I recently responded to a woman over at Divorce Force. She has just discovered that for 30 of the 34 years she spent with her husband, he had another family. Her post is brief, the details sparse. But I’m confident that one of the many overwhelming emotions she is feeling right now is that of being alone in this experience.
I’m confident because I remember feeling the same. Convinced that there was nobody else who could possibly relate to the shock of sudden abandonment and the crazy making aspects of divorcing someone who made his own reality.
And then I found some message boards. A few articles. A book. And those words all whispered, “Me too.”
“My husband left me a note on the counter and I never heard from him again.”
“My wife simply didn’t come home from work. I found out later that she moved in with her boyfriend that same day.”
“My ex husband fabricated all of the documents that were submitted to the courts. It’s all lies.”
“My ex wife falsely accused me of being abusive. Now the judge looks at me like I’m the bad one.”
As I read these entries, I felt sorry for those that had endured. And I also felt some relief. Some companionship. Some sense that I had found my tribe.
All because of the power of “me too.”
“Me too” doesn’t try to compete for the greatest pain trophy. It doesn’t try upstage the circumstances or tell a better story. It doesn’t engage in a game of tug of war, attempting to direct all of the energy to one side. “Me too” doesn’t claim to understand all of what another is feeling or to insinuate that the paths are the same.
What “me too” does is tell you that you’re alone in your experience. That others have been in a similar place and can empathize with how you are feeling. “Me too” provides hope as you learn that others who are doing okay now were once not okay. When you hear the words, “me too,” you know you have a compassionate and nonjudgemental ear where you can feel safe and understood.
If you’re feeling alone, seek your tribe and find peace among those who whisper, “me too.” And once you’ve been there and through the other side, be brave enough to remember your own struggles, share your own “me too” and then just be there and listen.