Divorces are necessary at times when two people are unable to work things out in a relationship. However, many people do it in such a nasty way. And then, even after the divorce is over, many people spend the rest of their lives trying to get even with their former mate.
A few years ago, I saw a program on PBS by John Bradshaw that was on survivng divorce. I wish all couples who are contemplating divorce could see what I saw that day. Since this is highly unlikely, they could at least get counseling as how to handle themselves after the divorce.
The first thing that most people experience after the divorce is a grieving process. A recent statement of grief that I heard was “when you grieve you die.” The end of grief is acceptance. A person experiences loneliness, anger, and depression. A divorce means separation from that love object. While true one might not see it at this time as a love object, when they were first married most likely they were viewed that way.
When grieving for a relationship lost through death or any other way, a person goes into a child like state. Love and nurturing is necessary for that person. They really can’t think when they are grieving so someone else must help with it. Just listening to a person many times is all that is needed. They need to find someone to talk to, because grieving can’t be done alone. Other people must nurture and help to take care of that little child inside. One thing that can help people going through this process is to realize that they are never really alone. There is a higher power, God, that is there with each one. So then, a need to reach out and ask for help is seen. Be powerless and let someone else love and realize on the other side of this grief and pain, a great healing will take place.
Many people that separate or divorce don’t fully realize that a whole way of live has ended. We need to stay in our grief and pain for a certain period of time. The great danger of divorcing a relationship is people refusing to stay in the pain. While there is not a magical time frame to deal with pain in a failed relationship, most professionals that I know agree that anything under a year probably would not be sufficient..
The following are dangers that may happen during the divorce:
Detailing is a common practice. This is really easy to happen when you are addicted. If you obsess about someone you don’t have to feel the feelings. Many people try to figure out what the other person is thinking or doing. Many times a person wants to know the where abouts of this person. They spend countless hours in thought about it.
Another danger is anomie. This is the acting out stage. Here a person will act out sexually, become physically aggressive, over eat or over work. Many people will see sexual acting out as a narcotic. Alice Miller, the writer once said you can narcotize the body and that can be done in many ways and you can distract the brain, but one day the body will present its bill. The body’s bill may be disease, sickness or some sort of mental illness.
Many people in pain from separation will negotiate a new relationship to try and get out of the pain. This is just using another relationship for a fix. When the real grieving is done, life comes back and that person will become interesting again. But only when one truly deals with the grief.
Others try to get even. This only causes further damage, especially if there are children in the relationship. Children should always be told that it is not their fault. Talking to children about the relationship problems between a mother and dad is extremely harmful for them. In healthy relationships Bradshaw states that the kids have no business knowing anything about at least 20 % of what goes on in a marriage.
Some people enact violence with each other. If a divorce must come, then it should be done legally and as quick as possible and it should be done fairly. Many times it becomes a contest for lawyers.
Others try to shame themselves and their partners too much. Forgiveness is needed. Why? So a person can get on with their lives. But not just that. We need to have real forgiveness so we can completely heal ourselves.
A person must realize that they will still carry love in their hearts forever for anyone they’ve loved and been intimate with. Don’t try to hate or despise that person. You are only stalling your own life and are marking time when you get hung up it this.
The most important things that we learn in life, I’m told comes out of our suffering. What hurts us, instructs. John Bradshaw used these quotes in that PBS Special. What a strange thing pleasure and pain. For your pleasure was once your pain. Your self same well from which your laughter rises was once filled with tears. Is not the lute that plays your music, the very lute that was whittled with knives? See what a strange thing is this pleasure and pain.
Divorce and separations are so painful. But it is necessary to experience the pain. We need to allow time to heal inside our hearts. The sun will shine and the birds will sing again. A person will enjoy the nip in the air that fall brings or the cold weather again. Life is so short not to get through the pain. Yes, it will take plenty of time, but piece by the piece, bit by bit; the heart will laugh again and be happy again.
I learned a lot of things from my mom and dad. One of the most precious things was seen when their marriage started breaking up when I was twelve years old and in the seventh grade. Although they didn’t legally divorce, their separation was not a sour one. You see, they really had a healthy divorce, which was displayed throughout the rest of their lives in a loving, nurturing way. They still cared much for each other, but understood that they could no longer live under the same roof.
Marriages are hard to manage when things are going great. It you can’t make it, handle the separation or divorce in a decent way. Life is much to short to hate someone you’ve once loved. One writer said it well. There are places in the heart that do not yet exist. Pain must be in order that they be.