Welcome to elephant journal’s advice column for all of us who find ourselves lost in love.
I will guide you through the process of making the big decision to stay or leave, separate, divorce and everything in between and thereafter; from navigating a break up gracefully, to co-parenting with ease, and dating post divorce. You ask, I will answer.
Am I an expert? Am I a therapist? No, but I am aware. I listen and I hear what you are saying under the surface of your question. I hear the answer (you already know), submerged below the doubt. My purpose is to fish the answer from your heart and cast it back to you. There is nothing I can express that you don’t already know. Sometimes we just need to hear someone else say it, to validate and strengthen our confidence and acknowledge what our intuition has been declaring all along.
I have three young children and have been in intense marriage counseling for almost a year. My heart really feels like its over, but how does one make the first move?
I’m terrified to actually move out. I don’t want to go through a divorce that both my husband and I went through when we were children. I want to create a healthy home for my four, nine and 10 year old. Will I be able to be a healthy mom for my kids? My heart hurts just thinking about it. ~ Anonymous
I would begin finding your answer within these questions:
1. Am I a healthy mom for my children at this moment?
2. Is our home a healthy environment for all of us right now?
3. Is my fear of moving out withholding my desire to move forward?
4. Why am I terrified to move out?
You ask, how does one make the first move?
The same as you would taking a step. You have already taken many steps. You identified you were no longer communicating and felt unease between you and your husband. You committed to counseling-to sitting face to face, side by side and slowly peeling away the layers of yourself and your relationship (this is a leap).
Now, you can answer the question, “Under all of the layers, is my heart still ripe? Or is it rotten?”
If it is rotten, you need to tend to yourself, until you see your ripeness again.
Moving out is not damaging, it is healing. If you “know” you need to move out, the best thing you can do, is honor your needs and resuscitate your life.
Visualize moving out as you would stitching a wound. It is painful, excruciating as the needle weaves and threads it’s way to a completed suture. When the mending is done, you begin to recover. Inevitably, you will be sore and achy, but pain is weak, it always fades.
Maybe it is time you take one more step, you speak your Truth. Take a big breath and say, “I need us to separate, so I can become healthy again.” There is no need to proclaim absolutes,“I want a divorce.” There is a reason for separation, just as there is an engagement period before marriage. This time allows one to ease into the decision and become comfortable during the evolution of the relationship.
You never know, you could separate and find reconciliation, your destiny.
Walk slowly. This will keep impulsive and irrational thoughts and actions from blocking your path.
Meet with your therapist one on one and practice using your strength and courage, hear your words and feel them. When you hear them out loud and have a witness to your true voice, you may grow more confident and the doubt of the decision will fall away.
Provide a safe place where you can speak, and he can listen and absorb. Be gentle with your words, yet assertive in your intention. Accept the pain that erupts, and allow yourself to feel the flood of emotions.
Always keep your heart embracing your children. Visualize yourself as a young child when your parents divorced. What actions of theirs made you feel unsafe? Were there certain steps they took that made you feel safe?
Use your direct experience to protect and elevate the needs of your children during this process.
It is ok to feel hurt for your children, but understand the hurt, is your hurt. If you show them love, their hurt (over the separation) will diminish swiftly.
Your hurt exists, because of the unfulfilled expectations you created of their lives(two parents in one house). You are their mother, their nurturer. You are making the best decision for their hearts, out of the love you hold for your family.
A child’s home is found in a parent’s love. A child hurts when a parent hates. If you both continue to love them, they will always be healthy; but remember, for them to be healthy, you must be healthy first.
Listen to your heart and follow in her footsteps.
Here is a link to my column, read on http://www.elephantjournal.com/?s=rebecca+lammersen
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Editor: Kate Bartolotta