Despite divorce being very common and therefore much more socially acceptable these days than it used to be, it’s still hard to shake off the inner feelings of disappointment, loneliness and failure when a marriage breaks down. While having compassionate friends and relatives to lend a sympathetic ear is a wonderful blessing, well-meaning others can only help so much when we are going through such a radical transition.
When my own marriage fell apart in 2014, amidst all the arguing and legal confusion, I was at a loss to find the support I craved to soothe my overwhelming despair and gain the spiritual perspective I needed to make sense of the pain.
It was the same year that actress Gwyneth Paltrow and Cold Play musician Chris Martin announced their ‘Conscious Uncoupling’. And, while the pair were widely mocked on social media (Gwyneth particularly), I was incredibly envious. Gwyneth and Chris appeared to be parting with love, respect and integrity. Their shared priority was their children’s happiness.
“Why can’t I be like Gwyneth?” I secretly thought. Sadly though, my own pending separation had brought out the worst in me and my soon-to-be-former partner, and I was terrified of the damage it could do to our son.
Thankfully, it’s never too late to consciously uncouple.
Three years after my drama-filled breakup, I was fortunate to come across the work of Marriage and Family therapist, Katherine Woodward Thomas, the creator of the ground-breaking Conscious Uncoupling 5-step process.
Following my intuition, I joined her coaches training course, during which I had my very own Conscious Uncoupling under the guidance of one of my peer coaches. It was a soul-searching, incredibly liberating experience.
Contrary to what many people assume, Consciously Uncoupling does not require the former partner’s participation. Rather, it is an individual commitment to personal growth. After all, our feelings and beliefs, and the lessons we need to learn, are ours alone.
So what exactly is Conscious Uncoupling?
Let’s start with what it isn’t. It isn’t necessarily about the two of you staying friends (although that is quite often the outcome). Indeed, sometimes staying in contact is not possible or even appropriate, especially in cases of abuse.
And to be very clear, Conscious Uncoupling is certainly not about hiding or squashing down anger, grief and resentment, just to present a positive façade to others.
Quite the opposite, it’s about ‘owning’ your uncomfortable feelings and having a safe place to express them and, ultimately, letting go of breakup trauma.
It’s about rediscovering your own worthiness to love and be loved.
What’s more, it’s about becoming empowered to evolve beyond any habitual disappointing patterns, and awakening to your power to create happier and healthier patterns in love moving forward.
A breakup is an opportunity for a breakthrough
Instead of looking back on a breakup with bitterness, or worse, closing your heart to future happiness in love, the process of Consciously Uncoupling gently shifts your perspective to a much wider, more compassionate view of yourself and others.
As far as my personal experience goes, having a Conscious Uncoupling coach to witness me and hold me accountable to myself, created the sacred space that was required to dig right down and remove the splinter from my soul. It enabled me to access unconscious beliefs that had been directing my relationship choices and sabotaging my true happiness for many years.
The result was the transformation I’d long been hoping for, yet never would have expected. My Conscious Uncoupling not only shed light on previously hidden patterns, it shifted things energetically, helping me to break free from destructive behaviours once and for all.
It’s no coincidence that my relationship with my former husband has improved significantly since then. After some very strained and frustrating years of co-parenting, we are finally collaborating effectively on matters relating to our son.
As I discovered, if you are having trouble getting over a relationship breakup, still feeling guilt, rage or sadness about how things ended, or just finding it hard to move on, it does not mean that you are weak or flawed, or that you are ‘not being spiritual enough’ (which were my own crazy thoughts when I compared myself to Gwyneth and Chris!)
It just means that you are human, and you are exactly where you are meant to me. In fact, it means there’s huge potential for more self-discovery and the opportunity to take a giant evolutionary leap.
For me, being liberated from fears and insecurities that had plagued me my whole life has led to knowing myself on a completely new level, and being able to live from a place of greater peace and purpose. And I have a heart-breaking divorce to thank for that.
This article was published in the August/September 2018 issue of Connect Magazine, North Queensland.