Updated: Aug 10, 2022
loneliness after divorce feels so heavy and impossible to bear. Let's talk about how to deal with it more effectively.
Divorce brings with it more pain and heartache than you ever thought possible. You feel betrayed, misunderstood and hurt. But most of all, underneath all of the sadness and pain, lingers the overwhelming sense of loneliness.
Loneliness can feel so heavy and hard. It seems like it will stick around longer than any of the other hurt that we feel after divorce.
Listen in to today's episode where I tackle what loneliness is, why we tend to make things much harder on ourselves, and how you can start to feel connected today to yourself lessening the times when you feel incapacitated by the lonely.
For access to the exclusive free loneliness guide, 3 Things To Do Right Now To Stop Feeling Lonely click here.
If you're so over feeling powerless over the loneliness, then you need to schedule your free consult call with me. This is where we'll talk about how loneliness completely sucks and then I'll walk you through how I'll be able to help pull you out of the loneliness overwhelm. Click here to schedule.
What you'll learn from this episode:
What loneliness actually is.
How to stop the loneliness cycle without completely revamping your life.
Stepping out of the drama and into the process.
What to do today to feel more connected.
List to the full episode:
Featured on this episode:
Interested in the Divorce Betrayal Transformation? Learn more here.
Are you lost and confused about who you are after divorce? Don't worry. I've got 51 Ways to Get to Know Yourself Again. Click here to download.
Want to know first hand how Karin can help you with your specific problems and create an even better life than when you were married? Click here to schedule a free consult.
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For access to the exclusive free loneliness guide, 3 Things To Do Right Now To Stop Feeling Lonely click here.
Full Episode Transcript:
Welcome back to Becoming You Again. I’m your host Karin Nelson. I’m a certified divorce confidence coach and this is the podcast where I teach you how to how to reconnect with yourself, create emotional resiliency and live a truly independent life, so you can have an even better life than when you were married.
Hello my friends. How is everyone doing today? I’m doing so, so great today. I am excited about today’s topic. So the other day I was thinking back to a time after my divorce - think it was probably my first weekend-ish where I was without my kids. Now for those of you that don’t know my divorce story is a little different than others. My ex and I lived in the same house all through our separation which was about a year and then for another six months or so after the divorce was final. He lived in the basement and he and I and our two kids, we all lived in the same house.
But he eventually did move out to an apartment about 5 minutes from our house and once he did that we started our custody agreement where he would have them two nights a week and every other weekend and vice versa. So this was, I am pretty sure it was the first weekend, but it was one of the first anyway where my kids were at their new place with their dad and at the time my boyfriend and I had actually decided to take a little break and so I was alone – for the first time in a really, really long, long time. No kids, no partner, no ex-husband, nobody else at the house with me for like several days in a row. I think it was like a five day period because it was the weekend where they were at their dad’s and then the first two days of the week where they would be also at their dad’s. So it was like a five day period of time, which was very unusual for me, at that time to find myself all alone. And not just physically alone, but it was the first time I really began to notice that I was feeling lonely after my divorce. So I was thinking back to this weekend the other day and I was thinking back to how that loneliness felt and I knew that I needed to talk about this on the podcast because I know that so many of you are really challenged when it comes to loneliness and I understand just working with my own clients and being in this space myself years ago that loneliness is one of the most common feelings that divorced women experience and so I really wanted to talk about it.
So today I’ll be teaching you about loneliness, why you’re feeling it and what you can do today to feel better. I want you to make sure you stick around to the end of the podcast because I have a special offer that is exclusive to this podcast episode. It goes right along with loneliness and I want you to have access to it so make sure you stick around to the end to hear about that.
When you’re feeling lonely, why do you think you’re lonely? What’s making you feel that way? Most of the people that I coach and that I am in contact with think that they are lonely because the relationship is over, because their marriage is over. They don’t have a boyfriend anymore. Maybe their kids are gone, they have moved out or maybe they’re just at their dad’s for the weekend or whatever. But most people think that the loneliness is there because they are not surrounded by other people. They don’t have anyone else to talk to or there is not someone else in their presence, right?
I’m about to blow your mind when it comes to what loneliness actually is because none of that is true. Loneliness is a feeling and it isn’t created because of anything that is happening outside of you. Loneliness is created because of what you’re thinking.
