Last week I wrote a little review about Conscious Uncoupling by Katherine Woodward Thomas. I felt the book really spoke to me so I really wanted to sit down and take the time to move through some of these steps as I move through the separation and divorce process. While I feel I still have a long way to go, I do have to say that there was quite a bit of information in this book which can be applied to my life; now and in the future.
Divorce is never easy. It doesn’t matter if it was mutual. I doesn’t matter if you felt it coming for a while. It doesn’t matter if you realize you are better off as friends and actually remain friends. There is a huge shift in your life. Change is scary and it tosses us around in circles like an angry beast. Navigating the world in a different way can be frightful. But, it doesn’t have to be.
Step One: Find Emotional Freedom
In this step one learns how to take the rage, hatred, anger, fear, and despair and turn then from destructive to constructive.
This step was important to me because I have a pattern when it comes to relationships. I’ve know it for quite some time; probably since the time of my 1st marriage ending.
On November 7 we celebrated 4 years of marriage for a total of 7 years together. On November 19 we moved me out. Here I am now, having gone through all of these emotions, wondering all the ‘whats’ and ‘whys.’
There was an excerpt in this chapter that really resonated with me.
Something has been broken and it is more than just your heart. It may be your feeling of being safe in the world, your ability to make sense of your life, or even your very faith in life and love. Whether you made the difficult decision to leave, or you are in the devastation position of having been left, the losses you’re facing are most likely many deep, and multidimensional. The heart connection you called home, and shared rituals and routines that shaped your daily life, the “you” you knew yourself to be in your relationship, your standing and position in the community, the clear certainty of your life, and the future you were so carefully strive to save for — all are gone.
For me, change isn’t just about losing a husband and my other half; for me, it also means I am no longer a mother. Not only did my relationship and home life change, but a whole other role in my life changed as well.
This step wants us to take our negative and turn it in to something positive.
When I met Mr. McConnell, his daughter was 3. She is now almost 11. That’s a pretty good chunk of time that I was her ‘other mother.’ When she was going through her problems with her mother, it was me she ran to crying and in need of love. When everyone else turned the other way, I gave her structure and guidance. When everyone else told her how pretty she was, I told her she could be anything she wanted to be in life.
Sadly, step parents are stereotyped. Society paints us as these evil creatures who are trying to take the authority away form the birth parents. If I could legally tell you everything that child’s mother has done to the Mr. and go through all of the things that led her to lose custody of her daughter, society would flip the script and wonder why DHS , FOC and CPS didn’t step in sooner.
Now, I’m gone. No longer that constant.
While the Mr. says she and I can remain in each others lives, it won’t ever be the same.
I can’t go back. I can only go forward.
So, while I struggle to find some common ground with the Mr. as friends, I struggle to find a way to continue a relationship with the daughter I miss dearly.
Clearly, I’m still working through these emotions. But I have some fires burning when it comes to changes in life. While my path may not seem clear at this moment in time, the fact that I have put one foot in front of the other speaks volumes to me. #scarynotscary