And then accept it. And move forward.
At one point in your life, you have to revisit this even and go through the pains to face it and own it. Accept that it happened, don't deny it. Denying it does not change the past but it changes your future. Grieve over the disappointments, the broken dreams and promises, the future that is forever lost, the future that will not be within your reach no matter how hard you try.
Not grieving is like building a house without a strong foundation; it's skipping the first process and eventually, you'll be haunted by your past.
You don't have to deal with the pain immediately. In fact, Henri Nouwen suggests in his book 'The Inner Voice of Love'
I started dealing with the pain of my parents' separation 20 years after it happened. I guess I wasn't ready to revisit this part of my life earlier. I didn't know how hurt I was; after all, my life turned out well. I did great in school and I've held my ground. But just because my life turned out well, it didn't mean that my parents' separation was ok.
Many people try to justify what happened in the past was good because eventually something good came out of it. But this is not an excuse to say that what happened was not all right. Every child has a right to a father and a mother who provide a loving and safe home. If the parents separated due to domestic violence, you can't grieve if you keep on telling yourself that it was for the best. As a child, you didn't deserve or need a violent household as much as you need separated parents. It couldn't be helped if you parents have to separate, but it wasn't the best situation. It was probably the best solution but it was not the best situation. Until you understand what you deserved - a loving family - you will not be able to grieve.
Never feel that you have no right to feel pain. But whatever you do, know that it is not your fault. You have nothing to grieve about yourself. It was the situation. Don't go into self-pity mode. Accept that there was nothing you could have done to keep your parents together. They did not get divorced or separated because of you - it was because of their limitations to maintain a family. Try to understand them and love them just the same.
Do Not Self-Destruct
So, your parents are undergoing a divorce, or your parents are getting separated. Indeed, it's a tough life you have. And though you see that broken families are becoming a norm in our society, that fact does not negate the pain you are feeling. The truth hurts. (Ouch!)
I came from a broken family. My parents separated when I was eight; my father left my mom for her cousin. Many people who see me now are surprised that I came from a broken family. Who wouldn't be? I got my university degree from the National University of Singapore. I was a scholar since I was in fifth grade. I have a good job. I have good friends, and my mom was able to successfully support my two younger brothers and I. I have a lot to thank God for. And I have a lot to share to people whose life are like mine when I was an eight year old girl.
Yes, if you are a son or a daughter of a couple whose relationship is crumbling, this is for you. If you are a parent who has not thought about about your kid(s) during while contemplating separation, this is for you. If you are a parent who hopes that your kid(s) will eventually be able to cope up with the separation, this is for you, so you could see what they had to go through.
Just a disclaimer: My mom had been very good. I don't blame my mom or my dad for anything. I don't believe that parents separate with the intention of spiting their kids. It's just that my parent's union was never really right to begin with.
So here I start with Rule Number 1:
Do not self-destruct
By this time, you probably feel that the whole world is conniving to destroy your life. It must have been written in the stars for you to be miserable. You might be even wondering if this is a result of the e-mail chain that you broke, or a result of you breaking that mirror (ok, I'm kidding). But jokes aside, yes, I believe at this time, you probably think that Murphy's Law is absolute. Everyone, and everything, is out to destroy your fairy tale.
Well, I tell you, don't give them a hand.
Sure, a couple of beers to tide you through your emo moments will help. But don't make alcohol your water.
Maybe some retail therapy will help. You might want to buy that expensive pair of shoes you've been eyeing for a while (within the maximum budget you have, you can let Visa cover it if you can). And toss in a new hair cut, or hair color, too. But don't bankrupt yourself.
Think long term. Don't be a passive participant to what you think fate is cruelly dishing out to you. Fate favors the fighters. Be strong.
Don't fight with your parents. But instead, find ways to fight for your happiness - a happiness that is not dependent on your parents being together if you can't.
It might take a while, it might take a long time. But for sure, if you self-destruct, your healing will take a longer time. Because you're not only healing the wounds from your parents' separation, you'll also need to heal the wounds you've inflicted on yourself.
If you can't think of anything right now, just remember this: Don't self destruct!
I'll be writing the other rules I've followed to survive happily. So stay tuned and hang in there, my friend. The rainbows will come one day.