I Don’t Recognize Myself Anymore

Mothers can lose themselves in marriages but find themselves in divorce

Not all divorces are the same. In fact, they come in all shapes and sizes with myriad reasons for getting there — some more dramatic while others feel more like a slow drain depleting itself.

The last thing you want when you are navigating divorce is a lot of questions, even from well-meaning friends and family, right?

So, what happened?

Everyone wants to hear the juice when you mention the ‘D’ word, divorce — and accordingly, they expect some dramatic tale of betrayal, abuse and deception to unfold.

But divorce isn’t a one-size fits all. Not all marriages end in a maelstrom.

When Dawn Dais, the author of the book The Sh!t No One Tells You About Divorce, came across a photo of herself a few years ago, she was stunned. She didn’t recognize the person captured in that image — and knew she had to address this shell of herself she had become. As they say, sometimes a picture conveys a thousand words.

And that picture became the impetus for her leaving her marriage.

What she had become in the marriage was her dramatic happening. It reminded me how we can slowly lose pieces of ourselves throughout the years, we can forget who we once were and the dreams we once dreamed. Sure life, ebbs and flows and changes, but we aren’t supposed to wake up one day disconnected from the person staring back at us in the mirror.

I call this the slow bleed. It goes on longer, can cause greater damage and takes more of you with it as years turn into decades — and then suddenly nothing feels right.

I was in a session recently with a client who had been married for decades, literally half of her life, and when I asked her what brings her joy and what lights her up, she paused. “I could just make something up right now, but honestly...I don’t even know anymore.”

The longer we bypass our feelings busying ourselves in the agendas of everyone else, the greater the distance we have to walk back to ourselves tracing the breadcrumbs of our lives.

There is no nobility in ‘sticking it out’ for the kids or your family if everyone is unhappy.

You won’t get a red badge of honor awarded to you. Actually, your kids will be off to college and you will be left with a shell of yourself — likely embittered, depleted and depressed. Sorry, but this truth has to be shared.

This article we published in Best Self Magazine, is Dawn’s ode to her story conveyed with wisdom and relatable humor — and even includes some tips for navigating it all. I for one, relate to humor. It helps me to not take myself so seriously that I get lost in the overwhelm of my feelings.

But here’s the good news. If you are feeling lost, like you no longer recognize yourself or the person you married or the life you are living — it’s because you are ready to see it.

And just because a marriage ends doesn’t mean it was a failure. Just look into the eyes of your kids to be reminded of that. It just may not have been your forever place.

I don’t take the sanctity of marriage lightly, in fact, I love and revere marriage. But a woman should never lose herself in the process. If you no longer recognize yourself, don’t panic. Instead, take action. How can you find your way home again...back to yourself? What small action could you take to nurture that inner self calling out to you? She is jumping up and down with excitement.

Marriage is an ending, but it is also a beginning.

And if you no longer recognize yourself, it begins with a reunion. Are you ready to start planning yours?

What is lost in a marriage, can be found in a divorce.

—Kristen Noel, Certified Intuitive Divorce Coach | Editor-In-Chief, Best Self Magazine



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