So you may be wondering who I am and how I got to be a therapist helping patients overcome their divorce trauma. Well, I experienced the divorce of my parents at a young age. Growing up, I remember reading about or seeing people who were going through some really difficult times of their own. And I remember being drawn to these people who overcame their divorce trauma. There I was trying to navigate adolescence, which can be tricky enough on its own, on top of my parents’ divorce, and I saw these people around me rise above their circumstances and come out empowered and even thriving. Their divorce trauma and pain had a purpose – they used it to create positive transformation in their lives.
Early on, I spent a lot of time working as a marriage and family therapist, and I thought it was really hard. Many of the couples came in way too late to be able to work through their issues. I worked with couples where the pain had gone on way too long, and the marriage just couldn’t be salvaged. Working with couples day in and day out like this can be tough and even draining.
When I sat with those women and gave them the tools they needed to overcome their divorce trauma, they went through a metamorphosis. I helped them navigate the hard spots they were going through and they transformed themselves. And let me tell you: they were unstoppable.
It was incredibly inspiring.
The more I worked on myself and the more I nurtured the women in my day-to-day life, the better I felt. It was motivating, and those experiences seriously changed me, the therapist. Oh, and I also went through my own divorce trauma, infertility struggles, healing process and second marriage somewhere in there – but more on that later.
Now I want to serve YOU with everything I have learned from my experiences, both personal and professional.
- You need everything you can get right now.
- You need the wisdom of experience.
- You need to learn to trust again.
- You need someone in your corner ready to tell you that it’s ok to not feel ok.
- You need someone who can relate to you.
- You need someone to validate you.
- You need to feel heard.
- You need someone to help you know what to do next.
But now what….
Is Divorce Considered Trauma?
As a trauma-informed therapist, I am trained at spotting the traumas people have experienced and identifying where their divorce trauma responses are showing up in their lives. And even spotting how childhood traumas they experienced early in their lives, like absent or abusive parents or losing a parent or being a child of divorce, etc., subconsciously led to their own divorce.
So why am I telling you all this about trauma?
Because, yes, divorce can be considered a trauma.
And depending on the way that the marriage ends it can be especially traumatic. Typically, divorce happens in one of two ways. Situation one: yes there was trouble in the marriage. However, the divorce is resolved amicably, and the partners still respect one another and maybe even stay friends. That is the best-case scenario. Or situation number two: one partner decides to end the marriage or a woman was blind-sighted and didn’t know it was coming at all. And that latter one, my friend, can be reeeeaaaally traumatic. If you are a person who was blind-sighted or didn’t want out, it’s going to be harder and will take more time to heal.
Trauma Comes Back as a Reaction
Bessel van der Kolk, a trauma expert, says that “trauma comes back as a reaction, not a memory.” Sometimes the way a marriage ends is just too much for the brain to process all at once. So your brain hides this trauma and tucks it away in a little secret spot so you don’t have to deal with all that pain immediately or at the same time. But here’s the thing: that pain and memory that was tucked away and not dealt with inevitably begins to affect our lives in ways we don’t really understand, and it can come back later as a trauma response, not just a flashback.
Let’s look at some of the ways a divorce trauma response can appear in disguise:
- Obsessive thinking
- Chronic self-doubt
- Unshakeable resentment
- Mixed-up thoughts
- Rigid independence
- Extreme self-sufficiency
- High functioning anxiety
Have you seen those in your life post-divorce?
Maybe you knew that this divorce was a trauma experience, or maybe you didn’t. Either way, let’s find an effective strategy to deal with it, so you can heal and we can move forward.
How to Overcome Divorce Trauma: Tools to Transform
As a trauma-informed therapist, I help women embrace the tools that help them reveal the subconscious mind. So let’s look at my favorite tools that I use. Now, these aren’t the only ways to deal with divorce trauma and the subconscious mind, but they are the ways that I have found my clients get the best results. My top 3 tools in helping women transform their lives are: journaling, EFT Tapping, and EMDR Therapy.
So let’s take a look at each one.
- Journaling – Call it ironic that something you did as a kid (Dear Diary anyone?) would help you get through your traumas as an adult. But it’s true. Journaling helps one to uncover the subconscious mind and bring awareness to patterns of behavior. It helps one to set goals, make conscious decisions, and create a safe space where you can process all the emotions you are feeling and get a greater understanding of yourself and your situation.
- EFT Tapping – EFT Tapping stands for Emotional Freedom Techniques and draws upon Chinese acupuncture techniques. Now, let me say: people either love it or hate it. Brad Yates, who you can find on YouTube, uses EFT tapping to remove uncomfortable emotions that limit success. EFT tapping can be transformational and help people get over their limiting beliefs and fears. Seriously, check him out.
- EMDR Therapy EMDR therapy is a psychotherapy approach for the treatment of trauma. EMDR helps the brain to reprocess memories that have been trapped in the subconscious. EMDR helps the brain to process the trauma and allows the client to move forward more quickly. And what I love about EMDR for women after a divorce is that it allows them to stop being anxious. It allows them to be able to release their resentments, and be able to tolerate being alone.
Now, these are not the only 3 ways to deal with divorce trauma, but these are my 3 favorites for dealing with and shaking what you have been going through.
So, ask yourself:
- Are you ready?
- Are you ready to make the commitment to your healing after divorce journey?
- Are you serious about making the commitment to have the life you love?
- Are you committed to transformation and changing the statistics in your own life?
This is your invitation to stick with it, and I can’t wait to do it alongside you.