The Worst Time In My Life Was When I Was Judged The Harshest

The difference between the friends who crushed me and held me up.

woman sitting by window DimaBerlin/ Shutterstock

I was about to go to bed and a friend texted me some incredibly hurtful things. She was making an assessment of my divorce behavior. She was someone I held dear but during the worst time in my life, she was absent.

Instead, she took a few moments to criticize me

"You’re really hurting me," I texted back.

She was unphased, which shocked me.

My pain turned to anger.

If only she knew what it was like to go through a divorce. If she knew the angst of seeing your children suffer because of your mistakes. If she understood sleepless nights, severe financial abuse and the sense I couldn't escape a man. But no, she decided to be the moral majority.


RELATED: The Best Response When I Told A Friend I Was Getting Divorced

The next day I sat in my marriage counselor’s office.

He’s a psychologist so his advanced education allows him to read human behavior precisely.

"Is it me?" I asked.

"No," he said. "You have a propensity to attract yourself to some very difficult personalities."

"You know what I’ve discovered," I said.

"Some people describe me exactly as you a psychologist have described my personality," I said.

"They say that I am overly caring and gave my husband too many chances and forgave him over and over again. They say I have always had a big joy in life, I’m a fixer, problem solver, and a pleaser and I haven’t been able to fix my marriage and it’s taken me down. They understand as hard as I try I can’t escape my abusive soon-to-be ex-husband. They see me for who I truly am. I know this because it’s precisely the type of things you have told me."


RELATED: 4 Small Things Husbands Stop Doing Once They're Married— From A Guy Whose Wife Divorced Him

My marriage counselor took in my words.

"But," I said. "Other people are critical of me. They say I can’t get over things. I hold onto things and am not forgiving, when you told me what got me into trouble was that I was too forgiving. An enabler who tolerated bad behavior again and again until I got so worn down and fed up that I couldn’t stop talking about my husband. They say I’m not happy and fun like I used to be."

"I see," said my counselor.

"So some friends recognize I’m an overly caring enabler whose better quality got me into trouble and brought out a not-so-great quality of complaining," I said. "And becoming bitter about all my husband had done to me since I remained in a bad situation for too long. They don’t make me feel terrible about myself. They see my faults but they still see 'me.' The others don’t know me at all. They just think the worst of me."


RELATED: I Let The Small Stuff Slide And He Divorced Me — The 10 Things I Missed

I sat there marinating in my own words.

"I think I know why," I said.

"Why?" asked my counselor.

"Respectful people have a level of graduated confidence," I said. "They don’t need you to think, act or be like them. Their egos have matured. They allow you to be you. There’s no control involved. And that elevated confidence allows them to see you for who you truly are not make you feel bad about who you are."

"You’re correct," he said. "But I call it authentic confidence."

"It’s just fascinating," I said. "To realize there are two camps of people in my life. These incredibly great friends have never lost sight of who I am despite being my worst. And the others who make me feel judged and removed from their lives."


I left my marriage counselor’s office and I promised myself I wouldn't cry again, not over a friend.

You either know me or you don’t.

RELATED: 4 Big Mistakes I Made As A Wife (Psst! I'm The Ex-Wife Now)


Unfortunately, or fortunately, most people don’t have a defining line in their lives.

They will never know who are the friends who will never lose sight of you and who are the friends who will willingly lose you.

Believe me, when I say they won’t be the ones you think they are. Some people who walk away from you at your worst will be a few that you thought were always the ones who loved you most at your best.

But anyone who walks away from you at your worst never had the ability to love you at your best.

RELATED: My Wife Divorced Me Because I Left The Dishes By The Sink

Colleen Sheehy Orme is a national relationship columnist, journalist, and former business columnist. She writes bout love, life, relationships, family, parenting, divorce, and narcissism.