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5 Words My Ex Uses to Describe Me

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Let's be clear. With any broken relationship comes some element of pain. We are created for connection, not disconnection. The story behind the breakup of my marriage is long and arduous. Some have suggested I need to write a book or screenplay, but I'm not sure I want the 'truth is stranger than fiction' element of my life showing up on screen! I say that somewhat jokingly, but it has definitely been no joke.

Maybe in the sharing of this personal experience I can encourage consideration of your own circumstances and how you behave in them. Maybe there's potential to be or do differently -- to bring a measure of peace to you, your loved ones and your situation.

I am able to tell this particular story because years of work and healing have transpired. I've chosen forgiveness as a way of life. It's the only option. People will always hurt people, plain and simple. We are not perfect, no not one of us. As much as I extend forgiveness, I require it. My kids, my friends, my family -- I've failed them all in some way, shape or form, at some point in time.

To give context to the magnitude of our reality, between the five of us (including my ex) we've experienced the trauma of addiction, suicide, cancer, "dis"-abilities and one being victimized by a crime. I'm sure you'd agree that not one of those life events is easy to deal with. You can well imagine the upheaval, the intense pain, the harsh reality that our kids have been exposed to in their young lives. I watch in awe at their resilience, their ability to process what we've been through and still laugh themselves silly. We have come a long, long way!

Back to the name calling. We've certainly had our share of it -- not all nice. However, at the dinner table some months ago my lovelies wanted to take turns using five positive words to describe each of the other three. Where that came from I have no idea, but of course I was game to play along! Just as we began the kids' dad showed up, so he joined us at the table. Kids being kids, they wanted him to participate in our little game as well, so he did.

When it came time for him to describe me there was a pause, all eyes were on me. I took a deep breath and held it. I wasn't sure I wanted to hear what he had to say. As hard as we've worked to provide an amiable atmosphere for our children I wasn't convinced I wanted to listen, but I knew it was a defining moment for my babes.

It was a defining moment for me too. Out of his mouth came these words:

  • Extremely supportive
  • Encouraging
  • Responsible
  • Caring
  • Good Mom

Okay, so technically that's seven words. I will never underestimate the impact of that moment in the lives of my children. I don't even need to attempt describing it because you know just how indelibly marked that will be in their hearts and minds, considering some of our history.

One truth they will carry their entire lives as a result, is that when brokenness and pain tear you limb from limb, healing can come. If you allow it. If you work at it. If you give it opportunity.

Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder. -- Rumi

So. What kind of name caller are you?