Friday, January 13, 2012

Adult Children Of Divorce and Grief

When I first became aware of the stages of grief, I assumed that I would experience it firsthand when someone close to me died,  not when my parents divorced in my adulthood.  As I cried my way through the first days and months of the shock of what was about to happen to my family of orgin, the pain was deep and unbearable at times.

 Before the tears came readily and daily I seemed to walk around from task to task while hours ticked away in my day, as I functioned on auto-pilot, but my thoughts were consumed with the surprise and disbelief that my father had another love and would leave my mother and what we knew and loved of family to be with her. I reasoned that he would reconsider, that the affair wasn't as serious as it seemed, and that all would eventually be OK. 

Little did I realize that I was experiencing the Stages of Grief due to the great pain and loss that I was experiencing.  The Stages of Grief are expressed by various words in different grief literature.  I will use what words seem most explanatory to me as I use the format as an outline for my posts.  I plan to take each stage,   talk about my experience with it,  and include excerpts from books,  counseling sessions I attended, or any help with that topic that I have found.   By doing so, I am hopeful that not only will we become more educated about what happens to a person when they walk through the waters of their parents divorcing when they themselves are an adult,  but also it will give all of us a format to share our experiences and ultimately we can grow and move toward healing in our journeys. 

Recently I came across another list of stages that accompanies Abandonment.  In the case of divorce , whether the children are adults or children, there is a true feeling of abandonment.  It is curious to me that although the stage order is not exactly the same for abandonment as it is for grief, they do line up in a loose parallel way. 

The Stages of Grief and the Stages of Abandonment are given below.  The length of each stage, and the order can be different for each individual. Many times people can experience more than one stage at a time, or go in and out of them at different points in their experience.

STAGES OF GRIEF                                                    
Shock/Denial/Pain/Loss                                                            

Anger                                                                                           
Bargaining                                                                                    
Depression

Acceptance        


STAGES OF ABANDONMENT

Shattering/Withdrawal

Internalizing

Rage

Letting Go/Lifting                                                                       

If you see yourself in one of these stages, do not lose heart. It is normal, you are not alone and as I wrote in my journal at one time along this road   " There is a strong healing power in grief".  I do not know who told me that , or where I read it, but it has proven to be true.

The first topic I will tackle in my next post will be the topic of Pain and Loss associated with the divorce of parents as an adult.    ACOD's experience pain and loss uniquely.   How did you react initially to the news of your parent's divorce or separation?   Were you in shock?  Did you experience denial?   How did you deal with the pain and the loss ?   Adult children of divorce feel grief and abandonment .  Let's explore that issue together!


5 comments:

  1. GREAT first post! While I wasn't shocked by my parents' divorce, I did feel an incredible amount of pain. Sometimes it was so unbearable I could barely breathe. I became so numb I couldn't even cry. I knew they were unhappy but for some reason never thought they would actually go through it. So painful to watch your family fall apart and be unable to do a single thing to prevent it. Keep the posts coming!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Don't give up on this blog...keep it going Serenity!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous,
      Thanks for the affirmation!!
      I haven't really given up on it...but I felt that I had written much of what was in my head and heart and didn't know how much more I could write. I am glad the site continues to draw readers even though I have not written consistently. I will consider your encouragement to write more. Thanks for validating the blog. I hope you have been helped and given hope as a result of reading it.
      Sincerely, serenity

      Delete
  3. My world has been shattered since my parents divorced. Added bonus my mother is married to a jerk now and my siblings and me were once close and but are family has been murdered essentially, none of us are close and siblings are taking sides....it sux

    ReplyDelete
  4. I am so sorry. I know the breakdown. All I can say is try to retain some ties. The ones that are the healthiest. So sorry for your deep loss. I know.

    ReplyDelete

Topics

JANUARY TOPICS : Help and Hope
Grief
Bonds Unravel
Pain
Anger

FEBRUARY TOPICS: Anger
Counseling
Bargaining
Triangles
Honesty
Depression
Waiting
Boundaries

MARCH TOPICS: Accepting Change
Forgiving Parents
Time For Serenity
Things/Objects of Meaning
House
Rings

APRIL TOPICS: Postcard
Holidays
Recipe
Photo Album
Pathway

JUNE/JULY : Reflecting and Writing Again

AUGUST:
Acods and Listening
Acods and Materialism
Acods and Identity

SEPTEMBER:
Serenity Prayer Worksheet
ACODs and Simplicity
A New Look to the Blog!!
Serenity Prayer Extended Version/Worksheet
Simplicity
Why do we Blog???

NOV/DEC:
ACOD Serenity Prayer
ACOD Fathers and Mothers
Things Still Aren't Right This Christmas

Grandchildren of Divorce
ACODs and Affairs
Keep Going
ACOD Forward and Back
Lord' Prayer ACOD version
Ripple Effect
Grief Revisited
Too Many Choices
ACOD Times To Remember
Telling the Truth
Behind the Curtain

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