The emotions usually felt during separation and divorce do follow a pattern.
- You are not alone.
- Many others have gone through similar emotional journeys.
You, and others in your family, although you are on the same journey, will probably be at very different places and feeling very different emotions.
- The stages and feelings will be similar but the start and end of the journey will not match up, so you will usually be at different stages of the same journey which will make things more contentious and difficult.
- Usually the person that has decided to initiate leaving the relationship is emotionally further along in their journey than the person being left. Two years ahead is often the normal situation. This is why, early during my own separation, I was so upset as my life crumbled around me to see my ex appearing at peace and even positive about the situation!
No-one has control over how anyone else feels – you can only control how you feel about your own situation, react and act.
- Feelings are just that – feelings – they are never wrong or bad they just are.
- You cannot speed anyone else through the process no matter how frustrated you may be that they are taking too much time to ‘get over it’ or are being ‘unreasonable’.
- The children, if there are children, will also experience a similar pathway through the breakup, but they will have little control about how things end up for them or their parents. They too will probably be in a different spot in the valley – usually behind their parents. Please show acceptance of whatever they are feeling, and show them patience wherever they are emotional. Validating how they are feeling can be very powerful.
- If your kids do manage to handle their emotions well, do not let them become the parental figures in your family! Own up to your emotional issues and be the parent. Children really do deserve a childhood!
Grief is part of the separation process which can surprise some people.
- Some cannot understand why there is ‘grief’ at all. With no funeral or body, why do we need to grieve? Trust me, your relationship, as you knew it, is dead and you do need to process the situation if you are separating as true grief.
- Grief will always take longer than you think. Let yourself have lots of time and be very patient with yourself.
- Grief is a bit like ocean waves lapping at your feet on a beach. The waves will ebb and flow. Some waves will barely touch your toes and some will knock you over with their power. A big wave of grief can suddenly hit you with no warning and you are right back in the thick of your full emotions. Thankfully, like waves in the ocean, it will also subside and the next wave will hit with less power over you. I remember driving the car, and suddenly finding myself crying so hard it hurt. I wasn’t even sure what triggered the outburst, but as quickly as it started, it was over.
Thinking about emotions as transient can help. Feelings come up and pass through just like the clouds in the sky, or bad weather.
- When you get emotional about something, it will always pass. Eventually, every emotion will dissipate and change to another emotion.
- If you know that your feelings will pass like the weather, you can observe them with more acceptance and less judgment.
- Don’t label your emotions as good or bad. They just are! If they come up, accept them as they come.
- Often, if you just suppress your feelings or try to avoid them, the same emotions will keep resurfacing in your life. The struggle to keep fighting with your own emotions will drain your energy. It is better to feel the feelings and release the emotional energy as best you can.
You will be pulled through emotional highs and lows a bit like a rollercoaster.
- Sometimes the feelings may change quickly and sometimes they will come and go more slowly, but change they will.
- You will get pulled back into emotional stages you think you have finished and resolved.
The high-intensity fight or flight response is often triggered during separation and divorce.
- Learn to recognize this response and do not make any decisions while you are emotional and not thinking straight.
Please contact me if you would like help with your separation and divorce.
I do offer a free strategy session.
Take good care of yourself!
The Divorce Coach in Dundas