When a marriage ends

I am towards the tail end of watching the move Marriage Story with Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver and it struck me as so painfully sad in its depiction of the torment two people’s thwarted needs and desires can have upon each other.. The scene in which the character Nicole celebrates the ending of her marriage to Charlie seems particularly excruitiating to me, as the divorce lawyer smiles in glee at extracting an even more lucrative settlement and ‘win’ for her client, all of the thwarted emotion lying underneath is lost to view but felt palpably as an ache of tragic proportions…

Maybe coming so close to the anniversary of my husband walking out 16 years ago its hitting hard.. I was crying a lot earlier and made a video to post but after three attempts I have had no success with uploading it.. I met a friend for dinner last night and it brought up all my trauma from the end of the 70s to late 80s after Dad had died, there were realisations over deep pain and wounds that arose this morning and I was able to play the video in therapy and cry again in session with Katina. She told me she believes it is a sign of success that I made it to the dinner and some of the self blame is loosening. However I felt the deep pain today over having been disconnected from this friend when Dad decided I was not able to complete my teaching studies but must go to business college instead this morning. That set in place a schism in my life and career that led me even deeper on the path of self abnegation and addiction, as my True Self got exiled even further away… all in the wake of that horrific accident and my older sister’s stroke…

I managed in time to find work outside secretarial and political field I was involved in from 1987 – 1990 in the early 90s after a near breakdown, however my addiction would not be arrested for another three years and in that time I had my first aborted attempt at therapy which ended when my male therapist, Brian had to go into hospital for an operation and all the fear over my Dad’s loss made me cut out of therapy.. It would take me 10 years to get back to Brian and he was so kind in sticking by me in the years I was with my next partner and not able to attend face to face sessions due to being remote.

When a marriage ends it can be inevitable. Sometimes one partner just decides they do not want to travel down the same road, much as it hurts to be told “I just don’t love you anymore”, you have to take the pain on board… For me it took me back to the 5 other times I was left by boyfriends as well as the deep pain over my Dad dying when I was 23. The separation led to a head injury and it made me retreat entirely from the world too, for many years. And in that time I was so grateful my guidance led me to the work of Susan Anderson on the emotional abandonment journey… She claims that the heartbreak of being left is even more painful in some ways than a partner dying who did not CHOOSE to leave us… and I believe that to be true.. She sites the five phase process of healing from ‘abandonment trauma” with the acronym S.W.I.R.L Those five letters standing for the processes of Shattering : Whitdrawal : Internalising : Rage : and Lifting.. I have provided a link to her site below :


16 years on I am grateful to at times be at the stage of lifting.. feeling as though I can move forward knowing that it had to happen as it did and what the reasons were on both sides.. Still when I watch this struggle go on for another couple and see the level of rage that can be carried and not worked through together it still makes me feel sad, and yet to grow and heal so often we have to move on alone and do the deeper work alone. The truth is that no one else can heal for us the wounds or schisms we carry, or vice versa. The best they (or we) can do is hold space and not personalise things..and not threaten to leave when the going gets too tough… that said who is this perfect or able, and how true was the ‘love’ we promised really in the initial vows to see it through, through thick and thin? Was it true, only for a while? Possibly….the heart wants what it wants, I guess, and that may change as we live, learn, fight and grow on this path of life we travel.

2 thoughts on “When a marriage ends

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