It has been said that the highest happiness on earth is the happiness of marriage. If this is true, then it must follow that the highest pain on earth is the pain of the dissolution of marriage—in a word, divorce.
It is important to distinguish divorce from involuntary divorce. Involuntary divorce is the unilateral act of ending a marriage. It is the act of divorcing against the wishes, the desire, yes, against the pleads and cries of the other spouse. Some couples mutually decide to dissolve their marriage. This is not involuntary divorce. Involuntary divorce is one spouse placing his or her own temporary happiness above the lasting pain and heartache of the other spouse.
Involuntary divorce is a form of spousal abandonment. It can be defined as legal spousal abandonment. When a husband or wife files for divorce against the wishes of his or her spouse, the spouse is abandoned, first emotionally and mentally, then physically. Therefore, the spouse will experience similar effects from either of the two acts committed; involuntary divorce or the abandonment.
Involuntary divorce is a different type of monster. Susan Anderson, a therapist and expert on abandonment, describes abandonment as being a separate, unique monster differing from other types of loss and grief. She describes the pain and grief that come from abandonment as having a particular life of its own, stemming from the circumstances that led up to it and from the feelings of rejection and inadequacy that often accompany it. She beautifully, yet accurately describes the horrific experience as "shattering," stating that the abandonment is "a tear in the dense tissues of human attachment...a feeling of devastation, unbearable pain...a powerful neurobiological process...it is birth trauma revisited."