When Divorced Parents Hurt Each Other They Also Hurt Their Child
edited: Saturday, May 26, 2007
By Cheryl C GRABENSTEIN
Rated "G" by the Author.
Posted: Saturday, May 26, 2007
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Divorced parents attempting to punish each other, they also hurt their children
Divorced Parents Competing With Each Other Hurt Their Children
The peacefulness we feel when we experience love is such a positive emotion that we seek it out and feel emptiness when we do not find it. The loneliness and isolation that can follow a heartbreak are in direct contrast to the joy we experience when we connect to another person on an intimate level. This happens when we completely experience the total person. When we don't experience another person completely, this is what we know as infatuation. Love is not blind. Love accepts another, warts and all.
If you are divorced, no one but you can determine what you shared with your ex- spouse in terms of love and/or infatuation. Likewise, your ex is the only one who can make that definition for himself or herself. When you realize that it does not matter how your ex-husband or ex-wife defines what happened in your marriage, you will know you are ready to move forward with your life.
If we are resentful toward our ex-spouse, we can be distracted from the love we feel for our children. In doing so, we focus more on getting even than on expanding happiness. In situations such as these, we do not want to lose more than what is already gone, namely, our marriage. So we hold on to our bitterness in an attempt to punish someone who has hurt us. Some divorced parents take this one step further by trying to convince themselves that their child needs to be with them-and only them-to be safe and secure. But fear of loss may provide a better explanation. Sometimes these parents will accuse one another of neglect. Sometimes the parent making the accusation is steeped in bitterness. Your child's safety does have to be your first concern. Just make sure your concern is for your child and not for yourself.
When parents want to possess their children, they may have a deep-seated fear of being replaced in their child's life. You cannot be replaced in the life of your child any more than your child can be replaced in yours. Parents who have buried a child can attest to this. These parents know that they can never replace a child who died. They might be able to have another child but the new one cannot replace the one that came before.
The gift you give your child comes when you share parts of yourself. This is the expression of your love. No one else can love your child as you do. Others can offer gifts, possibly even love, but your child will not love you any less. While it is true that our instincts often tell us to avoid potentially destructive relationships, it is still important to look at the source of your intimidation. When you discover qualities in others that conflict with your inner values, ask yourself what impact these characteristics may have on you and your child.
If you are concerned that your child might witness something possibly disturbing, you need to talk to your child. If you are concerned that you child might encounter some odd behavior that is outside of what he or she considers normal, you can help your child learn to tolerate differences and celebrate the diversity that exists in our world.
If you are concerned that your child might meet someone who might have an impact on him or her that could diminish your position in your child's life, you are trying to keep your child from a plausible positive relationship due to your insecurities. You cannot give your child everything he or she needs. Your child cannot give you everything you need either.
A scarcity mentality of happiness implies that when someone else is happy, then there is less happiness to go around. Scarcity mentalities imply that the only way to have something is to take it away from someone else. Everyone is robbed in these situations and the child is robbed the most.
Some divorced parents seem to decide that to ask for help from an ex-spouse is to admit a continued need for this person. It is almost is if these parents are saying, I don't need you, and I can prove it. We are just fine without you. You can stay away. Yet it is not your needs that you are trying to meet. You are trying to meet the needs of your child. It should not matter which parent, grandparent, or trusted family friend is available to help your child.
Consider how thrilled you would feel to have a fabulously wonderful child care arrangement for your child or an ideal part-time job for your teenager. Now consider how your feelings change if that arrangement were controlled by your child's other parent instead of you. Any twinge of insecurity at the possibility indicates you are narrowing your child's world by attempting to maintain control over his or her relationship with another. There can never be too many people caring for a child. As an old African proverb states, it takes a village to raise a child. Strive to remember your child’s perspective whenever you speak about other adults in his or her life.
If you are wondering how to start, start with a smile. A smile communicates value to another. Let your child see you smile. Let your ex-spouse see you smile. Make every effort to be pleasant to everyone who has an impact on your child. When you do, your child will see love. And most likely, your child will smile as well.