Take a few different scenarios: 1. Your partner has told you he doesn’t know how he feels about you and your relationship anymore and needs to ‘take some space’ – you feel devastated, abandoned and betrayed. 2. In your heart of hearts you feel your marriage has been dead for quite some time but you stay in the relationship because you’re frightened to be alone, or of your future, or of the impact of your separation on your children, family or friends. 3. You’ve been having an affair and feel this has given you the opportunity to come to terms with the ending of your marriage, you know you want out but you feel guilty about leaving.
Three very different experiences say around the ending of your relationship. Maybe you are the one to end it, leaving you possibly feeling intense guilt and shame alongside loss too. Maybe you are the one who has been left – this can evoke a crippling experience, one of terror, abandonment and feelings of rejection, failure and of ‘not being good enough’. The terrain can vary but so many of the feelings in this time of separation and divorce are universal – grief, loss, despair, heartache, depression, rage, disillusionment, fear, loneliness, low self-esteem, powerlessness, helplessness, relief and feelings of having to run away and escape or uncertainty and confusion etc.
Maybe you saw the ending of your relationship coming, maybe this has taken you by shock but for the most part this, like any ending, can feel like a huge loss and a phase of bereavement follows. Time does heal and you won’t always feel so intensely but in the beginning, it can feel like even breathing or getting out of bed is challenge enough. You may feel depressed, or find it difficult to eat; you may feel very reclusive or very needy of support and friendship – hating to be on your own. You may be pining for your ex or feel desperate to separate out from them…. It is generally a time of very intense feelings as you traverse this time of transition from your old life to the new chapter…
Maybe you have your ‘story’ that you’re attached to; the one you tell others about, the one you keep re-living over and over again in your head – maybe you feel like the ‘victim’, the wronged partner, that you’re fine when you’re not…. Maybe you are needing to justifying your actions and behaviours because you feel in pain too or that you see yourself at the mercy of your ‘abusive/bad’ ex-partner. The longer we keep hold of this ‘story’, the slower our healing AND it means we cannot truly move on, heal and be free to learn the true lessons of that relationship in order to grow and be ‘clear’ for our subsequent relationship experiences.
Counselling can help you work through the stages and processes of Separation and Divorce Recovery and how to re-build after your relationship ends.
Some of the issues we cover are:
- Stage of Denial – How to start to move towards Acceptance and Surrendering to ‘what is’…
- Fear – Facing the unknown and naming your catastrophic fantasies
- Being able to name the different parts within you that may have very different feelings and thoughts
- Loneliness – How to hold yourself when you feel ‘alone’
- Guilt or Rejection – whether you were the ‘leaver’ or the ‘left’! Playing out the role of the ‘good’ one or the ‘bad’ one.
- Grief and Loss
- Anger and Outrage – fantasies of retaliation, retribution and revenge
- Letting Go
- Self Esteem and Self Worth – “Why I am lovable”, your special gifts
- Coping with transition – starting to think about who you are and what you want going forwards
- How to cope with being on your own, not jumping in to fill the space with another relationship and taking time to heal and assimilate the lessons of that relationship
- Starting to see the REAL story – taking responsibility for the co-creation of that relationship, being brutally honest with ourselves and making peace with ourselves and our ex-partner – Forgiveness
- Openness to gifts coming in, new friends and experiences
- Loving and Trusting again
- Sexuality and Dating
- Healing, Spiritual/Personal growth and moving on to a bigger and better life!
- Clean, Clear and Free from recriminations, anger, blame etc