I find that I continue to struggle with accepting my post- divorce reality in certain ways.
It has nothing to do with missing the marriage, or the ex. I am so far past all of that, and have enjoyed the relief and freedom of being out of a marriage that was not healthy for me in many ways.
It has to do with the on-going reality my kids face, and the effects on them that they continue to struggle with.
It was one thing for me to hear my counselor say words like “abuse” and “emotional manipulation” and “narcissism” in response to my descriptions of my marriage. It took me time to accept and grieve those truths, because I spent many years making the best of things and trying to keep the peace, believing that to be best for my kids.
But, when my now adult children have come to these conclusions on their own, through research and counselling, it is devastating to me.
I wish for a post-divorce reality in which my kids have healthy relationships with both parents. I imagine what it would be like for them to have nice visits with both of us, receive emotional as well as financial support from both of us, have two parents to turn to for advice and help with decision making. That would like a dream to me. My kids deserve that.
But, that is not what their reality is.
Instead, two of my kids have made heart wrenching decisions to not have contact with their father, due to on-going damage that contact was doing to their emotional well-being. They are in counseling to heal from memories of years of emotional abuse, witnessing many incidents of explosive anger outbursts, and at times, physical abuse. My other adult child is feeling in the middle…. maintaining contact with her father, but struggling with knowing what her brothers are working through. She has her own memories to deal with, but wants everyone to be happy. I encourage her to attend counseling as well, but she has not chosen to do that at this time. As my kids have shared these memories with me, it has been devastating to me. Many of their memories occurred at times when I was not present. And, the times when I was, I tried to buffer and minimize the effects.
But, that was not enough. I can’t change the fact that my kids went through what they went through. It is the reality.
How do you come to a place of acceptance about something like that? I still struggle with feeling that I failed them. I see them continue to suffer. I see them continue to hurt. I see them take longer to work through life decisions and managing day to day tasks. I am alone in helping them sort life out financially and find a way to establish a future. I feel so helpless in not being able to help them with that. There is so little I can do for them financially. But, I am doing everything I can for them emotionally. I am doing my best to be present, to listen, to support… but, not enable. The balance I try to find with this is a day by day struggle, and most of the time I am not sure if I am getting it right at all. I can only do my best.
I have to believe that they will get through this. I have to believe that the reality we all live with is not some kind of black cloud we will never be able to get out from under. I have to believe that.
I do see them fighting their way through. I do see determination. I do see them loving and supporting each other. I do see them being good to each other. They do express appreciation and love to me as well.
I wish for a different reality for all of us. But, this is the reality we have, and I need to find that acceptance. I will get there. It is the way it is.