Trauma of divorce

divorce 2

Tsungai Chekerwa-Machokoto

A BREAK-UP or divorce can be one of the most stressful and emotional experiences in life. Whatever the reason for the split and whether you wanted it or not; the breakup of a relationship can turn your whole world upside down and trigger all sorts of painful and unsettling emotions.

As well as grieving the loss of your relationship, you may feel confused, isolated, and fearful about the future. But there are plenty of things you can do to cope with the pain, get through this difficult time, and even move on with a renewed sense of hope and optimism.

Moving on after a divorce is a difficult time for everyone, the spouses and especially the children. How easy is it to move on after having shared a life with someone for many years? Is there a time frame for it to be done? How do you handle society and their judgmental glances? How about the children, how do they deal with the transition of coming from a home with both mum and dad, to staying with mum only and going to dad’s house on weekends or vice versa? All these questions and more are issues that people find difficult to talk about.

We should however, discuss them and empower each other on how to be sensitive to a family that is going through a divorce because the statistics inform us continually of the ever escalating divorce rates.

During a marriage, there is a lot of intertwining that happens. His friends become hers, her family becomes his family too and that includes the church family. The two share a life together completely in the same space. Now when they divorce, this space becomes very small. It is hard to move on when every turn you make people are asking you why you are no longer together. Some find the liberty to lecture you about why divorce is bad and why you have to try and make it work. It is very insensitive because people will actually be trying to avoid that talk.

Even when a relationship is no longer good, a divorce or breakup can be extremely painful because it represents the loss, not just of the partnership, but also of the dreams and commitments you shared. Romantic relationships begin on a high note of excitement and hopes for the future. When a relationship fails, we experience profound disappointment, stress, and              grief.

A breakup or divorce launches you into uncharted territory. Everything is disrupted: your routine and responsibilities, your home, your relationships with extended family and friends, and even your identity. A breakup also brings uncertainty about the future. What will life be like without your partner? Will you find someone else? Will you end up alone? These unknowns can often seem worse than being in an unhappy relationship.

This pain, disruption, and uncertainty means that recovering from a breakup or divorce can be difficult and may take time.

However, it’s important to keep reminding yourself that you can and will get through this difficult experience and move on with your life as a stronger and wiser person.

A friend of mine told me that she had stopped going to church because the elderly people would not stop asking how the ex-husband was doing, why she was not being considerate of her three children and why she was being cruel to them by leaving their father. All of a sudden it became her fault that they divorced. They made her feel like it was her obligation to make it work and that because the marriage had fallen apart, she was a failure who needed prayers! It was heartbreaking to her that is why she decided to stop going to church completely. She would always come back from the church crying, it was very sad.

Members of the society need to be sensitive to people going through a divorce. We play a big part in their coping. Instead of trying to understand what happened for divorce papers to be signed, let’s just help them move on by being supportive. When they come to church, we just pray with them as normal unless they themselves ask for special prayers regarding their divorce. We should not judge their spirituality neither should we look at them with pitiful eyes.

The children are the biggest casualty in a divorce. They do not apply to come into this world, and they do not have a say in the events that lead to divorce proceedings. Their lives are affected the most unfortunately, especially the younger children. They are stigmatised and labelled as coming from a “broken home” as if they had a choice. This label follows them even into their adulthood. They are viewed as a potential failure in their own marriages because their parents were divorced. It is such an ugly reality for the children, very sad indeed. We can also do something about that.

When a child has divorced parents, it was obviously not their choice or their preference so we do not attach any connotations to them regarding the status of their parents. While they may be influenced by their background, they had no part to play in the divorce of their parents and therefore should be regarded as their own people. They need support and tender loving care especially from the time they are old enough to understand what divorce means.

When it is clear that people are going through divorce trauma, it is noble for us to be there for the people by not asking questions especially if we were not close to them.

It is very intrusive when people who have never been close to you ask you about intimate details of your life. People act as if they are immune to the same ordeal happening to them in future. Divorce can happen to anyone at any time, even to the strongest of marriages so before we are hard on people who go through it, let’s remember that.

There is also a problem that men find a divorced woman to be available just because they have divorced. While they are dealing with trying to live life alone in a world that is marked with reminders of the good and bad times of the marriage, they have to struggle with men hoping to help them out sexually, it is degrading. There are lots of issues that the couple goes through and the less we pile onto their plate, the better it is for everyone.

Here are some things you can do: Understand that it’s normal to experience different and confusing emotions. Reach out to others who’ve also experienced the pain of a breakup. Make time each day for activities that nurture you. Minimise other sources of stress in your life. Remind yourself that you still have a future — with new hopes and dreams. Learn how to identify past mistakes and make better choices. Take time out. Try not to make any major decisions in the first few months after a separation or divorce, such as starting a new job or moving to a new city. If you can, wait until you’re feeling less emotional so that you can make decisions with a clearer head. Avoid using alcohol, drugs, or food to cope.

Divorce is quite a traumatic event and what we can do as a community is to be supportive to the people involved especially the children. Asking unnecessary questions and offering advice when you haven’t been asked is degrading and intrusive and is therefore not advisable.

At the churches, the judgment should be stopped as there is no requirement for someone to enter the goose of God. Also, being divorced does not equate to availability.

People will move on when the time is right. They should not be pushed. Divorce is a reality and happens to people who might not have ever seen it coming.

We need to be supportive, considerate and sensitive and that is how we will make the ordeal manageable.


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  • Phaqa

    Very good article most of the times the Church is always very vocal and good at pointing fingers, only if it can give support and hope for future thst would be excellent.

  • jay

    I understand the point that you’ve made and as per my experience, I would reccomend RocciaBliss, , the number one in such services.