You may not often think of divorce as a traumatic event. But that’s exactly what it is.
Trauma can change the way you see the world and the way you see yourself. Divorce has the same effect.
When you’re married, your identity changes over time. You become a unit and partner with your spouse, and you start to see yourself differently. As a result, others begin to see you as a part of that unit too.
Going through a divorce changes that. It can be a total shock to the system, and make you start to question your own identity and self-image..
But even if you’re the one going through a divorce, you’re not the only one affected. Let’s take a look at how the people closest to you may also be impacted by your separation.
The Impact of Divorce on Children
Aside from the couple involved, children are usually the most affected when two people get divorced. Some people choose to stay together for the sake of their kids. But if your relationship has unhealthy habits, it’s sometimes healthier for the whole family if the two parents split up.
If you have younger children, the best thing you can do after a divorce is to maintain a healthy family environment.
You might not be feeling like “yourself” after your split from your spouse. But your children still need you to be someone they can depend on. The less things change for them, the easier the whole experience will be.
Children may start to question their own identities when their parents split up. They may favor one parent over another or feel torn or confrontational.
If you have adult children, don’t assume they won’t be impacted. The trauma of divorce can almost be worse for adult children, who may start to question memories of their childhood. They might feel as though their formative years were dishonest, somehow.
Depending on the circumstances of the divorce, adult children may develop a more strained relationship with one or both parents as well.
The Effect on Friends and Extended Family
While immediately family may be most impacted by the trauma of a divorce, your extended family and friends may also have a hard time separating your new identity from the one you had as a married person.
They might feel uncomfortable, at first, or unsure of how to act. If you and your spouse had mutual friends, those relationships could become strained.
Relationships with your friends and extended family members may feel awkward for a while. But those feelings of discomfort usually don’t last forever as they start to see you as a new person with your own identity.
Family Dynamics and Doing What’s Best
It’s important to focus on your own mental and emotional well-being throughout the divorce process. But don’t ignore your family and friends, as they’re also affected by it.
You might notice that the whole dynamic of your family and your friendships will start to shift. This can add to the stress you’re already feeling from the divorce, but don’t take too much of it to heart. Expect that changes will happen and that things may be uncomfortable in your relationships for a while.
After a divorce, finding yourself and reclaiming your own identity is one of the best things you can do. While you shouldn’t ignore how the split is making others feel, you can’t help them through it effectively until you take care of yourself, first, and recognize who you’re going to be, moving forward.
If you’re going through a divorce or you need help re-defining your sense of self, please contact the San Diego Divorce Counseling Center at www.DivorceCounselingCenter .com and click the *Book Now* button, or call us at 619-865-3203 for more information or to set up an appointment.
For more information on divorce counseling click here.