Divorce can wreck a person, especially when you are the child whose world is falling apart. As an adult, I have since been able to process and learn more about the person I became as a result of a difficult situation.
1. You realize that life goes on.
I half expected it to stop as a six-year-old but the world did, in fact, keep spinning. I was angry, sad, and hurt — but life went on in spite of my new reality. It showed me that the world doesn’t revolve around me.
2. You realize that your parents are people too.
As a child, you expect your parents to know everything. Anger and resentment grew when I put the expectation of perfection upon them. They shouldn’t this or that because they are my parents.
In reality, they are humans too with their very own sets of issues and insecurities. My parents were raised in far tougher situations than I, but chose to make a better life for me. The moment I shifted my view, I was able to become closer and more open with each of them.
3. You realize the power of empathy.
I vividly remember the day my parents let me know the news. I remember how I felt, what my dad looked like and the smell of shaving cream because he had just got out of the shower. I remember it so well that it puts a pit in my stomach.
Even though I don’t dwell on it, I choose to remember because it helps me better understand another’s pain. I am able to put myself in their situation, because I know what it feels like to feel confused, let down, and crushed.
4. You realize the importance of keeping secrets.
People talk crap. I’ll never forget the day I heard someone say something negative about one of my parents. It was highly inappropriate and rude.
Regardless of whether it was true or not, it was no one’s business to spread around. I learned the importance of being trustworthy with sensitive information. I would never want to cause anyone the type of hurt that I was caused.
5. You realize families are abstract.
The older I get, the more I realize that every family has their issues. Some are more open and dramatized and others choose to suppress the dirt.
From this situation, I gained a new step-mom and step-dad. When many people have no parents, I was blessed with two sets! I also gained step-siblings and an entire slew of aunts, uncles, and cousins. Family comes in all shapes and sizes, mine just happens to be gigantic now.
6. You realize no one is perfect.
Divorce is ugly no matter who was at fault. Both sides have their reasons but in the end, neither or both are right. The lines blur when people are hurt. Truth is, no one is perfect.
7. You realize you sometimes have to put your feelings aside.
I was fortunate. My parents worked together so that I had the opportunity to have relationships with both of them.
They were always cordial toward each other (at least in front of my brother and me) and were equally respectful toward their new spouses. I learned the importance of putting feelings aside for the better of all involved.
8. You realize you have to make your own path.
Both of my parents were raised in addicted homes. Although they both struggled with it at one point, they made a decision to walk away from that life and make a new path.
Yes, they divorced, but they chose to move on and are both living happy lives. I don’t have to make the same mistakes. I am not my parents and don’t have to divorce.
In fact, I have learned from their situation. We often get stuck in the mindset that we are victims. Yes, bad things happen, but they don’t have to run our lives.