Everyone is bound to have some differences in the way they react to a separation. However, there are normal behaviors, and others that may be an indication of mental illness. This chart will help bring his blurred line between normal and abnormal into focus.
|Anger – When you feel betrayed by someone you love, it is okay to feel angry and hateful. What is important now is that you channel this anger in a healthy way. Go to the gym, or write down how you feel. It’s important that you don’t keep this anger pent up.||Furious hostility – If you find yourself erupting in moments in which you would usually not lose your cool, then you are not dealing with you anger in a healthy manner. This anger is most likely stemmed at the separation/divorce and the person(s) behind it, but you are bottling it up and it is leaking out at any given moment of stress. This behaviour is abnormal and needs to be dealt with before you or a loved one gets hurt.|
|Grief – To be sad and grieving when you are losing your partner, as well as a part of your life, is a healthy response. This means you are acknowledging what is happening and are on route to healing. Having emotional support from loved ones or a professional is key in helping you to move past this tough time, and to continue on in your new life.||Antisocial – Having a vacation to get a break from it all is a great idea, however if you find yourself still remaining isolated after you’ve already given yourself a break then you may want to tread carefully. You may think that by avoiding people you will also avoid any emotional upheaval, but you are simply burying your emotions and leaving them unresolved. This is a time in which you need to lean on loved ones for support, and if there are children involved you can deeply hurt them by remaining aloof.|
|Denial – The initial news of hearing that your partner wants a divorce may be so shocking that you don’t believe its true. Perhaps you think it’s a misunderstanding, or that you can work it out. More often than not, this is not the case and you eventually have to face reality. By doing this you are moving through the phase of shock.||Long-term denial – When denying the reality of a painful situation, you are not allowing yourself to move forward. And the longer one denies a situation the further they slip into a fantasyland where “everything is okay” and reality is altered. If you have children this can cause great confusion for them. The longer you remain in denial, the more detrimental it is for you and your loved ones.|
|Depression – Being depressed during such a traumatic time is normal. Everyone handles the grieving process differently. What is important is that you have a support system in place, whether that is family or a professional, and that with time you return to your routine.||Feeling nothing – If you feel no emotional upheaval, than perhaps this is the quiet before the storm, or shock. If you are under the influence of drugs and alcohol this numbing of emotions is only temporary. If you become dependent on this, this coping method can be extremely unhealthy and can lead to serious long-term problems.|
If you are concerned that your coping mechanisms are not working for you, seek help and support from a loved one or a divorce counselling professional.