Break Free From the Paralyzing Pain of Divorce

Break Free From the Paralyzing Pain of Divorce

Experiencing a divorce brings about an overwhelming jumble of emotions, leaving people to feel confused and unsure about how to move forward. Sometimes the pain of divorce becomes so intense that a mental paralysis sets in and, laden with guilt and sadness, a person’s life comes to a halt.

You can find recovery after divorce and feel happy again — the first step is getting out from underneath the emotions that cloud your perspective and paralyze your life. Only then will you have the mental energy to begin building your new life and framework to really restart your life.

Consider what emotions are causing you pain

If you’re like most people going through divorce, you’re feeling much more than just one emotion. You may be cycling through grief over the loss of your partner, anger over a betrayal, or a degradation of your self worth. Perhaps you have a sense of relief, and that also makes you feel guilty. It’s normal and OK to have these different feelings all at once.

People going through a divorce are experiencing cognitive dissonance, a psychological term that means you’re experiencing conflicting emotions. You simultaneously feel angry at your ex-spouse and terrified of losing him or her. You’re anxious to distance yourself while also dreading the thought of moving on alone.

An article at describes it this way:

“Your brain will be required to perform the nearly impossible psychological high-wire act of protecting you against what you perceive as your archest enemy out to steal your children and leave you destitute while – at precisely the same millisecond – holding tightly to the memory and belief that this same person once held your heart with love and is the other half of the key to your children’s psychological health.”

Recognizing and accepting the complexity of your emotional state prepares you to address it. None of your feelings, alone or in combination, are invalid. Start working on the single issue that most plagues your mind and take little steps forward.

Understand more about what you’re going through

One effective method for shaking off the powerlessness of your emotional pain is to learn about what you’re facing. The divorce process is like a shock to your system, but understanding what what’s to come can help you from getting blindsided. Become informed about what you can expect emotionally, legally and logistically.

Read about how you can soften the transition for your children; research family therapists; and even consider informing their teachers and coaches. It’s important to reinforce your children’s support structure at this time.

Organize financial documents and those relating to insurance, your will, medical information and more. Make important calls to inform interested parties of your separation or divorce, and line up appointments with professionals you need to hire. Working on tangible projects such as these can help you feel prepared and less stressed.

Check out our 10 Simple Tips for Preparing for a Family Law Consultation.

Though you feel alone, don’t isolate yourself

With feelings of guilt, shame and even self-loathing, you might be tempted to turn off your phone and pull the covers over your head. It’s normal and maybe even healthy to wallow in sadness and self-pity for a while after a separation. Researchers say this downtime gives you an opportunity to reevaluate your life and your place in the world.

Eventually, though, you need to connect with others to communicate your feelings, find relief from your pain and reestablish your new self. Ease back into social engagements slowly, maybe by trying a new hobby or exploring a new interest. This can help you meet new people and view yourself in a different context.

Stay close to family and long-time trusted friends, share your feelings with them and listen to what they have to say. Online and in-person support groups offer the invaluable experience of connecting with other people going through the same thing. If your emotions become too intense or unmanageable, seek out help from a professional therapist.

Take a realistic and positive approach

Be honest with yourself about how you’ll make it through the next several months or even years, what hurdles you’ll encounter and how you can clear them. Don’t kid yourself into thinking the process will be easy. Even if you initiate it, divorce is an emotionally exhausting event for most people.

As you grieve the loss of your relationship, practice good self care by getting enough healthy food, exercise and sleep. Support your mental health by reading, journaling, painting — any activity that lets you express your thoughts and process your emotions.

If you’re struggling with guilt and self-loathing, try to think about what you can learn from your situation. Instead of focusing on what went wrong in your marriage, think about how you can grow from it. While this might be tough, it is a helpful way to move forward.

How long it takes you to recover from divorce is unique to your situation, including the length of time you were married, whether you have children, the circumstances of your separation and your preexisting mental health. Set a realistic timeline for recovery and keep moving forward, and know that there is a new life on the other side of divorce.

If you’re going through this process, talking to our Orland Park divorce attorneys can be a beneficial step to take. Contact us to schedule your free, no obligation consultation to see how our legal team and experienced family law attorneys can assist you with your family law needs.


This is a legal advertisement from Sterk Family Law Group. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be construed as such. This article is for informational and educational purposes only.

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