We live in a world with many judgments. And life just isn’t always easy. God knows that when you have children together, getting divorced is far from easy.
When I see from people in my life why I wanted to be a life coach to help other single mothers, I always see a sideways glance that asks, “When are you going to get over your divorce?” It’s not an oral question, just a look. A look that I’ve seen many times and that I’m pretty familiar with.
Why am I so delayed in my grief when I focus on divorced mothers as a topic of discussion, let alone an additional career path?
I couldn’t heal because I pretended I wasn’t hurt.
And my answer is, “I couldn’t heal because I kept pretending I wasn’t hurt.” I couldn’t focus at the right time on dealing with something as traumatic as a divorce can be. I had two little babies who needed so much of me and I was so scared that if I indulged in the feelings of the true trauma of my life, I would never find my way back.
It took my children to finally reach young adulthood so that I could take a much-needed break and really look back over the shoulder of my past and see what I did wrong and what I did right. There were so many items that could fall into those two buckets. And to be honest, it did me good to pretend I wasn’t hurt in a funny way.
If I could look at my life and pretend I wasn’t alone, like I wasn’t scared, like I wasn’t discouraged, and like I wasn’t the only one in my family who’s divorced … well, maybe it was alone so that I somehow survived. Isn’t “playing and pretending” one of the first skills we learn as children? I was and always was so good at putting on a brave face and asserting myself in order to get to the other side of something. But who I am today as a result is far from being the “great pretender”.
Take a close look at the present you are constructing. It should look like the future you dream of. Alice Walker
To be someone I haven’t become too easy for. And in those years when I pretended to become a new me little by little. I was slowly being reborn. In the years that I felt about my ex-husband or the wife who took him away from us, or the supervisors who couldn’t understand the weight of my responsibilities at home, or the family members who didn’t understand me or the boyfriend at all could feel bullied Who couldn’t understand why he wasn’t the center of my universe? Well it all made me find my voice and find enough strength to scream ENOUGH!
I don’t owe my ex-husband any comfort in being a compliant ex-wife.
I don’t owe his concubine my nervous system and broken heart.
I don’t owe my boss any explanations about my personal life if I’m one of his top performers.
I don’t owe my family members a weekly program on what happened in my life, and I don’t owe a friend.
What I do know is that through the sacrifices me and my children made to ensure their comfort, I have earned and earned respect from each and every one of these people. I only owe myself. I owe it to myself to love and approve of the person I have become.
To love who you are, you cannot hate the experiences that have shaped you.
I’ve seen more lives than most people I know. At least it feels like I did. And yet, when I try to remember things that happened, I only remember in gray. I don’t remember the details that well. I think this is actually a by-product of the trauma and how we deal with it.
At least that’s how I handled it. When I speak to women today who have gone through the divorce process and are coping with being single parents, I have as much comfort in talking to them as I am in talking to me. I tend to ask myself regularly what wisdom I have and what I can impart to the legions of single mothers who seek my help.
The first message I get from single mothers is that they feel alone and scared, but cannot show it off for fear that their children will pick it up. They also feel that their friends and family feel pressured to have to help so they don’t show need and ask for help. You don’t want to appear vulnerable to anyone. We span two worlds as divorced mothers. One of being heartbroken and the other of being the strong women we must be by today’s standards. We have to feel like Rosie the Riveter, flexing our strong muscles 24/7 and somehow invincible.
The first thing I want to make it clear to every single woman I meet shortly after being greeted is that they are validated and that their feelings are real. And we start from there. No need to take a breath. My sign says, “Leave your cloak on the door. Superheroes are not required here. “Often times we do this while pretending to be doing this to make people around us more comfortable. And at your own risk.
Be grateful for the wrong relationships. They teach you, change you, strengthen you and prepare you for the right one.
Divorce hurts. Whether you initiated it or not, it still hurts.
It hurts when you’ve been betrayed.
It hurts when you fall in love
It hurts you, your parents, your siblings…. Anyone who thought your marriage was the exemplary union my tribe all thought of.
But it also hurts our children a lot if we don’t kick this kick at our hearts.
I admit I didn’t handle my broken heart well because I didn’t bring it up at all. I just felt so wiped out and in a split second the house and family we were building meant nothing. I was injured. My husband left me weeks after the birth of our second child for another woman. I was injured. I’ve lost my husband, my best friend, my entire nervous system, my financial security, and my mind. I was injured. But I never brought it up.
I now have the luxury of wisdom. I know what I did wrong and what I did right. I’ve learned lessons that can actually be shared. I know … heartbreak or not, I married the wrong man. He wasn’t a bad man, just the wrong man. I was the wrong woman for him too. He never wanted to hurt me. He is not a man without a heart. He was just a lost man who needed someone to spend the rest of his life with. I understand now.
I also know that I am still growing, learning and developing, whether there is the right one for me or not. And the woman I am today doesn’t operate to make everyone else comfortable first. She accepts and expresses herself and is happy to share her sense of wisdom with anyone who wants to listen. And it’s okay if they don’t.
Being a life coach for divorced mothers is a calling that it should be. There are few things in this world that I feel more passionate about. I’ll never forget the trauma of my divorce and that’s okay. The memories I have are a mix of good and terrible rolled into one. But they may serve to help other women avoid experiencing some of the broken pieces that I endured.
And if we do, we can work together to rebuild. If at least I can make them feel less alone and a little more whole, then I’ve done what I set out to do. And I won’t give any further explanations about this.
Comments are closed.