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Healing the heart that my parents broke

When I was seventeen my parents got a divorce.

Of course, I saw it coming. Only children spend their days watching, often silently, feeling like a wallflower or a one woman show when the attention shifts their (my) way.

My parents divorce really rocked me. I didn't know where to turn, so I focused my attention to the pain and anger that raged within me.

For years I swam in darkness. Crying myself to sleep for so many nights I lost count. Tears stained my face till my entire pillowcase was wet and cold, and my sinuses filled with so much snot that I could hardly breathe.

I cried for a life that I once knew that was shattered, and I cried for a future that was unsure. I cried for my future that I was unsure of.

As juvenile as this sounds, at the young age of seventeen, I cried because I thought that my parents would be alone forever, and that I would be too.

Somehow, I felt orphaned, even with both of my parents alive and in good health.

I was angry and I blamed my parents for falling out of love, and for giving up on our family.

I cried with rage, I cried with sadness, but mostly I cried with fear. I lost my safety net & began a long journey of free-falling.

Little did I know the free-fall was necessary so I could land in God's hands.

Outstretched to me, God showed his guiding hand. In prayer, God gave me a safe space to spill my emotions, messy, dark and heavy. Like molasses that sticks to everything it touches. God heard my cries and let me rest my head when I got tired of screaming.

I yelled at my parents, blamed them, and pushed them away, selfishly feeling like my pain was the greatest. I pushed away friends and left friendships. Estranged from family and unable to ask for help. My heart burning until it felt hollow..

And yet, this expression of anger was not cathartic, but charged feelings of self-hatred. I hated the way my life looked and felt, as I watched my Mom put back the pieces together, feeling like a stranger to the ones who raised me. I saw a future of splitting holidays, of wanting to be in two places at once, of feeling like an outsider to my parents new lives, with their new partners. It had been just a few years and already they've moved on. First, I was terrified of them being alone, then I realized I was the only one who felt alone still.

I felt like I had missed the train. My parents, now happy and in love in new relationships, starkly contrasted with my mourning of the past. I licked my wounds in silence, feeling more triggered when I tried to express the visceral hurt in my being. Feeling unheard, discarded, separate and removed from my support system that once felt safe.

I could not keep living like this, it was killing me and absolutely exhausting I knew I had to forgive my parents if I wanted to move forward. I knew somewhere deep down that this had been the best course of events, and better for both of my parents to end their partnership. Neither of them deserved to live a life of fighting their partner.

After years of doing self-work, journaling, some therapy, and pinprickingly painful honest conversations with my Mom and my Dad:

I no longer blame my parents for ending their marriage. I don't cry myself to sleep anymore (every night) & I know I'm not alone in this world. I'm proud of my Mom for choosing to create a life that she loves, and even happier for her that she has found a man who really loves her wholely & that she has married before God.

I continue to heal this wound as I grow, knowing that some days I still struggle, and some days my heart hurts from pains of the past. But more importantly, I am loved. It's okay that my life doesn't look how I expected it to when I was younger, & in fact it's freeing to let it just be what it is.

I can't control anyone else, but I do have the power to protect myself and take care of myself.

Divorce is not the end of the world, it's just the end of one world, but the creation of another in the same breath.

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