Divorce is a b*tch!
We often comfort (and placate) those who have been jilted or wronged by their spouse, but how often do we empathize with the party that left?
I normally judged the marriage of others and vowed to never get divorced. I would “never be one of those people.” Until I left my 14-year marriage.
We were naïve about our issues and assumed our relationship was better than most. As co-existing roommates, we had a blast together—traveled the world, ate lavish dinners, accumulated comfortable bank accounts and built a stunning home.
Until, one day we realized it hadn’t been working and I brashly left the home in what we agreed would just be a “temporary separation.” What ensued the following year was the ultimate trial and testament to my strength and willpower as a human being.
I suffered physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally.
I took a risk and lost everything I once loved. I felt powerless from the pain and anguish—and I simply broke. My spirit shattered and the worst parts of my personality emerged.
All this was happening as I was establishing my practice as a certified holistic health coach, a career I had been training in for 15 years.
I focused on planting positive karmic seeds while attempting to keep my head above water and help others in need. After all, I was a natural healer and caretaker, as well as an inspiring educator, writer and researcher. People had no idea I was drowning in my own grief, sorrow and regret.
I succumbed to the momentous realization there was no fixing it, or “going back.” Life had officially changed in the worst ways, but forward was the only direction available.
I was forced to finally learn the number one lesson that had always persisted—learning to let go.
Nobody properly explains what happens when one decides to leave the marriage, regardless of the complicated circumstances or the huge amount of love still felt for “your person.” Despite the innocent promises made at the altar, couples’ therapy attempts, late night pleading, promises to be better, tears and anguish.
Here’s what I caution you: you must be prepared.
>>> Be prepared to feel free and play a little, but quickly realize you are in shock.
>>> Be prepared to get pummeled by beautiful memories you don’t even recall making, to experience regret, anger, loss, grief, numbness and hatred, to beg, plead, bargain, compromise and get rejected repeatedly, to feel immense pain in your entire body to the point you’ll swear you are splitting in half.
>>> Be prepared to unleash your inner crazy and judge yourself harshly for your reactions.
>>> Be prepared to lose the ability to smile, let alone breathe like a normal person, to come face to face with your childhood trauma, to question your existential purpose and consider ending it all.
>>> Be prepared to doubt every aspect of your marriage and promises made, to lose the person you thought you once knew, for sleepless nights, nightmares and zero motivation to get out of bed in the morning.
>>> Be prepared to involuntarily starve yourself, or indulge in a series of epic carb extravaganzas, for others’ harsh judgments and apathetic attitudes, to be alienated by some friends and family—they ultimately choose sides, to defend your position and accept the harsh criticism and nasty opinions.
>>> Be prepared to hate yourself and give in to the noisy lies of negative thinking, to embrace terrifying fear in a whole new way.
>>> Be prepared to reinvent yourself .
>>> Be prepared to fail and want to end your life because it has lost all meaning, to hit your absolute weakest threshold of vulnerability and plead for reconciliation, to get rejected (again) and drink heavily or submit to your unhealthy vices—it’s okay, you can detox later.
>>> Be prepared to see the person who once promised you the world give their heart to someone else, to be broke and rebuild your net worth.
>>> Be prepared to hit rock bottom and crawl back to the top.
However, the good news is, once you’ve become intimately acquainted with circling the drain of anxiety and depression:
>>> Be prepared to reinvent yourself—again.
>>> Be prepared to forgive yourself and move on when the time is right for you, to learn compassion for other’s pain and give them the love you were never given, to respect the sh*t out of what you’ve endured.
>>> Be prepared to greet the new you—you fought so hard to become this person, to love again when your heart acknowledges it’s safe to come out and play, to never make the same mistakes and cherish the hard lessons you were forced to learn.
>>> Be prepared to realize that life is a series of moments strung together to teach us powerful lessons, to forgive and find inner peace again.
>>> Be prepared to reinvent yourself—again and yes, once more.
If you don’t believe you can endure these steps, then I urge you to disarm your ego and try everything in your power to mend the broken aspects of your marriage. It is vital to remember why you fell in love with each other and reclaim what once bonded the relationship.
Divorce isn’t for the weak-hearted. It hardens your spirit and destroys the deepest aspects of your soul. I would have certainly made different choices had I known.
We all make huge mistakes but eventually, when the tears stop coming, we are compelled to find the value of the consequences.
And the experience has made me more compassionate and a gentler holistic health coach for my clients affected by relationship stress.
Now, I’m prepared.
Author: Atali Carr
Assistant Editor: Hilda Carroll/Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Vato Bob/Flickr