Nine Steps to Regaining Self Esteem After DivorceWritten by Debbie Burgin
Divorce is difficult at ‘best’ of times. Even when a couple makes a combined decision to divorce, it can be extremely trying.
What happens if decision is one sided? What happens to party who can sometimes feel blind-sided by one person’s decision that they no longer want to be a part of this union?
Been there, done that. Only I wasn’t one who made decision to leave relationship. It was my ex-husband’s decision. Okay, I helped him make actual decision to leave (he didn’t have much choice), but result was same. Feelings of “what’s wrong with me?” are abundant.
So here are some things that will help you to get your self esteem back after a divorce:
1. Talk to someone…
The first step to resolving those feelings is to talk to someone. Bend a familiar ear…be it biased or unbiased. Whether it’s to a trusted friend, or to a counselor, getting it out verbally is a great start to regaining your sense of self.
2. Be Honest…
If you decide that you’re going to seek help from a counselor, make sure that you tell entire truth about what you’re feeling. Be as honest as you possibly can. How can a counselor do his/her job properly, if you’re not completely honest? Regardless of what you tell a counselor, he/she is not there to judge you, merely to listen and to offer some constructive unbiased advice if necessary…not criticism, advice.
3. Keep a Journal…
Writing down what’s going on in your head is also helpful, whether you choose to do that via paper journal, or online journal, both are helpful. I find that using an online journal is much easier, as I don’t write nearly as quickly as I type.
4. Get to know yourself again…
It’s typical to lose oneself during course of a relationship. I know I did! So after my divorce, I took some time to get to know “Me” all over again. Do whatever it is that you love to do! If you enjoyed snowboarding before you were married, get back to it! If you enjoyed knitting, put aside some time to do that. Read some good books, enjoy spending time with new friends, go away for weekend, go and be you!
5. Don’t let those negative thoughts back in.
Once you’ve written down thoughts that aren’t positive (“I hate him/her. I can’t believe that he/she did this to me.”) in a journal of some type, you’ll notice that if you go back and re-read those bad thoughts (and we all do it at least once), you’re mentally and emotionally back in that place all over again. Re-reading ugly details of my divorce for instance, used to put me in that mood all over again (I’ve since tossed that journal). So my advice with regard to writing down negative feelings, is to write them down, then discard them. Tear them up, burn them, flush them if you have to, do whatever it takes, but don’t let those negative thoughts back in.
Divorce Makes Us StrongerWritten by Debbie Burgin
My friends call me "Divorce Poster Child".
At age of 20 I was married, and by 22 I had our first child. My husband was away at work every weekday, so it was just myself and baby, keeping each other company from seven in morning, until five thirty in evening, every weekday. Eventually (7 years later), my husband and I found ourselves with three children, and life was extremely hectic, with both of us now working in same industry. We worked for same company (his company), and he was still away at work every day, while I managed to work from home for his company, and took care of house and kids.
We worked apart, as do most couples, for duration of our marriage, and our relationship got to point where, when we were together, we had very little to talk about besides kids, and work. Eventually, there was even less to talk about, because it would seem that my ex-husband to be, was getting more and more distant. I sensed distance, and sat him down and had following conversation with him, "If you're feeling like you want to be a single man, and you want to be doing things that your single friends do, please do me a favor; don't go behind my back, and sneak around because you want to be with someone else. Don't let me do all of detective work that I see those poor women on T.V. having to go through before finding out that their husbands are cheating on them. You know me better than that. If that's what you want, then go. Let's cut our losses now, and do it amicably." To which he replied, "I would NEVER do that! I don't want to be single. I love you guys. What would make you say that??"
Apparently, at about same time that we had that conversation, my ex-husband was slowly and quietly developing younger woman syndrome, and eventually decided that he actually would rather be a single man (and detective work that I mentioned in our conversation? I did it all). So, to make a very long story, somewhat shorter, I wasn't about to leave home that I raised my children in, so I told him, "There's door. See ya!" (That's Coles' notes version.)
We've been divorced for four and a half years now. I went through many phases. The first was definitely blinding anger, followed closely (actually overlapped) by betrayal, which came before overwhelming sadness and feelings of failure, which were replaced by apprehension. Apprehension stepped aside to welcome self-pity. Major self pity. But self-pity was quickly replaced by revenge. I went on a spending spree, maxxing out his credit card twice (he was not happy, but oh well ). Each stage came with it's own set of ups and downs. I was beset by everything from uncontrollable crying, to unexplainable joy, to periods of quiet reflection.