Immediate Effects of a Divorce
So the worst has happened. Divorce is something that you thought happens to other people, something that you have privately in your heart thought ‘will never happen to me', because in some magical way YOU will be able to solve whatever that is wrong in your marriage. But perhaps after a very difficult time in the marriage, and even worse time during the divorce, you have become something that you never thought you would be...A Divorcee
The end of a marriage either by death or by divorce is very painful. It doesn't matter who initiated the end or what contributed to the marriage ending this way, you would probably be ridden with a deep sense of guilt of doing something that resulted in this end (or perhaps of not doing what was necessary.) People sometimes feel guilty about things not in their control also. People feel guilt about their spouses being unfaithful, and even sometimes of their spouses abusing us. This guilt though irrational, can torment you.
You can also feel anger. You can be angry with your spouse, angry with the other people in the situation, and even angry with yourself for being in this situation. This anger often comes from a feeling of helplessness, of being in a situation that you cannot really control or change.
Another series of thoughts that can traumatize a newly divorced person are the "what ifs". "What if I had married that other proposal that came my way which I rejected because he is not tall enough?", "What if I was very clear from the beginning that it is not okay to hit me?" or "What if I had refused my colleague's invitation to drop me home after work that day?" These thoughts can lead to an endless replay of possible scenarios, which does no good because the decision has already been made and people have moved on from that moment in time.
The worries of the future can also cause us a lot of misery. Thoughts of "will I ever be happy in my life again", "will anyone ever love me?" which very often leads onto "do I have anything in me to be loved" and "What is there in my future to be happy about?" Worries of the future can also be intensely pragmatic like about living arrangements, and finances.
People coming through divorces can also find it difficult trusting their judgments. Very often, people feel that they made a drastic error in the judgment with choosing to trust this person who let them down, and they wonder if they are incapable of making good judgments. They begin to second guess every decision they have to make.
People dread the thought of becoming a topic of conversation for others. Even though divorce rates in our country are growing, and more and more people are getting divorced every year, we still could be the only one among our relatives, friends and colleagues to be in this situation. A feeling, real or imagined of being ostracized from the society can trouble us.
Meeting family members and friends can also be very difficult. They can be well meaning with their sympathies and their questions about what happened. The prospect of repeatedly telling people what went wrong, their voiced and unvoiced judgments about what we could have done different can irritate us. Even people's sympathy can also cause us a lot of distress. At that time, very often, one wants to be treated as if nothing happened, not as an object of interest, even if it is sympathetic interest. Many divorced people dread meeting people, even close friends and family members because they do not know how to handle this interest. However there could be people in among our family and friends who can offer real comfort and strength and because of this tendency to withdraw from people, it is common to lose out on this support.
Everyone who is going through a divorce may not go through all these thoughts and emotions. Neither is this a complete list of the wave of negative feelings and thoughts that assault us when we decide to get separated from the person we thought we would spend the rest of our life with. But this is a good approximation of some of the feelings that you could experience in such a situation.
When going through a divorce, talking to a counsellor helps. A counsellor will listen patiently without judging, and can suggest a different perspective on the situation Counselling can help you look at the reasons why you feel the way you do and work out practical ways to cope.
There IS light at the end of this dark tunnel. With time and support, we will be able to deal with everything that happened, move on with our lives and get fully involved with career, families and perhaps new relationships.