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          Emotions to Expect when Going Through Divorce

          September 16, 2008

          Dr. Phil explains the variety of emotions you could experience when going through a divorce. If you’re aware of what to expect, hopefully you will have an easier time getting through the difficult period.

          Intense Anger

          You may be expressing your hurt, fear or frustration through anger. It can be a protective mechanism when you feel vulnerable, because if you’re on the attack, then at least you’re not being rejected.

          Total Shock

          You will probably feel as though you have just been punched in the stomach when you learn that your life is going to change, starting now.

          Rejection and Despair

          “Feelings of rejection may run high because we often measure the results of our efforts in terms of whether or not the world accepts or rejects us,” Dr. Phil says. Sometimes, another person’s reaction can be a barometer of our worth and value. “When the love of our life leaves us, any past rejection issues can be magnified.” You may feel unworthy, not good enough or like damaged goods. A divorce may also signify the failure of your dream, because you couldn’t make the marriage work.


          An overwhelming sense of fear might take over you. There’s a fear of being alone ” especially if you’ve been in the relationship for many years ” and the fear that you won’t be able to survive without your partner.


          You are entering a new phase of your life and don’t know what to expect. You may also be scared because your financial situation will likely change. All that you have may be divvied up, and you may be asking yourself questions like, “Should I keep the house? What will I do about bills, retirement and old age?”


          “Riding what I call the bitter bus is pretty common for many reasons,” Dr. Phil says. You may be bitter that your spouse ruined the perfect family ideal you believed in and threw your life in turmoil. You may also feel like you didn’t deserve this outcome.


          You may experience a feeling of loss over everything you had as a couple. Friends might choose sides, and you may lose people with whom you had a close relationship.

          Selective Memory

          “It’s just all too easy, once you separate from an irreconcilable situation, to remember and focus on only the good,” Dr. Phil says. You may find yourself forgetting the irritating habits of your partner and only remembering the nice and sweet things he or she did for you. “By doing this, it’s very easy to fool yourself into wishing that you were back in the relationship and rationalizing that things actually weren’t that bad.” Don’t go back in a weak or lonely moment, because you will only be moving away from loneliness, instead of toward someone you really miss. “Once you’re out, stay out, unless one or both of you earns your way back in.”

          Adapted from Dr. Phil’s book Real Life: Preparing for the 7 Most Challenging Days of Your Life. Click here to buy your copy.

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