A lie which is half a truth is ever the blackest of lies. - Tennyson
When you love someone you hate to see them hurting. Sitting back and watching someone struggling has to be one of the hardest things to do in life. Especially when you know, that in many ways, that person has contributed to their own pain and suffering.
Ethel has been in a cycle of sadness and regret that I'm just not able to help her out of, and I hate that. She's really going through what I can only describe as grief over the ending of her marriage, and I think a part of what makes it so hard for her is that all along Fred told half truths. The cruelest of all lies is a half truth because it gives people false hope.
He gave her just enough encouragement, just enough truth, just enough honesty to keep her hanging on for years. When any other woman would have called it quits after finding out about the lies before they married Ethel believed it when he said he was sorry. She believed it when he said it wasn't going to happen again. She believed him over the years when he promised he would go to therapy. She believed.... and then I think she stopped believing, and she stopped hoping for change. She stopped asking the questions she didn't want the answers too. But in a vicious cycle she couldn't stop checking up on him. Her 6th sense would kick in, and she would find out, again... more lies. More excuses followed the lies. More deflecting and defending followed the excuses.
And the kicker is... and Ethel knows this...she allowed it to happen. An article she shared today on FB said it best, "When you accept the unacceptable you invite the unacceptable." Wow... SO TRUE! Every time she put up with those behaviors she invited, hell she guaranteed, that it was going to continue. Damn that has to sting right? I know I personally HATE it when I'm the cause of my own pain and grief, but it happens to all of us at one time or another. The thing is... she still gives him this control. She catches him in lies, and she doesn't confront him. Those well developed Spidey senses tell her he's not being honest, but she doesn't force him to verify. She is still allowing him - in small ways to mistreat her by telling half truths. Those cruel half truths that give her hope that one day they'll be able to be friends. Only, you can't be friends with people who are not honest with you, can you? I personally don't think so.
I think a part of it is the fact that they are still legally married. There isn't the buffer of divorce, she's not even protected by a legal separation. So she tries not to make waves. I understand that... but I know it's causing her additional pain, grief and stress... and it can't last forever. Change is hard, but changes will have to be made soon for her own mental well being.
Now she's hurting and there isn't a damn thing I can do to make this better... because in all honesty I don't really understand it. I don't (and never did ) grieve over the end of my marriage because it was more of a relief to me to be out from under the controlling disrespect of my Ex. I didn't love him - and realize that I don't think I ever really did. Ethel on the other hand genuinely loved... maybe in a way she still does love Fred. What I keep asking her is "why"?
What did he do that was so loving? Did he cherish you? Did he treat you with respect? Did he support your wishes and dreams? Did he honor you with honesty and fidelity? Did he follow through when he told you he would do things?
If I understood the grief I think I could be more supportive, more understanding. I would be able to offer more comfort and compassion. I could help her end this cycle of grief. I WANT to understand. I WANT to help. It doesn't seem to be getting easier for her, in reverse in fact. It's seeming to get harder and my heart is breaking for her.
I want so much more for her than she's given to herself over all these years.