Kudos to the Sages for their response to “Hopelessly Alone.” The Divorce Support Group at the Sages and/or any other divorced-oriented support group in churches would be a fantastic step for Hopelessly Alone. I would also add that people (friends or relatives) who truly care about us would never tell us to “get over it.” That is very insensitive. As the Sages pointed out, there are multiple losses we need to grieve after a divorce and the impact of those losses can be felt for a number of years (Necessary Losses, Judith Viorst). Fritz Perls said it best: “The only way out of the pain is through it.” I suspect that in an effort to escape some of the pain, Hopelessly Alone might not had given herself the gift of fully embracing her losses. Her ex-husband's happiness (whether real or the result of appearances) is irrelevant.
Dr. John Gottman, the guru of relationships, argues that the roots of divorce are found in courtship. My suggestion to Hopelessly Alone is to do an autopsy of her marriage beginning at courtship. Sometimes we think we have failed when in reality we were set up to fail.
Signed, A Reader Who Gets It
Thank you so much for your thoughtful words to “Hopelessly Alone” who wrote that she was still struggling 7 years after her divorce. Any time there is change there is loss…and any time we experience a loss at least a part of us grieves the loss. Recognizing a divorce, its subsequent feelings, and grief provides us with a framework by which to understand and honor our feelings in a way that can help lead to closure or recovery…and ultimately growth. Your suggestion to Hopelessly Alone to do an “autopsy of her marriage” may be helpful in terms of learning to identify what is healthy for her in a relationship—and also what is not so healthy. Steve Maraboli said, “The most powerful relationship that you will ever have is the relationship with yourself.”
The more we learn about ourselves—our patterns and habits; our beliefs about ourselves; what we need, what we want, and why—the better able we are to relate to ourselves with compassion and to see ourselves as worthy of love, kindness, and acceptance. We believe that how we relate to ourselves is how we teach others to relate to us—what we give to ourselves is what we will receive back from others. So thank you, Reader Who Gets It, for caring enough and for taking the time to share your thoughts and encouragement with one of your fellow travelers. We are always so grateful to our Community Sages for their wise and wonderful support!
I moved into the home of my dreams in such a lovely neighborhood about a year ago. I really lucked out! I live in a cul-de-sac, have great neighbors, and surrounded by dog lovers (my fave kind of people). Neighbors are nice and I have had great interactions with all the ones I’ve spoken to. But, there is this one neighbor. We’ve only waved “hello” as we are walking our dogs. I’m pretty sure he knows I live in the neighborhood. I walk the dogs almost daily. I’m pretty sure he has seen me leave my house with my dogs on one occasion. So…. to my surprise, I saw him allow his dog to poop in my front yard and not clean it up. I was washing dishes and looking out the bay window when I saw him walk by. He stopped as his dog was sniffing around. Dog proceeded to “go.” And then he looked around to see if anyone was looking and walked away briskly. Really?!?!? I thought he may have run out of baggies and would come back (I’ve done this before). But, he never did. He doesn’t give the super friendliest vibe so I’m not sure what I should do. Should I talk to him about it? Or just pick up the poop and move on?
We are so glad you found the home of your dreams AND in such a great neighborhood! Sounds like you did luck out! We also want to express our empathy with your crappy situation! In the words of Confucius, “Of neighborhoods, benevolence is the most beautiful. How can the man be considered wise who when he had the choice does not settle in benevolence.”
It seems that you want to come up with the best, kindest solution to this matter. It seems that you want connection. Both of the options you placed on the table seem to be rooted in good will. But, before we can come up with the best option for you, we would like to know what kind of response are you looking for? Are you looking for him to apologize? Do you just want to express your thoughts to him and ask that he not do it again? Are you even looking for a specific response? Could you do both—pick up the poop AND talk to him about it? If you feel safe in gently bringing up the matter, go for it! But you could also just leave well enough alone! Hoping your dilemma turns into neighborly delight! Please, keep us posted.
Pegge Riley, LPC and Angela Wacht, LPC are Counselors and Directors of Sage Center: Counseling, Consulting, and Creative Community Wellness. They are here to provide suggestions and guidance about everyday life. To submit a question or concern to Sage Advice go to www.SageCenterAtlanta.com and click on the Sage Advice tab. The advice in this column is general and is not intended as actual counseling for specific issues or concerns. If you need to address more specific issues requiring more intensive focus, please contact Sage Center at 404-419-6221 or visit our website at www.SageCenterAtlanta.com