Coping with Divorce When Grief Gets You Down
Coping with divorce stinks. Discover a few ways to make the grief stages less painful.
Why does it seem like coping with divorce is just as painful as coping with the physical death of a spouse? Well, for one, our society still attaches a ton of stigma to divorce. How are you supposed to work through the loss of a loved one if people blame you for that loss? How should you be grieving your divorce?
Four Tips for Dealing with Divorce Grief
1) Let your anger and sadness out.
When you’re coping with divorce, it’s common to bury the hurt you’re feeling. You might choose to blame yourself for your divorce or become bitter about your ex. However, keeping grief pent-up will only work for so long; letting out all your different kinds of emotion is aspect of the stages of grieving. Just as a volcano can either drip manageable lava flows or blast explosive plumes of fiery ash, the volcano of emotions related to grieving the loss of a loved one will blow if you don’t voluntarily relieve the pressure of your grief.
2) Realize your journey through the grief stages is going to be unique.
Just as grief after the death of a spouse comes in many different unique forms, so does the grieving that follows divorce. Sometimes, divorce grief can be even more painful than overcoming a physical death; your ex is not dead (a.k.a. “in a better place”), and so it can be difficult to restore hope as you work through the stages of grieving. Don’t expect to fit into the cookie-cutter formula for how to cope with divorce; your experience with the steps of grief will likely be unique.
3) Draw your grieving family close to you.
As you work through the steps of grief, remember that you’re not the only one mourning the loss of a loved one. There are other members of your family that are trying to figure out how to cope with divorce, though not in the same way as you. Draw your grieving children close. Isolation in the wake of a divorce can make one more susceptible to fear and doubts in this mourning process, and you still need your family. Take this opportunity to grow closer to your biggest fans as you are all dealing with divorce.
4) Find a grief support system.
When it comes to dealing with divorce, it’s also important to reach outside of your familiar circle. Your family members are not the only people trying to get over a break-up. You need a place where you can vent, where you can be honest about your emotions, and where you can express yourself without fear or regret. Why not talk to a whole community of people who is also working through the stages of grieving divorce? Consider a divorce support group, a church, or a cluster of close friends. Allow someone to provide some alternative perspective on how to get over a break-up. Look beyond yourself; you’ll probably be surprised with what you find.
Coping with divorce is a life event that often forces people to ask “the big questions.” Why does anyone have to go through the loss of a loved one? As you continue to seek resources on how to cope with divorce, we’d like to suggest another means of comfort. As you work through the grief stages after a divorce, why not take a few minutes to talk to God about your pain?