Guest Post: Karen Millon on The Importance of Grieving and Healing After Divorce

Divorce is an extremely painful and traumatic event and often cited as the second hardest only to the death of a loved one.


In my opinion, it is sometimes even worst, because, for the one experiencing it, it also represents the death of a relationship, of a future, of dreams once imagined, of a nuclear family and its relationships, but without the social acceptance and essential mourning rituals and funerals that come with death and that is so fundamental to a grieving process. 


Even worse, instead of getting the community support that comes with empathy from others and heartfelt condolences and the eulogy speeches honoring the departed, divorce is met with societal disapproval, that can easily generate one’s feelings of shame, failure, and further guilt. Shame plays an even more profound factor in many cultural settings.


I believe that one of the reasons that divorce often turns into a spiral of deep-rooted anger and destruction that too often lasts too many years, to a lifetime, is because of the inability to properly grieve and heal. 


Because of our shame or guilt, both parties, usually get stuck in the anger stage. The one being left is angry for being left and the one leaving is angry for being driven to the point of leaving and feeling tremendous guilt for it. 


But behind that anger, is the deep-rooted need for being and feeling loved, and in the absence of that, there is fear, shame, rejection, worthlessness, disappointment, loneliness, and deep sadness. 


If we are able to immediately treat divorce as we death, and focus on grieving, mourning, and healing, we are able to release and process those underlying feelings, let them go, grow, learn and focus on love. Love for ourselves, and also love for our ex-spouse. Because underneath it all, we all just want to be loved. With healing and therapy, you can understand your part, which leads to self-reflection, responsibility, apologies and forgiveness – forgiveness of your ex-spouse and importantly, forgiveness of oneself, too.


This then nourishes the fact that the end of the marriage does not need to signify the end of the friendship, and even family, because while the romantic love has banished, a pure, familiar love remains. 


A love that guided me and my ex immediately after our initial separation to continue to walk our two children to school, remain, friends, share meals and vacations together. A love that allowed my ex to become close friends with the man for whom I left him and become the present and active Godfather to my third child. A love that grows and allows us to spend considerable amounts of time together and create a “Modern Family” to our combined 5 daughters, where we have become a strong and positive role model of love, growth, and profound happiness and where they were not therefore forever damaged by the divorce, but benefited by it. 

Karen Millon’s Brief Biography 

Karen Million

Karen Millon is a successful business entrepreneur where among several accomplishments she was the Co-founder and President of LifeLike BioTissue, Inc. in Canada. 


At the end of the winter of 2013, while traveling for work, and completely out of the blue, she met her soulmate. He was her perfect match in every single marker, but there was just one problem… she was married to a good man with two small children. 


In a matter of one day, she made the difficult decision to leave her husband of 13 years (18 years together). 


This story had the potential to become another cliché marked by betrayal, anger, and hostility. But instead, she and her ex-husband created something amazing. 


A focus on grieving and healing was the key. 


She focused on her own, her ex-spouse’s, and her children’s grief.  The family unit took the time to face their grief and then to honored it. They cried together for hours a night for weeks. She and her ex talked and talked and talked until they could not talk anymore. Nothing, no recrimination, no explanation was left unspoken. 


She started therapy with EMDR Treatment (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) twice a week for the first 3 months to deal with her grief and to heal her wounds. She recommended an Attachment-Based therapist for her ex, with whom he began to see.  This work with professional therapists was fundamental for understanding and processing what had happened. It allowed both to take responsibility. This led to deep rooted apologies and forgiveness. 


Today, Karen has left her previous company and is on a mission to inspire others to heal to be able to achieve sustainable amazing lives.  You can get inspired to heal by following her at @amazingdivorce and subscribing to the upcoming The HealIn Podcast.

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