I've had a couple people–ok a lot of people ask me in the past year how I've managed to "handle" this divorce so well.
Are they joking? I'm not doing well at all. And if they were with me all day like my poor family is they would know how not well I was doing.
But instead of laughing, I would opt for this answer: I had two choices.
The first is to FOLD into yourself, become one with your pain to the point where you don't know where you start and the pain begins. *Do not mistake this for leaning into your pain. When you become one with it, you become it, and it's really hard to move forward with that kind of anchor. It's even harder (and more dangerous) to maintain friendships and find healthy love. Just think about it: if you become pain, then pain will be what comes out of you and onto those around you. And that gets real old, real fast.
Some downsides to Option 1 might be posting online and telling everyone everything when you probably shouldn't, texting or calling the opposite party to say something you'll probably wish you could take back, or using your pain and anger to forgo healing. You will not heal if you continue on this path. This is a dead end.
Upside? You don't have to do anything. You just let it all happen to you.
The second is to MOVE. Keeping putting one step in front of the other. Not folding, not dying inside, not crumbling or losing yourself in each hard moment. This option is painful at the beginning, but it does get better over time. Start with one step, then another, and another. *My personal advice would be not to look back until you've gone a good distance. If you constantly look back all the time (like I did for a little bit), you will feel more defeated and less encouraged to keep going.
Some downsides to Option 2- you have to be active, even when you're tired. You have to be alert. You have to be fully aware of all the setbacks and the traps of the familiar–doing the same things and seeking the same people–all along the way. Healing is a very active process.
Upside? You get to actually heal.
Someone might say "Well, it doesn't look like much of a choice, now does it?" I very much disagree. It is a choice, and it's one you have to make. Now that I'm in this spot, I can totally understand someone choosing Option 1. This is exhausting on so many levels, and it feels endless. It's so painful and lonely, and sometimes I just want to curl up in a little ball. But I chose Option 2 because I know it's the only way out. And like Oprah says in her column What I Know For Sure...what I know for sure is that I sure as hell do not want to stay here.