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Navigating Divorce Grief: Understanding the Six Stages

The grieving process in divorce is a complex emotional journey that is similar to that of the death of a loved one. The difference is when a loved one dies. People rally around you. They bring you apple pie, they give you hugs. They come and spend time with you. The love is poured on you. There are celebrations of life and there's all kinds of connection from everybody, friends, family, all around. Everyone reaching out constantly to make sure you are alright, or to help you cope with the recent loss.

With divorce, it's very different. You get a little bit of attention from friends and family for a while, and then often they don't want to talk to you anymore. Maybe because they don't really have anything else to offer you. They can't help you. They've given all that they've got to you. They start not answering your phone calls or not really wanting to hang out with you because it's a depressing time for you and they don't know what to do.

Divorce is grieving and grieving on your own, a lot of the times. It is a lonely, grieving process. When you're going through this transition, I just want you to know that it's perfectly acceptable, normal to go through the grieving process. It's not linear, but I'm going to let you know kind of the six or seven stages of the grieving process that you can expect that you will probably find yourself in.

You may flip from one to the other. Move back. Move over here. Everything's normal. Everything's okay. And it is a process. And it is often a lonely process.

Shock and denial are number one in the grieving divorce process. Whether you initiated the divorce or your spouse initiated the divorce, there's still feelings of shock and denial. This is a life that you've built with someone. You have children. You had hopes and dreams for the future and we often spend time in denial during the transition process of divorce.

The second stage in the grieving process through divorce is anger and resentment. You may find yourself really, really angry for this whole bucket full of things that he has done to you. You may find yourself really angry that you're living in this city when you really wanted to live in this city all along. But you live here because of your partner, you may be resentful for your inability to move up in your career because you stayed home with your kids for a certain period of time. You may be resentful for or the lack of friends that you have and the many friends that your partner seems to have or for his advancement in his career, meanwhile you weren't able to advance in yours.

There are so many reasons why you may be angry and resentful. All of them are perfectly normal. All of them are a part of the grieving process.

Number three, is the bargaining stage. You might find yourself thinking, okay, well, if I do this and maybe, maybe our marriage can work, or maybe if I didn't do this, our marriage would have worked. This is normal as well. And part of the process.

Another stage that is very common and natural is depression and sadness may set in. It's perfectly normal to feel low, to feel really, really sad, to feel scared, to feel ashamed, embarrassed. Any feelings that you're having right now are perfectly normal. You do need to work through your feelings, and a part of learning through this process will be your emotional healing. And that does take some work. But all of your feelings are completely normal.

Another stage in the grieving process is acceptance. When you move to acceptance, accepting your divorce. Your situation as is. Accepting what is right now. Accepting your reality. Only then will you be able to move forward. You cannot move forward until you accept your reality and what is right now.

And then the final stage in the grieving process is reconstruction and healing. Once you've accepted your divorce, is actually happening. Once you've accepted that you will be a single parent. Once you've accepted your situation as it is, then you'll be able to move towards healing and new possibilities, creating your new future, re-envisioning your new life, and all kinds of wonderful things will happen for you.

Again, in no particular order, the stages in the grieving process during divorce are shock and denial, anger and resentment, bargaining, depression and sadness, acceptance, reconstruction and healing. These are all normal stages of the divorce process that you can expect to go through.

You may spend more time in one stage or the other, but be assured, all these moments are natural and necessary to reach the happy, joyful, content and peaceful self waiting in this next chapter of your story. And through work and healing and learning and growing, you will move through all of these stages to the other side, to your new future that's waiting for you.

And during this time, remember that you are perfect, you are worthy, you are loved, and you can choose to be happy.

And until next time here's to youfirst!




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