Now of course there is the difference between being alone, the actual physical state of being alone and loneliness. Loneliness is created when we think thoughts about how alone we are and how lonely we are and how we might not be with someone else in the future. And then our brain sends down chemicals into our body that creates a sensation and we label that as lonely. So there is definitely a difference between being alone and feeling lonely and sometimes we can feel both of those at the same time. We can have both of those happening at the same time and other times we can still be surrounded by people and yet we still feel lonely. So I am going to kind of break that down and explain more about that because here is how we know this to be true that loneliness is actually a feeling that we are creating by what we are thinking.
Have you ever met or talked to someone who is in a relationship or a marriage and the person sees their partner often. They have kids, they interact with family and friends on the regular and yet they talk about how lonely they feel? How they lay their heads down at night and they just feel so empty and lonely inside, right? It is because they are not lonely because of what is going on around them and who is next to them and if they have someone to talk to or if they are in a relationship or not. They are lonely because of what they are thinking. They aren’t lonely because of what’s going on around them and who is by them and if they’re in a relationship or not. They are lonely because of what they’re thinking.
So if it’s true that loneliness is caused because of what you’re thinking that I want you to recognize that this is literally the best news ever. Why? Because it puts you in control of whether or not you continue to feel lonely. And it doesn’t mean that you have to change your custody agreement and it doesn’t mean that you have your kids more often. It doesn’t mean that you have to start dating and be in a new relationship even before you are ready or even if you do not want to. It doesn’t mean you have to go out and make new friends or be around your family more often. It does not mean any of that although all of those things are great if you decide that’s what you want those in your life, but you don’t have to do those things in order to stop feeling lonely.
So what do you have to do instead? The first thing you need to work on is you need to accept where you’re at right now. Accept that you are having thoughts that are making you feel lonely. Accept response ability for that and tell yourself that it’s okay that you’re where you’re at and by okay I don’t mean it’s fine. I’m fine and I’m just going to pretend like everything’s fine and nothing is the matter with me. Like I’m not lonely, I’m just going to pretend. That’s not what I mean by it’s okay. What I mean by it’s okay is it’s okay to feel lonely. You don’t have to feel shame because you are feeling lonely and you don’t have to judge yourself because you are feeling lonely. You can just allow yourself to feel that emotion of loneliness and process it while you go about living your life day to day. While you lay your head down at night when you are in your house all alone.
Feeling lonely doesn’t have to be a big dramatic problem but it is what we normally make it out to be. It’s just that our brains want to make it out to be something so terrible, like it’s the most unbearable, heavy terrible feeling out there. But that’s just our brain creating drama out of nothing. Our brain is really good at creating drama. It really is doing it to try and protect us. But again loneliness is a feeling and feelings are sensations in our body. The more we can recognize that and understand that and really step into the knowledge that feelings are just sensations in our body and our bodies know exactly what to do with them when we allow our bodies to process through them, that really nothing has gone wrong when we are feeling them. So when we have thoughts our brain releases chemicals into our blood stream and those chemicals move through our body creating sensations that we label as a feeling and there are certain sensations that we feel and we call it lonely. So pay attention next time when you’re feeling lonely and really get out of your head and into your body and figure out what those sensations feel like. Where are you feeling him?
But that in and of itself is really not dramatic if you think about it. Right, just chemicals going through your blood stream into your body. What makes the loneliness feel so dramatic and so heavy and so hard is all of the thoughts that go along with it. And when you really start to pay attention to this you’re going to notice what your brain is doing. When you’re feeling lonely and it’s feeling heavy and hard and impossible and he want it to stop, your brain I guarantee is going to be spinning in thoughts and the thought to look something like, “Why me? I hate being alone. I miss my kids so much. This is so hard. I miss my ex or what we once had. Or I miss just being around people. I hate that I’m alone. I hate this feeling. I wish that it would go away. It’s too hard. It’s too heavy. I can’t do this. I don’t want to do this forever. What if I never find love again? What if I’m alone for the rest of my life?”
Do you see that spin? Do you see how heavy that makes it and how dramatic it makes it? And on and on your brain will spin until the emotional sensations of loneliness continue to pile up inside you and because you are resisting it instead of allowing it and processing it, it’s building up inside your body and then that’s when your mental and emotional life combine together and it makes it hard and it makes a heavy and it makes it exhausting and it makes it feel impossible and it is really hard to pull yourself out of it.
