The other day I was in a client session, and my client said to me, “I’m so used to carrying the weight and saving us all. All. The. Time. I’m #$@#$! exhausted mentally, physically, emotionally…there’s no gas left in my tank and I think I might be slightly traumatized by it all.”
He was in that place where he felt totally overwhelmed, that there was no other way to live….and…wanted his marriage to work – or so he thought. So, I started probing. And very simply.…..I asked him if he had ever thought about what it would feel like to not carry that weight of an unhealthy relationship, and be in a place where he never felt like that again.
He sat there for a moment. I thought I’d better ask another probing question..that one was too basic. But then….It was like he had an aneurysm. The ‘aha’ moment heard around the world. These are the moments when you’re stuck in the trenches of an unhappy marriage, trying to hold it together “for the kids”, a divorce charged with conflict or you’re backed into a corner and see no way out …these are the moments where the light at the end of the tunnel flickers, and possibilities are felt. These are the turning points that we have to grab onto so we can make clear rational realistic decisions.
My client truly realized what it would be like without having to feel that everyday, and realized that it was possible. He didn’t know that was possible. He really was wired to think he was responsible for his family’s emotions and complete well-being forever.
That’s when we started discussing what he likes to do with his personal time. His time, not his and her time, her time, or family time, his time. He perked up. He started talking. He started seeing more possibility of a life outside of this marriage. A fresh start.
Sometimes the denial and inability to see a way out, or seeing possibility with your life after divorce can be so confusing, that it’s near impossible to even begin to feel what like might be like for you after. The overwhelm of the rebuild. The disbelief that life could go on without this person.
Sometimes it just takes one moment, one question and that burst, is such an amazing feeling, you have to hold on to it, and go with it.
To be reminded that you have options…
To be reminded that the my way or the highway of your spouse’s calls aren’t the only option.
To be reminded that you can shape your moments, your days, your choices, your responses, your time, on your own.
Facing the end of a marriage and then turning your sights to being on your own as a single person is a monumental step. A step right out of your comfort zone..even if the comfort zone is uncomfortable, we all tend to stay there because it’s what we know. The transition and change and redefinition of self in divorce is daunting, but we can slowly but surely shift that perspective from overwhelming and scary to exciting and hopeful.
There is life after divorce. In most cases, if the marriage in the end was not meant to be, your best life is waiting for you.
My client has felt the feeling. My client has realized that he is not responsible for anyone else’s feelings, thoughts or actions, but his own. As he put it, it was the TSN turning point he needed to realized that he was hanging on to something that wasn’t in his best interests, nor his spouse’s. It was time to start the transition to a new beginning.
And to remember to put down what was never yours to carry.