You know, I think with Divorce, we’re often made to feel like failures. But, here’s the thing – I didn’t feel like a failure, not nearly as much as I was made to feel like one. Although, I guess that’s probably easier for me to say now that I’ve made it to the other side. When things were falling apart, when I moved out, when we filed for divorce, and as our hearing approached, I was fairly cruel to myself with an immense amount of negative self-talk. But, at the same time, somewhere beneath all that was relief. I just couldn’t find it buried under everything else I was feeling.
I had an emotionally rough time, divorce is a lot to process – the falling apart, the process itself, the range of emotions. I was either entirely shutdown and blank, or my emotions were at an all-time high. And there were also days that I actually felt okay. Sometimes I felt okay all day, sometimes for the morning or workday, but then I’d fall apart at night. Other times, it was the words of another person that took me down, even though I tried to shield against them. Not just words, but cruel words – words that were extremely hurtful, from someone I didn’t expect this from. There isn’t anything else from this time of my life that still makes me emotional, except for when I remember that – those hurtful words that I didn’t deserve.
I may have mentioned this before, but after I moved out, I wrote every day for nearly 7 months – that’s 200+ days. I used writing at my outlet, a safe space where I could be vulnerable and let it all out. It was kind of a stepping stone for learning to be open and vulnerable with others. It was also how I began learning how to process my emotions, especially because I was so overwhelmed and drowning. Writing helped me evaluate where I was at, and I’m sure if I looked back now, I would see my progress over those months.
Early on, my therapist recommended a book – Coming Apart by Daphne Rose Kingma – and I remember at some point reading the book and eventually working through the exercises. I cannot recall if I did this before or shortly after my divorce, but I know it was very helpful. Working through the exercises not only helped me process some emotions, but helped me see things a lot more clearly. I remember things making a lot more sense after doing this. Almost like an Aha! moment for me.
My therapist also recommended an older book called The Dance of Intimacy by Harriet Lerner. I know I have a lot of notes from reading this book, and I recall it being extremely helpful. I think intimacy is vulnerability at it’s core. I have learned that, in relationships, vulnerability is key – it’s the foundation for building a solid relationship. Without being able to be entirely vulnerable with your partner, I think you lack communication, closeness, comfortability, safety, and intimacy as a whole, including sex – which is probably what we all think of when we think of intimacy. Yes, this is certainly just my opinion, but one I feel strongly about based on my own experiences.
Divorce is tough no matter the circumstances. Sure, by most divorce standards, mine was really easy. And for that I’m very thankful. But just because the process itself was easy, doesn’t mean anything else about it was, because it definitely wasn’t. The emotional aspect was the toughest for me – and goodness, did I learn so much.
I have a lot more to say about divorce and the emotions that come along with it, but honestly, I am thoroughly exhausted. So, I will stop here for today, and I’ll be back soon to dig even deeper.