Recovering from a Divorce: The Stages of Grief
A divorce doesn't mean you have severed ties forever with your former spouse. Instead, you are tasked with creating a new relationship as co-parents of your children or potential friends. But getting there takes a good deal of time, and you need to recognize the stages of grief you'll go through during a divorce hangover.
Remember, everyone deals with grief in a different way, but the stages are universally applicable.
Sadness is a very common feeling during the mourning stage of grief as you move on from your divorce. Pain, anger, guilt and other strong emotions come up as you cope with the separation, and you may often feel like placing blame on other people. You may even feel compelled to get even with your spouse, and that's a normal reaction to a divorce.
Everyone deals with grief in a different way, but the stages are universally applicable.
Don't rush through the mourning stage; experience your feelings and confide in a counselor, family and close friends to help you heal. Their shared advice and support can do wonders for your state of mind.
When dealing with your spouse, you will probably see that they have similar strong emotions. Try to listen and be sympathetic, and it's especially important to reassure your children that the bitter feelings are not about them and won't impact their relationship with either parent.
By now, some of the feelings that arose during the mourning stage have passed, but your need for support remains a high priority. You may have to rely on your spouse for help with financial, emotional, and daily task issues.
Depending on each other for companionship and help may go on for an extended period of time. This is especially true when the divorce creates a split-parent situation or was the end of a long-term marriage.
Dependency is healthy to a point, but can delay your personal growth or your ability to move on from the relationship. This is when finding your personal independence is essential.
If you feel burdened by your ex-spouse's dependency, clearly communicate your needs and ways. Likewise, if you feel too dependent on your spouse, friends and family can offer a new support system. Seeking out a therapist can also be beneficial.
In a marriage, the relationship often becomes a good part of your identity. After divorce, it takes time to find your new identity as a single person. This undoubtedly can be difficult in the face of major life decisions such as purchasing a new home, finding new friends, and exploring new interests. Discovering your new identity outside of your marriage makes the road to getting over your divorce less bumpy.
The final grieving stage in a divorce comes when you finish restructuring your life and have a new identity outside of your marriage. At this point, you may even feel ready to start a new relationship.
Integration is when you feel able to live day-to-day on your own and have little to no resentment towards your former spouse. Co-parenting and planning your future subsequently become easier at this stage.
The Dishon & Block team are available for a personal consultation with a simple phone call or filled out form below. You're guaranteed to receive personalized service as you go through the rocky road of divorce.
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California Divorce Guide