One of the greatest difficulties we face when recovering from a divorce is the pain that continues to resurface. If we look at the pain as part of the grief process it is not hard to understand why feelings of hurt, sadness, guilt, and a broken heart are felt over and over again as we heal. We would not question the pain a person feels at the death of a loved one, yet (society) believes that when one divorces all will be well. "Get over it and move on", are words spoken by well meaning friends and family, however, what others do not understand, especially if they have not experienced a divorce, is that there is deep, deep pain in recovering from all the losses. And the pain resurfaces when the ex spouse moves on and dates again, or remarries. The pain resurfaces, at weddings of the children of divorce or the birth of a grandchild. All these events can trigger feelings of loss.
When I look at our grandchildren, I am reminded of all that is good and yet, I am also reminded of loss. Of failed relationships, years of hurt, doubt and more. I'll admit that as the years pass the hurt is not as powerful. It has no control over me as it once did. Yet for those of you who are new to the world of divorce, the pain is raw, and one day can be good but the next day you can feel as though you have made no progress at all.
There is hope. Hope through healing. Feeling the pain of loss is a necessary part of the healing process. Growing beyond numbing the pain is where you will feel stronger, more alive and hopeful. Each person's pain is their own. No one can tell you how long to grieve, however, we must work at moving forward vs. hanging on to the past. Part of that means not setting yourself up for failure by keeping a toxic relationship alive. A young man recently came to me for a one-on-one session. His divorce was final seven days earlier and he was feeling great grief, he had a heavy sadness to his face and the way he walked. He didn't understand why he was feeling this way. His family was trying to coach him on by telling him "it's all over now, move on!" But, in his words, he felt stuck. He said, 'something is not making sense I should feel good right?' No, I told him. Your grieving. All the anger from the split and dividing material objects, property, debt, etc is a small part of what we are truly feeling inside.
Everything that he had experienced from an emotionally abusive relationship came flooding back. He felt the need for vengeance, he wanted her to feel the same pain he was feeling. The thing is, the other person is in pain. Their experience of pain will be different. If we are in fact healing, we are processing our pain not ignoring it and that is tough work. It is not for the weak spirit or mind. It is courageous to go through the healing process.
So, what do you do when these very raw feeling of hurt and pain surface. Acknowledge them, invite them in (temporarily) to heal, to recognize that you are no longer in the same situation. You will no longer need to live as you once did. You will survive another day, and each day you will become stronger. If you are a person of faith in a higher power, take that time to acknowledge that something greater than you is at work in your life. Pray, meditate, walk, journal, paint, write or run. Do what your mind and body need to continue to heal. Peace be with you on your journey friend.
Tanya is a spiritual guide, grief support facilitator and trainer. Her passion is to help others heal from the effects of divorce and to find and live their gifts. For retreat information, training and spiritual guidance inforamtion email Tanya at: firstname.lastname@example.org