Family Divorce and Your Mental Health – 1/12 meeting

At tonight’s presentation, Steve shared with us some of his early life journey. Steve began by sharing that his parents were divorced way back in 1970, and he was only ten years old at the time. He and his family were living in Kansas at the time. He remembered a few late nights when his Mom would drag he and his Sister’s out of bed and catch a late night bus back to Council Bluffs to stay with his Grandmother. His parents had been fighting again. Those bus trips would become more familiar, as after the divorce his Dad moved the family back to Omaha, with his Mom remaining in Kansas. After some difficult years in junior high and high school, Steve truly had no idea on how to process his Parents’ divorce. So, how does one process a divorce in the family, when sometimes this particular situation is out of your control?

Steve shared one way of moving on from a crisis in your life such as divorce,

would be through forgiveness.  The act of forgiveness will improve relationships, and might even enable you to get along better with the one you have forgiven. 

Forgiveness does not mean forgetting. Even though we can’t control the memories that stay with us, we can control the attention we give those memories. Try learning to acknowledge these memories, and then refocus your attention elsewhere. 

Abandonment issues can also be related to trauma, loss, and yes divorce.

Some of the symptoms of abandonment are:

-you attach quickly to others

-you may tend to stay in relationships, no matter how unhealthy they are 

-you may find it hard to trust people 

-you may have feelings of anxiety and depression 

-you tend to overthink things and look for hidden meanings

One way to fight off these feelings of abandonment, would be to build a feeling of belonging in your life. It’s important to have a close network of friends to rely on, should you need support in your life. It’s also important to surround yourself with others who share your interests. Maybe even discover and learn a new hobby. Having a hobby is a great way to build a support network.

Some things to remember when going through a difficult time:

1) recognize it’s okay to have different feelings.  Realize sometimes it’s okay to feel sad, angry, or frustrated and confused. Learn to accept that these feelings will lessen over time.

2) give yourself a break…try and give yourself permission to function at less than you are used to for a short time. Even though you may not be quite as productive as normal, it’s okay to feel this way. Give yourself permission and the time to heal, and regroup and re-energize.

3) don’t go it alone. Sharing your feelings with family and friends will make a difference. Consider attending a support group. It will help to talk with others in similar situations. 

4) take care of yourself emotionally and physically. Try to take time and exercise, eat well and learn to relax. It’s important to keep to your routine as much as possible! 

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