Personal Loss Divorced After 32 Years of Marriage
My personal loss is the fact that my ex-husband asked me for the divorce after 32 years in marriage. Despite the separation, my relationship is good with my children.
Section 1: Personal response to loss
Why was the loss significant to you? What determines significance? How did you respond to this loss?
Losing my 32-years marriage was significant especially, because I disconnected with my husband who I considered my closest friend. Besides I felt the weight of the divorce as I lost the strong bond we had established when we were married. I had grown fond of my ex-husband over the time we were together. I knew what he liked and disliked and I can say that he understood me better than anyone else. To a large extent, separating with my former husband was significant as it affected my happiness. After the divorce, I had to start life over again with nothing and this was difficult for me and my two children. What is more, the divorce deprived me the joy of having a complete family. Previously, I had never envisioned having dinner or going on vacation with my children only in the absence of their father. Nevertheless, the fact that this was actually happening to me now made me sad to a point I got into depression and grief. According to Eckenrode, (2013) many people are likely to experience depression after a divorce. However, I made efforts to be in good terms with my ex-husband through the help of my siblings and close family members even though it did not work out.
What defense mechanisms/coping strategies did you use as you faced this loss?
To cope with divorce after 32 years marriage, one of the mechanisms I employed was talking about it. Research shows that sharing one’s hurt feelings with concerned individuals reduces emotional suffering (Eckenrode, 2013). As such, it is recommendable for divorced persons to talk about their issues with people they trust as it enables them to cope easily (Eckenrode, 2013). As for me, talking about the damaged relationship with my parents, siblings and concerned friends helped me to manage the loss as they offered comforting advice. I also attended psychotherapy sessions where I shared the most private feelings with my physician who guided me on how to effectively overcome stress and grief. Besides, I found distractions helpful in coping with the loss. I started going to the gym and watching movies frequently with my friends. Moreover, I would distract myself from the hurtful feelings of the loss by reading novels more often.
What personal strengths helped you? What personal limitations may have hindered your process?
I consider myself a sociable and an outgoing person. These are some of the personal factors that played a significant role in helping me cope with the loss. I met and interacted with new people whenever I went out. This was a good way of distracting myself and helped me not to concentrate on the divorce. In addition, I am an optimistic person and this gave me hope that my life will be normal again. As I followed the advice given by my social support members including friends and family, I was positive that a time would come when I would no longer feel terrible again about being divorced. On the other hand, the fact that I am an emotionally weak person weighed me down and hindered my coping process. Even though I received emotional support from extended family members, my children and friends, I had a difficult time to come to terms that my ex-partner had asked me to divorce him. I would weep just at the thought that I would spend the rest of my life as a single person since I have never considered being remarried.
Section 2: Personal loss and its impact on your praxis
How might your loss history strengthen your work as a professional social worker?
My history with divorce can strengthen my social work practice career since I have the experience necessary to offer professional guidance to separated people. I know exactly what one goes through when they face a similar loss as I was there before. I know what it means to lose someone whom you thought would spend the rest of your life together and I know what it is to start life all over again without anything after being married for 32 years. Typically, the struggles I underwent as a result of the divorce made me highly knowledgeable about the effective coping strategies I can recommend for people who face similar losses.
How could it potentially limit your work?
The fact that I lost my marriage can greatly limit my social work practice. I might be biased when dealing with male clients who are divorced as a result of being angry with my former spouse. I might judge them more harshly than women and this would be unethical since as a social worker, it is my duty to ensure that everyone can cope with the difficulties they are facing regardless of their gender, and age, among other factors.
As a result of your loss, are there any specific issues, areas or situations that might be challenging or difficult for you in your social work practice?
From my experience as a divorcee, one of the situations which can be challenging in my social work practice is making sure that couples remain in good terms even after a divorce. Having no grudges against one’s ex-partner is one of the strategies that can help people who have divorced to move on quickly with their lives (Eckenrode, 2013). However, many of the divorced clients I have been dealing with do not wish to have good relations with their ex-husbands or ex-wives.
Eckenrode, J. (Ed.). (2013). The social context of coping. Springer Science & Business Media.