Divorce can go down the generations; how to stop it and buck the trend

If your parents were divorced then research shows that you have a greater chance of being divorced yourself.  If your spouse is also the child of divorced parents then that chance increases still further.

As the regular divorce rate, not to mention the rate of breakdown of long term relationships, drifts ever closer to 50% then this is very scary.  Surprising?  Not really.  How can adults from divorced homes be expected to know how to create a successful relationship if they were unable to observe one between their parents.

kid's shoes on the beach Breaking the cycle of divorce
However, children watching this process first hand will be deeply affected by it.  The more adversarial and destructive it is the more damaging it will be for the children.

Most kids growing up in divorced homes never have the opportunity to learn what love looks like.  Instead, they learn about what it doesn't look like.  The cycle of tension, chaos and instability that they have witnessed in their home is what feels normal and acceptable to them.

Key effects of coming from a divorced family
The dominant traits in many children of divorced parents are:

            The fear of abandonment which manifests itself in an often debilitating insecurity.
            The fear of not being good enough to be loved which surfaces as a tragic lack of self esteem.

Sometimes adult children of divorce are fully conscious of these fears but often they are deep in the subconscious and are difficult to recognise in their patterns of behaviour.  However, whether consciously or unconsciously they are a powerful influence upon the ability to make suitable choices when selecting a husband or wife.

There are four potentially destructive relationship behaviours which flow from these destructive behavioural traits.

Chasing after love
We have a tendency to latch on to the first person who gives us attention and often pursue someone who really isn't interested.  We crave the acceptance, approval and reassurance of our partner and have deep fear of being alone.  We may even try to convince our partner of just how great we are and so convince them that no one will ever love him/her as much as we do.

People pleasing doormat
This behavior believes that if our own needs are sacrificed to please our partner, he or she will never abandon us.  Thus we are willing to settle for so little from our partner because our fear of rejection is overwhelming.  We will pay any price to try to keep the relationship together.

Shutting down emotionally
We are not willing to take a risk on a committed loving relationship for fear of getting divorced.  Many have a series of superficial relationships with no real commitment to any of them.  We may also marry, but remain emotionally uncommitted often to the frustration of our partner.

Finding a partner and fixing their problems
We are attracted to a person who needs our help and our love to fix all their problems.  We are convinced our love is the solution and believe we can change our partner and in doing so everything will work out.

What to do about this
The first thing to do is to recognise these behaviours and their origins.  Selecting a spouse as a result of these behaviours will not make for a long-lasting and happy marriage.  Hence, the cycle of divorce continues.  Breaking this cycle can only begin by understanding these behaviour and their origins.

Because they can be buried deeply in our subconscious it is often very difficult to come to terms with these fundamental fears.  It's not going to be easy to deal with this and getting professional help is the best way to start.  Lots of people have these difficulties so you are not alone and there is valuable help available.

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