Posts

you want a divorce

Discernment Counseling: When You Aren’t Completely Sure You Want a Divorce

you want a divorce

Have you heard of Discernment Counseling?

Do you want to divorce? Be sure you’re sure!

If you have landed here you are likely divorced. Or perhaps considering it and you are here to explore what life might look like should you take that crucial step. In the case that you are teetering, here is some information you might find useful.

Not every individual who lands in the office of a family lawyer is ready to dissolve their marital union. Of course, that notion is irrelevant if, in fact, the other spouse is. A healthy relationship or the like can only exist when both parties are committed to the dance.

The decision to divorce is one that is on the table in households daily. Numbers of unsatisfied married people make a decision to dissolve their relationship on a regular basis. According to research, however, divorce does not necessarily make unhappy adults happier. Survey data reveals that approximately 50% of both men and women expressed regret over having divorced.

Unhappily divorced men and women were no happier five years post-divorce than those who remain married; two-thirds of those who remained married reported being happy five years later. It seems then marriage may indeed be good for some, but, pausing and bettering yourself may be advisable more often than not.

When You Aren’t Completely Sure You Want a Divorce

When you and/or your partner are actively considering what life brings on the other side yet share ambivalence, fear and/or trepidation, Discernment Counseling might be for you. It is the therapeutic equivalent of a “pause”.

Discernment, according to the dictionary, refers to the ability to judge well and to be astute about topics often ignored or overlooked by others.

In the area of marital therapy, with its widespread theoretical variations, there may be a lot of wisdom to impart on the couples who walk in our doors but they themselves often have little discernment.

Discernment Counseling was developed by psychologist William Doherty of Minnesota (see the Minnesota Couples on the Brink Project) to help “mixed-agenda” couples herd some momentum and draw a conclusion with ‘clarity and confidence’.

An estimated 30% of couples enter couple’s therapy with a “mixed agenda”, that is, where one is leaning-out and one is leaning-in. Traditional couples’ therapy is unsuccessful for these couples; effective therapy is impossible unless both partners are in the game, albeit with some hesitation.

With Discernment Counseling, couples leave having made one of three decisions—

  1. Keep the status-quo
  2. Pursue divorce
  3. Commit to a six-month period of couple’s therapy

As you are aware, having heard countless narratives on how and when the decision to divorce occurred, there is no best time to make that final decision.

That decision becomes even that much more complicated when there are others in the picture who are being affected, most typically children, young or old, and sometimes aging parents.

This process is intended to move things along, for better, regardless of the choice.

Approximately 48% commit to therapy, 42% divorce and 12% render a non-decision to stay the same.

Some couples who are terminal and at death’s door rebound and with couples therapy reconcile and get back their mojo. And, with those who engage in the process of DC (vs those who do not), they navigate the divorce process in a healthier manner, should that be their end game.

Discernment Counseling is not therapy. It is not couples counseling nor is it divorce therapy. Couples will not see a change in the dynamics of the relationships, although there may be revelations and observations both they and their therapist may have that can help. Couples will be able to determine if, in fact, their problems are solvable.

Since we tend to show up again in our next relationship, it is important to know how you got here prior to making a decision, with that process more critical when it involves more than just the couple.

With Discernment Counseling couples will gain:

  1. the clarity and confidence to make a decision
  2. awareness and understanding of each person’s contributions and dynamics in the relationship and
  3. a deeper knowledge of how the marriage has progressed through its stages and how they came to the brink of divorce

There are times when neither Discernment Counseling nor couple’s therapy is the most relevant choice for a couple on the brink and other options are preferred. It is not appropriate when:

  1. There is the presence or danger of domestic violence or sexual abuse
  2. When one spouse is coercing the other to participate
  3. When at least one partner has made the decision to divorce

At the end of the day, many relationships can be saved. If we fail to pause, we invariably take ourselves into our next relationship often with a repetition of the pattern that we have in our current relationship.  Discernment Counseling is an available option for these couples that are uncertain and on the brink and they typically leave better, regardless of their decision.

The post Discernment Counseling: When You Aren’t Completely Sure You Want a Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>

When Sex Abuse Victims Aren

What Happens When Sex Abuse Victims Aren’t Supported And Nurtured?

