Coping With Divorce - Part 5
By Judy Churchill - Judy also featured in the Anna Fill Interviews.
Part 5 of 7
Establishing Yourself In Your New Identity
One of the most traumatic aspects of divorce is the loss of your former identity. It takes time to find your new identity and even longer to feel comfortable, at ease and established within it. This takes us back to the three steps of transition.
Step one: we must accept that we are no longer someone’s wife or partner, which apart from the obvious visible evidence (possible reverting back to maiden name) , being ‘single’ at home and alone in the double bed., we are often ostracized by those who were part of our former network and therefore identity. Friends no longer invite you to dinner parties; invitations of the ‘Mr and Mrs’ type cease to appear. Parents’ evenings at school mean only you, and tasks such as taking the car to the garage and all those things ‘he’ dealt with suddenly take on a frightening new dimension. You find yourself having to play the man/father as well as the woman/mother in many contexts. You will need your life coach/rock to help you reestablish yourself in terms of being solely responsible for many new areas. This person can help you organize practicalities such as reminding you of certain administrative procedures such as changing your bank account details, utility bills, ID card, passport, informing social security etc.
The good news is that this can also be the time when you reinvent yourself as the person you have always wanted to be, letting the real you resurface. You can try challenges you would never have embarked upon as a couple, embracing your newfound freedom. This the time to read those self-help books on the subject. They will give you a moral boost and help blow away any feeling of low self-esteem, something you will be ultimately suffering from if it was your partner who made the decision to leave. This the time to turn a negative into a positive and allow yourself a certain number of treats you would never have indulged in while married, including a possible ‘change of look’ such as a new hair cut, different style of clothes, taking up a new sport or fitness regime and not allowing yourself to be dragged down by the situation.