Breakups can be of many kinds, husbands and wives, lovers, friendships, business partners, etc ... Both parties have set out to kill of the relationship. No one is 100% innocent and no one is 100% guilty. Both parties are guilty in the killing of the relationship. Both are guilty of the murder of what they had, a joint venture to obtain something, whatever that was, for the satisfaction of both. Breakups have all of the ingredients for a traumatic experience like no other. This book attempts to deal with that trauma and will hopefully help the reader to heal, learn and grow from this experience.
I have been teaching divorce recovery support groups for several years. When I first began teaching I was not divorced but separated. My parents did not approve of my marriage from the start and after 36 years of being married I did not want them to say, “I told you so,” and because of that I was determined not to be a divorced woman.
I began to realize after a year and a half of separation I was only prolonging the pain and confusion and that I needed to go on with my life.
I want you to know what I am not; I am not a psychologist, a therapist or a social worker. I have had some training in counseling, but my real education came from my experiences through a long separation and finally a divorce, and through working with divorcees in the support groups. Some of the people that I have worked with over the years extended the time of their personal recovery from divorce because they didn’t know of or weren’t willing to appropriate the resources available to them for recovery and growth. This booklet is designed to help you avoid those mistakes. Relationships create the emotional content of our lives: sadness, anger, happiness and joy are associated with relationships. We are designed to live in an to have relationships.
This booklet is not merely my experience, but is a guideline to recovery and growth in good relationships. My goal for you is for you to be able to say, “Though I wouldn’t wish a divorce on my worst enemy, I wouldn’t trade anything for what I have learned.” I would also like to see you become the person you were intended to be and live your life to the fullest. As I look back, the end was truly the beginning. This booklet is one which you will not want to browse through quickly, so please take your time, be honest with yourself, and use the personal journal sheet at the end of each section.
The death of a relationship through divorce is the first stage of a process in which the relationship is mourned and then let go to make way for self-renewal.
A new opportunity to improve on the past and create a fuller life can be achieved after picking up the pieces from a divorce. You will come to terms with the past and be willing to change it when you recognize self defeating behavior.
The Emotional Truth of Divorce:
You are faced with many difficult tasks that were never yours. For example: women with the extra responsibility of finances, insurance, etc. And men with household duties, etc. You will sense a feeling of loneliness along with many fears and questions.
You will begin to think, “How could I end up in this predicament?” Your emotional inventory will show failure, guilt, emptiness and uncertainty when you look back.
These emotions and others are normal when the togetherness habit has been broken. This is true no matter who you are and how strong of a person you are. You do not know what it feels like until you experience a divorce. Two people became one, and were always a couple. Now the twosome has been torn in half.
The question most often asked is, who is the divorce hardest on—men or women? In most cases the question is meaningless since divorce strikes at the emotion of all people involved.
Divorce affects each of us differently, so we should not compare our situation with someone else. We need to come to terms with ourselves and where we are now by making the choice to accept us and the situation as it is. The fact of living alone does not mean living lonely. Now we begin to make choices to lay the ground work for our future and any future relationships.
Another emotional upheaval is having to meet or contact your ex-spouse. This can stir up enormously conflicting feelings that can leave you shaken for several days. As you approach a meeting with your ex-spouse you are in familiar surroundings causing a bit of nostalgia for the “Good Old Days.” You are caught up in the frenzy of a moment in time. You begin to think, “Maybe we have learned our lesson and maybe we could work things out now.” “Maybe if I had done this differently or maybe if I had done this or that.” You will work yourself up into a mixture of emotions. This causes confusion. You will be up and down like a roller coaster.
There are times when you will feel a driving need to run away. Take this opportunity to get in touch with your feelings and to spend time in free quiet time. Let your feelings surface and don’t suppress them even though they are ugly, distorted and painful. There are also times when you will feel rejected, abandoned, victimized and even hostile. Admit each one and make a choice to turn away from them. You will this as a pull from the past. You will also recognize that the present is not the past and today is not yesterday. It is a new day and it is up to you to break the pattern. Now you are able to reach out for new friends and three things can be learned by taking this risk:
1. You will find much more warmth and acceptance than you thought.
2. You will learn to accept rejections not toward you as a person but as a single-again person (because people do not know how to relate to you as you are now).
3. You will be rewarded with new and pleasant experiences when you place yourself with new friends, activities and interests.