I was not present for the ceremony and so much guilt, anger, frustration has surfaced that I feel maybe I need to voice it on here in the hopes that something finally works itself through my grey matter, or that my experience with this can in some way help someone else who may be battling with the same ghosts.
Where to start?
When my former Sister in law private messaged me asking if I was coming to the funeral, my response to her was "Hey there!!! No, I am not."
Now my former Sister in law is all shades of awesome, in fact she and her family were a huge blessing to me in my marriage and are the type of people who look you in the face and judge you for what is in your soul. It doesn't matter to them what your last name is, how many kids you have, how much money you make. You are a good person if your words and actions are good and what matters is how you treat the people around you.
I thought of a billion follow ups to my initial response to her- things like:
I love You People!!! (meaning she, her side of the family and her kids) But I can't be there because I can't handle being there. It has nothing to do with the people I consider my real extended family.
Then I wanted to type to her that I could not, in good faith be a positive presence when I still had so much anger and resentment toward my (and her) former In Laws.
My Step-Kids know I have their backs no matter what. Had they in fact needed me there in order for them to rock their awesome- nothing could have stopped me from being there and I would have been middle finger waving happy at any idiot in the room that dared to question the validity of my presence. But I never stopped for a second to think of how hard it was for my Sister in law to be there as a fellow "ex-wife and person non-grata."
During her marriage to my ex-asshole's equally assholic brother, she was an absolute Saint, married to a self-absorbed coward. She raised three amazing kids, two with special needs, and she looked bombshell fabulous doing so. The only reason I didn't hate her for being so ridiculously pretty- is that she is one of those "salt of the earth" people that you have no choice but to absolutely adore. She could make you laugh buggers out your nose (although watch your effing arm as she loved to accentuate "OMG guess what!" statements with an arm slap and those bitches hurt!) She is every inch loyal, passionate, and the world's best partner in crime :) I hit Sister in law gold with that beautiful, evil one :)
I should have, in my love of her, stopped the negative drama in my head long enough to ask "Are you going to be ok going?" or "Do you need me there for support?" Honestly, she's always been the strong one, so I assumed she would kick ass no matter what. I'm sorry that I left her hanging as a friend.
After it all was over, I got up enough nerve to type to Sharon (Ex-Husband's first wife and Mom of the greatest Step-Kids ever.)
She's another one of those strong as shit people, who was also the greatest "Arch Nemesis" that you could ever hope for!
I got the word from Amazing Step-Daughter that I would get to see her and the Amazing Step-Grand Kiddos- and I went digging into "the stuff I kept in case of.." in search of every photo that I had of my life with her Dad. I didn't get the opportunity to save every picture when I left John, but those I did get a hold of, I saved in the event (Amazing Step-Daughter was stationed overseas) that I got the chance to pass them over to her.
I came across one picture, my Ex, John with his parents' dog- that I pm'd to former Arch Nemesis turned awesome friend- Sharon- asking her to email it to our former Father in Law, and I broke down shortly after and typed her ear off over what I was feeling/going through/ how after these many years, after our Ex-Husband was cold and in the ground, I still haven't been able to forgive my former in laws for the hateful/hurtful things that they ingrained into me when I was desperate and clinging for ways to save my toxic marriage. Blink81 sums it up perfectly in their lyrics "Don't waste your time on me you're already the voice inside my head..."
Here's the thing. When you are in a toxic relationship with an addict (I include serial cheaters in this category as well.)
1. The only thing sacred to an addict is their next fix - everything and everyone else in their lives are obstacles to getting to their fix.
2. As the Spouse/Significant Other to an addict, don't assume you are their only enabler
3. Addiction can be a coping method of surviving a buried traumatic event. Your Significant Other may not be the only family member not being able to cope with the buried traumatic event.
4. If you care/feel enough, that makes you a threat to the status quo. Your Significant Other and his/her family members will find ways to destroy you if you are a perceived as a threat. Be suspicious if they single out previous threats (i.e. they need to build a graphic case against a former Ex that includes a "Springer worthy" detailed sexual history.) If there is no true reason for you to be made aware of adverse information, beware of the family member "spilling their guts" with a slaughter campaign on a former family member. You may be a target of misinformation in the hopes that you will be against said former Ex should the family members enact their revenge.
5. Be wary of family members/friends that make insensitive comments to you out of the blue. Anyone who is passively-aggressively trying to feed your insecurities - is trying to extinguish any avenue for their addict to succeed in a relationship. Examples of what I have encountered:
"John dated so many gorgeous girls in High School. It kills me that he didn't marry one of them instead."
"I'm not ready for my son to be married again."
At a family thanksgiving dinner when a family member walked through the door: "Quick! Grab some food before Heather eats it all!"
"I never thought any of my sons would cheat on their wives, but I can see John cheating on you."
Advice to the newlyweds recorded on our wedding video: "We never thought this day would come to pass. We loved Heather, but we were concerned for her feelings..."
~ The Evil Twin