When Sex Abuse Victims Aren't Supported And Nurtured

 

Three weeks ago, I wanted your decision to call off the engagement, to be about me-about something I did or didn’t do.  Three weeks ago, I began the inner dialogue of playing the ‘what if’ game:  “What if I had sent a more loving text?”; “What if I had sat closer to him at soccer practice?”; “What if I had planned a romantic weekend instead of buying Valentine’s Day gifts?”

Three weeks ago, I was drowning in self-doubt and self-blame. I thought about all of my flaws: my middle-aged after three children body, my short-temper, my overly analytical mind.

Three weeks ago I needed something tangible, something I could isolate- an exact moment when I destroyed the relationship. This discovery would empower me: it would give me control.  If I had this tidbit, then I would not be a victim again. I would protect myself.  I would use this as a reminder to what I had learned so many times: never be vulnerable; always be vigilant.

My vigilance was complete and steady until recently. 

I fully blame the media for my change in heart. I was inundated with another v-word- vulnerability.  Vulnerability was all the buzz when it came to unlocking the secrets to finding and keeping love.

Studies were conducted, articles and books were written, T.V. shows and documentaries were made. All of these purported the same message: Vulnerability is key to a true connection.  But, I am a hard sell.  It wasn’t until I went to see a long-awaited film that I gave this notion some real thought.

In late October, on a really bad date, I went to see the film A Star Is Born. I was absolutely stunned by the performances both actors gave. It wasn’t just the vocals or the acting- although both were superb-rather, it was the lesson they learned.

The characters, both struggling with their own demons, together find their way out of hell by letting down their guard and trusting the other. The scenes where Ally and Jackson allowed themselves to be vulnerable were both uncomfortable and beautiful to me.  I wanted to be Ally—not just because of her voice and marriage to Jackson- I longed to know what it was like to trust someone enough to be completely vulnerable.

When Sex Abuse Victims Aren’t Supported And Nurtured

Vulnerability is often learned at the hand of trauma.

I have learned this more times than I will ever admit. Sometimes it is extreme like sexual and physical abuse and sometimes it is a matter of being demeaned, humiliated, ignored.  And unlike adults, children are not allowed or not encouraged to feel how they feel. They bury the feelings of betrayal, confusion, anger, and rejection. Or if they are allowed to feel some of the emotions, it is not under the care of a professional or a trusted adult.

What makes childhood abuse so detrimental to future relationships is the victim learning the hard way that you cannot trust those who were supposed to have protected you.  It is the memory of recalling what it was like to be in a situation in which you have no control and no one would answer your calls for aid.  It is the anger that comes with knowing that telling about the abuse will make things worse and leave even more people broken and hurt.

Children learn quickly.  The subtext that they pick up on really quickly is this:  society blames victims- especially women.

When a woman is raped, how often does she feel the scrutiny of outfits and interactions? When a woman is abused by her partner, what gossip does she hear about her inabilities and insanity? When a woman is mentally terrorized, how often does she see another rewarded for her tenacity to go through the hell?

The blame game impacts every young woman-those who have experienced abuse and those who have not.

It is extremely common for trauma victims to blame themselves because they are looking for a defense mechanism against the most awful feeling in the world: powerlessness. It is also extremely common for all humans to want to understand. Children who have known trauma, don’t often get to address these issues.

When a caretaker or parent doesn’t ensure that these feelings are addressed, the child will find a resolution: self-blame.  The repercussions will certainly continue if the victim (If we) never come to know that it wasn’t our fault; it wasn’t our choice; it wasn’t what we deserved.

What I deserve (d) was the ability to be vulnerable, to have parents and caring adults protect me from the evil that targeted me.  I deserved to be believed, supported, and nurtured when these same adults failed to protect me. I didn’t deserve to have my pain buried, to have my self-esteem diminished, to have my self-love lessened. I deserved complete and unfaltering love.

I believe in healing.  I believe that trauma is only a part of who we are.  I believe we have to stop re-traumatizing ourselves.  I believe we have to stop repeating the cycle of pain.  I believe that we can see ourselves as brave warriors and not victims.  And I most definitely still believe in love.

The post What Happens When Sex Abuse Victims Aren’t Supported And Nurtured? appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>