Moving Through the Stages of Divorce Grief

Moving Through the Stages of Divorce Grief

Published On: October 19, 2023

Have you recently experienced a divorce and feel an onslaught of emotions you’re not sure how to process? Similar to the death of a loved one, divorce often requires a grieving process.

Bayridge Counselling Centres can help you understand the stages of divorce grief, move through them, and understand and live with the trauma you’re experiencing from grief after divorce. Keep reading, then contact our team today to inquire about our online counselling services.

The Five Divorce Grief Stages

Everyone moves through stages of grief differently and progress isn’t linear. You may find yourself repeating stages, experiencing multiple stages at once, or skipping stages altogether. However, with help, you can reach acceptance.

1. Denial

As it applies to divorce, denial is more nuanced than when grieving death, because it doesn’t provide a clear or defined sense of loss. Denial includes:

  • A sense of shock where you feel numb or detached.
  • An attempt to ignore the severity or pretend the change isn’t affecting you.
  • Avoiding discussion or acknowledgment of the divorce.
  • Believing, whether consciously or subconsciously, you’ll restore the relationship.
  • Distorting the reality of the divorce by only focusing on the positive aspects of your relationships.

2. Anger

One of the most alarming stages of divorce grief is anger. Even if the divorce is amicable or mutual, you might feel surprised about the level of anger you experience. You might direct the anger at yourself, your ex, or other people, often unintentionally.

You can healthily express and deal with your anger through open communication, exercise, mediation, and professional help.

3. Bargaining

Psychologists characterize bargaining as entertaining a series of “what if” scenarios. It combines guilt and regret over past actions and makes you believe you could have changed the situation or still could if only you were a better person.

To move past bargaining, accept that you’re not perfect, be kind to yourself, and work to learn from your mistakes for future relationships.

4. Depression

The depression stage is one of the most identifiable stages of grief. While brief or intermittent depression is normal after a divorce, if you have any of the following symptoms daily for more than a month, seek professional help:

  • Decreased appetite
  • Sleep problems
  • Low energy or high fatigue
  • Avoiding social opportunities you enjoyed in the past
  • Thoughts of suicide or death

5. Acceptance

Acceptance allows you to embrace your new life, but it doesn’t mean you’re happy about it. You’ll likely still feel pangs of anger and sadness, but in acceptance, you’re ready to heal and know it’s an ongoing process. You no longer avoid negative emotions and feel equipped to deal with them while setting new goals and finding a new purpose for your life.

Most people require help reaching acceptance, and in addition to finding a support system, you should establish new routines centered around the new aspects of your life, like being single.

Find Help Grieving Your Divorce at Bayridge 

You don’t need to navigate the stages of divorce grief alone. To speak with a mental health professional, reach out to our team at Bayridge today.

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