Thursday, November 29, 2012

Um...we need to talk


Ahh...awkward conversations. How come when you become an ACOD, you start having so many more of them?

I didn't used to have awkward conversations with my parents until they divorced. Now it seems like 95% of topics are off limits and I'm not sure what to say next (uh-oh, will that set Mom off? Crap, I just mentioned Mom and now Dad looks like he wants to kill someone). It's exhausting.

But unfortunately, if there's any hope of repairing your relationship with your parents (not to mention maintaining your sanity), those awkward conversations have to happen. Because without them, there's no boundaries. And without boundaries, your parents are open to saying anything and everything about the situation. And when that happens...well, don't be surprised if you find yourself in a straight jacket (figuratively speaking).

Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries. Can't say enough about them. I'm still working on establishing them and have a ways to go (I like to get myself involved in situations where I shouldn't), but the boundaries I have already established have done a world of good. My parents don't talk about each other or the divorce and we can actually hold a conversation that doesn't end in tears or an abrupt exit from the room (those still happen at times, though). I can feel like myself around my parents again...it's not what it was, but it's a step in the right direction. I like the way I feel when I have boundaries. And I hope to keep it that way, as difficult as it is. And as you all know, it's difficult.

How did you establish boundaries with your parents and have you been able to stick to them? If your parents are newly divorced, what types of boundaries do you hope to put in place? No matter where you're at in this process, I think we all have something to learn about boundaries. And what better way than from the advice of others in the same situation?

Would love to hear from you all, either through the comments below or via email (send 'em to acod16@gmail.com). As always, I'm thinking of all of you and sending some encouragement your way.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Encouraging Advice

Some good advice from Brooke Lea Foster, author of "The Way They Were" (highly recommend this book, you can check it out on Amazon here):


"Divorce hurts at any age so allow yourself to grieve. When my parents first split up, I felt like my family was dying and the truth is...it was. It's really tough when you know you'll never spend Christmas as a family again or even eat breakfast on a Sunday together. So give yourself time to say goodbye. Adult children and young children experience our parents' divorces differently. No one covers the adult child's ears or lowers their voices if we walk into the room when family matters are being discussed. Parents openly burden adult children with their problems, treating us like friends. On their own for the first time in twenty years or more, parents need guidance and support. We teach Dad how to do laundry and cook a red sauce. We counsel Mom on dating. But adult children struggle in these roles so the earlier that you set boundaries and learn how to say no, the better off you'll be."

I hope these words are an encouragement to those of you struggling with your parents' divorce. Hang in there and know that things will get easier with time. And of course, feel free to email me at acod16@gmail.com if you need a listening ear.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Just one of those days...


Having a rough day today. It's one of those days where it hits me like a brick.

My parents are divorced. 

When it hit me today, the pain and sadness came back to me and naturally, I started crying. I felt that extreme sense of loss that permeated my thoughts two and a half years ago when my parents separated. And in that moment, life just felt so incredibly unfair.

It never gets easier does it? The pain of having your family separated never goes away. I don't think it should. But on days like today, I wish I didn't have to feel it.

Hopefully this post isn't too depressing -- I just feel like us ACOD's need to admit when we're struggling and having a bad day. Even though its been a few years, I still have bad days...days where I feel like sitting around and crying. Days where I still can't believe my family isn't together anymore. Days where I really need encouragement from others.

Speaking of encouragement, thank you for the encouraging emails some of you have sent me. It's nice to know I'm not alone and that there are others out there who understand what I'm feeling. And if you're new to the blog or would like to vent (like what I did during this post), feel free to email me at acod16@gmail.com.

Thanks for listening.

Feeling Thankful?

A strange title for this post, since no ACOD ever feels thankful that their parents have divorced. In the past two and half years since my parents ended their marriage, I have felt nothing but anger and sadness. I haven't allowed myself to focus on the good, as the demise of my family consumed every single thought. But in the past year, I've been working on getting back my own life and focusing on the things I have, not what I've lost. It's not been easy and I've been clear about the fact that it's a daily struggle for me. Every day I wake up and have to force myself to be happy. I have to force myself not to focus on my parents' divorce. And the holidays make that even more difficult.

So I wanted to make a list of what I'm thankful for. Yes, it sounds cliche. But I think it will be therapeutic for me and will help me see all that I have to live for. My parents' divorce does NOT have to define who I am -- I am so much more than an ACOD.

I'm thankful I'm alive to see another day. 

I'm thankful for an amazing husband who helps support me and who has been kind to my family during difficult times.

I'm thankful for my siblings, who never fail to show me love and support, despite the fact that they're hurting too.

I'm thankful that, even though my parents are no longer together, they're still here and there's still hope for me to rebuild our relationship.

I'm thankful for friends who are like second family -- who never judge and who are there to listen with at a moment's notice.

I'm thankful for second chances and for God's grace and mercy. Without those, I'm not sure I'd still be standing today.

