When I got divorced, I was hopeless. My emotions were out of control. I would get super emotional in a heartbeat. I was afraid to go to work for fear of breaking down and embarrassing myself in front of my coworkers. Morbid memories of how life used to be were frequent.
My personal experience with using the traditional approach to divorce recovery
To “get over” my divorce, I did what friends and family suggested. I joined a divorce support group and started going to therapy. I stormed out. And I was hoping that if all else failed, the passage of time would make the pain go away.
After a few months it seemed to have worked. He was no longer governed by arbitrary and out of control emotions. I was no longer afraid to go to work every day, even though my performance was still behind my previous levels.
However, to my dismay, I realized that something was wrong. I still didn’t feel good. I felt like I was missing some important pieces of a 1000 piece puzzle.
Then I realized why I was uncomfortable. The future was terrifying to behold. And I couldn’t get the memories of the past to go away.
The future terrified me. I was afraid that I would never find true love again. I was afraid that if I ever remarried, it would end in divorce as well. He was afraid that he was destined to die alone and alone. He was afraid of not being able to survive financially. I was afraid that my old friends would reject me. I was afraid that my ex would turn my daughters against me.
Not only was the fear of the future making me miserable, but also the memories of things from the past that I had lost intruded into my daily life.
Memories haunted me. Memories of my past life hit me like a random electric shock reminding us of what I had lost. I had lost my dream of living “until death do us part” from my spouse (now ex-spouse). I had lost the wonderful routine of playing with my daughters when I came home from work every day. I had lost my previous standard of living. I had lost the stability of companionship with my partner. I had lost my plan to build the house of our dreams. I had lost all hope that my life would be happy again. He had lost the security and comfort of having a partner to spend his life with.
Trouble begins to dawn on me
Several years (and a second divorce) later, I began to put it all together: after the divorce, I had been successful in dealing with the Current problem at the time which was how to calm my feelings that had completely interrupted my daily life.
However, he had ignored the problems of the past and how the memories of my past life with my ex intruded into my daily life. Also, I had ignored my fear of future, and especially how to make sure I never end up in divorce court again.
I had turned to the traditional approach to divorce recovery for help, and found it incomplete.
The traditional approach to divorce recovery is incomplete and does not work very well
The traditional approach to divorce recovery treats divorce as the cause of emotional trauma that must be cured.
Focuses only on neutralizing the current feelings caused by divorce. Your only goal is not to have flashbacks or emotional breakdowns. The traditional approach is time consuming, usually measured in years, and has second and third marriage divorce rates of over 60%.
The traditional approach told me that recovery from divorce is just about ending upsetting feelings. Turns out there is more to it than that.
The new approach changes the way we think about divorce recovery
The New Approach to Divorce Recovery treats divorce as the cause of a traumatic problem. life transition that must be navigated and managed.
Consider neutralizing feelings of distress as just the first step in a multi-step process. The goal of the new approach is to bring you into your life after divorce, not only without the burden of feelings caused by the divorce, but also having the confidence that a new relationship will not end in divorce court again.
What are the steps of the new approach?
The traditional approach ignores the effects that the past and the future have on recovery from divorce. In contrast, the New Approach incorporates the past and the future and makes the past-present-future nature of the transition critical to recovery from divorce. The new approach consists of three steps:
Step 1: Stabilize and neutralize your Current reactions to your divorce.
Step 2: Dissolve your reluctance to release the past and accept your new life situation by dissolving resistance to change.
Step 3: Prepare for your future.
Recovery from divorce, I finally realized, is the psychological transition in which we adjust to the fact that we are no longer in a relationship with our ex, but are now single again. And dissolving resistance to change is the fundamental key to making that transition successful.