Bruce Law Firm - August 2019

August 2019

Back to School Feelings


Do you remember what it felt like to go back to school after the summer? You went from wild, unruly days at the pool and afternoons biking around the neighborhood to suddenly being back in a classroom, subjected to structured hours of textbooks and homework. Those first few mornings waking up early again? Those weren’t my favorite either. It can be a tough transition for students, especially for the first week or two. Parents struggle to get their kids back into a regular routine and acclimated to going to bed and waking up earlier. Going to a new school, whether it’s advancing to middle school or because of a move, can bring up a whole other set of emotions. Do you remember how lonely it felt during that first lunch period at a new school?

In talking to our clients, I’ve noticed many of them experience a similar transition. In a lot of cases, it’s almost as if they’re going from a strict boarding school to summer vacation: They go from being in a controlling relationship to being free. Then, they have to decide what their summer vacation — their life — will look like in the next season. In the case of one of our clients, her husband was taking her paycheck and giving her an allowance. She’s been ready to be free for some time, but that final step is often the hardest. When she does move forward, she’ll have freedom and a different kind of structure. She’ll get to decide what her summer looks like. For many of the people we work with, it’s almost as if they’ve been living a nightmare. A lot of times, it just takes one demeaning comment or one controlling act to wake them up from it. They take a step back and start questioning their spouse’s behavior and the marriage. Another client I met with recently dealt with continuous psychological and verbal abuse from her spouse. One day, he yelled at her in front of her daughter. That did it. She suddenly woke up and realized she did not want her daughter to see that as an example of what love or marriage is. She saw the situation from a new lens and realized, “This is not me. I wouldn’t let this behavior happen. This is not acceptable.” These clients, and countless others, are strong people, tough as nails. If you met them, you would never imagine someone could control them. But it’s harder than you think when someone has waged psychological and emotional warfare on you. Fortunately, we get to help people as they’re beginning again. It’s not easy; it’s like starting at a new school or going to summer camp for the first time. In this new season of life, you get to meet new people, take new classes, and maybe move to a new neighborhood. It’s exciting, but it takes time to adjust. If you’re in this season of change, give yourself time. Allow yourself to heal and open up again, maybe with the help of a mental health professional who can help you see that you are stronger than you know. We’re here for you, too, to help make the process easier. Like summer camp, it might be scary at first, but there are new friends who are ready for you. – Ashley & Chris Bruce

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