The 13 Deadly Sins of Divorce
In the media, it is not uncommon to hear when certain people divorce, especially when the people are classified as celebrities or stars.
I call to your attention the very public divorces of music icon Lionel Richie versus Diane Alexander Richie, the famous NASCAR driver, Jeff Gordon versus Brooke Gordon, and the divorce battle between New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani versus Donna Hanover.
Many individuals who have traveled down the dark cold road of divorce, know very well how divorce can inflame bitter feelings, incite tense emotions and provoke people to commit harmful acts that they would not have otherwise committed. In this alarming article, I’ll expose The 13 Deadly Sins of Divorce. These are the harmful sins commonly committed by spouses once they are in the throes of divorce. Their aim? To dispense their own brand of vengeance, to somehow gain sympathy, or to gain the upper hand in their divorce court proceedings.
1. The Root of Bitterness – For some, the sting of divorce implants a bitter seed deep into their hearts. Once that seed germinates, these men and women are subject, not only to hurt others, but to injure themselves by committing irrevocable self-inflicted wounds. Some men become avowed women haters and turn to abusing and exploiting the female gender. They become so bitter against marriage that they go on a one-man mission to persuade other men to never get married. These men are the originators of the current male marriage strike. Others engage in indiscriminate sex, commit suicide or turn to homosexuality. I have seen some men become so bitter, that they had a vasectomy. These men said they would never give another woman the opportunity to hurt them after their vindictive ex-wives used the family court to rip their children from their lives.
The women become so bitter that they engage in no holds barred male bashing. To these females, all men are dogs and they passionately convey that message to each and every female who crosses their path. These women join the ranks of other fuming feminists whose mission in life is to emasculate the male gender. They glory in the fact that they frequently succeed at eroding true masculinity and castrating real manhood. Their mantra, “Whatever a man can do, we can do better!” Other females resort to promiscuity, lesbianism, or turn to drugs and alcohol to bandage the pain caused by their divorce. Still others reduce themselves to willfully committing vengeful acts such as paternity fraud and marital fraud.
2. Vicious Child Custody Battles – The Lagrange, Georgia, family courtroom was packed to capacity. The soon to be ex-spouses were both jockeying for position to get full custody of their 10-year-old daughter. At the parent’s behest, the child was summoned by the judge to testify. After being on the witness stand about five minutes and answering a few questions as best she could, the nervous child got fidgety and tears began to roll down her eyes. Finally, in a moment of anguish, she jumped from the witness stand and bolted out of the courtroom. One of the family members standing next to me caught the little girl and attempted to console her.
By then she was crying profusely and muttering statements such as, “I wished my parents would stop fighting, I can’t take this anymore,” and “Why can’t we be a normal family?” That precious little girl had become a victim of her parent’s nasty divorce and a casualty of their vicious child custody battle. Unfortunately, child custody battles have become the norm in our divorce prone society. Innocent children are forced into the fury as they are coaxed, coerced or bribed into choosing sides between parents. Although the child may not take the witness stand as in this case, the overflow of hostilities between the divorcing spouses will most likely leave deep emotional, psychological and social scars on the child’s life.
3. The Child Becomes a Pawn – Some spouses use their child as a pawn to exact vengeance against their ex-spouse. Melissa and Ron had one child together. After their split, although they had joint custody, Melissa agreed to allow their child to live with her ex-husband. A few years later when Ron remarried, Melissa became so furious that she stormed back into court and filed paperwork for full custody! Prior to that point, their son, who was about twelve, was doing great in school, had adjusted to his stepmother and displayed no behavioral problems. The custody drama was extremely strenuous because their son adored his stepmother, loved their home, and cherished his neighborhood friends.
Members from the three families, Melissa’s, Ron’s and Ron’s new wife, all pleaded with Melissa not to drag the families through the family court. Melissa would not relent! She was adamant about obtaining full custody and forcing her ex-husband to start paying her child support. They had shielded their son from their divorce proceedings, but they could not do so in their child custody battle. In the end, Melissa won full custody and immediately removed their son from his stable household and familiar environment. That is when his life changed for the worse.
In his new home, there was no stability. His mother had various boyfriends and while she was out on dates, she would leave her son the remote control and microwave dinners. He spent most of his time watching music videos, MTV, BET and WWF; consequently his grades took a nose dive. He started displaying behavioral problems such as disrespecting his teachers and skipping school. Things escalated when he joined a gang and eventually started using drugs. While his life spiraled out of control, Melissa refused to call the boy’s father. Under no circumstances did she want her son communicating with his father or stepmother. She even prevented their son from attending his scheduled court ordered visits with his dad.
