Takeaway: Take care of the emotional stability of your children.
Divorce: Protect your children
I am a survivor of the war called divorce. It is not purely a physical war that takes place among the parents but an emotional conflict that happens inside of a child’s mind. The effects it can have on the psyche of a developing mind are incredible, having gone through it myself when I was growing up. For me, the war was drawn out for ten long grueling years. My world was clouded in a storm of apathy and my shelter was self-containment.
Growing up, my parents often fought. They did what they could to keep the fighting contained to them but when it spilled out in the night, I listened. I was a light sleeper back then so any sort of loud movements or noises brought me back to the waking world. So I waited, and I listened. There was a battle going on outside of my bedroom that I could not be a part of. In fact, every fiber of my being desperately wanted to be away from it because each verbal attack struck my heart. I felt the words; they tore into my heart and plucked at my core piece by piece. I do not know how I managed to go back to sleep during those nights but I did.
These conflicts would subside and come again as time went on, spanning from 1999 to 2009 in which I have dubbed “The Ten Year War.” But the damage was done already. Deep inside my heart, I created a shell for my emotions to hide away inside and stay hidden from danger. As a child I developed an impossible method for shutting out everything that came against me. This, accompanied by bullying at school, forced me to take shelter inside of my mental cocoon. Early on I learned how to put on a new face and not let anything bother me.
I was a robot. Good luck reaching out to me; I was too far gone that I did not want anything to do with people. Time went on and I became judgmental. It was amazing how easy it became to size people up through what I saw on the outside. My instincts were always true and I decided who I would interact with.
Thankfully, the story does not end with me an emotional refugee from a war that took away everything from me. Though my parent’s divorce has yet to be finalized (as I write this, their divorce will be final in April 2013) I can see the scars that linger in my heart from what happened. It was not until Spring 2011 that I allowed myself to go back to those moments and open the shelter I created for my emotions and release them. The difficulty in it all was that I could not run away and hide like I used to, but face the world with everything intact. These last two years have been a testimony of the fact that I am able to be myself for once and not hindered by what the world has done to me.
Unfortunately, there are other conflicts happening around the world. Divorce is like an explosion. It might start small and contained, but once it is released then it consumed everything in its path. Children these days are unable to cope with the fact that their parents are yelling and arguing with each other. They ask questions like, “Why do mommys and daddys get divorced?” because the thought is so foreign and abstract that it is impossible to understand.
Growing up I learned the cold realities of arguments and how they could escalate. If these are some of the things I struggled with, then I know that there are children out there who go through the same thoughts. My circumstances might be…