Divorce: even when it’s needed, right, has-to-happen, been-too-long-in-the-making, it’s hard. And for good reason: getting divorced can mean uprooting your entire life, turning your social and personal relationships inside out, interrupting the routine for your kids, and disrupting everything for a long time.
It’s emotionally difficult. There’s no way around it.
While it’s impossible to remove the emotional fallout of divorce completely, there are steps you can take to lessen the impacts. When you understand what makes getting divorced so tough, and how to take care of yourself through the process, it becomes easier to weather the storm and emerge on the other side.
3 Common Emotional Repercussions of Divorce
No matter what led to your divorce, this is an emotionally trying time. Here are a few of the things most people experience when getting a divorce:
Shame is one of the most toxic emotions associated with divorce. And people feel it for all sorts of reasons.
Some people feel shame for “failing” at their marriages or putting on a brave face for too long. Others feel shame for being unfaithful, or for having a partner that was unfaithful to them. Still, others feel shameful for their choice of partner, not heeding the advice of friends and family, or giving up too much during the course of the relationship.
Shame comes from a variety of places. No matter why shame appears, it can be difficult to navigate.
Even when a relationship isn’t working anymore, divorce creates a well of sadness in most people.
In fact, numerous studies have shown that divorce is associated with spiking rates of anxiety and depression in adults, and most people go through a period of intense sadness and distress colloquially called “the divorce hangover.”
While it’s normal to be sad after a divorce, feeling helpless, hopeless, or inclined toward self-harm are all red-flags that require the help of a skilled mental health professional.
Anger is another common emotion during the divorce process.
Many of us feel angry with our ex-spouse for ending things, behaving poorly, or not being the partner we wished they’d been. In some cases, this anger is an emotion we feel to cover up our own guilt or sadness about the dissolution of the marriage.
And it makes sense: marriage is tied to so many important personal attributes: trustworthiness, hard work, connection, honor, maturity, being a “good” person, and more. When a marriage fails, it shakes us to our core, and can temporarily turn our worldview upside down. It’s normal to react to that inversion with anger.
3 Compassionate Steps to Heal Your Heart
If you’re getting divorced, difficult emotions are just part of the process. Fortunately, you don’t have to fall victim to those emotions. There are many things you can do to bounce back as quickly as possible.
Here are some steps we recommend:
1. Seek Professional Help
Even if you’ve never been a “therapy person,” now is an excellent time to find someone to talk to. Interview a few therapists in your area, ask for recommendations from friends and family, and browse listings on Psychology Today until you find a therapist that feels right for you.
2. Focus on Self-Care
It sounds cliche, but it’s true: you need to take care of yourself before you take care of anyone else. With this in mind, prioritize your health and wellbeing right now. Get enough sleep, practice mindfulness, eat a healthy diet, move your body in a way that feels good to you, and trust that this difficult time will pass. Even though getting divorced is an ending to an important part of our lives. It can also be the beginning of new possibilities.
3. Hire a Good Attorney
Divorce is always difficult, but it doesn’t need to be brutal. A good Pensacola divorce lawyer can help you work toward a collaborative divorce with your ex-spouse, and ensure you’re not making the process harder than it needs to be. Contact our team today to learn more.