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I guess I have been really contemplating loss and grief after divorce. Specifically the repeated loss I have faced in the last two and a half years. Don’t get me wrong, while I grieved for what I lost when it happened, I am doing remarkably well. I think I attribute that to looking above the circumstances and my pain and seeing the good I have left. I am a better person than I was. And I have learned how to really appreciate what’s important in my life.

Accepting Loss- Grief After Divorce

Grief after Divorce. Forgiveness after Divorce.

The hardest thing, I think, to let go of isn’t a person or a home or a car or pet or anything else on the lists of things that are important to you. I believe the hardest thing to let go or grieve is the loss of your plan for your life.

When you lose something major it alters everything. Especially when its a marriage. Your entire world is flipped upside down. Everything you have, from your home to your friendships, to your relationships with people that were your family, even your pets and your job, is suddenly and irrevocably changed.

True being married to an abusive person does erode your self-esteem and your belief you can survive on your own. The reality is there is no avoiding the total loss that comes with a separation or divorce from your partner. It changes even how you see the world.

I think that people forget this when they say “just leave him!”. Even a good divorce is painful and difficult and totally life-altering. A bad divorce is sometimes even worse than a bad marriage. I think it’s very important to acknowledge this fact. And accept and forgive yourself for feeling the pain of your loss. Grief after divorce is normal and real, even if you needed to be away from the person you are leaving.

Confused By Grief after Divorce

Because we don’t want to be sad, right? We think we should be relieved and happy. We should be celebrating! Or we think that we should just get our lives together and be fine now that the abuse is over. But it doesn’t always work that way.

Grief after Divorce. Forgiveness after Divorce.

Sometimes we think we miss him, and the pain is horrible. You remember the “good times” and wish for him back. But its a trick of your mind and heart, because your actually grieving what should have been. You don’t miss being slammed against the wall and told you’re a whore or that he hates you. You miss the life you almost had, the one you thought you were getting when you got together. The life that should have been. You mourn because you think you may not be able to actually find what you wanted in the first place. You maybe think it might not even exsist.

Grief Makes You Human

I think the important thing to remember is that grief after divorce is part of what makes you human. It reminds you that you are still alive and you still care. You aren’t a psychopath just moving on to your next relationship because its a tool. You aren’t dead inside even though you might want to be for a while. Your feelings are valid. They might be a little unreliable for a while, while you untangle them. And you will begin to understand what you went through and how you are coping with it. But that’s okay.

You might feel guilty for a million things, from leaving, to how your kids feel, to how well you’re coping. That’s okay too. Just don’t live there, if you find yourself dealing with guilt, look at why you are feeling that way. Examine your reasons for why you did what you did. Remind yourself of your motivation and forgive yourself if your execution was less than perfect. You were acting from survival mode and you did the best you could. If you need to make amends, do that after you have stabilized your own mind about the situation.

The New Me

Grief after Divorce. Forgiveness after Divorce.

For me, I have had to reorganize my life and my dreams. I have had periods of no future vision. Time when I had no idea of where I was going or how I would get there. Some days I was walking just one day at a time, and that’s really hard. It’s not a place I like to be in. It requires so much faith that it really highlighted how much I tend to rely on myself. Healing is been very uncomfortable at times, and emotional and difficult. It sometimes requires forgiving myself or the circumstances or the past or the person who hurt me, daily.

I have learned acceptance and forgiveness are more for me than for anyone else. And I have found peace with what all happened to me. Even though it was half my life.

Joan I. Rosenberg PhD. says in her book, 90 Seconds to a Life You Love; “Life is not absent hurt. How we are able to experience, make sense of, and bounce back from those hurts is the essential element of self-growth.” I very much agree with that and have seen it in my own life. The pain sucks, but it’s made me into someone I actually like. I wouldn’t change it.

I lost a lot financially, and it’s going to take me a lot longer than I expected to recover. That’s okay too. I have the chance to build a new life, and I am thankful for it. You don’t often get to start with a blank slate, and now I can create what I want.

New Heart

I think my heart is softer now, when I would expect the opposite. I guess learning to forgive does that. There is more empathy in my heart now, not less. My focus is more on the good, and I see more of God than I did before. I am happier, just me, in my heart and with myself, than I have ever been.

Not to say I am not still dealing with insecurities and fears. I still have panic attacks sometimes, for no reason. Sometimes I still get sad, and wish I was further along in life. I still worry for my kids and my relationships and myself. That’s life, there will always be things demanding I feel. But I am learning how to deal with it every day and be okay still.

Lifetime Impact

Grief after Divorce. Forgiveness after Divorce.

The grief after divorce will probably never totally go away, something sad happened to you, its okay to be sad about it! But it wont hurt as much tomorrow, and even less next week, and in time you will be able to remember and know it happened eons ago to another version of you and while it will always be sad, it wont ruin your day to remember anymore. Your new life will be so much better than the old ever was you will be able to thank God or the Universe or whatever you believe in that you were able to make it through the fire and start again.

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2 thoughts on “Grief After Divorce- the Loss of the Life You Planned

  1. Donna says:

    It has been 4 months since I left the Narc and in the past couple of days I have felt sadness and sadness for my 2 beautiful daughters. Reading your post I realise it’s for the life I thought I would have, the life I had planned for us.
    Looking back at what has happened over the past 10 years there weren’t many good memories with this man. The first time I tried to leave 6 years ago was when it went down hill but he pulled me back in and from that day on it got no better just worse.
    It’s not until your children are hurt physically and emotionally that you can put a stop to this abuse. For me this was it!
    My daughter was hit across the face with the TV remote while I stood behind him and he still would not take any responsibility for this he blamed it on her an 8 year old. If I hadn’t seen it I wouldn’t of believed it.
    My girls have witnessed a lot of verbal abuse toward me and they got to the point where they would record him on my phone while sitting locked in the car. I’m great full it’s over and I don’t have panic attacks or high anxiety any more. I’m great full he cant blame me for everything anymore and call me a fuck head or sick in the head in front of my girls. I’m great full he can’t hurt my girls anymore.
    Grief is something that I hope will pass and I do want a life full of happiness with someone who respects me.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I read your blog last year, while trying to understand the darkness of narcissism and narcissistic abuse. I, too, left my ex-husband and returned. Each time, he made “efforts” to reconcile and I was encouraged to stay and work on things with him. And subsequently, the abuse escalated. I soon decided enough was enough, changed the locks when he stormed out of the house in a rage and fury, and filed for divorce. Seeing your post saying that you had left your ex and would update at some point was so relatable. Sometimes you just need time to transition into the next season and stabilize, without sharing a lot of details. I’m happy to see your more recent post and I identify with feeling joy within myself more than ever. There were some rough moments, but praise to God, these have truly been the best days of my life ever since.

    Thank you.

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