Emotional Support

Published December 11, 2011 by matchsoul

The breakdown of a relationship is one of our most stressful life events. You lose your lover, your friend, your confidence and perhaps your sense of self and direction.

This is a time of extreme and mixed emotions made more complicated by stresses and worries about legal and financial considerations. People cope with their emotions in different ways, some people choose to ignore how they feel and carry on as if nothing has happened. Others find it cathartic to openly express how they feel.

You are likely to experience a series of emotional stages after the breakdown. You might feel angry, shocked, depressed or frustrated and fearful. It is important that you recognise these feelings as normal but try to stay positive as you take the first steps in moving on with your life. This section includes advice and information to help you

address your fears ,

Addressing Fears

When you take the decision to end a relationship it will no doubt raise many questions and fears you have about the future. There are several common concerns that most people experience when a relationship breaks down.

Will I regret my decision?

It often takes two to three years for a person whose relationship has broken down to put their life back together again. After splitting up, many people say they wish they hadn’t. Four out of ten people regret their divorce five years later and say with hindsight that they think it could have been avoided. If you believe there is still a chance that your relationship can be saved then there are people who can help you in this process, the best known being Relate.

However, some people say ending a relationship was the best decision they ever made. If you are removing yourself from an abusive situation or one where you felt unable to be your self then you are likely to feel released with a new sense of freedom and raised self esteem. Whatever you do, it is best to make a decision – either put your full energy into saving your relationship or to starting again. Doubts and half decisions can be very debilitating.

Will I be lonely?

However difficult your relationship may have become, you still had a person in your life. If you have had a constant companion for some time it is natural that the gap may make you feel lonely.

Part of becoming single again is taking some time to adjust to life as an independent person. It is a time when many people feel quite energised by the new opportunities now available to them – what were your interests before you got into a relationship, what were some of the things you wanted to achieve yet sacrificed in the relationship. Remember, you now have the time to explore new things, meet new people and enjoy the company of your family and friends. You can find help in our section on Starting Again.

Can I make a clean break and not see my partner again?

Clarity and closure are key to making a clean break. It can be financially and emotionally exhausting to untangle years of a relationship. You have to deal with the fact that it will not happen overnight. Don’t muddy the waters by sleeping together or calling when you feel lonely.

If you have been in an abusive relationship then you almost certainly need advice from a divorce law solicitor. You may be able to get a court order prohibiting any unwanted contact from your ex.

Can we remain friends and still see one another after the divorce?

Friendship after divorce works best if both parties have moved on. If you still feel a twinge when your ex partner says they have met someone else then it is unlikely a friendship will be genuine, at least in the short term.

If the relationship has ended by mutual consent it will be easier to remain civil and sort through things in an organised way and stay friends. If this is not the case then you have come to terms with the fact the relationship is over; try to be businesslike about sorting out arrangements and accept that friendship is unlikely to be an option, at least in the short term.

If you have children then you have to remain at least civil for the sake of their emotional well being. Although many relationships end acrimoniously, when access to children is involved many people eventually reach better terms.

What will the impact be on my children and family?

A divorce or separation will have a huge impact on a family – affecting people other than just the couple involved. This should not stop you from walking away from a broken relationship but you must understand that children will always experience grief when their parents divorce and you need to minimise the impact on them as much as possible.

Some people ‘forget’ children during the process of divorce. They forget to tell the children what is about to happen. It is very upsetting for them to be suddenly told that ‘Mum and Dad are getting divorced. Much better that they know you are discussing it and trying to find a solution.

Other people drag children into discussions or arguments. Never involve your children in the debate or ask them to take sides. Clearly and without blame explain the situation and reassure them that you are doing your utmost to find a solution that will be best for everyone. You can reduce the impact on children by ensuring good, continuing communication and honest responses to questions.

How will my children feel or react?

How a child behaves during and after a divorce depends on the age and gender of the child, how difficult the divorce, the emotional maturity of the children and their existing relationship with parents.

Children are most afraid of being separated from one parent, will feel loss and lost because their place in the family has changed. The majority of children talk about and even plot to get their parents back together.
Some children may hide or deny their own feelings and so should be encouraged and allowed to express their feelings and frustrations too.
Some children feel guilty – they may think if they had been better behaved or cleverer at school this would not have happened. Taking on responsibility for their parent’s divorce is a heavy load to carry. Ensure children are reassured and released of any guilt.
Some children feel divided loyalties which lead to confusion and further guilt. Reassure them that you both feel it is important to still see and care for both parents equally.
Parents should never criticise an ex-partner in front of their child. It can be tempting, but is very unfair. Children know they are part of both parents and they may feel they are as ‘bad’ as the ‘ex’ is. Never say in anger ‘you are just like your father/mother’. A child may associate that with your rejection of each other and feel they are also going to be rejected by you.
Some children bottle everything up and show no apparent emotion on the outside. This child is likely to need help to express their feelings possibly through counselling or therapeutic intervention, otherwise may later show signs of depression.
Some young children regress to even younger years emotionally – bed-wetting, thumb-sucking , difficult behaviour, sleeplessness and tantrums may all re-appear and are signs of worry and insecurity.
Children between six and nine are very vulnerable. They may not understand exactly what is happening but know something is very wrong. They are still very dependent on the security of mummy and daddy. They frequently react with anger, lack concentration or experience problems at school. It is important to address difficulties straight away to avoid more deep seated problems later.

