This morning I got a text from a fellow single mom friend. She was wondering if I could give her a list of the books that I had read when I was going through my separation and divorce. The list, which I found to be infinitely helpful in understanding D and the dynamics of our relationship, is as follows:
-"He's Just No Good For You: Your Guide to Getting out of a Destructive Relationship"
-"The Manipulative Man"
-"Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry, Controlling Men"
Since then I've read a few others such as "Who's Pulling YOUR Strings, Breaking the Cycle of Manipulation" as well as "The Sociopath Next Door". I didn't recommend those, but they can be incredibly useful when dealing with someone who uses manipulative tactics.
The reason that my friend had wanted my suggested reading recommendations was not for her, but for a friend of hers who she suspects of being in a relationship with a manipulator. As I texted her back I also added a piece of advice that she might consider. I said to let her friend know that she was there for her no matter what, and to simply make the suggestion to read the books, and leave it at that. Her friend will have to decide whether or not she will read the books and take the advice, because, in the end, it's her decision and her life.
I got to thinking about the wisdom that I have as a result of what I have been through. One of the most important, albeit frustrating things that I've learned, is that no one can give someone else the gift of this wisdom. I could talk to others, try to share my experiences and everything that I've been through, but most of the time, the other person is going to do what they are going to do. It's their life to live, and sometimes people simply have to stumble on their own, before they can learn the important lessons. I think back to the countless people who tried to warn me about D. The ones who begged, pleaded, yelled and screamed at me to look at what he was doing to me. Everything they said fell on deaf ears. I failed to see what was directly in front of me for many, many reasons, but most importantly because I simply wasn't ready.
Everyone has their own path and their own way of getting to where they need to be. Even though it can be frustrating to see someone make the same mistakes that I once made, I have learned enough to sit back and let the chips fall where they may. Because I wouldn't be where I am today if I hadn't stumbled a few (ok, many many) times along the way. The journey, for me, has been just as important, if not more, than the destination.