The Five Stages of Divorce

By Robert Rudelic BS, NMT, MES

All of the articles in this series:

Have You Been Abandoned and Betrayed?

Has your break up or divorce caught you off guard? Without notice, without discussion, he’s leaving – he took all of the joy you had about your marriage and threw it all away leaving you no time to plan or strategize about what you’re going to do. Has the sudden shock and confusion left you completely overwhelmed, filled with grief, fear and out of control anger? If this is happening to you, you’re certainly not alone!

Unfortunately, statistics show that in more than 90 percent of these cases, the men ran to other women, leaving you with a distorted reality along with an enormous sense of betrayal. How do you deal with the hit to self-esteem when you feel like you’ve been tossed aside, and how do you go from this life altering event to rebuilding your life and thriving – claiming this new opportunity to grow and experience things you never even imagined!

I believe it’s impossible to plan for the emotional trauma and personal upheaval that happens when a break up is put in motion. The biggest issue for most is they do not possess the tools to effectively deal with the emotional fires that need to be managed to keep your head on straight and stay emotionally composed.

Many people are aware of what’s referred to as “The Five Stages of Grief.” The problem is, most people that can name the Five Stages of Grief, never in a million years ever thought that they would be applying them to real life…not theirs anyway!

There is a vast difference between knowledge and knowing. You can sit in a classroom and study the facts and have a theoretical or practical understanding of a subject but that is not knowing. Knowledge is of the mind, knowing is of the being. Knowing is actually performing the task or action. You can have the knowledge but unless you’ve truly done it, you won’t “know”.

That’s a primary difference between psychotherapy and coaching. Knowledge and understanding the “whys” is nice and many people need to know the whys before moving forward, but all too often their drive to take action and resolve the issue for good stops there. They think knowledge solves it and it doesn’t. Psychotherapy is great at getting to the bottom of an issue and defining it but just circling around an issue without much forward progress is not the most effective way to get the desperately needed results they’re looking for.

Coaching works differently. Coaching can take any issue and break it down based on present behavior and the desired behavior going forward and get you there. Coaching is results orientated and in my coaching practice speed is essential. So, it comes down to the tools each approach has to make changes. You must have tools that produce a complete removal of beliefs and fears and also imprint new beliefs and behaviors that will be the only information available when the conscious mind refers to the subconscious for what to do.

If all you have is an understanding or “knowledge” of the roots of your beliefs that effect your emotions, which in turn influences your behavior, but don’t erase (or know how to erase) old beliefs and replace them with new beliefs you’re always vulnerable to getting triggered (by your husband and others) and fall back into old behaviors that sabotage you.

The emotional result is a feeling of anger and defeat, asking your-self “how come I got triggered and lost it when I spent so much time working on not getting triggered?” It’s the tools. There are tools now that erase and replace quickly and you’re in charge of the process. You’re fully aware of what you’re replacing the old beliefs with. Talk about feeling truly empowered!!!!! It’s time to end the cycle of drugs and talk therapy. I want you to wake up and go to sleep fully engaged in making the best version of yourself ever! Once you erase and replace, you move on – never having to readdress the issue again!

Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance are the 5 most recognized stages of grief and one doesn’t move smoothly from one stage to the other. There is often no beginning, middle or end for each stage and most stages can repeat several times.

This is unfortunate especially when the intensity of the stage may feel the same every time. That’s because talking pharmaceutical drugs, exercise, yoga, meditation, the usual suspects only calm you down and help you understand, but when you apply the new tools available now to address these stages you’ll feel a noticeable lessening in intensity each time you get angry or feel disappointed sad or depressed. After a short time of using effective tools you’ll move on from the 5 stages and start taking action, move forward and begin creating your new life with confidence and optimism.

Some people think that attempting to manage your emotional recovery during and after divorce is ill-timed, “just give yourself a break” they say. You will move through recovery at your own pace, angry one week, in denial the next and you’ll come to the point of acceptance, hopefully sooner than later.

If you let this take its own time you may never fully recover. You’ll likely keep some emotional baggage that will sabotage your new relationships. It can change your personality forever. I believe you can take charge of the process and not just “let it happen.” All too often we are surrounded by people with their own baggage and will reinforce experiences and beliefs that don’t work well for you moving forward.

The Emotional Stages of Grieving Your Divorce:


There’s nothing like moving through a hurricane and pretending all is well with the world. Denial is your psyches way of protecting you from becoming emotionally overwhelmed. Denial is a useful coping mechanism, but after a while refusing to face reality becomes a very undesirable characteristic.

