After getting through the first phase (please see my prior post on this topic) of denial and isolation, you understand that it is not just a bad dream. Grief and loneliness creep in as you miss many aspects of being with your partner/spouse and your former lifestyle. You feel alone, perhaps unlovable and contemplate impending changes in your life. This is a stage of grief over loss – of a partner/spouse, hopes and plans as well as an established family life. Grief is a process and you need to go through it before you move on. It is a time to withdraw and allow introspection, to develop inner resources, as long as you don’t brood, feel the victim or completely blame or isolate yourself.
In this second stage, eating and sleep patterns may shift, either more or less. You may feel out of control and drained emotionally, with guilt or reduced concentration. Don’t be afraid to express those feelings. Cry, shout, whatever, when you are alone, as you feel the pain, which can lead to important learning. Unresolved grief will stall progress and can affect you physically. Develop a healthy balance of alone time and being with trusted and supportive friends and family.
Children also need to be able to experience their sadness and loss. The difference is that most parents do not ‘divorce’ their children, even though there will be changes in their living arrangements and parenting time. Be a role model for them. Articulate hope and assure them that they will always have two parents who will work together to raise them, even though it will be in two homes.
- I will feel my sadness and pain and work through it.
- I will not be so busy to avoid being alone.
- I will only be with people I like.
- I will develop activities that are important to me.
- I will not withdraw socially.
- I will not seek another love relationship to avoid loneliness.
- Grief and loneliness will not control me.
Feel free to pass this along to those you know who are trying to cope.
Please check back for the next phase – Anger.