What causes depression after divorce and how to survive it?
After a divorce, some people become deeply depressed. This is perfectly normal, given the pain and trauma associated with separation.
However, there are ways to cope with the effects of divorce and return to a positive and healthy life. To do this, you must first become aware of your feelings, your experiences, and how they affect your attitude toward life.
How often does it occur and how long does it last?
Depression after divorce is not uncommon. It is a painful experience during which most people experience feelings of loss. Especially if in a breakup they lose not only their partner, but also the dreams, goals, and commitments they shared together. The problem can be exacerbated by loss of support: financial, social, emotional, etc. Many people feel insecure about the future and even about their identity as an individual.
The duration of depression depends on many external factors and on the individual characteristics of the person. It can last from a few weeks, to several years.
Depression can manifest itself in a multitude of symptoms. This is because people react differently to divorce, and the types of depression they experience may be accompanied by different feelings.
Feelings in depression after divorce:
- Loneliness is one of the most obvious symptoms. The person wonders how to continue living independently without feeling close to a loved one.
- Exhaustion or extreme fatigue . This may be a normal reaction when experiencing stress, but if fatigue becomes permanent in the long term, it is a sign of depression.
- Anger, which may be accompanied by a sense of insecurity, a sense of hopelessness.
- Sorrow – a desire to mourn the event that has happened, a feeling of self-pity.
- Isolation from the society. This usually occurs because the person does not know how to relate to himself, where he is in the social context, how to act independently. Personal changes are taking place. It takes time to adjust to this.
In all of these symptoms, the key to healing is time. Some people may take a few days to cope with the feelings that come over them, while others will go through the five stages of grief over the course of months or even years.
The stages of grief that a person may go through include :
The denial stage is not yet a realization of the fait accompli and the divorcee still considers himself part of the marriage.
The anger stage is accompanied by rage over the progression of the divorce, a desire for revenge, to hurt the ex-spouse, may cause one to take his feelings out on others.
In the grief stage, symptoms of depression appear. In the bargaining stage, some individuals have a desire to save the marriage by making a pact with their former spouse, themselves, or a higher power. For others, the bargaining stage seeks to cut all ties and permanently end the marriage.
Finally, when the stage of acceptance is reached, comes the understanding that with this new reality will have to move on.
If a husband is abandoned by his wife
Men face an increased risk of depression after divorce. Studies have shown that the depressive state after a breakup occurs in the male sex almost twice as often as in women.
This is caused by a number of factors. From financial uncertainty to the very real possibility of being limited to weekend daddy status. The turmoil in a man’s life when faced with divorce is enough to bring almost anyone to a tipping point.
Probably one of the main reasons men have a harder time coping with divorce is that they tend to keep their problems to themselves . While women are much more likely to share their pain with friends, family, or professionals.
Contributing factors to depression in women can be reproductive hormones, different reactions to stress and social pressures that are unique to her life experience.
Having a tendency to be more emotional, women are more likely to retell negative thoughts .
On the one hand, it is a normal reaction to cry, to talk to friends about why you are depressed. On the other hand, studies have shown that constantly thinking about the experience can cause depression to last longer.
How to get out of a depressed state – tips from psychologists
Going through the process of grieving for a lost marriage is hard and takes a lot of energy. During this stage, it is important to remember to do things for yourself, from taking relaxing baths to taking long walks. Do things that make you feel good in the moment.
Do something completely unexpected :
- If you’ve ever wanted to go bungee jumping or skydiving, now is the time.
- Change your routine. You will feel a surge of energy.
- Plan what you are going to do in the next five years, because by planning your next step, you are setting yourself a goal.
- Do a major cleaning of your house. Start a new chapter with a clean house and a fresh outlook.
- Attend classes. By trying something new, like dancing, cooking, or even learning a new language, you are taking life into your own hands and setting the tone for it.
The ways to get out of depression after a divorce are explained in the video:
Psychotherapy for Men.
Communication is a key aspect of therapy for men . Therapists try to create a relaxed atmosphere that is conducive to opening up. Creating a dialogue will help reveal the client’s emotions and feelings about his ex-spouse, his personality traits. This makes it possible to better understand the problem and how to get out of it.
The main goal is to help deal with the mental and emotional baggage that comes with the experience of divorce. Sort out all the feelings, and encourage moving forward.
