Getting Through Grief After a Divorce – Conclusion

Hello, again. We are talking about getting through our grief after we have left a marriage or were left. Either way, there is loss and grief.

Perhaps the most useful tool I can recommend is to write about your thoughts and feelings with your non-dominant hand. I recommend you print, rather than write script. Printing is easier. I did this, printed with my left hand, and all sorts of deep emotions surfaced that I was then able to look at and process. I began to get through my grief more quickly and identified some feelings I didn’t even know I had.

There are stages to grief that are defined in the literature. For example, Elisabeth Kublar-Ross believes there are five stages that we go through. These are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. We go from one to the other, not necessarily in order, and we may stay for a brief time in one, or a long period of time. We often jump back and forth from one to the other until we finally reach acceptance and gain some peace.

It is all individual and we cannot compare our grieving process to anyone else’s, nor should we allow others to compare us to someone, or a “norm.” There is no norm. There is only what is in our own heart. I believe it helps to understand these stages, as we are then prepared for what we might experience and we can put words to our feelings.

Another train of thought is suggested in the book The Grief Recovery Handbook, 20th Edition, by John W. James and Russell Friedman. They do not believe in stages, and state grief is a totally individual experience and cannot be placed into any stage or box. I highly recommend getting and reading this book, and doing the writing exercises.

These exercises are designed to get us to understand how we deal with grief, as the first step. Generally, we mirror what we saw when we were growing up. Often, that was the belief that we need to get over it, grieve alone, be strong… These beliefs are detrimental to our grief recovery. Instead, we can adopt the beliefs and attitudes that having feelings of sorrow, anger, and even guilt are natural occurrences when we experience a divorce.

To get through these, John and Russell walk the reader of their book through a process that identifies all the losses in one’s life, written on a timeline. Then, they have us look at all our important relationships in which there is unfinished business, also on a timeline. The loss of a divorce will most likely coincide with feelings about the person from whom we are divorced. Again, I urge you to get the book and do the program that is outlined.

After a divorce, there is often bitterness and anger. We can help to get through these by first recognizing what is underneath it. Perhaps there is hurt, fear we are not good enough, fear that there is something wrong with us. We may feel anger for abuse we received. We may feel guilty for things we said or did.

To deal with the anger, I found doing a self-appraisal to identify the things I did to bring the marriage to a bad place was of paramount importance. I discovered, for example, several things I did and said that brought the marriage to its demise. I also did not speak up for myself, so invited verbal abuse agaiin and again. Then, I played the victim, a role I played so others would feel sorry for me. I did this all unconsciously, of course, but I discovered it when I did an appraisal.

How about you? When you take a look at yourself and stop blaming the other person, what do you see? We all will find something or other that we did or did not do, that we are not proud of, that was detrimental to the marriage. We need to own those things, recognize we did the best we could at the time, and forgive ourselves. Then, we can find compassion for the other person and forgive them as well.

This does not happen overnight; it is a process that takes time and focus, a continual returning to exploration. Over time, though, we will find we have gotten through our grief, mainly because we allowed ourselves to feel our sorrow, and from that, the process of healing occurred.

I wish you well in your recovery from a divorce and hope that you gain peace from the experience. Take what was learned to the next relationship, which will be more whole and complete than the last, simply because you allowed yourself to heal and to gain insight of your behaviors from the past marriage. I wish you well.




Getting Through Grief After a Divorce – Part I

Good morning! The day dawns clear and bright, and like all days, brings the promise of peace and joy to my world. I hope this is so for your world as well. Someone was looking for inspirational sayings for after a divorce, and I can offer ways to get through your grief. You be the judge of whether or not what I say is inspirational. : )

Grief occurs with any loss we experience. In other words, grief does not only occur after the death of a loved one. Loss includes divorce, loss of a pet, loss of a job, even a move to a different location. If we recognize that we have experienced a loss, that makes going through the grief process that much easier because we are not resisting it or being blind to our grief.

Grieving is difficult, I will admit, yet, to return to whole and to get to peace-of-mind again, we need to allow ourselves to feel our grief. We need to allow ourselves to go through the process of recovery and repair of our heart. Today, let’s talk aboout the grief process after a divorce.

People are uncomfortable with another’s expressions of grief and say some pretty useless and even damaging things. Examples include: “Get over it,” “S/he was no good for you anyway,” “You will meet someone else and forget about him/her.” There are more, and these are most commonly said to us when we have gone through a divorce and are struggling with our grief. So, what can we do?

First of all, it is a grave disservice to tell someone who is grieving to “get over it!” This totally negates where someone is in the process of grieving. Obviously, they can’t, or they would! There is something stopping them from moving on. Often, that is unfinished business, anger, or guilt.

For me, after I left my marriage in 2001, I grieved the loss of my familiar routine the most. It took several months before I actually missed my ex-husband. Then I moved into the guilt phase, as I realized the ways in which I had led the marriage to demise. Occasionally, I still get twangs of grief over things I did, and I say soothing things to myself, like: “If you had known better, you would have done better, Jones.” “You did the best you could with the tools you had at the time, lacking though they were, it was the best you knew how to do.”

Sit with that self-talk for the day, and I will return tomorrow to give more information about how to get through grief. I am splitting it up, because I have a fair amount more to say and the post is getting long. Also, for the day, try to ignore what people tell you that is not useful, realizing that the person saying those things is uncomfortable. Feel compassion for their uncomfortableness and continue with your soothing self-talk. I’ll be back tomorrow morning…