My Parents Went Through a Divorce and Here's What I Learned from It
by Jananie Chandrarao. |
Legally dissolving one's marriage with someone is termed as divorce. But if you're a child of divorced parents, you know that divorce can't merely be defined by words. You know it holds such an emotional weight that you are forced to carry for the rest of your life, especially if it wasn't a pretty divorce. And it doesn't in any way make it less painful if the divorce was something you obviously saw coming.
Image: Gemma Evans
But as much as divorce can be a source of suffering, especially to children, the more matured and wiser person we emerge as after going through this trauma needs to be acknowledged and talked about as much as we discuss the victimized person they are right after the divorce. Although my parents are not legally divorced but separated, I'd like to talk about what I learnt from my experience of having to live through their separation.
As much as our parents portray themselves as Superman and Wonder Woman to us, the reality is that they are human too. The lack of vulnerability of parents towards their children leads to children seeing them as these perfect people who make no mistakes. It took me my parents’ separation to learn that they are just as human as I am.
Initially, I completely blamed my parents for everything that had happened.
Their failed marriage, the distress that existed in the house, my deteriorating mental health. Everything. But, in the process of also seeing them trying to navigate through their problems, trying to make sense of their circumstances, I realised they didn't really have everything figured out. These were the humans who were trying to make the best choices with whatever they had at the moment. And in that period of their life, separating was their best available option. Also, this part of their life doesn’t necessarily make them bad people as society would perceive them to be. Up 'till now, my mother continues to inspire me through her kind nature and my father continues to aspire me to be the best version of myself. They are humans with a perfect mixture of mistakes and wonder.
As time progressed and as I let their separation have an impact on me in various ways even when it was over, it took some time but I came to learn that I didn't actually have to carry the weight of their failed marriage.
Since I watched them fall out of love, it in many ways influenced how I saw love and relationships after that. I was so afraid that I would fall in love with the wrong person and maybe end up being in the same cycle of ending a marriage in the future, leaving my children to go through the same struggles. The truth is, I still am. But someone wise once told me that 'different people, have different stories'.
Even if I am their daughter, I'm not them. I'm not the same person they are.
I don't have the same personality or experiences or just life in general as them. And to say I might just end up like them is just an assumption, anticipation of future events that create anxiety. I can decide if I want to carry the weight of their failed marriage. Because the truth is, the next guy I meet might be the one, but I've been holding myself back because I've been so afraid and that fear is keeping me from living my life to the fullest.
My parents are extremely strong people. When the inevitable hit them and they drifted apart, I witnessed them build back their lives. Yes, there was hate, misunderstandings and downfalls, but each time they came back stronger than ever. They didn't keep playing the blame game but instead took charge of the situation.
If this teaches me anything: it is to take complete responsibility for the person I am at the moment.
There is so much that has happened since and there have been so many instances where I constantly blamed my toxic attitudes or my reactivity to the trauma I endured. I justified my wrongdoings and felt entitled to special treatment because of what I have gone through. But regardless of the past, the person I am today is my responsibility, and if that person needs healing, then is it also my duty to give myself that.
This influenced me to embark on a journey of healing that took a few years and is still progressing through acceptance, forgiveness and self-love. In short, don't let traumas define who you are, decide that yourself.
Maybe for a person who is experiencing intense emotional pain right after their parents’ divorce, this may seem illogical and untrue. The lessons discussed here might seem like gibberish. But with time comes deep realisations and chances the Universe provides us with to decide how we want to tell our story. If it wasn't for my parents' separation, I wouldn't have learnt about the human in them, and how I shouldn’t let it affect my perception of love and marriage or even my responsibility to heal. With problems comes lessons, and I wish you healing and clarity to be able to see those lessons.
You may find out more about Jananie on her Instagram.