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    A Painful Reminder of Failure

    By Glenn A. Hascall     

    If statistics hold true, at least half of all current marriages will end in the devastation of divorce. No one will win. The list of loses is endless - marriage, intact family, innocence, trust, reconciliation, hope and love.

    The grounds for divorce are many and there may be safety issues or faithlessness issues involved, but the tearing of the family fabric is a painful reminder of failure.

    Perhaps none take that failure more seriously than the man. He may never show it. In fact, he is likely to hide most every emotion but anger, but the feelings are there because he was hardwired to strongly react to the effects of failure.

    You see, men often derive who they are by what they do. They are fixers and perceive themselves as the glue that keeps the family together. Often they consider it is by their very work (the thing that 'defines' them) that they are best able to care for their families.

    A wife may say, "We need you at home more," but the husband is looking at the bills and the nice things he wants for his family and has a hard time separating work from the status of a good husband and father. In the mind of man the two are unalterably linked, but has a hard time explaining it.

    When a separation is requested or divorce proceedings begin, the man begins an unusual spiral. The wife may feel as if he finally has no reason to pretend and his actions don't do much to disprove her theory. However, what often is happening is that the man is running through a mental list of personal failures. He pulls out a mental magnifying glass and every real and imagined failure is enlarged to the point where he feels incapable of holding anything together so he seems to push everything away so they aren't tainted by his failures.

    He will most likely regret his response later, but for everyone involved it seems as if dad has checked out and maybe just needed an excuse to make it official. That's when moms take on the arduous task of raising children alone.

    There are some startling statistics that indicate that once a divorce occurs, dad often fades away from active involvement in his children's lives. Part of the reason for this is the effect of perceived failure. He will look at his marriage, his home, and his life and come away with 'failure' as the key term to describe everything he has ever done.

    In his mind, if he is indeed such a failure, why would his children want to be around him. He is embarrassed and angry. He misses his children and family, but mistakenly believes it is in their best interest if he simply stays away. He may feign indifference or busyness, but he is a man whose actions are based on wrong assumptions.

    This article isn't intended as a one-size-fits-all approach to the issue primarily due to the fact that there are some fathers that may pose a danger to their children. However, if you are a divorced dad who is living under the microscope of personal failure and you've stayed away for too long, it's time to think less of how you might appear to your children and simply agree to be their dad. Seek counseling and if it's at all possible you should make it clear that you want to be part of their lives - they really do need you.

    Face it - you need them, too.

    Written by Glenn A. HascallRate this article:

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