CHAPTER 21: SAYING GOODBYE
In life we are constantly saying goodbye to things, places, animals,
friends, family members, our youth and our time on earth. With adult
maturation, we say goodbye to those we have loved and goodbye to
those who have betrayed us. Saying goodbye to one’s marriage
is now a very common maturational challenge in adulthood.
Many adults can deal with most of the above goodbyes, but fail
to manage the maturational demands of divorce. For these adults,
saying goodbye to a significant relationship means manufacturing
elevated levels of needless chaos, confusion and aggression.
Divorce is very common today and its percentages will likely increase
in the future. Our culture should normalize the value of embracing
honor during this common, yet misunderstood transitional crisis.
If we can normalize environmental regard and the end to segregation,
there is hope that we can find more mature ways to manage divorce.
Some adults fail to surrender to their emotional pain when their
relationships end. This immature avoidance increases their odds
of acting out against others. Needlessly acting out impedes adult
maturation; while surrendering and grieving one’s losses promote
it. Remember, divorce is a psychological stress test which brings
one’s core personality agenda to the surface.
For some adults, it may be easier to murder their spouse which
helps them avoid the prolonged grieving commonly associated with
the death of one’s marriage. This avoidance of prolonged psychological
discomfort is a form of narcissistic self indulgence and immediate
gratification. For some adults, it is much easier to bury a spouse
or a child rather than work through the maturational demands of
Killing one’s spouse is also a form of psychological certainty.
Homicide makes it certain that the spouse who wants out of the marriage
will never have the opportunity to experience liberty and higher
order intimacy. Terrorists and spouses who harm their family members
in divorce are much more alike than different. Both groups despise
the liberties and freedoms inherent in our culture. Spouses who
vehemently oppose being divorced say goodbye with needless aggression
which helps them avoid having to experience prolonged periods of
psychological discomfort and introspection.
PSYCHOLOGY OF NEEDLESS AGGRESSION IS UNIVERSAL
Timothy McVeigh assuredly experienced certain aspects of divorce
when he was not accepted in a special military program. Instead
of adjusting to this loss, he resorted to domestic terrorism. His
acting out parallels other entitled brutality that you will find
in all aspects of life. Our DNA makes terrorists, both home grown
and foreign, much more alike than different. This is one reason
our founding fathers were suspicious of individual will, i.e. Timothy
McVeigh and group will, i.e. our own Civil War.
Instincts, anxiety and depression can be valuable clues that help
adults mature and self correct. However, if an adult cannot access
their instincts and examine their troubled mood, they are more likely
to marry for the wrong reasons. External and internal pressures
may be so intense that fiancées cave in and just hope for
Some aspects of premarital psychology and pre-election maladaptive
rhetoric have similar dynamics. Both endorse the belief, “You
say what you have to say” or “You avoid what you have
to avoid” in order to get elected or married. Serious issues
and conflicts are to be avoided. What an elected official does during
their term may be just as mysterious as what spouses do when married.
Both politicians and spouses may avoid issues that are too controversial.
Addressing conflict head on and talking about possible solutions
may keep a politician from getting elected. It may also threaten
the stability of a premarital courtship.
We have fought our Revolution. Many great Americans have sacrificed
to preserve our freedoms and cultural integrity. The same can be
said for Americans who have embraced honor as they coped with the
maturational demands of divorce. These silent Americans do exist.
They understand that their familial behaviors have patriotic roots.
Honorable patriotism involves an absence of self absorption and
a mature preoccupation with the future of one’s culture.
MATURATIONAL GRIEVING ASSISTS WITH SAYING GOODBYE
As we face additional 9/11 anniversaries, many Americans understand
the value of having a routine to grieve and honor the lives of lost
loved ones and possibly the loss of our innocence in terms of national
security. We honor all of those who have served in our military
every Memorial Day. Christians annually grieve the loss of Christ
during Easter. They grieve His death hoping that His life will open
the hearts and minds of individuals who feel entitled to harm others.
All potential brutalizers need to remember that His death was needlessly
brutal. Americans who died on 9/11 similarly suffered a needless
and brutal demise. It is almost impossible for primitive spouses
to consider alternative ways of managing their sorrow and distorted
sense of betrayal. This makes it easier for them to act out while
disregarding any form of a Christ-like tolerance.
The grieving associated with 9/11 is unique. However, there are
many Americans who deal with painful and confusing losses on a daily
basis. Most survive without harming others. Potential brutalizers
are so self absorbed, they fail to understand that dealing with
loss is a daily occurrence for many Americans.
It is difficult to value life if one fails to sincerely understand
just how precious and fragile it is. Spouses who harm their children
in divorce are incapable of understanding life’s value and
fragility. In most cases, going to psychological treatment values
life. A large portion of psychotherapy involves the maturational
dynamics of grieving. These dynamics help individuals evolve while
capturing life’s unique sense of humanity.
There are many individuals who feel comfortable in psychotherapy.
They have found a safe place where someone can help them with their
intense feelings and troubling thoughts. They grieve through their
conflict instead of acting out against others. Treatment, when successful,
parallels the maturational humility and empathy commonly found in
an Easter service or a moving 9/11 anniversary.
Life pushes individuals to mature through the darkest of times.
Some adults and children instinctively know how to do this while
others need considerable help. Potential brutalizers, low on humility,
empathy and self awareness, need to connect with the painful humanity
of others who are suffering. You will always find meaning in suffering
which helps individuals recover, find hope and mature.
