Guest Post by Cindy Holbrook
When couples marry, they believe their love will last a lifetime. Unfortunately, in time, many couples find it difficult to deal with the insurmountable problems that have risen and decide to part ways. Many divorcee’s lay the blame squarely on the ex and harbor anger, hatred and unforgiveness. What they may not see is that their children are paying for their unforgiveness.
You may feel that your ex does not deserve forgiveness. You may want him/her to suffer and experience as much pain as you felt. You may think that forgiving your ex somehow excuses his behavior. However, it is extremely important to understand that your unforgiveness hurts you and may have harmful consequences on your children, while it does not affect your ex much at all.
Countless studies have shown that anger and resentment are toxic to you and everyone around you. Uncontrollable anger or suppressed rage hurts the person both physically and mentally. Anger and hostility create stress in your mind and body and can create a host of physical ailments. Remaining angry at your ex can make you irritable and less patient with your children.
Children are very sensitive and watch everything you say and do. You may think that when you are on the phone giving your friend a step-by-step recap of the latest escapades of your ex that your children aren’t listening. As you speak, your body language and tone of voice tells even the youngest of children that you are unhappy. Furthermore, it is best to think again, if you believe your six-year old is sound asleep in the next room.
A child who is thrown in the middle of major conflict between her parents will develop feelings of fear and insecurity and may believe that she has to choose one parent over another.
A couple that is constantly arguing and putting one another down are incapable of successful co-parenting. Your child will continually be ripped in half, not knowing who to trust or what to believe. According to his research, Neil S. Grossman, Ph.D., reports that stress, insecurity and agitation are significantly increased in children when exposed to ongoing chronic conflict between their parents. While children of parents who remain amicable experience very little stress due to the divorce.
To put it simply, your children are paying for your unforgiveness because a bitter, hurtful, vindictive and depressed parent is not ideal for any child. It confuses them and piles on unnecessary pressure. It also makes a child feel unloved and unworthy, as well as diminishes their self-esteem.
Once you forgive your ex, you are breaking the emotional chains he/she had on you. This frees you up to be a warm, loving and emotionally stable parent. It allows you to have an amicable relationship with your ex that will enable both of you to co-parent while putting the needs of your children first and makes it possible for the two of you to raise happier kids.
Naturally, if domestic violence is an issue and there is a threat of danger, the children need to be protected. However, this does not mean that your actions have to be hostile as well.
Choose to forgive your ex today because your children deserve to have content parents so that they can live more at ease. Forgiving your ex and letting go sets child free to love and have a relationship with both parents without guilt.
*** *** ***
Cindy Holbrook is a certified divorce life coach and founder of CoachingForDivorcedWomen.com. She has coached divorced women and women in the process of divorce for over 20 years. She draws from her experience, having left a 20-year emotionally abusive marriage as well as the knowledge she has gained over the years. Cindy understands your fear, despair, loneliness and confusion.
Rosalind Sedacca, CCT is a Divorce & Parentng Coach and Founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network for parents. For her free ebook on Post-Divorce Parenting: Success Strategies for Getting It Right!, articles, blog, coaching services and other valuable resources on divorce and parenting issues, go to: www.childcentereddivorce.com.