Fight or Flight or is there another way?

Fight or Flight or is there another way?

In the classic book by Elizabeth Kubler Ross, “On Death and Dying” (1969), the author states that there are 5 stages of grief people go through when they experience the very bad news that death is imminent.  The 5 grief stages that people go through when confronted with one’s stark mortality are: 1) denial, 2) anger, 3) bargaining, 4) depression, and 5) acceptance.  The Swiss American psychiatrist made the point that most people go through this process but not in any specific order.  The 5th stage, acceptance, is always last. 

Recent publications since Kubler Ross’s pioneering work now suggest that there are 7 stages of grief.  These stages are 1) shock and denial, 2) pain and guilt, 3) anger and bargaining, 4) depression, 5) the upward turn, 6) reconstruction and working through, and finally, 7) acceptance and hope.

Noted American counsellor, Dr. Carol Hughes, writes, “divorce is the second highest stressor for humans, second only to the death of a spouse.  Why is divorce so stressful?  When we view divorce through the lens of British psychologist, psychiatrist, and psychoanalyst John Bowlby’s attachment theory, it helps us understand the reason why divorce is so stressful.  Attachment theory states that we humans have a biological predisposition to form attachment bonds (strong emotional ties) with significant others to have a secure haven and safe base where we can thrive and return for support and comfort during times of need, stress, and crisis”. 

So, based upon these experts on pain and suffering, when one spouse says to the other that they want a divorce, it makes sense that the surprised spouse will go through these stages in one way or another.  The length of the process is uniquely individual and usually lasts longer than 2 years.

It stands to reason that normally rational and calm people, when confronted with the “death” of a relationship, will loose their cool and do things that don’t necessarily make sense.  Reaching out for help from friends, relatives and a lawyer that is totally invested in the adversarial legal system may put you on a track to spend a lot of money to quickly.  There may be other ways to get help to work through this challenging time.  There are certified mediators and legal collaborators who may be very useful in helping people navigate this very trying emotional time. 

Here is a link to this topic that you might find of value.

My next blogs will discuss the value of seeking out qualified mediators and collaborators.