The entire concept is so hard to accept but yet can be the savior of all and any marital conflict, if you can reduce it to just one thing. Not thinking of anyone but themselves, not giving the chance for anyone to make things better. Who can you count on when you think that the individual trumps the group?
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Brandi am, November 20, Link. This topic is very important to me right now and there are many good thoughts here. We have always had issues, stemming from immaturity in ourselves and our relationship amongst other things, but I have kept going for all the good reasons listed above by everyone. But what has caused me to separate now is that he has crossed a line by going outside of our marriage with someone physically.
He still comes over every morning and most evenings to see the kids, and I find I am not angry with him. She told my mother that she was happy again. He says he wants to stay together, and I believe him. But I refuse to make my kids unhappy by trying to make them happy staying together!
This is a very confusing subject, and I truly feel it can only be addressed by being completely honest and compassionate with each other, and trying to take anger out of the equation, as impossible as that seems. This is such a hard one for me. A myriad of circumstances prevented it, however, I believe I did the best I could. Divorce is hard on kids — bottom line no matter what the relationship between the parents is — then or now. My 8 year old daughter watches her father and me like a hawk during custody exchanges.
I make a herculean effort to always be nice and chatty in front of the kids. They have no idea the battles being fought behind the scenes in court etc. I lead by example. Shortly after I left my ex-husband I ran into a woman I had known since childhood. I had grown up with her daughter and knew her to say hello. She grabbed me in the market and told me that she was proud of me for leaving my marriage.
My six year old twins watched hours of tv, and I sent my older son off to camp for six weeks knowing that our household was not a great environment. I am not delusional to think it will all work out perfect, but I truly believe that my children will have happier and healthier lives than if my ex-husband and I had stayed together.
We have a polite but strained relationship, but deep in my heart and soul I truly believe I did the right thing and not just for me. That thought is what helps me sleep at night. I have come back to this website a couple times to read what others have written. I wonder if there is anyone else who has felt it so hard to leave somethng that is so outwardly awful because of the great fears about what will happen to the kids — and what did happen?
Maybe he will be better because he is somehow reacting to the negative things under the surface now, but he my son gets so angry and so demanding, also very physical that i am afraid it might be worse at least until he is mature enough intellectually to understand what is happening. Thank you all. Nelle pm, January 10, Link. This thread is so helpful to me. I am in similar situation to many of you. Married to a man with pscyhological problems that prevent him from working, make him angry and irrational.
We are in couples therapy. I believe it takes time. I see tiny changes along the way and his abusive language has been greatly reduced. I think it takes time and if you are comitted to this path, I think you need to give it more than one year. I lived with constant anger and the damage it was creating for us all. I finally realized the impact my anger was having on the situation and am learning to cope with and manage my anger. After two years of therapy we are getting more results on his end.
I am confirmed in my own personal misery in the relationship — is that a good model for the kids? He is good with the kids often but has verbally abusive incidents and poor judgement with all of us. Which reality should I focus on the good moments or the bad?
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This email thread is a great comfort to me. Thank you.
Lynn am, January 11, Link. Anger, abusive language and irrationality can be very tough to live with. They are often signs of brain disorganization — the brain has insufficient connectivity to be able to handle the circumstances a person is confronted with. Some things that can help with improving neural connectivity — some kind of regular ongoing body practice like yoga, MBSR Mindfulness based stress reduction or a martial art like aikido or tai qwon do.
The body really has to be included in most attempts to improve brain function and emotional intelligence. Mark am, January 11, Link. What that says to me is that we are all searching for ways to stay in a marriage and to create a safe and fulfilling family life for our children, ourselves and our mates.
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However, living with someone with serious issues is extremely challenging, to say the least, if not downright frightening sometimes. A couple years ago my husband was in intensive therapy individual and group , going to SAA meetings AND meditating daily, and let me tell you, he was a different person. Meditation is HUGE, and it really works. As Lynn says, reading what others have to say is very helpful and comforting since a part of me feels tremendously guilty and disgusted with myself that i am continuing in a situation that is so untenable.
