One of the universal responses to divorce is grief and anger. While the emotions you experience are perfectly understandable, recognizing and processing these emotions as they arise can help you move forward with greater clarity and purpose.
If you face a divorce, the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions related to the grief and anger it inspires can help.
In addition to mastering your divorce-related emotions, consulting with an experienced Killeen divorce attorney is in your best interest.
We just filed for divorce. Why am I so sad?
Even if you and your spouse are on the same page about divorce and even if you recognize that it is the best course of action for you, it is important to understand that divorce also represents a serious loss.
When you are married, you are committed to permanence in your relationship, and things ultimately do not work out the way you expected.
Most losses – like the loss of a job, serious health concerns, a death in the family, or an economic downturn – are outside the realm of your control, and grief is expected. Divorce, on the other hand, is something that at least one of you is actively seeking, which can make the matter that much more confusing.
If divorce is right for you and you are pursuing it, why are you also sad? Grief is a common response to a transition of this magnitude, and you shouldn’t let it throw you. Give yourself the time and space you need to address your emotions (whatever they may be) as they arise, and you will be better prepared to proceed.
What kind of emotions can I expect as my divorce proceeds?
Just as your divorce will not be exactly like anyone else’s, neither will your emotional response to it. However, you can expect to experience all the following emotions at some point in the divorce process (and beyond) – and you might cycle in and out of many of these emotions in no particular order:
Shock and denial
Bargaining and negotiations
Anger and resentment
Sadness and grief
Your life and your future have been irrevocably altered, and if you have children, theirs have been, too. It’s a lot to deal with, and you should not only accept that you are but also expect to be on an emotional rollercoaster for a while to come.
Our emotions serve a valuable purpose, and if you allow yours to help guide you, your efforts may help you expedite the process. Exploring your emotions and addressing them head-on is generally the best policy when it comes to divorce (and most of life’s other challenges).
How do I handle the anger?
In addition to your sadness, you can expect to come up against a good deal of anger. If your spouse refuses to negotiate terms in good faith, for example, it can leave you feeling hopeless and ready to lash out.
When it comes to divorce, there is often plenty to be angry about. In fact, many people have a hard time differentiating their anger from their sadness as their divorces proceed.
If your spouse’s emotional response to your divorce is manifesting in a particularly egregious manner, you shouldn’t be surprised if your reaction is anger. It’s important to realize, however, that giving in to this anger can derail your forward momentum, can make the divorce process longer and more complicated, and is not likely to do you any favors.
Acknowledging your anger, finding a healthy outlet, and focusing your efforts on working closely with your dedicated divorce attorney – in pursuit of divorce terms that protect your parental and financial rights – is the surest path forward.
Making important decisions that will directly affect your future when you are in a fit of anger is never a good idea. If you are seeing red, it is always in your best interest to take a step back and take the time you need to cool down.
You owe it to yourself to make divorce-related decisions objectively and when you are in the right state of mind to do so.
Finally, if you find yourself lashing out at your soon-to-be-ex, it is time to make a change.
Divorce is volatile enough, and adding fuel to the fire can amplify the negative consequences. Ultimately, less is more when it comes to divorce drama, and having a plan in place, such as calling a friend or retreating to a good book or movie when the fireworks start, can save you from considerable heartache.
What is the best way to process my anger?
There is no denying that anger can take an ugly toll on your overall health and well-being and that taking the time to tackle it head-on can help. One of the best approaches to handling anger is engaging in activities that bring you pleasure and inspire relaxation. Any of the following will do:
Take up meditation
Take a yoga or dance class
Join a book club
Pour yourself into your workouts
Get plenty of sleep
Share your feelings with a trusted family member, friend, clergy member, or confidante
Reach out to a counselor for professional help
Join a divorce support group
In short, do whatever you need to do to prevent your anger from eating away at you. The fact is that your divorcing spouse is bound to be going through something very similar to what you are going through (even if it does not look that way to you from the outside looking in).
Finding compassion within yourself for your spouse may help you master your own emotions. This does not, however, mean that you should acquiesce to his or her demands – or should lose sight of your own best interests.
Should we head directly to mediation?
If your divorce-related emotions are clouding your thoughts and judgment, heading directly to mediation may not be the best approach.
