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Divorce And The Urgency Of Taking Care Of You

A Conversation With Dr. Joe Beam & Client Representative, Marc Highland

Dr. Joe Beam: Divorce can be an extremely painful thing, not just for the kids, but divorce can be a painful thing for both of you. And so if you’re a husband or a wife and you’re about to go through a divorce, maybe in a divorce, or just after a divorce, you might be thinking, “Well, life sucks, I don’t like the fact that this happened, but I’m just going to shoulder on and I’ll be all alright.” But interestingly, that does not always occur.

I have Marc Highland here with me today. He works with me here at Marriage Helper, he’s a friend and a colleague. We did a previous video together that I hope people go and look for on YouTube about how Marc’s parents divorce affected him , but we wanted to do another segment about Marc’s mother. She didn’t deal well with divorce.

Marc Highland:  No, she did not.

Dr. Joe Beam: How did the divorce affect your mom?

Marc Highland:  So my mother, post-divorce, never remarried and that was her choice. As always, we tell people consistently, you have the right to make your own decision. With that being the case, she never even dated, she never even thought about it, and I respect her for her decisions.

Dr. Joe Beam: Sure.

Marc Highland:  And what she just chose to do. The unfortunate side is, she never dealt with the hurt that she felt the right way.

Dr. Joe Beam: The hurt meaning the feelings of abandonment, of not being lovely or lovable.

Marc Highland:  “I’m not good enough.”

Dr. Joe Beam: All those kinds of things.

Marc Highland:  Right. “I didn’t feel loved, I didn’t feel liked.”

Dr. Joe Beam: “I’ve been rejected, I’ve been abandoned.”

Marc Highland:  Abandoned, yes.

Dr. Joe Beam: And because he didn’t get the right kind of help to help her deal with that, how did it affect her over the years?

Marc Highland:  So my mother is now 81, lives with my sister and she’s taking care of her and I’m incredibly thankful for that. My father passed away back in the spring. I’ve always said that if my father were to walk in the door today, she would still take him back because that is how much she never dealt with her pain.

Dr. Joe Beam: Okay. So let’s talk about a couple of things here. I feel pain for your mother because that’s sad. When people go through a feeling of rejection during divorce, i.e. the one who didn’t want the divorce, the who is being left, the one who is being abandoned, often will feel, “What’s wrong with me?” and we get asked that question a lot.

People also say:

  • What’s wrong with me?
  • Why can’t my husband or my wife love me?
  • Why would he or she pick somebody else? or a different lifestyle?

We get it asked a ton of different ways, but it definitely affects people.

3 Types Of People

Dr. Joe Beam: We teach in our workshop (and therefore I’m not going to elaborate here) that there’s a difference between being independent, interdependent, and dependent.

  1. Independent People

The quick short version of this is, independent people really have no relationship with you, and if you cease to exist or go away, it doesn’t affect them.

  1. Dependent People

People who are dependent could say, “I find part of my self esteem in you and I fear that my life will not be whole or good or whatever I want it to be if you’re not here,” and therefore if you cease to exist or go away, they go into tremendous pain and sometimes we’ll actually shut down.

  1. Interdependent People

Interdependent is between the two. I am an independent human being who can exist and do well even if you cease to exist or go away, but I have chosen to be dependent upon you.

Dr. Joe Beam: I’m going to assume because I only met your mother once and that was at your father’s funeral, that she had more of a dependent kind of relationship with him.

Marc Highland:  More so, I would say that it was bordering on the interdependent and dependent. Later in her life she did get herself back on her feet. She did care for herself financially very, very well. She did take care of the household and moved on as an independent person.

Dr. Joe Beam: So she didn’t cease to function?

Marc Highland:  She didn’t cease to function.

Dr. Joe Beam: But the way she felt about herself, her lovability.

But, She Still Felt Rejected.

Marc Highland:  She felt consistently rejected and does to this day. She is constantly very self conscious about what other people say to her, or how it’s perceived. “Am I really loved, do you really like me?” is a consistent theme that we hear. “I don’t want to be a burden for you, so therefore I don’t want to be here because you don’t want me here.”

Dr. Joe Beam: And over the years how has that affected her?

Marc Highland:  My mother who’s now 81 as I mentioned, obviously when we grow older we lose some of our faculties, would that be a safe assumption?

Dr. Joe Beam: I already relate to that.

Marc Highland:  Okay. So with that being the case, she’s dealing with some Parkinson’s, she’s also dealing with some Alzheimer’s, in that she’s lost quite a bit of her short term memory. The conversations I have with her now are consistently the same questions over and over.

