So depending on where you are in the process of your separation or divorce, you may be familiar with this next stage, withdrawal from life. This is the stage where everything is coming into reality and you are fully committed to your separation or divorce. There is no turning back now and you know it.
Suddenly you realize the divorce is happening and you will need to figure out a new way of life, at least this is the message your brain is telling you. And with that message comes the feeling of being overwhelmed and unsure of where to start, so you tend to get stuck.
When I say, you get stuck, I mean, you are stuck in that transition period between your previous married life and your upcoming single life. It will take awhile and a concerted effort on your part to figure this out, but in the meantime your brain tries to protect you. It can sense that you are overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, so it tells you to not start. It is saying you don’t need to make a decision right now, just be.
And that, ‘just being’ is where the problem lies.
Now I am not saying you shouldn’t be gentle with yourself, trying not to force yourself to progress through this process faster than you can handle. What I am saying is to be aware of when being gentle with yourself is not helping you anymore, but when it is actually harming you physically and mentally. Robbing you of precious moments in your life with people that you love.
Because when you are in the midst of this transition world, where you are not married, but not yet single and on with your new life, you are paralyzed with decision making. And being paralyzed like that can make you withdraw from everything you once knew and loved, plus keeps you from learning a new way of life that you will enjoy.
Truth: Withdrawal from your normal life sets in while you are in transition to single-life.
You will withdraw from friends and family. You don’t want to hear your children. You don’t want to go to work. You prefer that no one be around you because, truly, you don’t know what to say to them at this point. Nothing is registering and you would rather just be alone. It is safe there. You don’t have to be anyone you were or anyone you’re not yet. You can just be.
While you need to be careful of how you progress through this stage, you also need to know that it is needed. It is needed for your personal growth and transformation. It is like hitting the reset button. You are downloading and processing the things that are leaving your life and uploading new ideas and ways your life will change. This is not a small task.
You wouldn’t ask even your computer to download everything from its memory, process through all what it may need in the future, delete the rest, find news activities and programs to make it work better, upload those programs to the system and start computing again, all within a day. Would you?
Usually it takes computer engineers years to design and create a new program or a new computer to adapt to a better way of being. So why would you think you could do that to your own “personal” computer, your brain that is? Don’t you think you and your brain deserves some time to reboot and re-establish itself?
Of course it does! You absolutely deserve the time and thought process to relearn your life and create it into the one you have always dreamed of for yourself. And because I have been through it, here are some key points to keep in mind during your transition.
#1 – Learn to say “no”.
Part of the reason you withdraw from society and your life in this process is because you don’t know what you want or where you want to go with it all. So instead of just withdrawing from it all, learn to listen to your gut when a decision is presented to you. If your gut is saying “no”, sometimes even screaming it, hear it, and say it. You may not be ready to go out with your girlfriends yet. Say, “no”. You may not know how you feel about a certain change in your life or emotions, so don’t push yourself to come up with the answer, just say, “no, not right now.”
#2 – Give yourself permission.
Understand that you are changing and give yourself permission to try anything that interests you or anything you are curious about. Just because you try something, doesn’t mean that you are telegraphing the world that this is now who you are, it just means you are trying it. For example, a friend may think that you would like to try a new exercise class or eat at a new restaurant or read a different kind of book that you wouldn’t usually try. If your gut is not yelling at you, “no”, then try it. If you like it, you like it. If you don’t, you don’t. No one is going to hold you to everything you try out while creating the life you want. And if they do, then they aren’t the type of person you want in your support group right now. You need to be able to explore and see what you want in your life. Keep the good stuff, discard the not so good stuff.
#3 – Allow yourself to retreat.
When all the choices and ideas become too overwhelming to figure out, fall back. You have time. Stop, think about what you are asking yourself. If the answer doesn’t come to you right away, no worries. Put it aside and pick it back up in a day or two. Nothing needs to be decided immediately, this is your life you are creating. Take your time to think about the things you want to have in it. If you need to withdraw from it all, make a conscious decision to withdraw. Give yourself a timeline and stick to it. This will help make sure you don’t get stuck too long. Tell yourself, I am going to give myself until the end of next week to quietly contemplate this issue, and then I will decide. And then decide when your time is up. You have the answer inside of you. You just have to learn to listen to what it is saying.
#4 – And finally, as with all things in life, if you are really stuck and aren’t sure where to turn, the power of prayer will always help guide you to the right path. Give it up to Him and you will come through it all with such clarity.
Blessings my friend, this is a serious stage and it can last for a long time, coming and going in your life until you are able to recognize being overwhelmed with the process of creating your best life. Then to learn what withdrawing really is, and it is the lack of listening to yourself and Almighty God.
You got this!
“Happy are the people whose God is the LORD.”
God is the true source of happiness, strength, hope, and wisdom. Those who are in His favor will always have these things.