What Stage of Divorce Grief Are You In?
Just like when a close friend or family member passes, psychologists* have recognized the same predictable pattern of grief that is followed by those divorcing. Each person’s journey will be different in length and severity, but it is helpful to be able to identify where you may be in the process.
Shock & Denial - During this stage you are still in disbelief and proceeding with your life somewhat normally. The shock serves as a protective buffer so that you are not overwhelmed with emotions all at once. It buys you a little time to process.
Pain & Guilt - After a period of avoiding any and all thoughts about how your life will soon change, your numbness turns into panic as reality begins to set in. Fear of the unknown takes over. How could you have left this happen? At the same time, your anxiety may be increasing as feelings of shame & embarrassment emerge.
Anger – Wait a minute, this was not all your fault! Your logic skills have finally kicked in and you start to realize you were a good spouse and should not have to be going through this. This is often when attorneys are called as the blaming and feelings of wanting to “win” creep in.
Bargaining – You have tried to be strong, but this is all too much to take. Maybe there is still a way to fix things?
Depression & Detachment - How do so many people go through such an overwhelming and draining event? Some even choose to do it multiple times. You have no energy; you feel helpless and will do anything for it to just END - even settle for much less than you deserve...
Acceptance - Millions of people have survived divorce and although it may not feel like it now, you will too. It's time to try and return to your new normal and start exploring your options.
Rebuilding - Most likely your financial goals and plan have gotten way off course. A financial advisor can help you put a new plan in place to help make sure the resources you were awarded last as long as possible.
Divorce is a process, and although everyone has a different story, few people emerge unscathed. The American Institute of Stress ranks divorce as the second most stressful event one can go through. Do not make a decision that will affect your entire future based on a temporary feeling of guilt or panic. Make sure your next step makes sense.
We have been through divorce both ourselves and with our clients. We understand the emotional roller coaster you are on. Let us show in black and white how the decisions you make today might affect your finances 5 -> 10 -> 20 years down the road.
*Based on Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s five stages of grief in her book On Death and Dying (originally published in 1969)