If you're an ACOD, you've probably asked yourself this very question:
Is it normal to be crying this much over my parents' divorce? Is it normal to struggle in my everyday life? To be unable to complete tasks that used to take me no time at all? Is it normal to not want to get out of bed?
Is it normal to want to stop living life?
These are the tough questions people don't want to address. But that doesn't change the fact that these questions are being asked. Maybe not out loud...but they're being asked.
First things first...nothing about divorce is normal. It was never supposed to even be a choice. Marriage means forever, but unfortunately the definition has drastically changed. So it's important to accept that what is happening is NOT normal and should not be taken lightly. It's good you feel so upset. It's good you're grieving. It shows that you recognize the severity of your parents' divorce and the permanent impact it's had on your life.
But you may wonder if your reactions to the situation are normal. Again...there is no normal in this situation. Everyone's situations are different and equally painful. There's no rulebook for a parents' divorce, especially later in life, (and no, I'm not nominating myself to write one!) There's no normal, standard reaction to a parents' divorce. It's a crushing blow either way.
I think what we're really asking ourselves is: has anyone else felt this way? Because if others have reacted the same way as you and felt the same way, then it means you're not alone.
I'm here to tell you that you're not alone.
You're not alone if you've ever felt...
angry (so angry you feel like you could kill someone)
a sadness that takes your breath away
You're not alone if you've ever...
had recurring dreams about your family together as they once were, in your childhood home
started crying at work for no apparent reason
suddenly shocked yourself by the realization that your parents are truly divorced (even if your parents have been divorced for years)
had a day where you actually laughed (yes, it's okay to laugh)
felt the need to seek the help of a counselor (check out my post on counseling)
experienced jealousy towards your friends and others who have families that are intact
struggled to get out of bed in the morning
found it difficult to take joy in the things you used to
felt the need to control everything around you (after all, your life feels out of control, doesn't it?)
felt like the world's moving around you...and without you
been baffled by the inconsiderate things some people actually have the nerve to say
found yourself reverting to acting like a three-year-old
felt awkward around your parents in their new lives
hurt all over
You're not alone if you've ever felt any of the above.
How do I know?
Because I've felt them all too. I still do.
Instead of pretending that we're normal and that we're okay with out parents' divorce, let's admit that nothing about the situation is normal and that we're not okay. We shouldn't be okay. Instead, let's admit how we really feel. You never know who may need to hear it.
Not feeling so great? Need to talk? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.