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My name is Maribel. I have two wonderful children and a strong faith. I am also a survivor of depression. I want to share my stories and feelings with everyone in the hopes of removing some of the stigma associated with this disease. You are not weak, you are not crazy. It is not a feeling that you can just wish would go away; it is a struggle from day to day. Some days are good, some days are great, other times everything around you seems bleak. The good news is that there is hope, and depression can be controlled. Thank you for visiting my page. I hope you will enjoy reading my thoughts. At times you will find my posts to be educational and uplifting. Other times I am sure they will be raw and personal. My hope is that you will travel this road with me as we continue to explore what is in store for us in this journey called life.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Divorce – My Own Witness Protection Program


Imagine having to make the decision of whether to stay quiet and remain anonymous, or to come forward and testify in the name of justice.  If you remain anonymous and do not speak up, your life will go on as usual. You will not ruffle any feathers and do not risk losing anything. On the other hand, if you testify you take on the risk of losing many things near and dear to you. You will lose contact with friends and family members, you will have to move to another location, you will have to change jobs, and scariest of all – you will have to take on a whole new identity. Your new life will be lived under the witness protection program.

For me, divorce was a lot like going into the witness protection program.  Some friends remained neutral and offered support, but unfortunately I lost many friends in the process. I lost a whole set of family members: a wonderful mother-in-law and several brothers & sisters-in-law. I could no longer refer to them as my in-laws, nor would I be able to refer to my ex as my husband. I moved to a different house. I no longer lived in a two-parent household; I was now a single mother. I literally took on a completely new identity.

As the one who filed for divorce, I had to make a very difficult decision. People who think I threw a party the day my divorce was finalized irritate me. What was it that I was supposed to be celebrating? 17 years invested in the institution of marriage? No longer having a companion by my side at night? Or should I have been happy about the fact that I was the one who decided to end it? 

Let me see if I can make you understand just how painful divorce is: I would not wish it on my worst enemy! I believe divorce can be compared to death. It basically is a type of death, the death of a relationship. With divorce, you undergo the same grieving stages as you do when somebody close to you dies. Being the one who initiates it does not make you immune to the painful process. I guarantee you that both parties will somehow go through the grieving stages

There are 5 stages to the grieving process: * Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance (DABDA.).
  
The five stages of grief do not necessarily occur in that order. Grieving is a personal process that has no time limit. We often move between the different stages before we are able to feel some type of normalcy. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Some people may outwardly weep, while others may seem like they are over it when they’re actually dying inside. The important thing is to allow yourself to grieve. No one I have ever spoken with has ever told me that they enjoy hurting and crying. However, suppressing and resisting your feelings will only prolong the natural healing process.

It’s been 6 years since my separation and subsequent divorce. I don’t obsess about it, but it is only now that I can honestly say I have moved forward. I am finally adjusting well to life in my own version of the “witness protection program.” I choose to look at it as a new adventure. Having obtained a new identity is not so bad after all.  

 
 *For more detailed information on the stages of grief see http://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/depression-grief

5 comments:

  1. Maribel, You are so right! You call a divorced life "The Witness Program". Now You have to start all over and kinda sorta remake yourself. For that simple reason, I call it Reincarnation. It seems to me that I had to be born again and start all over with a brand new life and identity.Unfortunately, my first two marriages didn't work out. So I had to start over twice.The one that hurt me the most was the second one. WHY? We both were saved and Pastors. When she decided to end the marriage, I cried like a baby. But God gave me the strength I needed to go on. I lost alot of friends also and learned that I couldn't let it control me. I learned to shake it off and move on. I put my total focus on God and pretty much lived in my own little cubicle and not letting anything around me determine what my attitude was going to be for that day or situation. I learned that circumstances and situations going on around you can change your attitude if you let them. The only one you need to allow to change your attitude is God. It'll be worth it. So when you walk in your witness protection program, focus on God and everything else will fall into place. Don't focus on divorce and don't thrive on the fact that you've been through a divorce. If you keep thinking about yesterday, You will never conquer tomorrow. It is now 8pm, 7:59 is gone. Phillipians 3:14 Love YA!! :)

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  2. Wow Bill, you are soooo right! I believe I have reached the point of re-making myself over and have gotten over many things stemming from my divorce. The one thing I am still working on is learning how to let someone else in. I have built a big wall as a result of a couple of dating disasters after my divorce. I know that's not healthy either because then I am not giving myself or whomever God chooses to put in my life a fair chance. Love...what a beautiful yet tough subject!

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  3. I love your writings Maribel. You are so insightful and I just love you! I will be forever thankful that the storm brought you into all of our lives. You have many people who care about you Maribel! Stay in touch. You bring joy to everyone you meet! Karen

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  4. Karen, thank you so much for your kind words! I feel so blessed that our paths crossed. Funny how life can turn on a dime. I will always keep in touch...I have many adventures to share! ;)

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  5. Going through divorce is really life-changing. While some might see it as a way to start over again, others may be forced into that situation. You have to meet new faces, go to new places, and try new things that will help you heal from the pain it had inflicted on you. However, the pain and the heartaches that it brought will be your guide for starting your life anew. Anyway, I’m glad that you were able to weather this storm. Stay strong!

    Audrey Butler @ Office of A. Goodblatt, P.A.

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