Speak with anyone on the verge of divorce and you’ll hear them discussing lawyers, mediators and division of property. All of these are aspects of your divorce but just as important is the emotional divorce – from your ex, your stuff and life as you have known it. It’s time for a new life.
The emotional divorce enables you to move through the feelings of grief and loss so that can get on with your new life. it includes regaining your balance, learning to let go and release, coming into awareness around the truth of your situation, mentally preparing and finding people to walk with you as you go through your divorce. Then there is emergence on the other side and going through a debriefing of everything before you do the fine tuning.
Psychologists have determined that divorce may actually be even more painful to endure than the death of someone close to you. Death allows for closure. Divorce is like an open wound. So the grief work is very important.
We all know people who have held on to their pain for decades, allowing it to poison everything in their life. They did all the paperwork, but never completed their emotional divorce.
The first step is to regain your balance, to find a way to get grounded and feel a sense of calm and control. One of the easiest tools is breathwork. Our minds are deeply impacted by how we are breathing and if we are bracing for impact, we’re likely to be breathing shallowly. That can put us in survival mode. So a few deep breaths can calm our thoughts.
Coming into awareness is challenging. I like Byron Katie’s 4 questions in her book Loving What Is. During divorce, we get so caught up in the stories we’re telling ourselves and the world and they can be very disempowering. If we’re able to eliminate all of our assumptions and expectations, we are more able to see the truth and that’s far easier to deal with.
Releasing is important in grief work. This involves not only expressing gratitude and saying goodbye to our mates, but feeling appreciation and releasing everything, recognizing where we have some hitches and stuckness so we can deal with that through meditation, coaching or therapy. Don’t judge yourself, but allow yourself to observe what you’re attached to.
You will need, not only legal help, but support from your community. Friends, mentors, a coach, therapist, your insurance needs to be adjusted, the list goes on but it’s customized to your specific needs.
As you go through your divorce, it’s like a marathon so having people to help is key. A debriefing allows you to truthfully examine your relationship and your old life so you can determine what worked and what didn’t, what you’d like to change and what needs to be replaced.
As you emerge on the other side, it can be a bit jarring. Everything is so different. It may take a moment for your soul to adjust so give it time. This is a good time to lay the groundwork for new habits.
And in the end, there is fine tuning to ensure the grief has been fully released, the feelings fully experienced and you can live a life that is fulfilling, fun and good. Just surviving is not enough.
There are coaches who can help you as well as therapists if you’re feeling dysfunctional or completely overwhelmed. There are also resources and other people who have been down this road.
The tendency can be to isolate during divorce, to curl into yourself and protect yourself. When you’re able, reach out. You’re likely to find a tremendous community of people willing to help, safety nets and rich resources.