I believe there are several reasons why it is hard for the children of divorce to speak out.
Honor our fathers and mothers
First, we still have to honor our fathers and mothers. It might seem like we will dishonor them if we speak out about how hard the divorce is. But let me turn this around: does it make sense that we honor them by pretending and suppressing ourselves? I don’t think so. And if I’m right, then this means we haven’t been honoring our parents properly when we pretend and suppress ourselves. I wrote more about this here.
Incorrect theoretical framework
Second, we have an entire professional class using an incorrect theoretical framework to understand our problem. Professionals such as psychiatrists, psychologists, medical doctors, and religious leaders believe, “The kids will be fine if the adults are happy.” They seem to believe that divorce is a one time shock that subsides and eventually disappears. This false belief has become a sacrosanct reason for us to never explore the pain surrounding the loss of our first families. After all, if professionals with Ph.Ds say we’re supposed to be OK without ever even talking to us as individuals to understand how we actually feel, then we better be OK. And if we are not OK, it means that there is something else wrong with us. Who wants to be thought of as having issues? Nobody.
A better theoretical framework would view divorce as an ontological wound that does not heal on its own. Let’s take Cindy’s story as an example. Cindy was a 19 year old college student when she was told that her parents were divorcing. Years later, she classifies herself as a “product of divorce,” and still cries over how much it hurts.
Wait a minute: she spent her entire childhood in an intact home. Why does she think of herself as a product of divorce? A product of divorce would be somebody whose parents divorced when she was young, or even in the womb. In fact, “product of divorce” is a contradiction, isn’t it? Product is another way of saying that two things have come together to make one think, but divorce means separation. Her statement makes no sense under the “one time shock” framework. I bet there are people in her life that tell her just to “get over it,” and think that she “has issues” or “needs therapy.” It’s because they have the wrong framework. But consider her statement under the “ontological wound” framework. Now it makes a lot more sense, doesn’t it?
Celebrating divorce as a positive good
Imagine a wall, with buttresses that reinforce it. The wall is our denial of the pain, and these reasons are buttresses that prop up our denial.
So that’s why I think it is hard for the children of divorce to speak out.