Emotions can run high during divorce. It is normal to experience anxiety, anger and even depression after the loss of a marriage. Understanding the universal human responses to grief can help you cope with negative feelings associated with your divorce. The following steps outline a typical grief response, and they can happen in any order.
The Five Stages of Grief
The first stage of grief is denial and isolation. It is normal for recent divorcees to become overwhelmed with emotion and thus attempt to isolate themselves from the outside world, or refuse to acknowledge the loss. Feelings of numbness and apathy sink in.
The next step is anger. Perhaps you blame yourself for the divorce and are angry that you didn’t do something different. Or perhaps you are livid about something your spouse did. These feelings can become especially pronounced during the divorce proceedings, which can be helped by mediation. Anger can be harmful if misdirected, but there are healthy ways to manage it. Talking it out with an understanding friend or channeling your frustration into exercise can help you cope with this stage.
Bargaining, the “What if?” stage, comes next. You might start to think of ways you could have solved the issues before they popped up. What is important to realize here is that you should not assume blame ”“ divorce is a reality many couples face. Getting invested in the “What if?” will only serve to delay your recovery. Focus instead on “What now?”
Sadness and mourning come afterward. You might think back to all of the good times you had with your spouse. You might feel hurt by how the divorce could affect your children. These feelings are normal. Working them out with a friend, family member or even a therapist can go a long way in helping you feel normal after a divorce.
And finally, you come to acceptance. Divorce is a long and winding road, but you do not have to go through it alone.
Divorce Matters ”“ Denver Family Law Attorneys