He Just Can’t Do It


“The only person you have control over is yourself.” ~ A Universal Truth

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Every time I finish leading a Midlife Divorce Recovery support group, I find myself amazed at how beautiful, fun and intelligent each of the women are. I am left, once again, saying, “What in the ‘heck’ is wrong with the men who would leave these women?”

And even though each woman sitting around the table is going through likely the most difficult thing she will ever face, we are still able to help one another. Every single woman has something to contribute; a helpful insight or experience to share. It’s the sharing of lessons learned through the “ups and downs,” that make the recovery support groups so wonderful.

I will never forget a participant from a few years back. One night at support group she broke down in tears, frustrated that her wasband had never acknowledged what he had done, nor had he ever taken responsibility for the pain that he had inflicted on so many people.

An older relative of the woman in the group responded to her by saying, “picture it this way… picture him as a paraplegic and you are asking him to move the piano. He simply does not have the capacity to move the piano, and the sooner you realize that, the sooner you can let go of your desire to hear the words, or feel the emotions you want from him.” I remember how struck I was by the insight she shared, and it had been more than 10 years since my divorce!

Looking Ahead

Many women, especially those whose wasbands were unfaithful, abusive or battled addictions, struggle to find validation for their actions. The majority of the time these men indicate that if only she had somehow been different, he would not have been forced to do what he did, rather than take responsibility for his part in the matter.

The bit of wisdom that the woman shared reinforced the truth that most of our ex’s are simply incapable of giving us what we desire for closure. We have absolutely no control over anything they say or do, but we do have control over ourselves. In the end, the best thing to do is get the resources to move the piano on our own.

“Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong, for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away. Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.” ~ Psalm 37:1-4 (NIV)

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About the Author:

Suzy developed Midlife Divorce Recovery as a safe refuge for people healing and surviving the overwhelm of divorce. Starting her first RADiCAL support group in 2003 she's been helping women navigate the journey of divorce ever since.


  1. PositivelyPam August 8, 2012 at 12:30 am - Reply

    Today’s blog on the Wasbands’ inability to move the piano put the situation into perspective for me. I get it now! They can’t give us what we need – we need to see that inability itself as the reason for what they did and continue to fail to do for us.

    I hope to someday have the wisdom of the woman who shared this comparison and am grateful that I can move my own piano!


  2. Suzy January 23, 2017 at 5:14 pm - Reply

    I totally agree Pam. When we realize that for whatever reason they are incapable of doing what we need, we can quit expecting or desiring it. The great majority of men who can’t take responsibility for what they’ve done are so invested in making their actions somehow okay that they will not allow themselves to even think about the devastation they have left along the way. The sooner we stop anticipating any kind of remorse or apology, the better off we’ll be.

  3. Colleen December 9, 2017 at 4:18 pm - Reply

    This perspective is helping me to get through not only the divorce but the painful memories of abuse. He made choices and those influenced my ultimate choice to say “no more”

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