Board Certified Counselor
“Drugs do not make us happy, people do.” – William Glasser
If I have learned anything during my lifetime is that we need people!
We were not put on this earth to function completely independent. We need a support system of some kind in order to truly flourish as human beings.
This is never more true than when divorced dads are trying to deal with a cataclysmic shift in their lives, such as divorce.
I believe there was a time in American culture to where people were more interconnected. There was a sense of community, belonging and the “we are all in this together” attitude existed freely. It seems that more times then not, neighborhoods are full of closed garages with kids playing inside.
A precious memory always rings into my mind as I think about how much times have changed. I will never forget the day we moved into the house that I primarily grew up in.
The next door neighbor, Mrs. Sharon, came to introduce herself, and brought my newly single mother a cake and ended up befriending my mother.
That touch of kindness brought a sense of comfort to my mother not only on that day but throughout my childhood as Mrs. Sharon took care of me each morning before I headed off to school.
As an adult when I was going through my own life transition, the same kindness was bestowed upon me when my neighbors invited me over for dinner and sent over baked goodies on a regular basis.
Although these acts of kindness do not completely take away the struggle of transition, they instill a sense of hope, which is all that is needed to get through certain days. If nothing else, it feels good to smile.
Part of my responsibility as a therapist is to be forthcoming when educating divorced dads on the realities of divorce.
Divorce is such a complicated process for many reasons. It is a constant work in progress which involves maintaining a functional relationship with your former spouse as well as fostering a good relationship with your children. The new living arrangements may be such that you are spending more time alone then you did prior to being divorced.
When one is able to approach the pain in a healthy manner then true growth and change will be much more visible.
One of the biggest roadblocks that can prevent proper healing from a divorce is isolation. In some cases, isolation is part of the transition process from being married to becoming divorced.
Although it may feel natural after going through a divorce to not want to participate in social outings or to be around other people, isolation can be harmful to your mental health. Isolation leads to stagnation, which is a recipe for dysfunction.
One way to facilitate your recovery could be to get involved in a cause or charity of your choice. Take time to get to know the people around you and the events taking place in your community.
Integrating a new single life can be overwhelming but rest assured the more pro-active you are in creating a support system, the easier your transition will become.
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Lisa Brown, MA, LPC, NCC, is a practicing therapist who helps people overcome life transitions specifically related to loss. For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit her website www.counseling-helps.org.