The Back And Forth Of Grieving A Divorce.
You know that saying, “You take two steps forward and one step back”? Well, that saying is perfect to describe how the divorce grieving process has been for me. It’s been one full year since my ex and I separated, and nine months since we were officially divorced.
The first six months were spent crying, yelling, drinking too much, not eating enough, sleeping with a few men, and trying my best to be a present mother to my only child, while also working full-time. The only words I can think to describe myself are stressed-out-wreck living on autopilot.
The second half of the year I spent picking up the pieces of my shattered self, trying to navigate and recreate a new normal for my daughter and me.
I did this by watching TED talks, most notably The Person You Really Need To Marry by Tracy McMillan and The Power Of Vulnerability by Brene Brown, which started the theme of my new year: marry myself and live a life being vulnerable. I’ve had some really good days where I feel like I’m finally getting it together and I’m starting to get the old me back.
You see, I really lost myself in my marriage. I was not the perfect wife, but my ex was a micro-manager who would nitpick everything I did. He was also a terrible listener who would either not say a word after I talked to him, or would interrupt me mid-sentence. After nine years of this, my self-esteem took a major hit. I felt that I wasn’t important, and that anything I had to say must not be very interesting. I became a shell of a human being.
As I step outside and reflect on my marriage, I know that I do need to take ownership for some of the ways my ex’s behavior affected me. I obviously was lacking in self-esteem or I would have stuck up for myself more often, and I did in the beginning. But after years of telling someone what you want and need from them, and in return their not giving it to you, you begin to really believe that it’s you who’s the problem. That is such a horrible place to be emotionally.
I would say that up until last month I was feeling the best I have felt in years. My confidence was back. I felt more at ease, really opening up to those I spent time with. I was hiking, which was something I hadn’t done before but had always talked about doing. I even went on a solo hike, which was huge for me. I began to volunteer with the homeless, which is something that is near and dear to my heart. Things were really falling into place.
But now I’m in a place of taking that one step back. I am second-guessing myself, losing confidence in just about every aspect of my life.
As I write this, I’m looking at my vision board I just made last week which has so many positive words and goals I have for myself. “Happy Girl,” “Do It Yourself,” “Unstoppable You.” I even have Brene Brown’s definition of Wholeheartedness:
“There are many tenets of Wholeheartedness, but at its very core is vulnerability and worthiness; facing uncertainty, exposure, and emotional risks, and knowing that I am enough.”
Why do I not feel I am enough? I can even hear that little voice whispering it to me as I second-guess everything I say and do lately. Why are we always our own worst critic?
I know that this is a phase, and I am not giving up, especially knowing how far I’ve come. But, like most people, especially we who live in the USA, want instant gratification. We know what we want, and we want it now.
I guess my only option is to patiently wait to take those two steps forward again.
Is it too much to ask that they begin sooner than later?
Stefany Phillips is a 40-something recent divorcee with a young daughter, who is trying to navigate her way through this game we call Life in the most positive way she can. Red wine, laughter, friends and the Oprah channel also help. Stefany recently started living what Brené Brown calls a life of vulnerability, and since starting to do so, she has never been more scared or happy in her life. When Stefany is not with her daughter, she enjoys reading, volunteering with the homeless, and spending time with her girlfriends whom she has known since childhood. You could contact Stefany via her blog or Facebook.