Relationship Friday: The Jubilant Shame of Schadenfreude

"I find this outcome to be... satisfactory." "...I thought you might."

Spock:  “I find this outcome to be… satisfactory.”
Kirk:   “…I thought you might.”

If you are divorced, you know schadenfreude, even if you’re not familiar with the actual word.

Ahem-hem… schadenfreude: (SHAH-din-FROY-duh) noun; a feeling of enjoyment that comes from seeing or hearing about the troubles of other people; a feeling often experienced by people when their former spouses make asses of themselves and karma finally starts to slowly roll in.

I won’t get into any tawdry details (that’s more of a midnight-margaritas-and-cheesecake discussion), but over the last week, I have heard from several different people that my Assclown threw a very public temper tantrum, said some things that his friends found hurtful and offensive, and now those friends have since ditched him and aren’t looking back.  My Assclown, in his usual righteous indignation, is refusing to apologize and believes that everyone is at fault but him.

When I heard that several of his oldest and closest friends — who are friends with me, as well — had finally, finally seen the side of him he had tried so hard to hide from them, I just about leapt on the closest table and did a freakin’ happy dance.

It was about damn time.

Take that, Assclown!  I hope you like being friendless, because — damn.

Well, that feeling of elation lasted about three to four hours before I just started to become embarrassed by it.  I’m discreet enough that I didn’t say anything to anybody about what I had been told, but after my Assclown told me the story himself (complete with seething venom in his tone when discussing “those fucking sonsabitches”), I figured it was okay to relay it on to Em.  What I noticed when I was talking to her?

That I was still thrilled to death that someone else had noticed that my Assclown can be a real jerk.  And that the more I told Em, the worse I felt about being thrilled to death.

“You know, I kinda feel sorry for him,” I said.

“Don’t bother,” said Em.  “He’s had it coming.”

Oh, and he has.  He truly, really has.

But when I watch him take a fall — deserved or not — and giggle with glee when I hear of how the fifteen men who witnessed his blowout will probably never speak to him again, does that make me a bad person?  Should I be concerning myself with how he copes with this?  Why do I feel bad about feeling so elated?  Why am I feeling guilty about feeling vindicated?  At last, people are finally seeing the cheating, deceitful, delusional, paranoid, pathological liar I put up with for twelve years (pour those margaritas, honey) — why do I feel bad about enjoying that?  Don’t I deserve a little fist pump here?

Maybe.  Actually, yes.  Yes, I do.  But I also deserve to sleep well at night, and know that I lived my best life that day.  So I made a little rule for myself.  When I hear of the Assclown doing something dumb, or getting some kind of comeuppance, I get to enjoy it for one day, and, naturally, call Em and gloat about it.  Then I have to be done.  No more.  Moving on.  I won’t allow myself to hang on to it like some kind of trophy that I pull out of the closet every once in a while to relive an old triumph.  Here’s to being a somewhat decent human being.

…I can’t wait til he fucks up again so I can test this out.



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