Wrapping up IronSpineSally’s story, I asked her to reflect on how going through divorce had changed her and what divorce advice she had for others. Here’s she is:
Early on I did feel angry with myself because I was afraid that I was making the wrong decision, I hadn’t made a decision for myself, including what to eat for dinner, for years. So I was terrified that I didn’t know what I was doing, or that I was going to find out that I was just what he was telling me I was, and I wasn’t going to be able to live or handle it or whatever. So I would get angry a lot because I was so conflicted about that.
Then I felt I had a responsibility to him because he was a soldier and because he was away and there’s a stigma that goes along with that, as a military wife. How could I leave him when he’s going through this terrible thing?
I would get angry about that, but with time and seeing where my life was going as I was going through the process, that lessened quite a bit. I still occasionally get angry with myself today because I tend to go back into those same patterns of self-sabotage that I learned from my relationship with him and before him with my mother. When I get stressed out or I’m worried about something, I start apologizing for every single thing that I do, whether it’s good, bad or indifferent, “I’m sorry, I’m worthless, I don’t know what I’m talking about, please you take over, I don’t want to do this myself.” That’s frustrating for me, and for other people in my life. I don’t want to be that person.
I definitely like the fact that I live in reality now. I don’t live in a pretend world where everything’s okay if I just sweep it under the rug and everything’s out there, even when it’s hard to deal with, even the dirty stuff you don’t want to have to deal with, and I can do that with a partner and I can trust him to hold up his end and he can trust me. We talk about every single thing we do, so we’re very open, and for two people who had bad divorces, tough roads and bad marriages…we have a lot of baggage, but I think that actually benefits us in some ways.
I guess my writing online has changed quite a bit now because I try to stay away from going into the past too much. I think when I started, it was important to me to make it known that if you even think that you’re in an abusive marriage, you really are. If you’re feeling like the other person doesn’t respect you, then you need to handle that.
I guess, it’s funny because I look around me and I see people together that live the way that I used to live and it’s sad to me, and I guess there are people who are happy to live that way. I certainly was for a number of years. I think there are people who don’t get divorced because it’s such a taboo, and it’s hard and it’s horrible. You should get time off work like you do for maternity leave because it just takes everything out of you. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It’s changed me completely, but it’s not something to be afraid of. Just because you can’t see what’s ahead of you doesn’t mean it’s not worth taking a chance on yourself.
The Divorce Coach Says
I have so much admiration for IronSpineSally for facing her fears. Much of what we fear about divorce is because it’s all new territory. The odd thing is though, we assume that if we continue in our marriage, life will be just the same … . That might be true for behaviors but it’s not true for circumstances and situations which can and will change … kids come along, jobs change, we move, we change friends. Really, the future is uncertain regardless.
So if you’re thinking about ending your marriage or you’re paralyzed by the thought of divorce, the best divorce advice is to ask yourself what are you most afraid of? When you can verbalize those fears, you can start figuring out how realistic they really are and what you can do to overcome them.
BTW, I was angry during my divorce and for quite some time afterwards. I was angry with myself. Angry for setting my expectations too low, knowing that wasn’t what I wanted in my life but not being prepared to confront it.
This is the last post in IronSpineSally’s series and I’d like to thank IronSpineSally for courageously sharing her story. IronSpineSally is now married and with three stepsons, she’s on the mommy fast track.
Photo Credit: Evil Erin