Divorce Recovery and Resilience

The American Psychological Association defines resilience as “the process and outcome of successfully adapting to difficult or challenging life experiences, especially through mental, emotional, and behavioral flexibility and adjustment to external and internal demands.” Coping with divorce is certainly a test in resilience!

What helps you to recover more rapidly? In all honesty, there is no “quick fix” and some of the things that temporarily help you to feel better (dating, alcohol use) can cause more difficulties. Instead, buckle down and focus on these healthy ways to promote recovery:

Keeping an internal locus of control. Focus on what you have control over vs. what you don’t (other people and situations, outside influences).

Use your social supports. Family, friends, and acquaintances are important resources and sources of strength during difficult times. Resist the urge to hibernate and, instead, ask for help, get involved, and make new memories!

Having a “victor vs. victim” mentality. This divorce may not have been in your plans. However, you can still be the master crafter of what comes next. YOU choose how you want to live! YOU choose how you will respond to ugliness or chaos! YOU make decisions that work well for YOU

Keep a positive self-view. Be mindful of whether you talk to yourself like you talk to a dear friend or with criticism. Remember, if you had a roommate who was mean to you, you’d kick them out! Kick out the critical voice in your head!

Set some reachable goals for yourself. Look at an aspect of your life that needs attention (finances, career, residential, legal, social) and determine what you want this to look like in a year. Initiate a plan to reach that goal. Taking action is more empowering than doing nothing.

Practice good communication. Report the facts, state your feelings and goals, and refrain from judgment and insults.
Remember the wisdom of Winnie the Pooh: “You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

Author: Deirdre Shaffer, MSW, LCSW


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