Dealing with Divorce, Still

Fighting off the world with insecurity is a tough thing to do. It’s impossible to ignore. There’s something in you that craves constant validation and reassurance because of the part of you that doesn’t believe that the truth could be happy. Imagine this: your parents divorce during your pubescent years, you go through middle school with everyone smelling your family’s dirty laundry. You ignore every bit of hurt, and pretend like it’s all “normal,” whatever that means.

Over a decade later, it still affects you, despite all your resistance. Some days, you feel on top of the world. People look at you like you’re someone to admire. You convince yourself you’re confident, and there are moments that you truly believe you are the person you’ve always wanted to be. Then something happens, you find old photos of when you were younger, you remember what your dad said that one holiday, and the pain comes back like a shot, coursing through your veins. You’re reassured what you really are: flawed.

These kids often present as being mature, but in truth they are emotionally and often socially immature. They are frequently more emotionally needy then they come across and they are behind their peers developmentally. They have spent a large portion of the lives learning how to please others without really learning how to master fulfilling themselves. This mask leads adults to misread the kid’s sense of self worth; thinking they are doing fine when in actuality, they are hurting inside.

How Children Cope with High Conflict Divorce: How are they harmed and what can parents do to help them? By Bob Livingstone

Growing up, you wanted nothing more than a normal family. You wanted a mom and dad who showed up to games or rehearsal together, and after you wanted to have dinner with them both without conflict. Then you grew up, you let the pain fade, tucking it away in the attic of your brain. You’re an adult now, you go to work and pay bills like everyone else. But you’re not like everyone else. You notice the difference between you and the peers around you who have parents that are still together. It doesn’t matter to you if they’re happy or good, what matters is that is something you never had.

Teenagers in single-parent families and in blended families are 300 percent more likely to need psychological help within any given year than teens from intact, nuclear families. Children from divorced homes may have more psychological problems than children who lost a parent to death.

Statistics About Children of Divorce By Wayne Parker

You have to help yourself.

Some days, the thought crosses your mind of your parents still being together, grieving over the figurative “death” of your first family. Doesn’t matter, everything that unfolded was necessary, and the way to heal is to recognize the feelings that have been ignored for so long. It’s a painful, ongoing process, but one that must be done in order to have successful relationships with others in the future.

If you can’t help yourself overcome your own demons, seek help in others. You have friends, family, professionals, etc. There is an endless support chain wanting to help you heal, because believe it or not, people want you to be happy. Your parents, even if they don’t say it, wish they could’ve been better to you. Yet there is no point in ruminating in the past, the thing to do is face the present and change the future.

It’s possible to trust, love, and share with others. It’s something you may have to spend a lifetime working on. You’re so used to “dealing” with your emotions yourself, it’s scary to open yourself to others. Ironically though, sharing your truest feelings in turn makes you more confident, comfortable, and relatable to others. So yes, you didn’t have the conventional idea of a childhood or parents, but you still have you. You have the ability to accept yourself, the parts that are bruised and scarred along with the shiny other bits.

Comments

  1. I wonder if there is a difference between ‘normal’ and ‘ideal’ . Sometimes I think normal is making the best of what you have, dealing with the rough edges, pits and troughs. My parents never divorced, but life at home was insecurity fuelling. Healing the brokenness of that has been a bit of a journey too. I am blessed to have found people to trust, and I have learned to trust them in a bumbling make lots of mistakes way!

    Like

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