In his book Grieving the Loss Of Your intended Future, Marc Roberts so aptly states: "We don't go into marriage planning for its demise. We don't bring children into a marriage planning how to handle their upbringing when it falls apart. We plan a future. "
The loss of that intended future is profound. You never forget the moment when that disclosure of infidelity or request for divorce changes your life forever.
After the shock subsides and you realize your future has been sabotaged, you will no doubt feel an anger well up inside that engulfs every fibre of your being.
Over 20 years later and I still remember the moment I realized that my planned future was being rerouted and I had no choice or power to change the trajectory. On that infamous night my mind flashed to the marriage vows at that candlelit service 25 years earlier. I had spoken them with the conviction of someone who believed every word and never doubted the integrity of the person whose hand I held that night. How wrong I was.
When the truth comes out, the anger will surge, propelling you forward for a time. In Dance Of Anger Harriet Lerner states, " the pain of our anger preserves the very integrity of our self."
The jeopardy of my integrity was painful. I had protected him for a few years because I didn't want anyone to know his dark side, behind closed doors, in our outwardly perfect marriage. In a sense I colluded with his behaviour and lies, protecting his perfect public persona, supporting him as a dutiful wife.
Separation and divorce bring a veritable banquet of reasons to be angry because the circumstances are often unfair. You probably didn't stop caring or stop trying to make it work.
Anger grows out of that loss of control, for yourself and your future. This anger is hung on that line of uncertainty that trails back months, maybe years behind you. All those mornings when you woke up wondering what the day would bring -- the words hurled in anger, the lingering silences, and the unexplained absences. You've had time in the wilderness feeling very vulnerable. In my marriage I likened those years to feeling like I was walking on foam, unsure that solid ground was there for me.
Perhaps, you turned the other cheek when they became verbally abusive, hoping each time was the last time.
In Patricia Evans's book The Verbally Abusive Relationship, she writes, "If you have been verbally abused you have been told in subtle and not so subtle ways that your perception of reality is wrong and that your feelings are wrong,"
Verbal abuse is a silent partner in marriage. Your friends don't see physical cuts and bruises. I am forever grateful to my perceptive older friend who identified the abuse, had the nerve to say the unsayable and connect me with a counselor.
Maybe you review all the sacrifices you made, perhaps putting them through school. There was the time devoted to trying to preserve a failing marriage, sacrificing yourself for the greater good of the family. All of this brings you to a point where a sense of helplessness and powerlessness envelopes you.
Leaving is often a bonfire of angry words, digging up every nasty moment that happened over the years.
As if on cue, in the dying embers of a marriage, your spouse will exploit your weaknesses, your faults and your fears. It's that betrayal of trust you never forget. You took your vows seriously. As I learned, that trust you invested in your partner only creates a smirk on their face.
Deliberate cruelty ensues. In my case "I just don't love you anymore," was said repeatedly in those last gasps of marriage -- as if it was my fault, I'd failed at love. Now I see it for what it really was, his failure at love, not mine.
Leaving is often a bonfire of angry words, digging up every nasty moment that happened over the years. If your self-worth was already damaged, they generally leave ensuring you are a smoldering mass of self -doubt and anger.
Be prepared to be angry at inappropriate times. Anger is a driving force in those first forays into the unknown of single life.
As Marc Roberts stated, we don't go into marriage with a far off plan to be gutted by hurt and anger in a separation and divorce.
There are strategies to identify the cause of your anger and steps that can be taken to move forward. Being proactive will help you get to that new future beyond bitter and angry to better.
If your anger is overwhelming and more than can be handled on your own, Dr. Mark Banschick provides a series that encourages professional help to guide you.
You choose your path forward. Today I have a life I never envisioned when I stood at that church altar almost fifty years ago. However, the success of my life today was only made possible by my divorce.
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