Our brains are rather comical creatures. Have you ever noticed how they have a tendency to throw up excuses faster than a juggler’s balls in the final act rather than simply face reality? Have you observed the energy expended as your children come up with one creative reason after another to avoid homework or cleaning their room when simply addressing the task at hand would often be easier? Do you get frustrated with friends or family when they complain about a situation and yet fail to make any changes?

Do you ever notice your own excuses?

It’s okay.

We all make them.

You can admit it here.

Sometimes it can be helpful when someone calls us out on them.

(Assuming we’re willing to listen, of course.)

Often others see what we cannot.

But sometimes, you’re on your own. Maybe others do not register your excuses. Or maybe they perceive you as too fragile to tackle them head on or they are too timid themselves. Or perhaps they’re busy creating their own excuses as well.

Regardless, sometimes you have to push your own head down into the metaphorical bucket of cold water. To wake up. To stop the stutter of excuses.

When these excuses get in the way of moving forward, I call  them healing hangups. They are beliefs and perceptions that hold us back.

I caught myself in two healing hangups after the divorce and it wasn’t until I addressed them both that I was able to unhook from the pull of the past.

The first hangup I had was the belief that in order to heal, I would have to find understanding. I was so blindsided that I felt a desperate need to understand why my husband could do those things. I needed to to know what drove his actions. I grasped at labels for a time, seeking comprehension in a diagnosis. I read books. I talked to others. I was always searching for elusive “why.”

I now see it as a snipe hunt; there was no label, no information that would really answer the question that my heart cried out for – How can you betray someone you claim to love? How can hold me so closely while planning your escape? How can leave me when you swore you would protect me? There are no answers. No understanding.

No answer that would make it okay.

It was a slow process, that shift from wanting to know why to learning how to find peace in spite of. Part of it was creating my own understanding without worry for its veracity.Some of it was realizing that if I could understand why he did what he did, it would mean that I was capable of the same. And part of it was realizing that I was using that as an excuse to delay healing –

“I’ll be okay once I understand why.”

But if I held on to that excuse, I would never be okay. And, at some point, I realized that it was more important for me to be okay than to understand.

Of course, excuses rarely travel alone; they bring plenty of backup. In my case, my other healing hangup was my need for him to face consequences. Now, sometimes those were elaborate schemes dreamt up in my raging mind (how does circumcision by paper cut sound?), but most of them were a need to simply face the natural and legal consequences of his actions.

I held tightly to those excuses. I intentionally delayed trying to address the anger until after his court date for the bigamy had arrived. I was so sure that I would feel relief once he had to face the consequences – feel the blowback of his choices.

Unfortunately, that consequence proved to be a dud.

No problem. I had another excuse ready. I’ll be able to release the anger once he faces me in civil court for the divorce.

Uh, yeah. Another dud.

So, there I was. Court dates over and he escaped with only the most minor of scratches.

Again, I had a choice. I could continue to let it be an excuse holding me back or I could choose to let it go. I’ll let the title of this post let you know the selection I opted for: Why Criminal Pursuit is a Game I Refuse to Play.

There were no consequences that would make it okay.

Those choices were not easy. Taming excuses is like playing Whack-a-Mole with your mind. You gotta be fierce and determined to hit them all. And, of course, a helping hand is always advantageous.

Are there excuses that you have noticed your mind creating to shield you from the difficult and real work of moving forward? What healing hangups do you have?

Thank you for sharing!

9 thoughts on “Excuses

  1. Happilyeverafter1959 – Minnesota – Photographer, Writer, Artist, Gardener, Mother, Grandmother, Daughter, Sister, Friend. I am learning how to navigate a new chapter in my life. I was in a relationship for 30 years and now I am not. Stranger things could happen. And they have. I am blogging my way to freedom of that relationship and into the next hopefully happier part of my life. Join me as I share my thoughts and fears and trials along the way. Currently writing about my Disability that is Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and how I am dealing, or not dealing with it post divorce.
    Happilyeverafter1959 says:

    I, like you, have this need to know why he did what he did. But realize that whatever excuse or answer he gives me will be bull. Or so painful, do I really want to know? It’s still so fresh and raw for me. I hope I find peace with not knowing sooner rather than later. Thank you.

  2. Let's CUT the Crap! – Canada – I'm getting a little LONG in the tooth and have things to say about---ouch---AGEing. I believe it's certainly a state of mind but sometimes it's nice to hear that you're NORMAL. I enjoy reading by the truckload. I'm a grandma but I don't feel OLD although I'm not so young anymore. My plan is to stick it out as long as I can on this lovely planet and only will leave it kicking and screaming!
    Let's CUT the Crap! says:

    I talk to this exactly but I’m the one who threw the bum out because he refused to act like a husband with duties and responsibilities as a father. Still, it took years of working out the guilt of making the (right) choice. Not what I had in mind when I agreed to marry. Wait. That was my fault too. Ha ha. (not really).

  3. 3kids2cats1divorce – Middle aged, stay at home mom to three teenagers, with two fat house cats lounging about. Estranged spouse has moved out to have a midlife crisis. I'm figuring out who I am, how to be a single mom, and looking for a job after 18 years at home raising kids. The kids and cats just want to be fed. Update January 2015: My estranged husband is now almost my ex-husband, just waiting for the judge to sign the papers. I've gone back to college and my youngest kid has started high school, which my local school board has deemed appropriate to start at 7-frickin'-o'clock in the morning. It's been almost three years since the midlife crisis blew up my family and I'm finally seeing the light at the end of that very long tunnel.
    3kids2cats1divorce says:

    Thank you for this post. I’m deep in the “make him face the natural and legal consequences of his choices.” Courts really aren’t about justice, though, so it *is* a snipe hunt. I need a bit more time to put down my (metaphorical) rifle.

  4. It’s been two years since he left suddenly and I too, struggled to learn and know why he did it. I’m at peace now with not learning. But, I’m still struggling with wanting him to feel what he did to me. I know that I need to get over this in order to heal, but it’s really hard

  5. I recently have been re-evaluating what is keeping me from reaching my goals and dreams, and lo and behold, the main saboteur is my own excuses. I tend to use “all or nothing” thinking as an excuse for healing and for moving forward. I also had to own that I allow my emotional well-being to be influenced by other people in my life. To paraphrase Maya Angelou, now that I know better, I am doing better. . .

  6. I am caught up in the wanting to understand loop. How could the two people I loved and trusted so much discard me for each other and not even care about the pain they’ve inflicted on me and the children? But I’ve told myself that I’d never fully understand it because I’d never think of doing that to anyone. There are no legal ramifications they could face, but I really hope karma exists.

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