Painful Divorce -Divorce Hurts Because It Stirs Up Old Issues

Painful Divorce Comes with the Teritory: What Are the Struggles?

Divorce sucks! Painful divorce comes with the territory, regardless of how civil you two may be.  Divorce hurts no matter how you get through it. It stirs up so many emotional issues. Some couples may have easier times, however, people often show their ugly side during this period. It’s easy to get an urge to retaliate or lash out.  Why divorce hurts so much?

Divorce is Painful because it Stirs up Old Wounds

There are so many issues that emerge at this time. Divorce is one of the most difficult transitions in a human life. It’s rated as number Painful Divorce Dalila Jusic-LaBerge, LMFT2 stressor just after the death of a spouse in Holmes-Rahe–Social Readjustment Rating Scale.

If you analyze it, it’s understandable why divorce hurts.  Divorce brings up old issues you’ve been dealing with, such as abandonment, low self-esteem, feeling inadequate, etc.  Our relationship with a romantic partner is a reflection of all the stuff we went through as children.

Often when we get married, we hope that these old issues from the family of origin will go away. We try to create our own new family that will be so much better than what we went through when we were children. Getting married, going through daily life, focusing on our career,  or raising children makes us feel things are patched up. They may be to an extent, but when we go through a divorce, everything reemerges. This makes us even more vulnerable. Losing this connection and attachment with your partner,  can trigger some old wounds and bring up old issues that we are struggling with. This is one of the big reasons why divorce is so painful. 

Loss of Connection and Attachment

Additionally, divorce hurts because it’s just not natural for us to break bonds with people. As mammals, we naturally attach to other beings.  That’s just how we are created for better survival. Normally, we tend to attach to our partner when we meet him.  When this attachment is broken, it can be very upsetting.

Divorce Hurts Because You Need to Adjust to So Much Very Quickly

Painful Divorce Dalila Jusic-LaBerge Another reason why divorce is painful is that there are so many adjustments we have to go through. For example, loss of our status in society. You’ve gotten used to a certain status as a married woman. You two had certain routines together, you went to certain gatherings as a couple, and you acquired friends together based on the fact that you were a couple. It frequently happens that you lose many of these friends during this process. People are simply used to you as a member of the couple they used to socialize with.

Divorce hurts because you need to adjust to new roles as you are losing old roles and identities. You’ve identified with certain roles in the family and society, Now, you lose this context in which you’ve operated. For instance, although you are still a mother, even that role changes now. You are joining the forces of single mothers now. This means that all those tasks you used to share with your ex, you now do alone. You have to be both good and bad cop without the direct support from your partner on daily basis. Hopefully, you will still work together when it comes to parenting.

This Transition Can Lead to Reinventing Yourself

At this point in your life, you may be questioning who you are and how you want your life to be. Regardless of how your life was with your ex, it was somewhat predictable and defined. Now you need to reinvent yourself. This may bring a vast sense of emptiness, but for some other people, it may bring a sense of freedom to find yourself again. The truth is that you may have been lost in the routine during your marriage.  Now, you can start fresh and live in the way you truly want.  But regardless of how you embrace this new chapter, now you may feel as if a rug was pulled from under your feet. This is not uncommon during the initial stage of divorce recovery and you may feel horrible.

Painful Divorce Is Naturally Complicated by Financial Issues 

Another reason why divorce hurts is the loss of your partner’s support. Maintaining a household, budgeting, and parenting is definitely easier with a partner.  Now, you have to do everything alone. All the tasks and expenses may be on you. As I already explained, divorce stirs up different emotional issues from our past. This will especially become apparent when you two start dividing properties and finances. Money brings up a lot of emotional issues during divorce. Things often get ugly because of emotional issues that may arise due to feelings of betrayal, anger, frustration, etc.

Emotional Issues Emerge with FinancesPainful divorce Dalila Jusic-LaBerge

Although the available assets may depend on your financial situation as a couple, the emotional issues with the money come up almost always when you start dividing the property.  This is why there are so many struggles in family courts. Unfortunately, it often winds up in a way that requires you to have to downgrade. This means you may have to move to a smaller house or even go to an apartment. This is yet another adjustment in life you need to go through.

Painful Divorce May Lead to Psychological Symptoms 

You may have been prone to many symptoms before, but painful divorce will just bring this to the surface and make it more intense.  Divorce is upsetting.  No arguing about it.  Thus, it’s just natural that symptoms such as anxiety, depression, anger, feeling stuck, grief, adjustment issues, stress, and trauma arise. Already mentioned old issues that painful divorce stirs up show their teeth differently for each of us. Some of us withdraw and sink into deep depression, some of us experience extreme anxiety and possible panic attacks, and some of us may express extreme anger that may prevent us from moving on in life. Most of us go through of all of those symptoms. All of us struggle with adjustment and grief.

When to Seek Professional Help?

These symptoms are considered “clinical” when you are unable to perform your daily tasks. For instance, you are unable to get out of bed, tend to the children, go to work, etc. In some milder forms, you may be able to do some of these tasks, but you are just going through the motions. You may go to work, but be distracted, avoid socializing, or not being able to be present for your children emotionally. Getting adequate help can be essential to get you through this difficult period.  Working with a skilled therapist can help you get through this much faster than otherwise. It can improve your quality of life.

It’s Essential that You take Care of Yourself

Besides getting adequate professional help, it’s important that you focus on your wellbeing. Self-care is essential to get you through a painful divorce.  Get additional support from friends and family, get involved in healthy habits of eating, socializing, and daily routine. Don’t isolate yourself. To learn more about how to take care of yourself when going through a divorce, read  You Are Divorced and Feeling Lost: 9 Tips for Self-Care. 

Divorce Hurts, but You Can Get Through It and Choose to Live the Life You Want

As difficult and painful divorce is, you can emerge happier than ever before. Happiness is a skill that can be learned,  I believe. You’ve accomplished so much in life. I’m sure you can not only get through this but find a whole new life. Now is the time when you can reexamine what you truly want and finally create the life you want, and not what society or family expects from you. It’s going to be hard, but so well worth it. Read more about the stages of divorce recovery in Divorce Recovery: 4 Stages to Reclaim Your Life.

Just like in many other aspects of your life, what you put into it, that’s what you’ll get out of it. Don’t you think it’s time for you to think about your needs? If not now, then when? Whatever your spiritual beliefs are, this life was given to you to make the best of it. You are the only one who can do it, but help is available to the wise.  When will you start living the life you love?  What are some of the reasons why you don’t seek help or support? Let me know your thoughts. Leave a comment below.


Spread the Word

About the Author

I'm dedicated to guiding women from feeling confused and frustrated to feeling competent and joyful when it comes to matters of love and romance.

  • […] more in my article Painful Divorce Comes With the Territory explaining why divorce hurts so much. If you want to know about the stages of divorce recovery, read […]

  • >