Stages of Grief Divorce | Grief Cycle of Divorce
If you’ve been through a divorce or are going through one, you might have questions in your mind like: What will life be like without my partner? Will I find someone else? Will I end up alone?
It is natural for these questions to crop up in your mind. And it’s okay to feel that way, but one needs to make sure that these questions don’t make a home in your mind. To help yourself get over these thoughts, let’s look at the concept of grief and then how its applicable in case of coping with divorce.
What is Grief?
Grief is the emotional reaction to loss, especially the death of a person or other living object to whom you had a close attachment or affection. Most people are familiar with the sadness that comes with losing someone they love, but people also experience grief for a variety of losses throughout their life, including losing their jobs, becoming ill, or ending a relationship. The inevitable response to loss is grief.
Grief is different from bereavement. These terms might be used interchangeably. While bereavement is the state of loss, grief involves the reaction to the loss. Grief is also different from regret. Regret is just a part of grieving where in the process of grieving a person might experience regret.
Grief can be both a common sensation and a deeply individualized one. Individual grieving processes differ and are impacted by the type of loss experienced.
Grieving due to a loss isn’t always physical, it can be an abstract loss too. While a physical loss might involve the death of a loved one or a close person, an abstract loss involves an end of a relationship or going away from a person and so on.
Grieving after a Divorce
Grieving is an ongoing process of feeling intense sorrow or pain and letting those feelings out.
When grieving after a divorce, it’s important to pay attention to the emotions that surface and comprehend their significance in order to develop coping mechanisms. Pushing away or denying uncomfortable emotions could feel easier at the moment. Unfortunately, suppressing emotions rather than allowing oneself to feel and work through them only provides short-term relief. Ignored emotions will ultimately resurface or emerge in new ways.
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The Grief Cycle of Divorce
A model of Grief was given by Psychologist Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. Although, it’s not necessary that people will move through these stages one after the other. It is natural to skip some steps or even circle back to a previous one. It’s seen that people go through the following five stages of grief that are followed after divorce. These stages occur during the process of healing:
- Denial: In this stage, a person might still feel that there’s the hope of getting back as a result of which the individual may not accept that the person has gone away.
- Anger: Individuals going through a divorce might feel angry towards their partner for not being able to understand them or for leaving them and for leading to this stage. However, it’s important to experience this emotion and displace it in positive ways.
- Bargaining: In this stage, the person has the last hope of resolving things with their partner and begins to think of ways to do so.
- Depression: In this stage, the person begins to realize that their partner might not come back to them. They experience intense sadness with the situation, cry it out or express it in other ways.
- Acceptance: In the last stage, the person has consciously acknowledged that the relationship has ended. They move on and stop thinking about their ex-partner.
A person may experience trauma after getting a divorce. It is advisable to allow yourself time to mourn and avoid making any significant decisions regarding the future at this period.
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Letting yourself grieve over the divorce
It can be quite challenging to deal with grief throughout a divorce. Being overwhelmed throughout the divorce process is okay and essential for progress. It’s critical to surround oneself with supportive and loving individuals. When a couple has a large circle of friends in common, it can be especially difficult since losing so many friends after a divorce can be quite difficult. Allow others into your life, nevertheless, and avoid isolating yourself. You may reclaim your happiness by using healthy coping mechanisms like these.
- Acknowledge your feelings
- Express what you’re feeling
- Remember the end goal is to move on
- Realize that you still have a life to look forward to apart from that person
- Find a new meaning for your future ahead
- Consult a mental health professional if you feel that your emotions are becoming difficult for you to handle by yourself
Recognizing that it’s over, being patient, allowing yourself to grieve the loss of a relationship, practicing self-care, and using feelings as a tool of learning are some of the other things a person can do to recover from grief after divorce.