No Reserve

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Over 30 years ago, I attended my first class on how to manage stress. This is when I was first introduced to the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale. The most stressful event that can occur in a person’s life is the death of a spouse. Divorce is a close second. A blog post I shared last March (2015) contained a letter that addressed the question of should I divorce. The author, Eileen Ansel Wolpe, concluded that divorce is a death.

“You cannot see what lies beyond the frame around the door that is the exit. It is not possible. It is a death. And just like life’s death, you are not permitted to see beyond the threshold.”

Over the past two years, I have continued to move forward in my new life beyond the threshold. I have talked with people who passed through the door and into the underworld of Family Law. I have discovered a common thread in all divorces. Only one person in the partnership cared about and put effort into the marriage. I first experienced this phenomena with a support group for divorce and separation. The psychologist facilitating the group shared that her manager inquired if she is concerned that both parties will attend a session? Her experience is that the person who cared about the marriage is the one who seeks help from a support group.

Every couple of months, I seem to end up back at the Holmes Rahe Stress Scale for various reasons. If one’s score adds up to 11-150, you have only a low to moderate chance of becoming ill in the near future. If the score is 151-299, you have a moderate to high chance of becoming ill in the near future. If one’s score is 300-600, you have a high or very high risk of becoming ill in the near future. I find it interesting that in the 300-600 range, the “chances” changes to “risk”. This level of stress is not a good place to be. It is advised for those in moderate of high level of risk attempt to avoid future life crises. This advice is about as useful as those wise sages who give empty words of encouragement.

Having lived in the high risk zone for the past 7 1/2 years, I know beyond a doubt that I have no reserves. But somehow I wake up each day, take Maggie for a walk before work, spend my day at work stuffing my emotions (my supervisor believes one should leave their emotions at home), and come home at the end of the day to a quite house. Repeat the next day knowing it gets better with time.

The emotional toll exacted by a divorce can only be understood by those who have experienced the death of a marriage. For the outsider to say they know how you feel only servers to make themselves feel better with their empty platitudes. Life will continue to have its stressful events whether we are able to avoid them or not. Rebuilding one’s emotional reserve takes time. The only thing one can do is to look at each day as a new day and keep moving forward.

14 thoughts on “No Reserve

  1. This is so well written. I will be forwarding this on to our son, who knows of this language you speak. Watching the suffering one goes through with divorce is heart-wrench…it is far greater living it out. You are in prayer and remember… YOU are not broken…it was only the marriage which was so. Hugs. ❤️

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    1. Dawn, Thanks for the prayers and complement. My heart aches for your son. I hope sharing my experience can be an encouragement to him. Sometimes knowing you are not alone in how you feel can make a big difference. As with yourself, my mom has struggled with this too. The whole family is affected by a divorce. You words of encouragement mean more than you can imagine.

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      1. Please continue to write Patrick. God is using your experience, your journey, for His glory…I know this. May your writing(s) be used for your own continued healing and the benefit for others to heal as well. And yes…the whole family is affected with the tragedy of divorce but so too the beautiful opportunity for us all the discover how loved we are in the support we all give to the other. Blessings!🙏🏻

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  2. Stay strong Patrick. I know nothing about your marriage or divorce, but I can say that it is possible to find happiness again. Whatever form that takes. After my second marriage break-up it took me several years before I felt whole again; it can take a long time and it can be a hard and often lonely journey, one step, one day at a time. And take pleasure in the little things around you.

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    1. Thanks for the words of encouragement. The new journey definitely gives one a different perspective on what is important and what is not. I have learned that looking for reasons to be happy brings peace of mind.

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  3. Having followed your struggle by this venue – and although I do no know you personally – I want to commend you for having done what you needed to do to get through it. Will new love – or life itself – ever be the same? No. But just maybe it will be better in many ways.

    All of your decisions about your future will be colored by the events of the past. Even now, 29 years after my event, I wonder if I could have done SOMETHING to have made the outcome different…brings tears to my eyes – still. But I get over it. Being alone is infinitely better than being with someone who did not love me.

    I love your approach to life – sometimes all we can do is to put one foot in front of the other… and move forward in however small increments. Your decision(s) to be happy is/are crucial. Your walks with Maggie rejuvenating. Your obvious love of life contagious.

    Thank you for sharing your journey. There has been much to learn for all of us.
    Joy

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    1. Thank you, Joy. I always appreciate your comments and words of encouragement. Your willingness to share from your own experience has been extremely helpful in navigating through the storm. I now feel the worst of it has passed and the rough sea of emotions is starting to settle into calm waters. I now understand your comment about life never being the same. Trust has been broken in many different ways including family and friends. People whom I trusted have disseminated many lies. I know over time the truth will be exposed. As far as doing something different to save a marriage, I was told by a trusted individual, who knew what was truly happening, not to look for an answer but to accept the opportunity to move forward in a life not filled with anger and bitterness directed at me for something beyond my control. Life is infinitely better. My hope is that my story, and comments like yours, can help someone else. Thank you for being a part of the story. Patrick

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    1. Thanks Crystal! As you know all too well, it is a process that takes time. Besides the empty emotional reserves, I have noticed that I am feeling better then I have in a very long time. Figuring out that my emotional reserves were depleted has helped me to be nice to myself and just move forward. I hope that you are continuing to heal and move forward in your new journey. Patrick

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