Dear WholeFamily Counselor,
Well, my story, like most others, is about choices. In my situation, I am looking for truth and all I get from my wife is smoke and mirrors. I have found my inner truth and realize that my heart is not in the marriage. I am currently sticking around due to the substantial financial downfall of divorce as well as my own guilt about putting our son through a divorce.
I've read the books, I've been to the counselors, and I've drowned my closest respected friends in hours of debate. We have been locked in most of the typical power struggles from day 1. Counseling proved worthless as my wife just totally snowed the counselor. Its not that she lies, it's just that she is very adept at stating things in a convenient manner so that she always looks like the victim. Mostly the marriage feels like a prison, and yet, I know I hold the key to my freedom in my very own hands.
I'm unhappy within the marriage and yet I feel guilty about getting a divorce. The only good news is that while enduring this hardship, I have grown tremendously in more ways than I could explain and found so many aspects about myself. The one, most painful, inner truth, is unhappiness.
How do I prioritize my values to come to a decision? How will I ever break the chains of guilt and fear????
My Dear Inner Truth,
You write that you are unhappy within the marriage and yet you feel guilty about getting a divorce. This is an understood and common conflict; the only question is ''how long have you been stuck in this conflict?" This conflict has been awakened as part of a process you have been going through, and must eventually end in a decision. In your case, it seems that you find it very difficult to decide. Clearly that you feel unhappy although this unhappiness has become your inner truth... "Will you ever break the chains of guilt and fear?" These very serious questions indicate that you are still in a process of discovering yourself and your inner truth through the unhappiness you are experiencing. It seems to me that your first priority now should be the process you are going through; in this process you seem to discover important truth and inner growth, and you are not yet ready to come to a decision. You still need to understand issues such as:
* Why do you feel so guilty about getting a divorce?
* Is your guilt related to your feelings towards your wife? Or your son? Or some unfinished business from childhood?
You mention fear: "chains of guilt and fear". What kind of fear do you feel: of being alone, or of breaking some unconscious chains that link you to some unsolved issues from the past? Or is it a fear of being free ("you hold the key to your freedom in your own hands")?
It seems to me that you are dealing with some deep and old material from your past, which has to do with a painful relationship, perhaps, for example, between you and your parents.
My suggestions to you are:
1. It would be wise to accept this truth: you are going through a process of self-discovery and growth, and for the moment, the price is suffering and unhappiness. Be patient.
2. In order to prioritize your values, break the chains of fear and guilt and arrive at a decision. You should go for psychotherapy; not a marital therapy or counseling, but rather a therapy of depth. Seek help to connect with your inner self and understand the deep roots of your anguish and unhappiness.
Arlette Simon, MSW