Monday, October 22, 2012

ACOD Fear


My story has nothing to do with being an adult child of divorce .  It has everything to do with real fear.   Riding a roller coaster in the dark in one of the front seats pushed me over the edge.  Not literally,  but figuratively.  Although I was in my early twenties, I came off the "fun ride" and sat on a bench where a few elderly people were sitting.  They were probably experiencing physical reactions to being flung through the air wildly and quickly.  But I was experiencing psychological fear.
And I was crying.  As embarrassing as it was, I could not control my reaction .  I was truly afraid.

What is fun for one person in an amusement park may not be fun for another person.
And as an ACOD, I don't mean to imply that any of it is fun for any of us.  But we all experience varying reactions that are common to all and some that are as different as we and our stories are!

Fear shows up in different arenas for the adult child of divorce.

Sometimes we fear the past.  Or what we do not know of the past. What we may learn of the past that will further affect our trust, our memories and our reality in the here and now.
Were there more affairs?  Are there other half siblings we don't know?  If the problems I know about now were there, what other problems existed that I still don't know about?   Do I want to know?  What do others know from my family's past that I don't know?

Fear can cripple us in the present.  What will happen if I set boundaries with either one parent or both? Or with siblings?   What words of anger and rejections will be directed at me when I express my feelings?  What is the true state of my and my parent's physical safety, given the fact that what has happened in my family was unthinkable in the past....  what is a parent or both parents capable of doing to themselves or each other ? 

Future fear makes us feel uncertain.   We fear what our holidays will look like now?  We wonder what will happen when mom and dad are in the same room at some future gathering? What if my parent or parents withdraw from me or reject my efforts to talk about the true issues?  What if my desire to see a counselor together is turned down? Can I handle any more abandonment or rejection?   How will this affect MY children?  What are they going to learn from this breakdown in our family?   And if we are not married yet,  the question looms of "are my relationships doomed?" because true love and commitment just are not possible?
And if we are married,  we wonder if betrayal, or loss of commitment could happen to us?

As adult children of divorce, we experience true fear.   We know we are on a roller coaster, not by our doing, but by others choices.   We may be adults, but as we experience the twists and turns ,  darkness and unknown path that now lies before us,  we sometimes just want to get off.  We want to sit and cry and realize it is just a "ride".    Fear is real to us ACODs.

I can't take away your fear. It may be legitimate and may need to be dealt with by the help of others such as counselors, police, people of the faith community or decisions that help eliminate the causes of the fear.

For me, a certain amount of peace and absence of fear comes from my faith in God.  I believe He will bring me to the end of the "ride"  , through the dark tunnels and the fast, crazy loops and the unknown path I am on.   I believe He is guiding,  directing, and holding me in, so even if I am crying and exhausted when I experience fear,  I can also have peace, and clear thoughts that don't immobilize me.

If you are an ACOD who is experiencing true fear today, I pray you will seek the help you need to gain new trust and rest.

Philippians 4:6

New International Version (NIV)
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

2 Timothy 1:7

New King James Version (NKJV)
7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Why Do Adult Children of Divorce Blog?


Adult Children of Divorce blog or follow a blog for many reasons.  And most of you reading this probably know what a blog is, but those of you who don't,  it is a informal site that is a web log of sorts.
A blog is an online journal which is updated with words of knowledge and experience for the world to read and respond to.  Blogs offer comment areas where readers can interact with the writer of the blog and with others who are reading the blog. A blog is a great tool for many topics, and it is a helpful resource for Adult Children of Divorce, no matter which stage we find ourselves in!!!

After several months of digesting the news of my parents'  divorce after 45 years of marriage, I looked for help in any form as I sorted through so many emotional, physical, spiritual, and mental issues.  Books , and websites were few, although the ability to read about what I was going through was a tremendous lifeline.  A Divorce Care support group and the visits with a professional counselor joined the list of helpful , if not crucial players in getting me where I am today.

If you have googled " Adult Children of Divorce Blog" today ...I think you have come to a good place.  A blog will never replace the significant counsel a professional can give when they hear the specific details of your situation, but a blog can help in many ways.

A blog can help you learn.    You may be feeling guilty about not seeing this coming.  You may be feeling anger that you never knew you could feel. You may not know how to talk to one of your parents now, since all the dynamics have changed.    This blog and others can help you learn how others have responded to guilt, anger and new roles.    You can learn.

