Contribution from freelance writer Jackie Edwards
Life as an empath is difficult. Not only do you experience your own emotions, but you also tend to take on others’ emotions as your own. This can become particularly hard to handle when you are going through a divorce. You experience the hurt of your ex-spouse as well as family members. Many of the standard tips for dealing with life after divorce that are covered in this blog can be adapted to help empaths through these tough times. Here are some particularly helpful tips:
Make Sense of What Happened
What was going wrong with your marriage? As an empath, you were probably struggling to understand this more than most people. After your divorce, perhaps for several years, you will still wonder what happened. As long as you remember this is not about blame, it is okay to do this. You should seek understanding to avoid making the same mistakes again and for self-knowledge.
You may want to work on this with a counselor or someone you trust who knows how the relationship worked in order to avoid guilt and shame. Make sure the other person truly listens and that you have enough time to explain the situation. You might consider reading the book The Undervalued Self to learn more about how to avoid a sense of defeat, depression, and failure.
Take Care Of Yourself
Just about any list of “coping with divorce” tips will tell you to take care of yourself. However, this is especially true for empaths and highly sensitive people. If possible, cut down on your hours at work. Also, eat healthy food, get exercise outdoors, sleep enough, and take good care of yourself in all of the other ways.
When you are upset, this can be difficult. Yet, if you want to avoid slipping into depression, you must do these things. Empaths tend to feel most at home when they are near water or are in nature so get out of the house and into the world. You might also want to bring a good friend with you to act as a sounding board.
Do Not Skip The Grieving Process
Of course, it is easier for someone typing at a computer to tell you to thoroughly and deeply grieve than it is for you to actually do it. Besides sadness, you can feel all kinds of emotions when you are grieving, including guilt, anger, shame, fear, and even at times joy. You may only feel the deep exhaustion and other physical manifestations of the grief.
When you do get exhausted, you should try to take a break from your grieving. Distract yourself with a funny movie or get some exercise with friends. It is okay for you to laugh and feel joy. The grief will still be there to come back to. And, there is no set time period that is ideal for grieving and then getting over it.
Spend Time With People You Love
You may have noticed that all of the above tips mention doing activities with and talking to close friends. You MUST make an effort to spend time with people who know how to listen to your feelings with acceptance and who love you. If some of these people live far away, you may have to have long phone conversations.
You might find it especially helpful to talk to other empaths in your life since they will understand your sensitivity. Many people you know will tell you to get over it after a while or might try to fix your feelings. But, you will have to talk about your divorce over and over again. A divorce support group may help you with this. You might even start a subgroup of empaths dealing with divorce.
Avoid Your Ex As Much As Possible
You must break the habit of turning to each other, and you have to let the anger die down. Some professionals advise completely avoiding your ex for three to six months. This might be a challenge if there are kids involved. Empaths will find the distance to be helpful even if it is more difficult at first. Let your judgment guide you as to whether you are ready for contact yet. Don’t rush it.
Now working as a writer, Jackie started her career in health and social care, but after becoming a mom refocused and decided to spend more time with her family. When she’s not writing, she volunteers for a number of local mental health charities and also has a menagerie of pets to look after including a cheeky cat called Bertie.