Dealing With Grief

The 4 Phases Of Divorce Recovery

There are 4 seasons of divorce recovery

Divorce is one of the most stressful life changes you can experience. When I went through my divorce, I felt as if I had been tied up, blindfolded and strapped into the front car of a run-away roller coaster. It was terrifying! What made it so bad was that I didn’t know what to expect next and I was always anticipating the worst.

What I’ve learned through my own divorce recovery and helping all my clients over the years is that when you have some knowledge about what to expect, things are less scary. This is like the idea of taking the blindfold off so although you might still feel like you’re tied up and on the roller-coaster ride at least you’ll be able to see what’s coming up next.

So let’s take that blindfold off you once and for all! There are four phases of divorce change that you’ll experience – just like there are four seasons:

  1. The End/Beginning – Winter
  2. The Chaotic Redefinition of Life – Spring
  3. The Settling In – Summer
  4. Moving On – Fall

The first phase, the end/beginning, is tough – just like winter is. This phase is a progression from the first thought of divorce, to the struggle to…

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How To Calm Your FEARs

When I got divorced, FEAR was my constant companion. I was afraid of almost everything and I spent a lot of time imagining catastrophes that could happen to me. Some of the catastrophes I vividly pictured were being trapped in my home by a tornado (that was the happy version – the worst version was just being obliterated by a tornado), being poisoned by the food I had bought at the grocery store, being killed in a car accident, and even losing my job which would cause me to never work again and having to live on the street where I would die a painful death.

Luckily, none of my catastrophes have come to pass, but I wasted a HUGE amount of energy and time living with the fear of them. And yet, being afraid is a common part of going through divorce. There are so many changes happening all at once that can seem to threaten survival if your FEARs take hold of you like mine did.

Could I have worked my way through my divorce without wasting so much energy and time on being afraid? YES! But I didn’t know how then. I know how now and that’s what I want to share with…

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All Tangled Up?

Have you ever felt all tangled up on the inside and didn’t know which direction to turn?

Or maybe you’ve felt that you’re stuck in quicksand and it’s taking all your effort to just make it through each day?

Or worse, you’ve felt that you’re wearing a choke-chain of all your responsibilities and don’t really know who you are anymore?

Don’t worry. I’ve been there. In fact, everyone I know who has been through divorce has been there before too. Overwhelm can be hard to overcome and yet it’s a common part of divorce. Knowing how to get through it or stop it all together is a critical skill to develop. What I’m going to share with you today are some of the techniques I regularly use with myself, my family and my clients when things start to feel overwhelming.

1. Change your story.

When I was finding my way through the aftermath of my divorce, I used to tell myself really scary stories. They were stories of doom and I told them over and over again – like a broken recording. I was feeling overwhelmed and the stories I told myself made things worse. I didn’t see any way that I could ever stop…

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WHY??

At some point in your divorce, you’re going to ask yourself, “WHY?” Your why may show up as “Why did our marriage end in divorce?” Or it might show up as “Why can’t we make it work out?” At the core of your question is a quest for understanding the cause of your divorce.

More often than not, these questions of why turn into blame. Blame because it’s so much easier to put the blame on them for making us hurt so much. And in a way it makes sense because they’re the one that had the affair, or they’re the one that wouldn’t be open about their feelings, or they’re the one that kept nagging, or they’re the one with the addiction, or they’re the one that fell out of love, or they’re the one with the mental health problems, or they’re the one that’s so selfish, or …. And you know what? These are all FABULOUS reasons to be upset with the other person and to know that the end of the marriage really is THEIR fault.

But if you really want to move past the hurts, pain and blame and be happy again, there’s another side to the story…

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Flexibility: It’s About More Than Just Muscles

Life changes a lot when you separate and divorce. Things that used to be a regular part of life just aren’t anymore. And when things change in unexpected ways, we can get scared, frustrated and angry.

When clients begin working with me, they’re usually experiencing some combination of fear, frustration and anger. One of the first things we do is dive into what’s behind or at the root of these emotions. What we usually discover on our deep dive are limits that have been disregarded in some way. The limits could be behaviors, expectations, thoughts, beliefs or even habits.

The identification of your personal limits is a critical part of restructuring your life during and after divorce.

Some people are quite adept at identifying their limits – what they can and can’t do, what they think and why they think it, what they expect and why they expect it and what their habits of thought, belief, response and action are.

Others aren’t as aware of their limits. They aren’t quite sure of what their limits are or even if they want to know because they do and think what others tell them to.

And then there are people everywhere in between these two extremes.

Regardless of…

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