Open to Re-Birth: Starting a New Life After Divorce, #2
When starting a new life after divorce, people tend to focus on the logistics — housing, finances, kids’ needs, and so forth, — but, in this post, the focus is different.
We’ll look at the nature of soul work around divorce, and how /a-midlife-transition may help.
As we discussed in the post last time, there is a 3-stage process that psyche moves through in dealing with major life transitions like divorce:
What exactly do I need to to give myself at this point in life? Here are some of the important dimensions of that soul work…
Time for Yourself and for Reflection
A lot hinges on whether people give themselves the time they need for growth in awareness, and for doing the grieving that is inherent in divorce. For more people than would care to admit it, stopping and truly grieving the end of their marriage or partnership is the very last thing they want to do.
This can be an important time to think about the story of your life, and of your relationship. It might be a time to tell yourself the whole of your life story. Often, case studies can be of immense help with this
How Am I Going to Think of Myself Now? What Do I Expect for the Future?
For many, ending a bad marriage can be the key to a better life. Yet, the short-term stress that individuals face can be formidable. It can be made much worse by fear for the future.
Here’s a surprising clinical fact about working with individuals undergoing divorce. Often, the female partner who is the most fearful prior to the end of a heterosexual marriage. Yet, actually life often gets easier for women, post-divorce — especially if their marriage partner is truly difficult. To a certain extent, this can be just as true for men.
My hopes for the future will depend to a very great extent on how I understand myself, and how I feel about myself. It will take much more than just “happy talk” to really treat oneself with compassion, and regard oneself as a person of dignity and value in post-divorce life. It can be of tremendous value to understand what dreams and other manifestations of the unconscious are showing about who an individual really is. It can be of tremendous importance to uncover the deep story of our lives.
What is Meaningful to You? What is Calling You in Life?
It’s also essential to identify what is genuinely meaningful to the individual, and what is calling them forward into life on the far side of divorce. This can be radically different than the pre-divorce priorities of the individual. It can often require genuine patience with oneself, receptivity — and hard work — to allow this to emerge.
This emergence requires letting go of who you “ought” to be, and what you “ought” to be interested in. I have had numerous clients who have found that their hitherto conventional interests — a bigger house, a bigger car, a greater level of career status and success — simply didn’t hold the same level of importance to them anymore.
This type of self-exploration often highlights a “soul work” component of very great importance in dealing with divorce. That is the very basic and fundamental importance of accepting oneself as one is.
What’s the Contribution of Depth Psychotherapy to Coping with Divorce?
The “soul work” dimension of depth psychology contributes to the pre- and post-divorce healing of individuals. It takes the individual to a deeper level of understanding of personal identity and relationship to others, whether they be family, friends, community or the wider world.
It enables the individual stuck in the stress and sorrow of divorce to experience the transition of divorce as fully a part of the individual’s personal myth, and their unique journey toward wholeness,
Brian Collinson, Registered Psychotherapist & Jungian Analyst
PHOTOS: © Evan Cooper ; Interpeace ; Faith Goble