Separation & Divorce
Separation is a major stressful event in anyone’s life and it can provoke a range of responses and painful feelings. Being guided through this sensitive part of peoples life by a counsellor is a essential.
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When a couple separates or gets divorced, the depth of emotional responses that occur are often compared to the effects of a death in the family. There can be emotions of rage and anger, guilt and remorse, fear and insecurity.rejection,and confusion.
Families or individuals recently separated can suffer from mood swings,over eating/drinking/smoking or,not eating,suffer from nightmares and sleeplessness. Separation is a huge loss in peoples life-their future has changed,full time parenting role has been altered,anxiety sets in,finances are stretched and everything that families have once known has changed.
These responses, all painful and distressing, are perfectly normal.
If you are going through separation, you probably have other feelings that you could add to the list. The good news is that, given time, most people face these intense feelings and go on to lead fulfilling and happy lives.
Separation or divorce is a complex process
When a couple or individual decides that they need to separate, they are faced with many difficult issues. First, they have to deal with the responses that they, their partner and their children have to the separation. Then, there are all the practical issues demanding attention, such as:
- setting up separate residences
- sorting out money and property issues
- making arrangements for the ongoing care of children
As separation involves making changes to many aspects of their lives, people usually find the journey to a new life, home and relationship to be difficult. This is true even if the parties are amicable about the need for the separation and how they should address it.
Separation is traumatic, especially when there is ongoing conflict about arrangements that need to be made. It is difficult for people to make the adjustments that are needed after separation or divorce. It is emotionally difficult to detach from someone we have been in a relationship with for a significant period. Although couples have separated, there are still bonds of attachment. These feelings may be around for a long time.
Children and Separation
When you make the decision to separate from your partner, a many questions will go through your head, one of which will probably be, “What about the children?”
- How will you tell them?
- What should you say?
- When should it be done?
At a time when you are most vulnerable and unsure of yourself, you have a most difficult task to accomplish: you have to tell your children that you are separating. You know your children will be hurt, worried, confused and angry, and it’s the last thing you want for them but it has to be done, and you will want to do it in the way that will create the least pain.
How your children react to your separation and adjust to it will depend upon several things:
- how you cope with the break up and any ongoing relationships
- the age and stage of development of the children
- the temperament of the children – for instance, whether they tend to be easy-going or are somewhat anxious
Childrens reactions can be
- be surprised or shocked
- feel they are to blame
- fantasise that their parents will get back together again
- feel anxious, insecure, adandoned
- Start to act out
- become clingy, moody
- have toileting issues and/or school problems.
Children have to deal with a range of changes and adjustments as a result of their parents separating: changes in family lifestyle, rules and discipline. There may also be a lot of other changes, for example, a new house and a new school. Invariably a lot of adjustment is required. Although parents are often upset and confused at this time, it is important to try to understand what your children are going through and to consider their feelings as well.
Separation is a stressful period for children. Their adjustment and recovery is enhanced when parents remain sensitive to their children’s needs.