Many of us have longed to write a book, to share our story. This article is thought provoking, to consider writing your own obituary. Why not save your family and friends the trouble?
Dr. Mark Roseman of Mark David Roseman and Associates nails it in this podcast interview by Maryann Petri with his analysis of parental alienation in American domestic courts during divorce hearings. Parental alienation is like a living death, and it is without a doubt, child abuse. https://www.buzzsprout.com/1364944/7145413
A FRESH START!
We are all relieved to begin anew, with a clean slate, with a fresh chance for opportunties and epiphanies in 2021. Recognizing that we are social and resilient beings, we are finding NEW ways to connect about what is most important, leaving the rest behind. This website offers a philosophical approach to one's personal "household" and how to do the spring cleaning that is necessary, every day.
A resource I recently discovered is smartloving.org, which offers faith-based support for relationships, including dating, engagement and marriage. One of the founders of the enterprise was recently interviewed on EWTN and spoke about how all couples have differences, and being able to grow together through those differences over time is what strengthens the marriage and the character of both bride and groom. It's easy to catastrophize an argument, and become dismissive and callous, but limiting our forgiveness hurts everyone around us, not just our spouse or significant other. Food for thought....
Deb Dana, LCSW, offers some brilliant resources for those going through trauma to identify their personal state of being, in order to be fully and intentionally alive. This Personal Profile Map allows one to be aware of one's strengths, weaknesses, and blind spots.
(written by an alienated mother.... May 9, 2020)
It’s been 12 years since the ink was dry on our divorce.
Twelve years is a long time to some, a blink of an eye to others.
Looking back on the now dry ink on those legal papers of divorce and considering a new chapter in my life, I can see where time has been more of a friend than an enemy.
The perspective of seeing how I have grown in those 12 years, and the opportunities I have had that I would not have had if I stayed in a codependent marriage – it brings me to tears. It reminds me that God really does write straight with crooked lines.
The opportunity to have an open mind, to release the black and white judgemental thinking that I used to have.
The opportunity to forge new friendships, without concern or worry that these friends would not meet my husband’s approval.
The opportunity to have a new chapter in family relationships, without the criticism or judgementalism of a spouse who didn’t care for the way my relatives did things.
The opportunity to spend money as I see fit, without having to carry an Excel spreadsheet to garage sales and account for every last red cent that was spent on household, clothing, or children’s items.
The opportunity to choose a meal plan that fits my life and health, without having to worry about having a dinner with a protein, starch and vegetable on the table every weekday at 530 pm when my children’s father walked through the door from work.
Basically, the opportunities to find a new me, with strengths, warts and a spirit I never knew that I had.
In the past three months, three couples with children who are friends of mine have informed that they are divorcing. In the past few years, I've watched a handful of other families go through the same experience. I've noticed parents are often hesitant to even consider a divorce when they have children at home. When they finally do decide to "break up the family," inevitably they tell me their relationship has become unworkable and the problems too big to fix.
I'm not one of those people who believe in "Till death do us part." I'm happily married, most days. But how can we expect a relationship we begin in our twenties to be what we need in our forties? A few generations ago, marriage was a twenty year commitment. Today it's more likely to be much, much longer. While I would prefer families remain together, my own included, I'm not sure the guilt I see on the faces of my friends as they tell me their marriages are "failing" is helpful to anyone, least of all their children.
Here's why. Over and over, studies of divorcing families show that when done right, children don't suffer any long-term emotional disadvantage because of a divorce. In some cases, when there is emotional or physical violence between parents, a divorced family may actually be better for children's psychosocial development.
When Joseph Gumina at Alliant International University in San Francisco interviewed 30 adults about their experiences of growing up in families where their parents had divorced, he found children were remarkably resilient when the adults around them played by a few good rules. Based on his suggestions, here are a few tips for a divorce that keeps kids doing well:
• Break the news of the divorce to the kids together so they hear the same thing from both parents.
• Avoid any negative talk about the other parent, or about the marriage.
• Both parents need to take responsibility for the decision to divorce.
• Don't give children too many details. They don't need, or want, to know too much about the reasons for the divorce. They need to know, however, that they are loved and how the divorce is going to affect them in the near future.
• Invite children to ask questions. Wait, then ask them again a few days later.
To this list, I would also add the following:
• Keep the child in the same home, school, and neighborhood, if you can. Remember, children don't choose to divorce and moving disrupts the peer and school connections children need to support them during this transition.
• Do what you can as parents to ensure the child's standard of living doesn't go down. This is one of the biggest things children say causes them stress after their parents divorce.
• Be together (at least in the same place) when your child needs you both. School concerts and graduations shouldn't require the child to choose which parent he or she invites. Nor should the child feel awkward about having you both attend a meeting with his or her principal when there's trouble at school.
Divorce can be a workable transition, even if it is emotionally difficult for everyone. We'd all rather, I'm sure, avoid the stress and live happily ever after. But a promise to never leave seems a bit naive when who we are as adults and our expectations of our spouses changes over time.
If you are thinking of leaving, reach out for help and do whatever you can to make the marriage work. Don't, however, stay together just for the kids. They likely won't thank you if they sense the discord between you and your spouse, or know you're only staying in the marriage because of them. They are more resilient than you think! It's up to parents, however, to make their children's resilience more likely. As I've talked about in an earlier blog (you can link here to read it), resilience isn't a quality of the individual. It is a quality of the individual's environment and what the child gets from others. Give the child a supportive relationship with two parents after a divorce and he or she isn't likely to be harmed.
© Epiphany Awaits