Divorce expert M. Gary Neuman, the founder of the Sandcastles Program for Children of Divorce and author of Helping Your Kids Cope with Divorce the Sandcastles Way, is back to help Melissa and her family heal.
He says if children of divorce don't address the pain they feel, it can last for decades. "It really is about the expression and having your parents understand," he says. "That mere expression helps it. Our feelings are time travelers. We keep re-experiencing that feeling until we go to the root. And then when we go to the root, we can begin to heal."
Gary explains that most adults shy away from confronting their parents about their feelings for the same reason they shied away from it when they were children. "They don't want to blame their parents because they're older," he says. "We've had little kids tell us that they don't even want to tell their parents how bad they're feeling when they're little because they don't want to overwhelm their parents—and they're 6, 7 and 10. Now when we're older, often we think, 'Oh, my gosh, I can't do that to my parents. It will break them apart.'"
Gary says it does not have to be this way. "You can do it in such a way that protects your parents' feelings in a calm way," he says. "Through that method you can really express it, and they can hear it, and you can really change how you relate to each other."