It's easy to lose yourself in the hassles of an emotionally exhausting divorce.
Divorce can leave you raw and totally confused. On top of being physically, emotionally and spiritually drained, you are now completely confused as to how to live as a "me" versus a "we". Life as you knew it, as you believed it was supposed to be, is now completely different.
You are no longer defined by the role you played as a spouse. If you are a parent, that position has to be painfully renegotiated as well. Life, post-divorce, can feel like a never ending struggle to find solid ground to stand on again.
For me, divorce became ultimately liberating. Don’t get me wrong, I had to endure the typical burdens that come with the whole painful process like everyone else. There were financial struggles and mountains of debt, feelings of failure and shame around my friends and family, and tremendous guilt concerning my stepson.
By far, though, the worst part of my divorce was realizing I no longer had any idea who I was.
My marriage was not a happy one. He a narcissist and I endured years of verbal abuse and an existence of self denial. I slowly became a version of myself that was timid, fearful and numb to my own needs and desires.
Divorce was freedom ... literally. I don’t mean the freedom to be with another man (that was the LAST thing on my mind), but rather the freedom to discover myself once again. Once I got past the trauma of the divorce process, I felt like I could finally breathe.
Sure, I was afraid. I had to do some long, hard stares in the mirror at myself. But with some insightful help from a therapist and the loving support from my family and friends, I found immense delight in my new path of self-actualization.
Like a dog that lived it’s life chained to a post and is suddenly freed, I eventually found myself excitedly running around to all kinds of new adventures feeling full of all sorts of wonderful possibilities.
Your life is not over. Well, your OLD life is over — but your fresh, new life is just starting. Own your part in the divorce. Take an honest, hard look at your own strengths and weaknesses. Love yourself and give yourself the time you need to recover. Turn the page and start writing a new, more exciting chapter.
Our panel of YourTango Experts have some really wonderful advice and perspectives on this topic. Watch and listen so you too can gain the hope and strength you need to survive your divorce and come out better on the other side.
Melanie Gorman (YourTango Expert Senior VP) is joined by divorce coaches Pegotty Cooper, Debra Block, Karen Bigman and Petalyn Albert - all of whom specialize in divorce and divorce recovery — to discuss in detail the best ways to move through your divorce in one piece.