Divorces run from uncomfortable to outright hostile. But even the most muted divorce leaves one or even both parties ripe with pain. Distress can increase from changes in lifestyle, whether or not you wanted to get divorced or work it out, whether or not your spouse is with someone knew, wondering if you could have done something different, guilt, anger, frustration, shame and more. Even though the stigma attached to divorce has be liquefied, those who get divorced still feel like damaged goods, still feel that even if it was inevitable, for some inexplicable reason it is their fault. It takes time to grieve over the loss of a relationship, gather yourself up, pick up the pieces and move on. What’s more, you do at some point, when the sting has gone reflect on your experience, pick through the wreckage and see what you can learn from the whole thing. Pain from divorce is significant. But what you do with that pain and how you handle it can signify how well you recover, and how well you handle very important matters such as the splitting of assets and custody if you should have children together. How you handle that pain and how you let go can spell the difference between wallowing in self-pity for months afterwards, or picking up and moving on with your life. So how do you let go of divorce pain? It’s really the same as doing so with any psychological pain.
Usually we start out by blaming our ex-spouse. We usually want them to admit what they did to us was wrong and apologize. But pointing the finger and forever holding them to blame won’t help. What’s more, in a lot of ways it isn’t mature. It focuses everything on the other person. Yet this is a chance for personal growth in how you handle relationships. It’s a good time to own up to what you may have done to exacerbate the situation. What’s more, blaming your spouse makes you the eternal victim. You are powerless to change your situation. Remember that your feelings are legitimate and significant. It’s how you react to those feelings that is key. It’s best to feel those feelings and then move on. Don’t wallow in self-pity forever. You will be losing your chance to embrace a better and happier life. What’s more, people only have sympathy for you for so long. Then they get sympathy fatigue. Don’t rush yourself through the grieving process. But know when it’s time to dust yourself off and get back up again. Don’t expect the feelings to up and go away on their own. They might. But after a certain point, you really need to commit yourself to re-engaging in your life. Otherwise you may sabotage yourself in fear of whatever exists on the other side of grief.
You need to express your pain fully. Vent. Write in a journal. Talk to a friend or tell it to your ex-spouse if you can. Get it all out of your system right away. But recognize your own role in your pain, too. No one is completely innocent and everyone has a certain amount of guilt to carry with them. But know that it is alright. You will get through this. Learning from the experience and gaining perspective, even growth is the most important and worthwhile part of it. Most people hate going through this stage, but in hindsight understand that it’s a necessary part of getting back on track. Make sure you actively participate in your own life however. Don’t fall into the too easy role of playing the victim. Realize that in real life it’s rarely black and white. There are remarkable shades that exist between these two poles. Learn what you could have done differently and next time your future relationship will be so much better for it. Remember that every moment is a choice. You can choose to soothe yourself, examine and cope, and stay on the right path, or you can choose to blame and play the victim. But which ultimately makes you a happier and more well-adjusted person? Focus on the present. Reflect on the things you are thankful for in your life. Spend some time on you and reconnecting with yourself. Find a new path for your life. Pick up a hobby that you’ve always wanted to try. Travel. Call up an old flame. Write a novel. Exercise. Keep a journal. Make a dream board. Most important of all forgive your spouse. Not for them but for yourself. It’s been said that anger is the poison pill we swallow in order to try to kill our enemy. In other words it hurts you more than it can ever hurt your ex. Find a way to let it go and be yourself again. For more on self-healing, pick up a copy of, Quantum Change Made Easy: Breakthroughs in Personal Transformation, Self-healing and Achieving the Best of Who You Are by Chloe Faith Wordsworth and Gail Noble Glanville.