Autism Hope Alliance Lectures, Interviews and Educational Events
- Event: Autism Hope Summit – 2016
- Media: Audio Interview
- Host: Kristin S Gonzalez
- Guest: Katherine Woodward Thomas (Author)
- Theme: Conscious Uncoupling – Happiness After a Divorce
- YouTube: https://youtu.be/fyh3QQlnV4U
“Studies show that when we have a difficult feeling that it really matters if we can do something as simple as give the feeling a name; that until we can name the feeling, it’s kind of like the feeling has us. But once we can name it, it deescalates in intensity.” ~ Katherine Woodward Thomas
Kristin: I would like to introduce Katherine Woodward Thomas, New York Times bestselling author of Calling in the One and Conscious Uncoupling: Five Steps to Living Happily Even After. She’s also a licensed marriage and family counselor.
Today, we’re going to be talking about conscious uncoupling – learning to live happily even after divorce. I am so excited to have you here today talking about this, Katherine. Thank you so much for taking time to do this.
Katherine: Absolutely, Kristin. It’s my honor and delight to be here part of this wonderful series. Thank you for including me.
Kristin: Well, I think this is such a hot topic for especially the autism community, because the numbers we’re hearing is that it’s up to 80% are getting divorced. Autism itself is already really hard, and now you add divorce. Really, that’s a recipe for overwhelming fear, anxiety, loneliness, and guilt. Why did you get involved too when you first started thinking about this conscious uncoupling? What is your story behind that?
Katherine: Thank you. I just want to say before I get into my story that there’s a lot of controversy around that 80% number and that the number is very dramatically – I’ve heard that anywhere from the statistics are exactly the same for families who have neurotypical children and maybe slightly more, but 80% is pretty high because the national average, of course, is 40% of marriages – first marriages – over 60% of seconds marriages and over 70% of third marriages statistically end in divorce.
Now, it makes sense to me that special needs families with the extra pressures and challenges that we face would maybe stress the families out more and it could be a higher number. On the other hand, it also can bring people together more. So, I just don’t want us to get too married to that 80% number, because I think it is frightening to some people, and we already have enough that we’re challenged with without worrying now about the state of our marriages.
So, my own story … now, I’m talking like I have an autistic child. I don’t have an autistic child. I have a brother who’s developmentally disabled, so I have a tenderness for people who are different. My brother was developmentally disabled when he was very, very young. He had some physical things wrong with him at birth, and then through a series of operations, he almost died and lost a lot of brain cells through some blood loss to the point of being a very unique person on this planet. He has moved through the world in a very unique way, and he kind of opened my eyes up to people who are a little bit different and gave me a great heart space for people.
I do have my own quirkiness, and my daughter tends to have her own cluster of unusual issues. So, I have a real heart for it. I was thrilled, really, to be invited onto the series.