A midlife divorce survivor on a mission to help
You are in a middle of a divorce, yet you do not want to be. You want to stay in the marriage; you saw the two of you together for the rest of your life, and then, your husband or wife comes home and tell you they want to end it all. For many this is a big shock, and the world falls apart. Not only are you despondent over the fact of being left, you also have to face the fact that the future will be something else than planned, but what? In this interview, Suzy Brown tells her story and how she also decided to help other women who are in this difficult situation.
Name: Suzy Brown
Occupation: Founder of www.midlifedivorcerecovery.com
Family: I am very happily remarried and together my husband and I have six children and 11 grandchildren (so far!)
Lives in: Kansas City, Missouri in the United States
You call yourself "a midlife divorce survivor on a mission to help". Can you develop?
Divorce in midlife is a special challenge because so many other losses are happening at that time in our life. For women, our bodies are changing, our children are getting more independent and leaving home, and our parents are often having health problems and may even pass away. Then if divorce happens, our whole life is turned upside down! What I thought my future was going to be was completely destroyed and I was all alone.
I remember how I felt in the middle of all of that loss. I made a lot of mistakes. I went down a lot of paths that didn't help me get better. So, I want to help other women avoid the pitfalls of the journey and avoid some of the mistakes I made. That's my mission and my passion.
When I first decided to get some women together to face this tornado of midlife divorce, I was afraid we might all just sit around the table and start crying. When I started that first group, I was early on in my divorce and I was a mess. I was desperately sad about the end of my marriage. I was on the verge of tears all the time. At other times I was furious about what had happened to our family. So I put together an outline about some of the practical things we were all facing that we needed to talk about.
I made each woman a binder with the word RADiCAL on the front. I decided that was going to stand for Rising Above Divorce In Confidence And Love. That's what we all wanted! I then put the subtitle on the binder: "A practical handbook to transform the despair of our divorce into a revolutionary good." I also had another subtitle in very small letters: "How to keep from strangling him and his pathetic little girlfriend and ending up in jail for the rest of your life and instead find peace, joy and even love again!" (By the way, my publisher wouldn't let me put that, ha ha!)
There is also a verse from the Bible that I really identify with: "God is kind, but he's not soft. In kindness, He takes us by the hand and leads us to a RADiCAL life change." (Romans 2:4 - The Message). That's what we all wanted, and that's what is best for us too.
Many, women and men, say that they had no idea that their partner felt that the marriage was so bad.
One of the things that makes me upset about is when I hear about a man or a woman say, "I quit! I can't do this anymore! I haven't been happy for 10 years!" and just leaves or has an affair or whatever and their spouse never knew anything was wrong. It is cowardly and gutless to leave without giving your spouse any warning or any knowledge that you weren't happy.
If you're not happy in your marriage, tell your spouse. It may be a difficult situation, but be honest about what you're struggling with in your marriage and try work together, get help and fix it. Some of us can tell something might be off, but we don't really know until we talk honestly to each other. If that doesn't happen, affairs are more likely and sometimes the charade goes on so long that it is impossible to fix.
When someone becomes alone due to the death of a partner, everyone seems to care more and be more understanding than when someone is going through divorce. In reality, a divorce can be just as hard for if you if you did not want it. Why do we see a divorce as less difficult?
In reality, the grief of divorce is usually much more complicated and takes much longer, than the grief of the loss of a partner to and accident or illness. When someone dies, it is usually not a choice they make. In a divorce that you don't want, someone decides he doesn't want us anymore. They reject us and our love. That is a much more personally devastating situation. Also, people who care about us just want us to feel better. They don't know what to say or do.
If others haven't been through a divorce that they didn't want, they do not understand the devastation and hurt that we feel. With divorce, we also feel a sense of guilt and somehow that we are not enough. We feel we have let our husband down, our children down and even let or family down.
It's a very lonely and isolated place to be because most people do not understand how hurt we are. All of those feelings take time to sort through and grieve and heal from. That's where Midlife Divorce Recovery comes in.
We connect women with each other so they don't feel like this one lonely little boat in a big ocean of happy couples. We provide a safe, secure and anonymous place to connect with other women from all over the world who are on this road. Everyone shares her wisdom and encouragement and everyone gets better, and they do it faster.
We also provide helpful, practical resources and tools to help women grieve, heal and rediscover who they are and what they want to contribute to make this world a better place. We help each woman find out who she is and what her gifts and goals and dreams are, and we help her create a plan to move forward.
Although women are in focus, you plan to turn to men as well
At the present time our materials focus on women, but because of the need, we are also developing resources for men. Also, we have RADiCAL women all over the world.
If anyone needs our services, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We have a couple of options for getting the resources, connection and support to our International RADiCAL Women.