When you marry someone, ideally your hope is to spend the rest of your lives with them. You spend years developing a life and a family together and suddenly… things just stop working. For whatever reason, you decide it’s in everyone’s best interest to part ways. Dealing with the emotional aspects of the split can be traumatic to say the least. Not only are you left to deal with your own emotions of your marriage not working out, but you also have to deal with the changes and emotions of your children while also carrying on with your day to day life.
There are some women who can ultimately bounce back and take care of themselves and their children, but there are others who find an outlet or means for coping that does more harm than good. Below we’ll discuss a few of the most common negative coping habits newly divorced women might try to mask their emotions and carry on with life.
- Food – There are some women that will begin to rely on food as a means to cover up their inner emotions about their divorce. Comfort foods can make you feel great about life…in that moment. However, they of course are not good for your health. If you’ve found yourself eating more and more foods packed with sugar, fats, and carbs, you may want to seek the help of a therapist. Overeating is not going to solve your innermost problems and certainly will not aid you in getting your children through this trying time.
- Alcohol – While everyone has a drink of choice, many women enjoy sipping on a glass of wine to unwind after a long day. Certainly there’s nothing wrong with a glass of wine or two, however, when dealing with overwhelming emotions from a divorce, a glass of wine a day could easily turn into a bottle a day, alcohol abuse, dependency, and if you’re not careful, addiction. ABC News has an article worth reading on a new breed of female alcoholics.
- Drugs – Much like alcohol, drugs can also be used as an emotional crutch while getting over a divorce. Whether it be pain medications to stop the headaches, a joint to calm the nerves, or sleeping pills to fast forward to the next day, using too much of any form of drug can ultimately lead to dependency and addiction.
- Neglect – While this isn’t necessarily an object used to cope with divorce, it is a negative coping method that some women use. Neglecting their day to day lifestyles can seem like an easy method to just forget about everything you’re going through. Neglect can show itself in several ways. Some women might simply sit in the room day to day not really feeling up to doing much (which could also be a huge sign of depression). While other women might make drastic changes in their lifestyle to avoid thinking about what has happened to their marriage. For instance, they may start hanging out at social events often and leaving the kids with a sitter. Either form of neglect is negative in that it doesn’t allow you to deal with your emotions properly.
Recognizing There’s a Problem
Do you see yourself in any of the above negative coping habits? Have you started overeating, drinking more than one glass of wine per day, taking too much medication, or simply just stop handling your daily responsibilities? If so, you have not properly dealt with the emotion of your divorce and need to get help before things spiral out of control. What must be understood aside from the importance of your health, is the example you’re providing for your children. They now look to you and your ex spouse to learn how to cope with emotion, and if you’re not the best you that you can be, you’re sending the wrong message. So the sooner you recognize the problem and get help, the better off it will be for your family.
Sources of Help
There are several avenues for reaching out and getting help for your underlying emotions as well as your negative coping habits. Choosing the best option will ultimately depend on: your personal preferences and the extent of your negative habits. Below are just a few sources you can reach out to for help.
- Friends and Family – Sometimes when you’re down and out, all you need is the love, support, and encouragement of your loved ones. Reach out to your friends and family members and let them know you’re going through a rough time and need their help. Their help might mean taking the kids for a while as you grieve, helping to cook meals from time to time, or just being a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen.
- Counselor – If your emotions are really getting the best of you then it may be beneficial to speak with a counselor about what’s been going on inside of you. Sometimes having a professional ear to listen to you can make all the difference in the world. The counselor can give you sound advice on hope to cope positively in the future.
- Rehab Facility – If you have been drinking more alcohol than normal, it could ultimately begin to affect your health as well as your personal and professional life. Sandy’s Place, a womens alcohol rehab program, points out that if you’re abusing alcohol it can quickly start to affect other areas of your life. As such, getting help from a professional rehab facility might be beneficial.
There is certainly nothing wrong with having overwhelming emotions after a divorce. It is also pretty common to rely on “things” to get you through that difficult time. Some look to food while others look to alcohol. However, when you’ve been relying on these things to get you through the day or to avoid “feeling”, then you need to do something to change that. Negative coping habits can rip apart your entire life in an instance. Part of getting rid of those habits will require you to recognize that there is an issue and get help. It may take time, however, in the end you’ll come out feeling a lot better about yourself and the bright future ahead of you.