The Mourning Process of Divorce
Your past marriage is seen as a learning experience that can become a stepping-stone to a better life rather than as a sign of your failure.
The Mourning Process of Divorce
Divorce nowadays is as simple as deciding what to do or where to go when you feel like you need to breath some fresh air. Though, my country (Philippines) doesn’t support divorce, some couples will resort to annulment which is as equally as essential to the word “divorce.” Most of these couples are coming from the movie industry who could easily afford to file such case. Though, they could have all the financial resources, but they are not an exception for them not to experience the mourning process of divorce.
This is the first stage of divorce process where in you manifest shock, confusion, denial, anger at self, and lowered self-esteem. You may also display behaviors like crying, pain, weakness, nausea, sleep disturbance, loss of appetite (or voracious eating), and other physical changes such as constipation, vomiting, scrambled thoughts, splitting headaches, back pains, menstrual period irregularities (periods that once were predictable may now occur every two or three weeks or once every two months), and severe weight loss or gain.
This stage is the beginning of your letting go of your past way of life as a married person. You are still too close to the person you were in your marriage to feel that your present state of living singly is a comfortable fit. Singleness is still more of a threat than a promise for a better life. You cry for, are sad over, and regret what might have been, yet never was, in your marriage. You are angry at the present uncertainty and unpredictability in your life and yearn for a more stable, predictable existence. Even your past unhappy marriage sounds like a more tempting alternative to the terror-inducing present; at least you knew what to expect in the marriage, even if that expectation was another day of unhappiness. Yet you know you can never go back to that old marriage. You are like the person who jumped on his or her horse and rode off in all directions at once, because you are now in the time of your divorce when you are separated but still married in your feelings.
It is in this stage that you realize that the loss of your old way of marriage life is permanent; it can no longer be disbelieved or denied, yet you feel you cannot make it on your own. In this stage you grieve, mourning over the irretrievable loss of your marriage.
You feel depressed and despairing, engulfed by a sense that you are helpless because you fear you are worthless and have no conception about how you can move your life forward. As a consequence of this image you have of yourself as a vulnerable victim, you may become very distrustful of people and spend most of your time bathing in the warm water of self pity. It seems to take ages even to dredge up enough energy to wash the dishes that have been piling up in your sink. You are still living more in the past than in the present, but now you are divorced but not yet single.
In this stage your despair gives way to apathy, for why bother doing anything anymore? Since life appears meaningless now that the marriage in which you invested your hopes and dreams has disappeared. Your behavior may take on an automatic, robot like quality, like that of a zombie going through the motions of living but not really living. It’s as if you put up a glass wall between yourself and other people, so that you feel isolated even in a crowd or at a party-a glass wall that protects you from ever being hurt by other people again.
In this stage you are finally detaching yourself at the emotional level from the feeling that you are still married. Detaching is a recognition that indeed the marriage has died, which means you must truly begin to think, act, and feel like the person you are, which is a single man or woman who must make it on his or her own. Your married self-image has disappeared. You are no longer living in the past, but have yet to begin to live in the present. You are now in the time when you feel that you are divorced, but there is no future for you.
Now that you have detached yourself from believing you are still a married person in your feelings, you begin to live more skillfully in the present reality of being a divorced person. You respond to the demands of single person life in ways that are very different from the ways that were habitual to you in your marriage but are inappropriate now. You build a new self-image on your newly discovered belief that you are no longer a victim; instead, you are a person who has the ability not only to survive but to prevail over the new challenges that single life affords you. Your past marriage is seen as a learning experience that can become a stepping-stone to a better life rather than as a sign of your failure. You begin to prove yourself that your self-esteem is based on how you live your life in the present, not how you lived it in the past.
The numbed, shocked, crying, regretful, bitter, sad, depressed, apathetic, isolated person you may have been during the earlier stages of the mourning process has disappeared, except for infrequent and short reappearances. Your physical system no longer is attacked by the sleeplessness, digestive disorders, headaches, back pains, and menstrual irregularities that may have plugged you earlier in your divorce. Just as your life now begins to stabilize itself, your emotions and your physical condition respond in a similar manner. You are now living in the exciting time of self-renewal as a single person.