Thursday, September 17, 2009

Divorce—Relieved, Rejected, Depressed

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

I feel relieved. In addition to other emotions, you may actually feel some relief that your mom and dad are separating or divorcing. This doesn't mean that you are heartless or without compas­sion for your parents. You may be thinking that anything is better than their constant fighting. You may be hopeful that the separation will eliminate the abuse suffered by one parent, your siblings or yourself. Just be sure that your relief isn't another form of denial or a subtle means of "get­ting back" at your parents. Since their divorce hurt you, you may be tempted to make them think you are glad they are splitting up.

I feel unloved, unworthy, and rejected. You may feel that the breakup of your parents' mar­riage means they don't love you. You may think, Dad and Mom don't think I'm worth the effort of working out their problems. You may feel aban­doned or rejected by the parent not living with you. You may feel that your friends, other family members or people in your church look down on you. Or you may be struggling with other feelings of insecurity and rejection. Tell your par­ents and your youth leader or minister how you feel. Let them help you realize that the breakup is not a reflection of your worth, nor does it mean that your parents see you as unlovable.

I feel sad, confused and depressed. These feel­ings are similar to the grief someone feels when a friend or loved one dies. In the case of a divorce, parents may still be living, but the pain is no less real. You may expe­rience times of sadness and confusion. You may feel lazy and listless, with little motivation to do anything. Your temper and emotions may be on edge, ready to erupt at the smallest irritation. Intense feelings may overcome you when you don't expect them. You may have difficulty expressing your feelings or realizing what sparked them. Grief is normal and healthy as long as it runs its course and does not spiral downward into desperation. (To be continued).

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