Going through a divorce and ending an intimate relationship is quite possibly one of the hardest things to endure. Not only that, but feeling the loss and separation along with the entire lifestyle change and financial struggles are added stressors that make it all so difficult at times. Not to mention, if you have children involved, the trauma they go through due to the separation and upheaval makes it hard to sometimes be there for children’s emotional needs when the custodial parent feels overwhelmed and overloaded. The family experiences a void when the absent parent is not around anymore for the routine family events and sometimes it feels like experiencing and accepting a death that some would even parallel to divorce. Recovery time from this emotional state varies from person to person. The psychological stages that one undergoes do not come in a neat, sequential succession, but more randomly and at one’s own pace. The five major psychological stages are:
- Denial – Felt even by the initiator of the divorce. The denial stage can last for a long time.
- Anger – An inevitable stage of unmet needs and dreams unrealized. Usually erupted by money and children issues such as custody and access to them but usually stem from the couple’s own issues with each other.
- Guilt – Both parties are likely to feel guilty because of the failed relationship and for their children’s emotional trauma during the divorce.
- Grief – Usually happens when the full impact of the divorce is felt. Saying goodbye to a failed relationship is a painful and sad process.
- Acceptance – When each person recognizes the totality of the experience as a part of who they are and a part of their lives. This stage is the moving-on outlook to a new set of goals and identity.
These stages are not all-inclusive and may also include fear and anxiety from financial insecurity or even safety. Ultimately, these stages usually give way to acceptance that the stages and the trauma were all part of the adjustment to finally gain some sense of stability. It also helps to seek guidance and counseling for the whole family when undergoing a divorce.