Divorce is full of heightened emotions including blame, anger, sadness, denial, uncertainty, and sometimes even relief and excitement. Experiencing these feelings and the related phases of change are normal and necessary to get to the other side of divorce. The process is both scary and exciting as you usher out your new life and welcome in all that is possible.
In this post, we’ll normalize feelings you might be having post-divorce and discuss how you can move through them, and reframe your thoughts, to fully move on to your new life.
The Blame Game
It’s not uncommon to mask the shame, grief, and even humiliation of divorce with blame. Newly on your own, you may still be dealing with the pain and struggles of your previous marriage. Those challenges might range from financial debt you incurred as a couple, lies and betrayal, adjusting to a new way of life on a single income, to a loss of mutual friends. Especially if you feel like the one who was left or the one who was wronged or betrayed, the tendency is the hold on to the anger, hurt, and to stay in the place of blaming your partner. This makes sense as a way of adapting, as holding on to these feelings prevents you from taking a closer look at the marriage, how it might not have been working, and paradoxically, holding on to the blame helps you feel empowered.
Staying in a place of blame holds you back from the new, potentially happier life that is in front of you. Letting go of blaming your former spouse for your current situation can sometimes be key to taking responsibility for all that is possible and putting the pieces back together. Reframing your thoughts means choosing an abundance mindset and believing that this is an opportunity to recreate any life you want. Choosing this approach versus blaming your current situation on your past results in a more fulfilling life.
As much as you prepare for this change, it’s certain that you’ll experience a wide range of emotions following a divorce or the end of a long-term relationship. During the stages of grief, anger will most likely be a phase that you go through. Sometimes this anger is around the need to reinvent your life without your spouse in it. Especially if you spend a significant amount of time with him or her, often your identity is very dependent on or tied to the relationship. Without that partnership, it can be difficult to define who you are, and that may result in fear or confusion.
Other times you might feel anger for more practical reasons. Without your partner in your life, you now have to learn how to do things that he or she used to do for you. From ironing clothes to doing taxes to fixing things around the house, anger and frustration, often directed at your former spouse, is not uncommon.
Reclaiming Your Life
As you work through the process and aftermath of divorce, you will likely vacillate between the exciting feeling of potential about your new life and the fear of not being able to - or not wanting to - manage everything on your own. This is normal and it can be tremendously helpful to your recovery to sit with these and the many other feelings surfacing along with the related lessons that might come out of this painful time. Dating might seem terrifying and thrilling at the same time and rushing into a new relationship might give you a much needed self-esteem boost, however, it usually prolongs your healing process. Instead, work on cultivating trust in others and building an expanded network of friends, as well as seeking activities that bring you peace and happiness.
Imagining spending holidays without your spouse results in both sadness and excitement, remember that you now have the opportunity to choose new rituals and traditions. You probably didn’t like the way you spent certain holidays and it could feel empowering to recreate celebrations that are more fulfilling.
At Center for Shared Insight PC, we work closely with clients going through a divorce, separation, or ending a long-term relationship. We understand that these are times of mixed emotions. It’s not uncommon to feel lost or alone during this time. Our team specializes in helping you sort through the wide spectrum of emotions you might be experiencing and provides strategies to help your healing. A more fulfilling life is right around the corner, on the other side of blame and anger. Connect with our team of experienced therapists by booking a free consultation.