Beliefnet
How Great Thou Part

In counseling, you learn that there is absolutely no excuse for bad behavior.

Well, let me clarify. There is zero excuse for repeated bad behavior.

Something I wrote in my last column gave me pause.

The fact that I ended my marriage to take my children out of a position of conflict, yet divorce put them in an even stronger position of conflict.
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Please do not misunderstand what I am saying. I do not advocate staying in a bad marriage.

I actually believe it can be far worse for children. I am simply stating there is something wrong with a process that is comprised of two opposing messages. Namely counseling and the legal system.

The oxymoron of divorce?

The counselors tell us there is no excuse for repeated bad behavior. They tell us this is unacceptable. A form of enabling to allow an individual to hurt you in the same manner over and over again. They tell us we should self-protect, set boundaries and move on from this unhealthy relationship.

The courts, the judges and the lawyers tell us to expect bad behavior in divorce. They tell us it’s the norm. They tell us even though this is an extremely bad divorce that shockingly, they have seen worse. They tell us there’s not much they can do. That spouses get away with bad behavior in divorce every day. After all, there’s only so much that can be done when a spouse is determined to be a bully, use children, use money and whatever power and control they have to punish their spouse.

I met a former judge recently. He shook his head in frustration as he told me of being on both sides of the bench. He spoke of handling many divorces in his career and the lengths individuals would go – how they would fight to the bitter end over seemingly nothing. He told me of his own divorce. He acknowledged it is a frustrating and disillusioning. Predominantly because there is little in place to stop a parent determined to behave badly from hurting their very own children.

Because let’s not kid ourselves…
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As I have written recently, any grown adult behaving badly in divorce arrogantly pretends it’s the spouse they are going after. They tell people their spouse isn’t going to get one over on them. They aren’t going to get ‘their’ money. They aren’t going to get away with a divorce. Instead, they will ‘control’ how the divorce plays out.

Control is in fact, the bad behavior or should I say one of the bad behaviors, the other spouse is trying to get away from to begin with.

It is unacceptable divorce may thrust children into an atmosphere more damaging because the world accepts it as the norm. Thus, allowing divorcing spouses to exercise their anger and retribution throughout the divorce process.

Children won’t be sufficiently protected in divorce until the oxymoron is dispelled.

Until the healthy message of counseling matches the currently unhealthy message of the legal system.

(Photos courtesy of Pexels)
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