Wow! We have already made it to our 12th podcast episode of “One Day You’ll Thank Me”. On this episode, my teen co-host Anna and I had a great conversation with Sherry Smith about how she supports women thinking of divorcing, or recovering from a divorce. Our topic was titled “How Mom Can Heal After Divorce”. Sherry is a LMFT and divorce coach in the Charlotte, NC area and has written a new book titled, “Divorce Resiliency - Release the Trauma of Your Divorce and Reconnect with Your Best Self”.
Many of Sherry’s clients are women who are thinking about whether they want to stay in their marriage, or are newly separated. She has created a model to determine if the marriage is salvageable. She walks them through the process and then supports them going forward - whether they choose to repair the marriage or if they decide to leave, helping them to minimize the trauma to the family system.
It is a valuable time in their life when women can figure out who they are again, get their identity back, and fix their "picker" so the next time around they get into a relationship that sticks!
Why is this important?
Research shows that on average, people will get married three years post separation. That is why Sherry believes in using this time wisely and has created a guide that women can follow to evolve to a higher version of themselves, change how they show up in all relationships including their romantic ones, and also with their kids. So if they do get remarried, they do it in a healthier way.
How do you avoid repeating the same patterns in the next marriage?
In the early stages of divorce, there tends to be a lot of blaming the former spouse. As you move through to where you can see your role in the demise of the marriage, you can make changes in how you show up in your relationships going forward. If you are not able to see your role, you’re more prone to repeat the same patterns in the next marriage.
We both agree how important it is for women to honor their grieving process. The first step in the process is to distinguish if you are grieving the loss of the spouse, or the loss of the family unit, this is the only way through to the other end. You may be surprised. Women with children tend to be grieving the loss of the family unit. Even though at times these women may find themselves restricted in time and finances, there are plenty of tools to help.
Some ways you can support yourself and your kids in the grieving process:
- surrounding yourself with a strong support network, support groups
- learning more about yourself
- focusing on being a secure base for your kids, learning how to sit with your kids and their emotions more comfortably
What we learned in our discussion that can be very helpful also, is to know that at the end of the marriage there usually is a "leaning in partner" (that doesn’t want the divorce) and the "leaning out partner" (that wants the divorce). It is important to know which one you may be in terms of the ending of the relationship and the grieving process. If you are the leaning out partner, you are usually through a good portion of the grieving process, but the leaning in partner that does not want the divorce, or this all was so sudden, their grieving and healing process starts at that moment.
What is the most important factor in a woman’s healing?
Again, although it may take some time, being able to take a look at yourself and to own YOUR role, not just his role in the demise of the marriage. It is such a crucial element. That is the key difference between those women that stay stuck in victim mode and ones that grow and evolve.
I know that after my marriage ended, I took a look at not only what I wanted in a new marriage, but also recognized where I didn’t show up in that last one. I wanted to make sure my second time was a very different experience. Don't get me wrong, I still fall into patterns (we all do), but I was proud of myself for my mindfulness and how I could use all that I learned about myself to make changes going forward. I hope you can find that too.
If women do not take this time of reflection, they can end up jumping right into another relationship thinking, “this guy gets me” and “this time will be so different”, without considering where and why they may have been unhappy in the past relationship. Examples might look like, not speaking up or using your voice, or being resentful about the role you took on in that last relationship.
Be prepared for changes to your social circle, but know that you are not alone.
Sherry and I both experienced that after our divorces our social circle changes. I felt totally unrecognizable to old friends, they were often a sense of pain because it was a reminder of what had changed, that was an unanticipated consequence for me. Sherry shares that in her personal and professional experience, people you don't expect will show up and the people you think will won't.
What is most important though, is that there is support out there and to be sure and reach out for it. Support not only from a professional, but having a support group of other women that understand what you are going through. It helps to go through this with people that share your experience.
Sherry runs her own support groups for women because she knows how beneficial they are to the process. Research shows that on average it takes about three years to get the entire family back to the new normal. So be kind to yourself. This is a time of accepting what is and looking forward to the future. Support is available.
To listen to this podcast, “How Mom Can Heal After Divorce”, click HERE
Get Sherry's new book HERE
To learn more about Sherry and her services, visit her website HERE.
This episode is sponsored by Moe's Southwest Grill. Make family dinner fun with Moe's Southwest Grill. Order a family taco kit for $34.99.
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To learn more about Dr. Tara Egan, visit HERE.
To learn more about Dr. Tara Egan's therapy practice based in Charlotte, NC, visit HERE.