Divorce is like a giant zit on your nose. It’s red. It’s giant. It hurts. Everybody sees it. And nobody mentions it.
How awkward! How painful! Right?
Our culture is stuck in the days of The Oregon Trail. Remember that computer game? Where half the family would die because they got the measles or yellow fever? Ma certainly didn’t have the option of divorcing Pa back then.
Yes, divorce is commonplace now-a-days. But, it’s still not a comfortable topic around the dinner table.
Do you notice that people don’t know what to say to you? So they just pretend like there is nothing to discuss? Like a giant zit on your nose.
Seriously, America. We can do better.
Check out these 7 ways to heal from hurt and resentment after divorce:
1. RECOGNIZE YOUR FEELINGS
Are you swimming in a mess of yucky emotions? You can’t even identify how you are feeling? Let’s review some common divorce feelings, and write down the feelings you identify with:
ANGER: Are you angry because he lied to you? Because he cheated on you? Because he hurt you? Because he was controlling? Because he messed with your mind? Because he ruined your financially? Because he didn’t love you till death do you part? When you tell your story, do you feel a surge of anger well up in you? We are going to do a little project now: draw 2 lines down the page, to make 3 columns. And title the 3 rows: “Name”, “Grudge”, “Intensity 1-10”. Take 2 minutes to complete your list.
SAD: You have lost a lot. Take a moment to identify what makes you sad. The loss of intimacy or loss of family identity. Were you a stay at home mom and now have an identify crisis? Did you put your career on the back burner in order to support your husband better? Are you feeling regret over that loss of opportunity in your career? Are you lonely? Are you frustrated that you don’t have a date to the wedding coming up next month?
WORRIED: Has anybody ever called you a worry wart? Are you stressed about how to pay the bills? How to separate the finances? How to coparent? How to arrange custody? How to agree on the schedule? How to start a new life at your age? Only deal with the stressful things that you have control over. If you are stressed about losing your house and having to start over, this is something you probably don’t have control over. So stop letting it swirl around in your head. Set it “off limits” in your mind. Forbid yourself from dwelling on it. When Eventually you will develop a new “normal”.
It’s important to identify these feelings so you can better deal with them. Name the problem. And that is the first step to healing.
2. ACCEPT REJECTION
Go back to the “grudge” list you made. Circle the names that you HAVE to deal with. That you absolutely cannot cut out of your life. Go back again and circle any name that scored 5 and below. Now, for a third time, go through the list and cross off any name that is not circled. The names remaining are the grudges I suggest you swallow your pride on. The way I implemented this was to literally block contact with the people I crossed off. I blocked them from my phone, email, facebook, etc. You may chose to not be quite that harsh. The point is: they are not worth investing in to salvage the relationship. Even if you have to see them throughout the year, it is still a relief psychologically to know that you have cut them off. They are no longer in your circle, and therefore you don’t have to waste your precious emotions on them any more.
The truth is that not everybody is going to like you. I have heard Joel Osteen say that:
25% of people you meet: will like you and always be there
25% of people you meet: will like you but could be persuaded not to
25% of people you meet: won’t like you, but could be persuaded to
25% of people you meet: will never like you
Once you can embrace this, you will only waste your effort on the 50-75% of people that like you or can be persuaded to like you.
Your ex held the prominent spot in your inner circle. And his rejection is extremely painful. But I encourage you to accept his rejection, and move on.
3. KNOW THAT YOU ARE LOVED
Have you ever heard of unconditional love? Do you believe in it? I do. I wish humans could have unconditional love. But we are not capable of it. But I believe God is. He loves us no matter what. Even if you believe the divorce is all your fault. He still loves you. No matter how much you have messed up, you are still loved. There is nothing wrong with you.
You ex doesn’t love you anymore, but the Creator of the Earth does. His love is more than enough for you. Focus on that unconditional love. Just the way you are, God LOVES you. Everything about you. He isn’t waiting for you to shape up, or quit that bad habit. You are special!
“You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.” Song of Solomon 4:7(NIV)
4. LET YOUR MARRIAGE GO
We all have pity parties. Have you ever thought of making it a formal pity party? How about making it a farewell celebration? Try marking the end of your divorce with a special event. Go out with your girlfriends. Have a glass of wine with your sister. Try a sage burning ceremony in the privacy of your bathroom. Do something to signify the release of your marriage. And when those feelings of hurt and resentment bubble up, you can look at those feelings in the eye and say, “I have already said good bye to you. Remember, I had that farewell party? Get outta here and don’t come back.”
5. STOP BLAMING YOURSELF
Did the divorce reveal a part of your personality that you don’t like? Do you feel like you failed? Are you obsessing over everything that is wrong?
If your best friend was going through a tough divorce, what would you say to her? Would you point out to her that she wasn’t a very good wife? That she could have done better? No, you wouldn’t blame her! Why are you blaming yourself, then?
Stop beating yourself up. Stop fixating on how you messed up. Let’s just move forward.
6. EMBRACE WHO YOU ARE
Do you know how special you are? You know that every finger print is unique? So cool! Isn’t it? Do you think God messed up when He made you? NO! Divorce is a traumatic life change, and it has shaken your self confidence. But the truth is, that you are pretty darn cool.
What are your signature strengths? Are you bold? Are you good with kids? Are you analytical? Do you love to socialize? Your signature strengths come so natural to you that you may not even recognize them as strengths.
Capitalize on these strengths, and find creative ways to deal with your weaknesses.
7. START YOUR SUCCESS JOURNEY
You are going to be more successful after divorce, than you were before. Work on these 3 areas to build the life you have always dreamed of:
- Emotional: Smile. Be confident. This is going to feel strange at first. Especially coming out of divorce, because your face has been trained into a frown. But you can retrain it.
- Physical: Are you exhausted? Do you feel like you have you let yourself go? Divorce is so stressful that it happens to us all. But don’t stay in that spot. Start small. Go to bed an hour earlier than normal. Don’t watch TV before you go to bed. Are you eating fast-food every day? Try going to the grocery store for lunch instead. You’re more likely to get something more healthy that way. Try going outside for 10 minutes. Smelling fresh air and hearing the birds chirp and seeing the sun shine. Set goals and take them seriously. You’re going to feel so good and look so good that they won’t even recognize you. If you think you can’t make this sort of change, believe me. You can. I have seen women do this. It is soooo cool to watch happen. You can do it too.
- Career: Are you stuck in a rut at work? Divorce is a second chance. You get a redo! Take advantage of it. Start working harder at work. Or look for another company if you are not happy where you are at. Even if it is a pay cut, you may be able to catch back up and even earn a lot more if you get into the field that is right for you. Don’t settle for the same old same old.
- Financial: Divorce can wreak havoc on your finances. Not only is your money divided in half, but attorneys and the IRS take a big slice of the pie. I have heard countless times about how someone’s credit has been ruined by divorce. Many of the typical financial pitfalls of divorce can be prevented. Start researching the problem you are running into. If you can’t find the answers you are looking for, click here to schedule a free consultation to ask me about your divorce financial questions.
Don’t be run over by divorce. Be REVOLUTIONIZED by divorce.
Start on these 7 steps to heal from hurt and resentment from divorce, and you will rock it!