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Monday, April 14, 2014

Dealing with Divorce - Part 1

Dear Bro. Jo,


Well first off I want to say that I really like your blog and all the advice you give thank you for all of it. It has helped me a lot!

Well I have a problem now that I’m waiting help with.

It’s been around a year and a half that my parents separated and about 6 months sense they divorced.

It has been really hard on me and my sisters and mom.

I don’t show it at all, I don’t cry In front of my mom or my sisters. So they think the divorce of my parents is just fine with me.

But it really isn’t.

I’ve been In and out of depression for a while and everything is going wrong in my life.

My grades have been going down a lot, I sleep for hours because I don’t want to wake up and face my life that I have.

It’s really hard.

I sometimes pray to God that he will just let me die and not let me go through all this.

My dad got remarried In July.

Just two weeks after my parents got there official divorce.

I was in big shock that he did this right away.

I wasn’t excited at all.

I was mad.

He made my mom go through so much pain and suffering and now he’s all happy and getting a new family.

I felt like he was replacing me and my sisters.

He didn’t love me anymore.

I didn’t talk to my dad for about 3 months before he got remarried.

I was angry with him and hated him more than anything.

When I finally decided to fix things with him.

The first thing he told me is I’m getting remarried. You’re going to have a new mom and three new siblings.

I told him straight up that I would never call his wife my mom ever.

I didn’t want to meet my step siblings cause there nothing to me.

He asked me to go to his wedding but luckily it fell on the day we were up at girls’ camp.

I never went to my dad’s wedding and only meet my dad’s wife and her kids’ once.

I don’t like her at all.

Because of her my dad is not with us anymore.

He left the Church.

I looked up to him so much and I considered him my hero.

He was so strong in the gospel.

He would be the first one up on Sunday mornings.

He would help with the sacrament sometimes.

I looked back at his scriptures he left at our house when he left and it had so many scriptures marked.

But he decided to deny this Church after and say this wasn’t real to him and he doesn’t want to hear about it anymore.

Right now I don’t talk to my dad.

He doesn’t call me anymore or send me texts.

I feel like he forgot about me.

He doesn’t really care about me anymore.

I go to counseling every week.

Last week my dad had to come with me so I could talk to the counselor and him about my feelings.

He never showed up.

This isn’t like my dad at all.

His wife is taking over him and controlling him.

He’s like a puppet to her.

She’s controlling and just a mean person.

I really miss my dad and having my parents together.

I wish I had my family forever.

I think now about my graduation of high school that’s coming up. How I’m not going to have my parents together.

Also my wedding, this really breaks my heart thinking about this.

I wanted my parents together and in the temple with me.

I need help on how to talk to my dad again and help him get back to the Church.

That’s really all I want my dad together and him to go back to the church and have the gospel and testimony he ones had.

I need help please.

Thank you,

- Name Withheld

Dear NW,

Sometimes life stinks, and few things stink more than divorce.

You may be too young to remember, but President Faust gave a talk once where he talked about one time when, as an attorney, he helped a woman with her divorce.

The guy she was married to was awful, and President Faust thought this was one of those rare times when it really would be better if they split up. 

Years later he saw the woman and asked how she was doing. In a nut-shell she said that as lousy as her marriage was (and It was pretty bad) she wished that she had stayed married because that was less painful than all of the garbage that comes with splitting up.

No matter what life throws at us, ending life never solves anything.

We think It will make the heartache go away, and It won't.

What happens is our earthy torment becomes replaced by the eternal sorrow of having thrown away one of God's greatest gifts.

I understand that you're hurting, and that you'd like it to all go away, but life ending won't help.

As for your father . . . I'm really sorry that he's making choices that are so hurtful.

As you and I both know, he's putting himself ahead of others right now, and that kind of selfishness can inflict a lot of pain.

I understand the desire to be cold to his new wife and her children . . . but I don't think that's fair, and I don't think It will make things any better.

It’s never good to carry animosity in our hearts.

The dislike you have for the kids is mostly wrapped up in your own jealousy; they may not be cool people, but you haven't really given them a chance; for all you and I know this whole thing may be a nightmare for them, too.

Heck, It's not their fault your dad left your mom.

I'm not saying you have to adopt them as siblings, but taking the high road and being kind to them will go a long way towards healing your own pain, and it may help them, too.

It will be difficult, but I think you need to take all the blame you're putting on the new wife and siblings off of them . . . and onto your dad.

He's the one you're angry with, he's the one that let you down, and he's the one that you'll need to fix things with.

And that, little sister, may take quite a bit of time.

He "doesn't want to hear it because he knows the Church Is true, he knows he's made (and is making) some mistakes, and he's just not man enough right now to face or admit those things, let alone do anything about them.

Trust me, for all of his talk and bravado, he's hurting, too, and that's why he's trying to shift blame, trying to deny what he knows is true.

The truth Is, there's nothing you or I can say or do about it.

Oh, you can tell him how you feel and what you want . . . and when the time has come that you feel you can do that calmly and rationally I think you owe it to yourself and to him to do so . . . but change will have to come from within him.

As much as you and I think he should get it together, he's going to have to choose that on his own.

And someday he probably will.

For now, you have every right to tell him how you feel.

Tell him that he's disappointing you, that you miss going to Church with him, that you miss him in your life and that you feel cast aside In favor of his "new family".

Be calm, try to avoid using the word "you" (I.e.: Instead of "when you do this you really hurt me", you say "I hurt when this is done" - It’s more mature and will keep him from getting defensive), and keep your voice even - that will help him to take you seriously.

But also realize that he's not likely to change anything anytime soon.

To paraphrase a favorite coach:  life isn’t about getting knocked down, it’s about choosing to get back up.

Don't let the actions of your father keep you from having the blessings of the Gospel In your life.

And hang in there.

It will get better.

It may not get "perfect" (whatever that means), but it will get better.

- Bro Jo

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is hard when family members make choices we don't like. My parents divorced when I was six. I hated Father's Day because I had to admit there was no one filling that role in my life. As a child I blamed myself and thought God hated me because he didn't give me a healthy father. But as I have grown I realized that my mother made choices, my father made choices and they did not always consider my point of view or my feelings. As a child, our job is to accept their choices and learn to live with them the best we can. The Savior can heal your heart over time and take the hatred and replace it with understanding. He did this for me in a very unusual way. God asked me to do family history work for my fathers side. As I did this work I found many wonderful women who married messed up men. The strong women in my line gave me hope. I found out that my paternal grandmother shared the gospel with my father and as my mom said,"She was the only person who my father felt loved him". We cannot see everything as God sees it and we do not understand why we must suffer for the choices of others but all will be for our good in the end. I want to let you know that your childhood is a beginning but it should not be your ending. Choose to live a different kind of life. Build yourself up and become the spouse you hope to recieve. Believe in marriage and temple covenants because that is the best way to protect children. Marriage is work and there will be days that you might want to give up but turn to the Savior and he will help you endure the dark days and lead you into the light again. I have been married for almost 20 years and I have 5 children. They have always had a father in their life and they had the happy childhood I wished I had had. As an adult you will have more power to write a happy ending. I will be praying for you:) I hope God be with you at this time and may you know of his personal love and deep tenderness towards those who suffer.