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Debbra Bronstad, Grief Recovery CoachDebbra Bronstad, LMFT, Grief Recovery Coach MI #4101006638


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From our first romantic break-up to a heart-shattering divorce, we are not taught in our society how to deal with the grief of broken attachments.

In hopes of relief we buy into myths to mend our wounds.  Myths like that if we can just find another partner we will feel better. Well, you may feel better temporarily, but without addressing the issues of the previous relationship, many partners simply carry baggage into a new relationship.  I often see couples in marriage counseling who are dealing with past relationship issues hindering the current relationship.

heart drawn in beach sand

We find many ways to distract ourselves from the burdens of a broken heart. However, instead of running away from the pain, here is divorce advice on what we can do to work through the hurt of abandonment, rejection, or simply being alone again.

What to do with the pain of a heart broken from divorce?

1.     Find someone to talk to.  A friend, family member, clergy, or counselor – someone who will listen compassionately without judgment even as you tell the same story for the seventh time. This is how you metabolize the pain in your heart, sharing it with others, expressing it, making sense of it.

2.     Honestly evaluate the relationship. While looking at the relationship from the beginning until the present, fairly assess the good times and the bad.  Every relationship has both.  It is not helpful to pine for the perfect soul mate who left you, or to see only your former partner's undesirable characteristics and the negative experiences you had together. Part of the grief is that you lost something valuable and worthy. For some, there is grief about losing an identity or grief about putting up with someone else's bad behavior.

3.     Read books about healthy relationships. As you read, see what you can identify about how you and your ex did or did not effectively communicate or practice other strategies to nurture a mutually fulfilling relationship. What do you want to be different in the future?

4.     Is there a pattern?  Is there a history of other intimate relationships not working for the same reasons as this one? Were you defensive when your partner wanted to improve the relationship? Are there issues from the past that got triggered in the relationship that had nothing to do with your partner?  Some of the best divorce advice is to evaluate what mistakes are you willing to accept responsibility for in the relationship. Find a relationship counselor or coach to help you identify and adjust those areas so you can be ready to build healthier relationships in the future.

5.     Do your best to make peace with your former partner.  Maybe you are co-parenting with your ex. Even if you do not need to actively work with your ex for the sake of the children, bringing emotional closure to the relationship can go a long way toward healing. A counselor or coach may be able to help you bring closure individually or as a couple, giving you an opportunity to say what you appreciated about your partner, and saying goodbye to the previous relationship.

6.     Deal with your anger. What do you need to forgive? Forgiveness is simply letting go of a debt. The debt that you feel your partner owes you is likely impossible to be repaid. What can you let go of, so you can have a fresh start?

7.  Join a Grief Recovery Workshop.  Grief Recovery Workshops are not just for those who have lost a loved one to death.  We identify over 43 different kinds of losses that result in grief, including divorce and dealing with the loss of "less-than-loved-ones." Divorce results in a lot of confusing emotions.  Grief Recovery provides a process to sort those out.

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