Tag Archives: Healing from Divorce

Loss of a Dream

In my own divorce and working with hundreds of individuals and couples one of the hardest parts of divorce is the loss of a dream, of having someone to grow old with or walking your daughter down the aisle together or even the hope or having children. (For some there is a relief that they did not have children with their ex.)

In my own relationship we had tried counseling on and off together for about six years. Neither of us we were happy. I even initially went back to get a masters degree in marriage and family therapy to save my own marriage. It did not work. At that point in my life I did not believe in divorce. I was angry and unhappy all the time which spilled over into my ability to parent and into all my other relationships moreover how I felt about myself. Yet I took years to heal from my divorce. I refused to accept it. My inability to accept the divorce only caused me further pain. I put my life on hold and stayed the victim in my own pity party place way too long.

I also did not allow myself to see the parts of the divorce that were my fault. I blamed him for everything which was not fair to either of us. Yet I also blamed myself and saw myself as a failure for mot being able to make the relationship work. the worst of both world. Ultimately my healing from the divorce involved my accepting the end of the divorce. acknowledging my part in why the marriage did not work, unentangling myself emotionally from my ex, forgiving him and wishing him well, and most importantly my own personal growth.

All these realizations and healings have come in stops and starts. Like taking one step forward and three backward and a few sideways and then a few giant steps forward.

What your divorce looks like, how you go about your healing and I hope ultimately thriving after your divorce will be different from what I did and from what others maybe even your best friend has found helpful. I hope from my personal experience and having coached thousands of men and women and hundreds of people though individual coaching and divorce recovery groups that I can support you in this process of moving through and thriving beyond your divorce.

Step 1. Accept that the divorce is real. you cannot even begin to move on or to take the practical steps you need to take until you acknowledge the reality. When working with clients. I have found that awareness no matter how painful, not hiding your head in the sand is necessary.

Acceptance is the opposite of denial, and with acceptance comes the possibility of hope. Even if you cannot now see it. Yes there is light at the end of the tunnel.

If I can support you in thriving after a divorce or break-up, give me a call.

Amy Barnes

Healing From Divorce

By Amy Barnes, MBA MA LMHC

Why is healing from a divorce necessary?  Divorce can leave you feeling devastated in a way that many of your single and married friends do not understand no matter how hard they try.  Being divorced is like a death.  Like a death, a divorce needs time to be grieved. You need not only time but also must be willing to do the work of healing. Time alone does not heal.   Until you have completed the healing process, you may be incredibly vulnerable and easily hurt again or you may have hardened your heart so much that you are unwilling to let anyone in. 

Neither place is healthy emotionally. I am certain you have each met someone who is bitter over a divorce that happened many years ago.  This does not have to be you.  You can heal and life can be good! 
The healing process is different for each person but generally includes the five steps listed below:   

1.  First is denial.  This is really not happening to me.  You may wish to think everything will be fine – nothing has changed.  Accepting that the marriage is really over may feel devastating.

2.   Dealing with the emotional pain.  Not just denying it. You may feel like you are on an emotional roller coaster.  Feelings may include sadness, anger, fear, loneliness plus dozens of other feelings.  You may feel like your heart is breaking.  It may even be hard to get to work or to take care of daily tasks.  Unfortunately this is usually also the time that all the legal work and finances and child custody issues need to be taken care of.

3.  Discovering who you are all over again.  As a single person you are not the same person you were when you entered this relationship.  What do you like to do now? What do you like about yourself?  You may even need to rediscover simple things like what type of food you really like to eat or rediscovering hobbies or trying new activities. What do you like to do now?

4.  Understanding your part in why the marriage did not work.  At this time, this may not seem necessary or possible to you.  This is not about blaming yourself or your spouse but about learning and growing as a person and improving your chances for a better relationship.  You may wish to restore relationships with your family and children if necessary. To make peace with the past and forgive yourself and others. Forgiving does not mean forgetting or allowing yourself to get hurt all over again.  Forgiving is for YOUR benefit. 

5.  Moving on!!! Finally after you have dealt with the past and the pain and understood your part in what happened and know who you are and what you want to do in life and you’ve actually started to feel good about yourself  (Yes, this can actually happen!)  It’s time to move on.  It’s time to put the past behind you and move forward to look ahead to the life that awaits you. 

Many people would like to move straight from step 1 denial to step 5 putting the past behind. Failure to complete the healing process could be why the divorce rate for second marriages is estimated at 60% or higher than the divorce rate for first marriages. 

As a divorce counselor and coach, I have led many divorce recovery programs.  I also work with many individuals who are in the process of healing from a divorce.  We heal best with the support of others.  The healthier you are and the more you know about yourself the more likely your next relationship is to succeed or you may find that do not wish to be in a relationship and that is ok also!  Being divorced does not have to ruin the rest of your life.  If necessary seek help and be willing to do the work of healing.  What you do with the rest of your life is up to you. 
Copyright 2011

Until Next Time,
Amy Barnes, MBA MA LMHC

Amy is a relationship counselor and coach with over 15 years experience, specializing in supporting individuals and couples in transforming pain into joy.