About a year ago, I started saving the long emails I receive from readers, in a hidden folder in my email service. Last I checked, I had over 500 emails.
I absolutely love these emails! If I had time I’d email them all again one or two years from now to ask how much better their life is than it was then. Two years and three years down the road, I know things will be much different. But in the middle of that fight, life is hard and they just need to reach out to tell someone their battle cry. So I listen and respond to every email.
Today, I wanted to share with readers, friends, family, people-helpers, lawyers, pastors, counselors, The Church, and anyone else who is listening…
What divorced women would say if they could tell you.
The Divorce’ Woman’s Battle Cry
I want to be heard!
I really just want to be listened to, with care and concern for my feelings, my struggles, and what I’ve been through. Will someone just let me say everything I need to say, without interruption, so that I can process all that I’ve lived through?
Unless I ask, I don’t need you to fix it. I just need you to listen.
I need to be believed.
Yes, I know there are women (and men) in this world who have lied about being abused. I know you probably assume because I never reported the abuse during the marriage, that it didn’t happen. I was living in a fog. I hid it in shame. I thought the abuse (or adultery) was my fault. Or he was just having a bad day. I thought he would stop. I believed over and over again that it wouldn’t happen again. But it still happened. I’m not lying! I just want someone to believe me.
And I know that what I share with you sounds crazy. I often think that same thing myself. I shake my head and wonder how did I not see things how I see them now. But it is what it is, and unless you lived through this yourself, you probably have no idea how crazy it actually was.
I just need to be heard and validated. Reading or hearing about others who’ve been through exactly what I’ve been through gives me hope and determination to keep going. And I feel a little less crazy knowing some other woman had a similar experience.
Being human is hard. I hurt!
I hate that I have so many feelings right now. My life is spinning out of control and I can’t make it stop. I feel despair for all that was lost. Some days the pain is unbearable. I cry way more than I’d like to. I wish I knew how to turn it off. How to just get over this. I need something or someone to take the pain away.
And even though my husband is still alive, I feel like there has been a death in my life. Because divorce is like a death… except my husband comes and takes my children, reminding me our family is now broken into pieces.
Yes, I’m an emotional person, but that doesn’t mean I’m faulty. That means I’m human!
I can’t just turn off my love.
I’m not sure why I still love this man that was so cruel and treated me so poorly. He could care less if we’re homeless or have anything to eat. He never treated me in loving ways (well, maybe in the beginning) but I still kept loving him, forgiving him, and accepting him anyway. He was selfish and stole so much (even money), but for some strange reason, my heart still yearns for him. I tried so hard to keep my vows “until death do us part“ and yet, here we are getting a divorce because he loved someone (or himself) so much more. I don’t want to love him but I do. Please don’t think bad of me for doing so.
But he told me he loved me.
And I believed him. Even after how horrible he treated me, I still want to believe him. My brain tells me it was all a lie but my heart won’t stop reminding me. How can you tell someone you love them one minute and be so cruel the next? I cannot even wrap my brain around this. Telling me and her that he loved us both on the same day. Who does that?
I feel pulled in so many different directions.
If my feelings don’t emotionally pull me all over the place, the expectations of others add to that too. I’m expected to pull myself together for meetings, court, and to do whatever they say. No tears allowed. No pain should show. Pretend this is not happening while it’s all happening before my eyes. Seeing him makes it that much harder.
Most times I just want to be left alone so I can work on my healing. So I can stop the pain and the constant crying. But I have to think about my future, about how I’m now going to support myself, and my children. I have no idea where this is going… but I can’t wait until it’s all over. Someone tell the spinning to stop because I cannot take it anymore. I just want to be healed and onto my better life after divorce.
I just want my old life back.
That may sound crazy but I do. I never wanted the bad times to happen but I vowed to stay, so I did. I never wanted the abuse or the infidelity, I just wanted what was promised to me. And I miss being a part of a family unit. I miss that part of my life. I want to be naive again to all of the bad, so we can be a family again.
(This may sound crazy to someone who hasn’t been through what we’ve been through. But it often seems easier to stay in the marriage – even if destructive – that we know than to start on the journey into the unknowns of divorce. We hear the abuse doesn’t end after divorce, so we weigh our options – the lesser of two evils – staying often seems to be the better choice for many.)
I feel abandoned by everyone.
