Primal Loss Through the Eyes of ACD

If you could ask adult children of divorce questions about the impact of their parents’ divorce, what would you ask? More important, how would they answer? Leila Miller found out by asking seventy ACD the same eight questions.  Her book Primal Loss: Now Adult Children of Divorce Speak not only gives their answers, but except for the introduction, the entire book is their answers—no commentary, no “expert opinions,” no “it’s not a big deal” bravado.

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As a result, for me, reading Primal Loss was like drinking orange juice concentrate without the three cups of additional water. I’m used to reading ACD stories that are liberally separated by statistics, comments, etc, so you get a break from the intensity of the parental divorce experience. Miller gives us 100% ACD dialog and it’s a tough read at times. However,  two important things occur as you read: you realize your challenges aren’t unique, and you learn you aren’t crazy because of your challenges (for the most part!).

Miller’s eight questions were:

  1. What effect has your parents’ divorce had on you (the longest chapter)?
  2. What is the difference between how you felt about the divorce as a child and how you feel about it as an adult?
  3. Has your parents’ divorce affected your own marriage or your view of marriage?
  4. What do you want to say to people who say that “children are resilient” and “kids are happy when their parents are happy” and “kids of divorce will be just fine and will go on to live successful lives”?
  5. What would you say directly to your parents about the divorce and how it affected your life than and now? Would you advise them to do things differently, and, if so, what?
  6. What do you want adults in our society to know about how divorce affects the children?
  7. What role has your faith played in your healing?
  8. What would you want to say to any children facing their parents’ divorce today? What would you want to say to those parents considering divorce (leaving out cases of danger)?


How would YOU answer these questions? Does it even matter now with their divorce so long ago? YES! Because your answers (and the emotions surrounding them) are inside you and probably leaking out in various ways (anger, fears, troubled relationships). Also because, as the individuals in the book found, thinking through it helps.

Important recommendations
For those of you who are ACD, before you start reading Primal Loss, I encourage you to let your loved ones know what you’re reading. This is to prepare them for the up and down and all around moods you’ll experience.

I also recommend reading it with a friend or two. The Bible says, “A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.1 As you read through the chapters, get together weekly and debrief. This will help keep you focused on the healing process God desires you to complete.

Lastly, please leave a comment about how the book affected you. I’m very interested in your thoughts!

 

1Ecclesiastes 4:12, NLT.

Images:
Thinking RFID by Jacob Botter
Girl talk by Nathan Rupert

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“Facing the Holidays” ACD Workshop is Coming Soon.

It’s no secret Thanksgiving and Christmas can be far from joyous times for adults with divorced parents. What often is the secret is why.
On October 28th I’ll be at Sycamore Counseling Services in Livonia, Michigan to present a workshop that will equip ACD with tools to help them not only hate the holidays less, but actually enjoy them–in spite of what may be going on around them.
Whether you “tolerate” the holidays, hate them, ignore them, or if you are divorced and want to know what your adult kids are experiencing,  I hope you’ll join us as we work together to restore “the most wonderful time of the year.”

“Love Triangle” and the Gift of Grieving Togetherness

I don’t move in country music circles so I’m late to the party when it comes to the song “Love Triangle” by Raelynn. The song gives voice to a childhood perspective of her parents’ divorce. For me, two phrases that describe our dilemna of loss stand out:
Then I run to him, Big hug, jump in. And I cry for her, Out the window1
and
Then I run to her. Wrap my arms, around her skirt. And I cry for him. Out the window1

looking-out-the-window-2-by-carol-munroThis conflict is reminiscent of Elizabeth Marquardt’s words in her book Between Two Worlds:
“I missed my mother and father terribly when I was separated from one of them—and I was always separated from one of them.”2

Feel familiar? The Christmas season brings this loss to a head for many adults with divorced parents. It’s a time when togetherness oozes from every commercial and show. Songs like “I’ll Be Home for Christmas3 fill your ears at the coffee shop only to remind you your home dissolved years ago. However, as Divorce Sucks! by Addie Willams 50the clouds of sadness move in we have a choice; run away and deny the clouds exist, or turn towards them and feel the loss. After years of denial, I finally did the latter.

