7 Stages to Accept the Life Change Called Divorce: Denial and Anger

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” — Lao-Tzu

In my previous post I introduced the 7 stagesDenial to come to acceptance and move on after the divorce.

1. Denial and Disbelief

Denial is usually a temporary emotional defense mechanism where the person refuses to accept the reality of the situation. Some just don’t see it coming, they are absolutely shell-shocked. Denial is usually short-term.

Often when you first hear those dreadful words there is minimization. “Yeah, the marriage wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad either. It was stuck in comfortable mediocrity, but was it really that bad that a divorce is the only solution?” Another form of denial is projection. You acknowledge the problem, but blame the other party entirely on the demise of the marriage.

It is important that you take a really hard and close look at your marriage. Why? Because it helps you with future relationships. Look closely at the good things that were in your marriage, but don’t idealize them. Of course there were good things, otherwise, why did you marry in the first place, or why did not get a divorce yourself sooner?

Analyze the things that could have been better and how you contributed to them.This may be a hard lesson in life, but why not learn from it?

“The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. ” ― C. JoyBell C.

2. Anger

“How can this happen?”, “Who is to blame?”. We all get angry. If you don’t, then you are denying your emotions and that will not help you in the long run. It is ok to have (controlled) temporary anger. It is not ok to take it out on others, especially not the children. In this stage sometimes parents talk bad about the other parent, that is UNACCEPTABLE!

Anger can come in 2 forms; overwhelming and all-consuming or settled and deliberate. The first is destructive to you and your loved ones. Rarely does anything good come out of it and you need to curtail it by seeking professional help. Retaliating and seeking revenge for the hurt that was caused you, may give you short-term satisfaction, but damages too much for a long-term good outcome.

“Usually when people are sad, they don’t do anything. They just cry over their condition. But when they get angry, they bring about a change.” — James Russell Lowell

The 2nd can be “constructive”, but it certainly is not an admirable trait. It can be a psychological resource to actually get things done. Angry people feel stronger and think more optimistically. They are more energetic, so go mow the lawn or finish that project that has been waiting for years.

Remember, how you express you anger is a choice that you can control, choose wisely. Accept that you will be angry, but don’t cultivate it or stay stuck.

“Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.” — Aristotle

Next post is here.