To Lose and Discover Self After divorce


In my last post I described that after the ending of my marriage, went through a grief process of mourning the loss of ‘us’; and then after a while I went through a second traumatic grief period upon my realisation that by my marriage ending, I had also lost myself.

This second grief was not all that simple. I discovered that there are three parts of me. One was lost forever. One was found. One was still within me waiting to be transformed.

The me who was lost and gone forever was the me who I had been for nearly forty years – a life-partner and wife. In that regard, it had been a double whammy in that my marriage had ended at a time my younger two children were spreading their wings. So, as well as losing myself as a wife, my role of mother was in flux and although not lost it would certainly be different than what it had been.

The me who was found had been hidden underneath my drive of caring for my husband and children throughout my marriage. After my marriage ended, I found again my quiet methodical self. There was much joy in discovering I could now go about my daily life in the manner of my choosing. I also celebrated reclaiming some of my hidden talents that came with introversion. I now tended to and nurtured my own passions enthusiastically in a quiet and calm manner which is how I am and continue to strive to be.

At the same, however, I had definitely lost my purpose in life as a wife and mother and with it a huge part of myself. Even in rediscovering the hidden part of me I continued to mourn my loss of identity, and my loss of sense of purpose.

Then I realised there was a third part of me, that part of me that had been there as a child and young adult, that part which had been sacrificed in marriage and motherhood.

It was my dreams.

Life is full of compromises, the ‘this is not exactly what I would have chosen for me, but I love my husband and I can make this work for him and us and I believe we can be happy’. OR, ‘if we had no children or if I was single, we could do things differently, but as a family this is the best world for us and the best way to bring our children up to provide for them a happy, secure and stable childhood’.


So I shut the door on what could have been and looked only to what was and I strove always to do the very best in my life in my role as wife and mother.

With that wife door shut firmly and suddenly in my face then locked behind me, unable to be opened ever again, I began to now look longingly as those other doors and wonder why I had ever let them close. The giving up of the manner of lifestyle I would have preferred, the place where I would really have liked to live, my own career, the people I would have liked to have spent more time with and associate with, the person I had previously aspired to be.

I mourned those lost dreams, those lost choices, those lost parts of me.

Then one day I woke up and realised, they are not lost at all. They have simply been sleeping.

It is up to me now to find the key to unlock them.


Image # 1 people courtesy [jscreationzs]
Image # 2 doors courtesy [nattavut]

42 thoughts on “To Lose and Discover Self After divorce

  1. I say, do follow your dreams, Elizabeth. This is your chance now!
    May all this grieving you had to go through may free you finally to be your own happy self. I wish you all the best and lots of contentment and happiness in the years ahead! πŸ™‚
    And I believe being a Mum and Grandma can be very, very rewarding as we get on in age. But I am sure you know all this.

    • Thanks for your comment and the awakening is a frightening yet beautiful transition to go through.

      BTW, I did use your quote in my previous post (grieving for self) and one reader did comment on it. I think it is quite profound and you should write a book and go back and find all your ‘quotes’ from your posts and combine them with your poetry. It would be a fantastic book.

  2. Even though our journeys are different, I so identify with your ideas about loss and re-finding yourself. You are an amazing woman and I salute you and thank you for inspiring me.

    • I agree that our journeys are different and yet the same. I believe that you cannot go through a crisis of any kind (whether that is death or divorce or disablement of a loved one) without changing. It is the acceptance of the change in oneself (rather than trying to cling onto the old self) that is difficult and yet at the same time is uplifting.
      Thanks for your continued support.

  3. I wish you joy as you re-awaken your dreams. It’s funny, the visual I just got as I wrote those words was you, as a young girl, skipping through a meadow, eyes and heart wide open, life and joy coursing through you.

  4. You are facing big changes and new opportunities with the hope of rekindling the dreams you once had. I know it can be challenging and yes, even scary, but if looked at another way it is an exciting place to be! Be brave and take the next step. I have a feeling you will succeed. x

  5. This is practical for almost anyone going through a change – there are parts of us we lock away when we choose one path. Like you said so well, they are still there. Nice piece

  6. I enjoyed reading this thoughtful post. It’s wonderful that your dreams were only sleeping. I’m looking forward to reading about the new directions that you head as opportunities emerge.

  7. Loss of relationships can sometimes also bring unexpected new insights and a rekindling of a strength and love that might not have been there before. It has been almost a year that we lost our lovely daughter. I never thought I could overcome this as well. I think of her daily and take great joy in the memories of her.

    • I am so sorry to hear you lost your daughter. … I cannot imagine the pain that you must be going through.
      Thanks for visiting my blog. I really appreciate it and I have looked at a couple of your posts and have enjoyed the commentary.

  8. I really feel you here, Elizabeth. Losing your purpose, when your purpose is connected to something/someone/how you identify yourself, it’s really really unsettling. I left my marriage when I was 26. It was so so unsettling. I felt wonderfully free but horribly petrified. You’re growing awesomely by it.

    • Yes, it is a terrifying process in a lot of ways because you need to let go of the ‘old’ concept of yourself before you know what the new one will be.
      How brave of you to take such a step at the age of 26. Yet here you are today such an inspiring individual πŸ™‚

  9. You have the key, sweetie. You just need to walk through the door. Thank you for sharing this honest reflection with us. It is so true. I also have felt this deeply at times. To use a different metaphor, I do know that the longer we lick the wounds, the longer it takes the wounds to heal. We have to take stock of where we are right now and what we bring to the table (the spirit and inherent talents of the child we once were included) and to do what it is our hearts desire.

  10. You’ve explained with such clarity what the transformative journey is like. So often when people try to talk about it, it sounds all muddled and confusing. Making a complex situation into something that can be described simply and clearly is incredibly difficult. How did you come to such clarity?

    • These posts have been written looking back. The “forward” picture many months ago was that complex, muddled, confusing picture you describe. However, I do admit that one of the techniques I use in confronting an overwhelmingly difficult situation is to break it down into smaller manageable steps and getting started on the first step. The first step (for me) has always been a vision for a brighter future. The realisation there are various parts of me to share in that future has simply been something that I have gathered along the journey.

      • I sometimes underestimate the power of visionary thought (which I think is essentially the same thing that people used to call “faith”) — to see a good tomorrow in our minds’ eye and believe it is real.

      • You have hit on something there for me…. the old triple virtues of faith, hope and charity. A faith or belief in oneself and the future is the starting point.

  11. I, too, felt the losses you describe, especially the loss of dreams, after my divorce. But I was pregnant with our first child when my husband left with the woman I thought was my best friend at the time, and for awhile the dreams were lost to nightmares. We each find our own ways through, around and over the pains and losses of divorce; in my case, when my daughter was born, at that moment I had had a sense of overwhelming love and thanksgiving that saved me and set in motion a new set of challenges and joys.
    Walk through the door, and don’t close it behind you. Sometimes we need to look back over our shoulders to see where we’ve been in order to fully appreciate where we’re going.

  12. Elizabeth, I don’t think I’ve shared this fact before: I went through a painful divorce (with the father of my son). I’m still dealing with the after effects of that, but always moving on.

    • I am sorry to hear that you too have been through the pain of divorce. The ‘after effects’ are indeed far-reaching, yet moving on is the only course of action we can take. Thank you for sharing your story with me. Your posts are inspirational and I am glad that we may each share in each others journeys.

  13. “I mourned those lost dreams, those lost choices, those lost parts of me. Then one day I woke up and realised, they are not lost at all. They have simply been sleeping. It is up to me now to find the key to unlock them.”

    Thank you for your words that will surely help me in finding my key πŸ™‚

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