Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Divorce—Guilty, Angry, Afraid

Divorce in your family can leave you feeling a wide range of emotions. Here are some of them:

I feel guilty. I'm at fault You may wonder if your behavior prompted your parents' decision to break up. You may feel responsible because of rebellion toward your parents, bad grades, a hot temper, fights with your siblings or a failure to communicate your love to your parents. Perhaps your parents or other adults even told you that your attitude or behavior contributed to the divorce. These feel­ings may also prompt the inner urgency that you must get your parents back together. But you are not responsible for breaking up the marriage or for putting it together again. The truth is that all children have problems. It’s the adult’s responsibility to help you, not to blame you.

I feel angry and bitter. You may be angry about the breakup because it disrupts your fam­ily environment, creating disorder where before there was order. You may be angry or bitter because you resent being separated from one parent. Feelings of abandonment may spark your anger. You may resent being different from your friends whose families are still intact. You may have been the victim of one parent's resentment toward the other. The physical and financial bur­dens of the divorce may also be angering you. You may be angry about other aspects of the upheaval at home. In any case, you need to talk about your anger and get help dealing with it in healthy ways.

I’m worried and afraid. It is natural and com­mon to react to your parents' problems with feel­ings of anxiety and fear. You may be worried about where you will live, where you will go to school or where you will spend vacations. You may fear the reactions of your friends, other family members and the church. You may be afraid that one parent, grandparents and other relatives on that side of the family will abandon you. Your anger and fear can even lead to loss of appetite, upset stomach, over eating, nightmares, a skin rash or other physical problems. It is important to admit your fears and to talk honestly about them with your parents and with your youth leader or minister. (To be continued).

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