My parents separated when I was year 8 and were divorced by the time I was fully immersed into high school in year 9. My mum was the one that left which would obviously have been a difficult decision for her. I stayed with Dad and unfortunately my Dad disappeared into work to manage his pain. In the same year my brother graduated from high school and was off partying with his mates and so I essentially grew up through my high school years alone.
We can often respond to this situation as a damaged teenager in unhealthy ways. There are 3 common responses as an unhealthy teen (and often we choose all 3):
Blame ourselves - We can often take the heavy burden of our parents’ divorce on as our mistake, we somehow find a way to make it our fault. We need to clearly understand that it is not our fault – it is between our parents and we just happen to get caught in the crossfire. IT IS NOT OUR FAULT. I know this happens but this was not my response. I chose the second and third responses.
Choose not to seek help - We often either downplay the impact that this incredibly powerful (life altering) situation has on us and choose not to get help. Every teenager that goes through a divroce should be speaking to a counsellor or a psychologist at some point to help manage the emotions and pain associated with the situation
Using unhealthy coping mechanisms - Unfortunately what most teens do is look to a coping mechanism of some kind to make themselves feel better – to medicate themselves (EG. Partying, drinking, relationships, pornography etc.) These coping mechanisms end up causing long term damage not just to ourselves but all kinds of future relationships.
If you are currently dealing with parents going through a divorce and are reading this I strongly recommend that you reach out to someone for help (a trained counsellor or a registered psychologist is best) and put the right steps in place to ensure that you do not blame yourself or use damaging coping mechanisms to survive.
Armed for Life