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fence - attribution www.sxc.huWhen we go through divorce, we sometimes are tempted to disconnect from others. It’s a common response to pain.

We feel the pain of touching a hot stove. We quickly move away from it, douse our burned fingers with cold water and keep our distance from the source of the pain.

So if we feel condemned or shamed from the divorce, we try to avoid the source of that pain. We disconnect from those who have mistreated us and erect emotional barriers.

Some of that disconnect is smart. We don’t need to be involved in toxic relationships.

But what if we DO need to be involved with family or the church or people who can help us? If we disengage with everyone who might hurt us, we end up being alone with our pain and isolating ourselves like sick animals.

Isolation is not a good idea, because we need others. We need to find connections and relationships that are healthy.

We need to learn how to trust again.

What if we start with small barriers – a half-wall that enables us to still connect while not giving our entire selves to the relationship?

What if we approach others step by step, risking a bit at a time until we can move the entire barrier away?

Or … what if we keep a peek hole in our barriers so that we can check out who is on the other side, gingerly protecting ourselves while remaining open to the possibility of another connection?

It takes courage to remove some of those emotional barriers and let others connect with us again. But when we take the risk, we become enriched by new relationships and we can teach others how to respond in the future.

If we keep running and building barriers, nobody grows and nobody learns anything. Everyone just stays in their little boxes, feeling condemned, disconnected and alone.

What about you? Have your erected any barriers? Or have you dared to lower them a bit and peek out?

©2015 Starting Over Single

Image of fence attributed to:  www.sxc.hu

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