Divorce and Abuse

This site was created to offer resources for adults with divorced parents. Two of the many reasons are, (1) too few are working to assist this group that is millions strong,1 and, (2) we want to disrupt the generational divorce cycle that results because ACD are up to 200% more likely to divorce than their peers from non-divorced homes.2

However, a site visitor shared her frustration with people’s negative and judgmental reactions to her divorce, when, in fact, it was necessary for the safety of herself and her children. She also expressed concern that the Considering Divorce tab on this site didn’t address people in similar situations. She was right, and it’s been corrected.

Her concern arrived as the country learned of the man, in Southern California, who killed his ex-wife, four others, and then himself. This was the latest in a series of divorce/custody/separation incidents. And there are more situations that don’t end in death, but are every bit as troubling—as our visitor can attest.

Given adults with divorced parents, particularly females, are more vulnerable to the controlling manipulation of abuse, it is important to address that, although two thirds of divorces are low-conflict and not due to abuse or infidelity3,4, too many women (and some men) are caught in dangerous marriages and shunned when they leave them.

Dealing with Abuse
First, it’s important to recognize abuse. Click here for information that can help.

Second, if you are in an abusive situation, get help. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline. They can assist you with the necessary steps to deal with the abusive situation.

Third, speak with your pastor or church leader. Their first priority should be your safety and the safety of your children. There is no biblical excuse or rationale for domestic abuse. If they don’t agree with this, find another Christian leader who can help you.

Dealing with the Abused

True Christians are filled with God’s Holy Spirit. This is not a matter of choice. What is a choice is whether we listen to and obey the Holy Spirit and the scriptures the Holy Spirit brings to mind when we need them.

The fruit of being filled with the Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.5 So when we come in contact with people who escape abuse through divorce, this list should describe how we deal with them.
If, instead, we are blaming, demeaning, judging, gossiping about, ignoring, or shunning these individuals, we are unfairly harming them and grieving God’s Holy Spirit at the same time.

Whether on this site or at a workshop or other presentation, I always note that this organization does not seek to dishonor or bash divorced people. Our goal is to bring relational healing to adults with divorced parents through the power of Christ, and help individuals avoid unnecessarily replicating their parents’ divorce. May this goal guide us all.

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1 Terry Gaspard and Tracy Clifford, Daughters of Divorce, 2016.
2Nicholas H. Wolfinger, Understanding The Divorce Cycle, 2005, 108-109
3 Elizabeth Marquardt, Between Two Worlds, 2005.
4Alan J. Hawkins and Tamara A. Fackrell, Should I Keep Trying to Work it Out, 2009. 44.
5Galatians 5:22-23, ESV

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What’s in a Name? Maybe Some Healing

bag over headTwo step-mothers were talking about the challenges step-mothers face on a program I caught the other day. One of them used a phrase I’ve heard many times, but for some reason it struck me differently this time. She said, “My kid’s mother.”

Normally it wouldn’t be worth mentioning. We hear phrases like this often in the divorce world. “My ex’s weekend,” or “their mother’s job” communicate the person’s identity clearly. My mother would say, “your father’s mother.” It’s the jargon we’re used to.

When I was in high school, my favorite teacher asked what I’d done over Christmas break. I responded, “I spoke with my father’s mother.”  And this dear lady said, “You mean your grandmother?” I was like, “huh, yeah, my grandmother.” But that was the terminology I grew up with.
www.So what’s the big deal? And what does any of this have to do with healing? Three things come to mind:

  •  Kevin Leman (psychologist, popular author, and speaker) taught about the importance of children using names when they are upset with each other. Leman said that phrases like “he did this to me” should be replaced with, “John did this to me.” Apparently, when you strip a person of their name, it’s easier to pull the humanity from them, and we risk treating them as less than human. How often do we see this as children of divorce?
  1. Women always use names. For reasons I (and the rest of the male species) don’t understand, using a person’s name in conversations is very important to ladies.

hello my name is stickerIn a group of people I was with, a wife was telling a story and she stopped because she couldn’t remember a name. While this nameless individual has value to God, I never met this person, didn’t know the person, and will never meet the person, so who cares? (Send any complaints to acdministries@gmail.com.) After what seemed like a days-long delay, her husband finally said, “Get on with it.”

My point is, names have great value to women. So when they intentionally don’t use them, I believe it is sending a message of unconscious disrespect or disdain. Possibly unforgiveness and other issues are mixed in there as well. And kids can pick this up through osmosis.

  1. The Bible talks about the importance of names. It says
  • “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches.” [Proverbs 22:1, NKJV]
  • The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe. [Proverbs 18:10 ESV]
  • “At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” [Philippians 1:10-11, ESV]

And there are many other examples of the importance of a reconciliation cropped“name” in scripture.

Names have great significance. Sometimes we get one even before we are born. I realize this is a lot to glean from an innocent comment from two nice ladies, but my intuitive observation says that using or not using a name could reflect deeper heart issues that need to be addressed and taken before the Lord.

I’d be interested in your thoughts on this. You can add your comment below.

Evicting the Ghost of Valentine’s Day Past

Adult children of divorced parents cover rodgersFor those of you for whom the upcoming day of love and candy rings hollow, below is a note from Dr. Beverly Rodgers who shares a glimpse of her not-so-great Valentine’s Days as a young girl. Today, she and her husband, Dr. Tom Rodgers, head the Rodgers Christian Counseling Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. They are also the authors of the very helpful book, “Adult Children of Divorced Parents: Making Your Marriage Work.

