Pain feels like a fast stab wound to the heart. But then healing feels like the wind against your face when you are spreading your wings and flying through the air! We may not have wings growing out of our backs, but healing is the closest thing that will give us that wind against our faces. C. Joybell C.
When I separated from my ex I knew I had drawn a line in the sand.
The me that came after would never be the same.
They say divorce is one of the most stressful and devastating life events we can go through. This is absolutely the case and I believe it is because we endure many types of grief. There is the grief of the loss of the person we had made a commitment to be with for a lifetime. And then there is the loss of the dreams we had for the future with that person.
If we made a family together, there is the loss of the family unit as we knew it and the guilt of what that now looks like for the children involved. Then there is the loss in many cases of financial security, which often includes the loss of a home. If the separation is fraught with conflict, as if often the case, there is the stress of lawyers, court battles and constant fighting.
Sometimes there is the loss of friendships as people choose a side, or simply decide that now you are no longer part of a couple, their “two” doesn’t fit with your “one.” Add to this the loneliness of navigating life alone and it can often feel like life has completely fallen apart.
I made it through, as well all do. But when you’re wading through the mire of this multitude of losses, it can feel like there’s no ending to the pain and you will never find joy again.
On the other side of this painful period of growth—and I’m talking HUGE growth—you will emerge from the ashes a stronger, braver, and more confident human being who knows what you need. This being has reconnected with their joy and has a stronger sense of who they are than ever before.
But it takes time.
The breakdown of a marriage or long-term love relationship is a shattering of life as we know it. Healing doesn’t happen in a week, or a month, or often even a year. But that doesn’t mean you will feel the same in a year as you do today. The waves of grief will gradually lessen in force and instead of knocking you sideways, you will find the strength to bear their weight.
Counselling Through a Divorce
You will find your community through your separation. The people who love you will draw near and those who were never your people will fall away. At first you will hold on tight to that community, but then you will begin to feel like you should be changing the conversation—focusing less on you and asking them how they’re doing instead. You will question if they have had enough of hearing about your problems and begin to hold back for fear of overloading them.
I believe that Cheryl Strayed nailed it when she talked of grief and our culture:
“If, as a culture, we don’t bear witness to grief, the burden of loss is placed entirely upon the bereaved, while the rest of us avert our eyes and wait for those in mourning to stop being sad, to let go, to move on, to cheer up.
We need this, but we aren’t there yet. There’s no paid leave for people who go through divorce, and only a few days for people who lose a loved on to death. We have a long way to go.
In my work with individuals going through a divorce or separation, I bear witness to their grief. I walk with them on the journey and let them know they aren’t alone. I see them. I hear them. And as someone who has made it through to the other side, I am able to say, “you will get through this,” and “the grief will subside” and know that it’s the truth.
I cannot take away your pain, but I can help you to reframe it. I can be present to your anger and your fears, and sit with you in the mud. I can reassure you that the stages of grief you’re experiencing are all normal and will pass.
I will bear witness to your grief.
If you would like to try counselling but feel tentative, let’s chat and see if there’s a fit. I offer a free 20 minute consultation either in person or by phone/video so you can “try out” the process.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to book your consult or first session today.