Accepting the gift of grieving
I used busyness as a Band-Aid for making it through the Christmas holiday, but a few short years ago, I decided to embrace the loss.

  • First, I admitted I missed having my dad at Christmas…a lot.
  • Second, I allowed the sadness to come. As a guy, crying is not my thing, but holding back tears when a Christmas movie triggered my thoughts of post-divorce Christmases was energy draining. Allowing the tears to come was cleansing and energy boosting. Who knew? (other than the female half of the human race.)
  • Then I took my pain to the Lord. I found praying specifically about what I missed very helpful. “When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock (Jesus) that is higher than I4

Forgiveness by Tiffany ScantleburyLord, even though Mom did a great job with Christmas, it wasn’t the same without Dad. I really missed him playing his favorite Christmas music.

  • Next came focusing God’s blessings—my wife, my kids, my home, our holiday traditions, and so much more.
  • The last thing I did to embrace the loss was commit to strengthening my marriage so my kids would never have to choose between Mom and Dad. Taking in a marriage seminar, reading books, listening to teachings all help. See our resource page and audios and videos for many marriage strengthening resources.

This process wasn’t easy. The first couple Christmas seasons were actually worse. But with persistence and lots of prayer an amazing thing happened. The Lord took the sting out of the loss, and I was able to fully enjoy Christmases. It turned out, grieving was a wonderful gift!

 

1Nicolle Anne Galyon, Racheal Woodward, Jimmy Robbins. Love Triangle, 2016 © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group
2 Elizabeth Marquardt, Between Two Worlds, (NY, NY: Crown Publishers, 2005), 8.
3Kim Gannon ,Walter KentBuck Ram, I’ll Be Home For Christmas, 1943, Decca Records.
4Psalm 61:2b, KJV
 
Images
Looking out the window 2 by Carol Munro
Divorce Sucks! by Addie Willams
Forgiveness by Tiffany Scantlebury

Important Help for Divorced Individuals

DivorceCareStarting in September, two important classes will be offered in areas around the US and Canada. DivorceCare and DivorceCare for Kids are 12 week programs that offer support for people either going through divorce or in the post divorce phase. Key benefits of DivorceCare groups include:

  • people who understand your hurts, emotions and painful experiences!
  • helpful, practical information from DivorceCare DVD videos that feature top experts on divorce and recovery subjects and case studies of people just like you, who have been through the divorce experience.
  • the chance to talk about your experiences.
  • becoming part of a “family.”

DivorceCare topics include anger, loneliness, loss, depression, forgiveness, new relationships, finances, children in divorce, reconciliation and “moving on.” Divorce Care for KidsDivorceCare for Kids addresses the same topics simultaneously, but in a small group of kids and at an age appropriate level. It also covers the issues from a child’s perspective.

Combined, these powerful classes give the parent and child common ground for conversations that can strengthen their relationship in a difficult time. I strongly encourage anyone who has experienced a divorce (even if it’s been a couple years) to check out a group by going to www.divorcecare.org.

 

 

 

The ABC’s of Dealing with Our Parents’ Divorce

When I learned my parents’ divorce was still affecting me, it proved enlightening and overwhelming. Fortunately, manyflattened by questions overwhelmed cropped tools are now available to overcome issues created in us by parental divorce. But in conversations with adults from broken homes, I’ve learned a basic A-B-C approach helps tackle divorce-related issues in our lives.

ABC blocksA. Acknowledge that the impact of their divorce continues. This two minute video discusses the subtle change parental divorce can create in the trajectory of  the kids.

B. Identify how our parents’ divorce still affects us. Kelly Spenser’s Happy Healthy YOU article addresses common challenges adults with split parents face.  As a life coach, Spenser’s perspective is insightful. Her observations reveal we always have a Plan B, sky-high expectations, cautious disbelief, and have a fascination with normal. Spenser’s article yields an intriguing  glimpse at idiosyncrasies that often affect us.

