You make ask yourself, how did this happen to me? I have spoken to a lot of people in the throes of divorce or trying to rebuild their life after divorce. One of the struggles I hear over and over again is the disbelief that this is where life has taken them, whether it’s the person who never got to start a family or the single parent having to figure it all out on their own; starting over sucks.

 

Are You Looking in the Mirror in Disbelief, Asking Yourself, “How Did This Happen to Me?”

You are not alone.

There is a tendency for divorce survivors to look over the landscape of life and ask “how did I get here and how could this happen to me?” Disbelief seems like a ghost haunting you, reminding you of just how much pain you feel.

It seems ever more present for those who are just getting by rather than those who are sitting in the saddle of real recovery.

But don’t get me wrong, even I recall feeling this way post-divorce, deep in therapy and personal development. It’s especially hard to stay positive around holidays, anniversaries and just regular ole tough days.

 

Grieving Loss

The reality is you’re still experiencing grief over your loss. And you probably feel stuck at this point. You’re not sure how to ditch this ghost of the past. And even harder to figure out is how to feel truly good about where you are today.

If you find yourself repeating the phrase “This was not the plan”, check out this list of 4 things you may be doing to make it worse.

cup with coffee and white flower on apricot plate mat, life after divorce, how can this happen to me

Stop Asking Yourself How Did This Happen to Me and Start Changing Your Mindset

 

#1 Envision Your Life As Already Better

You struggle to accept present-day circumstances. You ask yourself, again and again, how could this happen to me. I get it; your life isn’t how you think it should be. Except, you are fighting with reality. You nurture fantasies about the past and the future rather than working with what you have. Have you ever tried on the idea of radical acceptance? Let’s do a thought experiment…

Take a deep breath and imagine your life is actually really great and you just didn’t realize it. Imagine everything you want for yourself is a guaranteed outcome; you just don’t know when it’s going to arrive. And in the meantime, your job is to live life in a relatively healthy way and enjoy yourself.

How does this feel?

Pay attention to the ‘data’ you got from that experiment. It holds clues as to why you’re struggling to accept your current version of life. And don’t minimize why a relatively healthy life is important to this process. It’s impossible to heal your grief when you are piling on new rejections from online dating or random sex, low self-confidence from the extra beer/wine weight and a lack of direction because you spend your spare time watching Netflix, Bravo, and Instagram stories instead of learning how to heal.

 

#2 Get Your Anger Out and Move On

You’re stuck in resentment. You keep focusing your attention on what your ex did to you rather than what you can do to live your best life. You don’t know how to forgive, and you’re not sure you want to. Anger typically festers when we don’t feel heard or understood and when we’re not willing to let go of it. So make sure if you’re venting your anger, it’s ONLY with folks who can truly empathize with you. And once you’ve gotten it out, focus on finding the willingness to move forward. Moving forward can be hard to do when you don’t know what you’re next step is and you cannot stop asking yourself how you got here.

 

#3 Get Expert Guidance

Hopeless about where to go from here? The question of how did this happen to me is killing you. You’re most likely stuck because you’re avoiding dealing with your pain. For some, you genuinely have been trying, and you’ve hit a wall. Either way, you need some expert guidance. And each day you delay getting help is another day delaying the results you desperately want: Love, connection, relief, hope, etc.

 

#4 Stop Obsessing Over Your Ex and Start Focusing on YOU

You’re either staying in contact with your ex, obsessing over ex’s relationship status or both. These are habits that don’t suit you. And they are driven by 1. Unresolved loss and 2. A tendency to judge yourself and others. You understand that talking with your ex is dragging out the loss. But you can’t wrap your head around how obsessing over their relationship status means you’re judgy. Well, comparison is a form of judgment. I’m spotting a behavior of yours that looks like smoke, and I promise with a closer look, I will find the fire.

So if you’re ready to let go of the question “how can this be happening to me” and want to learn more and finally be rid of this ghostly feeling, join me in my private FB community, sign up to receive my weekly newsletter and get moving towards a better solution!

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Dawn Wiggins
Dawn Wiggins is the founder and owner of Dawn Wiggins Therapy and Help Towards Hope. She knew she wanted to be a psychotherapist at the age of 12. Dawn is inspired to write about the things she experiences in her everyday life. She believes that her personal and professional experiences can help others overcome the same challenges. Her husband is her biggest fan and her go to editor-he is much better with grammar, punctuation and tenses!