Contemplating Divorce

Whether you should stay or go

What's Normal Post-Divorce Grief?

Knowing What to Expect Can Help a Great Deal

Only those who avoid love can avoid grief. The point is to learn from grief and remain vulnerable to love ~  John Brantner

With any loss of a marriage comes grief. This is true regardless of the specific circumstances of your situation. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, a pioneer in understanding the area of grief, laid out five emotional and mental stages that follow a great loss as being denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

While grief generally follows this order, it is by no means a linear process. In fact, most people get bounced around quite a bit from one stage to the next.

One day, you may feel numb (denial stage), and the next you may be consumed with rage (anger stage) only to be followed by a day of "if onlys" (bargaining stage).

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A complaint I hear (and one of the reasons I wrote my last book, Stronger Day by Day) is that often people think they are done with their grief only to run into an old friend or have a memory of the ex triggered which then sets them back for days.

Sometimes people feel like there is something "wrong" with them or that they are losing their minds but this bouncing back and forth is a normal part of grief. It usually takes much longer than people think it should to get over the loss of your loved one, your sense of family and your dream of living happily ever after.

Here are some thoughts on getting through your grief:

1) Be gentle with yourself

2) Allow yourself to feel the full range of emotions that are part of grief

3) Learn as much as you can about grief so you will know what to expect*

4) Get adequate support - if you think your friends are tired of hearing you tell your tale of woe, seek out a professional or another divorcing person who won't get tired of hearing your story

5) Keep a journal of your emotions so you can track your progress - often you don't realize how much you're changing and growing until you see things written down (and sometimes the opposite is true where you see where you are stuck on an issue and that can be the catalyst for moving through your grief)

*If you'd like to learn more about the stages of grief, please join me on a free Stronger Day by Day teleclass on "The Stages of Grief" that I will be offering next Saturday, September 25 from 10:30 to 11:30 Pacific time (1:30 pm Eastern).

It will also be a great opportunity to get answers to questions you may have about what you're experiencing.

No reservation needed. The call in information is:  

Participants may call 1-213-416-6650
(please note that this may be a long distance call)
Input Access Code: 589429

I look forward to speaking with you personally.

Susan Pease Gadoua, L.C.S.W., is the author of Contemplating Divorce and Stronger Day by Day.

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