Today, Brain Child Mag published what I consider to be one of the saddest things I have read in a very, very long time. Jon Sponaas wrote on "The Normalcy of Divorce".
Where do I start? Where DO I start?
Mr. Sponaas points out that many psychologists tend to attribute a person's psychological issues to a broken home. Whether or not this may actually be the case, what the Mr. Sponaas says next is absolute lunacy. He actually says that he believes it would be more logical to attribute a person's psychological issues to them having blue eyes rather than to them coming from a broken home because having blue eyes is more rare than coming from a broken home.
Huh? One more time, please? Or...not. Because that's just a bunch of nonsense. First, I don't think anyone has ever had a psychological issue simply because they have blue eyes. On the other hand, many, many people have indeed had issues as a result of coming from broken homes. (Now as sure as I say that, Mr. Sponaas or someone else will send me proof of that one person in history who was a loon JUST because he had blue eyes. Perhaps that person is Mr. Sponaas? Has anyone checked to see what color his eyes are?)
Or perhaps I could bring up the assertion being made by Mr. Sponaas that if something is normal then it can't have a negative impact on someone (or society) or isn't a bad thing? Alcoholism is normal. Doesn't mean it's a good thing or doesn't have a negative impact on society and it CERTAINLY doesn't mean that we should accept it as a good thing and just move on with life because, you know, alcoholism is normal so...there.
I think we can also all agree that cancer is normal. A recent report I read showed that 1 in 3 people will get cancer in his or her lifetime. I believe that certainly classifies cancer as "normal". According to Jon Sponaas, that "normalcy" means that cancer should now be accepted as a good part of life simply because it is normal. So if your loved one gets a cancer diagnosis, don't cry! Embrace it! They're normal! And if something is "normal" that it can't be bad or negative...right? Or, you know...NOT. I don't know about you, but I don't want myself or any of my loved ones to be "normal" if normal means getting cancer.
So...is divorce normal? Sadly, I will agree with Jon Sponaas on this.
Divorce HAS become far too normal. However, I don't believe that we
should accept this normalcy as good. I believe that this normalcy is bad. I don't WANT to be normal. I want to be like my husband's grandparents who have been married for 65 years.
I want to be ABNORMAL. (Not that this is surprising to anyone who knows me.)
Because divorce IS bad. It IS negative. It DOES hurt. It hurts those in the marriage and it hurts the kids. Yes, parents, it hurts the kids. It doesn't matter what any psychologist, teacher, doctor, or Mr. Sponaas tells you. Divorce hurts children. If anyone tells you anything different, they are lying to you or just have no idea what they are talking about. As a child of divorce who is married to a child of divorce, I can tell you from experience that divorce hurts children. I also know from experience that the parents who are divorced like to pretend that their actions didn't hurt the children...but they're wrong.
Don't get me wrong, a child CAN recover from the pain of divorce. However, make no mistake...having the ability to recover from and move on from a pain does NOT mean that the pain never existed in the first place. No parent should ever fool themselves and think that a divorce won't affect the children at all. (Even if it is commonplace and "normal".)
I also completely disagree that any pain that children feel from divorce comes only because society says that marriage is good and divorce is bad. My personal experience speaks otherwise, as does the personal experience of many of my friends and family members. The pain that children feel in divorce has nothing to do with what society says. More often than not, it comes from selfish parents who fail to see the impact that their actions are having on their children, from parents who expect their children to take sides, &/or from children feeling like they are now torn between two very separate worlds; whether the parents intended that or not.
So, yes, Mr. Sponaas, divorce HAS become normal...too normal, and I find that tragic. As such, I refuse to accept that as good and just move on with life. I won't make that MY normal nor will I encourage it to be the normal for my children. I will also educate them so that they are fully aware that "normal" doesn't mean good. Normal can be, and very often IS bad.