Dealing With Grief

Divorce: The Kind Of Heartache You Can Feel In Your Bones

Clothed woman lying in a tub of water crying over her heartbreak.

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…

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5 Things To Do When Your Divorce Grief Attacks You

Divorce grief can strike anywhere.

You can’t predict when your grief will hit and that’s scary. Use this plan and stop feeling scared.

It’s not surprising that divorce hurts or that part of the healing involves grieving. But knowing this intellectually does nothing to prepare you for the reality of the pain or the way your grief attacks you out of the blue.

Grief is merciless. It can hit you full force anywhere and at any time. It demands to be felt or at least acknowledged until you’ve worked through the pain of all you’ve lost.

Your grief will change you. If you allow yourself to feel and work through it, your anguish will change you for the better. However, if you ignore or stuff your sorrow, it will fester and change you for the worse.

When your losses are recent and raw, you’re more susceptible to being unexpectedly overcome by tidal waves of hurt regardless of whether or not you’ve been working through your pain. But the waves of anguish aren’t confined to when your divorce wound is new. They can hit any time and you don’t have a choice about when or where these grief attacks happen.

So what do you do when your grief ambushes you at…

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You Must Begin Your Divorce Recovery By Asking These 4 Questions

Man wearing a hoodie and looking down as he contemplates divorce recovery.

Make the story of your divorce recovery bittersweet and successful instead of just bitter.

Divorce is tough. The worst part of it is that there's loss after loss after loss.

Divorce means:

You've lost your marriage.

You've lost your dreams of "happily ever after."

You've lost being married to one person for your entire life.

You've lost having your kids grow up in an intact family.

You've lost being able to see your kids growing up on a daily basis.

You've lost the conveniences that come with marriage - one home, shared responsibilities, shared parenting, etc.

These losses are only the tip of the iceberg of things you say goodbye to when your marriage ends. Divorce recovery is a tale of grief.

But the losses don't tell the whole story. They just set the stage - a stage of destruction.

It's the rest of the story that's the most powerful, the most affirming and the most wonderful. The rest of the story is about creating and rising from the ashes. It's a talk of you creating your life into something better than it was - a life you love even more. (Yes, it's possible.)

The trouble is you're probably not feeling all that…

Read more: You Must Begin Your Divorce Recovery By Asking These 4 Questions

12 Classy Ways To Keep Your Dignity During Divorce

Woman confidently looking over her glasses because she's got her dignity during divorce.

Dignity is your best friend during divorce (or any crisis).

Look, I know divorce hurts and you're looking for just about any way possible to feel better (because that's what I did). The thing is that sometimes what you do to feel better backfires and the next day (or even within a few heartbeats) you wish you hadn't done or said what you just did.

This is why it’s important to choose dignity during divorce – so you don’t have (too many) regrets about how you handled yourself.

Dignity is our best friend in a crisis because it reminds us that, although we may be at the mercy of uncertain circumstances, we can at least be in control of ourselves. Psychologist Susan Quilliam 

Choosing dignity is being grounded, centered and in control of yourself. And there’s a huge upside to choosing the high road. You feel good about yourself which means your self-esteem gets a (much-needed-when-you’re-going-through-divorce) boost.

Here are 12 ways you can choose classiness as you navigate your divorce:

  1. Put down the ice cream scoop, chip bag and wine glass. Drowning your sorrows in ice cream, chips, alcohol or any comfort food will at best provide a temporary comfort (Rutgers). But they won’t help you long term…

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Want To Know How To Deal With Divorce? Stop Doing These 13 Things

Man holding his head and wondering how to deal with divorce.

Knowing what to stop doing is just as important as knowing what to do to get through your divorce.

Devastating. For everyone whose spouse has decided to divorce them, that's the best description of the experience.

It's not a place you ever thought you'd be. But here you are. Your marriage has failed. You feel like a failure, unlovable and totally depressed.

These feelings are real and you must acknowledge them. But don't wallow in them. Letting these emotions rule your world will only keep you miserable.

The trouble is that the miserable feelings of divorce are insidious. They show up in sneaky, unexpected ways. And before you know it, you've succumbed to undermining thoughts and behaviors.

However, you don't have to stay stuck in the misery. In fact, by becoming more aware of your automatic behaviors and thoughts you can deal with your divorce in a much better way.

Here are 13 things you must stop doing to make it through and get over the divorce:

  1. Feeling sorry for yourself.  Say it with me, "No more pity parties!" I get that things aren't exactly going as you had planned, but wallowing in the hardship and unfairness of it all will not help you cope…

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