Cognitive behavioral therapy for women
The most common form of therapy used for women is cognitive behavioral therapy. Women express feelings easily, but have difficulty reasoning logically. The conversation with the therapist aims at identifying problems with thinking in order to help the client to consciously control her thoughts and behavior. Sessions also provide emotional support and assistance in creating a behavioral algorithm for adaptation to new conditions.
Characteristics of therapy are the formation of constructive thinking and goal-setting.
How to behave with children?
Remember that in a divorce that involves children, they are going through it, too. That means they will need your support just as much as you need theirs.
It’s hard for children to deal with their feelings on their own . Sometimes parents feel that talking to them about the divorce can make the experience more difficult, but the opposite is generally true.
When talking to your child, you should be careful about making negative remarks about the other partner. It is important to let him or her know that you are aware of his or her feelings, that you are open and willing to help with the situation.
How do I avoid being depressed?
One of the most important factors for maintaining a healthy psyche after a divorce is to find the strength to move on with your life. There are many techniques that are used to create a positive mindset.
Support from those around you is a powerful tool for eliminating feelings of loneliness and helplessness. It should come primarily from family, i.e. parents, brothers, sisters and even children. Friends should not be forgotten either. When you feel that you have a support system of people who will be there for you, you will begin to feel that you can support yourself.
For some, dealing with negative feelings after a divorce becomes easier if you start a new project. For example, take an educational course, change your image, take up a sport, etc. Some may even decide to start a business, as this will give a new sense of purpose in life and make them feel needed and important.
When should you struggle with a specialist?
If you don’t find support from those around you or feel there isn’t enough, or if you are experiencing lingering symptoms of depression, you should see a family therapist.
Professionals experienced in family therapy have the knowledge and skills needed to deal with depression after a divorce. They can help you move into a more positive space, deal with negative feelings, find new goals, and restore stability to your life.
Divorce can be terribly stressful. However, it is important to deal with the feelings and get on with your life, especially if there are children in the family, because you need a strong support system for them. It is also important to remember that you must take responsibility for your own life. That’s why you should strive to do new things, stay busy, and seek qualified help when needed.
By making small but positive changes in your life, you can make it even better than it was before the divorce.
How do you survive a divorce? Tips from a psychologist
If working on your relationship has lost its meaning and divorce seems like the best solution, it’s important to get through it with as little loss as possible without getting stuck in despair and depression. How to do this? Dealing with a therapist
During a coronavirus pandemic, amid general instability and the need to spend a lot of time together, a couple may decide to divorce. We figure out how to help yourself in this case.
Svetlana Makhova, family therapist, specialist of the service for the selection of psychologists Alter
Divorce is inevitably associated with difficult experiences – it is always pain, disappointment, collapse of hopes, loss of a sense of stability and security, as for the one who initiated it, and for those who will have to go this way not of their own free will. There is no way to completely avoid difficult emotions. Either way, it will take enough time for the wounds of mutual resentment to heal.
What you need to understand about divorce first
A husband and wife have been married for some time-a year, five years, ten years, twenty years. Over the years of life together, each has invested strength, material possessions, and time in the marriage. The husband and wife develop their own traditions and common habits: eating breakfast together, going to the country house on weekends in the summer or going to the sea, celebrating the New Year at their parents’ house, meeting with mutual friends, and so on.
Habits create a sense of stability and predictability in our lives, provide us with support and confidence in the future. What has become a habit gives us the opportunity to plan our lives-a little glimpse into the future. Standing on the threshold of life together, people made a promise to be together for better or for worse until death separates them. At that moment, it seemed like forever and nothing else. Neither of them thought that one day the bonds of marriage would be broken and they would meet with the collapse of their hopes, their expectations for each other, their plans for life.
The news of divorce is almost always unexpected. Even if the relationship between the spouses have long moved into the category of “lived-there were two neighbors. Even if one of them knew about the cheating of the other, but kept quiet in the hope that things will work out. Even if the spouses often fought, slammed the door and promised to divorce, and then a couple of days later made up again, or pretended that nothing happened.
Divorce is a loss. It is not only the loss of a significant person, but also the loss of much of what has become familiar, and in some ways, dear and even irreplaceable. One day, everything that had created inner stability and nurtured hope for tomorrow was unavailable. That most anticipated tomorrow ceased to exist, as if the future had been taken away from you. “How am I going to get on with my life?” – This is the question most often faced by a partner who has been placed before the fact of divorce. The spouse who initiated the breakup comes to this question a little earlier. But the collapse of the future catches up with both.