A blog can help you think.   You may not have thought about how you will handle the emotions or scheduling that comes with new holiday routines.   You may not have thought about what your reaction would be to visiting your parents home , when one of them is not there anymore.
You may be thinking alot about God, and forgiveness and how your faith can be reconciled and lived out in these circumstances.  You can think.

A blog can help you feel support.   You may be 20 or you may be 50 ( as one of my readers is) and you probably don't know alot of people in your shoes.  You feel other people's pain and loss.  You also can feel other people's adjustments and hope.  You can feel a positive outlook for the future, while experiencing present grief.   You can be supported.

Adult Children of Divorce blog, or read blogs for many reasons.  I have been helped and encouraged by the blogs I have read.  That is why I began blogging.  I love to hear from readers via the comments section of posts or via email.  Let me know what you have learned and what you think and how you feel support.   We all would like to know!!!   

Friday, October 12, 2012

On A Lighter Note






 

As you carry the burdens that come with being an adult child of divorce, think about other "boxes" and burdens that you can get rid of to lighten the load.  And don't forget to cast your cares upon God, for he cares for you!!  1 Peter 5:7  The load is lightened when He is helping to carry it!!!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Dear Schwarzenegger Children


Dear Schwarzenegger Children,

True identity, the failure of memory, and total recall are themes of one of the movies your father was in, and I would imagine it is a theme you are dealing with as you try to figure out the truth and the lies in your family story.

I have been there too.

By nature of being children of a celebrity, politician, actor, and a man with an unbelievable personal life story,  the issues surrounding your parent’s marriage are so very public.  There are others like you, who are adults, or soon to be adults, whose parents are divorcing amidst difficult real-life drama.  You are not alone. Our situations just are not so well known to the world.

Your family name is so very recognizable, but even for those of us whose names are not, there is a sense of uneasiness now when someone asks our family name, which in my case is my maiden name.  I wonder if they know my father and what he did to contribute to my family’s breakdown.  I wonder if they know the name if they will judge me by my father’s actions. I hope they don’t know the last name I grew up with, so I can have my own identity aside from the bad decisions my father made. 

You no doubt feel pain for your mother’s hurt.  You have witnessed and are part of a very profound type of betrayal by one parent toward another. Others recognize how terrible it truly is!!

David Swanson, a psychotherapist says of your mother today, "You've gone on record saying you would vouch for his character, he was that good of a man, and yet everything you believed in, your marriage, the character of your husband, it all falls down around you. If that's not the worst sense of betrayal, I don't know what is."   ( CBS news may 18 , 2011)

And you feel your own hurt and betrayal.  In an article I read, the following made a lot of sense to me ,as a fellow adult child who felt betrayal. “... healing will take time, especially because the children are most likely experiencing a sense of anger and "betrayal," according to Philadelphia clinical psychologist Ann Rosen Spector, who specializes in marriage and families.

"They feel for their mother and for themselves," she said. "The times when their father wasn't available to them, they wonder if it was because he was engaging in the affairs -- it wasn't just that they had to work late. The children feel cheated on too. The soccer games missed, the movie nights without the full family participation."

 

It does not feel good to hear people talk about a father that you love , no matter how upset you may be with that parent,  in a way that is derogatory.  You realize there is truth though in some of the things people say, but it is still hard to hear.  Someone who didn’t know my father and heard about his affair and the circumstances concerning it, called him a “slut”.  That is a lot for a child , adult or not, to digest.    Cal Thomas wrote an article begging the question as to your father’s care for you and the message he is sending you and then he calls your father a total reprobate.  “ Lesley Stahl asked him why he didn't tell Maria about the affair. "I didn't know how," he said. Sure he did. It's something like Lauren Bacall telling Humphrey Bogart how to whistle in "To Have and Have Not." He simply had to open his mouth and tell her. Was it political expediency that kept him quiet? What other explanation could there be?

Does he care nothing about his children and the message he has sent them? Apparently not, or he would have behaved more responsibly.  Cal Thomas Oct 7 2012 article....he’s a total reprobate”

 

That hurts to hear, even though you may believe it to be true as well…

In closing, I want to encourage you that you are not alone.  Your last name is recognizable , as is the last name Edwards, or other names the public recognizes.

But there are many of us adults whose parents are divorcing, who feel your pain.

May you find help and hope as you try to figure out truth from lies, set appropriate boundaries and get the counsel you need at this time.

Someone’s true identity and total recall of an affair is life-altering to adult children or minor children in a family. May you determine to make a different name for yourself!!!

 
Sincerely,

Serenity

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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