As a psychotherapist and family violence counselor, I see firsthand just how much emotional stress a divorce can cause. Oftentimes the negative, unhealthy repercussions linger for years – and can even have a harmful multigenerational impact on families, far into the future.
Many individuals who experience the difficult challenge of divorce are unable to successfully resolve issues related to jealousy, anger, a need for control, or emotional immaturity. But these reactions can wreak havoc on their lives, while causing unnecessary pain and suffering for their children.
Divorce is almost always stressful. Individuals may fear losing their children in a hostile custody battle. Even when custody is shared, they may be afraid that the quality of their good relationship with their kids may be at risk. They may also feel vulnerable because their home, property, and financial security could be taken away from them.
But when that tension and pressure is not managed in an appropriate way, it can cause serious emotional and psychological trauma…and lead to regrettable choices and behaviors.
Many times an ex will feel that they have been unfairly treated and that can lead to resentment, anger, and envy. I have witnessed many instances where one of the partners will try to create difficulty for their ex. They may make it hard for that person to move on with their life, and they may attempt to sabotage their chances to engage in new relationships.
Exes may also attempt to use their kids as leverage in a divorce case, or to make the other partner feel guilt. I know of cases whereby men withheld child support, for instance, as a means of manipulation and control over the mother. In other cases, females have created obstacles to alienate the father or prohibit him from picking up their child(ren) when the father clearly has legal visitation rights.
Tragically, this kind of desire to control out of anger is one of the main causes of emotional trauma and sometimes violence between people going through a divorce or trying to come to grips with the aftermath of divorce. If you believe that you are somehow entitled to control your ex because you had kids together, you need to rethink that. You ONLY have control over your own actions and decisions. Remember that the trauma divorcees inflict on their children while trying to use them as pawns can create lifelong problems for those kids, that are difficult to fix.
If your marriage is long over and you find yourself STILL actively seeking an apology or drawn out explanations about what triggered your contentious marriage or divorce, that is unhealthy. It can hinder your ability to move on and find the stability and happiness you deserve, and it can damage your relationship to your children.
Consider speaking with a professional divorce counselor. They can help you come to terms with awareness, accountability, and mature responsibility. They can support you to gain the courage and acceptance you need to heal. They can assist you in letting go of your anger, frustration, or jealousy…so that you can get on with enjoying your life.