This is where a brutally honest personal assessment can be highly enlightening. I teach my clients to do this assessment on their own first, then with a group of only their closest friends to get their perspective. The way to do this is to start with the viewpoint that it’s a 50/50 proposition – meaning no issue or situation is 100% one persons’ fault. After honestly assessing all aspects of what’s happening and realizing that there are some shortcomings on your end, things that you could have done differently or better, it’s likely you’ll get angry at yourself and retreat to denial. Denial often provides a temporary escape from your pain and provides an unrealistic sense of hope and even blindness to reality.


The Huffington Post published a very fitting article quoting a woman expressing the anger stage. “I visited the anger stage often and my ex took a bashing. Seriously, when your world is falling down around you who better to blame for all your problems than a crazy ex-husband? If the car battery died, guess who I blamed? If it rained on a day I had planned to go the beach, it was his fault. I had no role in any adversity that came my way!

During the anger phase he became the worst lover I had ever had, ugly beyond description, a slob, a wimp…my anger did a number on him and his character. My advice about the Anger Stage – have at it! As long as there are no little ears to hear your disparaging and insulting remarks about your ex feel free to let out all the pent up anger you stuffed during the Denial Stage.”

Remember though – unresolved anger can be very harmful to your health. Known effects are headaches, problems with digestion, insomnia, increased anxiety, depression, skin problems such as eczema and a higher risk of heart disease and stroke.

The anger stage is scary for many women…… first. They don’t want to feel this way, it’s unbecoming, it’s a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of lacking self-control, but holding it back is the worst thing you can do. Here’s where a little understanding and a high impact tool can be incredibly empowering.

With this understanding you can effectively apply a tool I call the 3 Minute Rant and take an emotionally explosive situation and disarm it in minutes. You’ll never respond the same way or with the same intensity ever again. This is where you’ll develop unshakable emotional composure and start developing your Invincible Mindset.


In this stage you will attempt to repair and undo the damage done to your life. Bargaining is when you stop and say, “oh dear, I can’t handle this emotionally. I’ll negotiate anything with him, I’ll turn myself inside if need be but I can’t go through this.”

It is an attempt to put on the brakes, stop that runaway train and get your “life” back. It might not have been a great life but it was a hell of a lot better than what you are experiencing now. The Huffington Post article continued with this – “during the bargaining stage my ex was the best lover I had ever had. I missed his beautiful face and his manly demeanor. He was God’s gift and I wanted him back.”

Bargaining is a last ditch attempt at coming to terms with the divorce. It’s during this stage where you will begin to pursue your husband. You want him back at all costs to you and your self-esteem. The thing to remember is; he will also go through the Bargaining Stage. If he’s made a mistake he will realize it and undo that which he’s set in motion.

The bargaining stage if often a transition point between the intense stages of anger and depression. It can be a cooling off period between these two extremes in which you can focus on something that makes you feel as if you still have a little control in your life.


You’ll be in bed or in front of the television for most of this stage. Sadness, debilitating sadness becomes your constant companion. This is the one stage we all expect. We know that depression is going to hit, what we don’t realize is that depression can go hand in hand with all the stages of grief.

You may not bathe for three days during the Denial Stage. Hair care takes a back seat during the Anger Stage. Even though you may have surrounded yourself with a support system of family and friends, you are squarely in the present and dealing with the constant reminder of all that you’ve lost and how your life has changed.

There is a better way to eliminate the toxic emotions that engulf you.


You’ll love this stage. When it hits you’ll throw your head back and laugh. There is light at the end of the tunnel and life ahead. You’ve moved through adversity and learned from it. Full steam ahead!

Be warned though, acceptance doesn’t mean you don’t still have negative emotions about your divorce. You may still feel some anger; there may still be sadness at the loss of your marriage.

You’ve learned to “accept” the reality of the situation. You may have feelings of regret over the loss of your marriage BUT … its regret you can live with. You are no longer stuck in the grief…if you’re lucky you are no longer grieving. If there are still feelings of grief they are at least no longer holding you back from living life.

There is one last stage that makes it worth the journey. It’s the new beginnings stage where all your plans start to become real, where things start getting easier and things that you never thought possible start becoming possible! More than that, you start planning for it to happen and it will!

It takes the right focus, the right tools and the ability to persevere to make your break up an opportunity of a lifetime.

If You Want to Learn How to –

  • Own emotional composure
  • Eliminate self-sabotaging beliefs
  • Have an unshakable “Yes I Can Attitude”
  • Bravely stand up for yourself, think ahead, and make decisions with clarity and confidence

Go to

My Program is an experiential training that pays off immediately by teaching you how to quickly change your mindset putting you in full control. You’ll learn how to replace the old beliefs with new beliefs and lock them in permanently, be inspired, and own emotional composure. The results are life-changing!

For more information, visit our PowerTapping page.

Robert Rudelic, B.S., N.M.T., M.E.S.
San Francisco, CA 94107
Contact Us:

Tags: , ,

Categorised in: