Thursday, January 19, 2012

Bonds Unravel When Your Parents Divorce

When parents divorce in your adult years many tight connections unravel.  The strength of relationships that you have learned to trust become weak and sometimes broken altogether.

Marriage is described as a cord.  Individual strands are woven and twisted so closely together as to give the rope more strength and a sense that all strands are actually one unit.
A cord of three strands is likened to a marriage where God is intertwined as well.  The more strands and the stronger each one, the more sturdy and useful the rope.
Marriage is a deep, thorough connectedness with another human being , and with all the others that are in relationship with that person. The circles of personal interconnectedness are almost unending.

So, in divorce, many people are affected.   Their reactions to the pain of an adult child of divorce is unpredictable.  Suffering is difficult to watch in others and is tried to be explained somehow.   In the book of Job in the Bible,  Job was suffering from some things other than divorce,  but his loss was great!  His friends, although well meaning, had various ways to try to explain what was happening to him.  One reasoned that he must have sinned.  Another thought he must have forgotten God.  And yet another one thought he probably deserved more! ( some friend , huh?)  And even Job's wife questioned why he kept his integrity and told him to curse God and die.   Pain of lost connection brings out interesting reactions .

As a 40-something with parents, a husband, children, siblings, and friends, I still felt very alone.  I especially did not know , nor do I now know, anyone personally , who was my age and having parents going through a divorce after a long marriage.   Before I make note of some of the most alarming responses I got to the news of my parent's divorce, I need to make clear that overall, I had wonderful friends and family who listened and tried to understand and help.  I will mention some specifics after I relay the strange reactions.

One acquaintance actually began laughing when I told her that my parents were divorcing.
I was taken aback by this, but realize that she was nervous and probably dumbfounded!
Another said that all sin was the same and I shouldn't judge.  I wasn't really talking about judging, but how much pain I was in.  Another friend said something about trying to look at all the blessings in life and then went on to recount some good things that had happened to her recently.    My friends were well meaning, but I felt a little like Job. Misunderstood and in pain and alone amidst friends and family.

In the story of Job, one friend ends up giving words of wisdom as he explains that suffering is educational.   He eludes to the fact that God is greater than man and there are things we learn that we wouldn't know without pain.

Telling my almost adult children was excruciating.  I was grieving and then I watched them grieve almost immediately after I told them what was about to happen.  I dont' like to go through pain , but it is awful to watch your children experience the deep pangs of sadness and loss of trust.  Difficult to know what to tell them, what not to tell them and wanting to give them enough information to process it, but not too much to ruin their remaining trust in people.

Bonds unravel, connections lessen, people react to your news with different responses, it hard to tell some people, easier to tell others and the feeling of being alone in the experience is helped when others do respond with grace.    The people who listened, just listened and said little were the most helpful.   The ones who asked thoughtful questions and then listened some more gave me things to think about.  The ones who acknowledged what was going on, instead of acting like no crisis was occurring, helped to validate my experience.    Those who called, wrote a note,  had me over for pie,  took a walk with me, handed me a Kleenex....all those (and they know who they are), they helped me to not feel as alone!  To them I owe a lot of thanks!!! 

As you think through your friends or families reactions to the news of your parents divorcing,  who helped you the most in your personal crisis?  What did they do?

Did any of you have to tell older grandchildren about grandparents who were divorcing?

Next post will be a special feature I plan to include at times.  I will call it On A Lighter Note, and I will give you something about which to be hopeful!

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JANUARY TOPICS : Help and Hope
Bonds Unravel


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

Photo Album

JUNE/JULY : Reflecting and Writing Again

Acods and Listening
Acods and Materialism
Acods and Identity

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

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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