As parents, we spend a fair amount of time agonizing over our mistakes. Certainly, we would have done many things differently. If only we hadn’t been grown children ourselves when we made our relationship choices and eventually married. Most of us had no idea our marriages would end. If we had, we wouldn’t have walked […]
So there are just some things you shouldn’t do to someone in the middle of a divorce.
Just across the board whether it’s a fairly good divorce, middle of the road divorce or bad divorce – whether it’s a quiet person or a loud person, a sensitive person or a tough person.
Do not ask them to share anything more than they are ready to share. No, really it’s none of your business unless they want it to be. Divorce is undignified, painful, and embarrassing at times. It makes one alternate from wanting to share to wanting to self-protect.
Do not judge them, believe me they are already judging themselves harshly enough. Divorce already feels like one is under a microscope. Like the red-headed stepchild showing up to the party.
Do not tease or make fun of their personality traits – even jokingly. This is not a normal time. A typically, self-depricating person won’t find laughing at themselves funny when it feels like nothing is going right in their life. It is hard to feel proud of one’s life when divorce is causing those they love to suffer. Even the most confident will be hard on themselves during this time.
Do not question what they are sharing with you. Life and relationships are complicated. This is stress. This is loss. Do not make them feel as if they could have done something differently. No one arrives at this decision lightly. Most have labored for years before coming to this crossroad.
Do not make them feel the need to defend themselves. Even the least defensive personality will at their weakest feel like a dog backed into a corner – afraid of what is coming at them. Divorce is not a time when a person has excess strength and any strength they do have is reserved for themselves and their family. Don’t absorb the energy they so desperately need.
Don’t tell them that you miss the ‘old them.’ They miss them too and if they could get themselves back more quickly they would.
Here is somewhat of an analogy.
When I lost my parents I was young. Most people didn’t know what to do or say. They simply hadn’t experienced it. I am grateful that the majority of people did not understand my experience – for their sake.
When you’re in the middle of a divorce you are often surrounded by people who don’t understand it. They haven’t experienced it. I am grateful they haven’t experienced it – for their sake.
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