Peaceful Divorce

Grief is positive; it’s part of healing. If you bang your toe and it bruises or bleeds, your physiological reaction is part of the recovery process. The pain you feel is a signal to be tender with your toe—not to test it.

Swelling tells you that your immune system is taking charge, and bruising reminds you that it will take time to heal.

You know that if you bandage your wound properly, keep it clean, and allow nature to do its thing, you will heal, and you’ll heal well.

What is true for physical wounds holds true for emotional wounds. Grief is our psychological immune system at work—it allows our spirit to nurse itself back to life. If you are the “leaver” in a divorce, you may feel relief and elation. Your grief may be minor. There is a good chance that you were doing some grieving while still in an unhappy marriage. I counsel you to be pragmatic for the sake of your children; they are going to need your attention and care. If you are running around, too elated, or deep into a new relationship, they may feel abandoned. Hold tight and help your kids through this.

If, however, you’re the “leave-ee,” the one who has been left, you’re probably holding a bag of resentment, hurt, and maybe even fear. You’re swollen with emotion, and in response, you may want to sleep and avoid, or simply attack. In my experience, there are really no words to express just how wounded you may feel.

This is all part of the grieving process, and ultimately, it’s all for the best. Just be conscious to be there for the children, regardless of how tough it is for you.

Grief is the natural, psychological response to the loss of a marriage, and you need to go through it in order to come out of your divorce healthy and strong.


Dr. Banschick is a child and adolescent psychiatrist. He has been quoted in The New York Times, The Huffington Post and The CBS Early Show. He is currently finishing the second of three books in The Intelligent Divorce series, which are devoted to teaching parents how to raise well adjusted kids during a divorce. You can reach him at mbanschick@gmail.com or at www.theintelligentdivorce.com

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