Homewrecker: The Chart of Good Person-ness (Part 5 (1 of 3))
What could be better than completing my 5 part mini-series with part 5? Making part 5 have three sub-parts for NO GOOD REASON. Well, there is a reason. My posts are so long that if I tried to make them into one, this would be you by the time you finished reading.
Because, hey! If it can be said in 100 words, leave it to me to do it in 1,000. Next week, please check back for 5.2, ‘Parentage by Hostile Takeover’ and 5.3, ‘The (Un)Holy Union’. Thank you for reading!
In my letter to Honey regarding visitation last year, I mentioned how hard his visit (with HomeWrecker in tow) was going to be on me and on the kids. I outlined what he needed to do to keep them emotionally and physically safe, boundaries about where the pickup/drop off would be, etc. In that letter, I mentioned one thing about HomeWrecker. I wrote:
HomeWrecker is a stranger to me, and to these kids. I don’t know how she behaves around children. All I know is that she refers to her own children as ‘little shits’ in a public forum that they can read. (FaceBook) Neither of you are to use language or mean labels like that around these kids. I would hope this is common sense and doesn’t even need to be said.
Of course, HomeWrecker bypassed the part where I expressed how his heartbroken 3-year-old may have a hard time dealing with their abrupt appearance and equally abrupt subsequent departure, but she wasn’t interested in the pain of my child or the reason for it. However, she was positively itching to have her say about me daring to question her motives, and for trying to establish boundaries of behavior where my children are concerned. I went and got all uppity on her. So she set out to fix that.
To me directly? Of course not.
Did I get a text or an angry email? Nope.
A pissy phone call? Never gonna happen.
As usual, she brought her woundedness about this (narrow) portion of the letter to the masses on FB to seek sympathy and attention. And as usual, a number of people leapt to her defense, wondering who this idiot was who had dared to question her integrity.
Here’s her post.
Hey, you. Fourth comment from the bottom. No need to tell me to go to hell. That’s my current address.
And though it’s cut off, the last commentator goes on to say ‘They really need to get a life. I’m sure they have no idea what it’s like to have to be a single mom and have to overcome the kinds of things you’ve had to deal with!’ Funny, HomeWrecker’s oddly mute from that point on. No comment or correction on that, Sweety? Don’t want to explain why it is I DO relate? No? You sure? Moving on.
By the way…anyone catch the absurdity of this post’s existence? I mean, aside from its author’s sophisticated use of spaces and uninvited commas. If ‘she has nothing to prove to anyone but her kids’ then who is she talking to via social media?
So, yah. My ex-father-in-law, Pop, was comment numero uno. My interpretation of his comment goes a little something like this (though I do realize my judgment about him may be just a TAD skewed these days)…
Don’t listen to that old dishrag that got thrown out! What does what happened to her and her children matter? What she thinks and feels means nothing! Your motives GOOD! Her motives BAD! She’s too stupid and unenlightened to see that you set the bar of goodness for all other humans! Sure, I’ve never even met you in person, but any idiot can see that within 30 seconds of meeting you! How can she not see that labels and cussing are perfectly appropriate ‘antics’ to say to a minor child? It’s just part of your folksy charm, and has nothing to do with how you might act around HER children. Who is she to set such boundaries, anyway? Do not spare even a moment to genuflect on your choice of words or your role in the firebombing of that family! She had it comin’, because she’s positively dripping with ignorance about the awesomeness that is you!!
Yours Forever in Sycophantic Fervor, Etc. – Pop
In moments like these, my unique brand of coping skills kick in. I make myself laugh at the absurdity that has somehow become my life. It may not be everyone’s go-to move, but by God, it’s mine. I’ll never forget the handwritten chart I scrawled on a piece of paper shortly after reading her post. It’s graduated since then to what you see below. I’ve dubbed it the ‘Chart of Good Person-Ness’ (whose crappy title is an homage to HomeWrecker’s horrific spelling and grammar, of course)…
How is ‘goodness’ calculated? It’s simple, really. Well, you just…
Ok, so calculating this isn’t exactly easy. Perhaps a different approach.
What about applying the Metaphor of the Ledger? You know…I did a bunch of selfless things for my kids (an 8!), so its ok that I’m having an affair with a married man (a -10!). My GOOD mostly balances out my BAD, so in the end, I can still view myself as a pretty good person.
I think this is why Honey is so syrupy sweet when he Skypes. He is positively dripping with Afghan sweaters and songs about how it’s a beautiful day in his neighborhood. Nauseating doesn’t even begin to cover it. Perhaps he thinks that if he does a bunch of horrific crap to his family, and then forces his brand of relentlessly cheerful and non-confrontational fluff onto others that they’ll be lulled by his hypnotizing melody and his comfortable-looking loafers…and eventually no one will take notice – or even believe – that he straight-up betrayed and abandoned his family.
Or what about Condemnation of the Condemner (also called ‘Denial of Victim’)? It’s basically a rationalization technique wherein the bad things you’ve done are reduced or eliminated because you proclaim that the one condemning you has done worse. Sure, I ran y’all over with my car and slept with your man (-10), but I heard you punch kittens and children for sport, and pooped in Old Man Jenkins’ yard! (-8) You’re not so innocent! Y’all deserve what you got!
Note: I have never pooped in Old Man Jenkins’ yard. It was Old Man Johnson’s.
