Divorce is one of the biggest loss we might experience in life. It is number two on the list of major life stressors after the death of a loved one. Since divorce is a loss with its own grief process, we need to go through all the stages of grief in order to fully process it and find healing.
The five stages of grief are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, but they do not necessary occur in this specific order. We can move back and forth between stages for a while, or wildly jump around them, or slowly crawl from one to another. They are just responses to our feelings and can last anywhere between days to months and can repeat multiple times. There are no right or wrong ways to grieve, the only important thing is that we keep moving through all of these stages, even if it feels like this is our tenth time around, and don’t get stuck in one for an unreasonably long time by falling into some of the common pitfalls of divorce.
Facing our divorce reality as it is and NOT as we would like it to be is a crucial element in keeping our sanity and strength during divorce. The fear of uncertainty and change can be so overwhelming (even when not conscious) that it can easily keep us in delusion and denial about what really is going on.
There is a simple reason why we don't face something: It is painful. And there are not many things more painful in this life than divorce. Denial protects us from pain but it always comes with a heavy price tag if not dealt with: losing touch with our feelings, needs, and eventually ourselves. Prolonged denial of a situation will always lead to denial of certain aspects of who we are. Refusing to accept reality as it is will lead to losing who we are.
Most people who has gone through a divorce tell me that it was one of the hardest things they ever experienced in life. If I ask what was the hardest part about it, they usually say something like “the pain of the children”, “the vicious attacks of my ex”, “the desperation and hopelessness of it”, “the shattered dreams and promises”, or “being in court and all the legal stuff”.
These are all hard to bear heavy burdens for the time being, but I think there is one ultimate thing that tops all of them on the long run. As a matter of fact it is so hard to deal with that some people never do. Yes, you can get through a divorce, or even multiple ones throughout the years without ever dealing with the hardest part of it all. Looking at your own part in the failure of your marriage.
About the Blog
Nuggets of insights and bits of advice from a Divorce Coach
© 2020 DivorceCoachAustin