Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Primal Loss: a preview



God willing and the creek don't rise, my second book, Primal Loss: The Now-Adult Children of Divorce Speak, will be in your hands on May 22, in both e-book and paperback format (the ebook, and only the ebook, can be pre-ordered here).

If you haven't been following all the conversation and drama on my Facebook page over the past few weeks, I want to give you a little taste of it here.

First, the reviews of the book are in, and I am so humbled and honored to have the encouragement and endorsement of these incredible people, including my faithful and holy shepherd, Bishop Thomas Olmsted:


Primal Loss records for us the actual pain of those most wounded by divorce--children. This makes it countercultural in the best of ways. Some suffering today is not allowed to be called suffering. It is not politically correct to say that children suffer greatly from the divorce of their parents. This book needed to be written, and it needs to be read. It will help children of divorce know that they are not wrong in feeling this awful loss, which, once named and brought to Christ and His Cross, can find healing and even be redemptive. It will help all who bear wounds caused by broken marriages, including divorcées themselves, not only to see in truth what has happened, but also to seek the One whose mercy is greater than our sins and whose Cross is our only hope. 
Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, Diocese of Phoenix


“For I hate divorce, says the Lord” (Malachi 2:16). In Primal Loss, adult children explain the life-long impact of learning that horrific concept that “love stops” because their parents divorced. These voices must not be snuffed out by the political correctness that has silenced the suffering brought on by actions that are deemed sinful by the Church. “Open thy mouth for the dumb, and for the causes of all the children that pass” (Proverbs 31:8 Douay-Rheims). 
Monica Breaux, PhD, MSW, Catholic speaker and therapist, 2010 Catholic Social Worker of the Year, creator of Wholly Men and Women programs


We all need to listen to the voices in Primal Loss because their pain is significant and motivating. Those in marriages will be inspired to elevate their relationships and inoculate against divorce; those who have suffered should take comfort that they are not alone, and that hope and peace can return.
Diane Medved, Ph.D., psychologist and author of Don’t Divorce: Powerful Arguments For Saving and Revitalizing Your Marriage.




Reading Primal Loss is akin to watching footage of the Hindenburg disaster. Its message is so rivetingly compelling that it's impossible to tear your gaze away, even though it documents a profound tragedy. Regardless of your current views on divorce, this book will impact you deeply."
Patrick Madrid, radio host, author of many books, including Life Lessons: Fifty Things I Learned in My First Fifty Years


Primal Loss is shock treatment for anyone rationalizing the effect of a broken home on a child. Leila Miller presents the raw words of adult children of divorce, exposing the myth that “the children are all right.” Every pastor and counselor should read this book! 
Leila Marie Lawler, co-author of The Little Oratory: A Beginner's Guide to Praying in the Home


In the most bizarre twist that can only be a result of the Holy Spirit, my bishop, prior to writing that review, had given a homily that I just happened to be in the congregation to hear, that just happened to be the first homily in my 50 years as a Catholic that spoke directly to the suffering of the children of divorce. I almost fell off my pew. My jaw was open the entire rest of the Mass, I am sure. Listen to his words for yourself:



Please share that homily with any children of divorce that you may know. I am not a child of divorce, and I knew very little about this whole subject before I started this project. One thing I have learned--and which has shocked me--is that most children of divorce, even decades later, have never been asked by anyone how they feel/felt about their parents' divorce! They may be asked about why it happened, when it happened, how it happened, and even how their parents are doing, but rarely does anyone ask the child himself. Even therapists seem to give coping or communication skills, but apparently many (most?) do not ask how the child feels and what his thoughts are about the divorce itself.

There are 70 anonymous contributors to my book. As the project came to a close, I put the word out to them that I was seeking a quote that might encapsulate how they feel about the divorce of their parents, something I could use as a catch-all quote for the back of the book. I was stunned by how quickly I got back an avalanche of words. Here is some of what I got, and this will give you an idea of the kind of pain these people have been keeping inside for decades:

“My childhood was a lie.”

“I had to lie about what I thought and felt.”

“No one took our pain seriously.”

“I felt lost and alone.”

“I felt like a tree that had been pulled up and its roots exposed.”

“I hid my pain, emotions, and everything else until it came to a head in my teens and I had to cut myself for relief.”

