I hope you are in good spirits since my last letter to you. I'd imagine you are still wading through a good bit of thought and emotion. It took me a while to get a grasp on to what was happening when I found out about my parent's divorce. And whether this is new for you or you've been dealing with it for a while, it can still take time.
When your parents get divorced, you feel a lot of things. I spent a long time feeling numb. I wasn’t sad. I wasn’t angry. I just didn’t feel anything. I kind of went through my 9th grade year in a haze. I didn’t like being at home, because it was uncomfortable when they were both there. And they fought. But I didn’t always have many other places to go.
Eventually, I started feeling again. I felt sad for a long time. And that’s ok. It often felt like I was going through the motions of life, but watching it happen instead of participating. After my sadness started to wear off, I began to feel angry. I was angry for a VERY long time. I didn’t talk to my dad for a while. This bothered him, because he just wanted everything to be ok. One time, about six months after he left, my dad called me on the phone. We were still on unstable ground in our relationship, and I remember him saying to me quite clearly, “Steph. This is getting old. You really need to get over this.”
Can I tell you something?
You don’t have to get over anything until you are ready. You are allowed to be angry for as long as you need to be. You are allowed to be sad for as long as you need to be. And you are allowed to be OKAY whenever you are ready to be.
Don't rush your emotions. Sometimes that can make you feel worse than just dealing with the present pain and confusion. Sure, it's painful to face hurt or uncomfortable to face change. I found it to more painful to keep up an act, especially if it is one where you are trying to convince yourself that you feel differently than you really do. In the end, you are left back where we started, facing the pain you'd just tried to ignore.
Accept that you might be sad. You might be angry. You might be numb. You might be relieved, or even happy. Accept it and take it one day at a time. Know that however you feel is appropriate. Don't let anyone dictate to you the progress you need to make.
You'll get to where you need to be eventually.
Continue to process (it's healthy), continue to talk about your feelings. And stay strong until our next correspondence.
You can read more in the Divorce Series here. I'd love to hear your thoughts, your stories, your encouragement, your advice - so leave a comment below.
Check back Friday for the next Divorce Memoir.