Divorce is traumatic. For some, it turns into loss of the ability to enter into a new relationship because the trust in the marriage itself is undermined. In a divorce, one goes through the same psychological stages as in any bereavement: grief, denial, anger, bargaining or negotiation, depression, acceptance or adjustment – and both partners go through them, both the initiator and the other party.
The initiator of the divorce usually goes through the first stage before the divorce is even talked about. His or her spouse enters the first stage at the moment the decision to divorce is announced. It is because the partners are often at different stages of the loss that it can be so difficult for them to understand and hear each other and to agree on anything during the divorce process. This is important to understand and consider.
There is no difference between how men and women experience loss. There are very emotional men and very reserved women. Both may try to drown out their grief with alcohol, frequent sexual intercourse, their behavior may be aggressive or seem inadequate during this period.
Stages of living through a divorce
Spouses at this stage often try to pretend that nothing is going on and continue to communicate as before. At this stage, it is important not to avoid your worries. They help us to make a sober assessment of what is going on. If there is a person in your environment whom you trust (a friend, parents), talk to him, tell him about what has happened. In a supportive environment, let your feelings and tears flow.
At the stage of denial, questions naturally arise: “How could this happen to me?”, “Will I be able to find someone to love me?”, “Maybe it will still work out? Maybe he/she will come back and change his/her mind?”
The person is in shock, he loses his footing, does not understand what to do and how to live further. He/she is tormented by pain and fear of separation, loneliness, and uncertainty about any future relationships.
Time passes, nothing changes, the spouse does not leave the intention to divorce. Sadness and despair turn to resentment and bitterness: “Why? What did I do wrong? Why did it happen this way?” Hatred for the initiator of the breakup rises: “You left me!” The question “Why?” comes up for everyone – it’s important at this point not to get into a search for an answer. There is no answer. A myriad of factors led to what happened. There is no one to blame for what happened, but everyone’s contribution, often unknowingly.
At this stage there is a desire to win back the spouse by any means, to restore the relationship. The wife may fall in love again with the husband who initiated the divorce, suddenly seeing in his behavior a real manly act and ability to make decisions. The husband may be doting to recall his wife’s hobbies that annoyed him in the marriage, and may even be willing to support them, just to have her return.
The estranged partner decides to change dramatically, such as losing weight or giving up drinking. During this period, the man is ready to negotiate with even God, even with the devil, to appeal to a psychic, fortune teller, astrologer – if only to get advice on how to return his spouse. However, before you go to a fortune teller, answer the question – are you so good? What makes you think that your spouse will be a different person when you return?
“What if I still love him?” – you ask. Think about it, is it possible to force a man to love you just because you love him? Rather, this idea comes from a child-parent relationship: “Mommy loves you, and you. ” Does the idea that if someone loves you, you have to love them a priori? The world is not a fair place, and it is painful to realize that your lover or beloved does not harbor reciprocal feelings for you. But the fact remains that we can’t keep someone around against their will.
4. Depression .
When you come to the realization that all in vain, there comes a deep disappointment. A sense of loss sets in, sadness appears, and a loss of strength is felt. At this stage, the person mourns the loss of all that was dear, all that was hoped for and did not happen.
Depression is a lack of impulse to action: if something is not available to me, I don’t want anything! Yes, something is unavailable as it was before, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible in a new way. Make a list of what you miss, what became unavailable with the divorce or never materialized in the old relationship. And look at this list from another angle, this is your desires and values, on which you can continue to build their lives, to start another relationship. Highlighting the important and valuable helps you to set new goals.
As if waking up from a dream, one begins to see and share the facts. At this stage comes the realization of one’s own contribution to what has happened, and the value of all the good things that have been experienced and received in the marriage, as well as the understanding of one’s needs and abilities. A desire to live and move on, new meanings and goals emerge.
The challenge during this difficult period is to go through all the stages without staying at any of them for too long. On average, this can last from a year to three years, or even longer. Be attentive and careful to yourself, ask yourself: “Where am I now? What stage am I at? How long have I been there?”
If you realize you can’t get out of a difficult experience on your own, seek help from a therapist.
How do you get through a divorce if you have children or your wife is pregnant?
The initiator of a divorce when a couple has children can be both husband and wife. If the reasons for the divorce on the part of the woman were infidelity of the partner, financial instability or lack of income of the spouse, his addictive behavior, domestic violence, and even if the decision was made by the mother out of fear for life and health (their own and children), she suffers no less than if her husband left her.
