Divorce: Women Need Strong Support Systems

Mothers know best, so they say, but when a woman is going through a divorce, it takes more than "mum" to lend a helping hand. In fact some women say that when their marriages are in trouble, they don't necessarily turn to their mothers for counselling. They would much rather seek the advice of a marriage therapist or advisor because they seek independent insight and opinion on why their marriages are about to crumble.

Then there are the usual support systems like one's colleagues or childhood and community friends. But for people who do not have many friends (because they're new in town or are often away on business trips), there's a plethora of divorce support groups in large cities that offer not only anonymity but also kinship and empathy. Because these are people who have been down the same road, recently divorced women need not worry about being judged.

When women divorce, they are at their most vulnerable. They prefer to shut themselves off from the world for fear of recrimination or being treated as social outcasts. While wanting to keep to oneself is perfectly understandable, a woman needs to be with friends and loved ones to anchor her emotions and let off steam. By talking to friends and sharing her sentiments, she is able to benefit from similar experiences or from the wisdom of individuals who once lived through a bitter divorce. Running and hiding is usually not a good idea. Human contact eases the pain.

There's just one problem about feeling kinship with others. It is not uncommon for women to speak negatively about their former husbands and fall into the trap of assigning blame to the other spouse instead of having the courage to acknowledge their own frailties. We frequently hear the voice of bitterness:

"He never looked after my needs. I found it was me comprising all the time."

"He spent long hours in the office. I resented the fact that every time the kids had a problem or were in trouble, he wasn't interested or was too preoccupied with work."

While a good number of these complaints are legitimate, women need to realize that it is also up to them to assert themselves and to vocalize their desires. Husbands aren't mind readers. A woman has to tell her husband exactly what is bothering her instead of taking it all in and suffering in silence. No one has ever been convicted for speaking up!

When a woman reaches out to friends and family for support, she should focus on picking up the pieces and going forward. Remaining in "blame mode" is a self-defeating exercise. Blaming the other takes away the power within a woman to begin a new chapter. It will take a bit of effort and constant coaching from counsellors and therapists, but when a woman regains her inner potential and uses her ability to change her life, her tomorrows could start becoming brighter.

As former First Lady Nancy Reagan once said, ""A woman is like a teabag. It's only when she's in hot water that you realize how strong she is."

(c) 2004-2007 Cathi Adams.

Cathi Adams is the author of "Divorce Secrets: What Every Women Should Know." This invaluable resource provides steps to ensure financial security to woman faced with the possibility of divorce. Visit her web site for a FREE report What You Absolutely Must Know Before You Even THINK About Getting A Divorce:

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