Dear Miriam,

I am 54 and recently divorced. It was not a very amicable one. Our five children have all flown the nest and are living independent lives. I experienced both physical and emotional abuse during the latter years of our marriage. He inherited the family farm and later on we purchased a smaller holding of 20ac, which had a derelict cottage on it. I sought to have this transferred to my sole name in the divorce agreement, leaving him with the original farm he inherited.

I also received a lump sum payment to help me refurbish the cottage. I felt this was a fair outcome as he is very wealthy. Some of our children have taken his side and turned against me.

What’s also very difficult is that my own family continue to support him despite knowing about the abuse. I feel very lonely and isolated, and I also feel betrayed by the children who turned against me and my family. I miss them all. The future is scary, to be honest, and I find it difficult to get on with my daily living. I work full time, so that helps as it keeps me distracted.

However, there are times I feel so angry with them and with myself as well. I am looking for some advice on how to get on with my life.

Regular Reader (name with editor).

Dear Reader,

Thank you for getting in touch. I am sorry to know that life has been so difficult for you and that the support from family and some of your children is lacking. Right now, you are going through a period of grief and sorrow. The grief journey is never easy, but we must grieve in order to heal. There are five possible stages people can experience while grieving, and anger is one of them.

I am not surprised you are feeling this way. You have been let down so many times. Remember though, when we allow others to make us feel angry and upset we actually hand them over our personal power, we allow them to dictate our mood and our thoughts. It is time now to start claiming your power back with compassion towards yourself. You have taken the first step in writing to me. We cannot change others; however, we can change how we are around them.

Whilst it is important to pour out all the grief and hurt, it is equally important to focus on what you have to be grateful for in your life.

Whilst it is important to pour out all the grief and hurt, it is equally important to focus on what you have to be grateful for in your life.

There are the children who still support you. You have employment. Have you good friends? You also have the 20ac and cottage which you are restoring. Pour love into your new home. How wonderful it is to have it there knowing it is your haven away from all the abuse and unhappiness. Your immediate family appear very uncomfortable regarding your situation. There is a bigger picture going on here. Were you brought up in a strict religious home where divorce is a “no no”? Is your husband’s family very wealthy and looked up to in the area? All of these ridiculous situations can lead to such behaviors. Do they feel you have brought shame on the family? Remember, whatever is going on is a reflection of their unresolved issues, unhealed emotions that are lying beneath the surface.

You have done nothing wrong. Your safety and health were compromised. Your choices were limited and when it came to what best served your greater good, you made the correct decision. Your estranged children are hurting too, and using you as their scapegoat. Try and keep minimal contact for a while. At some stage, maybe you can suggest meeting for a coffee to try and make peace. It may be that you will eventually have to accept that the emotional price of your divorce was losing the support of your own immediate family and some of your beloved children. I strongly suggest you seek professional help as you navigate these unchartered waters. You are never alone, and with the proper support you will learn to build a new world around your grief and become whole again, and happy again. I wish you all the best.

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