Like most adults participating in any sort of small talk with someone you’ve just met, I often am asked what I do for a living. It’s curious to me that some individuals seem to struggle with my answer. I say “I am a therapist” and they say “oh yeah?, like physical therapist?” or “cool, my sister is a massage therapist” or “I thought about going in to speech therapy too”. Then I usually say something like “no, no, I am a psychotherapist”. “Oh, okay”, they reply. And, then, this is usually the end of the conversation. So this leaves me wondering – are we still not comfortable, even in 2016, with the idea of tending to our mental health? Is there still such a strong stigma attached to mental illness or even just emotional struggle that it’s a conversation ender or a small-talk buzz kill? Unfortunately, it seems like the answer is still yes.
There are many growing pains in those weeks, months and years after a divorce occurs. Ex-spouses adjust to their new normal and often experience feelings of fear, sadness, relief, joy and confusion as they try to rebuild their lives. During this time, they may also find themselves in situations where they are still communicating to each other in ways that contributed to the divorce. These interactions are often combative, malicious and hurtful. Unfortunately, many of the negative characteristics that were present in the failed marriage will often transfer over to the post-divorce relationship, which, in turn, continue to affect the children.