Or how about Relabeling? This is a way for someone to present a more socially acceptable identity by calling the ‘bad’ thing they’ve done by a much more palatable name. So, yes. I may have run you over with my car. But it wasn’t attempted murder, it was playful antics. In this way, HomeWrecker’s overly-optimistic beliefs about herself can seem downright charming. Hey, I didn’t wreck your home. I just helped realign your paradigm. You’re welcome! 🙂
Or maybe we could check out ‘Appeal to Higher Loyalties’. Whatever the acceptable moral or ethical norms are, they must be sacrificed for the higher calling that ‘made’ them break codes of honor, decency, and truthfulness. Look, I may have stepped on your face while I was climbing over flaming wreckage of your life (-10), but you aren’t special enough to understand that it was for a higher calling. Don’t you see that we are all just casualties of TRUE LOVE? (+1,000,000,000) You can’t get MAD at true love! ‘Cuz true love is like this thing that co-opts my ability to make moral choices and gives me a get-outta-jail-free-card to set fire to whoever I see fit! You have no right to stand in its way!! If you do, you will be sorry!!
I already am sorry. And that doesn’t sound like true love to me. That sounds more like a speech made by a communist dictator getting ready to invade a neighboring country.
The answer about how to tell where someone falls on the chart of good person-ness is actually pretty simple. Look at a person’s actions, not their words. That is the one and only way to figure out who a person really is. Say they hate cheaters, but encourage a married man to do just that? Claim integrity, but endorse lying? Act the victim, but victimize someone else when others aren’t looking? We can know with a pretty high degree of certainty which team it is they’re playing for.
So, I guess my problem really isn’t where she falls on this chart. Her actions show me that she’s the entire wind and percussion sections of the ‘Zone of Dirtbaggedness’. My problem is where she proclaims to be on this chart. In my mind, she not only got away with everything she did, she’ll continue to get away with it without ever having to say a word in her own defense while I’m left holding the crazy-ex-wife bag.
She’s duped every single creature within her reach – including herself – into believing that she and Honey met while he was retrieving her glass slipper, if you get my meaning.
He merely sprang forth from the pages of a fairy tale, a flower tucked firmly between his teeth, to sweep her off her feet and make all of her dreams come true. And oh, how the masses fawn and adore. How they defend, how they smooth over and normalize Honey’s reinvention of himself despite the cries of the of the three people he’s just trampled under the carriage wheels.
Luckily, HomeWrecker doesn’t live near here. Visits will be infrequent, to say the least. I feel for those of you who deal with this crazy-making garbage on weekends and shared days and holidays and the like. You are NOT alone, and you are not crazy. I have come to realize that despite the distance, my kids will eventually have to spend time with her.
This is why I care about who this human being is at the core.
She will undoubtedly co-opt their innocent and trusting nature by presenting this re-written fairy tale version of the story to them before they even know the true origins of the real one. Because how can I tell them the reality? I can’t. Kids, your father just walked out on us one day with a packed bag with no warning and no hint of problems in our marriage and left you to grow up without a dad and left me without a husband or parenting partner. Why? Oh, a stripper he’d been having an affair with behind my back for 5 months claimed she was pregnant, so he moved to the other side of the country, and then she wasn’t pregnant, but then she got pregnant for real, and then your dad got $16K behind in support, leaving us in abject poverty and causing us to have to go without and to make tons of sacrifices he neither knew about or cared about. But it’s ok if you love him because you need to be able to love your parent for healthy emotional development…right?!? Right??!?
This new life, this new ‘family’, this new half-brother of theirs…this is going to become their ‘normal’. She’s going to present as a loving member of their extended family, and my kids are going to eat at her table, hug her and sit on her lap, and probably refer to her fondly when they come back from seeing her…completely unaware that their childhood was radically and fundamentally altered due to her (and Honey’s) horrific, selfish choices.
What will I do in that moment? Nothing. I will do exactly nothing. I will kiss their faces and tell them I love them, and calmly walk into my room to scream my guts out into a pillow.
The pain of this betrayal, abandonment, and divorce has been soul-shredding. I wish this kind of experience on no one. If nothing else, it codifies your beliefs and boundaries right quick. It’s perfectly alright to tell kids that something is NOT okay (in a way that is right for their age) and then to model what boundaries and self control look like in similar situations in order to guide and instruct them. But what does that look like in my case? How can I phrase something so horrific in a way that would make it any less so? From here, it sure doesn’t seem like there’s an ‘age appropriate’ explanation. I suppose the best I can hope for (for now) is to demonstrate that ‘you teach people how to treat you by what you will allow.’ (Stephen Covey). Granted, I had no idea what I was ‘allowing’ since it was hidden, but I DID allow a total lack of reciprocity for the sake of keeping things peaceful. I just thought that made me a good wife. In reality, it just made me a good CHUMP.
I saw a post on HomeWrecker’s page once that said ‘Counting other people’s sins does not make you a saint!’ No idea if this was directed at me, nor do I care. But I will say on the topic that I never once claimed that it did. I’m right there in line for judgment day, same as everyone else. I’ll have some answering to do, of this I am sure. Perhaps more than a thing or two I’ve written in this blog, in fact. But not calling out egregious, horrific behavior that that IS NOT OK because of some PC notion that judging is never ok, ironically, originates from judging judgment about judging. Don’t judge because judging is bad! Even though judging you for judging is also judging…
Now that word sounds really weird. If you say it enough times, it starts to sound like something a blue Muppet should be singing. Judging judging judging judging judging judging judging judging judging judging judging judging judging judging judging judging.
And on that note, my dear readers….
Thank you for singing that in your head. You know you totally did.
I’m a busy mom, part time worker, and full-time criminal justice student who longs to spend the rest of my life writing and earning an income for my lovelies doing just that. If you think someone you know might wish to impale themselves on something blunt from reading my depressing blog, please LIKE or SHARE. Hey! It won’t be depressing forever. One day, I will awaken with absolutely no desire to spray HomeWrecker with my sarcasm skunk. And then I’ll write about knitting or something! Disclaimer: I do not know anything about knitting.