I was 17 years old when I became increasingly angry, both outwardly and inwardly. It was a battle every day to find peace within chaos…a battle to see the ones who gave me life kill one another softly. I turned 21, and I was now drowning, numbing myself through things and people I had no business with. I finally got up the nerve to go to therapy, and I will never forget what my therapist told me, “You are allowed to feel multiple emotions all at once. You don’t have to choose between the highs and lows.”
For years I had been battling with the guilt I placed upon myself. Children who go through divorce and dysfunction in the household know what it’s like to be made to believe that divorce is just a normal thing. We are told it’s not the end of the world, but quite frankly, that’s exactly how it feels. We feel guilty because society tells us we should only have feelings of gratitude; besides, our parents are still living.
Moving Through Grief Over Divorce
However, in reality, we also have emotions of sadness, disappointment, and unworthiness. I felt these emotions weigh me down, and the simple words, “You don’t have to choose,” brought me clarity. From that day forward, I moved through my feelings of grief. I allowed myself to process memories that brought both the ugliest of cries and the hardiest of laughter. And I began to truly think about what I wanted my future to look like, how I envisioned my marriage to be, and if I even wanted marriage. I realized that I honestly still desired long-lasting love and wrestled with the crazy idea that I didn’t have to replicate my parents’ relationship. So I decided that my spouse and I could do it a different way. I could have a healthy and lasting marriage.
Now I am 23, a college graduate, and have met the love of my life. I know that there will be ups and downs, and love is like a rollercoaster. I promise myself that I will feel the emotions that come with that rollercoaster, even if it’s all at once (just as my therapist told me).
Most importantly, I promise to heal the scars of my past to make way for my future, not just for me but for my spouse and future children.
I have hope, and despite my calamities, I can have a healthy and lasting marriage.
Amber Lorian writes from Texas.
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I lived through a horrible childhood. My father often left the home for his flavor of the month and my mom sent me away for summers because I realized later that she couldn’t afford to feed me. I had 4 sisters and they were sent away to summer church camps. I now know that girls are more traumatized by abandonment then boys (1 boy 4 girls)
Subsequently my family had 12 divorces between parents and sisters. So far my parents and 2 of my sisters have passed away without a SO. My other 2 sisters are alone and look to have the same ending. I am now 70 and not sure what my purpose in life is. My wife and I (50 yrs so far) have raised 2 amazing kids, 1 a doctor another an engineer while all my siblings children are flailing in the wind. I have tried to help them but they refuse because they don’t like me (I require successful steps before support).
Without writing a book… Children of divorce, especially bad ones, have a huge road before them. I wish you all Godspeed. I still suffer.
I’m sorry you have experienced so much pain. It sounds like you’ve weathered the storm and have learned survival skills along the way. Those are hard memories to shake. Fortunately, your children have not had to experience what you did. We are all put here for a reason, which seems to change as we age and pass through life’s stages. Find someone who needs encouragement and emotional support and treat them with kindness. courage to you!