I have a friend who is divorced. Actually, I have many friends who are divorced, but this particular friend's situation is unique in a few ways. My friend, let's call him Cal, is a famous journalist and writer. His work in the world of media has resulted, literally, in some of the most seminal changes in American history. His books have flourished since his earlier work in newspapers. He is a much sought after speaker and, from my perspective, one of the most insightful observers of political affairs at home, and around the world, that can be found today.
Now, make no mistake. This is a man who readily acknowledges making a mess of his marriage and the pain caused to others. He is happily remarried. His ex-wife is happily remarried. Their children are grown. She has enjoyed a phenomenal career. This couple divorced... thirty years ago. You would think that, by now, everyone had made peace and moved on. However, one thing continues to bubble up, with predictable regularity, in my friend's case. Cal's ex-wife seems to have a condition that, sadly, you often see in high conflict divorces. She simply can not shut up about her anger, her betrayal, her unresolved feelings, and her bottomless contempt for her ex, who has been a devoted and great father to their two wonderful children.
Thirty years have passed and this woman, we'll call her Dora, seems incapable of one of the most essential components of a "successful" divorce, and that is forgetting.
I had a tough divorce. I had a life-shortening custody battle. I wrote a book about the iniquities of family law, particularly in California. And, over the past ten years, I have become a big fan of forgetting. Not only forgiving, but forgetting. Another friend of mine, who has gone through some difficult personal issues with one of his children, mentioned to me recently that we live in an age where there is no such thing as forgetting. The internet killed it. But I disagree. I once heard somewhere, "The public has an insatiable appetite for gossip and a memory for none." That is, of course, unless someone is there to remind them, ad nauseum.
It may be too late for Dora, who, if they gave prizes for bashing your ex, would have won the Pulitzer, Nobel and screenwriting Oscar by now. Otherwise, I want to recommend forgetting to anyone else who feels the insatiable need to pick up a pen, or a phone, and attack someone, directly or indirectly, who is now, essentially, just a part of your past. And, maybe, a part that helped to get you where you are today.
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