Sick marriages encourage individuals to salvage them or subsequently
embrace the maturational tasks of saying goodbye. Spouses who have
spent years coping with a sick marriage understand this maturational
principle. They understand the value of their suffering. Many grieve
the loss of mature intimacy they never could find in their marriage
or other significant relationship. This grief parallels the sorrow
of a dying patient who longs for experiences they never had in life.
Maturing helps distressed individuals appreciate the unique and
simple gifts that give meaning to their lives. Adults who misuse
others in divorce are immune from having to find the symbolism associated
with psychological discomfort and suffering. Many will never understand
their immunity from maturing in adulthood is a serious reason why
their marriage died.
SAYING GOODBYE TO THE ABUSE OF MARRIAGE
An elusive percentage of individuals have knowingly and unknowingly
abused the institution of marriage for thousands of years. Today,
you may know adults who unknowingly define marriage as a job or
career and they never come to terms with why they abuse the institution.
These adults usually remain under the radar screen until they face
the demands of divorce or until they find another host.
Individuals who abuse marriage are prone to manufacture domestic
violence and divorce brutality. Parent-child bonds are minimized
or destroyed by parents who repeatedly abuse the institution of
marriage. Homosexuals have a long history of abusing marriage as
they struggle to hide their identities and avoid the ridicule of
others. However, they are not known for manufacturing high levels
of divorce brutality when they leave a heterosexual partner.
You will find an elite arrogance among most adults who abuse marriage.
In most cases, they have no conscious awareness or shame with regard
to how they misuse others. Multiple relationships help them avoid
any long term psycho-physiological discomfort commonly associated
with adult maturation.
Their malignant opportunism is a form of domestic oppression that
over time may become greater than our years of segregation and racism.
I refer to this type of interpersonal abuse as our modern lynchings;
a form of entitled aggression that is immune from scrutiny and resides
beneath all demographics.
How an adult manages their divorce will always say a great deal
about their premarital personality. Maturing adults should always
be suspicious of premarital motives that are mysterious, elusive,
passionate, overly sexual, fearful, diversionary and charismatic.
The same dynamics can be found in pre-election campaign rhetoric.
Be suspicious when there are high levels of passionate political
rhetoric with questionable or overly appealing content. Quite often,
politicians will only give us a glimpse into what they really think
and rarely do they discuss the long term consequences of their passionate
Some politicians knowingly and unknowingly mask their career motives
just as some adults hide their premarital motives. The passion to
get elected may not line up with what a politician will do in office.
Many divorced adults are very familiar with this primitive dynamic.
We should all be suspicious of individuals who manufacture inappropriately
high levels of political as well as premarital passion.
Hitler was passionate. We had overly passionate divisions in our
own Civil War. Today, many Americans are familiar with the primitive
passions that drive terrorism and the hatred of Western lifestyles,
Christians, Jews and people of other faiths. Dan Rather’s
journalistic passions finally caught up with him. The main point
to remember is that marriage is just one of many institutions that
is likely to be abused by individuals with ulterior motives.
Christ was worried about individuals lacking knowledge. The behavioral
sciences have made significant contributions with regard to what
is normal and abnormal in relationships. Today, we need to worry
about knowledge and how it is either avoided or misused.
Over the years, I have listened to a variety of speakers across
all disciplines when topics of human nature and religion are discussed.
I recall one interesting sermon where the speaker stated that it
was time for God to be introduced into marriage. The sermon was
good. There was a large audience that appeared to represent a fairly
good cross section of America. However, I recall feeling somewhat
empty when the sermon was over.
I was hoping the speaker would say that it is also time to bring
God into divorce. This psychological avoidance may parallel the
avoidance found in parenting where authority figures simply do not
understand cause and effect relationships. They fear that addressing
difficult topics will encourage others to embrace them.
After reading this book, you may be more alert when you hear, “People
are this way” or “Men do this.” It is important
to remember our own primitive cultural naiveté when we said,
“Blacks are this way” or “Women can’t do
this.” Be cautious of others who embrace demographic limitations
when they talk about relationships and life.
RELEVANCE FOR THE READER
Just as family medical guides have helped individuals with challenging
curiosities, this book may serve a parallel purpose when family
members struggle with recurring transitional demands in life and
relationships. With regard to individuals seeking treatment, this
book reduces the knowledge gap between what clients and practitioners
know in terms of personality and how it shapes lives.
There is value for individuals entering health professions, intelligence
agencies, journalism, law, business management, etc. Organizations
concerned with the emergence of antisocial behavior associated with
the stress of a dying relationship may find this book helpful. We
should never underestimate the value of early detection, expeditious
referral and normalizing mental health treatment.
By not understanding the comprehensive dynamics of personality,
we tend to assume that everyone has the potential to manage the
cumulative stress and anxiety associated with dying relationships.
Since readers are drawn to re-reading chapters they deem relevant,
I have repeated examples and principles in order to increase their
The maladaptive dynamics you find in divorce also challenge the
health of other relationships. These universal tensions are clearly
illustrated in Chapter 8, Types of Divorce - Types of Personality.
In this chapter, I introduce my model of personality that demystifies
interpersonal conflict. It illustrates why adults vary in terms
of what they need in relationships and how they perceive reality.
In subsequent chapters, this model clarifies variations and misconceptions
regarding trust, self esteem, intimacy, dissent, procrastination,
grief and racism.