“I don’t even know myself anymore! Where did this person come from?” Since I left him I have done things I would never have done before! What is wrong with me?
Your identity has changed. That’s hard to get your head around and you are trying to find your way through the resulting fog.
Separation and divorce cause shock! Like having a piece of yourself ripped away from your side, you bleed. The attempts to cover that wound make for “crazy” alot of times.
You experience more than just the loss of the person you thought you were going to build a future with, you also lose that future and friends who don’t know how to relate to you and what you are going through as well as any confidence you had. You may lose your home, time with your children, and definitely many things familiar.
80% of your energy is used to process your emotions. You alternate between feelings of shame, embarrassment, relief, anger, failure, overwhelm. If 80% of your energy is being used to work through these, no wonder you ache and are having a difficult time just living your every day life.
In order to cope, you may turn to anyone who flatters you or pays attention to you. You may drift into a group of people who don’t judge you, don’t know you and have similar things going on in their lives. They become your community and anyone from the past you avoid.
May I give you some advice as having been there? It’s about your heart.
You are in limbo land right now and your brain and your heart are truly in shock. You need time to find the new you. So, consider this:
1. You are grieving. Be honest. Pinpoint your feelings. Your relationship is most likely over. Some pick up the threads again and work things out but the statistics don’t favor this happening. Dr. John Grey in one of the best books on divorce recovery that I have come across, “Mars and Venus: Starting Over”, guides the person trying to get their feet on the ground to truly acknowledge what is going on inside. To help you do that, as many times a week or a day as you need to, finish these sentences:
- I am angry that…..
- I am sad that….
- I am afraid that…
- I am thankful that….
2. Change your routine and make it just yours.
- shop at a different grocery store
- take a new route to work even if it’s longer
- start your day differently
- end your day differently
- rearrange your furniture
3. Set one goal a week and focus on it.
- baby steps help avoid overwhelm
- make a list of the major decisions you are facing and prioritize them
- from that list, take one step toward one goal and make that the step you focus on for this week
- the rest can wait
- Major warning: don’t rush into shaking off the memories while your are grieving by making decisions like selling your house, moving, etc. Give yourself time – a good year, if you can. Trust me – you will be glad.
- I can hear you saying, “But I’m tired of crying.” I know.
- Crying gets the emotion out.
- Play the music that brings out your heart’s feelings. In fact, make up a new CD or playlist filled with songs that are just for you.
- Watch a sappy movie that displays the kind of love you want to have because the only way to get to the other side of sadness is to go through it. and, the only way you are going to find a love that lasts is to begin even now to recognize what it is you want!
4. Try something new.
- don’t sit alone all the time
- exercise – join a gym, start to run – cardio is amazing for working off anger or sadness.
- learn a new craft or pick up an interest you have always had
- get your hair done a different way
- have your make-up redone to start to care for yourself in a new way
- don’t fall into the frumpies. Dress yourself up before you go out. Have a shower and put on some perfume because, believe it or not, doing this will raise your spirits by 50% at least.
5. Get to know God.
- let that Higher Power become personal to you
- feel the understanding coming from a Being that knows you better than anyone
- tell Him everything – wail, shout, share your deepest feelings and sometimes, just let Him sit next to you on the couch or a park bench, not speaking at all… just feeling, knowing He never leaves you.
- let Him hold you while you go to sleep and remind yourself when you try to open your eyes in the morning that He is there for you even when no one else is
- the strength you find will be amazing and you will find a life-long Champion in Him
You are carving out a new life for yourself but at the same time, it’s very important to grieve the one you are letting go.
Dr. Grey says that you will know when your healing is complete as you will be able to look back with love. Keep walking toward that day, one foot in front of the other.