What to do when your heartache is so great the world just seems to be flying past.
Having your spouse tell you they want a divorce is like an unexpected punch to the gut. You’re shocked and instinctively double-over from the pain. You can’t quite catch your breath.
You’re convinced you’ve misheard them, that it’s some horrible dream that you’re going to wake up from, but it’s not. This is real.
As the shock begins to wear off, the heartache starts and it’s debilitating. You go from living life in a daze of denial to living life in so much pain you can hardly move much less think.
What happened to us? How can they really want this? What’s wrong with me? Why do I hurt so much? What about the kids? Will this pain ever end?
These and a thousand other questions run rampant through your mind, demanding answers. Yet there are no answers, no closure, only more questions and more pain.
So what can you do to relieve the heartache of divorce?
The answer is you have to allow yourself to grieve and then move on. It’s simple to say this, but not so simple to do. So, let me share with you some ideas for how you can begin healing your heartache.
- Cry (Sob) – Yes, as silly as it may sound, you need to allow your tears to flow (if you’ve got tears). Crying lets your soul release a bit of what it can’t quite put into words. Some people cry easily and can’t seem to stop until they’re exhausted. Others have a harder time getting started and need to schedule time where they allow themselves to fully feel the pain and express it with tears.
- Writhe – Remember being a child and moving your body around in agony when you were really upset? Well, that’s what I’m suggesting you do now. If you’re like me and express yourself with movement – you talk with your hands, you get fidgety when you sit too long, you need to keep your body moving to help burn up the energy you’ve got – writhing will help heal your heartache. Twisting and turning your body when you feel grief down to your bones releases the tension that you naturally build up in your muscles when you’re upset (or stressed).
- Shout – Shouting or even letting loose a primal howl is cathartic. Wearing your vocal cords out expressing the inexpressible pain you’re experiencing gives voice to your heartache and lessens it.
- Pray – Sharing your grief with the all-knowing and all-comforting God, or Universe, or Higher Self provides relief. The act of prayer acknowledges that you’re not alone no matter how alone and abandoned you feel. The sense of security in knowing that you’re still connected to all that is does a lot to assuage the bone-deep ache of divorce.
- Journal – Writing by hand on a piece of paper about every facet of your heartache is a wonderful gift to give yourself. The act of writing allows you to process your pain in a different way than any of the previous suggestions because it uses different parts of your brain. Journaling also allows you to see in words specifically what it is that you’re grieving which makes it both more real and you’re more likely to have new ideas about how to deal more effectively with the pain.
- Talk – For most people dealing with heartache, talking about their situation with people who truly listen and who understands heartache is extremely beneficial. So open up about your pain and what’s going on with a friend who’s been through divorce, a clergy member, a divorce support group, a mentor, a therapist, and/or a coach.
Unfortunately, you can’t select one of these six suggestions, do it and expect that your heartache will cease. These are simply the tools you need to use again and again and again and … to mend your broken heart.
But each time you use these tools you’ll relieve yourself of a little more pain, a little more sorrow, and a little more heartache. There won’t be a time when you suddenly say “I’m done with my heartache,” but you will begin noticing that your need to use these six suggestions decreases.
So continue emptying your grief. Remind yourself that you will feel good again no matter how you feel right now. How do I know? Because I’ve experienced heartache I could feel in my bones and I found my way back to feeling happy again by using doing just what I’m suggesting to you.
I’m Dr. Karen Finn, a divorce coach and advisor helping people just like you who want to survive and thrive after divorce. You can join my newsletter list for free weekly advice. And if you’re interested in taking the first step toward working with me, you can schedule an introductory private coaching session.
Looking for more help healing the heartache of divorce? Read more advice about Dealing With Grief.