Don't Be Discouraged About Your Divorce
Written By: Mark Smith
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Life is hard. The truth is that all of us are flawed with our own unique expressions of dysfunction. If you are going through a divorce, suffering from depression or having work or financial problems then be encouraged : you are quite normal and you aren't alone. The important thing in life isn't to not have problems : it is to learn as much as you can from the struggles that you are facing. Your problems are about you. They are in your life to teach you something. We all have to face them.
I will never forget my work with Joe, an early 30-ish banker. He was completely crushed upon learning about his wife's on-going affair. He found it difficult to get out of bed and come to my office. His wife's betrayal completely blindsided him. He felt like a worthless and discarded piece of trash. It felt like his entire life had caved in on him. However, after about a month of therapy Joe was in much better shape. I had taught him how is family background had virtually insured his marital outcome. I taught him that his wife had in no way victimized him. I pointed out how his wife had definitely shown him signs of her untrustworthy nature many years before. I framed his marriage as what it really was : a life lessen for Joe offering him an opportunity to face himself, heal his childhood issues and then move on with a great deal of insight and an extremely bright future. Early in his therapy Joe sincerely said that his wife's affair and subsequent abandonment turned out to be the best thing that had ever happened to him! That is awesome! That is making lemonade out of life's lemons. That is making the best possible use of life's biggest punch in the gut. Joe ended up marrying an extremely lovely and trustworthy young woman from work.
I have worked with many "Joes" through the years. Emily comes to mind. Her husband left her for a woman he worked with. She was in her mid 30's, she did not feel particularly attractive, she was in a job she not only didn't like, but it would not support her, she thought that she would be single for the rest of her life and she desperately missed her husband, who had been the love of her life. We went through many boxes of tissues. However, a year and a half later Emily is a vastly different woman. She is confident and strong. She is through most of her grieving. She took a risk and changed careers: she now loves what she is doing and it pays well. She has figured out her part of needing to be abandoned in her marriage and now there isn't a bitter bone in her body. She is actually in a new relationship with a great new guy too. She is happier then she has ever been in her whole life. She learned what she needed to learn, she healed what she needed to heal and she has moved on to a bright and fulfilling future.
No matter what your situation is, good things can come from it. Marriages are places to learn and heal. They can be brutal and cruel places. Just know this : your problems mean something. Your life is like a big puzzle and it is up to you to fit the pieces together. You will definitely need some help with this. Joe and Emily would in all probability be quite depressed and stuck without the therapy that they received. The thing is: if you don't learn from this bone crushingly painful relationship, you will most likely repeat the very same pattern in your next relationship. You can learn the hard way - booking a therapy appointment and then spending the next several years crying your guts out and figuring things out or you can learn the harder way - putting all the blame on your former spouse, becoming bitter, shutting down emotionally, not learning a thing, and then jumping into a new relationship with the same guy (with a different name and a different face). Whatever in your marriage happened with your full collusion and cooperation. Your life is about you. When I feel victimized I make myself stand in the mirror and ask that guy in the mirror how he allowed the bad thing to happen to me. For me it is always that guy's responsibility. It is for you too. Don't be discouraged. Life has presented you with a challenge. Figure it out and work it out. There are brighter days ahead for you : I promise. We are out of time. See you next week.
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