Difficult Separation and Emotions
Separation is not a single event. It can take place over months or years and is often an emotional roller coaster with many changes and adjustments to a person’s life.
Emotions experienced before, during and after difficult separation are those of grief at losing the family unit as we have known it.
A range of emotions can surface in any order, at any time, for different periods. Everyone experiences them differently.
In fact, researchers estimate that the period of adjustment for families can range anywhere from 1 to 3 years.
Cycle of Grief
- Shock — feeling numb.
- Denial — disbelief and pretending that this isn’t happening.
- Anger — frustrated outpouring of bottled up emotions.
- Bargaining — trying to find a way out; to resolve the situation, or to try and start again.
- Depression/Isolation — realising that it’s going to happen.
- Acceptance — finding a way forward.
- Change — looking for real solutions to move on and be focused.
Tips on dealing with grief:
When people are physically in shock we cover them with a warm blanket.
Take care of yourself:
Take ‘time out’ just for you even if it’s only 10 minutes a day.
- Eat regular meals that include fruit and veggies.
- Read a book, listen to some music.
- Get some good sleep.
- Cry as long and as often as you need — it’s a natural reaction.
- Talk about your feelings.
Ask for help. Find someone who will listen. (See our previous blog post). Take any assistance that is offered.
Anger — options to deal with anger
Write it out — Work through your anger by keeping a journal or by writing letters BUT don’t mail them. It’s a way of putting down what you think and feel and standing back and looking at what you have written.
Shout it out — Wind up the windows in your car or put your head in a pillow, and scream. It helps to get rid of the negative energy in your body.
Talk it out — Instead of directing your anger at your ex, talk to a friend or seek help with a professional who specialises in anger management.
Take responsibility for your part of the relationship break-up — It’s rare that only one partner is solely at fault.
Recognise what makes you angry can help to find the triggers and old patterns so that you can take steps to stop repeating them.
Think about the important issues — Talking about every little irritation provokes resentment — let go of the small stuff.
Denial is a natural coping mechanism for things that happen which we don’t really want to see.
Be honest with yourself and ask:
- What are the thoughts or situations I have been trying to avoid?
- What have I rejected because it’s ‘too close to home’?
- Is there some truth in it? If so, what can I plan to do about it?
Face your behaviour, make a plan to improve it and then stay with the plan.
Sometimes when you’re depressed it’s hard to get any enjoyment out of things. You may have stopped doing things you used to enjoy, which
keeps the depression going.
It may help to get back into a routine but take it slowly. Try to do more of the things you enjoy. Your doctor, counselor, church leader, elder or friend may be able to help you.
Find out about local support groups led by trained and experienced professionals.
- Re-establish familiar routines.
- Get some exercise.
- What would the situation look like in 12 months time if I did…?
- What would the benefits be?
- Establish a plan for the future and set goals for 6 and 12 months ahead
- Seek professional help
Beyond all, surround yourself with positivity… focus on your children or pets and seek clarity of your legal options. That’s where we can help. Talk to a highly qualified Family Lawyer in Mackay for a free 20-minute appointment and seek help with your difficult separation today.