As an adult, we’re expected to cope with all the bad things life throws at us. We’re grown up and supposed to be strong. But sometimes the future can look very complicated or bleak. If your thoughts and feelings seem overwhelming, it can help to remember that you’ve probably already coped with a great deal in life already and survived.
You’re far from alone if you feel that your chaos, pain, anger or fear are so great that you’ve no strengths to draw on to overcome them. People often feel they’re drowning in their sad or angry or confused thoughts and feelings when their families split up.
A way forward
A way forward is to find and use once more all the strengths you’ve used in previous challenging times. If you look for these resources, they’ll be there.
You can find the ways that will help you cope with your thoughts and feelings by thinking about the challenging things that have happened to you in the past, particularly when you were young. You may have moved house, lost a pet, hurt yourself or changed schools, for example.
What did you think and how did you feel at the time? Was there something practical and helpful that you did that helped you cope? Write it down.
Is there something similar you can do now?
65.5% improved or significantly improved their ability to cope with this change in in their relationship after using this service
(based on usage up to 22nd July 2020)
Danny thought his whole world was collapsing when his wife said she was leaving and taking their two-year-old son back to Ireland to live with her parents. He thought he couldn’t cope and said his feelings could go from rage and anger to tears and despair in a single day. He remembered feeling like this when his much-loved grandfather died when he was 12.
When Danny was asked how he coped then, he said he’d planted a tree in the woods where he’d walked with his grandad. He also wrote a diary, telling his grandad what he’d been up to. He didn’t realise these two things had helped him cope.
Danny had a good relationship with his counsellor and they worked out together that if he started a memory box and wrote a blog to himself he would feel closer to his son. He also started to email his ex regularly about ordinary things while they negotiated how to keep Danny in contact with his son for the short term without making big plans for the future.
Using past experiences to help you cope
You can find the ways that will help you cope with your thoughts and feelings by thinking about the challenging things that have happened to you in the past, particularly when you were young. You may have moved house, lost a pet, hurt yourself or changed schools. Consider one example, and write down:
- What did you think and how did you feel at the time?
- Was there something practical and helpful that you did that helped you cope?
- Is there something similar you can do now?
Why not try our ‘Ready to separate’ tool?
Facing the end of your relationship can be traumatic and confusing. Our free tool can help you work out what to do next.