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Being Resilient When Ending a Relationship

Marriages/relationships have a history and that history sets the stage for the emotions during a divorce/ending of relationship. Relationship histories, otherwise called our “stories”, can carry with them a lot of pain, anger, blaming, rigidity, black and white thinking and hidden agendas. These emotions, while very important to work through, work against us in the process of divorce. The emotions can cause the divorce to drag out, increase anger and hurt feelings and cost more money.

Our “stories” have the capability of keeping us from being resilient while going through one of the most difficult times in our lives. Examples of some of the stories could be, “I worked a full time job and took care of the family so they could finish their education.”, “I was taking care of the kids while he/she was having an affair.”, “We were fresh out of high school and had a lot of growing to do. I grew up but he/she didn’t.” If I were to ask every person ending a relationship what they learned, I’m certain everyone would have a “pearl of wisdom” to share.

When looking at the end of a relationship, it’s important to talk about the painful memories, how you felt when it happened and how you saw yourself and your spouse. It helps us heal and move forward. However, when we stay “stuck” in our stories, it prevents us from being able to move forward, to lay those memories to rest and to forgive. Forgiveness DOES NOT mean excusing behaviors, forgetting behaviors or saying those behaviors didn’t happen. Forgiveness DOES mean I AM READY to let these things go so that I can be at peace. I am ready to move forward.

When you can let go of the “stories” that keep you stuck in the emotions, you have the opportunity to become more resilient. Being resilient is being able to bounce back, recovering from the adversity and recovering from the pain.

Try making a forgiveness list for yourself and the partner you are ending the relationship with. Try identifying the things from the relationship for which you are grateful. Use these starters; “I am grateful that……..” , “I am so glad for……”, I am sorry that I………. and I commit to……… Once you have made it through the forgiveness and you lay those old stories to rest you will then have the opportunity to settle into peace and create a new way of interacting, you will be living resiliently.

Be kind to one another and take care of you,

Brenda Lee Roberts M. Ed., LPC

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