I am a divorcee.
I was married for 9.5 years to the father of my son, and it was difficult to stay, yet harder to leave. Disappointments, discouragement and a broken heart from the many situations I faced throughout the marriage, left me questioning my sanity. The pain was raw. I was angry and disillusioned. I had fleeting thoughts of suicide from time to time (“fleeting” because of my son). I was VERY bitter. I questioned God. WHY is this happening to me when I gave this relationship my ALL, including my virginity?
We separated shortly after our 8th anniversary. It was a damp, rainy autumn night when I pulled away from the marital home with a few belongings to start over elsewhere. I had to convince myself to leave because as irrational as it sounds, there is some degree of security in the “madness” that you know. Leaving all I ever knew about marriage to start over as a single parent was daunting, but I believed it was necessary.
As the months went on and the rage within me had no intentions of subsiding, I realized that if my life was going to be of a higher quality than what I had left behind, I would need to heal from the recurring dreams, the bitter tearful moments, and the long list of regrets. I beat myself up mentally, emotionally and even spiritually. It did not help that those who I thought would cover and support me stood off to the side to watch me from afar. I realized that I was in a “do or die” situation, and I must admit that raising my son as an emotionally stable and well-adjusted child was my driving force to heal.
As I pushed myself to heal, here are the steps I took:
I started walking away from “friends” who could NOT help me. Revisiting old conversations and discussing feelings about situations that happened in the past did nothing to bring some type of closure for me to start the healing process. It felt like someone was ripping bandages off a newly healing wound, over and over.
I began to search for books on emotional healing, and I also became familiar again with the Scriptures. Although I was born and raised in the church and was very active in ministry (even after my separation), my heart was heavy and overwhelmed. As I took the time to review what I already knew, I also started listening to some of my favorite television preachers who always seemed to have the right things to say to lift my spirits.
I signed up for professional counseling. It felt strange going to see a counselor alone for a situation that I felt wasn’t my fault. During those sessions (which lasted 1.5 years) I was able to verbalize painful thoughts and feelings in a non-judgmental environment. I was also able to identify my role in the marriage and own my part in its demise.
I also began to write. I learned about blogging on Myspace and started pouring out my thoughts into cyberspace. I had no idea that I was being followed by so many people until they began writing me to thank me for sharing and they unanimously requested that I publish a book. I was hesitant to publish, but in 2011 I released my first book.
I focused heavily on prayer. I felt that God would hear and understand me even when I felt like there wasn’t anyone else around me who could.
As I participated in all these efforts to heal, I learned how to develop a healthier relationship with my son’s dad. It was VERY difficult at first because all I saw was someone who hurt me to the core. I could not speak kindly to him and most times I wanted nothing to do with him – but I could not continue with that behavior and still set a healthy example for my son to follow. What helped me handle this was the fact that I could not move on socially or romantically until I could let go of my past relationship – which included the hurt, the bitterness and the anger. If I was enraged all the time, the other person was still playing a huge part in my life, and was basically still in control. I set up boundaries in our conversations. After a while I decided NOT to participate in conversations that would “take me there”. When I felt the anger rising, I would politely (and sometimes not-so-politely) hang up the phone and continue the conversation later, if needed.
Since my divorce, I have also made efforts to advance academically and at work. I received my MBA earlier this year after 5 years of all-nighters and many papers. My job now has a global focus which has helped me to expand in areas of leadership and management.
As I have healed, my perspective on my life has changed tremendously. I am no longer obsessed with the past, and I am making conscious efforts to resolve issues so they do not hinder me or delay my personal progress. My friendships are uplifting and encouraging, and I now know that good people DO exist in this world!
I believe I am ready to move on romantically with my life. I am making efforts to interact and collaborate with different people every place that I am presented with the opportunity. Expanding my life beyond what I can see today keeps me focused, energized and excited about the future.
Here’s what I learned: Healing is HARD WORK but if you are determined to move forward with your life, healing is NECESSARY.
Michelle Cameron is an avid writer since the age of 15 with recent features on The Virtuous Diva Blog, The Chat Kafe Blog and Chronicles of a Future Wife, and released her first book, "It's My Life and I Live Here: One Woman's Story" in 2011. As an avid Toastmaster and soloist, Michelle is honing the art of public speaking and also using the vehicle of song to inspire and uplift women with her testimony. Michelle currently resides in New Jersey and is the mother of one son. Connect with Michelle’s blog at "Life, Love and Other Topics: My Commentary" and on social media at @ShellyLove2002 (Twitter); "It's My Life and I Live Here: One Woman's Story" author page (Facebook).
Photo Artista Photography