Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Denial & Moving On From a Divorce or Breakup

Denial and Moving On from a Divorce or Breakup by Beth Hemmila of the Breakup Care Package

One of the early stages of grieving a loss is denial, and the breakup or divorce of a love relationship will most likely catapult you into a place of denial at some point along the way.

I've mentioned before that I was so deeply in denial after my divorce that I denied to myself and friends that I was even in denial. I could even see people laughing and shaking their heads at me. Maybe they had a little worry and concern mixed in there too. But I believed myself to be such a rational person, I just couldn't fathom I would hideout in denial for so long.

However, denial is such a shadowy thing and when you are in denial you can't even see that you're stuck there until you start to make your way out of it.

If you've recently experienced the breakup of a relationship or your marriage ended in divorce you might be in denial right now. Hey, that's okay with me, I think I stayed in denial for about two years, so I'm no expert over here.

In fact, I'm guessing denial was a safe place for me to be until I was ready to truly feel and own up to the painful reality of my situation. Denial was my personal coping mechanism or survival instinct kicking in. It allowed me get up every morning and function like a normal person until I got to a better place in my life. I needed to take baby steps until my heart could handle the full intensity of my disappointment and grief.

Here are some ways you might be in denial regarding the end of your relationship:

  • You keep yourself very busy with lots of projects, fun activities, or work so as to not feel the pain of your loss.
  • Secretly, in the farthest reaches of your brain, you nurture a little thought that says, "Maybe in the distant future we will get back together."
  • You place a lot of the blame for the end of your relationship on your partner and don't take responsibility for your own actions and choices.
  • You keep thinking, "If only he/she would get counseling, everything would improve and we could be together again."
  • You keep dreaming up mental stories of "If only..." running through your head. 

Your love relationship ended. It's over and how and when you chose to accept it is completely up to you. Just know that when you do, it will be one of the most painful experiences because it is like the death of someone you loved, so I hope you will be gentle with yourself.

Here are some questions to ask along the way as a reality check:

  • Am I comfortable telling friends that my relationship or marriage is over?
  • Have I started to understand and take responsibility for the reasons my love relationship ended?
  • Do I see my breakup or divorce as a creative process that will help me grow?
  • Am I investing energy into my own personal growth for the future or am I still thinking about my past relationship?
  • Do I escape into fantasies about getting back together?
  • Have I learned how to feel happy and loved without a partner before I commit to another relationship?