If you are currently going through a high conflict divorce, there is one thing I am sure of, at some point in the process you are going to want to give up. You will be completely exhausted. You will be spent mentally, physically, spiritually and financially. You will want everything to end no matter the cost. You will be willing to give up anything for the stress and pain to end, and I do mean anything. The process of divorce and the family law system is designed to break you, that’s how they win. You must not let it break you.
Victory will never be found by taking the path of least resistance-Winston Churchill
I’ve always considered myself a strong person. I have experienced and overcome a lot of adversity in my life, yet the process of divorce led me to some of the darkest places to which I have ever been. I can say that at my lowest point I even considered one of the most shameful things a man can do. I still feel guilt and shame to this day that I even considered this course of action as an option.
Don’t Give up…
The process for determining parenting time (custody) in my divorce almost defeated me. At one point in my battle, I considered conceding the war and giving up on my kids. I almost failed the most important people in my life. It was a time where I doubted everything about myself, my abilities, and my basic worth as a man.
When I think back to that time and ask myself why I kept going, I still can’t wrap my head around a concrete answer. Can it just be chalked up to mental fortitude or sheer will? I’d love to be able to say, that the love for my children drove me forward when I thought I couldn’t go any further. I’d be lying if I did. I fought the battle for my children because of love, but love wasn’t the thing that kept me going in the toughest times. It was something more primal, more indescribable, something deep inside of me that was unleashed. Whatever you call it, I know I can tap into that anytime I need to and I see now that I always have been able to call upon it when needed. You have it too.
If the process of divorce and custody can make a man get to the point of nearly giving up on his own child, his own blood, you know you are in for a serious battle.
You Can Win…
You can win the war, it is possible. Your version of victory must include non-negotiables. You must be willing to fight to the bitter end for those things. What are you prepared to lose to get what you cherish most in your life?
We can all talk a good game until we are under the gun. It’s easy to be the armchair quarterback and say what you would have done or what you are willing to do. But to walk the walk is another story.
There are men in this world which have decided to take a different route, they gave up their children. Did you hear what I said…their children…it’s unfathomable to most men that a man could give up on their own children. I was one of those men prior to my divorce, now I understand their viewpoint. I do not respect it, but I do understand it.
To be clear, those men lost. They lost possibly the only thing that truly matters in their life, their family. They either chose the other parts of their lives over their children or were forced to concede. Maybe they couldn’t afford it on some level. Perhaps it was simply a financial choice, a lifestyle choice, or a contrived excuse that allowed them to accept defeat. Maybe they would have had to make some very tough choices, but they chose (or were forced to chose) to give up their relationship with their children. I believe most of these men are saddled with deeply hidden shame because of this choice. They must live with their shame but you don’t have to make that choice.
Children Need Fathers…
We are not here to lose our children. Our children need fathers and we need our children. The importance of a father in a child’s life cannot be understated. A father is a shell of a man without his children whether he will admit it or not. I believe the absence of a father is the single most important factor contributing to the decline of our society. I believe this is particularly true with respect to the generations of lost boys that we see today. The bastardization of our sons and the decline in respect for masculinity in today’s society will cripple future generations if we allow it to continue. Our daughters are not immune to the effects of fatherless homes either. Fathers are the role models for their daughters when they are developing an understanding of what a man should be, how he acts, and how he should treat her.
If you are in a high conflict divorce where custody is being contested, you must develop the grit, the fortitude, and the stamina for enduing a battle the likes of which you may have never experienced.
There Are Others Like You…
You must listen to the experience of other men who have won the battle. You need to understand there is a scenario in which you can achieve victory. It will cost you, but it is winnable and it is worth it. If you are in the midst of the struggle, I understand. Many other men have fought this battle themselves and they are with you. We are here with you and you are not alone.
The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it. -Moliere
I can say without a doubt that Moliere was right, the more resistance that a person experiences, the more gratification they will feel when they finally come out the other side. There is no greater joy than knowing you have won the battle for your children.
So what does victory mean to you? What does it really look like? What are you willing to give up for victory? Envision it right now. Write it down, say it out loud, yell it. Get it tattooed on your body if you have to. Do whatever it takes to remind yourself daily of what you are fighting so hard to protect. Promise yourself you will never give up, promise your children you will never give up. One day in the distant future you will be able to tell them the greatest war story of all time, how you waged your battle and fought for them.
-The Divorce Warrior (TDW)