Toxic Marriages Are More Painful For Kids Than Divorce
Have you ever heard the phrase "We're staying together for the kids?". The truth is an unhappy marriage could be more painful for children than divorce. Here's why.
Divorce is never a celebration. It hurts everyone, including the children. However, in the long term, children suffer more if they grow up with unhappy parents that constantly fight.
1. They will grow up to copy the toxic model of their parents' marriage.
Children will grow up to mirror the relationship models they've seen at home. Seeing their parents constantly fight becomes normality and they'll copy it themselves in the future. They grow up believing it is normal to live in a toxic marriage and they won't even imagine that relationships can be any different.
2. They will never get used to it.
Even if it's been going on for years, kids will never "get used" to their parents' fighting. Family conflicts affect children socially and emotionally, causing them trust issues, low self-esteem, or the feeling of unworthiness. In the long term, it will be a lot harder for them to overcome feelings of insecurity, anxiety, or guilt.
3. They will become more vulnerable to stress.
For kids to learn how to deal with stressful situations, they need to have a safe place, which is usually their home. When 'home' means conflict, fighting, and yelling, it isn't really safe, but a place with constant threats. Children who grow up in such homes will become easily stressed, interpreting even the most ordinary situations as threatening. This causes anxiety, which can lead to nightmares, insomnia, or depression.
4. They will have a hard time building healthy relationships.
With their model relationship being anything but happy, kids will have trouble connecting with others later in life. They'll have a hard time building healthy romantic relationships, but other social connections, too. It will be hard for them to build close friendships, or to connect with colleagues, out of fear.
5. They'll pick up bad habits.
The first thing they'll do to protect themselves is to try to numb their feelings. As a response to a stressful situation, they'll pick up bad habits, like stress eating, excessive video game playing, or some even worse, just to escape real life. Moreover, they may start blowing off steam elsewhere, and become aggressive and angry while playing with other kids.
6. They will have a hard time expressing their emotions.
When seeing a lot of verbal aggression, avoidance, door slamming, children learn not to express their feelings, because it's not safe. They're afraid they may say something wrong and receive the same treatment. They grow up anxious, with difficulties in opening up. And as adults, they will apply what they've seen at home and repeat their parents' mistakes.