Dr. Joe Beam: I understand.

Marc Highland:  Okay. Her long term memory though, pretty good. It’s pretty good.

Dr. Joe Beam: So back to the divorce and all those kinds of things.

Marc Highland:  What do you think she remembers most?

Dr. Joe Beam: Being abandoned, his infidelity, what?

Marc Highland:  Yeah, being rejected.

Dr. Joe Beam: Being rejected. And so how does that affect her viewpoint of the world or happiness or those kinds of things?

Marc Highland:  She is a very bitter person to this day.

Dr. Joe Beam: We fight hard to help people save their marriages, we’ll do everything we can to help that, but sometimes it’s going to end no matter what you do. We can’t save your marriage for you, of course the things we do is we give you the right resources and tools and hope that you can then figure out how to save your marriage to make it good again. But even though that we accept the reality that it’s not always going to happen.

Marc Highland:  Correct.

Dr. Joe Beam: So if you are the person who has been abandoned, if you are the person that didn’t want the divorce but it occurred, Marc, based on the experience with your mom, what is your message to these folks?

  1. Make Yourself A Priority

Marc Highland: My very strong message is to work on yourself, make yourself a priority physically, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually so that you continue to grow and you continue to understand where you are as a person.

  1. Get The Right Help

Marc Highland: Get the right help to deal with your feelings of loss, your feelings of abandonment, feelings of grief, because when we lose a spouse or we lose a child or anything-

Dr. Joe Beam: Anything that’s important to us.

Marc Highland:  We’re dealing with grief.

Dr. Joe Beam: That’s right.

Marc Highland:  We have some great resources for those who are grieving as well.

Dr. Joe Beam: But when a person says, I’ll be okay, I’ll get over it, there’s always a possibility.

Marc Highland:  It is a possibility.

Dr. Joe Beam: But what you have seen, would you have seen what we see a lot is, that for some people it really is going to require some help to do this.

Marc Highland:  Right, it does require help.

Dr. Joe Beam: And it doesn’t mean you’re weak, it doesn’t mean you’re bad, it doesn’t mean anything other than, I think if I were going through that right now, I’d be looking for help.

Marc Highland:  Right, and my personal belief, the strongest people I know actually seek help.

Dr. Joe Beam: Yes.

Marc Highland:  Because that is moving from a position of strength, it’s acknowledging “I’m here, I can’t do this all on my own, I’m going to need someone in my life to help guide me,” and therefore you’re actually showing more strength by seeking help than you are by doing it on your own.

Dr. Joe Beam: I agree wholeheartedly. So if you have been through any kind of loss, but particularly we’re talking about now a divorce that where you now question yourself or worry if you’re lovable or likable, those kinds of things, we recommend that you get help.

Dr. Joe Beam: We do have some help for that, if you want to call us you can call Marc for example, he’s one of our client representatives here at Marriage Helper, and you’ll see the number on the screen here. And he can set you up with some of our coaches who can help you think things through, work things through.

Dr. Joe Beam: If you prefer to get a therapist for this, then find a therapist who’s really good at helping people deal with grief. Or if you’re religious, your rabbi, your priest, your minister, might help you through you this if he or she really understands how to help people deal with grief. But the point you’re making is, don’t wind up all these years later.

Marc Highland:  Exactly. Exactly.

Dr. Joe Beam: Deal with the pain now.

Marc Highland:  Now. Handle what you have within you when you need to handle it- in the right way.

Dr. Joe Beam: Very good period. And Marc, when people say, “Well, but the pain still too fresh, this is still too new,” you would reply?

Marc Highland:  Get help now. Quite frankly, I’m not trying to be trite, I’m not trying to sound like a broken record, I’m truly not. I’m just trying to say, unless you deal with this, it’s just going to eat you up from the inside out.

Dr. Joe Beam: Right, very good. Thank you Marc for being open about your story and your mother’s story.

Marc Highland:  You’re welcome.

Dr. Joe Beam: If you want to contact us, you can call 866-903-0990 if you want to talk to Marc, that’s fine, you can ask specifically for him. Marc does not do counseling or therapy and let’s make sure you understand that his role, Marc is a Client Representative. He’ll help guide you to the right resource we have. And in this particular case, it would probably be one of our coaches, but don’t call Marc thinking he’s going to be a good therapist. That’s not his role.

Dr. Joe Beam: Please, in your pain we understand, we really do, but please get the help you need so that it doesn’t sabotage your own life down the road. Thank you.

Want more information on how you can begin the healing process? Listen to our podcast on “How To Heal From The Loss of Love”