The Value of Grief: Part Three (2)

The bandage keeps the wound from getting reinjured and it stays there to protect the skin from being poked or prodded. In divorce the bandage is a commitment to keeping you protected and safe as you heal. Sometimes this can be in the guise of a good therapist, or a lawyer who protect your rights. But the most important “bandage” in divorce is your wise decisions to set limits with your ex when necessary. You cannot allow yourself to be bullied or manipulated. And you may need some time away from the situation as you heal. Ultimately, unless he is a total jerk, you will have to step up and co-parent with him. But you can only do this effectively after you have done a good bit of healing.

Finally, both wounds of the body and of the soul, take time to heal. The deeper the wound, the more time it takes to heal. Give yourself the time that you need. Grieving is good for you as long as you are healing. Pathological guilt is when you simply can’t move on.

Grief slows you down so you can appreciate what you had, digest your hurt, and ultimately, focus on the future. Towards that end, it may even affect you physiologically. You may lose your appetite or become ravenous, or have difficulty falling or staying asleep. This is your mind telling you that it needs time to heal, and by managing your divorce intelligently—perhaps with guidance from a minister, pastor, rabbi, or therapist—you will heal.

Allow yourself to grieve. Keep out of situations that will open it up, yet again. Keep yourself surrounded by those that care for you. Take good care of yourself and protect your rights and need to feel safe. Keep your eye on the prize: your children. Time will help you to heal.

Dr. Banschick is a child and adolescent psychiatrist. He has been quoted in The New York Times, The Huffington Post and The CBS Early Show. He is currently finishing the second of three books in The Intelligent Divorce series, which are devoted to teaching parents how to raise well adjusted kids during a divorce. You can reach him at or at

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