How To Cope With Complicated Grief From Divorce

by | Relational/Couples Counseling, Trauma Recovery

Most people associate grief with death. However, you can experience grief through any type of loss. It could come from a major life change like selling your family home or getting fired from a job. 

You can even experience grief after getting divorced.

Complicated grief is an ongoing sense of mourning that makes it feel impossible to move on and keep going forward. While many people have heard of the stages of grief, dealing with complicated grief can make it difficult to work through those stages in healthy, effective ways. 

Does that sound familiar? 

There’s no denying that divorce is difficult, even when things end amicably. But, what can you do to cope with complicated grief after your marriage ends? 

Let Go of Anger

Anger is a stage of grief that can often be highlighted during a divorce. It’s understandable to be angry with your former spouse, even if you saw the divorce coming. 

But, many people dealing with divorce also end up feeling angry with themselves. You might start to question what you could’ve done differently. Maybe you feel “stupid” for not seeing a few red flags. 

Whatever the case, it’s essential to let yourself (and your ex-partner) off the hook. You’re only hurting yourself more by holding onto anger. 

Of course, it can be easier said than done to let it go. You have to actively choose to forgive your partner and yourself. One way to cope is by thinking about the happy memories from your relationship. While things might seem “bad” in your current state of mind, you undoubtedly had some good times together. Thinking about those times can help you realize your relationship wasn’t wasted, and it’s okay to let go of your frustrations. 

Lean On Your Support System

When you’re grieving a divorce, it can feel like you’re totally alone. Unfortunately, you can make matters even worse by isolating yourself from others. Grief often leads to isolation, which can increase your risk of depression. 

You might not feel like going out or being around people right now, but it’s one of the best things you can do to remind yourself you have support. 

That doesn’t mean you need to spend time badmouthing your former spouse or even talking about them at all. Simply spending time with people who care about you can make a difference. 

If you’re struggling with complicated grief from divorce, you might also benefit from talking with a mental health professional or joining a support group. Hearing from other people who have gone through or are currently dealing with similar situations can give you hope, clarity, and motivation to move forward. 

Practice Self-Care

It’s not always easy to practice self-care when you’re going through the grieving process. That’s especially true with complicated grief, when you feel like you’ve been mourning your loss for a long time with no end in sight. 

But, self-care doesn’t have to be a major event. 

You don’t have to spend a lot of money or do something lavish. Instead, focus on incorporating small acts of self-care into your routine each day. 

Those acts might include getting enough sleep, staying physically active, eating a healthy diet, or spending more time outside. You can take things one step further by trying mindfulness, meditation, or journaling. Small acts of care can go a long way in helping you see your value and worth, and can make it easier to visualize a better, brighter future. 

Complicated grief can feel impossible to escape, but it doesn’t have to be. Seeing a therapist can be tremendously helpful. Contact Valued Living Therapy to set up a free consultation with one of our therapists.

Valued Living Therapy

We are a dynamic, trauma-informed, multi-specialty group practice of mental health professionals offering therapy in the heart of Edina, MN and online throughout Minnesota.

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