8 Tools for Dealing with Divorce
Divorce can be difficult no matter the circumstance. Depending on what ended the relationship, your feelings may vary, including a sense of betrayal, rejection, bitterness, disappointment, anger, anxiety, or guilt.
Financial and legal issues may be an added strain onto physical, mental, and emotional levels. If you have children, there may be some additional guilt about how it may affect them.
With time, it will get better. Taking care of your well-being during this transition is especially important. I have listed eight tools for dealing with your divorce here to help you reach that place of healing.
1. Addressing Feelings
For days you may go about your regular routine as normal, then the next you find yourself in a bad mood, angry, depressed, overwhelmed and wanting to scream at the world.
It’s normal. It’s okay. You are not alone.
Knowing doesn’t “fix” how you’re feeling. Make sure you acknowledge these feelings, know that it is okay to feel them. If you are in a situation where these feelings come up and you can’t deal with them, rather than squish them down to the pit of your stomach where they may fester and bubble then burst later, try to find a spot in your mind, a special place to stick them temporarily (perhaps a special box) so that you can address them later when you have the time.
Healthy coping mechanisms like these will do exactly that, help you cope. Accepting this is our “new normal” for now and focusing on healing and moving forward is the first step.
2. Managing Finances
Financial matters are one of the top-ranking divorce anxiety issues. Before you start panicking, here are a few things you can do to ease the financial blow:
- If you’re able, before filing the divorce papers, close all your joint bank accounts. If unable to come to agreement about the bank accounts, then consider asking the bank to freeze the accounts temporarily. Then once divorce is finalized, the court can decide who is liable to pay off any debts.
- Planning ahead by going through your monthly bank statements. This is to find out how much income you need each month to ensure bills are paid etc. Make sure there are no hidden expenses, and where you can see to save money by what to cut.
- Post-divorce, you’re going to need a little nest egg so start saving now to help cover at least a few months.
- Figure out what is owed and what is owned. Gather your and your partner’s proof of income. You need to know the value of your assets and liabilities.
- Frugal. Giving up non-essentials, even if it’s temporary, to focus on saving and decluttering will help in the long run. Paring down your belongings as soon as you can helps in terms of not having to move so much stuff with you if you must move. Plus, we tend to own more than we think we do, so a healthy purge can be a good mental health exercise as well.
- Reach out to a few close friends and family you trust. You don’t have to tell the world about the status of your marital issues, but having someone to confide in helps in many ways. You may be able to reach out for emotional or financial support if needed.
3. Don’t Forget Your Children
It does not matter how old your children are, whether they are 2 or 22, divorce affects children, period.
Your 15-year-old teenager or even 25-year-old University student still needs to process their feelings and receive your reassurances. This is where you need to be calm and collected.
Tempted to let your feelings and frustrations fizz into any conversations you may have with your children, don’t. This is your battle, not theirs. Be very mindful when addressing issues with kids as to avoid parental alienation which is very damaging to a child’s mental health.
You both are figuring out how to cope with this. And for your children it might be more difficult.
Being there for them and spending time with them is the most precious thing you can do for them. Let them have a safe space when they wish to talk and let out what they’re feeling about the situation.
Keep as much normalcy as you can. Keep attending those sports games, band recitals, lunch meetings, and going to movies. But make sure there’s no negativity; this is about them and you and your time together.
4. Judgment and Self-Identity
Here comes the time for some self-reflection and criticism.
Some of your integrated friends may be sad and/or angry over your break-up. Some may help you try to carry on as if nothing has changed. You need a healthy balance of that. However, you will have those who tell you what you did wrong, repeatedly.
This damages your ability to cope instead of helping you heal, and you will know when it does.
Be aware of constructive versus destructive criticism, whether it comes from yourself or someone else. If you feel lightened after your heart to heart, it’s constructive. But if you walk away with a bad feeling, some may be self-directed anger, but some may be crossed boundaries, even if well-intended, that is destructive.
Patience with yourself and those around you is what you need right now. Reforming relationships and reconfiguring your identity is awkward, and drawing boundaries is a learning curve, which is all a part of your healing process.
