By Guest Contributor Donna F. Ferber, LPC, LADC   |   April 27th, 2013

How To Ride Out The Roller Coaster Of Emotions During The Pain Of Divorce


Nothing toys with our emotions like the break-up of a relationship. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross describes the six stages of grief as:

  1. Shock
  2. Denial
  3. Bargaining
  4. Anger
  5. Sadness
  6. Acceptance

When one is going through divorce, add another feeling: FEAR.   During divorce, it is possible to feel all of these things at the same time. This deluge of emotions can complicate how the person sees, thinks and feels about the issues thus distorting their perspective when faced with a mountain of decisions.

In contrast to the above list, here are a few more (sometimes surprising) feelings people going through divorce may experience:

  • Relief
  • Joy
  • Empowerment
  • Exhilaration
  • Freedom

“Am I going crazy? How can I feel all these things, many of them conflicting at the same time?” divorcing clients often ask. No, you are not going crazy. You are going through transition. Your life is changing. A transformation is occurring. These feelings are normal.

Your feelings will change frequently, sometimes in a day, sometimes in a matter of minutes. Think of the process as a roller coaster of emotions that starts out with really, really deep lows and hardly any highs. As your anxiety begins to subside, moderate highs gradually begin to emerge but may only last a short time. As your process advances even further, you will notice a change in the ride; the lows will be less deep and of shorter duration, and the highs will be higher and last a bit longer. Certainly it is unrealistic to believe the highs last forever, but when you are through the process – not just the legal aspects, but the emotional as well – your roller coaster ride will feel more like a gentle undulating wave. There will still be highs and lows, but they will be less drastic, less emotionally upsetting.

Pain of Divorce Will Not Last Forever

How to get through this wild ride? Sometimes all we can do is simply hang on while taking comfort in the knowledge that this pain will not last forever. Just acknowledging this disparity of feelings is temporary, can offer reassurance and encouragement. When the roller coaster takes you to the pinnacle of joy, remember to allow yourself to feel that feeling fully, to rejoice and experience life to its fullest.

donnabio.jpg© 2013 Donna F. Ferber, LPC, LADC is a psychotherapist in private practice in Farmington, CT since 1986. This article is adapted from her first book, From Ex-Wife to Exceptional Life: A Woman’s Journey through Divorce, which is now available in Kindle format for $9.99 as well as in paperback. To read more about the author and her work, please visit

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Guest Contributor Donna F. Ferber, LPC, LADCAbout The Author: Guest Contributor Donna F. Ferber, LPC, LADC
Donna F. Ferber, is a psychotherapist in private practice for over 31 years. She is a licensed professional counselor, a licensed alcohol and drug abuse counselor and an educator. Donna works with individuals and in groups. Her office is in Farmington, Connecticut.

Divorce: Welcome to the Roller Coaster!
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One thought on “Divorce: Welcome to the Roller Coaster!

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    May 3, 2013 at 12:44 am

    “Pain of Divorce Will Not Last Forever” I don’t think so when both are happy without together,then no worry to be a single.And why should we bother about our past,its a life,things going on,just forget the past and move forward.Higher a good divorce lawyer and feel free with your new life.

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