The Effects of Divorce

The Effects of Divorce are far reaching, resulting from and in multi-generational distress and dysfunction that haunts half of the American population today. When considered on the scale of life’s great stresses, next to death, Divorce is at the top.

In 1969, The Five Stages Of Grief was first introduced by Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her book, On Death and Dying. And it is this model that most closely resembles the results and stages one goes through during the divorce process.

Where once there was the holy trinity of marriage – the You, the Me and the WE… it is the death of the WE that exacts such a heavy blow to the psyche that many never recover.

The stages, popularly known in its abbreviated form DABDA, include:

  1. Denial — “My Marriage is not that bad”; “This can’t be happening, not to me.”
    Denial is usually only a temporary defense for the individual. This feeling is generally replaced with heightened awareness of possessions and individuals that will be effected by the destruction of the family.
  2. Anger — “Why me? It’s not fair!”; “How can this happen to me?”; ‘”Who is to blame?”
    Once in the second stage, the individual recognizes that denial cannot continue. Because of anger, the person is very difficult to care for due to misplaced feelings of rage and envy. Any individual that symbolizes life or energy is subject to projected resentment and jealousy.
  3. Bargaining — “Just let me make this marriage work”; “I’ll do anything for a few more years.Husband & Wife Walk . . .  (to divorce court)
    by Keoni Cabral under CC-SA ”; “I will give my life savings if if you stay with me, I swear I can make it better.”
    The third stage involves the hope that the individual can somehow postpone or delay divorce. Usually, the negotiation for an extended marriage or continuing the marriage is made with a higher power in exchange for a reformed lifestyle. Psychologically, the individual is saying, “I understand this marriage is failing, but if I could just have more time…”
  4. Depression — “I’m so sad, why bother with anything?”; “My Marriage is over… What’s the point?”; “I miss my loved one, why go on?”
    During the fourth stage, the divorcing person begins to understand the certainty of divorce. Because of this, the individual may become silent, refuse visitors and spend much of the time crying and grieving. This process allows the dying person to disconnect from things of love and affection. It is not recommended to attempt to cheer up an individual who is in this stage. It is an important time for grieving that must be processed.
  5. Acceptance — “It’s going to be okay.”; “I can’t fight it, I may as well prepare for it.”
    In this last stage, the individual begins to come to terms with her/his divorce.

For more information on the effects of divorce, please review the information on divorce tactics, empowering yourself with the assistance of a divorce coach, protecting your home from the courts and collectors during your divorce from foreclosure, or get statistics on divorce in California, American Divorce Rates, and Divorce Rate in 2011.


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