Denying your resilience, while human, is not helpful. Bill Douglas points the way to what will get you through.
Divorce rarely comes without some degree of grief, fear or anxiety. Two people do not marry with the intention of parting. When my marriage did not survive, the resulting heartache was overwhelming.
Like any kind of loss, the end of a marriage may trigger a variety of reactions. Many of us experience the traditional and distinct stages of grief, including denial, anger, depression and acceptance.
Divorce is never the same for any two people. We are all different and loss will affect us each in different ways. When going through a divorce, we experience genuine loss. I grieved for the loss of a relationship expected to last forever, for a planned future now derailed, and for the loss of my family as I knew it.
I’ll touch on the heavily discussed stages grief/loss below, with the intention fast forward to the point where authentic growth can begin and flourish.
When we first make the decision to divorce, or have that decision thrust upon us, we may react as though nothing has happened. We may carry on our normal life, going about our normal routines and refuse to believe the reality of what is happening in our life. This may also be characterized by a sense of shock or numbness at what has happened, and although we give the appearance of normality, we may only be going through the motions but enormous change is occurring in our life. As the denial wears off, the reality of the situation begins to sink in. Pain at the loss of our marriage and fear for what the future holds are common accompanying feelings.
Since we’re often looking for someone to blame for what is happening in our life, it is normal to feel some degree of anger. We may also have to deal with the anger of others: children will be having these feelings and may blame you for the family break-up, for instance.
It is normal to try to avoid the inevitability of the end of a marriage by bargaining, either with our ex or with our self. You may promise to change certain behaviors if only you can have another chance. I can remember wallowing in this stage for far too long.
The divorce might not be your fault. Equally, you may not be able to lay the blame squarely at your ex. At this stage it is normal to think about how you could have done things differently, how you could have prevented situations and made your marriage work. Often we question the efforts made at marriage and question our behavior. This can result in an overwhelming need to turn back the clock, thinking we can make things better.
It is entirely normal to feel some degree of depression when going through a divorce. You may find it hard to sleep even though you feel physically and mentally exhausted. You could lose your appetite or overeat. Being short-tempered is also normal.
Refer to my other blog posts to learn more about how very depressed I was post divorce.
At some point everyone begins to accept the situation. We will realize that life has changed and that it will not return to how it was. Despite this, you feel okay and know that you can move on.
And now… Growth!
Grief has ended. Anger has dissipated. This is when genuine growth can begin. Embrace this strength and allow yourself to believe in your resilience. You know you can and will enjoy a new life.
There is a process for recovering and rebuilding from divorce and transitioning to the life you’ve always wanted. What I’ve listed above is but a very high-level roadmap. Please reach out if I can help you anyway.
Embrace the process and embrace change. The previous chapter of your life has closed. Your transition is well underway.
Resolve yourself to growth, happiness, and abundance. You have the power and ability to make your next chapter everything you’ve always wanted.
After all, Life is a Gift!
30 years of strategic, entrepreneurial business growth along with two brushes with death have earned him the tag “ResilienceGuy”. Bill Douglas is an accomplished Mentor, Coach & Speaker helping entrepreneurs & executives with growth and strength.
Photo: Flickr/Samantha Marx