Rebuilding after Divorce

Rebuilding after Divorce

Divorce is not easy.  In fact the majority of the time it is extremely painful.  It can take a long time to recover from the damage of divorce. When a divorce occurs it is like a death in the family.  So many emotions can rise to the surface.   For example: anger, frustration, fear, sorrow, anguish, bitterness, hatred, and regret are just a few of the emotions that come up during and after a divorce. The person being divorced starts questioning their value as a person and as a mate.  They start thinking and saying “If only I had done this…” or “I should have done this …” or “I am not lovable” or “I’ll never be happy” or “I’ll always be alone”.

Divorce can destroy self-esteem.  Depression can sneak into the mind without knowing what is happening.  The parties involved in divorce become full of guilt.  They begin to question their sanity.

Understand that all of the feelings and emotions that surface are normal.   Accept them instead of denying that they exist.  Work through each emotion.   You are not a bad person for thinking or feeling a certain way.  You are just human.

Divorce is never easy for the people involved.  It can have long-term affects on any new relationships.  Divorce can be a learning experience that makes you stronger and healthier emotionally.  It all depends on your attitude and how you act after a divorce.  Anger, sadness, depression blame, and frightened about the future are common reactions to divorce.  Feelings of insecurity, betrayal, low self-esteem and disconnection can linger long after a divorce.  You could go through life blaming other’s for your unhappiness or you could choose to live and learn from this chapter in your life and create a new beginning.  The choice is yours.

Here are some suggestions for people in the process of divorce and for those already divorced:

1.  Give yourself permission to feel your feelings.  Deal with the feelings of anger and sadness.  You have a right to your own feelings.  Let them out.  Write about the, talk about the, scream and cry about them.  Release your feelings.  Take a long bath or shower and then stay in your robe all day and just be with your feelings.  You have to feel to heal.

2.  Understand that it takes a lot of time to recover from divorce.   Healing does not happen overnight.   Don’t let friends or family rush you through the process.  Go about your healing in your own way and at your own pace. Don’t feel guilty about mourning your loss.

3.   Read as much self-help material that you can.  Read or listen to the same self-help book at least 6 times during a 30 day period before starting a new book.  It takes that much repetition before you can actually digest and learn from the information.

4.  Treat yourself often to long walks in the park, massages, movies, eating out, reading a novel, window shopping, and anything else that will make you feel pampered for an hour or so.  Pamper and nurture yourself as much as possible.   Do some things that you put off doing while you were married.  Start taking care of yourself and your needs.

5.  Seek outside help from your minister or from a counselor.   Reach out to others. Let others help you through your mourning process.  Talk to people that can relate and empathize.  

6.  Be aware of how you think and feel when you are stressed. Try to anticipate how you want to react and then do the opposite. Example: If you usually talk a lot stop and try to listen instead, if you withdraw, stop and start a conversation. It takes time to develop new behaviors. Be persistent. Stop blaming yourself or others for your unhappiness. Take responsibility for your feelings. 

Recommended reading:Rebuilding: When Your Relationship Ends, 3rd Edition (Rebuilding Books; For Divorce and Beyond)  

How can you regain a positive attitude after divorce?  Try the following:  Focus on the positive. Look ahead and picture a happier you. Take up new hobbies and start concentrating on happy events and create a better future through your thoughts, words and deeds.  See our what you think and speak article and Letting Go of a Past Relationship and Learning to be Happy