C. Take steps to overcome these issues. Identifying and replacing the lies we believe is a crucial first step. The Bible offers truth that can deliver us from the fear of inadequacy, feelings of unworthiness, anger, and other issues. Holding fast to God’s truth is the only answer when the hurricane-force-winds of deceit try to blow us off course. Though our fears (fed by lies) say otherwise, the Bible says, “With God all things are possible,1God has not given us a spirit of fear,2Cast all your cares on him for he cares for you,3If we confess our sins, he (Jesus) is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,4  and “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.childrenofdivorce.net The truth that God offers love, forgiveness, acceptance, and the power to change can break the chains lies have forged.

Along with your Bible,  Gary Neuman’s book, The Long Way Home: The Powerful 4-Step Plan for Adult Children of Divorce helps identify issues we struggle with individually. It also equips readers with tools to change behaviors that are destructive to themselves and their relationships.

It’s time to free ourselves from habits and routines that produce hurt rather than healing.This A-B-C process can help.

 

http://www.tillsonburgnews.com/2016/01/30/happy-healthy-you
1Matthew 19:26
22 Timothy 1:7
31 Peter 5:7
41 John 1:9
5Romans 5:8
The Long Way Home, Gary Neuman, (Wiley, 2013)

Twas The Night Before Christmas for an Adult Child of Divorce

Twas The Night Before Christmas for an Adult Child of Divorce

by Kent Darcie

Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house,
My kids were all sleeping, and so was my spouse.
All quiet at last, day’s deeds finally done,
Soon wonder would greet wide-eyed little ones.ChristmasTree with presents png 75

It’d been a long time since that thrill filled my heart,
I’d grudgingly sleep, and then wake with a start.
Seems like it died on that one fateful day
When my dad and my mom went their separate ways.

I suddenly mused on Christmases past,
The mountain of toys we kids would amass.
We’d laugh and we’d play and we’d play and we’d eat
Mom’s Custard Tart pie;  Ahhh, such a treat!

Then consciousness dulled as fatigue settled in,
The latch to my eyelids coming unpinned.
A break from this annual ache I would feel
That tugged at my soul, took strength to conceal.

But then a miraculous thing did occur,
I dreamed a grand dream and my spirit was stirred.
The Lord took me up, and showed this great sight
Of my home, my kids, myself , and my wife

On Christmas days filled with the love that we shared;
Starting with wonder and ending with prayer.
The faces reflecting the joy of those days
Were as sweet as a lavishly fragrant bouquet.

star and manger“How have I missed this?” I queried the Lord,
“These riches exceed what man could afford.”
This is the day I have made,” the Lord said,
“Move on from your past, here, focus instead.”

Then quickly He went to His heavenly abode.
I woke in my chair, and joy finally flowed
From a heart filled with thanks for blessings galore;
The ones that last years, not those from a store.

Time’s pages have turned since that Eve‘ night untold,
I bask in each Christmas, both body and soul.
For God gives today to each daughter and son,
A joy in this world, ‘cause our Savior has come.

 

May God bless you with His peace and joy this Christmas season and all the New Year!

Gifts of Hope this Christmas – Building a Strong Marriage

As we fill our Christmas trees with gifts that are here today and gone tomorrow, why not give something that can last for generations?

The Love and Respect Ministry has a marriage conference on five DVD’s that has helped the marriages of countless couples. These fantastic teaching19th Sept 5 years of mariage by scribbletaylors are a natural complement to this ministry because they focus on what happens when love and respect are missing in a marriage. The lack of love and respect between a couple often triggers the fear of inadequacy, fear of abandonment, trust issues, and anger in adult children of divorce. Left unresolved, these problems often lead to divorce.

The Conversation - Redux by Bill GraceyGuy’s, are you tired of being disrespected? Ladies, are you tired of feeling unloved? Emerson Eggerichs has found an answer that was at our fingertips for centuries in the Bible: “let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.1”

But what does love really look like to a woman? What does respect really look like to a Man? Eggerichs answers these questions, and gives participants tools that can strengthen a good marriage and rebuild a shattered one.

Click here for more info on how you can change your marriage.
Click here to buy the DVD set from their ministry.

This Christmas, give a gift that can change couple’s lives and break the cycle of divorce in the New Year!

1Ephesians 5:33 [ESV]
Photos
19th Sept 5 years of marriage by scribbletaylor
The Conversation – Redux by Bill Gracey