Why does it seem that people don’t care what you are going through?
Have you wondered why so many friends and even family seem to distant themselves from you when they find out you are separated or divorced? Maybe not everyone, but the vast majority of people seem to move further away instead of reaching out to connect with you.
From being on both sides of the issue (twice divorced and in ministry to friends and others), I have realized that a few different issues may be the reason.
People just don’t know what to think or say most of the time. It is similar to when someone passes away and you want to say something but don’t have the words. You don’t want to upset the other person or cause them further pain. The same goes for divorce.
I remember having friends of mine, acquaintances and other church family, that seemed to keep their distance when I was going through my divorces. I had one or two very close friends and family, but it seemed like my whole social circle disappeared.
As I look back, it may not be anything more than something as simple as them being confused on the best way to encourage and help the person going through this difficult season. You don’t want to make things worse or cause further pain so you choose the “wait and see” approach. Maybe they will reach out to you. Then again….
Believe me, I am sure you feel confused at this time so how do you think those around you feel? How can they be of help when you don’t have a firm grasp on yourself and what you need?
Yes, you are not the only one feeling pain.
The relationship you had before brought you friendships and acquaintances that now see a broken relationship. The relationship you had with them as a couple is now a mine field of pain for all involved.
They may not feel like it is the right time to approach you so they hold off. They might rather give you all the space you need when in reality, you really need them now more than ever. They care about you, but they don’t want to be the instrument that may cause you more pain by bringing up your ex or the situation.
This may seem odd, but some people may not be a true friend or a person that really cares about who you really are. This is the time when true friendships rise to the occasion.
Some people feel like it may just be easier to not give anything to your relationship with them because it would just be easier for them. They feel like they will say hi if they see you on the street, but they are unwilling to see the benefit in investing in a friendship or relationship with you any more.
That may seem harsh, but this is a time when real relationships are deepened and shallow relationships fade away. In some ways, this reason may feel like a bandage that got ripped of of your friendship. It will hurt more earlier, but in the long run it may be the best for everyone.
So now what?
It is all up to you.
Is it really that simple?
Maybe, maybe not. That is what I think though.
Forgive them, for they know not what they do. Of course, that is what Jesus said on the cross, but it applies here too.
Only you can know when the right time is to talk about your divorce and your feelings. You have the ultimate control. You can get help and reach out to others, or not. You can ignore that text or call, or you can answer it. It is up to you.
There is a time when you don’t want others to bother you, but that is the last thing you need to do for an extended period of time. Isolation leads to many wrong decisions, thoughts, and actions. It is okay to quiet yourself and process, but processing is an action word that leads to a conclusion.
You can’t live in process. Don’t just sit alone and keep going over the same things over and over and over and over and….. you get the picture. That is not a process. That is immobilization. You are allowing your circumstances to cause you to stop living your life.
You have a choice to reach out or to isolate. You have the choice to take time to process and then get help, or you can just hold on to the baggage as you waste another day of your life wondering how things are going to get better.
If I am coming across a little harsh, I am sorry. I do not mean to, but sometimes we all need a word that wakes us up a little. Sometimes all it takes is the right word to make us rethink and take action when we don’t feel like it.
Life is going to go on without you. You have a life that means more than you may ever understand. You have a purpose and a reason to move forward into healing, even if you just take a baby step here and there.
People want to reach out, but they usually don’t know what to say. People want to help if they can, but they don’t want you to feel more pain. People want to encourage you and lift you up in prayer, but it is just easier to pray from afar than to be present in the flesh.
If you don’t have a couple of very good close friends that you can talk to, find some. You will need them. Reach out to a pastor or Christian counselor. Reach out to a Care Ministry or join a DivorceCare group. Most of all, know that there ARE people that want to be there for you, even if it is just to give you a shoulder to cry on or an open ear to listen to you.
People care, it just may not seem like that right now. Find the ones who REALLY care, those who will be there for you through thick and thin. Let God use them to give you a hug, a kind word, and a friendship that will stand the test of time.
Earlier this week, I called a friend I know is on his way to divorce. I just felt that I needed him to know that if he wanted to talk, I would be there for him. That was it. Just someone to listen to him. A lot of time, that is all we need. Someone to listen. I told him I would be praying for him and we could grab lunch soon. He really appreciated it and wants to do lunch soon.
Let people be the hands and feet of God for you at this time. He is there for you. Usually it is through another person. Reach out and let others reach you. It does hurt, but it gets better.
I know how it feels to wonder if anyone cares, and that is why I reach out. My prayer is that someone reaches out to you and you let them be there for you.
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I’m reading your devotional and recently discovered this blog. I have observed that you seem to speak about divorce as if the person reading your messages is a “victim” of divorce.
I was married to a psychopath who manipulated me for 21 years. I sought help through pastoral counseling and a Christian psychologist. He refused to acknowledge any problems and refused to participate in counseling. For years I prayed, fasted, sought Godly counsel and waited for things to get better. They only got worse over time.
Christians who choose to leave abusive relationships are NOT victims, we are survivors.
Thank you for reading the devotional and the blog. I pray that you have found it helpful and encouraging in some areas for you.
I have heard this comment from numerous people that I have helped through leading the DivorceCare ministry groups at our church and when talking to people one-on-one. Maybe I can help add a little more to the conversation.
I know all the talk about a “victim mentality” and “playing the victim” these days can get be difficult and confusing to people. I am not a professional therapist or counselor, but what I lack in college degrees I have gained in going through 2 divorces and being involved in some sort of divorce ministry to thousands of people for over 15 years.
When it comes to abuse, you were a victim, a victim of abuse. I believe in some way, every person alive has been a victim of things like crime and abuse in all kinds of ways. I don’t think the act of being victimized has anything to do with divorce beyond being a catalyst and a reason for the divorce. Divorce doesn’t cause the victimization. It is a result of it.
If I made it sound like an abused person, Christian or not, should feel victimized by divorce, that surely was not my intention. People process feelings in many different ways, and through my writings I try to help as many people as possible allowing for grace and the Holy Spirit to help them through the healing process.
By no means should any person that chooses to leave an abusive relationship feel like a victim, but many do. Choosing to accept the victim label is a choice, just like a loser or failure label. It is only true if you believe it. I am so glad you do not see yourself as one. My prayer is that nobody else will either.
All of the blood, sweat, tears, counseling, and prayers you did to save your marriage is what makes me thankful that there are still people like you out there that value the institution of marriage and are willing to do whatever it takes to allow God to keep that marriage together. Obviously, we all have free will and your ex chose the wrong direction. You can know that God will reward you with your faithfulness and faith to Him and His Word.
And yes, we are survivors!! If you have been through a divorce, you are a survivor. My hope and prayer is that in some small way, I can help in the healing process for all survivors to move from a survivor to an overcomer who is healed and whole in Jesus.
Thank you again for the comment and feel free to stay in touch. Be blessed!!