It's difficult to get through a divorce without feeling completely mentally exhausted when it's over.  Many of us are still processing the multiple Stages of Divorce that represent the natural resolution to a difficult situation in our life.  It's completely understandable to get stuck in one stage or another.  Based on your specific circumstances, the stage that holds you up can vary.

Are you stuck in a fog from the past?

The longer you're left in a particularly tough time in your life, the harder it is to get past it.  It's like everyday expands the picture from the past until one day it's all you think about.  It's so gradual that you hardly realize it has completely overtaken every part of your life.  Your surroundings get darker and positive energy disappears.  

Friends and family may try to bring you back to the land of the living, but you may find it difficult to see beyond what has overtaken your life.  Some of the emotions you may fee could be: grief, frustration, anger or blame.  Most of this negative energy produces a great deal of stress, anxiety and depression.  These also damage your ability to fully recognize the difference in your everyday life.  

Your quality of life diminishes into a constant state of living in the broken past.  Soon, it surrounds you like a cloud of fog making it difficult to know that you aren't just looking back in time, but you are actually living in it.  Comparing everything to it, thinking about everyone in it, considering what you had and what you lost-  The bad memories completely overshadow the good ones and damage your ability to fix the problems of today in order to achieve your goals and personal happiness.

No matter what good thing happens, that fog from the past diminishes your ability to get a clear picture that helps you move on with your life.  It takes some of us years to realize how our present life has been damaged by something or someone from our past.  But, the only way to get over such pain is to recognize where it originates and deal with it.

How to move on with life after divorce

Step one

Know all of the Stages of Divorce so that you can recognize where you got stuck.  It doesn't matter if you have recently been divorced or been divorced for years.  The stages vary from person-to-person based on your personality, circumstances and lifestyle.  

Step two

Determine the specific issues that have held you back from letting go of the pain from the past.  Set daily goals to overcome these issues.  This doesn't mean to obsess over them.  In fact, you should do just the opposite.  Determine the problem and produce a positive solution. 

Know that the solution may be independent of that problem.  This means that often we fail to determine an actionable solution, because we're focused on the wrong problem.  When a problem seems unresolved, you may need to reevaluate it to determine a more defined problem that enables you to take reasonable action to solve it.  This prevents a lot of useless bit#*ing and provides more solutions. 

e.g.  Problem - Settlement 

You didn't feel you accepted a fair settlement because you don't have enough money to live on since your divorce.  Don't just think of the settlement problem.  Think of the end-solution.  In this case, you need more money or less debts.  The solution should be about that, not the settlement.  

Regardless what the long-unsolved problem is, you should dig deeper than what you originally think it is in order to fully resolve it.  The solution then would be to learn to let go of "it's not fair", because in this case - like many, it won't pay your bills or contribute to the solution.  Instead it clouds your perspective in finding solutions.

Oh! And newsflash, most of us feel we received unfair settlements/judgements.  And yes, we all feel our situation is unique, rarely, few actually are-  If your attorney advises you an appeal or modification is not worth pursing, boohoo for awhile.  But, don't get stuck too long and don't let it be an excuse to improving your life. 

A common solution for post-settlement blues...

Make money, not excuses and you'll find your way out of the cruddy situation many of us find ourselves in after divorce.  While most of us may feel our situation is worse than average and that our problem is tremendous, the solution is usually simpler than we think, because we're thinking too much on the wrong side of the problem.  Once we begin to solve it, we automatically get on the right side of it and the solution gets easier by the day.

So, in this case, independent of your settlement problem, your solution is to make more money or reduce your spending/debts (regardless why - because why just muddies the water and makes a resolution seem more complicated).  

If you try to solve the problem with direct attention on the settlement, you may falsely believe the answer is to try to take your ex back to court, which is difficult and rarely leads to a positive outcome.  It's also not the end-solution, which is to immediately improve your financial well-being.  A lengthy court battle is risky, costly and time consuming.  Getting past the original problem is sometimes the only way to find the solution that really improves your life.

Ask yourself, if you made enough money to live as you like, would you really have an interest on some settlement from years back?  

  • Yes

If the answer is yes, then your problem is actually two problems.  The first (your financial hardship) was a cloak of the real issue that you feel your ex got the better of you in the divorce.  More money won't solve the problem because your not focused on the right solution - you just feel burned by your ex and use the money problem as a representation of how he/she got the better settlement.  The money problem, something that prevents your financial independence, isn't going to be solved until you understand it's a separate issue completely that, upon the finality of the divorce, is a problem wholly owned by you now. 

Blaming your ex, your attorney or courts won't solve the problems with your finances.  The solution is to make more money, spend less or make better investments.  If you still feel slighted after you've empowered yourself to solve such a problem, you should seek counseling to resolve your inability to process all of the Stages of Divorce in an effort to move forward after your divorce.

  • No

If the answer is no, then you know that blaming your money problems on a bad settlement was an attempt to protect yourself from having to take action to actually solve your financial hardship.

As you can see, either way, to solve the problem, you may need to reach beyond it to find the solution.

Step three

Visualize a new picture of what you want your life to be like in an effort to diminish the negative view currently overtaking your life.  Remember that negative energy gathers three times our attention compared to positive energy.  This means your effort to produce a new positive life picture will need a great deal of attention.  Think about what would overtake that negative picture of a painful memory from your past and do everything possible to make it happen.  The odds are against you, we know.  The odds are against all of us.  But, that's what separate most people from those who achieve greatness.  Most people would be frustrated over their losses, great people overcome it.

Step four

When something distracts you from your everyday tasks, invokes a thought that feeds a negative picture from your past, you must either focus fully on your present task or stop what you're doing to change that picture immediately.  That picture is your enemy.  Starve it.  Ignore it.  Give it nothing.  It will eventually diminish in size and importance until it will eventually be completely unimportant.  

Remember, that picture is not just fed on direct thoughts specific to your past.  It could be a sad song, a chat with a friend, a bill, a social media post.  Regardless what triggers a bad feeling or thought, don't feed it or the channels for which it originates.

Step five

Don't give up.  You will, for sure, absolutely have set backs.  You will take a step in the wrong direction, get stalled or discouraged.  Just don't give up until you feel the fog has lifted.  No matter what you are working on, put your commitment to replacing your pictures from yesterday with positive actions and goals for the future.  Always strive for more.  Challenge yourself with continued life improvements with achievable daily goals that lead to long term success.