Learning About the Grief Process after a Divorce
Most people enter into marriage to have a life partner, a home, and a family. Sometimes issues, problems, or characteristics pop up that a couple cannot resolve. When a marriage ends, it is a deep and personal loss. Human beings grieve significant losses in life. So let’s examine the normal grieving process.
Experts have said it takes one year of grieving for every ten years of marriage. Everyone is different, but it is my belief that people should be aware that a normal, healthy grief period is at least one to two years.
Five stages of grief have been defined, but grief is a very personal process. People should use these stages as a guide but realize each person is unique and can go in and out of stages throughout the process. One day, you can feel as if you have put it all behind you… only to be engulfed in sadness the next day. This is OK!! Sometimes for every step forward, we take two steps back. Let’s review the five stages to help you figure things out for yourself.
- Denial: If you are finding it hard to accept that it is really over, don’t worry this is a natural feeling. In the back of your mind, you are maybe holding on to the fantasy that somehow or someway it will work out. As humans, we like to imagine that there should be one easy and simple solution for our problems. When a problem is too complicated we like to place the blame, whether it’s towards ourselves, our partner, or parents – it has to be someone’s fault. We tend to blame rather than just accepting it wasn’t the right match.
- Anger: Anger is a catch-all emotion. It tends to mask a variety of feelings. After a divorce, there are a variety of complex emotions people feel such as pain, hurt, disappointment, grief, sadness, relief, embarrassment, confusion, and more. Try to look at each of these emotions and finding the message of insight each feeling is giving you. It is easier to be angry and blame, but that is not where you will find healing. Your dream was crushed, of course, you are angry. But take the time to analyze all of your feelings and work through them.
- Bargaining: Our minds love to play games with us. I like to call it “the would have, should have” game. We stew over and over in our mind the “what ifs.” If it is truly over, the worry and obsessing, and “would have, should have” is unhealthy. Tell your mind to stop and focus on the positives in your life. Work on moving on towards a healthy and happy lifestyle.
- Depression: There are two types of depression. Mental illness depression is due to the lack of serotonin and other neurotransmitters being produced and absorbed into the brain. But natural depression is a deep sadness. It happens to all healthy people who experience a deep loss. The solution is to accept this as normal and take care of yourself. Practice positive habits like healthy eating, regular sleep, exercise, and surrounding yourself with a good support system. With time, healing will begin, and the depression will lift. If it doesn’t…it is time to seek professional help.
You have realized and accepted it is over. The divorcee is ready to move on, and you are prepared to rebuild a new life. Let go of the past. I encourage people to start this process by finding your Top 5 Values, Top 5 Priorities, and defining their personality strengths. You can find the way to discover these rebuilding blocks at www.supportivetalk.com along with articles on stress management and empowerment. With these tools, you can begin to rebuild your life with new insight and healing materials to create a healthy foundation. Grief is natural but then there is a time for rebuilding. May you learn from this experience and find Happiness. If you need to talk more about this process, set-up an appointment to talk with Vicki. Her 20 years of experience can help you through this painful break-up. Go to www.supportivetalk and book a session, today!