Week 19 – 27 January 2012
My heart is bleeding for my children.
I have gradually been getting through all the trauma for me; the hurt, the betrayal, the anger, the pain. I have been OK in myself of late albeit fighting a continued flatness and the yearning for what could have been. I fight the flatness by living in today, enjoying today. This is me. I will survive. I will make it.
But my heart is bleeding for my children.
I have heard it said that divorcing when the children are grown will save them the pain of what could have been a difficult childhood – had the divorce occurred in their younger years. Whoever said that is wrong. Divorce is shattering for children of any age. Adult children are not spared the pain. Divorce is not about two people splitting up. It is the disintegration of the family unit as it was before. All that togetherness; the parental bond as a solid rock, as a ‘deity’ status; that stable home as somewhere to go to whenever they need to; the happy childhood memories ….all gone in an instant. Not a holiday goes by, a birthday, a family milestone, a special event normally previously shared together as a family that is now splintered; that they now do not crave for the time that we were still together. They see the still intact families and put them on a pedestal and yearn to be part of such a happy family unit that only months before they were part of themselves. They crave the family holidays, the camping, the Bar-B-Ques. They are broken, shattered, mourning for what was and could have – should have – been. The hollowness of our fractured family torments them. They are suffering ….. in silence.
This is because, unlike younger children who have at least one parent protecting them, at least one parent at home helping them rebuild their lives, at least one parent being strong for them and putting them first; adult children of divorce have the reverse role. Their parents are now leaning on them for support, needing them, expecting them to be the rock for their grief – when only fractions of moments before in their lives the parents were the rock for them. Suddenly in an instant they see their future before them of needing to care for aging parents of becoming their social network of being their confidants. And all at a time in their lives when they were just starting to forge ahead into the adult world with their own lives, needing the parental support behind them. Such a course for them now becomes more difficult and bumpy. They question their own relationships, they question their own dreams, and their plans for the future. If my own parents could not make it, how can I?
It all happens in an instant without any choice or say in it and they suffer in the silence of nothing being as it seemed; the memories of their childhood; the happiness they thought they had; their stable life now floating about as an illusion. Where has it gone? And they are constantly torn between their love and loyalty for each parent as individuals – separated – instead of as the strong bonded unit that was previously there.
This is my challenge – to show my children that underneath it all, the values to strive for in life, that each person’s own soul, is each person’s own choice, and that for them – just as for me – that choice has not been lost, has not been shattered. That positiveness, that determination, that survival instinct, is inside each person’s own self. That is still intact. Each of us can grow that core of self until it becomes strong again. And if one one those values in life is ‘family’ then we can – and we must – still join together as a family, move forward as a family. If we can help each other through this, we will all be stronger together on the other side.
And I will constantly tell them that I love them and hug them and be here for them always.
My experience has led me to keep in mind that all things are impermanent, and that happiness based on things that pass away is not to be counted on.
That is so true. One thought is that to be truly happy one is supposed to lower one’s expectations and then you will not be disappointed…..hard sometimes though, even if true. Thanks for stopping by 🙂
You will help each other through this – though arguably you will do more of the work initially. Mine were babies when their dad and I divorced – the difficulties and challenges were different without question. But your kids have a foundation upon which to stand – one that has defined them as the remarkable people I’m sure they are. As they walk through this unexpected tunnel, they will come out on the other side – intact and happy and yes, with a bit of skepticism that perhaps they never had before. That’s not necessarily a bad thing… 🙂
Yes, they are remarkable people. i am heartened by their spirit and determination. No doubt this period will define them in a positive way. Thanks for your comments.
Very well written. I had never thought about the affect divorce has on adult children. I like your solution, particularily: And if one one those values in life is ‘family’ then we can – and we must – still join together as a family, move forward as a family. If we can help each other through this, we will all be stronger together on the other side.
Thanks for your kind thoughts. Yes, we hope to get through this together as a family; albeit re-structured. 🙂
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