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Post-Traumatic Growth: Thriving After Divorce

We've all heard of post-traumatic stress...but have you heard of post-traumatic GROWTH?


I like Anna Gaunt's definition in an article in Happiful magazine:


This is the experience of positive psychological change, or a shift in perspective, following adversity or trauma. It can lead to profound changes in your values, how you behave, and your relationships with others.

I see the opportunity for post-traumatic growth for women who are moving on after a divorce. Who seek to make sense of the pain they've been through, and who want to make their lives better.



Victim or Victor? The Choice is Yours

Every single one of us who has been through a divorce has a different story. I remember the year I got divorced, which was emotionally taxing, not to mention drawn out over an entire year. My oldest friend, who lives in Wisconsin, got divorced the same year. Her divorce took a matter of weeks. They agreed on a division of assets, went to court, and bam. She left a single woman. I was jealous.


On the other hand, I was more fortunate than others. I have another friend who embarked on a bitter and expensive legal battle with her ex for YEARS.


We have different reasons for our marriages ending. Different levels of pain and suffering.


But the thing we all have in common is that we have a choice when it comes to what's next.


We can choose to live in the trauma and replay it like a late-night infomercial. In this case, we choose to remain in that victim mentality.


Or...


We can choose to let that experience, whatever it was, shape us and motivate us to discover who we want to become now.


We can find the strength and bravery to ask ourselves what we want out of life. Who we want to be. How we want to live. Heck, WHERE we want to live (and in my case, the answer was ITALY!)


Give Yourself Time

Now, I'm not saying you should try to rush through the grief and flood of difficult emotions you will feel post-divorce. I assure you, they may stick around far longer than you are comfortable with. But they will dissipate.


In the meantime, consider how you will prioritize yourself. How you will find joy on your own. What living authentically means to you.


I can tell you, seven years after my own divorce, that life does get better. Mine has gotten amazing, in fact. And it's all because I chose to embrace post-traumatic growth rather than live as a victim.

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