If I had to be honest, this was a pretty sucky year for me. About this time last year, my parents announced their divorce.
It was quite a shock. When you’re nearly out of the house and grown up, you don’t expect your life to change so drastically all of a sudden. But it happened.
At first, I didn’t really cope with it at all. I shut myself in my room and got lost in hours of YouTube. I let my brain run on autopilot so I didn’t have to think. Of course, this was not healthy, nor was it productive. I started picking fights with everyone and would start crying at random intervals. I wasn’t in a very good place.
So yeah, it’s hard having to handle your parents’ divorce when you’re a teen; nearly an adult. I think it’s mostly because you are so much more aware of the ugly part of it all. As a kid, you don’t always understand the emotion behind the scenes.
I know a ton of people whose parents divorced when they were kids. In this society, it’s not uncommon. But those kids had time to adjust. They’re used to “visits” and “every other Christmas” by now. For me, this was a whole new concept that I had to figure out while trying to pass my senior year of high school.
I know I can’t be the only one going through this. I know of people whose parents are divorcing after their kids are already married with kids. Imagine having to find out your grandparents are divorcing!
I have learned a few things about coping with this year and I would like to share it.
Don’t be afraid to cry
Just because you’re all “grown up”, does not mean you’re not allowed to cry. If you feel like crying, do it. You will feel better after you get rid of some pent-up emotion.
Also, don’t be afraid to let your parents know how it makes you feel. If you can’t talk to them about it, you will start to feel resentment toward them. Allow them to explain themselves and try to understand why they have made this decision.
Talk to people
Don’t try to hide it from your friends. They won’t be able to guess what’s wrong if you don’t tell them. If you pick fights with everyone because you’re not in a good place, they won’t be able to help you out.
Find someone trustworthy that you can share all your thoughts and feelings with. By saying things out loud, you will be able to process it better. I cannot express how much of a difference some of the people in my life had made in my process of acceptance this year.
Write about it
My coping mechanism is writing. I write poems to process something when it happens to me. I usually feel better because I spent some time thinking about the issue and putting it on paper. A few months later when I read it again, it’s good to see how my state of mind on the matter has changed.
You can always write in a diary or find something else that allows you to reflect on your feelings later.
Don’t push them away
Just because your parents have drastically changed your life and caused you all this pain, does not mean that they are the enemy. They love you and want the best for you. I know a divorce is hard to accept, but they are allowed their own happiness as well. Try to connect with both of them separately to mend your relationship.
Your parents are also going through a tough time, so fighting with them will not fix anything.
Try to keep some things normal
Just because your parents are split up, doesn’t mean you should stop having family nights. Try to still do this with each parent separately. I’ve found that keeping a few of our previous family rituals, helped me to adjust to the other drastic changes my life was undergoing.
That said, try to create new traditions with each parent as a way of bonding. This is the start of a new chapter in your lives, not the end of the world.
You will not be able to bring your parents back together. Sadly, they will not suddenly rediscover their love. My parents considered getting back together and got all of our hopes up. After about 3 weeks, they were fighting again as usual.
It caused a lot of stress all over again, so I would recommend not getting your hopes up about them reuniting.
If you’re not coping and it feels like everything is happening too fast, don’t refrain from speaking out. Ask to see someone that can help you.
Not everyone processes it the same way. Don’t be ashamed that you need some extra help. The most important thing that you can do is to make sure that you are okay.
Give it time
Time heals all wounds. I’m still upset some days, but I’ve come close to acceptance. After a year, I was able to establish a new routine and I’m used to the way things are now.
Yes, it is something that’s awful to go through and I do not wish it on anyone, but you’re stronger than you think. If you’re really struggling and want someone to talk to, don’t be afraid to email me @ firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let me know about your own experiences in the comments below.
Keep your head high, things will get better.