20 Mar 4 Psychological Principles That Will Revamp Your Outlook on Divorce
Going through a divorce can drain an individual both physically and emotionally. With drastic life changes, it’s no wonder that divorcees find themselves struggling through the process to find some semblance of normalcy and a new routine. In considering the outlook of divorce, it can be helpful to apply some of the principles of psychology; the study of the mind and human behavior. These four psychology principles are sure to revamp your outlook on divorce and put on you on the right path to a bright future.
The loss of a marriage represents a significant deficit in an individual’s life. While many people don’t like to admit that the ending of their marriage was a loss, on some level it was. Regardless of how much you dislike your ex-spouse, if he/she deserved the divorce, or if you’re better off without him/her – you still lost something through the course of your divorce. You lost a relationship with a person for whom you once cared. You lost a routine that you had become accustomed to. Notice a trend here? Pointing out these losses isn’t an effort to make you feel bad, but rather serves as an eye opener. Your divorce brought you loss and pain in some way. These emotions are very challenging to manage, and can’t be swept under the rug. They need to be acknowledged, and they need to be grieved. To put the past away, sometimes you need to recognize it, mourn it, and let it go.
Getting through a difficult divorce means dealing with the grief associated with your loss. Dr. Elisabeth Kubler Ross was a famous psychiatrist, who identified the five stages of grief used widely in psychology today. These stages can be applied to any loss; including the loss of a marriage. The five stages are as follows: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Every individual may spend more time in one stage than another or may pass up a stage entirely. The stages are not necessarily experienced in order, and some people bounce back and forth. The important thing to recognize is that these feelings; anger, denial, depression; they’re all normal. They should be felt at some point during the divorce because they are a part of the grieving process. In order to become a stronger individual and move on to more healthy relationships, grieving the losses associated with the ending of a marriage, is very important.
You are resilient. You might not feel like it. You may feel discouraged, depressed, and beaten down. And, right now that’s ok. But know that as a human being, you will bounce back, and you’ll get through this.
Resiliency is one of the most amazing attributes of human beings. It represents our innate ability to withstand adversity and trials, bouncing back from them as stronger, more capable human beings. Our resilient nature is evident in any number of events that have occurred throughout the history of our civilization. Wars, genocide, and outright horrific circumstances have afflicted millions of people. And yet, the human race continues. People bounce back from their difficulties, strengthening themselves and the entire human race in the process.
Struggle is often part of the human experience. Some level of difficulty and challenge is present at some point in everyone’s life. Rising above the adversity, using struggles as stepping stones and growing from the experiences they provide, is the definition of resiliency. Resiliency is recognized by the psychology community as a strength of human nature. Despite what happens to us, we can learn, grow, and become more capable human beings because of our adversity.
Identity represents our sense of who we are, what’s important to us, and what we value. Identity is noted in the psychology community as the combination of personal strengths, weaknesses, passions, and the experiences that create and support them. Some people have a strong sense of self and identity while others float along and learn about themselves as they go.
Going through a divorce can often make an individual question their identity. Being part of a marriage changes our identity in some ways. For years you may have identified yourself as a wife, husband or partner; belonging to a family, and living your life in a partnership. These relationship roles have a huge impact on who we are. When people get divorced, that identity completely changes. No longer are you a husband or wife. Now you are single. Now you have to figure out who you are as an individual and who you want to become.
Decision making after divorce changes. Married, you make decisions about life together, taking consideration of the other person in the process. Getting divorced completely changes this. You are thrust into making your decisions for yourself, and not having the input of another person. While this sounds scary, and terrifying to some, it can also be very liberating. It provides you with the opportunity to decide for yourself what your life is going to look like into the future.
Divorce gives you the opportunity to do some soul searching. If you weren’t happy with who you were within your marriage, you now have the ability to decide who you’re going to be out of it. Who are you, and who do you want to be? What’s important to you and what do you want to belong to? Getting divorced can jumpstart your identity reinvention. You can grow, improve and become who you want to be without the restraint of another person holding you back.
Moving Forward, You’re In Control
Your future-self looks different after you’ve gone through a divorce. It’s different than what you imagined it would be 10, 20, 30 years ago. Just because it’s different doesn’t necessarily mean that it is bad. Your future, going forward, is full of possibility. You’ve made it through a divorce; you’re resilient, strong, and capable. You’ve known struggle, pain, and grief. You’re human, and you’re in control of what you’re future brings.
Control over yourself and self-determination are common principles in psychology. The theory of self-determination highlights the fact that humans have internal sources of motivation that drive us to make decisions, grow as people and gain the fulfillment we seek in life. Self-determination involves growing in the following areas; competency, relationships, and autonomy. We need to feel competent is our skills, feel a sense of belonging within our relationships with others, as well as need to feel that we are in control of ourselves. When these three areas are met, we become self-determined and motivated to pursue the future.
Starting the path of self-determination requires that an individual embrace the idea that everyone has a natural and innate ability to create their own path, foster their own motivation, and pursue the goals and dreams they have set forth. People who are in control, and self-determined don’t focus long on struggles and challenges. They don’t allow life to happen to them. They happen to life. They overcome, grow, and come out on top, fighting the entire way through. Self-determination means that each person is in charge of their own life, the achievement of their goals and how they respond to what happens to them. A future where you’re in control and self-determined is full of infinite possibility.
Divorce has a great way of making us feel a host of negative emotions; pain, inadequacy and fear, to name a few. Dealing with the loss of a marriage and the grief associated with these changes is the first step in beginning to understand the psychology of your divorce. As you move through the stages of grief and begin to come out on the other side, you will begin to learn more about yourself and your strengths in dealing with struggle. You will recognize your resiliency, and will see yourself become stronger and more capable. You’re resilient and you’ll make it through. You’ll have the opportunity to reinvent yourself as a newly single person. You can decide who it is you want to be and what you want to do. You are in control of yourself and your future. Your future is full of possibility and promise. Self-determination and motivation with bring you to great opportunities. Your divorce is not the end, it’s just the beginning of a brand new, fresh start.