"Any change, any loss, does not make us victims. Others can shake you, surprise you, disappoint you, but they can't prevent you from acting, from taking the situation you're presented with and moving on." ~ Blaine Lee
Life often surprises us in unexpected and unpleasant ways. When we get married, most of us assume we will share the rest of our life with our beloved. We see ourselves building a life: getting a home, perhaps having a family, enjoying graduations and weddings, retirement and being grandparents together.
Sometimes it turns out not to be happily ever after. There may be a slow growing apart, a stormy history of conflict, hurt and resentment, or a shocking end triggered by infidelity, or a partner falling out of love.
This throws us into crisis, regardless of the role we play. Even one who ends the relationship will go through a grieving process. There is grief for the lost dreams, the future that will never be, the changes in the lives of children, the loss of extended family, and often, the loss of the family home.
The one who has been left will feel all of this grief, plus the sense of unfairness, betrayal and intense pain. There may be fear for the future, and even a temporary loss of identity or that part of one's identity that was tied to the relationship.
There must be time for grieving the losses, but there also must eventually be a letting go of the old life and a building of the new.
If the focus is on how this should never have happened and now life is ruined, there will be only bitterness, resentment, negativity, depression and even anxiety.
If, on the other hand we can allow for the possibility that a higher plan is unfolding which will serve our highest good, even if at the moment it makes no sense, we can begin to move forward.
Our first steps may be tentative, and we take a few steps forward and then a few back, but slowly we will move ahead. We must hold to the belief that some good will ultimately come, and practice patience until we see it.
We can make the choice to be a survivor rather than a victim. This choice will make all the difference.
Gwen Randall-Young is an author and award-winning Psychotherapist. For permission to reprint this article, or to obtain books or cds, visit www.gwen.ca