During separation and divorce, the pain hurts as bad as a death or cancer, but no one treats it the same. No meal trains are started. No GoFundMe accounts. And most of the married women in the church or community pull their husbands in just a little bit closer (not letting them out of their sight), assuming I’m on the hunt for my next husband when I’m still just trying to keep from crying every single day. I just feel so alone. I feel like no one is on my side. No one cares to walk with me through this divorce journey. And I know my friends are tired of hearing me vent.
If I was married to a narcissist, chances are he’s already told everyone lies about me (that I don’t like them – especially his family – or that I said this or that when I never did) so I’m not sure who I can trust anymore which makes me feel even more abandoned. Anyone he is talking to or has spoken to doesn’t feel safe to me anymore. People and family I thought I was close to, don’t seem that trustworthy anymore. Because of all of that, it seems easier to just keep to myself.
Church, you’re not helping.
And sometimes you’re hurting me even more. I don’t want to have to defend myself when you ask what I did to cause the separation or divorce. One person can cause the breakdown of a marriage. Abuse and adultery are just such cases where one person’s deceitfulness and abuse, without repentance or remorse, shouldn’t be rewarded with an intact marriage and family. Not all divorces are 50/50 and assuming it always blames me for actions I had no control over. I don’t feel I can come to you for help if you’re going to blame and shame me during this time. And I can’t force this man to get the help or do the work to repair his issues, so we’ll continue on into divorce. Me giving up that fight, to fight for my (and my children’s) future, was the best I could do. Please respect that!
I really want to co-parent like normal people!
I didn’t want to go to court to fight over my children. I didn’t want to bring them into the middle of this madness. I don’t want them used as pawns in another mind game. I’m not the one feeding them with lies. I’m not the one using them to pass messages to the other parent. I’m not the one who’s trying to alienate them from their other parent. I’m not the one who’s introducing them to a new “friend” (aka lover) while I’m still married. I’m not the one marrying my mistress, for everyone to see.
I just want to have a “normal” divorce where parents do what they’re supposed to do (what the court order says and more) and everything that is in the best interest of the children. But that’s not what I’m dealing with. I have to help my children navigate this divorce too because the abuse continues after the divorce. And there is nothing I can do about that either!
I am a warrior!
Yes, this is hard. Yes, I wish it were different. Yes, I want to cry a lot. Yes, I have all of the feelings and emotions as I try to gain my footing while healing and rebuilding after divorce.
But deep inside of me is a warrior. I’m fighting to gain my life back. Fighting to protect me and my children. Teach them different from what they’ve seen or continue to see. I’m trying to have a resemblance of normal life after the destruction of divorce.
I don’t need you to save me, I just need you to come along beside me and tell me you’re here for me. That when I fall down – because I will – you’ll be there to help me get back up to battle another day. When I feel weak, you’ll hold my arms up as we pray together for strength to continue on this journey.
God is with me, goes before me, provides for me, protects me, and will never leave me. I can and will survive divorce! Even if some days I need to be reminded.
[socialrocket-tweet quote=”Deep inside of every divorced woman is a warrior fighting to get through this divorce. Will you support her?” tweet=”Deep inside of every divorced woman is a warrior fighting to get through this divorce. Will you support her?”]
Side note: Although, it’s been many years since I’ve shed a tear for things I’ve shared, these are the tears of divorcing or divorced women everywhere (this is what I read in those daily emails). Because I have been right there I offer my hope, through this blog and my book, as we walk through healing together.
If this is your battle cry right now, then share this post so others can know and hopefully hear… your tears. You’re not alone! We’re in this together!
Would you add anything to this battle cry? What do you need others to hear about your experience? Join the discussion.
May God bless your healing journey,
I can relate to EVERY SINGLE ONE of those statements. I was even told by our new pastor as a Godly women I was to respect my husband after I’d shared my story of his abusive anger. Seriously? I have a fixed income, so I’m trying to save every penny I can after paying off his bankruptcy bills (gotta love the community property state). I’ve began looking for and applying for jobs out of state nearer to my son and his family. I have a dear friend that lives near them so at least I will have a place to live until I can get it together again. I never thought at this stage of life to begin, Again. Bottom line, this man didn’t protect our future and didn’t protect me. I’m so over doing CPR on a relationship that is so one sided, abusive and ugly. I tried for a long time to be sensitive to the fact he grew up with an abusive father, but I now understand he chooses NOT to do anything towards his own healing so he can become all of the things I thought he was in the beginning. Nothing is still a choice. I’m not settling for Nothing anymore.
