The Basic Steps to Recovering from a Divorce

When you've been the "victim" of a divorce, the first thing you MUST UNDERSTAND and BEGIN BELIEVING is that YOU ARE NOT GOING TO DIE BECAUSE OF IT- Regardless of how badly you feel, you must realize that it has happened to millions of people before you; it is happening to countless people every day; and it will continue to happen to millions of people so long as there is love, marriage and divorce.

Although you may never have felt such pain in your life before, YOU WILL GET OVER IT. It takes time, but you will recover and find love again. It's imperative that you understand this, and believe it, even if you have to write it in big letters on your bedroom mirror, type it out on a 3 x 5 card you carry with you in your wallet, or say it aloud to yourself every hour on the hour.

You must at the same time, understand that people suffering from divorce go through certain predictable phases of thinking and acting as they begin to recover. In order to cope with the insecurity, uncertainty, and emotional damage you've suffered, you should understand that it's only natural that you go through each of these phases, and that as a result, you will again be a happy person.

Perhaps the second hardest thing the person who has been "victimized" in a divorce has to do is let go. It's vitally important that you immediately let go of the other person; realize that the marriage is over, and begin setting your own life in order.

Of course all of this is much easier said or written than done, but these things you must do, and you must do them - or get started on them - immediately. You've got to think about yourself - finding some sort of work with which to support yourself, and maybe your kids; writing out a plan for the management of your money; figuring out your transportation needs; and what you're going to do to fill your spare time.

You cannot allow yourself to just sit and waste away! You've got to take hold of yourself and go on living! You can do it, and you must! The best way is to busy yourself with all the planning you've got to do, and all the things you've got to do to make those plans pan out. Sit down with paper and pencil immediately, look at your situation as it really exists, and lay out a "road map" of things that you're going to have to do in order to survive.

In the meantime, the pain will still be there but you've got to keep forcing yourself not to think about it or dwell upon what was yesterday. The more you think about the past - what went wrong and why it happened to you - the worse it's going to hurt, and the longer it'll take for you to recover.

What has happened to you can be likened to a cut on your hand: It hurts, and you bleed, but you wash it off, perhaps apply some medication, then a bandage and allow time as well as the healing processes of the human system to make it all well again. So it is with the dissolution of a marriage, but the bottom line is still: You must cure yourself of the hurt before you can be happy again.

You're going to feel lonely, lost and deserted. You're going to grieve. You are going to mourn the loss of your loved one. You're going to deny that it's over, and think of it as a bad dream. You may fall into a state of deep depression and pretend that it's only a game that will soon end.

In order to counter these feelings, you must try to keep yourself busy - cleaning the house, washing your car, writing out a budget, studying and/or working - you must force yourself to "keep moving and working" on the kinds of things that make you self-sufficient as well as a person that can hold his or her head up in any crowd or situation.

You're going to become so angry that you'll want to do things "just to spite" your lost loved one. Women in particular, have a difficult time coping with the anger phase. They become bitter because of the rejection they feel, the abandonment, and what they consider the lack of honesty on the part of their former husbands. It manifests itself as a result of final property settlements and child support agreements. They sometimes withhold visitation rights with the children in order to punish or get their point across.

You must understand that anger is the process of projecting onto another person, your own sense of hurt and frustration. Anger is a natural feeling in a stressful situation. Regardless of how it's done, you must express the feelings of anger you're carrying or they'll "eat you alive!" The important thing is to understand that it's a natural feeling as a result of a divorce, and that you have to let these feelings out - get rid of them - before you can truly go on to become a happy person. The best way to deal with anger is to know precisely what you're angry about - write it down on paper - and then pick the most appropriate method as well as time, to express your anger to the person that has made you angry.

Another phase you'll be going through is one of all-consuming guilt feelings. If I hadn't of, or if I had done this or that differently, or if only I had been a little more understanding. The more you dwell upon this kind of thinking, the deeper you'll fall into the trap of self-martyrdom which allows you to think of yourself as a loser, a failure, and not deserving of happiness.

You must drive those feelings of guilt from your mind as quickly as they appear! Simply tell yourself that it didn't work out; it's over, and you've got to things to do in order to survive. Understand and believe that you will recover; then plan what you're going to do, and start moving in that direction.

Still another phase you'll experience, is one of reconciliation. This is when the victim calls the lost loved one on the phone or writes letters, expressing undying love - acceptance of all the blame for the divorce - and promising to change to fit the needs and demands of the other person. This is when the victim disregards all his or her own needs and reaches out for the other person without pride.

Remember this: If your lost loved one does not want you, then you must cease to worry about him or her. You must take hold of yourself - your own ambitions for happiness and the kind of love you want - and first plan how you can attain these things, and then set about towards the eventual achievement of these goals.

You must forget about your ex-husband or ex-wife just as quickly as you possibly can! You must immediately see yourself as someone who's self-supporting and the only person on the face of this earth with the final say about how happy you can be. Difficult, yes - but the sooner you realize this and take charge of your own life, the sooner "what once was" will be forgotten and You'll find happiness again.

No one should throw themselves at the mercy of someone who doesn't want them. Each and every human being in this world is ruled by personal pride in himself. To "give up" one's pride is to give up one's life. Compromises and promises to make changes - followed by sincere efforts to do so are necessary to the ability of "couples" to get along with each other. But to disregard one's personal pride, is to become a non-entity.

The final phase you'll be going through will be one of acceptance. This is when you are no longer bothered by thoughts of your lost loved one all day long; when you're able to talk about him or her without a tug at your heart, and when you've accepted the fact that your marriage is really over: This is when you say to yourself that if he or she doesn't want me, than I don't want him or her. This is when you've got a handle on what you have to do in order to rebuild your life and get on with it, and you're doing just that!

As human beings, all of us have a brain. Because each of us has a brain, we all have feelings that manifest themselves emotionally in one form or another. No one is perfect, and thus, though we usually try with everything we've got to handle our problems with expertise, we usually fall down at least once or twice along the way. It's important to understand one's self as a human being, and to try to get a handle on our ambitions for true happiness - but if we should fall down along the way, we have to pick ourselves up and try again. This is likened to a baby learning to walk - he may take a small step or two, and then fall down, but unless he picks himself up and tries again, he'll never learn to walk.

Don't be afraid of being alone! Think about your own ambitions, and the kind of happiness you'd like to enjoy. Remember that loneliness, boredom and unhappiness are indeed, self-induced - determine that you want to be happy and then reach for it with all you've got!!!

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