God only knows how many times it happened to me. I’d think I was fine. Suddenly a certain song would come on the radio, or something else would trigger an emotion related to my divorce. Clear out of the blue…ZAP!
There I was tearing up again. A gut-wrenching stir of turmoil was rising inside—an emotional flare-up for sure. Over time, as I continued to work through my divorce, emotional flare-ups went away.
Emotional flare-ups are normal for those recovering from divorce. The smell of your former spouse’s cologne, a song, or any number of things that stimulate a memory may blindside you with a surge in emotions. Emotional flare-ups can happen at the most unexpected times, even after you start to think you are okay.
It is not surprising to experience a flare-up of emotions during the holidays or on anniversaries. Times that were special times with your former mate may initially be difficult when by yourself. Planning these times to minimize emotional distress, especially if children are involved, can help to ease the adjustment.
Anticipating a first holiday alone may in fact be more stressful than the actual day once it comes. As much as it is possible, relax and allow first holidays and anniversaries to come and go. Over the coming years you can decide what old traditions to keep and as a matter of course, create new traditions and new memories. The joy can once again return to these occasions.
The emotions associated with divorce are not turned off with the flick of a switch, but rather with a dimmer. That’s okay because it allows you time to work through the emotional and lifestyle shifts you must make. Emotional flare-ups, both unexpected and anticipated are simply going to happen.
Realize they are normal, allow yourself to feel them, cry if that is what you feel like doing. Tears will likely help to wash the flare-up away.
The encouraging word is that as you prayerfully continue to work through emotional flare-ups, they are likely to reduce in frequency and intensity. Realize that they are normal and serve a purpose. They help us to un-weave a past relationship slowly and day-by-day to move toward the future.
I can tell you that emotional flare-ups are normal. I can tell you to allow yourself to get the emotion out and to process the feelings and that over time emotional flare ups will subside. But the truth is that when they are happening, emotional flare-ups can be lonely.
I can assure you that you really don’t have to experience emotional flare-ups alone. God is with you so talk with him about what you are experiencing.
But in my distress I cried out to the Lord; I prayed to my God for help. He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry to him reached his ears.” Psalm 18:6 NLT
Lord help! They cried in their trouble, and he rescued them from their distress.” Psalm 107:6 NLT
Have faith that your prayers are heard. Know that God feels for you in your pain and walks with you every step of the way as you heal…and you will.
Yes…emotional flare-ups are a part of the journey to healing. Emotional flare-ups help you work through grief so that you can come out on the other side where hope and wholeness await you.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 NIV
NOTE: If you find you are having trouble working through emotional flare-ups on your own, consider finding a support group or seeking a counselor.
Join me! Let’s create a blanket of healing from divorce that spreads far and wide.
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Thanks so much, Renee
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