I was 7 years old.
- Divorce was almost unheard of at the time.
- Des Moines, Iowa Divorce was scandalous
- My parents got divorced
- I came home from school one day and my Mom and 2 (of 3) older brothers had left. They moved 40 minutes away
- It felt like I had fallen down the proverbial rabbit hole.
The divorce was nasty and the anger and resentment spanned decades; sending ripples of anxiety, stress, depression and anger into all of our lives. Rather than a safe, happy childhood our experience of family looked very different.
- Walking on eggshells all the time
- Needing to keep secrets from each parent about the other
- Mine fields of topics, phrases, and places
- Mental preparation to leave one parent to visit the other
- Mental preparation for holidays, and exhaustion and depression during the holidays
- Mental and physical preparation for milestone celebrations or how to avoid celebrations altogether (all 4 of us choose not to go to our own high school graduation)
- Planning for who would be responsible for which parent to try to ensure minimum fallout for celebrations
- Taking sides – the endless pull to take sides and the resulting guilt for having taken sides
- The fallout after celebrations for whatever was perceived as an issue
- Financial strain: asking for something (Prom Dress, school clothes) and being told the other parent should pay for it, then being told I pay child support…;
- Guilt for not being able to protect/ help siblings
- Stress of having to support an emotionally overwrought parent
I made a decision to dedicate my life to “fixing” divorce. I went to law school, and then spent decades practicing family law in an effort to stop the ripples before they began.
My Wedding – I took a stand. I made a choice. I was done – fed up and exhausted. This was the turning point (at least outwardly) with my parents’ divorce. I would not let their issues affect my children or my marriage. And yet – it still did; because inside I still struggled with all the same emotions. Those survival mindsets I developed during the divorce were still controlling my emotions, fears, behaviors, decisions and dreams.
50 years after my parents’ divorce I decided to become a life coach. During my training I went deeply into who I am and what makes me tick. I developed tools and learned to understand my emotions. It was during this time of deep reflection and working on myself that I realized just how deep the impact of my parents’ divorce was rooted in my mind. It all started to make sense and explained so much of my life, decisions and inability to truly dream big. I was still in survival mode after 50 plus years! I learned how to find and release the survival mindsets one by one. I intentionally set new mindsets that would support me in growing and learning. And I finally started to DREAM BIG.