There is a saying, “You choose your actions, you do not get to choose the consequences”.
Never is that more true than in divorce.
The reasons, no matter how substantial, cease to matter as time wears on; it is the consequences that live long and prosperous lives.
It no longer matters that there was abuse, infidelity, lack of love, miscommunication; it is the consequences that linger on. And, it is those consequences that affect everyone, from adults to children, grandparents to godparents, cousins to godchildren.
I have not written any personal stories on my blog in a while. When your heart is broken, your mind struggles to be happy and that makes it difficult to write, at least it does for me. What made me sit down to write this morning was something that happened this past weekend.
We attended a family function the other night, and my own deeply guarded pain bubbled to the surface as I watched and listened to the pain of a child, now a grown young man, who was caught up as an extended casualty of a divorce that had nothing to do with him. He didn’t understand when someone he loved dearly suddenly disappeared from his life without a word. The only explanation he was given came from his parents. His anger and hurt got the best of him and he confronted the accused, the one he did not know had been banned from his life due to divorce. As I watched their pain surface, my own pain jerked unchecked from its hiding place once again.
It is human nature to choose sides when there is conflict present, but what so many fail to realize is that the pain and the consequences of anger linger far into the future, where it has no place. There seems to be a demon present in some people that rears its ugly head to cause a normally sane person to lose all perspective, and anyone who will listen to the lamenting is drawn in.
Children are often manipulated and lied to in the name of revenge, as adults circle the wagons and prepare to wage war, a war that will affect a child far into the future. Adults choose the action; the children suffer the consequences, most times needlessly. Divorce is an ugly animal. I myself have witnessed this behavior on many occasions, as adults choose not to accept their part in the break-up of a marriage – it does take two to make a marriage, just as it takes two to break up a marriage. It seems to be a little-remembered fact.
I have seen adults who have finally moved past their pain; neglect to calm the waters (anger) in those around them. Therein lays a huge injustice. I have witnessed this in the lives of people who are close to me repeatedly.
It is no misnomer that divorce brings anger and pain. It is how we as adults, conduct ourselves, that determines the extended consequences to those around us. Children do not need to become the pawns in the ugly game, but they do more often than not. As adults, we transfer our feelings of hurt, abandonment, and anger onto the shoulders of those who are too young to process the emotions. Children are not born hating, we teach them to hate, to hold grudges, to take sides, to mimic our adult behaviors.
Never has it been more evident than in my own life, but also in the life of the young man this weekend, a child who lost someone in his young life due to a family divorce. A child, now a grown young man, who when confronted with the opportunity to speak with the person he lost, did not know how to process his anger and hurt. I stood by and watched the pain of two people who were hurt deeply through no fault of their own, struggle to communicate, one young, one older. Hurt knows no bounds. I can only pray that maybe it is not too late for the two of them to perhaps mend the great divide, a divide caused by hurt, anger, and lies. Who knows? Maybe they can overcome the one major obstacle standing in their way. But, to mend one relationship with the truth may mean destroying a trusted relationship built on lies. It is a difficult decision at any age.
The point of this story – maybe it is to assuage some of my own pain. Maybe it is a plea to others suffering from or causing some of this pain to think twice before they step off into abyss – we, as adults, need to think before we destroy a child’s trust in another human being. I’ll close with this advice: think twice before you circle the wagons and pull out the heavy artillery, there just might not be an enemy.
The views expressed here are my own.