Jen Grice says
Yes, I’ve seen and heard so many pastors who discount a woman’s experience. But abuse is ALWAYS a choice. Pastors and the Church need to learn that. Like Lundy Bancroft says in this book, “Why Does He Do That?” those who use “childhood abuse to justify domestic abuse” are still abusers (looking for an excuse). All people can get help for their issues – especially from childhood. We/They need to stop blaming and take responsibility for our choices and actions now. Those who don’t recognize their abuse and make excuses for it, don’t want to change.
I’m glad you are finding healing and hope. Keep moving forward. God will get you through this and restore all the years the locusts ate. 🙂
I sent it to my sister in law. We were close friends before this all blew up but now she says there is something she can’t put into words between us and she “will always be there to support the kids.” I don’t know if leaving me out of that statement is on purpose but it feels like it. I have chosen not to defend myself to her because God has promised to defend me which is good because I don’t even know what she would be upset about. There is plenty my husband has told the courts that she could take offense at but as you know none of it is true. She says she’ll check it out. Thanks for writing it.
Jen Grice says
That has to be hard! I hope your SIL sees the truth in all of the lies and confusion that happens after divorce. I’ve had in-law family tell me they were very sorry to see me leave the family and said I could contact them at any time. I haven’t because I’m not sure who I can trust anymore and I don’t want them to feel they’re in the middle (which may be your SIL’s case). But I hope you can find a way to have a trusting, healthy relationship with anyone you want to stay close to. God bless!
I’m trying to get pass this period of separation and upcoming divorce, some days I feel fine other days something triggers my emotions and I spiral out of control. I can’t believe the man that vowed to love me, take care of , be with me through thick and thin walked out of our marriage. I came home May 5, 2107 to a moving van sitting in front of our home, he took everything, jumped in his van and rode off into the sunset and never looked back. I was stuck finding a place for me and my daughter to live, after cleaning up and getting our rental in shape for the landlord to rent. Over the last 5 months I had a little glimmer of hope that he’d be convicted, being a minister, that he’d come to senses and not destroy the institute of marriage but I get an email on Sunday letting me know that he’s seeing a lawyer this week and filing for divorce. He said that we can not trust each other, we need to move on with our lives and he said he thought our marriage could grow but now he sees that it can’t. What a coward, he wasn’t man enough to come face to face. I’m hurt and I want to get pass this and move on, Lord HELP me!
Jen Grice says
Hi Janet, I can understand where you’re coming from and what you’ve been through. I talk a lot about healing on this blog because I really believe it’s the biggest part of the journey to wholeness after divorce. We all do want to speed up the process but when we allow God to heal us the right way, we know that we’ll be better for it on the other side. I’ve walked with lots and lots of ladies and I know it to be true. To help you find my healing posts you can use this link: http://jengrice.com/topic/healing
Also, if you haven’t already, be sure to signup for my Surviving Divorce Road Map Email series. I walk you through the first steps of healing. http://jengrice.com/survivingdivorce
Rebecca D. says
Thank you so much, Jen. I’ve sent it to a friend who is being abandoned by her church. It’s so terrible that this keeps happening in the body of Christ.
Jen Grice says
You’re welcome, Rebecca and thank you for sharing and your support. May God bless your ministry. 🙂
Thank you, Jen, for this sensitive, well-written post that outlines every emotion I have had. It is so comforting to know I am not the only one who thinks and feels this way! Yes, I understand how something may sound crazy unless you’ve been through it. I know you understand how some abusers (or most) can behave one way out of the house in front of people, and a completely different way at home behind closed doors. Thank you for your posts, videos,and your book! You are a light in the darkness of this painful experience–bringing the light of the Lord to all who are suffering. It has been a 2-step forward, 1-step back process for me. I am several years past my divorce and I can testify that the Lord has been so faithful to me and has truly been my Husband. I am still in the healing process; but I can say it is getting better and better. Thank you, Jen! Please keep doing what you are doing–you are helping so many!! God bless you!
Jen Grice says
You’re welcome! And thank you for your encouragement.
Yes, verbal and psychological abuse is a choice. Jesus defended the woman washing his feet from verbal abuse and another from being stoned or physically abused. He is for us! God’s blessing for healing.
Jen Grice says
Amen! Thanks for sharing BT.
