Divorced Disgusted Depressed ©

By Dr. Akiva G. Belk

This essay study is dedicated in the loving memory of Mr. Paul Sakash, may he rest in peace.

A young woman in her early thirties came to my office with her fifteen year old son. She had just ended a seventeen year marriage. She sat down in the chair and began to cry. My wife put her arm around Rivkah and comforted her. We listened for several hours as she poured her heart out to us. Her son Daniel said very little. He was an only child. He sat there quietly holding his anger, bitterness and hurt inside. At one point he opened up just enough to share several family pictures with us. Then he withdrew again.

My wife and I are not counselors. We are friends of Rivkah's and Daniel's who were willing to listen, to feel and to extend ourselves. They needed comfort, assurance and encouragement. People in divorce situations receive lots of advice. Sometimes a person crushed by divorce begins to be drowned in advice. They need an impartial individual to toss them a life saver. Often they feel pressure from sharing their problems with parents, siblings, relatives and friends. Frequently it can be very difficult to make decisions under such stressful conditions.

I believe people suffering through divorce appreciate kind, considerate, patient friends who listen day after day to essentially the same feelings over and over again. People experiencing the hurt of divorce need time to just let it out... out... out... Yes, they want advice... advice from parents... advice from siblings... advice from relatives... advice from friends...but usually what they need is someone to listen.

Frequently well meaning advice advances to personal involvement by the individual offering it. The opinions and advice of non professional people can have the effect of warping what is actually happening. It can skew divorce issues. It can cause over reaction and even greater difficulty. This is not what an individual suffering through divorce needs.

I understand no one enjoys watching a son or daughter or brother or sister suffer with divorce problems. It is painful for those of us on the outside observing this. We want to prevent our loved ones from further hurt. We want them and their children to be safe. We also grow tired of hearing the same thing over and over. We have to realize what a very difficult and delicate time this is in the life of our loved one and their children.

My father who is eighty-six, thank G-d, may he continue to live and be well, has often recommended to parents of children suffering through divorce a few simple but good words: DON'T SPEAK EVIL ABOUT THE CHILDREN'S FATHER... DON'T SPEAK EVIL ABOUT THE CHILDREN'S MOTHER... This is so true! Saying bad things about the children's parents or relatives is WRONG. It is also loshon hara which is forbidden by the Torah.

Sometimes these problems have ways... unusual ways of working themselves out. When a person in the family or friend of either spouse takes a position other than that of being kind, understanding and supportive, if the couple reconciles they more than likely will become adversaries. Taking sides in a domestic / divorce dispute often is the wrong thing to do.

One of the serious issues in divorce is supporting the one who is hurting. For assistance on how to accomplish this, visit "You {G-d} Have Supported Me With Joy!"

Another area of extreme difficulty is anger. I recommend visiting the discussion, "For His {G-d's} Anger Lasts Only A Moment."

Psalms chapter 20 and chapter 91 are of great comfort when you need to feel close to G-d.

The young woman who I began this discussion with stayed for several hours. At times she let out her anger, her hurt and other emotions that had built up. When she was empty of that anger ... when she was empty of that hurt... when she was empty of those powerful, powerful emotions... for that day... for that time, then she had room for something else to take their place. She will be fine until the difficult feelings revive. When they do, we will need to go through this all over again. Eventually the support of friends will help Rivkah stabilize. The hurt will decrease. It will be replaced, G-d willing, with positive support of friends. I pray to Hashem that each of us will be the proper friend for the divorced, disgusted and depressed.

Wishing you the best,

Dr. Akiva G. Belk

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