Stages of the divorce grieving process

Posted in Divorce.

Symptoms of grief:

* Susceptible to illnesses

* Feel physically drained

* Out of emotional control – feel good one minute; in the pits the next

* Can’t eat – food makes you sick. People tend to lose up to 40 pounds while      grieving

* “Zombie Effect” Feelings shut down due to your body’s natural coping mechanism

* Drink too much alcohol

* Brain seems scrambled; can’t think clearly or remember things

* Cry continuously

* Neglect personal hygiene (ignore teeth, baths, or wash hair very often)

* Can’t cry — bottle it up-can’t express feelings (it will come out years later)

* Stay very busy so as not to have time to think

* Take too many drugs

* Can’t sleep at night

* Take naps frequently and are constantly tired

* Talk about it over and over and dwell on it every moment

* Lose interest in work; house; physical appearance

* Think you will never recover from your loss

* Fantasize about the past

* Have lots of guilt about things you did or didn’t do

* Lack of interest in sex

* Engage in self-criticism

* Suffer from extreme loneliness

* Have a huge hole in your heart and soul

* Suffer from severe depression

* See no reason to exist


You tell yourself that the divorce isn’t happening or that your spouse will come back to you. With a divorce, you think your spouse is just going through a phase or mid-life crisis and will come to their senses. You think that you cannot accept that it is ending, and you refuse to see the obvious signs that it is over for the other person. You think that you can talk, cajole or convince them out of leaving. Sometimes, the main denial was in believing that the marriage a good one in the first place when it really wasn’t, and that’s why so many people have a hard time accepting divorce. Sometimes comfort in misery seems better than facing the unknown of a divorce.

With a death, you just don’t accept it as final. When they are dying, you believe they will get well. You refuse to use the term, “died” or “dead”. You say that they have “passed on” or that they have “gone”. You don’t go to the grave site to view proof of the death. In general your mind refuses to accept real conditions.


In a divorce, you begin to act out the frustrations that have existed in the marriag. You become angry at the way you were treated, about the settlement offers, about your life that has suddenly changed about the way your spouse lied and deceived you, at the future you expected that will never be. With a death, you become angry at fate, at God, at the doctors, at yourself for not doing enough.

If anger is turned inward (not felt or expressed), one can become depressed. Anger should be gotten in touch with, expressed properly and dealt with. It is important not to be destructive in your anger, but it is equally important to express your anger.

Expressing anger is a sign that you are beginning to deal with your loss. If anger isn’t expressed, it will make you bitter and hamper your recovery. It is important not to bury your anger, and it is important to express all of your anger before you try to forgive that person. Warning – Anger must be expressed appropriately.

Most importantly – do not take your anger out on anyone in an unhealthy manner. Many times immense anger is the cause of a divorce. Expressing your anger over the divorce (or a death) in the wrong way will only do harm to yourself and create an unmanageable relationship with others. It is extremely important to learn to release your anger in healthy ways. Ways of expressing anger properly can be learned in anger management classes and in therapy if you have an anger issue. If you are angry with a person for leaving you, you can learn to express your feelings with the proper dialogue methods, you can do a lot of journalizing to express your anger, you can go out in the middle of the woods, roll the windows up on your car so nobody can hear you and and scream, cuss,yell and get the anger out until you have no more energy to do so (be sure you don’t have a bad heart or area risk for a stroke before you do this), or you can take a baseball bat or a tennis racket and beat a pillow all to pieces. Express your anger in such a way that you do not harm yourself or anyone else, and in such a way that you do not totally alienate anyone with your actions.

>>Bargaining- It comes during the anger stage, and the bargaining stage, and in the letting go stage. It can come at any stage, actually. It is characterized by many of the symptoms listed in the Symptoms of Grief. Depression is normal. It may last longer in some people than in others. Emotionall

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