Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Getting Through Divorce

Guest Editorial from Karen

I must say that tonight I am thinking, "thank goodness for the Internet." I both found some great support just by Googling "getting through divorce" and I'm able to air my thoughts, too. Today, a friend and I were wondering if someone had documented classic post-marital-breakup emotional stages, and sure enough, the first article that I pulled up did a great job of doing just that. A couple of excerpts:

The adjustment period after divorce trauma (whether you are the "leaver" or the "leavee") is between two and five years, depending somewhat on the amount of pre-grieving you've experienced. Some people begin the emotional journey when they realize the marriage is dead -- sometimes well before they mention the word "divorce" to their spouse.If you're in the early stages, you're probably wondering what to expect -- and how to accelerate (or even bypass) the painful stages to reach the place where you feel whole and happy again. Unfortunately, recovery from divorce is not an express elevator from the basement of grief to the penthouse of joy. It's more like a maze: you go forward a bit, become confused, find the way forward again, hit a wall, retrace your steps, find a new way forward, realize you took the wrong turn and back-track again. Like wandering through a hall of mirrors, you confront yourself -- or what looks like yourself -- around every corner.

The first year is characterized by numbness, denial, relief, acute periods of pain, and back to numbness again. This is the divorce roller coaster, which includes periods of euphoria ("how nice to be rid of that louse!") followed by deep lows ("oh my God: she's really gone!"). During the first year, you may sometimes feel like a robot going through the motions of living without really participating in your own life, or like an unwilling passenger on a wild roller coaster ride.

The whole article is at this link.

Another great article is on gratitude in divorce. Here is an excerpt:

During my marriage I learned and experienced at least 100 things that have contributed to my life. When I breathe them in and honor my life by honoring my experiences, I bask in the joy of emotional freedom. My list of the gifts of my marriage looks like this:
I have the child I always wanted.
I moved to beautiful La Jolla, California.
I get to be a parent to Beau.
My sister moved to La Jolla to be close to us.
I began working with Deepak Chopra.
I developed the Shadow Process.
My ex-husband paid off my school loans.
I was able to experience having a family of my own.
My parents moved to La Jolla to be near Arielle, Beau, and me.
I received enough money to stay home and write my first book.
I had the privilege of being the daughter-in-law of Bernice and Marty.
I've learned how to look at life through the eyes of another.
I learned that you don't have to go to Harvard to be brilliant.
I've learned how to share and include others in my life even if I disagree with them.
I've become more thoughtful in my words.
I received the inspiration for my second book.
I've learned to not verbalize every thought I might be having.
I've had the profound experience of seeing how others change as I change.
I learned that I could make it on my own with a child.
I'm learning how to be a good mother.
I've learned that co-parenting can be a joy.
I've learned that in conflict I need to keep the attention on myself.
I had the wedding I always dreamed of.
I've learned to ask for what I need.

How can I resent a man who has given me so many gifts?

Lastly, I ran across the following fantastic tip in another article. How ready I was to start making a new life out of new changes, but now I realize it is wise to:

Delay major changes
Who you are today is not who you will be tomorrow or in a year from now. Fears will be resolved. Don't dismay if one day you feel confident and strong, the next ragged and worn out. Delay any major changes for six months. In a separation, when your self-esteem may be low or your anger may seek revenge, this especially means great caution with the opposite sex. Dr. Joy Browne best explains rebounding in "Dating for Dummies" where she advises waiting at least a year to date. I loved her line: "Hang out with friends, large groups, small countries." She's right. You can meet your social needs without risking heartache.

1 comment:

StuntMom said...

This is some powerful stuff. I especially like know to expect "During the first year, you may sometimes feel like a robot going through the motions of living without really participating in your own life, or like an unwilling passenger on a wild roller coaster ride". I think that sums it up. Good to know that it's just part of the first year.

The second article seems like it has good advice for us all, helping us to appreciate things we have and things that have made us who we are.

Thanks for sharing this.