10/01/2015 04:42 pm ET Updated Oct 01, 2016

How Your Divorce Coping Mechanisms May Be Holding You Back

Resistance reactions are the emotional reactions you have when going through a soul-crushing divorce. They are a coping mechanism designed to help you deal with the situation and a defense mechanism, a way to push back on the reality of a situation. They help you get through the first wave of pain and they're a completely natural reaction to have when you are trying to comprehend what happened to you and why.

The real problem, though, is if you get stuck in resistance reactions because they become an endless loop that can hold you hostage and not allow you to move forward. But chances are you may not even realize that you're doing this. So, let me show you what they are and what they sound like so you can identify them and become more aware of them.

Resistance reactions can be grouped into four types based on what you are feeling and what you may be saying to yourself or others.

  • This can't be happening to me
  • This isn't happening to me
  • This shouldn't be happening to me
  • I can't believe this is happening to me

You can recognize this through words such as can't, shouldn't, isn't as it relates to your situation.

  • I gave him my best years
  • How dare he
  • This is so unfair
  • I don't deserve this
  • Why me

What you hear in this reaction group is a lot of resentment and pointing fingers.. I know you are probably thinking..well why shouldn't I be angry? I was the victim. Yeah, I get it, because initially you gain strength in anger because it means that others were wrong and you were right. Feeling superior helps keep the wounded ego intact so you just keep telling your sad story to yourself and others over and over again. This is such an easy place to stay because it feels justifiable

While this makes your ego feel better, staying in the blame game is a very miserable place to be. It also keeps you in the resistance mode because every time you think about your sad story you are living in the past and this makes it impossible to move on

  • If you make this go away I will promise that I will...
  • All I want is to return to normal
  • I don't want to go through this, please take it away

This is the game of the big "if". The good news here is that you've started to accept the situation but you want to bargain it away. You feel that if you can just go back to the way things used to be, the pain will be gone. When you realize no magic bolt is going to come down from the sky and erase the mess, welcome in the next stage.

  • This is horrible
  • I am humiliated
  • I'm scared and alone
  • How can I go on?
  • Why should I go on?
  • How will I be able to support myself/my family?

Sound familiar? Sadness and regret appear but interestingly enough what begins to emerge are a lot of how and why questions. This is actually a good sign, regardless of whether you are aware of it or not, because you are actually beginning the process of pushing through this without even realizing it. Your questions are now asking for a response from you!

Do the voices sound familiar? I am guessing they do, or at least some of them do

It is interesting, in hindsight, that all of the resistance reactions actually mirror the stages of grief, but in a way that makes sense. You have usually lost someone or something that this very important you. You grieve that loss and cope by trying to make sense of it

Please know that what you're feeling is a normal and appropriate response given what you have gone through.

The challenge is to decide how long you want to stay here. Believe me you have a choice. Choosing to stay is an easy because it is a passive place to be and it helps to justify the event. People are sympathetic and supportive and that feels fleetingly good.

But the fact that you are reading this tells me that you have already said to yourself - enough I am so sick of myself and this place I am in that I am ready to climb out! If this sounds like you download my free guide and start on your journey to move forward, feel confident and be happy!

10 Ways to Overcome a Soul-Crushing Divorce