What are the Stages of Divorce Grief?
The stages of divorce grief are similar to the stages of grief that occur when someone dies.
The stages are shock and disbelief, pain and sorrow, anger and resentment, bargaining and guilt, and acceptance and hope. The order in which the stages occur may vary from person to person.
Some people may skip some of the stages or move through them more quickly than others.
It is important to allow yourself to grieve the loss of your marriage and not try to rush through the process.
1. Shock and disbelief: This is often the first stage after learning that your divorce is final. You may feel numb, have difficulty processing what has happened, and experience many other emotions, including sadness, anger, fear, and relief.
2. Pain and sorrow: As the reality of your divorce sets in, you will likely experience deep feelings of loss and grief.
You may find yourself crying often, feeling depressed, and struggling to cope with the changes in your life.
3. Anger and resentment: It is common to feel a range of negative emotions during this stage, including anger, bitterness, resentment, and frustration. You may lash out at your former spouse, friends, and family members.
4. Bargaining and guilt: During this stage, you may find yourself trying to negotiate with your former spouse or hoping for a reconciliation. You may also feel guilty about the divorce and blame yourself for the situation.
5. Acceptance and hope: In this final stage, you accept that the divorce is final and begin to move on with your life.
You may still feel sad and miss your former spouse, but you are able to start rebuilding your life. You may also feel hopeful about the future and find new meaning in your life.
Tips on Coping with Separation and Divorce
1. Recognize That Your Marriage Is Over: This can be difficult to accept, but it is an important step in the grieving process. Once you come to terms with the fact that your marriage is over, you can begin to move on.
2. Be Patient — Grief Takes Time: The stages of grief do not always happen in a linear fashion. You may move back and forth between stages or even skip some altogether.
3. Surround Yourself With People Who Support You — And Let Them Help: It can be helpful to talk to friends and family members who have gone through a divorce. They can offer guidance and support.
4. Practice Excellent Self-Care: During this difficult time, it is important to take care of yourself both physically and emotionally. Make sure to eat healthy foods, get enough sleep, and exercise regularly.
5. Feel Your Feelings: It is normal to feel a range of emotions after your divorce. Allow yourself to grieve the loss of your marriage.
6. Find Out What’s There Besides Anger, Sadness, And Fear: As you move through the grieving process, you may find that you have new insights about yourself and your life. Allow yourself to explore these new perspectives.
7. Timebox Your Grief: Set aside specific times each day to grieve the loss of your marriage. This can help you to avoid becoming overwhelmed by your emotions.
8. Don’t Hide Your Divorce Grief From Your Kids (But Don’t Freak Them Out, Either)
It is important, to be honest with your children about your divorce. However, you should avoid sharing too much information or putting them in the middle of the situation.
9. Write It Out, Work It Out, Or Just plain Talk It Out: Journaling, therapy, and talking to friends and family members can all be helpful ways to cope with your divorce.
10. Stop Blaming Your Ex and Start Forgiving Them (and Yourself) One of the most important things you can do for yourself is to let go of any resentment and blame you may feel. This can be difficult, but it is an essential part of healing.
11. Remember: You Will Still Be a Part of Your Kid’s Life Even After Divorce Although your family may be changing, you will still be an important part of your children’s lives. Try to maintain a positive relationship with your former spouse for the sake of your kids.
12. Consider Professional Help Many people find it helpful to seek out professional help during the divorce process. A therapist can provide support and guidance as you navigate this difficult time.
If you are facing divorce, it is important to understand the grieving process. By recognizing the stages of grief, you can better prepare yourself for the journey ahead.
Remember, every divorce is unique and there is no right or wrong way to grieve. If you find yourself struggling, don’t hesitate to seek out professional help. With time and patience, you will eventually reach the acceptance and hope stage.
Don’t Suppress Your Feelings While Grieving
Everyone is different and everyone can experience each one of these stages very differently. Allowing yourself the freedom to grieve during a divorce doesn’t make you weak. In fact, it can actually make you stronger. If you try to bottle up your emotions, they may eventually come out in destructive ways. It’s okay to cry, be angry, and feel sad. These are all normal reactions to loss.
Divorce is a process, not an event. Just as there is no one right way to grieve the death of a loved one, there is no one right way to grieve the loss of a marriage. Allow yourself the time and space to experience all the emotions that come with this major life change. Seek out support from friends and family members, or consider professional help if you need it. With time and patience, you will eventually reach the acceptance and hope stage.
Coping With the Hard Feelings
Coping with grief during a divorce is exceedingly difficult. Feeling all the emotions mentioned in each stage during the process of divorce is common and necessary for moving forward. It is important to surround yourself with people that love you and support you to help you through this painful time. If you are feeling lost, consider professional counseling to help you regain a sense of self and hope for the future.