By Lisa Thomson
Have you been asked “Are you crazy” since your divorce? It’s not uncommon for a spouse to accuse their ex of being ‘crazy’, ‘freaking Looney Toons’, ‘bi-polar’ or ‘wacko’, especially if they’re the one to end the marriage. It helps them to cope with the fact that their spouse doesn’t want to continue living with them. After all, anyone who doesn’t want to remain in their wonderful company must be unstable.
I knew someone who used to say, “She left me. Can you believe that?” It was really quite comical in an ironic way. While he asks that very question, I’m thinking in my mind…”Well, that isn’t so unbelievable.” But it was unbelievable to him. He was probably waiting for me to say, “No, really? She must be crazy!”
If finding your inner voice and facing your personal truth means you’re crazy then so be it. Einstein wasn’t exactly normal. Remember, going against the norm or the normal boundaries of your life is a game changer. It will change your life and the people in it. It may even cause a tidal wave but it will be worth it. Staying in a situation because it’s safe is not always the way to ‘live your best life’ to quote Oprah. Remaining in the status quo to keep other people happy will likely render your dreams dead and your inner voice silent.
The truth is you might have to go a little crazy to find your sanity.
I used to tell people, “I’m not losing my mind, I’m finding it.” It sounds funny but it was true. That was my answer to people who questioned my decision to end my eighteen-year marriage. My sister in law and my soon to be ex-husband began to tell people I was bi-polar. She was working in the field of mental health (she is not a doctor) and consequently thought it was okay to diagnose me with a serious mental illness. It made me furious. It is slander after all, to wrongly label someone with a mental illness and spread rumors of the like.
There may have been a long term plan to perhaps assume sole custody of our children by calling into question my mental stability. I agreed to shared custody however he may not have felt the same way. Maybe he thought it would serve him well both socially and legally to make a claim on my state of mind? He even called my therapist who I had only begun to see, to tell her not to believe anything I told her because ‘she’s not herself.’
When the therapist told me this it scared me. I felt my privacy was being threatened even though she reassured me she wouldn’t divulge anything to him as it was against the code of ethics. I felt so invaded, I never returned to her office. It seemed at the time that everyone else was crazy. I was in fact, the only sane one. I’ve had friends tell me I’m ‘one of the most normal people they know’ and I’ll take that at face value.
In hindsight all of this is laughable but it’s important to me to share my story. I hope to empower women who may be going through the same thing because one of the underlying goals of this type of slander is to undermine your confidence. They are trying to get you to question your own decision. They are planting the seed of self doubt. If that seed is allowed to grow then you lose your strength. The self doubt will weaken your resolve.
Knowing this at the start will prevent the erosion of your confidence and keep you strong throughout the process. Divorce is an emotional time. It is wrought with sadness, anger and happiness. All of these emotions can cause tears. Just because you express your emotions, does that make you bi-polar? Of course not but there is an expectation in our society to keep our emotions and true feelings hidden. The minute you put them out there you’re given a prescription for anti-depressants. Repeat after me…
“Divorce is sad but I’m normal… Divorce is hard but I’m normal… Divorce is emotional but I’m normal.”
Continue to listen to your inner voice, she knows the truth. Continue to listen to your gut instincts for they are rarely wrong. Express your emotions when you need to and most importantly cast away the haters and slanderers. Believing in yourself will assure your ability to rise above the ‘crazy’ and move forward, with your sanity intact. The next time someone asks “Are you crazy?” you can answer… “I’m normal, living in a crazy world.” And walk away with a smile and your head held high.
Lisa Thomson is the author of The Great Escape; A Girl’s Guide to Leaving a Marriage, a book full of practical tips and personal stories to help people navigate the divorce process. To read more of Lisa’s posts please visit her at Lisa Thomson Live.
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