You need a "security blanket" friend
Starting Over Again, Part 11
A series of articles on adjusting to divorce, by Harlan Jacobsen
DO YOU REALLY NEED TO TALK ABOUT YOUR DIVORCE?
Are you turning everybody off and doing yourself a disfavor by constantly talking about your divorce? Yes and no; yes, you do need to talk it out, but dwelling on it too long sort of hangs you up and does turn off some people.
After the traumatic death of one relationship of mine I told the dramatic story to anyone who would stand still long enough to listen. I did that for months. Then that kind of got old and somehow I eventually stopped doing that and would only talk about it when asked. Eventually I got to where I wouldn't talk about it no matter what.
FOR YOUR MENTAL COMPUTER TO PROCESS YOUR TRAUMATIC DEATH OF A RELATIONSHIP YOU DO NEED TO TALK IT OUT
Who you talk it out with is all important. Talking about it with your mother or other close relatives doesn't seem to work because they have their own pain over your divorce that gets in the way. Mother says "I'll have you know, we have NEVER had a divorce in this family."
Trying to talk it over with your married friends doesn't work either. They want to know all the gory details of "whose fault was it?"
YOU CAN HIRE A
Now days, with friends and relatives all moving away at a rapid rate (or you move away) we just don't have one particular confidant handy when we need them. We need to talk out our trauma, desperately.
WHAT DOESN'T COME OUT YOUR MOUTH WILL POP OUT ANOTHER WAY
Physical problems and manifestations of your traumatic tearing apart will cost you more in medical bills, drugs and days off work then it will cost to hire a good listener (psychologist, therapist, etc.). It really doesn't matter so much who listens, whether you pay them or not, you do, however, need someone that will not interrupt or be so uncomfortable listening to the pain parts (that punch some of their sensitive area buttons) that they derail you off the subject. A good listener encourages you to go into detail, etc. Like the person that goes to the therapist who gives no advice, does nothing but draws the person out in getting them to talk about the pain. When the talker leaves, he says "Thanks a lot. You really helped me a bunch," yet the therapist never really said anything. Just talking it out, your own solutions and healing seem to snap into place.
PUTTING YOUR LIFE BACK TOGETHER AFTER DIVORCE IS LIKE PUTTING A JIGSAW PUZZLE TOGETHER
You do the easy ones first. Then when you have that done other solutions become apparent. Looking at it initially, it looks impossible. Some parts of your divorce will seem impossible; right now just do the easy parts. Talk about it with a good listener (you may have to talk about some parts 20 or 50 times before it snaps into place). Eventually, as you get more and more of the trauma worked out, finishing up the big pictures will get easier. The turning and speeding up point will be when you can first see the big overall picture and you know you are going to get it all together, and you can hardly wait to get it all done. Initially it seems just "too much" you'll never get it together.
DON'T BOTTLE UP THE PAIN _ GET IT OUT, EXPRESS IT
It is like a child that is almost hit by lightening (very nearby) that is a terrible frightening experience. Let the child cry, scream, whatever, don't sop it. Let them talk about it over and over immediately until they are done with it. Eventually they will run out and play like nothing ever happened and that experience will not cause any real problems in the future. However, if when the child has this sort of traumatic thing happen and you say "Shut up; you're all right _ you didn't get hurt; take this candy bar and get out of here and go play," then that child never really got to get that trauma out and that experience will likely cause him other problems and manifestations of it down thru his life time. You and your divorce are like that child. You need to be able to talk it out, cry it out, laugh it out or whatever, but it needs to be gotten out.
MOST NEWLY DIVORCED NEED TO TALK ABOUT IT SO BADLY AND SO MUCH THEY TURN OFF ALL OF THEIR FEW REMAINING FRIENDS
Instead, set aside a certain time each week to get together with other people going thru the divorce process. With these other people you can tell it like it is. Develop amongst these groups security blanket friends, people who understand and want to be a helping friend. Preferably find someone who is a chapter or two ahead of you in adjusting to divorce. This will be someone who creates a safe place for you to dump hurts and pains. Someone who you can express and share both pain and joys with. Someone you can feel free to contact day or night.
MOST NEWLY DIVORCED ARE LOOKING FOR AN OPPOSITE SEX DATING PARTNER TO FILL THIS ROLE
Wrong. Find a security blanket friend outside of dating, and true it can be an opposite sex person, but it is far better if it is not a dating relationship. Just dating again itself is a little traumatic, and this way you will have a non-dating security blanket friend to talk about that process and what is happening in your adjustment to dating again.
SOMEBODY THAT ACCEPTS YOU AND LISTENS TO YOU WITHOUT ANY PRETENSES
Someone you can be real with without turning them off _ and you in turn accept them and listen to them without getting turned off.
That is a security blanket friend. You need at least one and preferably several. Rather than be shopping for a replacement mate, right now you should be looking for a security blanket friend. You can also develop dating friends, but at least initially keep them separate. Do not try to make a divorce trauma listening partner out of dating or potential dating relationships. Make dating relationships people you have fun with. A security blanket friend right now is someone you talk over how things really are with you.
LEARN TO SAY I'M SINGLE
Most of all admit to yourself you are single. Stop referring to yourself as divorced. Instead, always refer to yourself as "single." Let your subconscious know that you are not on "hold" just between marriages. Personally, internally accept the fact you are single and probably will be for a long time. Stop referring to your spouse as my "husband" or my "wife" did this or that. This simple vocabulary change will do much to help you adjust to and get on with your new life.
HEREAFTER, REFER TO YOUR FORMER SPOUSE AS YOUR "EX"
You may be single for the rest of your life and one of the reasons, believe it or not, may be that you eventually decide it is better than being married. (You do not believe that now.) You may never be married again because you become too fat, too old, too picky, etc. or just plain bad timing or lady luck or whatever.
ACCEPT YOU ARE SINGLE
It is not second class citizenship. True, there is sort of a caste system of marrieds no longer accepting you when you are single, but then there is the singles system that also just ignores those "poop" marrieds, so which is currently the upper category is now up for grabs for the first time. Single is becoming the "in" way of life for a lot of reasons.
WHEN LINCOLN FREED THE SLAVES THEY WERE NOT ALL OVERJOYED
Many wanted to go back to being slaves. They wanted somebody that looked after them, worried about their survival. They knew how to be slaves; they didn't know how to be free or independent, and even though being slaves was bad, they preferred it to the unknown being free. Many had been slaves all their lives and they knew how to handle that, but this being free was stressful, unfamiliar and anxiety ridden and if the option had been available, many would have stayed slaves.
DO YOU SEE ANY SIMILARITY TO BECOMING SINGLE?
Maybe you know how to be married; you're familiar with that and even if it was bad, you'd rather get back to a bad marriage rather than being in this scary currently uncomfortable single status.
YOU ARE A NOVICE SINGLE AND YOU DON'T LIKE IT _ THAT'S OKAY
Remember, you always dislike something you are not familiar with, and even though it may be better, you tend to want to get back to the familiar (married). When you get good at it, then you will like it.
MARRIAGE STARTS OUT GREAT AND GETS WORSE AND WORSE
Single life starts out terrible but gets better and better.
All marriages are happy. It is right after the ceremony that the problems start. A happy single life is a learned process under your complete control.
Hang in there and we will get on with it in the next issue.
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