Here’s a list of some of the feelings you may experience through your separation. Rest assured; what you are going through is normal.
A feeling of anxiety can build if you are worried about the feelings you are experiencing. Everything stacks up leaving you feeling lost and overwhelmed. Separation feelings can leave you exhausted.
My GP told me that I didn’t need counselling for my anxiety as my feelings were caused by the event going on in my life – my divorce. He was right. As soon as it was all over I felt relatively fine again. Looking back, it was no wonder I was stressed! Everything hits you at the same time.Sam – Manchester
You are not only worried about what the future holds but about how the decisions you are making now will impact your future. Not only that, you may be scared about being lonely and wondering if you will ever meet someone else. If you do want to eventually be in another relationship, you could be scared about the prospect of dating and also wondering if you can be brave enough to fall in love all over again. You are scared of the unknown.
Anxiety can be severe and in some cases lead to panic attacks. Dealing with lawyers and court proceedings, especially if you’ve never had dealings with legal matters before, can mean learning a whole new language. Suddenly you are thrown into a world of legal terminology and it all sounds like gobbledygook, especially during a state of anxiousness. Don’t be afraid to ask professionals to speak in layman’s terms if you don’t understand. It isn’t a crime to say that you are feeling overwhelmed. These days, family solicitors and other legal experts are more aware of mental health issues and clients feelings.
Remember that the majority of people going through a separation will be feeling some level of anxiety. You are not alone. Don’t try to deal with everything all at once. Something has to give – just make sure it’s not your mental health. So what if the kids are on their devices for a couple of weeks solid because you are dealing with your Form E? Don’t beat yourself up, you will only make yourself feel worse. Here are some further tips from the NHS
Fit your own oxygen mask before helping others – look after yourself so you can attend to your children and all those other matters which will lead to a happy future.
When everything starts hitting you at the same time, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed.
Suddenly a mountain appears in front of you and you don’t know how to climb it. You are under pressure to reach the summit as quickly as possible. Feeling overwhelmed could be the result of looking after the children as a solo parent, dealing with all their every day care, homework, cooking, plus their emotions and holding down a full-time job while getting statements together and what seems like endless form filling for solicitors or mediation. (Even just writing that previous sentence was overwhelming).
On top of that you may feel like friends you thought would stand by you have disappeared and you have your own emotions to deal with as part of the mountain too. Bills are coming in and you are trying to cope with finances. Everything is stacking up and you don’t know which way to turn plus your house is on the market. Don’t be afraid to explain your feelings to those who are helping you. Maybe they can take some of the strain. Help may come in the form of taking your ironing basket away or bringing over a cooked meal. Accept help whenever you can – you get no prizes for trying to get through things alone. Here’s a list of helpful resources from the NHS
There will be times where you may feel sad for the loss of the relationship. These feelings will similar or even the same as grief and many people who have been through a divorce speak about going through a state of grieving before coming out the other side. It’s ok and normal to experience a sense of loss at this time and professionals such as divorce and grief coaches and counsellors will be able to get you through this difficult time.
Overwhelming sadness could mean that you are suffering from depression, so do get in touch with your GP to talk things through. It is normal to break-down and cry, and in fact, you can feel better for doing that but if you feel unable to manage these occurrences, seek medical advice or speak to a counsellor or other professional.
You may feel guilty for separating from the other parent of your children. The majority of people will go into a relationship or marriage hoping that it will be forever. Nobody dreams of their children coming from a broken home. You may also feel guilty because you feel that you didn’t work hard enough at your relationship. You may feel wretched because you had an affair or have met someone else or maybe your ex has. Feelings of guilt are normal but you need to move on from them as they will cause you to be stuck; unable to move on into a bright new future. Speaking to an expert can help you to resolve feelings of guilt.
In some cases, people can feel a sense of happiness and relief with a separation. Don’t feel ashamed for feeling this way. However, you may still go through some of the feelings above through stages of divorce or separation.
Through the process of separation and indeed after, if you are tied together with children, you may feel angry at the decisions your ex is making or at things being said. Our biggest tip is not to “fuel the fire”, in other words, if your ex is trying to argue with you, walk away, don’t respond with another angry text, try and take deep breaths and be rational. Arguing and being angry will not help the situation and if you are going through a divorce, and facing court proceedings, angry texts could end up being shown in court as part of your exes evidence in their attempt to paint you as the “bad guy” – so always be mindful of this.
Other feelings could include
- jealousy towards your ex or friends
- regret – because of your actions or even wondering why you got together with your ex in the first place.
- frustration – if things are not moving in the right direction or your ex is proving difficult to deal with.
Any strong feeling can cause a delay in being able to move on with the future and that’s why it is important to speak to a coach or counsellor or get in touch with another organisation for help. Don’t forget to reach out to others going through the same as you by chatting in The Group Hug safe forum.
This blog is not a medical blog, please seek medical advice if you are feeling unable to cope. Going through separation or divorce isn’t easy and there are experts and charity organisations who can help.