Dealing with your emotions

If you’ve recently separated, if you’re going through separation, or even if you’ve been separated a while, you may be struggling with your emotions. But it’s important that you learn to move on, so that you and the other parent can focus on making arrangements for the children.

Understanding your emotions

Some experts say that there are a number of different stages that separating parents (and children) go through. The five below are common ones.

Stage 1 – Shock

Stage 2 – Denial

Stage 3 – Anger

Stage 4 – Grief

Stage 5 – Acceptance

Understanding what stage you are at could help you feel more able to recognise and deal with your own emotions. But try and keep in mind that everyone deals with separation differently.

For more about how your child might be feeling and how to deal with it, see Helping your child with separation.

Dealing with negative emotions

While it’s natural to feel bad for a while after separation, eventually you’ll want to deal with those negative feelings. Otherwise it will be really hard to let go of the past and look to the future.

You’re not alone – many people have felt like you do and managed to turn things around.

We don’t have all the answers, and there may be no ‘quick fixes’. But there are lots of things you can do to make it easier on yourself. Here are just a couple of examples:

  • Find ways to boost your self-esteem
  • Think positively
  • Set goals for the future

Ask for help if you need it

Simply talking things through with someone may help you to cope with your emotions. Make sure that you confide in someone who has your best interests at heart, and not someone who’s going to say ‘I told you it would never work.’

If you want to talk to someone outside your circle of friends and family, why not find out about local support groups or talk to a health professional such as your GP or health visitor?

If you’re looking for information, advice or simply want to chat about how you feel with others in a similar situation, there are other useful organisations that can also help you.

 When to get professional help

If things really get too much then it might be best to see your GP, especially if:

  • your emotions continue to overwhelm you
  • you have symptoms of anxiety or depression – these can include constantly feeling on edge, or low or sad
  • you aren’t sleeping, or
  • are concerned about other problems.

One in five people visit their GP when going through a separation. In many circumstances it really can help.