The Hidden Time Bomb That Will Destroy Your Marriage and The Secret for Defusing It

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Too many marriages are failing today and even trained marriage counselors don’t know why. I have been a marriage and family therapist for more than fifty years and the headline on my website “Confessions of a Twice-Divorced Marriage Counselor” introduces you to what I’ve learned in my own life and what I have done to help thousands of men and women recognize that divorce is not the answer. Spoiler alert: My present wife Carlin and I have been married for 45 years now and our love grows stronger every year.

            I could write a lot and tell you the full story, but I’m guessing you’d appreciate my getting right to the point and telling you what the time bomb is and the secret for defusing it.

            The hidden bomb causes changes in our brains when we grow up with a “father wound” and the secret for defusing it is to change the false beliefs that were planted in our brains that undermine our relationships.

            Although this deadly time bomb can explode at any time in a marriage, mid-life couples are particularly vulnerable. Susan L. Brown is Director of The National Center for Family & Marriage Research. In a recent article, “The Graying of Divorce: A Half Century of Change,” she offers the following facts:

  • People over 50 are divorcing in record-breaking numbers, and three to four-family generations feel the effects.
  • 1 in 4 persons who divorce in the U.S. is over 50, contrasted to less than

1 in 10 in 1990.

  • As the divorce rate for adults over 50 soars, so does the number of adult children experiencing parental divorce.
  • In their book Second Chances: Men, Women and Children a Decade After Divorce, Sandra Blakeslee and Judith S. Wallerstein tell us, “Divorce is deceptive. Legally it is a single event, but psychologically it is a chain – sometimes a never-ending chain – of events, relocations, and radically shifting relationships strung through time, a process that forever changes the lives of the people involved.”

Understanding and Healing The Family Father Wound

            Although I had written a number of books that helped me understand what causes relationships to fall apart, including international best-sellers including Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places, Surviving Male Menopause, The Irritable Male Syndrome, and The Enlightened Marriage: The 5 Transformative Stages of Relationships and Why the Best is Still to Come, it wasn’t until I tackled the “father wound” that the final pieces of the puzzle fell into place.

            In my book, My Distant Dad: Healing the Family Father Wound, I say,

“There is one problem that surpasses all others in its impact on men, women, and society. It is the father wound. We focus on the importance of mothers in determining the well-being of children. Without the support of their fathers, men become disconnected from their true selves, feeling that others are controlling their lives. The father wound may be the most pervasive, most important, and least recognized problem facing men and their families today. The father wound isn’t restricted to men. Women also suffer from the father wound.”

            As I recount in the book, my father wound began early. Like many men, my mid-life father had become increasingly depressed when he couldn’t make a living to support his family. Although there were many system problems that led to his losing his job, he blamed himself and felt like he was a failure as a husband and a father. When I was five years old, he took an overdose of sleeping pills.

            Fortunately, he didn’t die. He was committed to the state mental hospital, where the “treatment” of the time was inadequate at best and his condition worsened. I grew up wondering what happened to my father, when it would happen to me, and what I could do to prevent it from happening to other families.

            According to the National Center for Fathering,

“More than 20 million children live in a home without the physical presence of a father. Millions more have dads who are physically present, but emotionally absent. If it were classified as a disease, fatherlessness would be an epidemic worthy of attention as a national emergency.”

            I grew up believing that there was something wrong with me, that somehow I was responsible for my father’s depression and suicide attempt. We now know that “Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)” including the loss of parental support can impact our brain chemistry and the ways we perceive ourselves and our world.

            As I was writing the book, My Distant Dad, I thought I had healed my own father wound and could now share what I learned with others. One of those who found my book helpful was Iyanla Vanzant, the world-renowned spiritual teacher and thought leader, and host of Iyanla Fix My Life on the Oprah Winfrey Network. She said,

“Millions of us grew in a home with a father who was distant, absent, rejecting, or dysfunctional. Jed Diamond’s magnificent healing journey offers us a story of hope, reconciliation, and redemption where we can finally come to peace with our father wound and find real lasting love in our lives.”

            It wasn’t until the book was nearly complete that I realized there was another father wound that was missing. I knew my mother’s father, John, had died when she was five years old (the same age I was when my father went into the mental hospital, but she never talked about when happened or how it impacted her life.

            The wound she never dealt with caused her to marry and divorce three times. I believe, like many, she was “looking for love in all the wrong places,” always searching for the father she had lost, but never realizing it. Like many women she had an unhealthy emotional attachment to me, her son, and was never able to have a successful, long-term marriage.”

            I realized that all the women I had loved the most had suffered from having a father wound: My first wife’s father died when she was seven years old. My second wife’s father couldn’t handle her developing womanhood and totally distanced from her when she moved into puberty. Even my present wife, Carlin, lost her father through divorce.

            Whether you’re a man or a woman I think we all can resonate with the words of fatherhood expert Roland Warren. “Kids have a hole in their soul in the shape of their dad. And if a father is unwilling or unable to fill that role, it can leave a wound that is not easily healed.”

            Of course the healing and defusing of the bomb takes time. I have developed a program that I use with my private clients. You can learn about it and get the course here.

            There is another course that is excellent called “How to Diffuse the Divorce Bomb,” developed by Steve Horsmon, founder of Good Guys to Great Men. You can check out that course here.

            I write a new article every week for those who are part of our MenAlive community. If you are not a subscriber, you can become one here.

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