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Step 9: Overcome Pain of Divorce (12 Step Divorce Recovery Series)

By Lisa Brick

Divorce is a surgery, cutting out parts of what you have come to identify with as yours. It hurts no matter what yet how you navigate it determines how much, how long, and how damaging it will be. Understanding this, accepting it, and exploring how you can make it as quick and clean as possible is far preferable to resisting it, however much you would like it to not be your reality.  

Resistance keeps you from facing the inevitable and forces harsher and harsher conversations, actions, and expenses to get to the same place, the dissolution of the legal and financial partnership that is a marriage contract. Acceptance is akin to willingly lying down and being still while having a necessary surgery. Resistance is being held down, thrashing and screaming, while the surgery is being performed. In neither case are you offered anesthesia yet in the first it will be over sooner with less damage and loss of blood. In the latter it’s hard to predict how wild the cuts will be, what will be severed, or how much blood you will lose. 

How do you accept the unacceptable? I don’t want my family and my life to be blown apart by divorce. I don’t want to lose my status, my identity. I don’t want to hurt my children. I don’t want my spouse to be ugly and abusive towards me, towards anyone. I don’t want to have less financial security and resulting choices than I have now. I don’t want to deal with infidelity. I don’t want to be alone. I don’t want to hear that, at x years old, my spouse doesn’t want me anymore.  I don’t want to spend tens of thousands of dollars on attorney’s fees.  I don’t want to leave my comfortably uncomfortable life and have to start all over. I don’t want to lose my children.  

Yup, this is up there with the toughest of experiences. All of the aforementioned scenarios can happen. Many of them, although not all, do. This is scary stuff. You know it. We do too. Not wanting it doesn’t make it go away.  By the time you are aware that the wheels of divorce are rolling the relationship is way down the road of dissolution. Reconciliation is rarely an option and in the situations when it is possible there are often scars left that marr the relationship and your life anyway.  

The options for negotiation this life change are: 

  • acceptance of the sorry state of your relationship and the dissolution of the partnership you’ve had with your spouse or 

  • resistance of recognizing the terminal state of the relationship and a refusal to engage in the process that is happening either way, with acceptance or resistance.  

Wishing it weren’t happening does not make it not happen.  

Acceptance does not mean you allow abuse or give up on having an equitable distribution of joint marital assets and, when children are involved, an equitable custody agreement.  

Let's explore what acceptance does mean:

  • Acceptance means that you are conserving much needed resources (energy and capital) for navigating the inevitable.  

  • Acceptance means you are assuming responsibility for being in a marriage that is in its death throes, not that you or your spouse are to blame for not being compatible with each other anymore, if you ever were.

  • Acceptance means that you are aware of the pain and upheaval that not only you are feeling but your other intimates as well: family members, children, etc.    

  • Acceptance means that there was a before, you are in the during, and there will be an after.

  • Acceptance means that you are responsible for responding to your spouse in ways that make the process less rather than more confrontational while you navigate the situation.  You, not your spouse, are responsible for defusing situations and negotiating smartly. 

  • Acceptance means that you recognize your weaknesses and shortcomings and find professionals and confidants who will support you to grow into who it would be valuable to be now.  

  • Acceptance means you are willing to evolve as a person and a parent.  

If all this sounds rough, it is. It demands you be mindful of your thoughts, your words and your actions. It demands you recognize when you need support and ask for it from sources you know will empower you to be wise, strong, and clear...after you’ve recognized and honored that you feel lost, exhausted, and confused. You will experience it all. It is inevitable that the divorce process will push you to the edge of every fear and insecurity you’ve avoided AND give you the opportunity to move beyond them.   

Divorce is not a picnic. It is a frightening, insecure, and disruptive time with unpredictables and  unknowns while tornados of emotions emerge from within and without. Persistent resistance robs you of the energy you need to emerge with the best settlement possible with the least expenditure of resources and the healthiest kids.  Given the opportunity, run, do not walk, to acceptance, however painful it initially is. Through acceptance you will learn how to optimize all stages of life moving forward.  

Acceptance allows you to look at what is around you and identify the best resources to support you in creating what's next. Once you begin practicing acceptance you will discover the best possible way to situate yourself now and for the future. Every moment is the first moment of the rest of your life, even when the present moment is not what you ever wanted!

If you would like support to stop squandering your energy in resistance, to be able to be authentic with the pain, confusion, and fear that you are experiencing, and to find those resources within that will enable you to be accepting, strategic, and effective more often than not please....  We understand and are here for you.


Are you ready for this? If so, we are here to help you. Book your FREE Rapid Relief Call NOW! 

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