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. Let’s understand grief more deeply. It will help you go through it in a healthy way. Fighting grief usually makes it last longer, like going back to a sport before an injury has really healed. This is how you get hurt, yet again
Take a look at the chart below. It will help you visualize your mind’s immune reaction:
The body has its wisdom in healing, and so does the mind. You can literally see the pain of a physical wound and watch as the immune system takes charge of the healing process. Psychological wounds heal in the same way, you just can’t see it. There are two lists below. The left enumerates the stages of the body’s healing process. For each stage on the left, there is a corresponding stage on the right, describing the mind’s therapeutic equivalent for psychological wounds.
Grief slows you down so you can appreciate what you had, digest your hurt, and ultimately, focus on the future. Towards that end, it may even affect you physiologically. You may lose your appetite or become ravenous, or have difficulty falling or staying asleep. This is your mind telling you that it needs time to heal, and by managing your divorce intelligently—perhaps with guidance from a minister, pastor, rabbi, or therapist—you will heal. It bears repeating: grief is a positive thing.
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 email@example.com or at www.theintelligentdivorce.com