Find what makes you happy and focus on it. Focus on the people who have been there for you and whom you can lean on for support. Hold onto feelings of joy and happiness -- it's so easy to lose those in the midst of a traumatic situation like a parents' divorce, but those feelings are what makes us human. They show us that life is worth living. So hold onto them and don't let them go.

I know the holidays are tough and believe me, I'm struggling with them too. My holidays have drastically changed since my parents' divorce and unfortunately, there are not a lot of resources out there to help ACODs. So feel free to email me at acod16@gmail.com if you need someone to talk to. It can be a lonely road, but trust me, you're not the only one out there. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Changing My Focus


Let's face it...the holidays can really suck, can't they?

As Thanksgiving approaches, I've been really focused on my attitude and perspective on life. This is the second Thanksgiving that my parents have been officially divorced and it's still difficult. I feel like no matter what I do, someone is left out. So I've started to dread the holidays. I sit around and focus on the things I don't have, namely my parents not being together. I don't focus on the fact that I have a wonderful husband, a new home or a job I love. All I think about is what I've lost.

It's hard not to focus on that though. After all, the holidays are about getting together with family. So when your family isn't what it used to be, it seems all-consuming. But here's the thing...my parents' divorce isn't all that's happened in my life over the past two years. I've experienced joy, accomplishments, happiness. So why is it so hard to focus on those feelings?

This year I'm making a promise to myself. I'm going to make a list reminding myself of the good things that have happened in the past year. Forget the fighting, the anger, the hurt, the tears. It doesn't mean they don't exist. It just means I'm choosing to remember the good. The things that make life worth living. Because if I don't focus on those things, then what good is celebrating the holidays? What good is living life? I owe it to my husband, my family and my friends to be happy during this holiday season. But above all, I owe it to myself.

I hope you all can find the strength to be happy this Thanksgiving. To allow yourself to laugh. To overindulge (that's the best part, right?). To focus on the moment and enjoy every second. Because we deserve to. Because, despite everything that's happened, life must go on. And we need to allow ourselves to live it.

Feel free to email me at acod16@gmail.com if you need to talk, vent or just need encouragement. Wishing you all a wonderful, healthy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Does It Ever End?

Well, I'm back after an especially long hiatus. And I wish I could say things are better between my parents, but unfortunately they're not.

It's been a year since my parents have been divorced (and about two years since they've separated). I thought once they divorced that all the fighting would stop. I thought that things would finally get back to normal since we've been through the worst of it, right? 

That doesn't seem to be the case. Some new developments have occurred which have worsened things between my parents and I don't see it getting better anytime soon. It troubles me that there is so much animosity between them. The divorce and events leading up to it were bad enough, so why does it have to keep continuing after they're finally divorced? All it does it makes things harder on myself and my siblings. I find myself even worrying about the future when my husband and I choose to have kids. Will my parents be able to stand each other long enough to attend a birthday party? Or will they be unable to be in the same room? I don't want their situation to impact my future kids, but at what cost will that entail? I fear some difficult decisions may lie ahead, but also know that I need to focus on my own life and not get caught up in the drama.

Has anyone else dealt with this? Did your parents end up being civil to one another or are they still unable to be in the same room together? How has it impacted your family? Would love to hear from others, whether through comments or email (acod16@gmail.com). 




Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Gray Divorce Revolution

I came across this article today and was shocked to learn that there is actually a term for my pain. The Gray Divorce Revolution. The fact that there even is a term for this shows that it is becoming a sad trend.

Apparently a study was conducted and found that the divorce rate amongst adults ages 50 years and older has doubled since 1990. Now, 1 in 4 divorces are amongst people over the age of 50. The articles I read attribute this alarming trend to people over 50 being much more active than they once were. Women aren't dependent upon their husbands for financial stability anymore. People are living longer and when they aren't happy at age 50, they want to find something (or someone) that will make them happy.

This is really upsetting to me. Couples build lives with one another, have kids, grow their families and for what? It's unsettling to me that people could be so discontent as to throw away lives they have spent 20+ years building.

As someone who has barely been married two years, I recognize that I don't understand the struggles couples face after a certain amount of years together. The highs and the lows of having children, building a career, etc. But what kind of a marriage would I have if I started out expecting it to fail? I'm not okay with these statistics and I don't think anyone should be. In fact, these stats should make people uncomfortable. Uncomfortable enough to strive for a different life for themselves. Uncomfortable enough to put the work into their marriages and into spending time with one another. These stats are serious and cannot be explained away by saying that people are more active and want to find something new. To me, that's simply selfishness talking.

I'll admit this post is a bit of a rant, but I'm truly sad to see what is happening to marriages in America (in particular long-term ones) and even more saddened by the fact that I've been a witness to this. I'm now apart of a new club called ACOD's and it turns out, this club is not exclusive. More and more people in their 20's and 30's are watching their parents' marriages fall apart. They're being thrust into a life they never could have expected after living one way for so many years.

This Gray Divorce Revolution is not okay and I think more people need to speak out about it. We need to take a stand for the sacredness of marriage, which is being seriously threatened right now.

Got something to add? Leave a comment below or email me at acod16@gmail.com.


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