Numbing the Pain of Divorce

During the first phase of divorce, we go through the stage of denial or shock. We can’t believe that this is happening. It wasn’t in the plans!

The next stage is what I call the Roller Coaster. It’s the tornado of feelings that whips around, comes and goes, blurring what’s ahead and leaving us feeling lost within a swirl of painful emotions. Anxiety. Depression. Anger. Guilt. Loneliness. Relief. Grief.

The natural response is to avoid, hide, run. How will I ever get through this gut-wrenching pain?! I don’t want to feel this badly! I miss my old life!

What do you do to avoid? Do you:

  • Isolate
  • Use alcohol and/or drugs to feel better?
  • Procrastinate?
  • Fill up every second of your day?
  • Use dating or sex to numb the pain?

There is no running from grief. And grief is what that swirl of emotions really is. Dealing with the loss of your best friend, lover, playmate, parent of your children, and emergency contact (a little levity), is sooooooo hard. It’s OK to feel all those feelings! You should be feeling them.

Finding support is key. Divorce support groups, therapy, friends, family, advisors will all help you through. You need to lean and ask for assistance because you can’t do it all. Find your tribe and lift your chin up. You are stronger than you think.

Deirdre Shaffer, MSW, LCSW



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