My divorce caught me off guard. I had no time to plan my emotional response and being the planner I am, I found this a bit disconcerting. Actually I was highly pissed. Want to set my world a twirl? Pull the rug out from under it!
I had studied Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in college. I knew of the Five Stages of Grief. The problem was, I had studied them, knew them but had not planned on applying them to real life…not at that time anyway.
There is Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. What I didn’t learn in college is, one doesn’t move smoothly from one stage to the other. There was no beginning, middle or end for each stage and most stages I visited several times.
So, while attempting to manage your emotional recovery during and after divorce, give yourself a break. You will move through recovery at your own pace, angry one week, in denial the next. You will come to the point of acceptance though, hopefully sooner than later.
The Emotional Stages of Divorce:
This was my favorite. Nothing like moving through a storm and pretending all is well with the world. Denial is your psyches way of protecting you from becoming emotionally overwhelmed. Denial is a useful coping mechanism, as long as it doesn’t keep you from progressing onto the next stage. Use this stage to your benefit but don’t abuse it. After a while refusing to face reality becomes a very unattractive trait.
This stage I visited often and my ex took a bashing. Seriously, when your world is falling down around you who better to blame for all your problems than a crazy ex husband? If the car battery died, guess who I blamed? If it rained on a day I had planned to go the beach, it was his fault. I had no role in any adversity that came my way!
During the anger phase he became the worst lover I had ever had, ugly beyond description, a slob, a wimp…my anger did a number on him and his character. My advice about the Anger Stage? Have at it! As long as there are no little ears to hear your disparaging and insulting remarks about your ex feel free to let out all the pent up anger you stuffed during the Denial Stage.
In this stage you will attempt to repair and undo the damage done to your life. Bargaining is when you stop and say, “oh dear, I can’t handle this emotionally. I’ll negotiate anything with him/her, turn myself inside if need be but I can’t go through this.”
It is an attempt to put on the brakes, stop that runaway train and get your “life” back. It might not have been a great life but it was a hell of a lot better than what you are experiencing now. During the bargaining stage my ex was the best lover I had ever had. I missed his beautiful face and his manly demeanor. He was God’s gift and I wanted him back. Thankful for me I moved quite swiftly through the Bargaining Stage.