Most people are not prepared for the emotional effects of divorce. The support you receive from friends and family may be a ‘let’s blame and badmouth the ex’ conversation which is unlikely to help how you’re feeling.
Feeling of Anger
The feeling of anger can be quite intense when going through divorce. It could be towards your spouse, the situation or even yourself. Anger is one of the most common emotions to experience especially if you have been hurt in the process leading up to the divorce. You will be angry at your spouse but also at yourself for not seeing the signs that led to where you are now. Try not to go over and over this in your head as it won’t help you cope.
Being angry will certainly not help with the divorce proceedings. You need to think that your spouse is going through similar emotions. Try to let go of the feeling of anger. By accepting the roles you both played in leading up to the divorce, you can start to move on, feel fulfilled again and eventually live a happy life.
Feeling of Guilt
If you’re the one that initiated the separation and then made the decision to divorce the feeling of guilt could become quite apparent. It is common for women to feel this emotion even if they are not the one that initiated the divorce in the first place. The feeling of guilt is more likely if you have children. This is due to breaking the family up and the effects it will have on the children.
The feeling of guilt can drive you mad and it has no purpose, you constantly have questions in your head such as:
- Is this the right decision’?
- Have I done everything in my power to make the marriage work?
- What have I done wrong?
It is natural to have these questions but you’re focusing on the past and you can’t change the past. You need to look ahead and let go of the questions, the guilt and look forward to your future.
Feeling of Grief
Grief is a natural emotion to be feeling when going through separation and divorce. Your marriage has ended so you will be going through a grieving experience, this is painful and upsetting. It’s not something you should worry about feeling, it’s a healthy response to what is going on in your life.
Don’t hide away from this emotion. It will be part of the five emotional stages you need to experience when going through a divorce. You need to go through this stage so you can deal with it. ‘Let go’ and look forward to whatever your future brings. Talking about how you’re feeling will help. Talk to family, friends and even a professional if you think talking to someone not connected to you or your ex-partner will be easier. Let out the tears and even scream if you feel it will help.
Remember don’t be afraid of experiencing these emotions, feel them and then set them free in order to move on.
Feeling of Fear
Women and men can get terrified during their divorce. Fear can be experienced in many ways throughout the divorce process. It’s not an emotion you should feel ashamed of feeling, a few examples of things that people fear are below:
- The unknown
- Being on your own
- Finances – how will you afford the bills
- Being a single parent with no full-time support
You may become scared when, in your own head, you start to doubt your decisions and think ‘what if’. When this happens, take a step back and stop, try not to think negative. Turn the ‘what if’ into a positive thought. If you’re concerned about becoming a single parent and how hard that will be. Remember nothing is easy but in time it will become easier. You possibly may have more support around than you first thought.
Look to the future and positive thinking will help you see the light at the end of the tunnel from the fear you’re feeling.
Anxiety and Stress
Anxiety and stress often go together and can be experienced through tough times in your life especially divorce, these are negative emotions and can be linked with the other emotions that we have spoken about this week, anger, guilt, grief and fear. Reducing stress will help you let go of the other emotions and help you deal with what is happening right now.
There are lots of ways to reduce your stress levels which in turn will help with the anxiety you are feeling. I find doing some form of exercise helps as it enables me to clear my head and let off steam. You could also try cooking healthy new recipes as diet can play a part in reducing anxiety.
Children need structure in their lives but so do we, structure can help build a stress-free environment leaving you more relaxed and ready to take on the day.
There are many emotional effects of divorce, allow yourself to feel each emotion separately, then let it go and look forward to your future.