In the early months of the divorce, I was obsessed with labels. I needed to be able to classify everything, to make sense of the nonsensical. It reminded me of a time when I was a kid. My parents bought this little label maker that would print out stickers of what you typed. I spent a day labeling everything in sight before the cost of the sticky paper brought my challenge to an end.
Most of my labeling energies went towards my ex. Was he a narcissist, indifferent to those around him, viewing me as merely an object. Was he an addict, as we found out after he left that he had been hiding alcohol consumption. Perhaps he could be a sociopath, devoid of any sense of right or wrong. Maybe he was depressive, and unable to make clear decisions. Of course, he could just be a jerk. Each of these labels had evidence to support their application, but there was also evidence against it. I went round and round, sure that if I just knew what to call it, I would find understanding.
I fought against the labels that may have been applied to me by my psychiatrist. Each visit, biweekly at first, she would ask me if I was suicidal. I bristled at the thought that she contemplated applying that label to me. Each visit, I denied it vehemently, hoping that my insistence would keep that word from my file.
Even the divorce itself had labels. I was the one to file, as he just planned to run away. Originally, I was going to do a divorce by publication, as we did not know where he was. That progressed to a no-fault divorce once I found him, but before we knew of the bigamy. The bigamy changed the label again to a fault divorce.
None of these labels mattered. My ex is who he is, regardless of what I call him. My psychiatrist supported me with the medication I needed no matter the words she wrote on my file. And divorce is horrendous, despite the category it falls under. Just like those sticky labels I applied as a kid, labels can be applied, removed, and reapplied without changing the object beneath. Apart from a little residue, that is.