The 5 Stages Of Recovery Following Divorce
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By Aaron Kaplan, Featured Columnist - March 19, 2015

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The process that comes after a divorce can be broken into five primary steps. Each of the five stages of a divorce are vital to the recovery process if you really want to begin the next phase of your life in a healthy way. How long each phase will last varies significantly, depending on the depth of the pain that you are dealing with. Understanding that there is a specific set of stages that we follow will help make it easier for you to cope with the healing process. It can take as many as a couple of years for you to fully recover from a serious hurt, but by breaking the divorce recovery process into five stages, you can learn how to cope with the loss of your marriage a little more easily.

1. The first stage is acknowledgement. In this stage, all that you can really do is acknowledge that the divorce is real, without really wrapping your head around what is happening. You may feel all over the place, and the divorce may be taking over every aspect of your life by making you feel completely helpless, vulnerable and overwhelmed.

It is important when you are in this stage, that you think things through, as thoroughly as you can. You should try to stay aware of your feelings, even when you are not able to address them right away. Work through your pain, by focusing on positive things, like writing, competitive sports, drawing, making music, healthy exercise, doing crafts or spending time with people you care about.

2. The second stage, arguably the most important of the five stages of a divorce, is to let it out. There is nothing healthy about keeping your feelings pinned up for a long term basis. Free yourself from your pain, much more quickly, by opening yourself up and letting things out rather than just pretending to cope and keeping things bottled up inside. You do not have to feel like you are losing control; simply because you are letting your feelings out. Shedding some tears and pouring your frustration out into creative endeavors like writing and painting can be really good for you, so express yourself in a safe and comfortable place during this stage.

3. The third stage is all about nurturing. This is the stage where you allow other people to help you with the healing process by offering their own brand of comfort. Take the time to spend time with the people that you most care about. Allow them to offer their perspective, and give them a chance to take care of you. However, a word of caution should be noted at this point. 

Many times your loved ones, not intentionally, can hamper your recovery or set your progress back, if they are not careful. You should be aware, that your loved ones are hurting because you're hurting. Their TLC (tender loving care), at this stage of your recovery from your divorce, should be positive and encouraging, not vengeful and anger at your former spouse If this occurs you should ask them to refrain from this type of attitude. If they should choose to be negative about the situation, you will continue to heal from your pain much faster by avoiding the negative contacts and comments.

4. The fourth stage of a divorce is the reward stage or the fun stage. You have been suffering and now is the perfect opportunity to compensate yourself for it. Don't seek revenge against your former spouse, but satisfy yourself by making yourself feel and look better than ever before. The reward stage is not about seeking revenge but is rather about rewarding yourself in positive and healthful ways. Let this divorce be the beginning of a new and improved you rather than the demise of something worth holding on to unnecessarily.

5. The fifth and final stage is the moving on stage. This is where you can finally begin to look at the bigger picture, accepting the situation for what it is and moving on. This is the point where you can see why the divorce occurred, who was responsible for what and why, and what has been learned in the process. By this stage of the five stages of a divorce, you are no longer worried about your former spouse or what they are doing or thinking. You can look at the entire episode as something that happened in the past and move beyond it.

How are you moving on from your divorce?

 

photo credit: Hills and mountains around Brasov seen from Rasnov via photopin (license)

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