The soul cannot forgive until it
is restored to wholeness and health.
In the absence of love - how can one forgive?

With an abundance of love, starting with one's self,
forgiveness becomes a viable opportunity.
-Nancy Richards

Friday, February 22, 2008

Divorcing a Parent

In 1992, after exhausting every avenue to have a relationship with my mother, I made the difficult decision to divorce her - despite resounding judgment. I was devastated when my choice resulted in the loss of my entire family of origin.

Nonetheless, I needed to separate myself from my mother, not because of my childhood abuse, but because of my continued abuse as an adult.

There is an emotional pain so severe, one cannot bear it, or live with it. It threatens your very survival.

No matter how much I loved and longed for a relationship with my mother, I couldn’t recover from my abuse as long as our relationship felt like it endangered my existence.

I believe that divorcing my mother was the only way possible to create the space required to heal and to grow the seeds of self-love, self-respect, and self-care necessary to live a healthy life.

The decision to divorce a parent is a very difficult one that should not be made lightly or in haste. If you are considering severing your relationship with a parent, I highly recommend, Divorcing a Parent: Free Yourself from the Past and Live the Life You've Always Wanted, By Beverly Engel, MFCC

Engel’s offers a compassionate and very comprehensive guide including discussing good and bad reasons to sever a relationship, what to expect if you do decide to divorce, alternatives, coping mechanisms, and much more. I found this book invaluable on my own journey.

There are no two ways about it. Estrangement is painful. Yet, with growth comes loss, and eventually emotional strength and freedom. I used our time apart to grow in ways that would not have been possible while having a relationship with my mother. Estrangement afforded me the opportunity to heal from my abuse, and eventually to feel healthy and find some peace in my life.

Today, after a 14-year cut-off, my mother and I have reconciled. Although our reconciliation has been very healing for me, I am grateful for our time apart. I would not be in the healthy place I am today without the opportunity to love myself.

2 comments:

Angel said...

What a great post.

So now that you and your mother have reconciled, what about the other family members from your family of origin?

healandforgive said...

Thank you Angel!

First, one of my brothers reach out to me - then I spoke with another brother. A few months later my mother called, and I began the process of reconciliation with my entire family of origin.

It has been quite a journey!

My best,
Nancy