It’s so hard to be honest with ourselves and others about the effects we feel when our parents break-up. That is because our parent’s divorce is devastating. We naturally put up walls, which are filled with denial, silence, and a certain distance between us and others. Yet, these techniques, in the end, fail us every time. That is why I want to try and help you deal with the effects of your parent’s break-up.
We naturally put up walls, which are filled with denial, silence, and a certain distance between us and others.
The fact of the matter is that you are an innocent bystander, experiencing a tragedy to those closest to you. You cannot experience this without it having a profound impact on your life. Judith Wallerstein, an expert on the effects of divorce on children said, “Divorce is not just an episode in a child’s life. It’s like a natural disaster that really changes the whole trajectory of a child’s life.”
Ari put it in his own brutally, honest words:“My parents have been divorced since I was five years old; it still affects me today…Through their madness and horrible
You are an innocent bystander, experiencing a tragedy to those closest to you.
parenting I somehow managed to survive. It's hard, but it is something that we all, as victims of parental divorce, have to do!”
Like Ari, you no doubt have experienced a lot of different crushing emotions as you attempt to cope with the radical changes divorce has brought to your life.
For example, Denisse spoke about her rage:“I didn't want anyone to talk to me about what was going on and I just wanted to be left alone in my pain. I got really angry at my mom for leaving me.”
Whatever you are feeling, no matter how horrific, it’s normal!
Whatever you are feeling, no matter how horrific, it’s normal! It may not be healthy, but it is normal. Yet it is so hard to talk about those feelings. Even to begin to explain how you feel can be paralyzing. Nonetheless, until you embrace your pain, and deal with it, the pain will continue to haunt you…and control you. It is absolutely critical, however, to try to describe to ourselves and others, just how devastated we feel.
See if this list will help you put words on some of the things you are feeling...
As a result of your parent’s divorce you might feel...
- Ashamed of yourself—because you think it’s your fault.
- Guilty—like somehow it’s your fault your parents split up.
- Angry with yourself—because you didn’t do things differently.
- Angry—either toward your parents, or just angry in general.
- Sad—“I can’t believe it’s come to this.”
- Afraid of losing your other parent, if one parent already left.
- Embarrassed—not wanting anyone to know things are going to be different in your family.
- Depressed—like you’ve lost something
- Worried about what is going to happen to you and who will take care of you.
- Helpless or Powerless
- Protective of one or both parents.
- Responsible for your brothers or sisters.
- Lonely—you don’t have anyone to talk to, or no one who understands what you’re going through.
- Unable to sleep
- It’s difficult to trust God
- A longing for closure
You can, and with God’s help, face these emotions and go on.
This list is probably pretty overwhelming to you. You might even have become aware of feelings you never knew you had. But don’t give up. You can, and with God’s help, face these emotions and go on—not just as a survivor of your parent’s divorce, but as an overcomer.
Thanks for sending in your comments. Next week I’m going to write about how to specifically face the hurt and pain you’re feeling as a result of your parent’s divorce.I hope to hear from you about how you have dealt with your parent’s divorce.Thanks!