Pick five (or more) from the above chart. This is what someone going through a divorce may experience inside of an hour. Shoot, sometimes inside of ten minutes. The emotional roller coaster that is divorce is uniquely unpredictable and filled with several unexpected twists and turns.
For the person on the ride, it is disconcerting at best. The emotional swings from one extreme to another can make a person feel crazy. How is it that a few minutes before a sad crying spell, two girlfriends were laughing hysterically? Or that in the middle of mundane grocery shopping, he experiences a sudden overwhelming urge to stock up on toilet paper in a feeling generated from fear and being in survival mode?
A very dear friend of mine who is currently going through a divorce responded to me asking how he was doing by astutely saying “It is a potpourri of feeling.” He described how confusing it is to feel sadness and heartbreak about the present situation and, minutes later, relief and excitement about the future. It makes people rapidly racing through their emotions feel like they really are not feeling anything real.
It also renders family and friends who are trying to support someone through the experience feel helpless and confused. So I offer to them to be flexible. To know that there is no rhyme or reason to when grief will strike and in what form. The important thing is to be there to listen to whatever feelings are being processed in the moment.
And to those going through a divorce, as Tommy Boy put it most wisely and eloquently, “Don’t run away from your feelings.” Embrace your feelings. All of them. Experience them with depth. I assure you they are real and are indicative that you are on a healing path.