When I talked to Sue about her most significant accomplishment since her divorce, she also chatted about going through the divorce. I think many of us would echo what Sue says:
You have no idea how strong you are until you go through divorce. You have no idea what you can do. When I was going through it, I felt like I had been stripped to the quick. Think of a tooth, stripped to the nerve. You’re like this raw nerve flapping out there and the healing is building that enamel back up again.
Initially being separated and shortly after the divorce, I kept saying ‘I can’t believe I’m alone. I can’t believe this is happening. I can’t believe it.’ Being on my own was probably my biggest fear. I did not want the divorce. I wanted to try to work on our marriage but he was very much done. However, he wouldn’t actually say ‘I don’t love you and I want a divorce.’ One day we had lunch and I told him he had to say it. Finally, he did and I felt ‘OK, now I’m going forward.’
While I was going through this, my father was also dying and someone said to me ‘how do you do it?’ ‘How do you get through each day?’ I said, honestly, I’d never felt so alive. I’ve never had such feelings of euphoria and such depths of pain and sadness. I can remember driving down the road sometimes and having waves of euphoria come over me.
The book that helped me the most was “Rebuilding: When Your Relationship Ends” by the late Dr. Bruce Fisher and Dr. Robert Alberti. He had broken down the whole divorce process into stages and his whole point is, you have to go through each stage to actually finish processing the whole event. You can’t skip. It was really helpful. It was a bible. I kept it by my bedside and when we were going through a particularly trying time, I would read the book and he was on the money. He had it down.
I can remember sitting in my car at some traffic lights one sunny day, listening to the Dixie Chicks, with tears streaming down my face, realizing my marriage was over. I don’t remember the day but I do remember the particular intersection – it’s as clear in my mind as a photograph. Then once my husband and I had separated, I remember those waves of euphoria Sue experienced. I used to email my friends and the subject would be “I love my life!” It wasn’t that I was doing anything unusual or particularly exciting. It was just such a relief to be through the worst of the process.
I haven’t read Bruce Fisher’s book but here’s a link to his organization’s website. The organization also runs seminars for newly-singles – Rebuilding: Divorce Recovery Seminars.
Do you have a photographic memory about your divorce? Anyone tried Fisher’s seminars – did they help? Leave a comment – I’d love to hear from you!