Some older children may be able to express a preference for which parent they would like to live with, others may be totally torn apart by the decision. They may react to the divorce with anger, grief or depression and it is common for behaviour to become more challenging and for performance at school to deteriorate. It will be important to consider counselling or family therapy together with individual therapy in order to help children to move on to acceptance of the situation. There is help for teenagers including 24/7 helplines and web sites such as Childline and Divorceaid.

support your children

Impact on Children

If you have children it is important to consider the impact of the break-up on them. Numerous studies show that the way the relationship break-up is handled by the parents plays the main part in both short and long term effects on children. How a child behaves during and after a divorce also depends on the age and gender of the child, how difficult the divorce, the maturity of the children and their existing relationship with parents.

Parents often fear divorcing or separating because of the impact it may have on their children. However, the long term impact for a child of witnessing a dysfunctional or abusive relationship can be more severe than that of a divorce or separation.

What are the main responses of a child to separation or divorce?

The effects of a break-up can take some time to appear in children. They may not process their feelings for some time or may not understand or believe what is happening.

Common behaviours depending on the age of children involved can often include:

Angry and Defiant Responses

Impulsive and impatient behaviour
Anger at others
Oppositional, rebellious, defiant, or conduct problems
Breaking rules and testing limits
Anger at self
Early or increased sexual activity
Violent thoughts or behaviour
Guilty Responses

Destructive behaviour
Self-blame or guilt
Self-destructive or self-harming behaviour
Superficially positive behaviour
Despondent Responses

Drug or alcohol use
Apathy, depression or failure to accept responsibility
Isolation and withdrawal
Suicidal thoughts or behaviour
What will the impact be on my children and family?

Children will always experience grief when their parents divorce and you need to minimise the impact on them as much as possible. You can reduce the impact on children by ensuring good, continuing communication and honest responses to questions.

How will my children feel or react?

Children are most afraid of being separated from one parent, will feel loss and lost because their place in the family has changed. The majority of children talk about and even plot to get their parents back together.

Some children may hide or deny their own feelings and so should be encouraged and allowed to express their feelings and frustrations too.
Some children feel guilty – they may think if they had been better behaved or cleverer at school this would not have happened. Taking on responsibility for their parent’s divorce is a heavy load to carry. Ensure children are reassured and released of any guilt.
Some children feel divided loyalties which lead to confusion and further guilt. Reassure them that you both feel it is important to still see and care for both parents equally.
Parents should never criticise an ex-partner in front of their child. It can be tempting, but is very unfair. Children know they are part of both parents and they may feel they are as ‘bad’ as the ‘ex’ is. Never say in anger ‘you are just like your father/mother’. A child may associate that with your rejection of each other and feel they are also going to be rejected by you.
Some children bottle everything up and show no apparent emotion on the outside. This child is likely to need help to express their feelings possibly through counselling or therapeutic intervention, otherwise may later show signs of depression.
Some young children regress to even younger years emotionally – bed-wetting, thumb-sucking , difficult behaviour, sleeplessness and tantrums may all re-appear and are signs of worry and insecurity.
Children between six and nine are very vulnerable. They are still very dependent on the security of mummy and daddy. They frequently react with anger, lack concentration or experience problems at school. It is important to address difficulties straight away to avoid more deep seated problems later.
Some older children may express a preference for which parent they would like to live with, others may continue to be torn apart by the decision. They may react to the divorce with anger, grief or depression and it is common for behaviour to become more challenging and for performance at school to deteriorate. It will be important to consider counselling or family therapy together with individual therapy in order to help children to accept the situation. There is help for teenagers including 24/7 helplines and web sites such as Childline and Divorceaid.
and

maintain your mental wellbeing.

Mental Wellbeing

Relationship breakdown is one of the most stressful things you will ever experience. It is totally normal to feel anger, depression, frustration, fear, sadness, loneliness, happiness, relief, lack of motivation or denial.

Just accept that for a while you are going to experience a range of emotions and that facing rather than avoiding them is the best way to move on.

Although it may be hard, you need to talk about your feelings, to family and friends if you feel able. Being honest with friends and family about the situation means you can enlist their support when you need it the most. Many people will have experienced the same situation and their help can be invaluable on both an emotional and practical level. There are books you can read that may also help.
If this isn’t possible you can talk to your GP, a member of the clergy or a counsellor. Talking through your problems can give you the clarity you need to move forward. Hiding your feelings just means that you have to deal with them at a later date and you may get stuck, unable to move on with your life or into a new relationship.
If you notice symptoms of depression then you should talk to your GP. These symptoms can include sleeplessness, over eating, lack of appetite, over dependence on alcohol or drugs, palpitations, thoughts of suicide or self harm, general low self-esteem, inability to communicate or avoidance of communication or lack of social interaction. There is no shame in feeling down after such a shocking event and you don’t have to suffer in silence. The Depression Alliance may be able to help you.
Your mental health is linked to your physical health. There are things you can do to look after yourself. Maintain a healthy diet, watch your alcohol intake, take regular exercise and find new activities to give you focus.
Sometimes the best support you can receive is through advice and information from other people who have experienced relationship breakdown. You can chat with other people who are going through the same experience as you on our forum.
During particularly stressful events and times when we need a kick start or a helping hand, many of us are increasingly appreciating the value of the services on offer from life coaches, counsellors, mentors, psychotherapists and complementary therapists.

Other useful organisations with expertise in offering emotional support include:

Mind
Depression Alliance
Relate

Sometimes the support of friends and family can be enough to see us through this difficult period. Sometimes it helps to talk things through with someone less involved and trained in giving emotional support. Look here for further information on counselling and how to cope being alone.

It may be useful to discuss and receive advice and information from other people who have experienced relationship breakdown.
we offer 24 hour confidential support.Call 00966 59 7188143 or email: daniyalkhan1499@yahoo.com

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8 comments on “Emotional Support

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