Healing After Divorce

Stacy D. Phillips

As we head into a new year, there once again is renewed hope that we are finally ready to heal our collective wounds from this pandemic that has overstayed its time with us. For the recently separated or divorced, those newly empty seats that were seen around the table at the holidays resonated, making this time of year especially difficult. Like any other stressful experience, many have “white knuckled” their way through a divorce and have not been able to process their feelings of anger, sadness, frustration, and angst in a healthy way.

For the recently separated or divorced who have children, the holidays were an especially emotional time. We had grown accustomed to full family gatherings. Now, the children may have shuttled between two gatherings on the same night or perhaps split Christmas Eve/Day or the days of Channukah. As parents, we have our own emotions to contend with but also need to be attuned to our children who may be sad and act out because of a separation or divorce.

For those who were particularly impacted by psychological battles with their ex-spouse, I offer a short list of tips that I first identified in my book, Divorce: It’s All About Control—How to Win the Emotional, Psychological, and Legal Wars, which can help minimize the residue from divorce and allow you to begin the healing process.

Ignore the Bait

When an ex or other toxic person is trying to nudge you into taking part in unhealthy back-and-forth, just turn your attention elsewhere and give yourself a “So, whatever” attitude. It will not take too long before you can recognize an incoming psychological attack before it does any damage, and you will be able to simply step aside. Do not forget that it takes two to tango, so it is hard to have a fight when one side refuses to engage. This takes some practice, but once you are successful, you will build on that success as part of your healing process.

Do Something Meaningful & Gratifying

The new year is the perfect time to press the “reset” button and make time for a new interest. Perhaps enroll in Masterclasses® or One Day University® and delve into topics that have long intrigued you. Whether it be courses or a new sport, keep busy rather than devising ways to counterattack your ex-spouse, and you will have something substantial to show for it.

Get Yourself Some “Soul” Food

Head for your special spiritual retreat like church, your synagogue, that self-help class, a yoga getaway, or the sacred rock you sit on overlooking the ocean. Some of these may still be by Zoom, but it is something! Read some inspiring affirmations. Talk to your priest, your rabbi, or your minister about your spiritual needs. That is why they are there! Even though we are still feeling the effects of COVID, there are so many ways to heal and put your powerful mind to good use. In 2022, I encourage you to make a personal list of things you can do to stimulate your mental muscles with positives, all of which are geared to eliminate or at least reduce the negatives. Now is always the best time to take control and begin to heal.