If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve recently gone through or are going through a divorce.Wondering how to heal from divorce? Divorce is an incredibly tough experience, and it’s easy to feel like you’ll never heal and recover.
I know how it can feel like the world is ending. For a lot of women, our sense of self is wrapped up in our role as mom and wife. So, when our marriage ends, it feels like a part of us has died too. And we see it as one of our greatest failures. You are not alone. Divorce recovery is possible – it takes time and there’s no one right way to do it.
As women, we are wired to put others first. We are nurturers, caregivers, and comforters. So when we go through a divorce, it feels like everything is crumbling around us. We question our worth, our decisions, and our sense of self. We have no self-compassion.
How to Heal from Divorce: Here are five ways to help you start healing and moving on.
1. Give yourself time and space to grieve. Don’t ignore your emotions
When we ignore our true feelings, it makes it easier for negative emotions like resentment or anger to fester and grow. What happens next is those emotions gnaw away at your subconscious and have a devastating impact on your wellbeing, causing anxiety and even depression to arise. A great tip is to recognize how you’re feeling and evaluate that feeling as objectively as you can. In other words, without judgment.
It’s possible that some of your feelings are unfounded, while others may be completely justified and natural! Allow yourself to feel and give yourself time and permission to grieve the end of the relationship. It is healthy and doing this will ultimately lead to acceptance, helping you to move forwards through the healing process.
2. Seek out professional support from those who have gone through divorce like a Divorce Coach, divorce community and/or a therapist
If you’ve given yourself time and you’re still struggling to come to terms with the divorce, it may be that you need to seek some professional help. Support from a Divorce Coach, therapist or counselor can teach you proven skills and coping mechanisms to help you heal and alleviate any stress, anxiety or depression has taken hold.
3. Avoid fueling your negative emotions and beliefs
Anger is an extremely volatile and powerful emotion and if you feel you’ve been wronged, it can be difficult to get past the feeling of intense, overwhelming anger that you might feel. That is why it is so important to find a healthy way to cope with such emotions. For example, don’t be tempted to follow your ex-partner on social media. When you watch your ex continue their life without you, you assume they are blissful and unaffected by the breakdown of the marriage and it will immediately fuel any anger or bitterness that you feel.
While we all wish we could change the past, it just isn’t possible. Therefore, when you focus on negative emotions you are choosing to live life looking in the rear-view mirror. Looking at the road ahead means taking back your power to shape a new future. Dwelling on what went wrong or the circumstances that lead to your divorce will only serve to keep you trapped in a negative head space that won’t facilitate your healing. It is time to look forward and focus on the lessons learned that you won’t repeat in this next chapter.
4. Take care of yourself
The silver lining of divorce is it provides the ideal opportunity for growth and self-discovery. Decision making becomes yours and yours alone and with no one else to defer to and no one else to compromise with, divorce really can be a liberating, affirming experience. Take some time to focus on what makes you happy aka self-care. Perhaps your role in the relationship meant you gave up certain things, either to spend more time with the other person, to take care of the family or you simply stopped doing things you used to like because your partner didn’t enjoy them.
Now is the ideal time to rediscover what brings you joy, which will help propel you through the healing process, too. Focus on filling your time with things that you enjoy. Perhaps you might visit friends and family more. If you don’t have many friends, or all your friends were mutual friends, now’s a great time to get out there and meet new people by joining a club or taking up a new hobby.
5. Keep your kids separate from your divorce
Divorce is never easy for the two people going through it, but it can be especially hard on the children who have no say or control over the process or outcome. As a divorcing parent, addressing your kids’ needs through this emotional time can be challenging. While this process may be difficult for the entire family it is important to help your children get through and thrive during and after the divorce. What works best is making sure that with every decision you are making that you keep your children in the center of the conversation instead of putting them in the middle. That means not bad-mouthing the other parent, engaging in conflict in front of your children, not using them as messengers with their other parent and keeping their lives as consistent as possible in each home.
There is so much we can do to foster better outcomes for our children. When we help them grow through the changes, to become resilient, and to feel completely secure in knowing they are loved – and will be loved for a lifetime – your children will have benefitted from their parents’ enduring love and determination to put them first.
Divorce is a difficult process for everyone involved. But, with the right support and guidance, you can start to feel better one day at a time. Remember that no matter what stage of healing you are currently in – denial, anger, bargaining or depression – it will get better over time. In the meantime, take care of yourself by leaning into activities you enjoy and giving yourself space and time to grieve. You deserve all the love and happiness life has to offer!
To learn more from Wendy Sterling @ The Divorce Rehab, contact her at www.wendysterling.net or www.contactwendy.com. You can also listen to her podcast, The Divorced Woman’s Guide, on any podcast platform you choose, including YouTube! Join her free Facebook Group, The Divorce Rehab, for support, information, and community!