While going through divorce, people have feelings across the spectrum, or even beyond it. Some people feel rage and anger. Some express hate while others feel numb and indifferent.
Whatever you may be feeling as you process the emotions of your divorce, here are some things you can do to move past the confusing emotions and open yourself to the process of genuine healing.
- The legal process is not therapeutic. Most people retain lawyers as quickly as they can when the prospect of divorce looms. This can give some sense of peace and accomplishment. Attorneys have a way of soothing anxiety and building confidence with their legal jargon filled with terms like “financial punishment” and “sizable settlement.” It’s easy to focus on this boost of confidence if you feel insecure. But lawyers come with a significant price tag, and the legal process can also serve to increase anger and pain. True peace can only be found within. A lawyer can’t obtain it for you.
- Let go of the past. This takes lots of practice. Early on in the process, you may need to remind yourself to do this as often as hourly. You need to stop being the person you once were. You will have to find a way to forgive your ex and yourself. As you work through your process letting go, you will find that you’re increasingly able to embrace the present and plan for the possibilities that the future holds.
- Be grateful. Your ex may be a source of significant stress to you, and you may wish that you’d never even met. But you need to find a way to recognize the positive things your spouse brought into your life. Even during the toughest times, it’s possible for you to be grateful for things. Tough times provide you with the chance to practice being patient and compassionate. They help you learn how to communicate properly.
- Plan a separation ceremony. Find a way to plan this event with your ex. Exchange vows in which you release each other. Express your desire to treat each other with respect. Commit to cooperate as you parent and support your kids.
- Celebrate going solo. Whether you choose a party, an intimate gathering or a personal meditative ceremony, take the opportunity to make and express a new commitment to you and your own sense of well-being. Give yourself permission to make a fresh start and to move forward.
- Form a new type relationship with your ex. You and your spouse aren’t lifetime partners anymore. You aren’t housemates, and your finances aren’t bound together. It’s time for you to forge a new relationship. It may involve co-parenting. It can be as friendly or distant as you want it to be. But you still may need to work together. Set appropriate new boundaries and effective ways to communicate as you move forward.
- Build new traditions. Upholding important family rituals can be difficult, if not impossible, after a divorce. Losing those traditions can increase feelings of insecurity. So instead of trying to fill the gaps, try to start new traditions instead. If Christmas brunch used to be your ex’s time to work their kitchen magic, try instead to go out to a restaurant. If you have children, be sure to include them as you make your plans. Be as creative as you can in coming up with the new traditions.
- Take care of yourself. Make sure that you’re eating well, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep. Beyond that, make sure you’re being good to yourself. Curl up with a book, go get a manicure or massage, or go see a movie with some friends. Listen to what your body is telling you, and nourish your soul. This process will help heal your wounds.
A healthy healing process requires patience and time. But it promises you an inner peace that will be all your own. You may even find that you move past feeling indifferent towards your ex, and begin feeling a kind regard instead.