Divorce Grief... Death Of Our Vows
No one says "I Do" with the intention of getting a divorce down the road. I mean, the majority of people at least. I believe that every experience and decision should be set with solid intentions. So, when the one thing you have decided to do forever slowly or abruptly unravels right before your eyes, it becomes a grief unlike any other. Why is this any different than a death or a friendship ending? For one, the person you still love
or possibly now hate is no longer in your life after preparing and envisioning your future together. Unlike a true death, you may have to see them again or know that they are walking through life without you.
There's no doubt that this person will be a part of your story forever, but they did not define you before the relationship and they do not have to define who you are moving forward. So, HOW do you move forward with your grief and complete confusion? You take one day at a time, hire a grief coach like myself and start with these exercises.
First, you have to know that whether this was your choice or not there will be grief associated with divorce. Even the idea of what we wanted or the expectations can be a grieving point. We have to take inventory of all the things that your grief could be holding on to and stemming from. It is not just the person, it is the physical and emotional impact as well. Start by asking these questions:
What will you miss out on now that you are not a couple?
What will you physically miss about this person? (i.e. warmth on the other side of the bed, hugs, laughter, security)
What emotional response and support will you miss from this person?
What were the expectations you set that they did not meet, but always hoped that they would?
What habits within your day were shared by you and this person?
Once you take inventory of the things that you will be missing. I want you to work towards creating a life that serves you by finding way to implement these things missing in your life. The things that you can create for yourself in particular. Even if you have kids, it is important for their future that their parents are healthy and happy people. You can find new habits, new ways of finding security, leaning on certain people to help you and finding a therapeutic resource that is best for you. Create a safe and comfortable environment that you can grieve without judgment.
This first portion is really meant for you to take inventory of your loss so that you know your deficiencies. And what do we do when we find out our bodies are deficient in something? We find treatment and supplements to strengthen it.
List all the things that you can do to help aid in these things missing or ways to comfort them. Even if you are not going to replace it, there could be an activity that will facilitate what's lacking. It also has been described as the holes in your day where they were. Take those holes and fill them with self fulfilling activities (journaling, walking, meditating, reading etc.) that are going to feed your heart, mind and soul.
CONTROL THE NARRATIVE
Look, you can't control a few things in life such as other people's actions, death and a two year tantrum (toddler humor for the parents) but you can control your own thoughts, feelings and actions. Why is this important even when the other person may be acting well...real shitty? Because the things that people say and do can eat us alive. It may be difficult at first but practice makes perfect. You have to give yourself time for your brain to develop this skill that will serve you in so many situations in the future.
If you have a hold of what triggers you and how you will react to those triggers, then you place yourself in a healthier part of grief and heartbreak. If you were wondering what qualifies healthy vs. unhealthy, here are a few that will literally damage your physical health, mental health and your ecosystem (everything and everyone you surround yourself with).
Unhealthy grief: bitterness, greed, regret, and blame
Healthy grief: sadness, fear, longing, and anger
Step one: Determine your triggers. What triggers you into all types of emotions from your divorce? It is best to track these with a journal.
Step Two: plan for how you will respond to such triggers. This is something that I am a life transition coach and grief coach to help people discover.
Step Three: Develop your intention for the interaction with each person that is involved in the divorce. This will ensure that you stay in the lines and boundaries that fit into those intentions. You will need to be realistic and keep your own mental health in consideration. For example, if you intend to have certain mutual friends in your life you must have a good intention to support that decision. If you are not clear WHY you want them in your life other than their attachment to your ex then you may need to dive a little deeper.
You can also head over to the FEMA exercise video to help you determine why certain people and situations affect you.
DETERMINE THE WHY
In grief one of the main topics that comes up during grief coaching sessions is the reason why it happened. Why did it fall apart? Why did they have to do this to me? Why me? Those are natural questions that should be explored. However, some choose to focus on these and these alone. Unless you are finding habits or traits within yourself or your former partner that will help your future then it can snowball into a deep grief and depression. I urge you to focus on why they were in your life. What have you learned from having been in that relationship, good, bad or ugly? Why were you meant to go through this chapter? Why were they brought into your life? The beauty of these questions is that the answers will develop over time and unveil themselves AS YOU GROW. However, If you stay stagnant, you will risk getting lost in the unhealthy mess that divorce can produce.
For example, you could find that there were signs that you should have ended this relationship years ago, but your core beliefs stopped you from doing what was best for you. These core beliefs, aka your roots, have been growing since the day you were born. Maybe it is time to find how you can nourish those roots with core beliefs that serve you and your family better. Which will then enrich your self-esteem and self-confidence.
Look, I want you to focus on the grief and allow it to manifest in whatever way, but I do not suggest allowing it to take over your world and define your vision for the future. Doing little things every day can ensure that you WILL get there. You WILL become that whole person again. These exercises are meant to guide you and in some cases simply comfort you grief. They can also provide some control during a time you may feel like you have lost everything.
*Looking for a stellar divorce attorney, child phycologist or divorce organizer in Texas? Message me for my recommendations.