Divorce sucks. Plain and simple. Whether you initiated, your partner did, or you both agreed together, it is a crap-shoot.
Six months ago, my husband and I quietly separated. I needed my own space so that I could deal with my resentment towards him. I was incredibly unhappy and had been for years. I felt completely unseen, unloved, and unwanted. We had almost no intimacy, sexual or otherwise, we rarely talked, and I always felt like the “heavy” in our relationship- the one who made the tough decisions, disciplined the kids, handled the finances, and took care of any and all planning for appointments and such. Now, in all fairness, my husband works hard- really hard! He works 10+ hour days through the week and then puts in another 6-8 on Saturdays. Sometimes, he even worked half-days on Sunday. He always took care of grocery shopping 1-2 times a month and cooked dinner most nights. He took care of oil changes, brake jobs, and yard work. And when he had free time, he spent with our kids outside playing soccer or basketball or playing on the trampoline. He and my son get along great- they have gaming in common and my husband is super patient with him. All in all, he’s not a bad guy and he certainly isn’t a bad dad, but as a husband, well, let’s just say, I was never really his priority.
The 7 Pillars of Grief: An Introverts Perspective
The experience of loss can come in many forms. Most of us readily recognize the finality of death as an obvious catalyst for grief. The process for working through these other types of loss is more or less identical to that of death.
We are going to explore some of these other forms of loss, how they shape us, how we heal from them, and most importantly, how we, as introverts, define and handle the stepping stones of this particularly hard, but necessary journey. First, allow me to tell you a little bit about one of my biggest battles with grief.
In August 2017, my father passed away. My relationship with him had been complicated for almost all of my adult years. He had diabetes and ultimately succumbed to the toll that the disease took on his body. He was an alcoholic during my growing-up years, he could be hugely warm and funny, but he could also be cruel and cutting. He was an avid history buff and loved to read. He genuinely liked kids and enjoyed teaching them card games and board games. He was far from perfect and we struggled to understand each other. But, I know he loved me and I loved him. My journey through grieving was a life-altering experience from the inside out.
The 7 Pillars (stages) of Grief are a vital part of the healing process. If you were to work through them in order, it would look like this:
• Shock and Denial
• Pain and Guilt
• Anger and Bargaining
• Depression, Reflection, and Loneliness
• The Upward Turn
• Reconstruction and Working Through
• Acceptance and Hope
Now, here is something I want you to keep in mind- every single person is different. We all grieve in our own way and in our own time. If you find yourself skipping or vacillating between one or more of these pillar stages, that’s okay. If you feel like you are all over the place, that’s okay. There is nothing wrong with you.
Grief is messy. It’s chaotic and crazy and deeply painful. It shows up in ways that you never thought possible. You will have days of deep despair- where you won’t want to get out of bed. You’ll feel weak and defeated and lost. You’ll have days where seemingly nothing of significance will make you cry or completely alter your mood from one extreme to another. There will be days when you’ll feel strong and alive and like you can FINALLY breathe. And yes, there will be days- even moments, when you’ll experience both ends of the spectrum and everything in between. And, you know what? It’s okay. You are okay. I repeat, there is NOTHING wrong with you. Keep moving forward because the only way out is through. It takes what it takes to heal.