The Healing Power of Groups
This is a guest blog post written by Liesel Darby, M.A., M.Ed., CC, Divorce Coach.
Have you ever noticed how much better you feel, just knowing you are not the only person going through a struggle? That you aren’t the only one who has ever had to deal with this? Feeling like your family and friends just don’t get it?
Imagine you are a woman going through a difficult divorce. No matter how long you have been married, it can still come as a shock to find yourself in this divorce process. If you initiated it, you may have been putting up with behaviors that you just can’t tolerate one more second.
You may be grappling with feelings of guilt and anxiety for breaking up your family. Speaking of family, maybe your mom is giving you a guilt trip. Or your sister wants to support you but just looks at you and cries. You may find out who your real friends are, as some will still invite you to dinner with them even though you are the only single one in the dinner party, while others don’t know how to hold eye contact now that you are no longer part of a couple.
If your husband initiated the divorce, you may have been blindsided and are now reeling with the reality of a whole new lifestyle, not of your choosing. If infidelity was involved, that’s a whole new level of feelings to contend with.
Who are you now, or who are you becoming? Do you even like wearing that mauve lipstick that he liked on you? It washes you out. And what about the kids? They will be fine. What is the new financial reality? Can you afford a new lipstick in Flaming Coral, your favorite color? Do you have to go back to the workforce if you have been a stay-at-home mom? Is McDonald’s hiring? Do you need to go back to school? So many what ifs! You are experiencing many sleepless nights, as your mind obsesses over the unknown.
On top of all this, your ex is going out of his way to be difficult. Deliberately not signing legal documents, holding up the process, or lying about income. Telling his attorney that you only feed the kids Pop Tarts if he is going for full custody of the kids. Posting pictures on social media of him and his new girlfriend in Cabo. Fighting over every little detail of the parenting plan. It’s enough to make you contemplate packing your rolling suitcase and heading for Jamaica…indefinitely.
There is real power in being with a group of women who are on the same journey, even if you are at different points in that journey. Some are just starting out, feeling scared and alone, wondering how the bills are going to be paid and if they will have to move out of the family home, and get a job for the first time in ten years.
Others have had some experiences along the way and are beginning to learn and use coping skills to make things go smoother, such as ways of communicating with the ex that leaves them empowered, cutting out a lot of hostility and chaos, but at times still falling into the pit of despair and having to climb out AGAIN.
Still others have been in it a long time, and are invaluable to others for their perspective and knowledge gained from the struggles. They know when to ignore a text from the ex, or how helpful a daily run can be for reducing stress. They know when it’s time to get the lawyer involved when the ex continuously arrives 35 minutes late for the child exchange in the grocery store parking lot.
The collective is far wiser than the individual. Groups can provide valuable feedback to the members. Everyone has blind spots, those attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs that block them from moving forward in a healthy, satisfying way. They can help you see how you might be sabotaging your own peace by calling the ex the devil in your emails to him.
The point is, you don’t have to go through life’s struggles alone. There are others who share your pain, and together you can help each other heal, move forward to the happiness that still exists, despite the fact that your lawyer is demanding an extra ten thousand dollars to continue with your case. Listen to each other’s struggles, share victories, and lift each other up. You are not alone.
If you would like to participate in a group for women going through a difficult divorce, check out the link below. Groups meet on a weekly basis. If more groups are needed, there is a spot to request another time for a group, and we’ll see what can be arranged. Here’s to a healing journey!
Liesel Darby is a Divorce Coach who is passionate about helping divorced women move through the pain to the other side and into their joy. She has a background in mental health counseling with children and their families and is also a certified life coach. Her 13 years of mental health and coaching experience enables her to guide others through the emotional turmoil, helping them to manage the stress and gain the perspective necessary to take a good hard look at what they would like life to look like once the dust settles.
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