Nine Ways You Can Help A Hurting Friend Who Is Going Through A Painful Divorce.
At one point or another we all have known a woman who is hurting as she goes through a painful divorce. Perhaps it is a good friend of yours who needs support. But how can you help her? While each woman's circumstances can be distinct, the following ideas should help most friends and families help those who are suddenly separated:
1. Listen, but don't press your own agenda. Unless you feel your friend is making a grave error that will endanger her safety, finances, or legal standing, keep quiet and simply lend an ear. Be available for telephone chats at most any hour. Have patience, for you may hear the identical ruminations, regrets, or fears while your friend works them through. By listening, you help them to discover their inner self. The self that needs healing. The self that can help them get past their painful divorce.
2. Offer friendly gestures without being asked. If your kids and hers play well together, plan play dates. Treat them to a movie or park outing when you know their mother has so much on her mind she can't even think of entertaining her children. Drop off a cheer-up gift of bubble bath and tea. At this point, even a home-cooked meal says you care.
3. Be available. Set aside time for companionship. It's common for a woman who's gone through a painful divorce to retreat from life. Especially if she's the only adult in the house. Your friend will get lonely. Holidays and birthdays are especially difficult that first year. Having a friend takes the oneness out of them. If you fear she's sitting home alone, invite her to a movie or over to chat on your couch.
4. Call daily just to say hi and let her know you're concerned. Also, sending an occasional card to brighten the day sure beats foul legal letters and bills.
5. Help her with objectivity, as best you can. Simply stated, when overwhelmed, none of us is qualified to make too many important decisions all at once. Be a sounding board for practical matters, and always keep your discussions confidential. This is how you can help them to move on.
6. Accompany your friend to court, a doctor's appointment, a women's shelter, or anywhere else you know she needs to go but is upset about.
7. You can help to ease her financial burdens by sharing. How do you do this? One thing you can do is volunteer clothing your children have outgrown. Perhaps provide some baby-sitting so she can save the expense. Share the harvest of your garden when it yields more vegetables than you can eat. If you can afford it, buy a book or magazine you know would inspire her. Small things like these add up, and presented as friendly gestures, they won't impact on her pride.
8. Comfort her that this too shall pass. Reiterate that her marriage is just one aspect of her life that continues no matter what. It is important after a painful divorce to encourage her to take care of her own needs with good exercise, diet, and health care.
9. Finally, Intervene if her condition worsens. It's natural for your friend to feel tired and in pain for awhile. But you might have to call her doctor or therapist if there is talk of suicide. You can also alert other friends to check in on her too, once in a while.
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