AFTERMATH: According to Dictionary.com it is: “Something that results or follows from an event, especially one of a disastrous or unfortunate nature; consequence: the aftermath of war; the aftermath of the flood.” HOWEVER, I USE THIS TERM OFTEN IN COUNSELING/COACHING TO DESCRIBE THE EVENTS THAT OCCUR IN AN UNDEFINED PERIOD OF TIME AFTER YOUR DIVORCE.
Aftermath includes incredible sadness, grief, and anger--just when you thought everything would be good...finally.
Aftermath includes everything your child/children will go through as they process the sadness, grief, and anger they feel because their parents could not remain married—because their abusive father could not just “pull it together and act right.”
Aftermath is when you are craving peace, love, and happiness for you and your children now that's he's gone only to realize they have been “infected” by the behavior/spirit they experienced or witnessed in their home.
Aftermath includes extreme socioeconomic shock as you and your children move to a form of housing, neighborhood, or environment that is foreign, or worse, a shelter with none of their personal belongings.
Aftermath includes your children being angry with you; alternately for being so weak you stayed, or for being strong enough to break the family unit by leaving.
Aftermath may include physical/mental ailments from the trauma you have experienced and the extraordinary stress of trying to “get on your feet again/rebuild your life”...often with little or no work experience and little or no financial resources or backing.
Aftermath may include physical symptoms like migraines or emotional issues like PTSD and sleep disturbances to name a few.
Aftermath will most likely include the need for counseling for you and your children to overcome the negative thoughts, words, and actions that were directed to you all by your abuser.
If you are currently in an abusive marriage and wondering what is worse; what you face if you stay or the aftermath you face if you leave, let me assure you staying is worse. Aftermath is not further pain or a sign that you will never be totally free of your abuser because he is gone but still adversely affecting your life. To the contrary, aftermath is a process...a healing process that you must face and go through to get to the other side of it. What is on the other side of the aftermath? Healing, peace, strength, increased faith, and a new life.
So many stay in horribly dangerous situations because they are less afraid of the evil they know than the unknown. Don't make this mistake. Save what iS left of your life and save your children. Save their spirits. Allow them to experience joy and peace in their home. When they are angry, bitter, upset, or acting out...explain the Fruit of the Spirit to them. Let them know what they have seen has been a spiritual battle. They have witnessed it firsthand and they watched their father make the wrong choices instead of the right choices. Lovingly point your children to right responses, attitudes and choices.
Acknowledge what they have been through and the injustice of it all but let them know that each individual will stand alone to answer for his or her choices. Let them know that no matter what you have suffered, that is no excuse to then behave inappropriately, react in anger or (perhaps worst case scenario) to mirror the actions/attitudes of their father. Let them know you love them and although you wish things were different, God will not “make us act right," and consequently their father was solely responsible for his actions. God wants people who love Him and choose to follow what is right—not robots. Assure them that no matter what it looks like today; God rewards faithfulness and punishes the wicked. If they remain faithful, they will see His blessings flowing in their lives.
Be encouraged in your season of aftermath—I assure you it IS just a season.