If your divorce has lasted longer than a year, you will eventually stumble upon divorce agony. There are so many emotions that are wrapped up in divorce. I have described them as an emotional jungle and the 5 stages of grief, but once your divorce hits the long-term divorce mark such as over a year you will eventually reach divorce agony. When you have been in a period of prolonged pain that twists your insides into new shapes, this feeling is agony. The pain is intensified if the estranged spouse is an abuser (neglectful, emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, etc.).
Divorce agony is like a wild horse confined to a cage and looking out to see a beautiful green pasture beyond its reach; the longing to be free is a desire that goes unsatisfied. Confinement creates a sense of claustrophobia. Things are cramped. Space is closing in. Turning around and around, but there is nowhere to go, but to stand in the same place looking out from the same viewpoint. Sweet scents come in on the breeze which provide some minor relief; however, no real resolution to the situation. There are moments when freedom seems obtainable; maybe someone from the outside looking in gives a glimmer of hope, however the moments are short lived and quenched quickly with reality.
Divorce with children is that reality in a contested divorce. Divorce with children are those steel bars that do not seem to go away. Children themselves do not create the steel bars that pin in the wild horse that longs to be free, the courts do. The divorce industry calls these steel bars coparenting. These steel bars are the constant reminder of the divorce state of your life. The issues that caused the divorce in the first place are still active and relived through coparenting and regular interaction with the person that caged you in the first place which creates agony. Coparenting itself is not the problem; however, the system does not customize coparenting according to relationship challenges. Happy coparenting cannot and will not exist in a contested divorce, do not be fooled. Also, it is common for a divorce to morph from an amicable divorce to a contested divorce very quickly when emotions run hot, be very careful there is no way to predict the outcome or plan for this switch.
Everyone will respond to divorce agony in their own way. If you are susceptible to substance abuse, stay clear of any situation that will expose you or tempt you. Do not let divorce agony impact your relationship with your child or children. If you can afford counseling consider it and schedule it. If you cannot afford counseling find an outlet, so that you are not facing this dreadful emotion alone. By joining a divorce group, talking with friends, starting a new hobby, writing or journaling you can better cope with divorce agony and tame the wild horse.