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The 9 Day Battle: Goddess Durga and Mahishasura

The weekend with my estranged wife and my young-adult sons had been going just fine. We were able to talk about divorce, and even joke about the agreements we were coming up with while filling out the form for one of those on-line divorce companies. This was the third time I was filing for divorce. The first time I spent USD $1,200 for a lawyer to handle our uncontested divorce, but we had to cancel because our son needed emotional help. The second time I spent USD $3,200 to file, but it was much more contested than I thought it would be. Finally I moved out of the house, and two months later, I’m filing for divorce. I’ve given up on spending money on lawyers for something which should be easy to do. There are online companies that for $100 or $200, will prepare your forms and help you file them. The third time’s the charm, I told my estranged wife. She laughed from the bottom of her stomach because the situation was indeed funny.

The day was going well enough to even talk about going to the movies later, and taking the boys. Unfortunately, the jovial mood disappeared when she asked me, out of the blue, if I had told my sister about the history that led up to the divorce. In our shared, code-word language, “history” refers to the pain of her cheating on me, of manipulating me to let her have a lover, and of me falling into deep depression, and coming out of it when I met a woman myself. Nothing was ever the same after we destroyed the trust on which the marriage had been founded and blessed.

“Well, not everything,” I said, “but at a high level, yes”. I had indeed told my sister because I needed emotional support if I was going to pull myself out of my house and attempt to live the peaceful life that I wanted. My sister and I had not been very close, but I was struck by a brother-sister relationship I saw in a play, and I realized how much love women have in their hearts, and a sister will love and support her brother. So, needing the strength of a sister, I had indeed told her about why I wanted to divorce; or at least, the major outline of events.

That seemed to strike sadness into my estranged wife. “No wonder she doesn’t call me”, she said, which was untrue. My sister has never been the type to call out of the blue. And I had only told my sister in the past few months. For all of the previous ten years, when the marriage was destroyed, no one in my family new.

“And your father,” she asked me. “I told her the same thing I told my sister.” This was completely true, because I had sent the same e-mail to both of them. This made my estranged wife fall into deep thought, and cry. She needed tissue twice, and the good mood of the day had been ruined.

My first reaction, which I held back, was to challenge her crying with some shouting. But from previous hands-on experiences, I knew that was a bad thing to do. So I shut up. What else could I do? Anything I said at this point could be construed in a wrong way, and I would be accused of attacking her.

I was quiet and tense for the next 45 minutes it took to finish our errand and drive home. I was imprisoned in a jail of silence. At home, she went to bed and laid down for the rest of the afternoon. The house was unhappy again, just like it had been two months ago, the week before I moved out. The two months that I had spent gaining my freedom, learning to make choices on my own, and starting to live life on my own terms felt like it had been blasted away.

I felt like I was living in the house again, a victim to the whims of her uncontrollable emotions. In one instant, she had taken away my power, like she had done so many times over the past 20 years. I couldn’t say anything without making things worse. I couldn’t enjoy the freedom of just being happy, because her emotions cast a shadow on the entire house. She was so worried about what people would think of her now, when she should have thought those things ten years ago when she took a lover and destroyed her husband’s soul. She took away my power through her emotional manipulation of me.

This is how she manipulated me into allowing her a lover in the first place. I won’t allow myself to be emasculated like that, not when I know there’s a better life out there for me.

I left the house and returned to my apartment, in a city 90 miles away. I felt better only after connecting with my girlfriend, a woman who isn’t self-centered like my soon-to-be-ex-wife is. A girlfriend who sees so many positive things in me, and gives me power, instead of taking it away from me.

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