You've been dumped. It feels like hell, and you don't know what to do. What will it take to get over a nasty affair, or worse, an unexpected divorce? And will you or your kids make it?
The key is to your recovery is to take back control and own your life. Acceptance is mandatory. As hard as it sounds, there's no moving forward as long as you're mired in regret, anger or fear. This is not to say that you don't have to protect yourself, and sometimes, your children. He may be manipulative. She may be dangerous. Acceptance does not mean passivity, it means living in the present, the future and not in the pain of the past.
Here are six steps to feeling yourself again:
- Mourn: You sacrificed a lot for your marriage and it didn't work out. Feeling hurt, anger, remorse, guilt, or shame is normal. You will have to go through the steps of grief one by one: denial, bargaining, anger, depression and acceptance. Get a good therapist and grieve properly. You may still be angry with your narcissistic ex wife or your adulterous husband, and that is a part of the healing process. If, however, you get stuck in one of the phases of grief like anger or depression, make sure that you're in good hands.
In the aftermath of a divorce, your emotions may seem overwhelming. I urge you to experience them all, from the outrage to the hurt to the self doubt and the fear of what comes next. Grief work is required, and it's a necessary component of healing.
Grief is the spiritual equivalent to the body slowly healing a bad wound. It gets triggered time after time, overwhelming when least expected. But it gets worked through and the wound ultimately heals.
Life is not fair.
Loss hurts. If he left you, then you are holding a bag of resentment and hurt. If you left him, you've been grieving the loss of your marriage for some time. It's a big loss. We all want to rage at the world, or crawl into a depressed spot when we feel the injustice and randomness of our pain.
Acceptance heals. Real acceptance is a gift -- for you and for everyone else in the world. If you try and shortcut your healing, you will not get there. Losing a relationship is a loss and grieving is required. Just know that there is hope, a brighter tomorrow and that true acceptance can help you and your children get there.
Acceptance is an evolutionary good because acceptance doesn't mean passivity. It means freedom.