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Divorce Is Hard, But Must We Make It So Ugly?

02/05/2016 8:07 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST
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As adults we want to discipline our children and set them on the right path so that they can be successful in life (happiness, somehow, is not counted as success). We teach them values like honesty, forgiveness, tolerance and, above all, to do the right thing.

However, in a marriage gone sour or in a divorce we seem to forget all that we taught the children. In fact we behave like extremely spoilt whiny brats who can't look beyond their own nose.

In a divorce we get into the mindset of teaching the spouse a lesson in life that they will never forget. We want to get even with them for all the wrongs, real or imaginary, meted out to us during the marriage. The game of one-upmanship thrives as we mount our cruel attacks on them, to show our superiority. Even if it means cutting our nose to spite our face the urge to put the spouse in his or her place is all powerful and supersedes all common sense. But don't we teach our kids common sense?

Spouses create a war zone as far as divorce is concerned. There is a sense of wanting to demolish the 'other side'...

The feelings of revenge cross all borders of sanity. Spouses create a war zone as far as divorce is concerned. There is a sense of wanting to demolish the 'other side', similar to the feelings we have when we want to kill our enemy. There is no question of forgiving and moving on. But don't we teach our kids forgiveness?

Domestic violence bordering on murder seems just fine when you are fighting for divorce. The quantum of violence--physical, emotional and verbal--is the kind that would qualify as torture if prisoners of war were subjected to it. The cruel words, the jeers, the feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem that these propagate can scar a person for life. This violence has sometimes ended in the tragedy of a murder or a suicide but some spouses just can't seem to stop. But don't we teach our kids non-violence?

A bad marriage may have no love left, but does that mean there is no room for decency either?

The entire focus is on one's one self. A cocoon of selfishness is woven and strengthened with the threads of inconsideration and entitlement. The centre of this cocoon is I, ME, and MYSELF. It's as though only you exist and you're the only one who has been wronged, hurt and let down in the relationship. There is no concept of sharing the responsibility of the breakdown of the marriage. All the failures in marriage are attributed to the other partner and the successes to yourself. But don't we teach our kids selflessness?

In a bad marriage, perceptions get skewed and the pain in exaggerated. The worthlessness of the marriage is overemphasized and any small inadequacy in the partner is blown out of proportion. But don't we teach our children balance?

A bad marriage may have no love left, but does that mean there is no room for decency either when it comes to interactions with the spouse? The myriad innovative ways of hurting your spouse in a bad marriage defy all conventions of acceptable, decent behaviour. Don't we teach our children to love and respect?

Perhaps we can ask our kids for a crash course in the lessons that we ourselves seem to have forgotten.

Acrimonious divorces lead to a complete severance of all ties between the spouses. The bad mouthing, obnoxious behaviour, unreasonable demands, volleys of verbal abuse are not exactly the most conducive atmosphere for remaining friends. But don't we teach our children to make friends and keep them?

The next time we start with the kind of behaviour I've outlined above, perhaps we should pause and look at what we're teaching our children. Perhaps we can ask our kids for a crash course in the lessons that we ourselves seem to have forgotten.

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