In such situations, the woman still feels abandoned, with all the burdens of domestic, financial, parental problems, and the decision to divorce is very difficult. There is always hope that her husband will change, find a job, stop drinking, stop hitting and humiliating her, and return to the family. One of the typical feelings that a woman may experience during this period is often associated with the belief that no one needs her with children – who will take her as a wife with a child?
If a woman is pregnant, what will she live on when the baby is born and she has no opportunity to work? Or if a woman did not work before the divorce, took care of the house and children, what will she and the children live on? After all, it takes time to find a job. Sometimes a woman loses her skills in her profession over several years of childcare. The situation can be exacerbated by the behavior of relatives: “You got married – let your husband feed you!” What to do in such a situation?
You should not go along with those who believe that you need to cope with everything on your own. There is no point in being ashamed or blaming yourself for what happened (“Where did I look when I got married?”, “I gave birth myself – you have to carry this cross”). It is these beliefs that bring the most fear and anxiety. Even if the children stay with the mother after the breakup of the family, she is responsible for their lives just as much as her ex-husband, their father.
It is important to keep this in mind and in the divorce process begin to negotiate the terms of support for the children, and if there is reason and necessity, their mother as well. Seek help from mediators, lawyers, psychologists – remember that there are always people who are ready to support you in this difficult period. Within the framework of social projects there are centers of psychological assistance, as well as various services that provide shelter to women with children who were subjected to violence and left homeless, helping women to get a profession, find a job, arrange for the children in kindergarten or school.
Unfortunately, it happens that one parent sets the children against the other, does not allow the ex-spouse to meet with the child in order to get revenge, to hurt or get their own benefit, to cope with their own grief. It is worth clearly separating your own needs and desires from those of the children, so as not to use them as a tool for revenge or to obtain any benefits that are not legally related to the children.
Remember that spouses cease to be husband and wife after divorce, but remain mom and dad to the children – divorce does not nullify that fact in any way. Children love each parent and need both of them. This will help minimize the negative impact of divorce on the child’s psyche.
Adultery and divorce
The reason for the divorce is that the spouses cannot get along with each other. Many conflicts, quarrels and disagreements have alienated them from each other. Cheating, as a rule, is a consequence of the fact that the spouses cannot meet all their needs in the marriage and decide to compensate for them on the side. At the same time, adultery can be a powerful argument and provoke the decision to divorce.
One of the most painful experiences of infidelity is feeling abandoned, abandoned and, as a consequence, damaged. Another is the experience of betrayal. The unbearability of a false sense of inferiority can provoke an unreasonable desire to win back a spouse.
The experience of betrayal pushes the decision to divorce. To divorce or not to divorce in case of infidelity? What to do if a spouse has left for another partner? You can answer this question only if you understand the reasons that led to treason, and in their own feelings for each other. It is impossible to cover all the experiences that arise for spouses during the divorce process.
It is important to know that whatever feelings arise, they all have a place, and it is also important to allow yourself to live them out so that you do not linger in them. In order to move forward into the future, it is important to let go of the past.
What books will help you through a divorce
К. Whitaker. “A Family in Crisis.”
If a person has psychological difficulties, it is worth, first of all, to turn to his family history – it is likely that there you will find both the root of the problem and its solution, insisted Carl Whitaker, an American psychiatrist of the mid-twentieth century. Using the example of working with one family, the author introduces us to the basics of the method of therapy he developed and analyzes the psychological mechanisms of interaction between relatives. This book, written by one of the founders of family therapy, has been a bestseller for more than a quarter of a century.
А. Kurpatov. “7 Real Stories. How to Survive a Divorce.
Through the real stories of seven women, the famous psychotherapist tells what happens to the psyche during a divorce, and how you can help yourself overcome this ordeal quickly and with the possible benefit to themselves.
С. K. Nartova-Bochaver, M. I. Nesmeyanova, N. V. Malyarova, E. A. Mukhortova. “The Child in the Carousel of Divorce.”
The authors, a psychologist, sociologist, philosopher and psychotherapist, have created a kind of guide to the situations that arise in the family after divorce and have paid special attention to parent-child communication. The book includes popular science materials, real-life stories and practical advice that will help you choose the right solutions for your particular family.
M. Travkova. “Infidelity. Why do loved ones cheat, is it worth forgiving, can it be avoided?”
Why do people decide to cheat while realizing that it can hurt the other and ruin a marriage? From the book it becomes clear the role of both partners in the occurrence of such situations. The author also gives an answer to the question of what to do if you are confronted with this fact.