Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Divorce and Timing

I think I am ready to stop the daily emails that I have been getting from divorcecare.org. They are an excellent resource, but I’m not sure that they are a good fit. First, they seem to target those who did not make the choice to split, who were surprised by it, not the (I’m inferring) godless filers. Second, while there is a good amount, even a surprising amount, of pain for the one who made the choice, I am finding that I have already worked through so much of the grief, the disillusionment, and the need to face reality in order to effect change. I thought in the beginning of counseling, two to three years ago, that the process might allow the reality of the relationship to change, to become something better. Then, I accepted that it wasn’t going to happen, hence the divorce.

That hurt isn’t over, but it is resolving. When the guilt issues surface I can cope, even at times like the other night, when my eight year old son woke up crying, having just dreamt that I told him that I don’t love him anymore, and just “gave him away to some other people.” I reminded myself that before the split, the kids were asking other tough questions about the dynamics in our household, so nothing would have been easy for them. I accept responsibility for the consequences of my choice, but that’s not the same as sliding downward into guilt and shame.
No matter how difficult and painful it may be, nothing sounds as good to the soul as the truth.—Martha Beck, Leaving the Saints

Some of the good advice that Divorce Care offers would have been good for me a year ago, but I wasn’t certain about divorcing then. Once I committed to the decision, I was bolting out of the gate with my usual excess of enthusiasm for a difficult decision made. It would have been good to know more then, about the inherent danger of exploring another emotional interest too soon – there’s too much going on to process; everything hurts more, and it takes longer to recover.

Overall, though, I’m doing pretty damned well, all things considered. Some days I don’t want to get out of bed, but I get up. I am frightened that I’ll fail as a single parent, as an aspiring writer, as a human being. But the fear doesn’t stop me. There are rare but amazing moments when I feel my rhythm, have a sense of momentum that pushes me through the worst slumps. For the first time in years, I am able to visualize things improving, even steadily improving. Hallelujah, I have goals! And I have hope that I'll achieve them.

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