If you have been reading my blog and following me on social media, you know that I am working on a book where I interview women about their divorce story. I like getting to know people on a deep level. I like to hear their story and how it has shaped their perspectives. Maybe I should have studied psychology back in college!
This research is becoming pretty interesting and I am learning a lot about people, their emotions, and their behaviors.
It has become evident through these conversations that many people are holding on to layers of pain and not processing their own trauma. Often the person is avoiding, distracting, and/ or numbing these pain points. Unfortunately, this creates a domino effect and their pain gets pushed onto the people closest to them via various behaviors.
As I have said before: Hurt people, hurt people.
I have heard stories about alcoholism, drug abuse, suicide, narcissism, and perhaps some undiagnosed mental health issues.
Many of these are stories that you just can’t make up. They are real but could easily be a dramatic scene from a Lifetime movie.
The women I have spoken to all take responsibility for their own role in the breakdown of their marriage, and also note how they may have enabled the behaviors.
One woman said to me, “I ignored the signs and wish I had gotten him the help he needed. By the time I started paying attention it was too late. I couldn’t save the marriage at that point.”
The behaviors were not symptoms of an unhealthy marriage, but of the partner’s past. These behaviors then created an unhealthy marriage environment and hurt more people along the way.
The unaddressed hurt, creates more hurt. Unfortunately, most don’t realize the root cause.
Please note, I am not saying this is only a “man” or “other spouse” problem.
What I am seeing is a deeper problem than the 50% divorce rate. Often, divorce seems to be just another symptom of underlying issues.
It is a layered problem. People in our society are walking around hurt, behaving badly, and perpetuating more hurt. While I know that I can’t solve these problems, I know I need to bring attention to this concern.
Awareness is the first step to making changes.
Personally, I believe people are capable of big changes. However, you can’t force someone to change or plead your case. That never works. Nope. Never.
For someone to change, they have to be aware of the problem and truly want for it to happen.
So, what do we do? How can we start to swing the pendulum the other way?
First and always, change starts from within. When we as individuals become aware of our own patterns and pain points, we can start to address them. Unfortunately, this often only happens when something traumatic happens to us. It forces us to reflect and deal with ourselves.
If you live in the world long enough, you’ll accumulate ‘baggage’. Everyone has it. Even if life was pretty peachy, you have some baggage.
I want you to pick the positive path to dealing with your baggage. It is harder to face the music up front, but it sure beats hurting the people closest to you down the road. It’s not a comfortable process by any means, but it is worth it.
Trauma is an opportunity for transformation.
For me, it took my marriage crumbling for me to take that needed look within myself. Working with therapists, coaches, reading lots of personal development books, and reflecting on life enabled me to become aware of the beliefs I held, my patterns of people pleasing, how I routinely gave away my personal power, and how in many situations I didn’t trust myself.
I took the traumatic experiences and learned from it. And I am glad I did, as I now feel I am true to myself and life more fully.
However, it is unfortunate that traumatic events often precede personal growth. This pattern is very common.
When we heal ourselves, we can heal and help others.
That is my mission: To help others heal.
Healing transforms your life.
If we as a society become more emotionally intelligent, we can stop the pain that seems to be knocking so many people down. The greatest impact we can have on society as a whole is to teach our children emotional intelligence.
Raising children who are emotionally intelligent will develop adults who know how to process their feelings. This will teach kids to “respond, rather than react” to their emotions through journaling, prayer, and meditation rather than resorting to unhealthy coping skills such as drugs and alcohol.
Addressing our emotions rather than numbing them is the key to success and lasting change.
Are you ready to start processing your emotions?