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Divorce cost me my job!

Updated: Sep 20, 2022

Travis felt like he had been hit by a truck as he rolled over to awake to a thumping headache. It took hours to get to sleep as his mind was racing, going over and over why Kelly had left after 20 years of marriage. Even in his waking moments, his first thought was Kelly. Every morning when he woke up, he hoped it was just a bad dream and life would be back to normal where he world roll over and snuggle up to Kelly. Every morning the feeling of loss was confirmed as the empty space next to him reminded him of the empty space in his heart. His stomach would flip, forming a knot, making him feel sick.

How will he be able to cope?

Everything in his life had been impacted, loss of the relationship, loss of the kids, loss of the family home, financial instability and his work performance had deteriorated.

Travis lay there thinking about the previous day at work and cringed at his lack of motivation, poor customer service and inability to meet his sales targets. From being awarded ‘Best Salesman of the month’ to being berated by his boss on his poor performance. Travis thought he really needs to ‘snap out of it’ as people are noticing his behaviour has changed. Even his appearance had changed, loss of weight, unkempt look, and his robotic autopilot demeanour. There was no way he wanted to tell his boss about what was going on at home. He was use to being a high achiever and yet he felt like a failure that he couldn’t keep his wife happy. Laying there thinking about the life they had, nice house, sports car, lavish holidays and fun with their friends at BBQ’s…….so how could anyone want to leave that life? The realisation that it wasn’t the life that Kelly walked away from, it was him. But why? why? What had he done or not done to deserve this? He provided for his family, worked really hard, putting in long hours to achieve bonuses to have wonderful family holidays every year. Just last year he took the family to Disneyland and the kids loved it. He could see his daughter Ainsley’s face, which lit up with excitement when he told them they were going to Disneyland and how his son Jake squealed and jumped up and down.

Suddenly the phone rang, with a loud booming voice. “Where are you, Travis? You are supposed to be at the client site to deliver the proposal on their new installation” Travis sprung out of bed. He searched for his watch to see that it was 10:20am. He was supposed to be there at 10am. His heart was pounding, his legs like jelly and his stomach swirling and churning with anxiety. This was not going to be a good day. “I am so sorry, Travis replied. "I have hardly slept last night as I am not feeling very well, can we reschedule?” His boss was not impressed “You are making us look bad Travis, surely you could have called earlier or text me in the night to advise you weren’t feeling well so I could have given the client a heads up this morning. Stay home today, Travis, but I want to see you at 9am tomorrow in my office to discuss this further”. Travis sheepishly replied, “I am really sorry” The line cut out as his boss hung up in sheer frustration.

Travis slumped back on the bed, emotionally exhausted, disappointed with himself, and feeling like his whole life is crashing down around him. He tries to go back to sleep but his mind won’t let him, he is worrying about whether he is going to lose his job. He doesn’t blame his boss for being mad, he just feels he can’t cope with the pressures of getting this new client on board whilst juggling his separation. At that moment his phone buzzes with a text message. His heart starts pounding, maybe it's Kelly. He reaches over to the bedside table and sees her name highlighted on his phone. His hand is shaking as he opens the message. “Travis, the kids have a birthday party on Saturday to go to, so you won’t be able to have them that day, maybe the following Saturday” He could feel his heart sink and the panic take hold. His fingers started typing furiously “No, I haven’t seen them for 3 weeks now, I want to see them. Isn’t it enough you took them away from me and now you are dictating when I can see them, they are my kids too” In his haste he clicked send before he could re-read his reply and try to craft it in a non-combative way. Half of him felt angry thinking “stand your ground, she has ruined your life and she isn’t going to continue to get away with it” versus feeling sad “oh no what have I done, it will only make it worse.”

