When a relationship falls apart, it can cause you to question your self-worth.
“I should have done more.” “If they didn’t want me, no one will.” “What did I do wrong?” These are some of the examples of negative self-talk that can come up.
According to Singapore psychologist DR VANESSA VON AUER, it’s completely normal to feel this way, regardless of whether you’ve done everything “right” or anything “wrong”; “It’s all part of the natural grieving process that will eventually allow you to heal so that one day, you will feel empowered to continue on your new path in life.”
Dr Vanessa shares some tips on how you can deal with the stresses and emotions that may surface during this time.
#1 Allow yourself to go through the feelings
Although it’s normal to experience guilt and sadness, it’s important to be aware of these thoughts. Don’t avoid or deny your feelings as it’s crucial to moving on in a healthy way. Use positive self-talk and, most importantly, don’t be too hard on yourself – we’re all human and life happens!
#2 Build a strong support network
While it’s easy to close yourself up and focus on the “ifs, ands, or buts”, self-isolation can make you feel lonely and hopeless, and disrupt both your mental and physical health.
It’s important to surround yourself with friends and family members who truly care, listen to and support you without judgement.
Let them know where you are emotionally and let them in little by little. If you feel like you may have lost your social circle, you can try meeting new people online, at sports classes or special interest groups.
#3 Seek professional help when you’re ready to
Get support from a counsellor or psychologist in Singapore when:
- you feel overwhelmed and find it difficult to cope with everyday matters;
- you’re having physical responses – sleeplessness, panic attacks, depression – to the situation; or,
- the divorce is finalised but you’re struggling with grieving and moving on with your new life.
#4 Remain calm in front of your children
Witnessing separation can be very distressing for children, no matter their age. It’s important to be honest – explain that it’s normal for relationships to change, and reinforce that this doesn’t mean parents stop loving their children.
Remain civil in front of your kids and don’t bad-mouth or vent to them. This helps reduce their levels of stress and emotional strain.
Some kids may have trouble processing and verbalising the situation. Encourage them to be open with their feelings and really listen to them as this makes them feel safe.
#5 Start dating again only when you’re happy
It may be tempting to jump back into dating to give yourself a confidence boost, but divorce is an emotionally volatile process; the rocky emotional state may rub off on the new relationship, which can complicate its progression.
Instead, channel your energy to love yourself, to forgive yourself and to empower yourself to be a happy and healthy individual. Once you are happy and engaging in experiences you enjoy, you will attract like-minded individuals to connect with.
This article first appeared in the January 2022 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!
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