5. Seek Support
Until you go through your own story, you don’t realize how many have gone through the same. Like having children, you become introduced into specific circles and conversations that didn’t apply to you previously.
You may have helped others through their divorce, but it is different when it’s you.
Nature or nurture, some are more of a “lone wolf” than others and reaching out can be more challenging.
Though no one wishes divorce on anyone else, because so many are getting divorced, there is a variety of people in various stages of the divorce channel.
There is always someone who has gone through what you already have, are currently going through, and past. They will share similarities such as kids, amounts of financial assets and concerns. Those who have gone through the process can share their full experiences and offer advice based on and an ear to listen and support.
Where you seek these people may be friends, groups from church, community centers, online forums, or perhaps you may seek professional help. A therapist can help work through your mental health concerns and may also offer group sessions for divorce support.
6. Finding Acceptance, then Taking Action
The stages of grief during divorce (aka the death of your marriage) may be the same feelings of those you feel during a loss, when someone dies.
You are allowed to feel anger, especially if you’re not the one to initiate the divorce. Shame, betrayal, or defiance may follow those feelings of anger.
It is hard to say how long the feelings will last, and they may burden the heaviness of your psyche for a while. However, it is a good thing to be recognizing these feelings rather than starting your day feeling and not knowing why “stuck in a rut.”
Denial. You might tell yourself you’re over it, telling yourself a lie, or not. Deep within yourself, only you will know.
Healing happens when your negative energy can be replaced by a form of acceptance. Realizing you can’t change what has happened but can move forward and start anew.
Short-term, focus on small day-to-day things like ensuring your body is getting properly taken care of and connect with family and friends. Try new things like hobbies, join a group, volunteer, or meditate.
Long-term, redefine your life’s goals, including pre-existing relationships you currently have. Are you happy in your current career? Reinvention might be now.
As you become more engaged and happier than you were previously, you may not even be aware of your grieving feelings of anger, acceptance, and action overlapping.
7. Depression Awareness
Keeping your feelings shut deep within yourself is a dangerous and slippery slope. It can set yourself up for major depression, and it can manifest physically.
- Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day. (sadness, emptiness, hopelessness)
- Lessened interest or pleasure in previously enjoyed activities
- Eating habit changes (significantly more or less, associated weight gain or loss).
- Changes in sleeping patterns (too much, or unable to)
- Fatigue or low energy most days.
- Unable to concentrate or make decisions.
- Severe cases, psychomotor agitation (purposeless, repetitive motions like wringing hands, tapping foot, pacing the room) or psychomotor impairment (slowed physical reactions, slow speech, and walking).
- Severe cases, suicidal thoughts
Recognizing the symptoms of depression is very important. Please seek out the help of a medical professional right away if you have any of these symptoms.
8. Hypnotherapy for Divorce
You may have been with your partner for a long time and have a fear of being on your own and meeting new people, as an example. Hypnotherapy can assist with overcoming your fears, helping you to move on.
It can also help you reprogram your brain, get out of old habits and reform new ones. Once you find yourself in a new routine, it may be easier to get out and try more new things.
Hypnotherapy, as we know, helps us to relax. We also know, divorce is quite stressful. Learning relaxing techniques with hypnotherapy helps with releasing stress, lowering blood pressure, increasing energy, and raising mood. The more you relax, and destress, the easier it is to heal and move forward.
Your subconscious takes care of your physical as well as your mental state, believe it or not. Hypnotherapy can help with healing the physical backlash your divorce has taken on your body, whether it has been any weight gain/loss issues, immunity, to helping you with physical activity.
Past trauma may come up in a hypnotherapy session and we can help you heal from that if you need. It might be that you’ve gone through quite a trauma in your marriage, possibly leaving an abusive relationship. I can show you a new sense of peace for yourself and the world, helping you through whatever traumas you might be struggling with.
Hypnotherapy can be essential in your divorce tool kit, with many benefits to aid in the healing process.
I hope you find these tools helpful. Do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns. Divorce is not easy, and you are not alone. I am here when you need me.
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