You've read the self-help books, life after divorce articles and blogs. Your insurance stopped covering the therapy sessions, and your friends roll their eyes when you talk about your ex, again.
When you get to the point where you're tired of feeling the longing and hurt, but feel you've tried everything under the sun to move past the pain of your marriage ending, it might be time to dig a bit deeper into your past for an unhealed wound.
I got to a point on the healing rollercoaster where I'd reached a pretty steady ride. I dove into the inner work and read about grief, divorce, brain science, and mindset. I did the meditation, tapping, yoga, women's circles, and personal empowerment conferences.
But there was still something unresolved.
I called it my soul stone—and it flared up on occasion. It wasn’t a surface pain like seeing a Facebook post from my former family. It was a searing, deep internal pain like a gallstone after lasagna and tiramisu.
If this sounds familiar, read on and give this process a try.
Identify the Core Feeling Being Activated.
We have complex feelings and emotions that can be layered and shadowy. For help with identifying your specific feelings, do an online search for a "feelings wheel." Feeling sad could mean you feel insecure, rejected, inadequate or unlovable. There are subtle differences between those feelings, and it's important for this process to be as clear as possible.
Create Your Life Events Timeline.
Draw your life timeline, with 1 at the beginning and your current age at the end. Divide the timeline into 5-year sections. It may look like this:
You may want to fill in life events or incidents that are at the forefront of your mind. These may include getting a puppy, being teased in school, a first kiss, first heartbreak, memorable vacation, graduations, births, and deaths.
Add Your Feelings to the Timeline.
At this point, you want to spend a bit of reflective time connecting with the time in the past when you felt similar feelings to those you are currently experiencing.
If I’m feeling rejected by my ex, I will write down my memory of feeling rejected in 6th grade when classmates teased me. I will then add other events where I felt the same way: the boy I had a crush on who didn’t notice me, the teacher who didn’t call on me, the lost friendship, etc.
Some of your experiences will have more heat to them. Those are the ones you want to explore.
Ask and Receive.
Communicate with that version of yourself from the event that has been stirred the most. For me, it’s my twelve-year-old self who was teased.
Give yourself open-ended time for this part of the process. Create quiet time to connect with the inner part of you who holds the keys to your own healing. Ask that person what he or she needs from you to help resolve those feelings. By doing this, you’re creating a relationship between the past part of yourself who has unresolved feelings and the present version of yourself that exists now.
Listen with your heart, not your mind. Let that wounded part of self receive what it needs to heal.
If you have any past trauma or feel fearful about this practice, please ask a qualified mental health professional for support. Delving back into the past can be triggering, and it's important that we create a safe space to explore unresolved feelings from the past.
Yes, this is a bit of that Inner Child work that is a beneficial psychotherapeutic tool. I recall thinking it was very hippy-dippy when I heard about it in the 1970's. But sure enough, as I got older and dove into practices for healing, growth, and empowerment, I discovered just how incredibly valuable it was to give comfort to my younger self by opening old wounds.
Written by Patty Blue Hayes
Patty Blue Hayes is a divorce survivor. She chronicles the crippling effects of her divorce and the dark days and manic nights in her book "Wine, Sex & Suicide - My Near Death Divorce." Patty is a certified trainer and coach, who shares the tools and techniques that helped her heal her broken heart. You can learn more about Patty Blue Hayes at www.PattyBlueHayes.com.