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"Many times they afflicted me from my youth, yet they have not prevailed against me" (Ps 129:2).
Last week, I wrapped with plans to expand on the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. (If you missed it, scroll down--it's beneath this one.)
My personal take on these stages during the first year of my divorce:
- Denial. Anger expressed over trivial things due to my devastation over major things.
- Anger. Outward expressions (aka meltdowns) of the inward pain caused by the ex-hub's blatant disrespect for myself and the female gender.
- Bargaining. This was my "anger management" phase where like Esau in, Genesis 27, I consoled myself with the thought of murder.
- Depression. In this stage I awakened to just how vulnerable a position denial leaves a woman. This phase included a parallel phase replete with rhetorical questions such as: Why did I eat, drink, smoke (nothing illegal), or text that? Followed by the tearful prayer: Jesus, please forgive me.
- Acceptance. I resolved to be angry about what happened. I refused to allow the enemy's version of anger to define me, and I sought God for His expression of righteous anger. (Btw, this is where new life begins. If you've yet to garner control over your anger, take heart. In the arms of All Mighty God, you will. You will, because it's HIS will.)
"Healthy anger expresses limitations--i.e., what is acceptable and what is not. Blaming anger recycles the history of betrayal and all the intense feelings that are a part of a trauma bond."
Published on Tuesday, October 14, 2014 @ 7:23 PM CDT
Healing from the death of a relationship due to betrayal is a journey through grief and toward wholeness. There's nothing overnight about it. Today, I offer a refresher on the five stages of grief in contrast to Jack Donaghy's take on them. Jack Donaghy was a character on 30 ROCK, a television series I hold in higher regard than chocolate because the writing is twisted, and therefore, sweeter than candy for someone like me.
The five stages of grief, according to The Kubler-Ross model, are
The five stages of grief according to Jack Donaghy are
- shoving down emotions and proceeding as if everything's fine.
In my own journey to healing, I've discovered there's validity to Jack's wise-crackin' version of #5. The reason why is because living in acceptance requires of me, the willingness to face more and more truth as God reveals it. And to this day, sometimes the truth I'm faced with is painful . . . still.
Today, when more truth is revealed, I pause. (Except on the days when I don't and then I'm snarky to him on the phone. Hey--I'm just being honest.) If I'm able to set a little time aside to acknowledge how I feel about it to God, I do. If it's not an appropriate time or place, I make time later in the day. (And on the days when I've blown it, I talk to Him about that.)
The point is, it's easier than it was even three months ago. Now a days, I give myself permission to cry and even miss what I thought I had with a man it turns out I only thought I knew. Taking a moment to acknowledge this--even cry over it, is the mark of acceptance--not the mark of wanting him back. And who knew, even the not wanting him back hurts at times.
Here's what I mean: Sometimes grocery shopping still makes me sad because I loved cooking for my family. I loved setting the table every night and being asked what we're having for dessert. I loved my family. So when I'm sad, I load my groceries and take a few minutes to cry in the parking lot. And then I drive home, where I'm love-bombed by two labs who will love me until death.
Zach and I no longer eat dinner at the table EVERY night. But every night he practice-drives us to the school play ground so our dogs can run. And sometimes we sit on the swings and talk. Other times, he taunts me by shadowing me as walk-jog the field.
And yes, this single mother is guilty of occasionally schlepping dinner upstairs and watching 3 episodes of That 70's show on netflix.
Life goes on. And I, for one, am going with it! Rain or shine. All things new.
Where are you in the stages of grief? Remember, they often vary in order and intensity. FYI: A sure sign of stuffing emotion is a sudden eruption of emotion.
And who better to describe this scenario than Jack Donaghy:
Milton: Before I go, I think we should talk about the other day.
Jack Donaghy: Miton, the Donaghy's do not talk. We let things fester until they erupt in inappropriate anger, preferably at a wedding or an elementary school graduation.
I hope you got a chuckle out of that. If not, stick to chocolate. :) Next Tuesday I'll give my personal spiel on these five stages and how they unfolded the first year of divorce--ever in the care of Unfailing Love.
You are not alone,
Published on Tuesday, October 7, 2014 @ 3:44 PM CDT