The realization that you are about to go through a divorce is an enormously stressful and confusing time, even if you are the one initiating it. A whirlwind of emotions are typical in the beginning. Fear, guilt, regret, anxiety, worry, sadness, embarrassment, jealousy, anger, blaming, and even vindictiveness are often felt.
It’s normal to have powerful emotions in the beginning of the divorce process. Coping with these emotions is the key to adjusting well to what’s ahead. And, to be sure, your good coping is important in helping your children adjust to the new changes in their lives.
Here are some Do’s for coping with the strong emotions in divorce:
Get plenty of rest and sleep;
Maintain a normal daily routine;
Stay involved with your social network;
Maintain your hobbies;
Talk to your closest friends and family members;
Accept the fact that you aren’t perfect and you don’t need to be;
Rely on your religious and spiritual life;
Make lists of concrete steps you need to take;
Spend plenty of time with your children so they feel loved, safe, and protected;
What helps early in the divorce process is to try and keep a civil and amicable relationship with your estranged spouse. Keep conflict to a minimum. Avoid blaming. Regardless of how you feel, try to keep the tension with your spouse very low. It will help you feel better yourself. It will make your divorce process go quicker and smoother. And it will be so much healthier and less stressful for your children.
Here are some Don’ts early in the process:
Don’t blame and lash out at your estranged spouse;
Don’t let your anger get the best of you;
Don’t say negative things to your children about their father;
Don’t tell falsehoods to your spouse or to your children;
Don’t avoid your feelings, embrace them;
Sometimes the stress of it all takes its toll and gets the best of you. Sometimes the stress leads to significant anxiety or depression, or both. Here are some of the signs that you are suffering psychologically and you may need professional help:
Loss of appetite or weight gain
Alcohol or drug abuse
Poor job performance
Loss of interest in activities and hobbies
If you do seek out help, don’t feel embarrassed or self-critical. You are the lucky one: you realized you need help and you were smart enough to seek it out. That’s a sign of insight and real strength.
When I say persistent symptoms, I mean significant anxiety or significant depression or others that are present every day for at least two weeks. I don’t mean an occasional really bad day.
It’s easy to call and make an appointment with a psychologist or other mental health professional. Don’t feel intimidated. A psychologist is specially trained to help you with your emotions and struggles. And you will see your counseling as a major source of comfort as you proceed ahead.
It is perfectly normal for you to have changing and shifting emotions during divorce. Allow yourself to feel. Get in touch with your feelings and thoughts. Use them as a guide as to how you need to cope.
Divorce is the end of an important relationship but it is the beginning of a new future. Many people view divorce with a sense of relief. And they are excited about what lies ahead.
Sad and excited at the same time is what often happens. That’s why it is a confusing time.
Let’s navigate it together.