by Julie Miknis. MFTi
When an individual is going through a separation or divorce, it can be a lonely, difficult place to be. The losses can be many - the relationship, the dreams once shared, and the commitments made. When marriages end, most of us can experience significant grief, stress and disappointment. Life can also seem unfamiliar and overwhelming, with most systems becoming disrupted; such as day-to-day routines, living arrangements, relationships with friends and family, and even the relationship we have with ourselves.
And if that weren’t enough, the uncertainty of life without our partner draws new questions: "Who am I now?" "What will my life be like?" "What does my future hold?" "Will I meet someone again?"
Simply put, the road to recovery and healing can be a trying and exhausting process. However, even though the path of divorce can be difficult, it’s important to know that, with time, you will recover and heal from the loss.
Powerful 10-Week Divorce Support Group
To help aid in divorce recovery, the DBT Center of Marin will be offering a powerful 10-week Divorce Support Group specifically designed for men and women transitioning through divorce. Listed below are three effective tips that will not only be addressed in the Group but can assist anyone in navigating the emotional process of separation or divorce:
1. Distress Tolerance for when it all Seems Like too Much. During a divorce, emotions and urges can sometimes be too intense to allow us to think rationally. We can act impulsively, make ill-informed decisions and, in some cases, make situations and life worse. By implementing DBT distress tolerance skills, however, we can help bring down the emotional intensity which then enables us to see things more clearly. This is done by distracting one’s self (talking to a friend, going for a run, taking a cold shower, reading a funny book) or self-soothing (taking a hot bath, petting an animal, watching the sunset, listening to soothing music).
2. Emotion Regulation to Help Get Through the Day. Feeling emotions is healthy; however, many times it may not be effective to succumb to emotions such as grief, sadness, anger, or fear whenever it arises. In these instances, opposite action can help. For example, if you’re feeling a significant emotion of sadness, but you need to go to work, the idea is to do the opposite of your emotional urge. For me, sadness equates to pulling the covers over my head and shutting out the world, while I cry my eyes out and listen to sad music. In this case, opposite action would mean that I would get out of bed, take some deep breaths, maybe put on some upbeat music, and leave the house. While this may seem incredibly difficult to do (and trust me, it is), over time, the emotions of sadness will decrease by taking opposite action against the emotional urge.
3. Acknowledgment and Acceptance through Mindfulness. Mindfulness skills can help us to be aware of our thoughts, feelings, and urges without judging them and believing that there’s one right or wrong way to think or feel. For instance, you may have an urge to understand why something happened, so you attempt to think your way out of the problem by ruminating or obsessing (i.e., What could I have done differently? Why do I feel this way?) Instead of trying to solve the problem in your head, mindfulness allows us to feel and observe what is happening without judgment. By doing so, suffering reduces and self-kindness improves.
Divorce can be one of the most profound types of loss an individual can experience, and most of us need help during this difficult time. The DBT Center’s Divorce Support Group will give you the tools to help you transition into a new life after divorce.
For more information, please call the Center at 415-459-5206.