This is a new video series from Sharmen Kimbrough and the Marriage Recovery Center about how to recover from a divorce you did not want.
How to Recover From a Divorce You Didn’t Want
Divorce can be a challenging and painful experience, especially when it’s not what you wanted. The dissolution of a marriage can leave one spouse feeling lost and searching for resources to heal and move forward. In this new series, we aim to address the process of recovering from divorce, providing support and guidance for those who have had to endure this difficult journey.
As someone who has personally been through an unwanted divorce, Sharmen understands the emotions and struggles that come with it. She knows what it feels like to have your world turned upside down, to navigate through grief and loneliness, and to attempt to rebuild your life and approach relationships in a different way. Her intention here is to help you feel less alone and to provide a roadmap for healing, so that you can enter your next relationship with newfound strength and wisdom.
First and foremost, it’s essential to recognize that marriage is a gift. Let’s imagine a teddy bear as a representation of a precious gift in your life. Initially, when you receive this gift, you’re filled with joy and excitement. You cherish it and hold it close to your heart, showcasing its importance to everyone around you. However, when you fear losing this gift, you instinctively cling to it tightly, becoming consumed by the worry of its potential absence. In doing so, you inadvertently smother the joy and freedom that the gift brings.
To view marriage as a gift, you must shift your perspective and allow God to be your ultimate source of joy and hope. By recognizing that the gift of marriage is entrusted to you and your partner, both imperfect individuals with their own agency, you can learn to let go and trust in God’s plan. It’s important to understand that you cannot force your spouse to be what you want them to be or to see the marriage as a gift. Rather, treat them as another person navigating life, just like you, and recognize their brokenness. Focus on your relationship with God as the source of your joy, rather than placing that burden solely on your marriage.
In this series, we will explore various stages of post-divorce trauma and offer guidance to help you navigate this season of your life. We will delve into the importance of grieving well, not only the loss of your spouse but also the many other losses that divorce brings—family, friends, church community, and financial stability. By allowing yourself to grieve properly, you can prevent carrying bitterness and baggage into your future relationships.
Finding your own footing and rediscovering yourself is another crucial aspect of recovery. Embrace your unique qualities and gifts, and explore what makes you come alive. Discovering joy and contentment in life, even when alone, is possible. We will discuss strategies for navigating the experience of being alone and how to find fulfillment despite the loneliness.
Additionally, we will address the significance of cultivating a healthy mindset and being able to recognize red flags in relationships. As you become healthier and stronger, you will be better equipped to identify potential abusers and protect yourself from toxic dynamics.
Ultimately, our goal is to help you improve your relationships in general. Through Sharmen’s own divorce experience, she has gained valuable insights and learned how to be a better friend. We hope that these lessons will also benefit you as you enter new relationships, enabling you to approach them with a fresh perspective.
Remember, the aim is not to tightly grip onto a relationship, fearing its loss, but rather to embrace it as a gift and trust in God’s guidance. Our hope is that with each experience, we become better, stronger, and more trusting in God’s plan for our lives. By focusing on personal growth, resilience, and the belief that relationships can be healthier and more fulfilling, we can embark on a new chapter with hope and optimism.
In the second part on recovering from a divorce, Charmin shares her personal experience of going through an unwanted divorce. She offers insights on handling grief and transforming it into a catalyst for personal growth. Here’s a summary of her key points:
- Recognize and Embrace Grief: Charmin acknowledges that divorce often feels like the death of a spouse. It’s essential to allow yourself to feel the pain, anger, and hurt associated with the loss. By acknowledging and experiencing these emotions, you can eventually reach a point where the pain becomes manageable, without carrying it as heavy baggage into future relationships.
- Take Responsibility for Your Role: Regardless of the size of your contribution to the marriage’s breakdown, it’s crucial to take ownership of your own part. By honestly examining your actions and behavior, you can learn from the experience and make better choices in future relationships. This process isn’t about blaming yourself, but rather about personal growth and self-improvement.
- Release the Need for Retribution: Divorce often brings significant losses and hurts that cannot be fully compensated. Instead of seeking revenge or holding onto resentment, Charmin suggests letting go. It’s important to release the desire for retribution and allow God to handle the consequences. By relinquishing the need for justice, you can move forward without carrying the weight of past grievances.
By following these steps, you can turn your focus from the past to the future. Allow yourself to heal and grow emotionally and spiritually. Seek support from professionals, such as those at the Marriage Recovery Center, who can provide guidance tailored to your specific needs.
Recovering from an unwanted divorce is a process that requires time, patience, and self-compassion. By navigating grief, taking responsibility for your actions, and releasing the need for retribution, you can honor God, build a brighter future, and cultivate healthier relationships.
In the next session, Sharmen will address how to handle the fallout in extended relationships after divorce.
In the part 3 of the series, the focus is on overcoming loneliness, which can be a challenge during the process of recovering from an unwanted divorce. Sharmen acknowledges that loneliness is not exclusive to divorce but can affect anyone, regardless of their life circumstances. However, in the aftermath of a divorce, the feeling of rejection intensifies, as individuals may sense not only the loss of their ex-spouse and family but also the distancing of friends and even church communities.
Sharmen emphasizes the importance of combating not just loneliness but also the profound sense of being alone. While humans are naturally wired for relationships and crave companionship, there is an opportunity for personal growth in the moments of solitude. The solitude offers a chance for introspection and allows individuals to address personal shortcomings such as unforgiveness, bitterness, selfishness, and pride, which are often overlooked or blamed on others in the context of a relationship. By confronting these issues during alone time, one can ultimately become a better friend to others.
Furthermore, it is essential to understand that everyone is on their own journey, especially with their relationship with God. Individuals cannot control how others perceive or respond to them, nor can they dictate the information others receive about them. Instead, the focus should be on personal growth and prayer. Recognizing that others may struggle with their own challenges and may not know how to support or walk alongside someone going through a divorce, individuals can find peace in continuing to do good and allowing God to work through them.
Sharmen reminds listeners that defending oneself and seeking validation from others may feel necessary, but the ultimate role in this healing process is to focus on doing good and allowing God to heal. By investing energy in taking the next right step, even amidst feelings of loneliness, individuals can become a beacon of light and a testimony to God’s work. They can find fulfillment, peace, and joy as they grow into better friends and embrace their place in a greater narrative.
In conclusion, Sharmen encourages individuals to view being alone not as something negative but as an opportunity for personal development. By embracing solitude, maintaining grace and mercy towards others, and not internalizing false narratives, individuals can live their lives well and allow God to heal them. Through this healing process, they will shine as a testimony to others and find a sense of fulfillment, peace, and joy in their lives.
Also read: Assessing a Narcissist: A Second Simple Test
About Dr. Hawkins:
The internet is inundated with hyperbole and misinformation about narcissism, leaving many people confused and hopeless. Get the facts on narcissism and emotional abuse from someone who has been researching, writing about and treating narcissism and emotional abuse for over a decade.
Dr. Hawkins is a best-selling author and clinical psychologist with over three decades of experience helping people break unhealthy patterns and build healthier relationships.
He is the founder and director of the Marriage Recovery Center and the Emotional Abuse Institute which offers education, training and counseling for people who want to break free of, and heal from, emotional abuse. Whether the perpetrator of the abuse is your spouse, partner, parent, boss, friend or family member, we offer practical advice for anyone trapped in a toxic, destructive relationship.
In addition to narcissism & emotional abuse, you’ll learn about the lesser known forms of abuse, including covert abuse, reactive abuse, spiritual abuse, secondary abuse, relationship trauma and much more.