I have officially been separated for 154 days (yes, I counted the days) and I realize that I have been harboring feelings of anger, blame, resentment and regret off and on throughout this time. While I realize that I was the one who asked for the separation/divorce 5 months ago I don’t think that I was ever prepared for the whirlwind of emotions that followed. It hit me early last week that I was finally getting stronger and stronger and finally feeling more like myself yet something was missing and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.
Over the past 5 months, I’ve been doing a lot of reading online about separation, divorce, co-parenting…etc and I have to admit that much of the information made my head spin. I heard that there were 5 stages of divorce and I guess I am ‘normal’ because I seemed to have followed these 5 stages to the letter.
Stages of Divorce
- Grief – I spent quite a bit of time in this stage way before I even filed for the legal separation. I’ve gone in and out of grief just knowing that the marriage was not going to work no matter how hard I tried! During the time I stayed in this stage, it really felt as if I was experiencing a death. I can’t explain it but the questions of “why me, why now, why us, I wonder if I do x, y or z….” anyway – you get the idea. I spent so much time crying and questioning my circumstances and it was one of the lowest points of my life.
- Denial – Ahhh – I pulled up a big ole’ comfy chair and sat in Denial for a long time , hell I slept in denial for years (no joke)!! I think I just jumped out of the grief and headed straight into denial so that I could “Pretend” that things were good! I had a “fake it til you make it” mentality and sitting in denial got so comfortable that I forgot for a second that I wasn’t happy. I realize that my denial was just a coping mechanism for me and it allowed me to stay stuck and not progress forward.
- Anger – Or as I like to call it “Pissivity”. Those that know me know that I am a pretty peaceful person who can’t STAND confrontation but this stage in my separation had me looking at myself in the mirror wondering who in the hell I was. I was so angry, so pissed, so frustrated with my soon to be ex AND myself. Hell, I think that I was equally angry at the both of us. What made it worse is that I would try to get my feelings out to my soon to be ex just to be shut down and told that my feelings didn’t need to be heard. So, I took to venting and talking to friends and eventually writing my feelings out. I will admit, I don’t do well with this emotion (anger) at all. It takes me totally out of my normal character and so far away from the person that I authentically am.
- Depression – I can recall many days and nights that I laid in bed balled up in the fetal position just crying, sleeping, day dreaming, hoping and wishing! Over the past 5 months I lost 16 lbs, stopped running regularly, lost touch with some people, would cry at the drop of a hat, questioned myself, wondered if I was worthy of love and happy days… and more. This stage was hard and it felt as if I was going to last forever! During this time I did a lot of soul-searching and reaching out to friends and thankfully I am on the other side of that depression hill.
- Acceptance – (I am here… Finally!!) Don’t get it twisted… acceptance doesn’t mean that I don’t have any negative emotions about the entire process that I am in. There is some sadness but I fully accept the reality of my ‘New Normal’ and I will not let the sadness block the blessings that I know are in front of me. I totally accept that our 15 years of marriage and 18 years of being together has come to an end. After taking one last stab of trying to reach some common ground and to have a mature conversation (in hopes of coming to a friendly closure) – I ended up (yet again) being the target of some damn archery practice . One thing I have learned is that you can’t change anyone and sometimes, the more you try to explain, defend or get your point across the more frustrated you become and the more the other person enjoys shooting those arrows at you. Ultimately, I know that if I keep this up, I will start moving though the stages BACKWARDS! I am looking forward and I refuse to be pulled back or to fall back. Acceptance … My name is Aurelia, and I am so happy to meet you! I can’t wait to see what the next chapter of my life holds!
A special thanks to my Dynamic Duo!! You know who you are — much love to you both!