Once on the other side of divorce, you may be stuck in negative feelings and emotions that don’t allow you to begin to move out of the past. It takes time, and we all deal with our emotions in different ways. The first phase of emotional recovery that many experience is rejection.
In this phase, we reject experiencing feelings and emotions that are a necessary part of the divorce recovery process. Equally important, if you’re stuck in the rejection phase, it means you are not allowing the confusing and painful thoughts and feelings to come in and seep into your very core.
If this sounds familiar, and you haven’t been able to move forward after your divorce, you may still be in denial of your present reality.
Five Ways to Know if You are Stuck in the Rejection Phase After Divorce
Are your painful feelings and emotions knocking at your inner door but you’re not yet ready to let them in? If you find yourself doing anything you can to avoid or delay what’s necessary in order to recover, heal, and move forward, you may be stuck here in the rejection phase. Do you relate to one or more of the following five signs of being stuck?
1. You Are Struggling to Accept the Reality That You are Now Divorced
This means you are not processing what the reality of the situation is. The marriage is over, and you can’t seem to deal with it. Now, your life is different without that other person in it. Consequently, your thoughts and feelings are not what they were before this traumatic experience.
In order to heal, you need to allow those uncomfortable feelings to come in.
2. You Use Denial as a Defense Mechanism
Denial is the perfect way to keep you from feeling the anger, guilt, sorrow, pain, etc. so that you don’t have to deal with difficult, unpleasant emotions.
In the same way, it helps keep you from feeling the pain of loss. You are not ready (your psyche isn’t) to handle these feelings and emotions yet. In fact, it is almost as if you are in limbo and time has stopped. You are going through the motions of your life but not really living your best life possible by beginning to move forward and rebuilding it.
3. You Lie to Yourself Instead of Facing Facts and Truth
When you are stuck in the rejection phase, you don’t look squarely at how your life is now. You are numb and in shock. You are unable to process this new fact of your life. For this reason, you just don’t deal with it. You may have thoughts about how this is not your reality now. You may make up excuses for why you are where you are so that you feel better about yourself and the situation.
There’s an elephant in the room.
4. You Engage in Negative Habits
You engage in addictive behaviors or form negative habits and use them as coping mechanisms. Instead of allowing the feelings to come in and then dealing with them, you may turn to an addictive behavior or an unhealthy habit that gives you comfort for a short while. Additionally, this also allows you to dodge uncomfortable feelings and emotions.
For example, let’s say that you develop the habit of overeating when the thought of the past overtakes you. What you are actually doing is stuffing those feelings back down along with the food. The same is true of alcohol. You may be drinking more than usual to “drown your sorrows.”
You acquire unhealthy habits or undesirable behaviors that you use as a crutch instead of dealing with reality.
5. You Put off Dealing with Loose Ends
You find it very hard to change important documents and insurance policies.
There is probably a need to take off a beneficiary and perhaps add others. Here are some simple examples:
- How about changing your will or your name? Chances are you need to make a new will. You may want to change your name. Check on the procedure within your state.
- How about your vehicle registration, payments, title, or deed? You want to check on those and make sure to put them in your name; that is, if you own the vehicle now or are responsible for it.
- How about your checking and savings accounts? It is time to open new accounts. You should also change the names and beneficiaries to those accounts.
- How about your home? If both names are on the deed to the house and the house is now yours alone, you want to be sure to change that legally.
If the house is no longer yours, but you are living in it, you want to check if your name is still on the mortgage (if there is a loan or mortgage on the property). You want to protect yourself from any liability or responsibility that may no longer be yours.
How to Move out of the Rejection Phase
When you can accept the reality of the situation instead of rejecting it, a door for change will open. Seeing the situation for what it is in the present moment will help you change your mindset and perspective.
As a result, you will see opportunities and possibilities to move forward. The alternative is sitting in the pain and denial of “what is.”
A good first step is taking care of the outside circumstances that affect you directly. Getting your legal and financial matters in order is a must. As you start to make these outside changes, you are making a little room for the inside changes that need to happen.
We know that we can’t control some things that happen in our lives. Some of the situations “just are.” Although that is true, we do have control over other parts of our lives, and we have to make sure that we take responsibility for them.
The Key is to Begin Somewhere
By working through issues that we do have control over, we begin to feel more satisfaction and confidence within ourselves. Pushing through some of the challenges you are now facing will begin to make it easier to push through others that are necessary for healing.
Yes, there is fear of the unknown after divorce. However, as you begin to take care of making the clean break that is necessary – both legally and financially – you will feel more control, confidence, and power to begin to make a new life for yourself after divorce.