We often associate grief with the death of a loved one, but this emotion isn’t exclusive to loss by death. Grieving your divorce is a difficult but very necessary process for moving on with your life. This is a natural process that follows any loss, and going through a divorce or ending a significant relationship comes with grief.
Working through the emotions brought on by grief is imperative to maintaining positive mental health. You might grieve the loss of simply having another human next to you. Maybe your grief is because of a loss of security, like your home, or the friendship and companionship you shared with your ex-spouse. Regardless, to move on, you need to process your grief.
How to Process Grieving Your Divorce and Move On Productively
Grieving is a long-time process. It can be extremely difficult and emotionally exhausting. Moving beyond this takes self-compassion and patience. Each of these steps will be particular to the person experiencing the loss. To process your grieving your divorce:
Admit Your Feelings
Processing: The main idea here is to acknowledge how you feel and accept that it’s okay for you to feel that way. You can do this mentally. Many people experience greater relief if they journal or track their feelings.
Moving on: When you name your emotions, you own up to them. The more you do this, the more you can physically and mentally come to terms with how you feel. It takes time and effort, but this step is crucial to recovery. Each time you allow yourself to feel these emotions fully, you reduce its hold on you.
Quiet the Inner Critic
Processing: Our inner critic is all the negative self-talk that comes up during times of stress. It criticizes us and questions every decision we make. It can cause us to undermine ourselves, even gaslight us into believing we’re at complete fault. Silencing this negative self-talk is essential to your healing journey.
Moving on: The first step to hushing that negative voice is to identify it and what the critical voice is actually trying to say. Once you understand this, you can find the root cause of this negative self-talk. You can choose to respond to your inner voice by acknowledging its root message. You can also choose not to feed it by acknowledging your humanity. Even if you made a mistake, the self-hatred cannot turn back the clock.
Find out Your Attachment Style
Processing: Responding to a breakup will usually lead you to a lot of self-reflection. We’ve established that negative self-talk has no place here, but there might still be some things you need to take a hard look at. We can all look back at how we might have done better, but we can’t change the past. You can change the future, though.
Moving on: Gather a better understanding of who you are as a person. Exploring your attachment style is a great way to do this. It can help you understand how previous traumas have developed your approach to intimacy. It can also help you understand what you need from a partner.
Talk It Through
Grieving your divorce and processing your emotions often takes talking them through with someone. Find a trusted friend or family member with the emotional strength to support you while you talk about how you’re feeling. There are also several support groups for divorcees. Talking with someone who has been through a similar experience can help you better process your own. It also eases feelings of isolation.
The help of a professional therapist can make a monumental difference in your healing process. In grief therapy, we can help you each step of the way. Together we can create more positive self-talk and build up your self-compassion. Then we can find the coping mechanisms that work for you in your new life.