So divorce is a messy, heart breaking, emotional and gut wrenching experience. It can leave you scarred and traumatised when you see the legal workings of the system. It is cold and heartless and if you had a similar marriage, it can make you feel like you went through the same trauma twice.
Personally, divorce was more a test of my resolve. There were many times I felt like just leaving everything and going back to my ex. Even though I knew it would have been the worst decision of my life, but like I mentioned previously, the drama, the tears, the fears, the frustration sometimes get to a person. But I knew I had to persist, and I had to see it through. Staying in a toxic relationship never ends well and the emotional damage will just escalate till you are a wreck and sometimes the damage is irreparable.
For the same reason, staying in toxic relationship/marriage is detrimental to a child. As much as you think you protecting a child to stay in such a marriage or relationship, you are more likely harming them. You inadvertently telling them
- It’s ok to be abused
- It’s ok to abuse someone
- It’s ok to not stand up for yourself
- It’s ok to be a victim
The fact that I took the chance and the risk of divorce was the biggest decision of my life. I had to think about my children. I have 3 sons and a daughter, and living on the Cape Flats is quite a challenge to raise your children, even more so if you are a single parent. So weighing the options were very difficult. As much as I want to make my ex-husband the bad guy in the story, I have to admit, having him beside me to raise our sons played an integral role in them not becoming statistics of gangsterism, drug abuse or being imprisoned. He did not actively aid in raising them, but the boys knew where to toe the line as he did not hesitate to discipline.
On the other hand I have seen people use their children as pawns in the divorce process! It is the saddest cruelest form of abuse! Unfortunately, as I have seen, women are the worst perpetrators of this. It is never ok as a grown up to use your child to punish the other parent. You are causing such a lot of damage on a young person who still needs to go through life, but because of your selfishness, a child has to carry emotional baggage into the future. That is why according to my opinion, it is imperative to deal with divorce in a mature and dignified way. Yes there will be anger, frustration and lots of emotions, but children should never bear the brunt of the frustrations and emotions of the adults. They already have to deal with the change in the family structure, which in itself is overwhelming for them. Adults should not add unnecessary burdens to their children, no matter the age of their children. There is no right way of dealing or going about divorce, because there will always be emotions involved, but there is a mature way of dealing with it.
I would like to delve into the issue of divorce more, in maybe another article, as there are so many issues involved in divorce. But once again my advice is to anyone contemplating divorce is, try to resolve it within your marriage, see a marriage councillor, see a pastor, see anyone who might remotely help in your situation, but do not stay silent, do not accept any kind of abuse and don’t believe you have to keep up appearances and give a false impression of happiness or contentment. Always make sure you are in control of your own life and emotions!