

        I can’t really say it’s gotten any easier, but the first time was the worst time. That was the hardest, and you’ve cleared that hurdle. Feel good about that.

        • Thanks Meredith, the parallels between your post and mine on the same subject are as usual both spooky and hugely comforting.
          I’ll try to feel good about it, but meanwhile, I cannot wait for these two ladies to met their own replacements ;)…

  9. Wow…pain…i felt sorrow for you at the end of your post…such powerful words being expressed in your blog. Thank you for allowing us to read it.

    T.

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