Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Post-Divorce Growth

Did you know there’s an area of research about posttraumatic growth? It focuses on how people make positive changes after trauma. I’m not saying getting a divorce is like being in a train wreck…okay, I am saying getting a divorce is like being in a train wreck. Hence the applicability of the posttraumatic growth literature.

I see many people who display just the sort of changes reflected in this area of research, post-divorce, including:

Increased ability to see possibilities in things. Many develop new interests that either were actively thwarted by the former spouse or simply not supported. Necessity being the mother of invention, sometimes the need to earn more or change the work schedule enables people to create more meaningful and satisfying lives.

Positive changes relating to others. I often see people putting more effort into relationships, accepting that they need people (you know, people who need people are the luckiest people).

Changes in personal strengths. Seeing the self as stronger is a common side-effect of divorce. You do what you gotta do, and perhaps never realized before that you could.

Changes in spirituality. I see a lot of personal growth. Leaving a significant relationship may start a search for meaning or a desire to become more accepting of the curve balls life throws our ways.

Maybe having a new appreciation of the value of one’s life, as real train wreck survivors are likely to have, is not a typical byproduct of divorce. Then again, we don’t have to worry about survivor guilt, do we?

Just for fun, you can take the Post traumatic Growth Inventory.

Now that I've used the line, the only song that comes to mind is People, Barbra Streisand.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Friendship Post-divorce

Wondering what to get your post-divorce friend? Now, a department store in London has the answer to that very question. Yup, a gift registry for the divorced.

Seriously though, it raises something important for the post-divorce person. What do you need from your friends?

There are things for which a gift registry makes sense. Then there are the things you can’t buy. These are things like being loved, you know…priceless:
Spend time with your friend
Invite your friend places even though s/he is not a couple
Call and listen even if your friend is still whining
Tell your friend how wonderful, handsome/gorgeous, brilliant, etc. they are
Remind your friend why they made the choice they did or are in the situation they’re in…there’s always something positive here, a la:
Anybody who ever built an empire, or changed the world, sat where you you are now. And it’s because they sat there that they were able
to do it.
Ryan Bingham, Up in the Air
Introduce your friend to other friends (not potential partners)
Include your friend during holidays
Go to a movie with your friend

If you’re reading the post-divorce blog, you’re probably divorced and need to pass this along to your friends so they know what to do. AND, you can ask for these things. Don’t be shy, say what you need.

For inspiration to say what you need, have a listen to Say, John Mayer