Am I Normal? I Feel CrazyOur Guest Blog Speaker is Elizabeth R. Hollingsworth, M.A., LMHC from Hope Can Heal Counseling Center LLC. Visit their website at http://www.hopecanheal.com.
Mrs. Elizabeth Hollingsworth is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, with a Certificate in Marriage and Family Therapy, a Certificate in Play Therapy and a Certificate in Sexual Abuse Recovery. In addition, Elizabeth utilizes canine assisted therapy in her practice. After years of working in behavioral health, Elizabeth started her own practice in 2007 in Orlando. She has extensive experience working with individuals, families, couples; and implementing groups to assist individuals in learning new tools to handle behavioral and emotional issues, relationship enhancement, and trauma recovery in an outpatient and inpatient setting. Elizabeth has experience co–facilitating social skills groups with Social Bridges, LLC. She is a facilitator for the Kidskonnect Program through Jewish Family Services providing groups in the school environment for elementary and middle school aged kids that have parents who are divorced, separated, remarried, or living with a single parent. Elizabeth is a Crisis Worker doing Critical Incident Stress Management in the community following a traumatic event.
She writes.... You are not crazy. You are brave. You are making a life changing decision and it’s normal to be scared. Its normal to question yourself if this is the right decision. You probably have a million questions and racing thoughts. It is normal. You are normal. People respond in many different ways when going through a divorce. If there was domestic violence; physical, emotional, verbal, or sexual abuse it can be even scarier to leave. You can do it. I don’t want to effect or “mess up” my children. My response to this statement is. “What do you think the effects of staying together and fighting all of the time or avoiding each other have on the children.” To stay together for your children is not always the right answer. If there is excessive fighting or violence in the home the children are watching everything. Even if you try to protect them from the fighting they know. They can tell when you are upset as you are your child’s emotional regulator and if you are upset your children will know. They may not understand what exactly is wrong, but they know something. If you are not talking to your partner or are fighting they will make their own realities of the situation. If your children are witnessing violence, verbal or physical it can create extreme anxiety. Especially for children they want to protect their mommies from harm. That is not their job. It is confusing and terrifying. Do you want your child to think it is ok to be mistreated by someone that is supposed to love them? When children experience violence in the home it becomes “familiar” and that is what people who grow up in domestic violence grow up thinking is normal. To break the cycle sometimes divorce is the best options. Many children actually report feelings of relief when their parents’ divorce. It stops the constant fighting (even though they may still witness discord during interactions with your ex partner). Help is available. Call a professional and start the process of healing for you and your children.