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Overcoming the grief of breakup/divorce


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I originally posted this in my thread, but I thought I would post it as it's own individual thread because I think there is useful stuff here for people dealing with the aftermath of a breakup and I didn't want it buried in my other thread.

 

link removed

 

The article in this link basically says that the traditional "5 Stages of Grief" that mental health providers use as a framework for people dealing with issues of loss (e.g., death of a loved one, breakup or divorce) is incomplete.

 

Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance are indeed part of the process, but there is another part that only begins with Acceptance: TEAR

 

T = To accept the reality of the loss

E = Experience the pain of the loss

A = Adjust to the new environment without the lost object

R = Reinvest in the new reality.

 

I had been experiencing quite a bit of anger related to my breakup, and I thought I was still stuck in Phase 2 of the traditional grieving cycle. And I thought I had a lot more ahead of me (Phases 3, 4, 5) before I could deal properly with the breakup, heal, and move on. Yet, after learning about TEAR, I realize that I have already been doing a lot of the necessary work to move on, so unless I am really fooling myself, I think I am farther along than I think.

 

Breaking up is a process, not a single event. So much of the Denial, Bargaining, and Depression I experienced actually occurred in the weeks and months prior to the breakup. The anger that I felt just prior to my final declaration that my relationship was indeed broken up was just the breaking point, the last bit of steam that blew the lid off the kettle. It was the one event that I needed to experience to put all the pieces that I had been experiencing in the weeks and months prior together into one package that I refer to as "the breakup", but which really was not one event at all, but a long, drawn out process.

 

The acceptance piece is something that "the breakup" helped allow to happen. And the acceptance piece is something that allows the rest of the TEAR process to begin. This quote is from the article in the link I provided above:

 

Notice that the first step of Grief Work is ACCEPTANCE, the last stage of the 5 Stages of Grief.

 

It begins when the honeymoon period is over, the friends have stopped calling, everyone thinks you should be over it, the court case is resolved, "closure" has been effected, and everything is supposed to be back to normal. It's at this point that real grieving begins.

 

Now the feelings that I have been experiencing all make sense. I have been Experiencing the pain of my loss more fully now that the "honeymoon" period is over. The Adjustment to my new environment without my ex has been ongoing. And I am only now beginning to Reinvest in the new reality of my life, the reality of life without my ex. This is what it means to TEAR my ex from the fabric of my existence. He was in my past, but he is no longer in my present and he will not be in my future. I am reinvesting in me and in my life only. The fabric of my future existence will be woven without him.

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Keep in mind that the 5 stages of grief are not necessarily experience sequentially. Just because you have residual anger, does not mean that you are having to go through 3 more. Just one more... acceptance. Some stages take longer due to the circumstances or the person. Don't think of it as a step-by-step process by which you can measure your progress.

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Keep in mind that the 5 stages of grief are not necessarily experience sequentially. Just because you have residual anger, does not mean that you are having to go through 3 more. Just one more... acceptance. Some stages take longer due to the circumstances or the person. Don't think of it as a step-by-step process by which you can measure your progress.

 

This is true. And I've found you can cycle through the stages in different orders at different times. Sometimes feelings just pop up and surprise you too...

 

But given enough time, the cycle diminishes...that much I am sure of...

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  • 1 year later...
  • 3 years later...

Having just gotten out of a relationship, I realized just how much I hate myself (I even started a blog about it - link removed ) but it seems like such a long journey to get to the root of my problems in relationships, the whole "grief stages" are good for someone who is relatively healthy, but what about the 90% of us who aren't? It takes hard work and real commitment to make ourselves into the people we want to really be.

 

I am on a journey and losing love is always the catalyst to new insight for me. I just hope that the walls that I usually put up to block the pain done build up before I can grow a little bit more.

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