But you don’t have to continue in this loneliness cycle. You can get really good at letting those thoughts (remember the spinning thoughts), you can get really good at letting those thoughts go even for just a minute, and feel what loneliness is inside your body. Figure out what those sensations are.
When you get out of your head and the spinning stories and those thoughts, what do the sensations of loneliness feel like in your body? Where do you feel them? What’s happening? If you had to describe what it looked like in your body what would you say? How would you describe it? How would you write it out? Once you learn that you can drop the drama around the loneliness, that’s when you’ll be able to really process through that emotion and you’ll realize that it’s really no big deal to feel loneliness.
Once you begin to realize that feeling lonely isn’t a problem, that’s when you can begin to look for ways to reconnect with yourself. And feeling connected and feeling lonely, they just can’t happen at the same time. It’s just not even possible. If you use this as an opportunity to reconnect with yourself, then you’ll shorten the time that you’re feeling lonely in the first place.
Look for ways to connect with yourself in these moments, right? When I’m looking for new thoughts to think that are going to help me in my life rather than using the same old thoughts that have kept me stuck over and over and over. I like to ask myself really useful questions and then answer them. Because often we’ll ask ourselves questions that just aren’t useful and then our brain doesn’t want to answer them or we’ll just say, “I don’t know” because we haven’t asked a useful question. Our brain is really smart and really good at figuring things out. So put it to work. When you’re in these moments and you’ve been able to step out of your brain for just a minute and feel the sensations, now you’re ready to reconnect with yourself. Ask yourself some of these questions. How can I connect with myself today that will help me feel better? What useful thought can I think that will inspire me to take action today to feel less lonely? Those are really good questions that will make your brain work instead of allowing it to continue to spin and go down that rabbit hole of loneliness. So answer those questions and you will begin to fill in those moments of loneliness with connection to yourself instead.
For example, I was coaching a woman who was lonely and really missing the actual physical touch as a way to connect with someone. Right? We all miss physical touch. It’s part of being a human. We like to shake hands and hug and be close to people, right, just in the vicinity. We love that feeling of connection. And so I asked her because she doesn’t have a boyfriend and she was really struggling with really missing that physical connection and feeling lonely. I asked her how often does she touch herself (and I wasn’t asking this in a sexual way at all, although that can be – if you’re open to that that can be a good way to connect with yourself and will allow you to change your thoughts around loneliness because you’ll be connecting with yourself) but that’s now how I was asking it. I was asking how often does she allow herself to be open to her own touch? She didn’t have an answer for that because it had never occurred to her that she could connect with herself in that way through her own physical touch. We brainstormed and she was able to use this idea of connection and changing her thoughts of loneliness through her own physical touch and she came up with the idea of using body oil after her shower instead of lotion. She said that she was hoping that the act of rubbing the oil over her body but that thought of really taking the time to caress her skin and love herself as she does this and filling her mind with thoughts of gratitude for all that her body had overcome and all that her body provided her and all that her body did for her every single day, she decided that she would be able to connect with herself and feel luxurious and loved.
So it’s these types of thoughts that are going to help you create a connection with yourself and you’re going to be able to fill in those times when loneliness is trying to take over. Because of feeling lonely you are going to feel connected.
Because this problem of loneliness is so prevalent among divorced women and they don’t realize that there truly is so much they can do to really take back their power and create connection with themselves and overcome this feeling of loneliness in those moments when it feels so overpowering, I created a free loneliness guide. It is a mindset guide that is going to take you through and navigate through the loneliness that you’re having during and after your divorce. In this guide you’re going to discover tools and techniques that are going to help you understand number one, why you’re feeling lonely; number two, why what you’ve tried hasn’t worked, why it’s not working, why it’s not going to work; and number three, how you can begin to feel less lonely and more connected to yourself and your current life right now.
Like I said this guide is free to anyone who wants it. All you need to do is click the link in the description of this podcast to get access to the free loneliness guide. All right! That’s it for today and I will talk to you next week.
If you like what you heard on today’s podcast and you want to know more about working 1:1 with me, you can go to www.karinnelsoncoaching.com and schedule your free consult to find out more. That’s www dot Karin nelson coaching dot com.
Thanks for listening. If this podcast episode agreed with you in any way, please take a minute to follow, rate and leave a comment. And for more details make sure to check out the show notes by clicking the link in the description.