You can’t avoid triggers. They’re everywhere. The longer you were coupled, the more you have. Some days, it might seem as if everything is a trigger. If you were together for decades, that’s likely. You literally shared millions of moments. Deepak Chopra used to say that couples shared sub-atomic particles by being so physically close for so long and literally breathing each other’s breath. Those particles became part of your cellular self. If it takes the body seven years to completely refresh its cells you can make a great case that it takes time to fully heal. Be patient and loving to yourself as myriad scents, foods, places, movies, seasons, holidays and birthdays trigger a roller-coaster of memories.
Even if you were only married a year you still amassed a bushel of shared experiences; and, many were good. Because these experiences didn’t happen in a vacuum, there are sounds, sights, smells, touches, and tastes that when re-encountered trigger a flood of memories and feelings. While you can’t really prepare for this sensory/emotional bombardment, you can be sure it will happen. Having a heads-up means you’ll be better able to cope with the tsunami of feelings when they wash over you. By making it safe to feel them all, even the scariest ones (like those that make you question if splitting was the right choice), you move forward.
Progress may be indiscernible to the naked eye, but it is there. My favorite example of this almost-unmeasurable growth comes from yoga. Imagine you are doing a standing forward bend. You would like your hands to reach the floor, but they don’t, so you get a 365 page book and rest your fingers on it. Every day you remove one page. By the end of the year your hands reach the floor. This dark emotional journey of healing through divorce is like the book: bit by bit, you move into a fresh way of being in yourself and in the world, creating a new life while befriending your scariest thoughts and feelings.
One day, when you least expect it, something that was a reliable trigger won’t press all those emotional buttons. You’ll be centered and peaceful.
Copyright Nicole S. Urdang