Is Your Marriage Falling Apart? If it is, is divorce your only option?
Before that happens consider the Power and Control dynamics at work in your marriage. It has helped many couples get to the root of the conflicts.
You are at the point you must do something to turn that slide to divorce around, to build a healthy, wholesome relationship, one that you really like. I know that you have tried hard. You have been the best you that you can be in that relationship. You cringe at the thought of the Big D. This divorce word that has happened to so many of your friends and relatives – you didn’t want it to happen to you.
You are up against some tough statistics. Close to 50% of all first time marriages end in divorce. That is hard to take. The chances of that happening are more likely when you don’t understand the Power and Control dynamics that you are up against. Note: To learn more about those dynamics, review the earlier postings in this series. ( Part A, Part B, Part C)
You now finally realized that Divorce is the only way that you can stop the abuse in the relationship. You may have been staying together for the kids, but realize now, IT’S OVER. There is no turning back.
There is a familiar pattern to the slide towards divorce. Over the years of my counseling I’ve observed this pattern. Note: For a fuller coverage of this, see chapter 12 in my book IT’S ALL ABOUT POWER AND CONTROL: Why Relationships Fall Apart and What it Takes to Put Them Back Together Again. Here is an abbreviated version.
It’s as if the guys have read the same book on how a marriage breaks up because they follow very similar patterns. It goes something like this:
This is a very familiar pattern. She has tried hard to get him to listen to her. He has refused over and over again to look at his personal issues. Instead of him dealing with the issues and going the distance, he just blames her.
So she has finally called it quits. She is ending the dying inside. She’s ending it b/c she can’t stand it anymore. She’s put up with the abuse so long she can’t see that this will work. He then realizes how seriousness she is and starts promising and bargaining with her.
If you would just come to counselling with me – jointly – we’ll work on this together because you want this marriage to work, right, that’s what you really want. Note this as his way of saying she is the problem with little to no insight into his abusive ways. He uses his emotional appeal and bargaining to persuade her.
She’s heard it before. It has happened so often. She responds to him so coldly. It’s not going to work this time.
When that doesn’t work, he finally realizes that this is over and goes into protection mode. He blames and accuses her. His true colors show. He even takes a wide sweep to garner support from her friends and relatives. She may fear at this time for her safety and put in place some things to protect her and her children to keep them safe as he ramps up his anger. But she has determined that it is over and she pursues the divorce in order to get free from the mind games and the abusive control that’s been going on.
This process – from pursuing divorce until it is finished – is usually about a two year process.
In conclusion, when the big D really happens, here is some candid advice. Be careful to not jump from the frying pan into the fire.
People often jump into another relationship too quickly. Deep in the new relationship it may still be masking abuse with a different storefront. For example, they may jump from their X that is very rigid, all or nothing thinking – that is black and white and domineering – to someone that is real easy going, suave, or maybe even passive. They do not realize that this storefront may mask them being non committal, hard to move, or being unable to make or keep a decision. The reverse of this also may be the case. It’s really about jumping from a frying pan into a fire.
How do you prevent that? The best chance is that you fix what is broken inside of you. What is the problem? Why do you allow someone to treat you that way? Change is hard and possible if you will only take a deeper look inside of you. You may not be the primary abuser in the relationship but as a primary victim you can learn how to become the best person you really can be and learn to live whole and not as a victim.
Divorce is a wakeup call to discover what the foundations are that make a great relationship. You can learn about Power and Control in you. Take ownership of your power and control. Use it for self control and how to benefit the relationship.
Work on you, to be the best you that you can be.