As a researcher, I read everything I possibly could to help me understand and sift through the emotions of divorce. Divorce is not just about severing marital ties with your once true love, it’s depth is far greater. What I did not realize at the time was that I was mourning the loss of my family. I was mourning the loss of the family as I had always known it to be, no matter how dysfunctional and volatile family life was it was a loss. I was scared and read and read and read. Some were trivial. Some books were given by friends when they thought I was ready.
The list below reflects a few of my favorites. Please note none of the authors encouraged their mention. They were just part of my journey. If you have you would like to share, please contact me and share your reading list and how the author shaped your life.
Spiritual Divorce: Divorce as a Catalyst for an Extraordinary Life by Debbie Ford A wake-up call. The end of a relationship is difficult for all involved. It does not have to be the end of the world. It is just the ending making room for a new beginning. It is an opportunity, a gift if you treat it as such.
Radical Forgiveness: A Revolutionary Five-Stage Process to:- Heal Relationships – Let Go of Anger and Blame – Find Peace in Any Situation by Colin Tipping Is it possible that the universe has conspired certain events? Be open to the idea that things are happening exactly as they are supposed to. There is a time to stop fighting and start embracing the change. Sometimes a good heavy downpour is just what is needed to allow for growth and new beauty. Note: This book can only be read at a certain stage of the divorce journey. A good friend will know when you are ready.
The Art Of War by Sun Tzu I know this sounds extreme, but it’s a good reminder to be logical. Divorce is often compounded with heightened emotional reactions. Sun Tzu reminds us to follow three principals: Know your enemy(substitute soon to be ex), Keep a cool head(be logical), and be strategic and tactically prepared. Both of you are going through this and each is establishing a life without the other, the third principle is just about taking care of yourself first.
Psychopath Free: Recovering from Emotionally Abusive Relationships With Narcissists, Sociopaths, & Other Toxic People by Peace (2013) This is not a diagnosis of my ex. This book, however, forced me to recognize that the relationship was abusive on many levels and I was not a victim. I was a participant in the abuse. I learned to let go of blame and shame. It encouraged self-discovery on a very real, raw level. It is difficult to look yourself in the mirror and recognize that you helped foster the abuse and even normalized it. It feels amazing to finally break free and develop a healthy and respectful and relationship.
No Contact: How to Beat the Narcissist by H G Tudor Again, this is not a diagnosis of my ex. This book was a tool for me to learn how to change the way in which we interacted. Our 25-year relationship was fraught with volatility and various forms of abuse, I had to re-learn how not to react and how to react. This is still a work in process, but one that I readily embrace. No contact means, no contact. Let go of drama!
The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout Chilling and life-altering. I did not know I needed this until I read it. For years I thought I could change him if I loved him more, understood him more, was more compassionate, let him take all the credit for everything, it wasn’t until I started reading this book that I recognized he wasn’t misunderstood. 4 percent of ordinary people—one in twenty-five—has an often undetected mental disorder, the chief symptom of which is that that person possesses no conscience. They are hard to recognize because they are hypnotically attractive.
From Charm to Harm: And Everything Else in Between With a Narcissist by
Divorce Poison New and Updated Edition: How to Protect Your Family from Bad-mouthing and Brainwashing by Dr. Richard A. Warshak My children were adults, they were out of the house at 18, 19 and 23. They witnessed and lived this volatile life full of lies. At first, they were angry at their father and honestly, initially, I was secretly happy. After all, he left us for a new family. It wasn’t until my youngest had a heart to heart talk with me about how she(they) did not want to hear me say anything about her father and his affairs. It was hurting her. I was disappointed with myself and vowed to keep them from the ugliness of the divorce(at it was ugly). He, on the other hand, continued the emotional abuse, trying to rewrite history. They struggled, distanced themselves not only from me but from our entire extended family, and became incredibly disrespectful. I kept quiet and still hide the truth from them. This book showed me that that silence is not always golden and there is an appropriate response to hateful rhetoric.
The Intuitive Heart of Romance: Finding Your Own Path to Lasting Love by Servet Hasan Perhaps it was one too many Disney movies as a child, but I am still a romantic at heart. I still believe in true, deep, romantic love. Hasan reemphasized that in real love can only come into your life when you love and accept yourself, let go of negative emotions and open your heart.
The Courage to Be Yourself: A Woman’s Guide to Emotional Strength and Self-Esteem by Sue Patton Thoele A quick read for the times your fears are all consuming. You have the strength to transform your fears into the courage to express your true genuine self. Learn to let go of living the stress of an unauthentic life and embrace the love and happiness of an authentic life. This was a reminder for me that I was constantly walking on eggshells, regardless of how idyllic my life seemed. I was consumed with the illusion of perfection – the perfect couple, the perfect family, the perfect pet, the perfect friends, hobbies, clubs, etc……Ugh! The stress of it all and the fakeness of it all. I love my imperfect life now.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson Sometimes in order to get out of a rut, we have to shake up our thinking a bit. Not all suffering is the same, it is suffering nonetheless. Embrace your suffering and then realize your suffering is not worth your f@cking embrace. This book will give you a back to basics perspective on life, self-help, and motivation. I wouldn’t recommend reading it right away. You need to go through the process. Stash it on your bookshelf. You will know when the right time to pick it up and read.
the sun and her flowers by Rupi Kaur beautiful poetry. The book deals with themes of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity. “the day you have everything I hope you remember when you had nothing”. Powerful, compelling and moving. Great wisdom from a young artist. A must read.
http://www.thehotline.org/2016/01/25/myth-of-mutual-abuse/ This article really hit home for me.
Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.