The most important early step you can take in terms of protecting your parental and financial rights is consulting with an experienced divorce attorney who will help to ensure that you do not make important decisions that are based on anger, grief, or any other emotion.
Your attorney will help to ensure that you have a clear understanding of what is at stake, will help you get a handle on what is likely to happen in your case, and will help you explore your best options moving forward.
When you are ready to take on your divorce, mediation may be a good place to start (if you and your divorcing spouse are unable to resolve the terms between yourselves – with the skilled legal guidance of your respective divorce attorneys).
The Terms of Your Divorce
The terms of your divorce that need to be resolved include (as applicable):
The division of your marital assets (called community property in Texas)
Your child custody arrangements
Resolving each of these that applies to your divorce outside of court is generally considered preferable because it allows you and your divorcing spouse to keep the decision-making authority between yourselves.
If you have exhausted your ability to forward negotiations between yourselves, mediation offers another opportunity.
At mediation, a neutral third party who is a professional mediator will go back and forth between you and your divorce attorney and your spouse and his or her divorce attorney in an effort to help you find the middle ground.
The mediation process is far less formal than going to court, and it can inspire a more cooperative spirit. When you look at your priorities as compared to your divorcing spouse’s priorities, you might find room for compromise. Additionally, mediation can feel like taking another step forward toward trial, which can also be very motivating.
While compromise is critical, and you will undoubtedly need to make concessions along the way, you should not make decisions that are based on your desire to get your divorce over with or that fly in the face of your rights. Your attorney will help you make the well-informed decisions that are right for you.
When Mediation Is Unlikely to Help
While mediation can be immensely helpful and is generally preferable to heading directly to court, this is not always the case. If your spouse is overcome by his or her anger and resentment and is more interested in thwarting you than reaching mutually acceptable divorce terms, mediation is not likely to accomplish much, and cutting your losses is likely advised.
What can I do to speed up the divorce process?
Divorce is exceptionally painful, and if you are trying to speed up the process, no one will blame you. It is important, however, not to race forward simply because you want it over with. In the end, protecting your rights is critical, and that can take some time.
The sooner you consult with a skilled divorce attorney and pour yourself into negotiations with your divorcing spouse – in whatever form these negotiations take – the better prepared you will be to expedite the divorce process to the degree possible.
Shouldn’t moving forward with my divorce provide relief?
If you need a divorce, the only way to make it happen is by finding your way forward through the divorce process, which is more like a journey than anything else.
Along the way, you are likely to have ups and downs, but you may not find the relief you are looking for until after your divorce is finalized and you have processed the emotions that accompany this fact.
In other words, each step in the divorce process is moving you forward toward the relief you seek, which should provide some measure of relief in and of itself.
What’s the best way to measure how well I am handling my divorce emotions?
The most important thing you can do for yourself as you enter the divorce process is to cut yourself some slack. Divorce is an emotional Mt. Everest, and your divorce journey is not going to look exactly like anyone else’s.
The thing to remember is that you will find your balance and that you will get through this. Otherwise, allowing your emotions to surface but not allowing them to control you amounts to successfully mastering your emotions.
What are the most important steps I can take to protect myself emotionally throughout the divorce process?
There are two primary emotional considerations that everyone going through a divorce should address.
Go Easy on Yourself
You are going through a very difficult situation, and beating yourself up is not going to help. This is a moment in your life when you need to focus on yourself to the degree possible.
Look to your divorce attorney to help you make the legal decisions that need to be made, and look to your support system to help you through the emotional trials and tribulations that lie ahead.
Turn to Self-Care
If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that we can all use a spot of self-care from time to time, and if you are going through a divorce, this goes double. Self-care can look like any of the following activities (and everything in between):
A glass of wine and reruns of your favorite show
A trip to the spa
Long talks on the phone with a trusted friend
A rugged hike through remote terrain
A well-deserved nap
Whatever form your self-care takes, take the time to enjoy it and maximize the benefits you reap.
Reach Out to an Experienced Killeen Divorce Attorney Today
Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard – proudly serving Killeen, Texas – is a distinguished Killeen divorce attorney who puts his clients’ parental and financial rights first.
Your case is important, and we are here to help – so please do not wait to contact us online or call us at 254-501-4040 for more information today.