Divorce triggers many grief emotions, but when a couple breaks up because one person decides that it’s over, you feel a very distinct pain: the sting of rejection. It doesn’t matter whether things had been difficult for some time or if the split came out of the blue; either way, rejection feels cruel.
At the end of my marriage eight years ago, I had no idea that the breakup was coming. On top of the shock that the relationship was suddenly over, I carried the intense and overwhelming feeling of rejection; I was no longer valued, wanted, or needed.
Rejection can trigger feelings of shame, low self-esteem. and diminished confidence as well as helplessness and victimization. If you are left for another person (which was my experience) the intensity of rejection increases further. I experienced anger and resentment about betrayal; this makes healing feel much harder than in those cases where a decision to split is mutual. (more…)
Valentine’s day after a divorce can bring painful memories of happier times. Even if you were never a “Valentine’s Day person” it’s normal to feel a sense of loneliness on this most coupley of days, which emphasises the fact that you are alone and missing out on what everyone else seems to have.
Today, I’m not going to talk about how to get through February 14th because it’s something I’ve already covered in another post. Instead, I’m going to invite you to go deep on self-love.
Last weekend I attended a self-love yoga workshop. Oh wow! I wish I could prescribe this remedy to anyone needing break-up support on Valentine’s day (or any other time). It was a gentle yet powerful two-hour reminder of where we can find the love we most need; by looking within and remembering to connect to ourselves.
It can be grating to read about self-love in a Valentine’s day post, when all you want is for somebody else to care for you. But I’m writing about it anyway because, even though it might not be the kind of love you want to receive today, it’s the most important of all, and learning to embrace it will bring you more happiness than any card, gift or romantic meal. (more…)
There is no shortage of help and advice when it comes to heartbreak.
A quick online search will reveal hundreds of pages, groups and resources dedicated to supporting you through the pain of divorce. It is encouraging, sympathetic and comforting. People gather in Facebook groups to share their stories of futures shattered and the despair of loneliness.
It is reassuring to know you’re not alone. And yet, despite this divorce support, you still find it so very hard to move on, to stop analysing the break-up, to stop going round in endless emotional in circles. (more…)
Low self esteem after divorce is underpinned by the idea that we are no longer whole without our partner. It feels like half of us is missing and the future seems unimaginably lonely. These are entirely normal and natural feelings. Not only have you lost the individual who shared your life, but also part of your identity as “the couple”.
However, choosing to look differently at deeply held beliefs about love, can lead to reframing some of that despair.
The notion of love and relationships is heavily based on an idea that a romantic partner is the answer to what we’ve been looking for. There is a profoundness in the idea that you can’t live without that special person; your soulmate, “The One”. (more…)
This August marks a whole year since I published my book “Break Up and Shine: The End Of Your Relationship Is The Making Of You”!
I started writing partly as self-healing, partly as a way to reach out and inspire others going through the same. I knew I wasn’t the only one out there going through the difficult divorce emotional stages. Eight years on, I continue to write this blog because I really love it and I know that it reaches people who need it.
Becoming published was a proud achievement for me. In Break Up and Shine I combine the wisdom I’ve learned both personally, and as a counsellor, to share the story of how I turned my life around post-divorce. I’m passionate about helping people see the opportunity in their loss!
To mark the publishing anniversary I’ve decided to share a chapter from Break Up and Shine with you; you can click on the link below to download the free PDF. (more…)
I cried when I sold my wedding ring. I wasn’t ready to get rid of it but I did it anyway. It felt drastic, final and gut-wrenching but ultimately satisfying. I had been through the worst of the grief and reached acceptance that my husband wasn’t coming back. I had removed the wedding photos from display, along with anything else which caused me daily pain, but most things weren’t truly “gone”; they were still kept somewhere waiting for……what?
Holding onto the things which remind us of the past is an absolutely normal part of the grieving process. It’s in our nature to infuse special items with emotional meaning, but they then become more deeply poignant after the loss of the person attached to them. We keep these things because they invoke a range of different feelings; hope, comfort, security or an acknowledgment that however the relationship has turned out, it wasn’t always bad.
Items which have sentiment attached to them are the hardest to declutter but are the most significant ones to deal with in order to move forward. What does it feel like for you to imagine letting them go? (more…)
Whenever I write about break-up and divorce as an opportunity for growth, I am very mindful of the fact that we need to allow grief first. When we heap positive expectations or goals on top of unexpressed sorrow it doesn’t serve us in the long run. You have to let yourself feel and express your emotions.
However, at some point we have to draw a line; we need to recognise the difference between healthy expression of grief and simply being stuck in our pain. Moving on from divorce is such an appealing goal, but it is very difficult because it requires willingness to look within and make changes. To avoid this we might (unconsciously) begin to retreat more deeply into heartbreak, as uncomfortable as it is, because it provides an excuse not to do the hard work of moving into an unknown and potentially scary new future without our partner. (more…)
The thing which kept me most stuck emotionally in the early months of my divorce, was waiting for an apology which was never going to come.
When relationships end, there is often a sense of injustice; a need to make the other person understand how we feel. Letting go of anger feels impossible if they don’t acknowledge our hurt.
Perhaps you’ve suffered betrayal, abuse or other unacceptable behaviour which feels unimaginable to let go of. Maybe you feel like it’s only you knows the real truth, and you can’t be happy while your ex is telling a different version of events. (more…)
When I encounter people in the early stages of a break-up, one of the most common beliefs I come across is their assertion that they will never feel truly happy again.
A broken heart can leave feelings of grief so deep that we literally cannot comprehend the possibility of future happiness. Positive thinking, changing your perspective and “seeing the bigger picture” are simply not an option in those early days. Telling someone whose partner left last week that “everything happens for a reason”, will not be received well.
In time you will feel better, but who wants to wait? We want a guarantee that things will get better fast because this pain is unbearable. So, how do you get from here to there? (more…)
Someone recently commented to me that, for women over 50, divorce is a “death sentence” and circumstances mean that there is no hope of a happier future.
The words reminded me of the deep pain and despair that divorce can bring; when so much of your life was invested in your marriage, how does starting over feel possible?