It feels like the world is ending and everything is falling apart.
Even under the best circumstances, divorce is brutally painful.
It feels like your insides have been ripped out and you've been left to die alone and rejected.
But you are not alone. You are not dying. I wish I could wash away your pain but I can't. What I can do is share 12 things I wish my fairy godmother had told me when I went through my divorce a lifetime ago in 2003.
Divorce hurts. And it will hurt for awhile. Sadness and anger will be your constant companions in the weeks or months that follow your divorce. You may find yourself curled up on the floor in a fetal position, sobbing more tears than you thought possible. You'll feel as if your heart has been ripped to shreds. This, too, shall pass.
Hurt people hurt people. And divorce hurts people. It hurts you, your ex, your kids, and ripples across your family. When people hurt, they say and do hurtful things. Remember this when your ex lashes out or your kids scream, "I hate you," or when you, yourself, use hurtful words. No doubt, you will feel the sting from a hurting ex or your hurting kids. Likewise, you'll want to inflict pain on the person you want to hurt as much as you hurt. Before you slice and dice your ex with your barbed tongue, count to 10. Take 10 deep belly breaths. Allow the hurt to pass without harming another.
Your self-esteem will nose dive for a bit. Divorce brings up feelings of rejection, abandonment, and failure. These are never easy feelings and when they bubble to the surface, they can be extremely painful. These feelings are temporary. You will find your self-esteem and confidence again.
Holding onto anger and bitterness will harm you more than your ex. It's okay to feel angry, stomp your feet or break a few dishes but don't hold onto it. Release and let go. As the wise sage said, "holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die."
Anger, when channeled appropriately, will help you move forward. When it's internalized the only one it harms is you and prolongs your healing. And between you and me, no one likes to be around someone who's angry all. the. time.
Keep in mind the difference between reacting and responding. In medical terms, a reaction is a bad thing and a response is a good thing. No matter what your ex did that got your knickers in a bunch, you are in complete control of how and when you respond. And sometimes, no response is the best response.
Stop over-thinking. Next to internalizing your anger, this will get you stucker than the dinosaurs in the La Brea Tar Pits. Overthinking is emotional blackmail that you do to yourself and it will keep you stuck in fear, uncertainty, and doubt. As long as you continue to over-think every single detail of your divorce and what led to the end of your marriage, your future happy life will remain elusive.
Your kids (if you had children together) are not pawns to be used against the other parent. Remember, your little Tommy or Susie is one half you and one your ex. Degrading the other parent is degrading your children. Remember that. Because your kids will.
Get your financial house in order. If you are used to having a dual income and now have one, it's going to be a tough adjustment but you can do this. If you need to sell your house, sell it. If you need to cut spending, cut it. You can live without cable and other non-essentials until you have money in your savings account. Listen to your Fairy Godmother here -- if you are required to pay child support, pay it. If you receive child support, use it for the purpose it's designed for. It's not money for you to get your hair done.
And if you stayed home to take care of the home and kids, it's absolutely critical that you get your financial house in order. You may need to find a job or start a business of your own. It's imperative that you create your own financial self-reliance. Your ex is responsible to help support the kids but not necessarily you.
Dating is not the answer to heal your broken heart. There's need to rush into another relationship until you are completely healed from the one that just shattered you into pieces. No one can fill the hole in your heart but you.
It's perfectly okay to focus on yourself for as long as you need to. Take all the time you need to make peace within yourself. Forgiving yourself and having compassion will help ease the hurt. Learn something new or find a new hobby. Discover what and who you really are. And take lots of walks.
Remember to breathe. You will get through this. When sadness and anger wash over you, close your eyes and inhale deeply. Exhale slowly. Deep breathing will help you release tension stress, and anxiety. It may also help keep you from doing or saying something you'll regret tomorrow or a year from now.
You won't feel like this forever. There will be a day when you wake up in the morning and you won't feel the familiar knot in your gut or the suffocation of anxiety. You won't even be able to conjure it up. You'll walk outside and you'll notice how blue the sky is, how green the trees are, and how lovely the birds sound. It will be as if you finally woke up from a long terrifying nightmare.
All will be right in your world again.
If you liked this article and want to get your happy back, you can download Peggy's 100% FREE eBook, "30 Ways to Boost Your Positivity and Increase Your Happiness," today!
Peggy Nolan is a writer, sacred bad-ass warrior, vanquisher of fear, and slayer of doubt. Peggy is an International Bestselling author of Inspiration for a Woman's Soul: Choosing Happiness.