Divorce: Its Impact on Mental Health

Not all marriages last forever. For some, divorce is the only option to avoid miseries in life. However, ironically, in many cases divorce adversely affects the mental health of both or either of the spouses and their family, and further adds to miseries in life. Here are some ways of how divorce impacts one’s mental health and a few coping suggestions. ~ Ed.

Divorce: Its Impact on Mental Health

Life has its moment of happiness and a share of some pains. Pains may become a challenge on how an individual will be able to cope up with it and gracefully move on to the next phase or chapter of his or her life.

Five situations in life have been identified as stressful situations, such as the following:

  • Death of someone we love will surely wreck our emotional state
  • Undergoing a painful process of divorce feels the same kind of pain as felt with the physical loss of death
  • A job always provides a sense of security, and losing it may be the source of emotional stress
  • Moving to another place and leaving your comfort zone will surely fire up the level of your cortisol, and what could be worse than the person facing a serious illness

These emotionally draining situations will be a challenge not only to the strength of our emotions, our physical bodies, but it is a test of how stable is our mental health.

Undergoing Divorce

Undergoing the painful process of divorce is something that is not easy, for it may connote putting an end to the marriage that we once held as sacred. Whatever may be the causes or reasons for getting the divorce, it still boils down to how the painful process of divorce would affect the mental health of the spouses.

This is a state wherein there could be a lot of mixed emotions such as grief, depression, hate or rage, anxiety, and feeling of hopelessness. Each spouse is facing an emotional dilemma as they face the ultimate act that will put an end to the institution of marriage.

Marriage gives a sense of emotional stability, knowing that you have a constant partner that will love and cherish you “forever.” However, since “forever” may really be that long, there could be humps that may shatter the marriage.

Facing the idea of being alone will give emotional insecurity, especially that marriage is intertwined with family and society’s acceptance. Having a divorce is an open admission that something went wrong with the relationship that it is already beyond the spouses’ control to have it mended and fixed.

During the legal process of divorce, each spouse may have a reflection on those things that triggered the causes and what could have gone wrong with the love that was mutually shared by the partners. It is not an easy way; the act of divorce will be a rollercoaster ride of emotions, especially when there are children involved.

Divorce and Mental Health

Primarily, anxiety and stress are being triggered when the welfare of the children is being considered. Family does not only involve the spouses – it has interconnected relationships such as their children, their parents, in-laws, and other familial lineages. The emotional stress will cascade once the decision to have the divorce is disclosed to the family members.

The emotional response varies in accordance to the individual’s personality on their stress-coping up mechanisms. For some, they will resort to isolation wherein they felt they would be responsible and shoulder all the pain of divorce. If the divorce has been triggered due to an infidelity issue, the aggrieved spouse may feel a sense of physical insecurity and worthlessness. It may even fire up anger and hostility.

If the mental health of an individual is not stable, the pain of divorce may lead them to take some actions that can be considered destructive. Manifestations that an individual is into destructive behavior is that he or she would resort to drinking wine that may lead to alcohol abuse, and worse if the person resorted to the use of the prohibited drugs.

Those who felt the pangs of infidelity and having some physical insecurities might engage in illicit sexual activities, which actually does not help improve the mental health but rather may worsen it. For the person may feel humiliated, harassed, and remorse. For women, they usually drive out the stress by becoming a shopaholic wherein they mindlessly spend their money on items that they do not actually need.

Divorce and Stress

Despite the fact that women have a high level of cortisol “stress hormone” which makes them vulnerable to stress, it has been found that men are usually the ones that suffer greater stress when they are undergoing the battle of divorce. It may be for the reason that men’s emotional state is highly guarded, and they do not have the emotional outlet where they can release their pain, anger, anxiety, and the likes. Oftentimes, these men are the ones that are prone to having destructive behavior.

Men’s usual stress coping mechanism is resorting to drinking alcoholic beverages or having some prohibited substances that may trigger some momentary relief from the emotional pain. The destructive behavior may put these men at a high risk of death or committing suicide. If you have felt this type of emotion, it is better to seek medical health.

Exhibiting destructive behavior is posing a danger not only to the person experiencing it but it also has a great impact and effect on the children. Children that do not have absolute control over their parents’ decision of having a divorce and of their destructive behaviors, generally are the ones that absorb the emotional stress exhibited by their parents.

Coping Up with Divorce

Considering that the emotional state of the spouses will leave marks on their children, it is a must that they must cope up with the pain in a healthy and positive mechanism. It will do no harm if they will consult and talk with a psychologist. Psychologists are experts in recognizing your emotional needs and may even guide and give cognitive-behavioral therapy.

You may also induce positivity in your life despite having emotional struggles through the physical and mental exercise of yoga. Yoga will give you the power to ease out your burden by making you realize some life realities and one of which is that your soul has the full capacity to be in full control of your physical body.

Wrapping Up

Emotional pain is just a process for an individual to attain one’s happiness in life. Life does not end with the mark of being a divorcee, for it has a wider horizon for one to traverse and enjoy.

Divorce may be painful, stressful, as well as emotionally draining. However, you should not let it get to your mental health and adversely affect your children if any. It always helps to get some professional help so you can sail through this divorce process and learn healthy coping mechanisms.

Over to you

Have you or your loved ones gone through a divorce? Share some divorce coping tips in the comments section.