“I knew something was terribly wrong with how my ‘family’ was structured, but I lacked any framework to understand it.”

“I never knew who to be, since wherever I was, half of who I was was found wanting.”
“They said we were family...”

“If I’m not the daughter of Mr. and Mrs.____, then who am I?"

“I still wear a mask to hide my true self.”

“The children did not get the attention that was so desperately needed.”

“The divorce was like a storm with unspeakable wreckage.”

“My heart is broken, and a hole as big as the universe is made in my soul.”

“I struggle to believe in unconditional love.”

“My parents moved on, but I’m still picking up the pieces.”

“Just how many ‘families’ have to be strung together before enough is enough?”

“Instability, abuse, and depression. Broken homes are terrible for children.”

“Divorce is a brokenness only God can heal; each story is different, but in each is an experience of great loss.”

“If my parents couldn’t figure out how to love, where does that leave me?”

“I feel displaced. Dejected. Despairing.”

“My family is gone. Forever.”

“If we can’t learn to fight for love and family from our parents, then from whom?”

“Children are NOT resilient.”

“Dear parents, you should have tried harder.”

“No, the kids are not okay; yes, we are hiding it, because you are not a safe place for us to bring our pain. You may not get it, but it is time we have a voice.”

“Divorce destroys, always.”

“Parents are supposed to speak up for their children, not crush their voice.”

“I’m 50. When do I get to stop protecting my parents and be me?”

“Every day, I weighed the feelings of my parents and acted accordingly. My entire life felt like a balancing act, beginning at 12 years old. It still does, even at 35.”

“Yep, kids are resilient. Or so you think they are... until....”

“Whether six months or 80 years old, the divorce left a lasting wound that we deal with every day, and only God consoles us.”

“They were unhappy and they separated. I pretended to be happy so they wouldn’t leave me, too.”

“Divorce is a loss. A loss of marriage. A loss of family. A loss of life once known. And with loss comes pain and grieving. Shouldn’t the child of divorce be allowed to express his pain and be given time to grieve?”

^^That was answered by another, who said: “To allow that would be to admit they did something damaging. Most people refuse to see it that way.”

“Watch the Hindenburg crash... that is what divorce is like.”

^^That was answered by another, who said: “In slower--more excruciating--motion.”

“Where is this resiliency that everyone is talking about?????!!!!! I mean that.”

“They said we would be resilient, but they were just pushing our pain under the rug.”

“The divorce forever changed who I was. I was a carefree, trusting, and joyful child. Divorce took my innocent childhood and replaced it with hurt and rejection, and I was lost. I do not get close to others. I just cannot handle rejection. It changed everything.”

"My sister and I weren’t given a chance to grieve the divorce because society sees it as 'normal' now--so we were supposed to be fine.”

“My family was an organic whole in its own right. Tearing that into two pieces tore ME into two pieces. That is not something I will ever recover from fully.”

“It’s like learning to live with a physical disability after being hit by a drunk driver. At least car crash victims are not lied to about their disability and are not told to be resilient so that the person who crashed into them feels better.”

“Tore me into a zillion pieces.”

“If you would’ve asked me how I was doing, I would’ve said ‘fine.’ That was a big fat lie.”

“Only the grace of God could restore what was broken!”

“The crosses of marriage were never meant to be transferred to the children.”

“I was expected to ‘just be happy’.”

“It wasn’t for the best, especially not for the children.”

“If they only knew how left behind I felt.”

“You said I’d be happy because you’d be happy. You were wrong.”

“I was given the message that if I was sad or hurt or struggling it was somehow my fault, because the divorce ‘fixed’ everything, and everyone else was great.”

“It was implied that any struggles or sadness I felt from the divorce was due to my weakness or selfishness.”

“The divorce culture is a culture of lies. Ours is a generation raised in the shadow of these lies.”

“Even though gaslighting is a very strong term, that's how I feel about so much of my childhood.”


And on and on....

For these adult children of divorce, the floodgates have been opened. How many others, millions, have never said a word?

Pray for all those who live with the pain and the scars of divorce every day.







PS: Due to some very unfortunate events, I have had to put the comments on "moderate." Thank you for understanding.









1 comment:

  1. I was thinking it might be a good idea if we had to get permission from the children to remarry.

    ReplyDelete

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