The Value of Grief Part I

Submitted by: Mark Banschick

Grief is positive; it’s part of healing. If you bang your toe and it bruises or bleeds, your physiological reaction is part of the recovery process. The pain you feel is a signal to be tender with your toe—not to test it.

Swelling tells you that your immune system is taking charge, and bruising reminds you that it will take time to heal.

You know that if you bandage your wound properly, keep it clean, and allow nature to do its thing, you will heal, and you’ll heal well.

What is true for physical wounds holds true for emotional wounds. Grief is our psychological immune system at work—it allows our spirit to nurse itself back to life. If you are the “leaver” in a divorce, you may feel relief and elation. Your grief may be minor. There is a good chance that you were doing some grieving while still in an unhappy marriage. I counsel you to be pragmatic for the sake of your children; they are going to need your attention and care. If you are running around, too elated, or deep into a new relationship, they may feel abandoned. Hold tight and help your kids through this.

If, however, you’re the “leave-ee,” the one who has been left, you’re probably holding a bag of anger, hurt, and maybe even fear. You’re swollen with emotion, and in response, you may want to sleep and avoid, or simply attack. In my experience, there are really no words to express just how wounded you may feel.

This is all part of the grieving process, and ultimately, it’s all for the best. Just be conscious to be there for the children, regardless of how tough it is for you.

Grief is the natural, psychological response to the loss of a marriage, and you need to go through it in order to come out of your divorce healthy and strong.

Mark R. Banschick, M.D. is a diplomat of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology with over 20 years of experience in child and adolescent psychiatry. The Intelligent Divorce course evolved from his work as an expert witness in custody disputes. Dr. Banschick has appeared on the CBS Early Show and has been quoted in The New York Times, The Huffington Post and

Dr. Mark Banschick’s book, The Intelligent Divorce, is a powerful and inspirational self guided resource that will change your life and the lives of your children.

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