Divorce can hit like a storm

When Divorce Hits Hard, What Do You Do?

It was one of those days when I woke up in a deep funk. I remember it so well. Is this what they mean by “life happens?” My divorce hit me hard, twice.

Everyone thought I had the perfect marriage, but it wasn’t perfect at all. I denied it for years. I told friends and family that I was fine. I wasn’t. The truth was I did NOT want to be one of those women whose second marriage ended in divorce, too. Not a great reason to stay in an abusive relationship, I know.

But, I decided to work my tail off to make it right this time. I even agreed to renew our wedding vows again. Early on, we decided to celebrate our marriage with a renewal every five years. The first one was great. By the second one, I felt a bit dishonest. When it came time for the third one, I just couldn’t do it. I realized that I wasn’t being true to myself. I was working really hard to fix something that was beyond my power to fix.

Although the circumstances around the ending of my first marriage were quite different, how I was feeling inside was quite the same. I felt numb — afraid to feel much of anything. Then, I felt a lot of anger. The fear set in next. Then the panic. I was immobilized. I felt isolated. How am I going to get out of this? Why is this happening again? Can I make it?

Hold on. I started to notice …

There was something different this time around. After soul searching (and reaching out for help), I began to realize I had some tools in my toolbox from my first breakup that I could apply here. That first experience of my marriage ending could be used to inform, motivate and guide me. As I started to use a few of the lessons I learned, I noticed they got me moving faster than before. They helped me feel less like a victim and more like the powerful woman I am. The fog — and the fear — started to lift.

Many of those same lessons have helped me manage other times when “life happened” — changing careers, moving across country, the loss of my parents, being laid off, to name a few. The first time, when life hit me hard, I didn’t know what to do or where to start. Now that I’m an ole’pro at this, I’m more confident in the knowledge that I can handle anything.

It occurs to me that life may be happening to you so I thought I’d share some of the lessons I’ve learned. I hope they help.

Remember that you’re not alone

Life happens to everyone at some time or another. Some struggle through, while others let it roll right off their back. Some are in denial while others face it head on. You can choose which way you want to handle yours. There are many resources available through research, support groups and coaching. Reach out. As you speak with people going through similar experiences, you’ll feel comforted that you are not alone in this.

Take small steps

Baby steps help to build confidence. They also help to ensure you are heading in the right direction. Taking a wrong turn from a baby step forward is an easy correction.

Reach out to people you trust

A strong support network of family, friends and resources who support you in a positive way is essential at a time when life is changing dramatically. These are people who want to help, have your back, are a sounding board, a shoulder to cry on and play devil’s advocate. They offer positive reinforcement, encouragement and constructive feedback to keep you on a track that feels right to you.

Explore options

Don’t be afraid to brainstorm different ideas. Put your imagination to work. This kind of brainstorming helps to open your creative mind to explore all the possibilities before you select the one that suits you. After considering many options, it’s very likely that the one you do choose will FEEL right.

Don’t let your past situation define you

“Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.” ~~~Nido Qubein

Think about where you are today in the most positive terms. I made it. I am fine. I’m feeling good. I’m ready for my next move. The sky is the limit. Only you can hold yourself back now. Look forward. Lean forward. Step forward.

And, when life happens, like divorce…

The fact that you have choices can be both comforting and confusing. By following these few simple strategies — remember you’re not alone, take small steps, surround yourself with positive people, explore options and start from where you are today — your direction forward will become clear. The fog will lift. The fear will fuel you. You will feel more empowered to make great decisions that set you on the right path.
And, since we know life happens to the best of us — and when we least expect it — the next time life hits you square in the face, say “I’ve learned this lesson before and I know just what to do this time!”

From my “life happens” heart to yours …
Maria Signature

P.S. If joining a ready-made group of awesome women, to whom life has happened too, sounds good to you, please join us at Thrive after Divorce: Your Journey Begins on Facebook.

If this post sparked an inspiring thought and you feel inclined to share it with friends, please do! Thank You!

About The Author

María Tomás-Keegan

María is a certified Life Transitions Coach and Mentor for Women, specializing in Divorce Recovery. She brings her multi-faceted 20+ year corporate experience as a coach, mentor, consultant and marketing manager to bear in her coaching practice. Her specialty is working with professional women who put on a mask every day pretending they're okay, while deep inside they're not. María's programs and coaching techniques help women get back in touch with their true self so they can live their lives by design, rather than by default. María is founder and "Chief Inspiration Officer" at SafeHarbor Coaching, LLC.

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