Vengeful victim

Joey Garcia

My sister has been filing lawsuits against her ex-husband for over a decade. He’s guilty of shady business deals but they’re divorced. I don’t understand why she won’t let go. She’s angry that I don’t see her as fighting for justice. I think she’s a victim of her own need for revenge. But when I try to help she makes me feel like I’m the problem. Suggestions?

Stop trying to help your sister. She’s convinced she’s a victim, and will put herself through hell to prove it. Pushing her to change could permanently disrupt your relationship. You don’t want a hand in that mess, do you?

Despite the drama, I hope you’re celebrating yourself. You have a beautiful heart and your love for your sister is real. Reflection can encourage growth in understanding her. Start here: When your sister behaves like a victim, does it seem like she’s deliberately trying to piss someone off? Does she have a history of pointing out people who need punishment and then singling them out for months or years of accusations, cyberstalking and other kinds of abuse? Despite being the victim of someone close to her, does she also want to be seen as heroic for pursuing accusations, cyberstalking and other kinds of punishment? Is there an overarching ruthlessness in her attitude? Answers may reveal that your sister suffers from a mental health problem that demands professional treatment. She’s unlikely to see a psychologist, however, because she believes her ex-husband is the problem.

If mental health issues, not revenge, feed her behavior, set boundaries. Avoid allowing her to trigger you. It’s challenging—she’ll sense your energy pulling away and dump more flaming trash at your feet. Let holding your ground become a spiritual practice. Above all, keep her in your heart but don’t expect her to change.

My husband of 40 years dropped a bomb: He’s gay. He said he has always been sexually attracted to men but buried it because of his religious upbringing. He said he loves me and treasures our life together, and our friendship is everything to him. I believe him but I’m also devastated. He’s the person I love most in the world. I don’t want to be without him. I don’t care about sex. I just want him in my life. Do you think I’m crazy? Would it be crazy to suggest that we stay together in the same house and share our lives, but not a bed?

No, it’s not crazy to suggest that your friendship continue. It’s not crazy to propose a life as roommates, either. But will you feel crazy if he falls in love? Right now, you believe that your husband only wants sex with men. What if your husband wants a life with another man? Could you bow out gracefully? Your spiritual call is to prepare yourself to release your attachment to him as husband, even if he remains in your life. Let go of the friendship and erotic love of marriage. Expand into agape. Yes, that means disengaging from the man you love so he can fully love the man he is today.

Meditation of the week
“Compassion is not religious business, it is human business, it is not luxury, it is essential for our own peace and mental stability, it is essential for human survival,” said the Dalai Lama. Do we have compassion for our “enemies”?

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