In the end, their son dropped out of school and was arrested on charges stemming from a gang related burglary. Melissa kept the boy’s father and stepmother in the dark about the proceedings until the trial was well underway. By that time it was literally too late for them to help. After the judge added up the aggravating sentencing factors: high school drop out, gang member, burglary, drug user, their 17-year-old son was given a 12 year sentence in an adult prison. As he was escorted away, Melissa broke down and cried. Her conscience had gotten the best of her. She went to her ex-husband and his wife and confessed. She admitted that she was bitter with Ron that he had remarried and that she had used their son to cause Ron as much pain as she possibly could. Her evil plot worked to perfection!
4. The Money Battle – Once a couple engages in the divorce court money battle, it seems as though they vacate all of their sensibilities, (moral and ethical). The soon to be ex-spouses turn into mortal combatants gripped in the war of all wars. If they loved each other, you wouldn’t know it. Not since they have switched gears and escalated into the - by any means necessary combat mode. This ruthless stance guides every decision that they make concerning their divorce. In this rigorous mindset, these spouses will resort to: hiding money in offshore accounts, using Internet tracking software, filing false financial affidavits, spying, stalking, forensic accounting, hiring private detectives, and lying to each other and about each other. And that is the short list! They will do and say whatever it takes to get the LION’S SHARE of the divorce proceedings, even if it means causing their soon to be ex to experience complete financial ruin!
5. The Scorched Earth Policy – This policy is actually taken from a classic military strategy. Prior to retreating, commanders would instruct troops to destroy everything: crops, trees, fuel, supplies, vehicles and anything that would be useful to the advancing army. In the divorce battlefield, some spouses are encouraged by divorce court attorneys to employ this policy. Most men know that the divorce court and family court is biased against them and they see no chance of getting a fair shake. By implementing the scorched earth policy, some men believe they can balance the field of combat. I followed one divorce case in which the husband, in one fail swoop, quit his high paying job, stopped paying insurance on the three family vehicles and emptied all of their bank accounts.
They owned numerous rental properties and he contacted the renters and advised them to stop paying rent. He told them to live there until his ex-wife served them with papers, then he destroyed all of the rental records. She had no way of knowing who paid what and when. In the empty rental units, he recruited vagrants and told them they could live there for free until someone kicked them out. He shredded any and all paperwork related to their marriage and got his name removed from most of the credit card debt and loans they had incurred together. In the end, his devious plot worked! His ex-wife received absolutely nothing in the final divorce court order because there was nothing left! Neither she nor her attorneys could make heads or tails of the financial tsunami created by her ex-husband.
6. False Allegations – In a move designed to gain the upper hand in the divorce court battle or child custody feud, some spouses will resort to filing false and unfounded allegations. This includes false allegations of domestic violence, child abuse and sexual molestation. Once a spouse is falsely accused, their life is put under the proverbial microscope of intrusive scrutiny. They are automatically assumed guilty until they prove their innocence beyond a shadow of a reasonable doubt, and even then, it is virtually impossible for them to restore their tarnished name. The spouses who employ this revolting tactic, know the stakes very well. They intend to hurt their spouse in the worst possible way, including having them falsely incarcerated! They will do whatever it takes to win the divorce battle!
7. Abuse and Domestic Violence - The stress of a failing marriage inflames some spouses to retaliate in an unorthodox manner. They resort to committing abuse and violence. Their bitterness causes them to wield the weapons of abuse and domestic violence against their spouses, children and family members, and against the opposite sex. These men and women literally become human ticking time bombs.
8. Generational Curse - It goes without saying that divorce tears apart the fundamental basis of a child's security: having both their father and their mother in their life. When a child becomes a victim of divorce, oftentimes, they take on the generational curse of divorce themselves. They in turn pass this curse on to their children. In some families the curse of divorce runs four and five or more generations deep. If you searched his or her family lineage, you will find no one who has had a stable marriage, or who knows what a healthy marriage looks like.
9. Child Abduction - Parental child abduction is a particularly heinous sin that surfaces in some divorce cases. It involves the wrongful removal or retention of a child by one parent in breach of the rights of the child to have contact, on a regular basis, with both parents. The parental abductor harms their children psychologically. They unwittingly destroy their child’s sense of trust and set them up to be a spiritually, socially and emotionally dysfunctional adult.
Patricia Hoff, the Legal Director for the Parental Abduction Training and Dissemination Project, explains: "Abducted children suffer emotionally and sometimes physically at the hands of abductor-parents. Many children are told the other parent is dead or no longer loves them. Uprooted from family and friends, abducted children often are given new names by their abductor-parents and instructed not to reveal their real names or where they lived before." (Hoff, 1997).
10. Parental Alienation Syndrome - Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) is when hurt and embittered parents poison their children against their spouses. These parents barrage their adolescents, teenagers and adult children with a mixture of lies, false allegations and constant criticisms. Their intent? To persuade their child to hate or despise their other parent.
