top of page

Ep #4: Emotional Detachment After Divorce | Becoming You Again Podcast

Divorce often feels like you're on an emotional rollercoaster. Listen in to find out how to create emotional detachment after divorce so you can step off that rollercoaster.

Divorce often feels like you're on an emotional rollercoaster. It's common to feel like you can't move on after divorce because of the emotional baggage you're carrying around created by your ex. The negative emotions can feel heavy and overwhelming.

Listen in to discover two new concepts you can implement to help you create emotional detachment after divorce and step off that emotional rollercoaster.

If you want to start living a life where you feel in control of your emotions, without feeling overwhelmed or that your ex is still emotionally manipulating you, then you need to schedule your free consult call with me. Click here to schedule.

What you'll learn from this episode:

  1. What's actually causing your emotions.

  2. How to take back control over your emotions.

  3. Why awareness is the key to change.

  4. How to process through any emotion.

List to the full episode:

Full Episode Transcript:

Welcome back to Becoming You Again. I am Karin Nelson and I am your host for today’s episode. Well for all of the episodes really. If we want to be real about it, I’m the host of all of the episodes but I am so glad that you are back for another podcast because today I’m going to be talking about emotional detachment after divorce.

Many people come to me struggling with the emotional rollercoaster they are on during and after their divorce. It’s very common to feel really like your life is on a rollercoaster because the highs are so high and the lows are so low and it is always up and down or at least that is what it feels like when you are going through a divorce and often for months and months after the divorce. And they find that what they’ve been doing to emotionally detach is to just try and cope with their divorce. This often happens by blaming their feelings on everything that’s happening outside of them or by avoiding any and all negative emotion because they’re too heavy, too hard and exhausting. Often times I hear, “I’m just so tired of feeling all of the emotions, that I just want them all to go away.”

We think it’s going to be impossible to emotionally detach after divorce but this is only because we haven’t learned to take responsibility for our own emotional life. This usually happens for two main reasons. The first reason is because most of the time we think that we are feeling a “negative” feeling like sad, lonely, angry, frustrated. I mean really just insert any other negative emotion that you can think of, right? And we think it is happening because of something outside of us. We are giving all of the power and all of the blame to all of the things outside of us that we have no control over. So we’ll say things like, “My divorce made me so sad and bitter.” Or “My ex makes me so frustrated.” Or “COVID is causing me so much anxiety.” Right? It’s not just things in our divorce that make us feel like our emotions are because of outside things. It is literally so much of our life we base off of how we feel because of what’s happening outside of us. When we attribute what we’re feeling to things out of our control it leaves us feeling powerless to change those feelings because unless everything outside of us changes, we kind of lose hope that we’ll ever be able to feel better.

And the second reason that you haven’t been able to emotionally detach from your divorce is because you think that these emotions hurt really, really bad. That feels so true often, right? The sadness, the depression, the loneliness, the frustration, the anger, the heat; it can feel so all-consuming. In fact it feels so bad that we believe that it is too big, too raw, too heavy and just overwhelmingly exhausting. We don’t think we can handle them. We have all of this evidence that it has been too hard so far. So we do not want to feel them anymore. What we want to do is get rid of them because we just want to feel better. This shows up in many different ways but it can look like finding something to help distract us from the painful emotions. Sometimes we’ll overeat or maybe we’ll binge watch Netflix for hours and hours on end. Or maybe we’ll play video games or maybe even we’ll go to the gym a lot and over exercise. Anything that is going to help distract us in the moment to maybe make us feel a little bit better. It could also look like jumping into a new relationship so that you’re distracted by the excitement and thrill of meeting new people, hoping they’ll make you happy and hoping they’ll fill the void you feel inside. Or it can also look like becoming apathetic and disconnecting from as many people in your life as possible because then you can’t be hurt. If you’re not close enough to anyone they can’t hurt you. The problem with this one is you also disconnect from yourself.

So in today’s podcast episode I’m going to teach you some new concepts that will help you emotionally detach from your divorce in a healthy way and you don’t have to have the world to change for you and you don’t have to disconnect from yourself or your life or even check out of your life to be able to do it.

The first thing you need to do is you need to stop attributing your feelings to things outside of you. Another way of saying this is to stop telling yourself that you’re feeling something because of something else. You’re feeling something because you’re thinking something.

Let me break it down. We all have situations in our lives that happen. Circumstances, right? They are all around us. They are going on all around us. For the most part we can’t control those situations; those circumstances. We give those situations meaning and once we give it meaning that is what creates a feeling inside of our body. The meaning comes from how we’re thinking. It comes from so many different aspects of our lives. It comes from how we were raised. What our parents taught us. Maybe something that we saw or read or have seen in a TV show or a movie or grew up with that we’ve just kind of adopted to be true. Maybe it came from our culture or society around us. There are so many things that inform us to help us give meaning to things. The thoughts we’re thinking about each situation is what causes us to feel something inside our body. It causes those sensations that we are labeling as feelings. Whatever we’re feeling is going to drive us to act or not act in certain ways and those actions ultimately create our life experience.

So let me give you an example. Let’s say you’re having a conversation with your ex about Thanksgiving and he has the kids for the day. He says, “We’re going to my parents and we won’t be back until 8 pm so I’ll need them for two extra hours.” You become very angry but you don’t want to yell in front of the kids because they’re on the speaker phone and so you quickly end the conversation and just say, “I’m going to talk to you about this later.” And then you hang up.

So, this is what you do. You go on social media to your divorce groups and you post about what just happened and you’re saying how you have to vent about this and you talk about it and you’re seething inside. You just want validation that you’re right and he’s wrong. You’re so sick of him making you so angry that you wish that you two could just work things out and coparent in a way where you get along. You then go the cupboard and grab some Oreos to take the edge off the anger for a moment. Then you continue to spin about it in your head the rest of the day thinking about how he’s wrong, he’s doing it wrong, he never should have asked for the extra hours. You’re going to missing your kids terribly on Thanksgiving and how could he possibly even disrespect you in the way that he should ask for two extra hours. Right? We all can relate to a story like this.

In this scenario you are attributing your anger to what your ex said. Now I just want to break the news to you here. This sucks for you because it means that you need him to change in order for you to feel better. It means that he needs to stop saying things, and asking for requests, and telling you that he’s going to bring the kids home two hours late. And he needs to stop doing all of the things that are not meeting your expectation of who you think he should be. Now, we know that’s not likely going to happen. You lived with him for however many years you were married and did he ever change to meet your expectations? My guess is probably not. So we can just probably guess that he’s still not going to meet that expectation. But here’s the really great news for you. We don’t need him to change in order for you to feel better. When you give away your responsibility of your emotional life to things outside of you what it also does it it makes you a victim of an emotion because it makes you think that you can’t control it. But that’s just not true. You are always in charge of your emotions. Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t feel these things. Of course, feel whatever you’re feeling, but take ownership of them. Lynn Robbins was teaching the principle on this and he said this, “No one makes us mad. Others don’t make us angry. There is no force involved. Becoming angry is a conscious choice, a decision. Therefore we can make the choice not to become angry. We choose.”

So again, I don’t want you to hear me wrong here. I’m not saying don’t get angry. I am not saying don’t feel negative emotion. Of course, feel those. That is part of the human experience. It is a beautiful thing to feel any and all emotion and to allow those to be there. What I am saying is stop giving the responsibility of you feeling that way to something outside of