He started to pace up and down his bedroom awaiting the reply thinking he has stuffed it up now, lost his wife, lost his kids, and oh yeah may have lost his job. FARRRK! He throws his phone on the bed hard and it bounces. He goes into the shower, lets the water pour over his head and down his face. He started sobbing, hoping the sound of the shower drowned out the sounds of his sorrow. He couldn’t feel the difference between what was tears rolling down his face versus the running water trying to soothe the pain he was feeling. His mind felt mushy, unable to cope with the challenges, trauma and grief he was enduring. What will become of him? Will he be able to see his kids soon? He shouts at the top of his voice “When will this nightmare be over” and continued to sob uncontrollably, his shoulders jerking, hands shaking and tears flowing. He stood under the shower for what seemed like hours letting the hot water soothe his face, almost like a nurturing hand stroking his forehead silently whispering everything will be ok.

As soon as he got out of the shower, he went to his bed to see if Kelly had replied. She hadn’t. What was she thinking? Will she let him see the kids the next Saturday or come up with another excuse? He slumped onto the bed naked, face down screaming into his pillow, sobbing and shouting “how could she do this to me?”

Travis woke up a few hours later, feeling cold as goosebumps covered his body and his wet pillow was cold on his face. He stumbled into the bathroom and looked in the mirror. His eyes were so puffy and red, his hair sticking up at the front as it had dried where he had laid face first into the pillow, his stomach felt nauseous. He looked at his face in the mirror intently. The lines on his face etched the trauma deep in his soul. He splashed water onto his face hoping to wash away the grief, but it remained. He wondered if life was going to get any better or, was he destined to live in this purgatory forever.

He stumbled into the bedroom and got dressed. He headed for the kitchen to make a cup of coffee as he knew he needed to reschedule his other client meetings for the rest of the week. He was in no state of mind to talk to anyone. He certainly didn’t feel like the bubbly, friendly, charismatic salesman he once was a few weeks ago. Usually he would have called clients, but today he needed to hide his broken self behind technology and sent them an email advising he was unwell but would be back on-board next week to catch up for coffee.

Travis kept looking at his phone, hoping for a message from Kelly confirming he would see the kids soon. He checked his personal emails to see if she had sent an email to him. Even if it was a tirade of anger, he needed something to know what she was thinking, what she was feeling and the possible outcome of his agitated text. Nothing…… the uncertainty was killing him!

That night Travis was tossing and turning, he couldn’t get to sleep. The thoughts of what his boss was going to say tomorrow, whether Kelly would let him see the kids soon, what would happen with the house, and where he would end up living. It was so overwhelming that so much of his life was falling apart and he felt helpless to take charge to fix it!

After a few hours tossing and turning he got up and made himself a whisky to calm down and help him sleep. He started to feel more relaxed and numb to the chaos of life. He finished his glass and put it on the bedside table and noticed half the bottle of whiskey had gone. He slumped into bed and drifted off to sleep…a deep sleep!

Travis awoke to his phone ringing, and it made him sit bolt upright. He cringed and grabbed his head in pain and fumbled to pick up his phone. It was his boss “Where are you? You were supposed to be in my office at 9am” Travis stammered “um, um” searching for his watch to see what the time was. Oh no, it was 9:17am, he replied “I am so sorry, I really don’t feel very well”. His boss was really angry thinking he was so disrespectful not to call in sick. “Don’t bother coming back Travis, you have been so unreliable for the past few weeks. You obviously are not interested in your job and when you are here you are not performing well, so I really need to let you go. Bye Travis”. Travis couldn’t believe it, but before he could say anything his boss had hung up. Travis sat there on the edge of the bed, feeling life was hopeless. He had gone from having a great career, a wife and kids to having nothing!

Life can throw us a curveball that knocks us for six. It can be so overwhelming we just don’t know what to do or who to turn to. We feel we have lost control of our life.

A Divorce Coach helps you prioritise the challenges, plan what is needed to keep you empowered and future focused providing emotional support along the way.

Don’t let the chaos of life spiral you into despair, gain control of your life’s challenges and take back your power! Learn more here

Author – Cheryl Duffy, Divorce Coach, Mediator & Author

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