11. Parentification of Children – Some parents spin into an emotional downward spiral during or after their marital rupture. Emotionally, they become incapable of dealing with the realities of their divorce. When that happens, the parents expect, and in many cases, demand that their children behave as adults. The parent-child relationship is annulled and is replaced with a psychologically damaging (child replaces parent) relationship. The children are forced to take care of their moms or dads. They become the primary caretakers of their siblings and usually run the households. They provide their parents with a false sense of emotional security. Some parents use their children to meet their need for intimacy. Parents sleep with their children, (not sexually) just to have a shoulder to cry on, to have someone to hold and someone to talk to. They talk to their children about their problems and issues, sharing with them details that children should be shielded from. In turn, these children don’t get a chance to properly develop emotionally, and usually become dysfunctional marriage partners.
12. Munchausen's Syndrome by Proxy – Some divorced parents have severe emotional and psychological meltdowns. Their instability causes them to use bizarre tactics to receive sympathy, leniency, nurturing, and to gain attention that they would not otherwise receive. Their bizarre tactics include: (a) self-inducing illnesses (b) faking sicknesses (c) faking injuries, and (d) fabricating injuries. They commit these acts against themselves and against their children. Their objective is not to seek external or monetary gains. As I stated previously, they are looking for attention, sympathy, to be nurtured and to receive leniency. Some of these men and women commit these acts as a last ditch effort to win back their ex-spouse.
13. Spousal Homicide – The divorce attorney’s mantra is: “Divorce is war!” In this epic war, there are times when one of the spouses sees the weapon of homicide as the only way to resolve or dissolve their marital conflict. For example, we will never know what was going through the mind of Matthew Bass in Edwardsville, Kansas. Police reports and court records paint an eerie picture of a man who refused to let his marriage end on any other terms but his own. On April 3, 2004, in the wee hours of the morning, police say that Matthew Bass stalked, ambushed and then killed his ex-wife and the man with whom she was living. Matthew later committed suicide.
In April of 2003, Tacoma Police Chief David Brame murdered his soon to be ex-wife in broad daylight. The two were in the middle of a contentious divorce. Family members of Brame showed evidence of how his wife filed false allegations and used other underhanded tactics in order to win the divorce war. It seems as though David had enough. The couple's children were sitting in the vehicle that his wife was driving. At some point, Chief Brame put the children in his car, then went back to his wife's car, shot her and turned the gun on himself. He committed this brutal act as the couple's two small children looked on. Unfortunately, in spousal homicide cases, the children are very likely to witness the murder of their parent.
The Ripple Effect
Without a question divorce carries with it terrible emotional, social, physical, psychological and financial consequences. More and more, the ripple effect of divorce is felt in subsequent generations. The 13 Deadly Sins of Divorce affects not only the spouses but also their children and their children’s children... if you are presently going through a divorce or contemplating one, I admonish you - do not commit any of these thirteen deadly sins! Do not attempt to alienate your children from their other parent no matter how much you may despise your spouse. Do not reduce yourself to using your child as a pawn. Both parents should agree to shield their child from the immense tensions associated with obtaining a divorce.
That means do not drag your child into your divorce court proceedings. To do so means you may very well be planting the destructive seeds of hatred, hostility and vengeance in their fertile minds and pliable hearts. Once these seeds germinate, you have set them on a sure collision course with psychological, emotional and social disorder. Do not violate your conscience by filing false charges of any kind. If an attorney suggests that you use any of these 13 Deadly Sins as a means to gain the upper hand in your divorce proceedings, do not follow their advice.
And for your sake, do not become bitter. I consistently receive calls from embittered spouses, both male and female. Some of the vengeful things they say they intend on doing to their spouse would cause your heart to tremor. One man thoroughly resented how his soon to be ex-wife was treating him. She had a shrewd bulldog divorce attorney who had succeeded at stripping his children out of his life. Faced with the fact that he may never see them again, this man was intent on killing his wife as a means to end their torturous divorce court battle. His words to me were, “She’s taken my children and everything I’ve worked hard for, I don’t care about going to jail… she’s already ruined my life.”
Was there any rhyme or reason to his murderous thoughts? Logically, the answer is no! But in the divorce court battlefield, logical and sane decisions are not the norm. In this highly polarized war torn battlefield, the emotions consistently run on extremely volatile and inflammable high-octane fuel. One spark is all it takes to ignite, detonate or launch the weapons of mass destruction such as false allegations, child abduction, the scorched earth policy, abuse, domestic violence or spousal murder.
It is an undeniable fact - divorce is stressful, painful and harmful, but it does not mean the end of your life. With God’s help, you can regroup, recover and move on. Do these deadly thirteen sins mean that you should stay in a harmful, abusive or violent marriage? A thousand times NO! If you have found yourself booby trapped in an abusive, violent or harmful marriage, to be blunt, getting out may be your only recourse to regaining your sanity, physical safety and peace of mind. I pray that you seek proper godly counsel and make the right decision.
© Copyright Gillis Triplett Ministries.
2004 - All Rights Reserved. International copyright secured.
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