"I don't care if you're going to tell everyone about what I have done to you. But please, just don't forget to tell them about what you did to me."
This past weekend, Grey and I received news that his eldest nephew is leaving his mother. For years since my BIL divorced his first wife, she has used games and lies to drive a wedge between this boy and the rest of Grey's family. Granted, Grey's eldest brother has had his role. He's made decisions that haven't been in the best interest of his family. But the story has been very one sided.
Over the past few years, though, the truth has been coming out. The picture-perfect lifestyle she worked so hard to maintain has unraveled. The final straw came when a new boyfriend harmed our nephew's dog, making it clear he wouldn't hesitate to do so again. And with that plans are in motion for him to finally break away from her.
I've been reflecting on all of this with my own reconnection with my parents and past failed relationships. And how quick those observing are to judge given limited information. Most often, those that are loudest and share only their viewpoints are the victors in winning the populous, with others quickly condemning the other party. In divorce, children are often encouraged to chose sides, backing one parent over the other. In break-ups, groups of friends usually favor one half of the former couple over the other. There are winners and losers, often determined on limited information.
But often, there's another side of the story. A side that can reveal complexities that humanize both parties and blur the line of winner vs. loser. And given enough time and a little bit of digging, the truth tends to reveal itself.
My own mother has a long history of painting things in black-and-white. Making it seem like someone is completely in the wrong in order to justify righteous behavior. The problem is, though my mother truly believes that certain actions and interactions have been justified, she often struggles with seeing how someone else was hurt in the process. The narrative in her head wouldn't allow for if because doing so meant she might actually not be completely in the right. And it was this pushing and righteousness that drove me away. That built the brick wall that exists between us still today.
On the heels of this news, my heart is heavy. There's a lot of good that can come if the wheels of change are enacted. But there will be grief in this process too. For I know my nephew loves his mother with all his heart, her flaws and all. Just as I love my own mother. But sometimes, screaming and fighting to have one's side of the story be heard isn't worth spending yourself. Sometimes the best thing to do is walk quietly away.