These words are from their latest newsletter. May Dr. Bev’s vulnerable and hope-filled note brings encouragement to your day.

February is the month of Valentine’s Day. In western culture this love is typically about Eros or Romantic Love. This is the month that we get bombarded with commercials and ads about jewelry, candy and of course flowers. As a kid I began to hate this month. It was a tradition at our small Southern school for the boys to purchase candy grams or flower grams and send them to the little girls they were sweet on. I think it was some type of fundraiser, but I didn’t care.  I was a shy bookworm. I was also poor, wearing ill-fitting hand-me-downs, from the wrong side of the tracks, and sporting buck teeth and braces.  Thus I was passed over for the cute blonde cheerleaders with the matching outfits and dazzling smiles.”

“Every Valentine’s Day they would announce over the loud speaker who bought a Valentine gift  for whom, and the girls would swoon and giggle while the guys would preen over their choices. I would cringe in silence until the whole thing was over hoping no one ever heart with Cross cropped pngasked me the dreaded question, “Did anyone buy you a Valentine, Bev?” After a while they just stopped asking. One sad February just after I accepted the Lord as my Savior, I happened to have my Bible with me at recess. In my sad state I opened my Bible to this exact spot. Jeremiah 31: 3 “I have loved you with an everlasting love with loving kindness I have drawn you to me.”  The words leapt off the page!! I am pursued, I am desired, I am loved with unconditional Agape love. I AM someone’s Valentine… God’s!!”

“Valentine’s Day has taken on a whole new meaning since that time, and this Scripture is a theme for my life. We are God’s heart, and that beats a candy gram any day!

If you would like to learn more about how God’s soul healing, agape love can heal you of your wounds, please contact Doctors Tom and Beverly Rodgers at the Rodgers Christian Counseling Center. They can be reached at 704-649-8616, or at  www.rodgerscc.com.

-Heart image from http://www.actsofgoodness.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/unconditional-love-small.jpg

Hear Kent on the New Beginnings Radio Program this Saturday

The questionnaireHelping Adults with Divorced Parents Start the Year off Right,“ will be the topic of discussion this Saturday (1/24) when I host the New Beginnings Radio Show for Rick VanBriggle.

The show starts at 9 a.m. and can be heard at 1340AM in Southeast Michigan, or you can listen live at WEXL1340.com. All are welcome to join the discussion!

Sharing the Sweetness of Gathering Together

As parents of adult children, my wife and I cherish any time we are all together as a family. Though none of our kids are married yet, they still lead busy lives. Consequently, getting the fam in one place simultaneously becomes more complicated every year..

As a result, these remaining Thanksgiving days are very precious to us. Precious in a way that our kids won’t realize until their kids have flown the nest. Until they experience the thankfulness of nurturing self-sufficient kids and the loss that comes with nurturing self-sufficient kids. But for now, ‘tis so sweet when we’re all together.

While reflecting on this, the words of the Apostle Paul came to mind,solider church 30
“ Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”1

I know people that skip attending church because “you don’t have to go to church to be a Christian.” True, but if God is our Heavenly Father, I believe He experiences the same joy we feel as parents when all His “kids” get together with Him in church.  My wife and I love being with our son, or our other son, or our daughter, but when we’re all together, as the late Jackie Gleason would say, “how sweet it is.”

So, this Sunday, why not give your Heavenly Father an early Christmas gift—the joy of having all of His kids together—gathering with Him. Call a parent, son or daughter, a friend, or coworker and ask to go to church with them this Sunday. You’ll not only make their whole year, you will put a smile on the face of the Creator of the universe too!

Have a wonderful thanks-giving day!

 

1Hebrews 10:24-25, New Living Translation

Roundtable to Discuss Obstacles to Healthy Relationships

I will be part of a roundtable this Sunday,  September 28th at Impact Church. Kent Darcie and Pastor Knox at Impact Church in AprilThe panel will discuss various issues that work against biblically healthy relationships and I’ll be speaking to issues that affect adults with divorced parents.  It will be a very interesting time. Hope you can join us and bring a friend! Click here for location and time information.

He Left Me. Good Riddance…But am I Better Off?

 

An ad ran some years ago with a woman sitting on a couch and the words, “He left me. Good riddance. He never picked up his socks. He thought I was his mother. He didn’t make me laugh anymore. He’s gone. Who cares… I kept the sofa.”  This is a common view on divorce today, but is it true? The words sound bold and tough, but is she really better off? Are her kids?

An article by a divorced mom titled “17 things Only a Divorced Mom Knows” brings a realistic insight to this popular, but short sighted view. For in most cases,

if we put the amount of energy we’ll spend on the next relationship into our current relationship, we wouldn’t need the next relationship.

Are you tired of the battles and the frustration? Are you thinking about divorcing even though, after all you went through with your parents’ divorce, you swore you’d never do that to your kids? I encourage you to put your “good riddance” urge on the back burner, and browse through the excellent marriage helps at Love and Respect Ministries and Marriage Ministries International. Even though you may be tired of trying, it’s worth the effort. What do you have to lose by checking them out? Well, actually at least 17 things.

For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’; [so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”   Mark 10:7-9 [NKJV]