It helps to know that i am not totally alone. I DONT love my husband so i feel like there is no hope for us. My wish going into couples therapy was that he could engage enough that we could at least recapture some respect and trust enough to have a family life for our son that wasnt a total farce. If there has been no change for 1. I too wonder if maybe i am deluding myself that this is better for my son than leaving the marriage.
Is there anyone who was so torn who has done it? Is there anyone for whom it was really hard for your children, yet they are coping? Nelle pm, January 11, Link.
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My counselor has been working with families for 30 years. That is ultimately why I asked my husband to leave. This has been the case with my husband. Of course, both people need to be open to reading it and trying it. Elizabeth pm, January 11, Link. I agree with you Elizabeth, wholeheartedly. While a part of me wants to deny that, as I think of myself as an intelligent, thoughtful and conscious individual, another part has to acknowledge the truth of it.
What I did take from my childhood is that I was not unhappy that my parents divorced. I never thought they made a bad decision with that. My later unhappiness came when my dad got remarried to an awful woman when I was 8, who then systematically ruined many parts of many lives for the next 12 years. My fear is that my husband will check out of his relationship with my kids, or that he will marry someone truly awful and that she will create problems for them.
I am afraid that my son will be devastated by our breakup and that his behavior problems which i think are due mostly to the tension and anger in our household will get worse. While i wont be as tense and angry anymore presumably, the behavior evidences itself in low frustration tolerance, sarcasm, refusal to do things like get up for school that have become almost reflexive. So i am worried about that continuing as he adjusts. I think he will blame me for Daddy leaving. Plus he loves his dad and looks forward to spending time with him.
Not that he wants to conciously, not that now he thinks he will — but because that is his pattern.
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I think he is very damaged and that when his protective cocoon is shattered he has to move on to sustain himself. He has never confronted his pain, his alcoholism, etc so he has to abandon the situation. Please forgive my going on and on. Its been so helpful to me to feel that I am not alone. Nelle pm, January 13, Link. But hey, the kids themselves just might have the best answers. Below, eight writers share what it was like growing up with divorced parents and the one piece of advice they want to pass on. Your marriage does not determine your skill as a parent and it shouldn't change the way you view yourself as a parent.
If anything, your ability to remain a good mom or dad throughout the trials and stress of a divorce gives you even more credibility as a parent. My mom and dad proved to me that you can still be there for your kids independently. Looking back now, I realize my parents' divorce led me to become a better, stronger person. We are all a little crazy. Even those who seem painstakingly normal. I have not actually noticed higher rates of neurosis or unhappiness in children of divorce than in children of intact marriages.
In fact, I have plenty of friends with married parents who can best my crazy dysfunctional family stories any day of the week.
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All families have issues and divorce is just one of many. Your kids are little sponges, soaking up the energy you put out. Their grown hearts will be full of the things they hear as children. And their future will be shaped by the decisions you make. You've lost a marriage, not yourself. When the dust settles and you feel strong enough, set off to accomplish any dreams that you've put on hold. My mother registered for college, completed two degrees, and launched a new career. Her actions taught me that even in the hardest times, we should reach into ourselves, find strength and continue living the best life possible.
But you need to put in work and be there for them. My parents split when I was four. Young children can be more clingy, or regress, and all children can be "difficult" or "attention seeking". It's hard as an adult to have your parenting challenged when you are at your most vulnerable — and to have to put down boundaries and be tested when you need a breather. With this in mind, it's best to try talking to your children about what's happening immediately.
How you phrase this will depend on their age, but Chapman warns: "If you say, 'Mummy and Daddy don't love each other any more', then they may think you can fall out of love with them too. Instead, be honest and specific. It's better to break the news with your partner, but if you have to do it alone, talking through what you plan to say with a friend first can help. If there have been rows, hostility or other problems, some children will experience a sense of relief, says Chapman. But this could also lead to them feeling guilty.
And children do need to be reassured the divorce is not their fault. While it's better if both of you continue to go to events such as parents' evenings or sports days, and at least pretend to get on, these situations should be avoided if you can't be in the same room without fighting. At the same time, psychologist Janet Reibstein warns against mixed signals.
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