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Divorce

Divorce has always been present in American society, but it has become more common in the last 50 years. The highest divorce rates ever recorded were in the 1970s and early 1980s. Since then, the divorce rate actually has decreased a little, but it still remains high. Divorce is emotionally draining for everyone involved. This is especially true for children, who generally don’t have any say over what is happening around them and to them. The loss of control, the harm to their self-esteem, and the loss of security can provoke a wide range of emotions, from sadness to anger, from depression to mania.

The emotional stages of divorce

Divorce triggers a series of emotions similar to grief and mourning, which often includes these stages:

Denial and isolation

• Process of blocking out and hiding from the reality of divorce
• Temporary response to protect from immediate feelings of loss
• Normal reaction to difficult emotions

Anger

• Response when feelings return (after denial and isolation)
• Way to express intense emotions
• Can be aimed at people we know, or even strangers

Bargaining

• Attempt to regain control of situation
• Trying to postpone the inevitable, sometimes by making a deal with God
• Common bargaining thoughts include:
o If only we had sought counseling sooner…
o If only we had a second chance…
o What did I do to deserve this?

Depression

Two types of depression are associated with mourning:
1. Reaction to practical implications of loss, which includes:
• Sadness, regret
• Concern over costs of divorce
2. Preparation to separate
• Getting ready to say goodbye to dreams for the future with our partner

Acceptance

• Marked by withdrawal and becoming calm
• A period of peace, but it doesn’t mean we have become happy again
• Not everyone reaches this stage—anger and denial may continue to stand in the way

Children and divorce:

Children can be severely emotionally traumatized by divorce, especially if the divorce is a nasty one, and/or if there is a prolonged or intense custody battle.
A child who has been affected by a divorce might express the emotional impact of the divorce through:
• Large amounts of anger directed both toward others and themselves
• Frequent breaking of rules
• Drug and/or alcohol abuse
• Destructive behavior
• Frequent guilt
• Problems with defiance
• Increasing isolation or withdrawal from friends and family
• Thoughts of suicide or violence
• Increased or early sexual activity
• Failure to acknowledge responsibility
• Negative effect on self-esteem and self-image

How Crosswinds can help

Coping with divorce requires taking care of your and your children’s spiritual, psychological and physical well-being. The grief you feel is real and normal—a process that will eventually help your heart to heal. It can be overwhelming, but this can also be a time to work on yourself, grow personally and stabilize your life. Crosswinds is here to help in your transition, working with individuals and families to help them cultivate an attitude of thankfulness and chart a new course to find a purpose for their lives moving forward.

If you or someone you care about is struggling with the effects of divorce please contact Crosswinds for help through this journey.

Get Help

To learn more about divorce, visit:

Help Guide

http://www.helpguide.org/articles/family-divorce/coping-with-a-breakup-or-divorce.htm