I have so enjoyed your blog while I’m navigating separation and now divorce from my husband. This post in particular hit the nail on the head. I could relate to almost every single thing. He never physically abused me but I see now that myself and my 5 kids have dealt with mental/emotional abuse for years.
I know now that I’m dealing with a narcissist and that all he wants to do is “win”.
The “church you’re not helping” paragraph really spoke to me. While, this is not my church, I needed to hear that divorce and a failed marriage is not always 50/50. My church has supported me…my husband was the pastor and had an affair with a member. They have taken care of me and the kids and I’m so grateful for them. But I still hear in my head and from him that this is my fault. That I have responsibility in this too. Even though he has moved on to yet another woman and is still seeing/talking to her while trying to “win me back” and convince me to stay.
It can all be so confusing and I for one need reminders that I’m doing the right thing and this is not my fault.
So, thank you for that reminder today. 🙂
Jen Grice says
You’re welcome. Just remember you deserve better than his dysfunctional lifestyle. Glad to have encouraged and empowered you to not take the blame, that doesn’t belong to you. God bless!
Thank you for putting into words what I couldn’t. I will print out this entire article so I cd explain myself better to others..to understand myself better. That paragraph about wanting to go back to the dysfunction was spot on. Nobody understands that. they don’t understand the loss of the severed family. I was a mother, a wife. I had a purpose, an identity. I had a home (that was lost too, when he stopped paying the mortgage). I had ALL of these things. Even though their was dysfunction and abuse in every form..except physical…I had ALL of these things. Now I have nothing. So, I find myself wanting to go back. I miss what I had. Even though it was terrible. It’s better than this divorced life. A life of self blame and guilt and shame. Pastor after pastor and counselor after counselor, defended him. Not one wanted to stand up for me. To hold him accountable for his abusive ways. No one wd question him. No one believed me. I tried to tell them all. But he was such a good manipulator in our sessions…that I came off as the “unstable, angry emotional woman”. Yes I was angry! I was exhausted trying to explain and make them understand this man IS abusive. Then I was told I am in violation of scripture for not having relations with him. This man who treated me like a whore. Then I was told to read l Peter “win him over with my good conduct”. But all he did was take advantage.
So why do I continue to blame myself and feel guilty that my marriage ended in divorce? He said he was leaving me. No lawyers. No mention of any support money or share of his pension after 20 yrs of marriage. Nothing. If I didn’t divorce him, I wd have nothing financially. yet I still question myself every single day for divorcing him. Even after he committed adultery while we were separated. I was still trying to work on the relationship..while he was having sex with a girl 30 years younger than him. She cd be his daughter. I had no idea. I was blindsided. My heart was still to restore my marriage. Not knowing he had already moved on. And yet..I still want this man to love me and realize what he lost.( But he has never looked back). He discarded me. Why wd I still hope he will come around? How can I be so desperate. What a fool i am. Have I no respect for myself that I wd settle for such crumbs. I’m Sorry for rambling. So much on my heart. Thank you for listening ❤️
Jen Grice says
You’re welcome! I’m currently writing an article about what to say to people who don’t understand divorce. My big take away… say nothing as they won’t understand because they’ve never been through it. God bless and glad to have you along on this journey to healing after divorce.
Thank you, Jen. I have been encouraged often by your posts as I have very recently gone through a divorce myself. I can identify with everything that you’ve said, especially the part that mentions that marriage isn’t always 50/50. I’ve been hurt by people claiming that it is, many times. If my husband had been a pedophile or physically abusive, I wouldn’t have been blamed (I would hope!!)but because he had an affair, people tell me that it was both our faults! Really? How did I make him into a narcissist that chose adultery? How is that my fault? If anything, I was entirely too submissive, always making excuses for his behavior, and yet still loving him wholeheartedly. I guess that’s what I’m guilty of.
Thanks, Jen, for standing up for women like me.
I have neither been divorced nor married, and yet my trauma was written all over your different posts. For far too long, I had been unknowingly crippled by it. Unable to fully trust, or be vulnerable and intimate because I was so busy trying to protect myself or be my own defense. Recently, I began a journey of rediscovery, healing, and walking in newness. So, when I found your blog at the close of 2022 I was speechless. As I continued to read your posts, though I believed I had healed from my past trauma, I realized I was still engaging with people with trauma responses. It may have been a final hurdle for me but I wanted to say thank you. And know that you are helping more than just your target demographic.