with Veronica Banks
Tell us a bit about your background and why you became a counselor?
I have been counselling people for many years, often referrals from Pastors and church leaders. These referrals are mostly people who have marital problems, or are in the process of getting divorced or in the aftermath of a divorce. The destructive effects of a divorce is sadly underestimated, and if not dealt with effectively, can leave an emotional scar for life. Most people do not have the ability to navigate through the change in these circumstances.
Through my trials and life experiences, God has transformed me and gifted me with the ability to help other silent sufferers. My focus is getting to the root of the problem, and in the process rediscovering one’s own significance and self- worth.
Furthermore, I have a wealth of experience in the corporate world, of which 25 years have been in Leadership. During my career, retrenchment became part of my experience.
In your experience, what are the main differences between the state of mind of the person wanting a divorce, compared to the state of mind of the person receiving the news?
The level of rejection. The person wanting the divorce has the opportunity to process that the marriage is ending, and may not feel rejected. Whereas in the situation where the person receiving the news have to deal with the shock, manage the anger, feelings of betrayal and denial, and even falling into a state of depression. It is only at the point of accepting that this “horrible thing” has happened and total forgiveness takes place that the person can move on. This process can take weeks, months or even years, depending on the willingness to forgive.
Besides the obvious statistics of growing apart, infidelity and irreconcilable differences, what would you say, are the real reasons for marriages ending in divorce?
Lack of communication or the breakdown thereof are definitely top of the list, and this includes spending excessive amounts of time on social media, instead of engaging with each other. Another reason would be that spouses do not realize the importance of fulfilling each other’s physical/emotional needs, which I believe can result in infidelity (unless the one spouse is a serial cheater) and irreconcilable differences. Another reason for divorce is intrusive parents/in-laws/friends.
Divorce is a life-altering event for couples and families, but does it have to be such a devastating experience?
When people hurt, they do not consider the next person’s feelings, regrettably this includes the children, who do not have the ability to navigate through all the emotions they feel. It is very rare where a couple have the emotional maturity to sit down, acknowledge that the relationship has ended, for whatever reason and to work at ways to make the process easy and comfortable for all, including kids and extended families.
What advice would you give divorcing parents with children, on their first visit to you?
When you get divorced, keep your focus on yourself and do not involve the children, as you are not getting divorce from the kids, but from each other. Try and keep the children’s needs, security and stability in check.
Posted by Sinta Ebersohn (Creator of fairdivorce.co.za – Cape Town RSA)