5 Reasons to Journal Through Divorce

Posted by: Shel Harrington 13 June, 2014 19 Comments

Journaling Through DivorceIt’s pretty common to keep a log during divorce proceedings. Jotting down notes about what’s going on with the children, visitation, the spouse’s behavior, etc.While that might help your attorney and your case, it’s probably not doing a whole lot for you emotionally during a challenging time. This is where journaling comes in. Even if you’re not much of a writer, keeping a journal – writing on a regular basis how you feel about what is going on and other related topics – can be very beneficial. This journal is FOR YOUR EYES ONLY. And here’s five reasons to give it a try:

1. It’s a place to vent. During divorce proceedings, especially when custody is involved, everybody is living under a microscope. The wrong word, a misconstrued gesture, being late for an appointment, all become fodder for leverage to be used against you. Your journal is the place you can go to just let loose – a place where nobody is judging you.

2. It helps you process the events. Some days it may feel like your head is spinning with all the information, change, and emotions that you are dealing with. Writing it down helps you sort out some of the issues and may allow you to see things more clearly.

3. It’s something you can do when there’s nothing you can do. There are so many things outside of your control during this time – court dates, who is talking to your children, the loss of property that has to be divided, and so much more. Journaling is one aspect of your life that is all yours – a go-to place that is waiting for you at your convenience.

4. It allows you to see your own evolution. At any given time, you may think you’re an absolute mess, and there’s no way it’s ever going to get better. Your own writing will show you that things do get better. Often very slowly, but it does get better. You get stronger. You evolve in how you react and handle situations. You will see that you are progressing. And the progress you see will be motivating.

5. It preserves your journey. Right now, you think you’ll never forget a moment of the pain, the conflict, the fear. But memories fade and we remember moments or overall impressions. You might be thinking: I don’t want to remember any of this. But there may very well be a time in your future when you will – it might be to help someone else going through the same struggle, to review your progress, to write your memoir – who knows what the future holds?

It may give you comfort to write in a leather bound journal that is soft to the touch. You might choose a blank book that has something uplifting on the cover. Or a printed divorce journal, like Discover Your Voice After Divorce, that has helpful thought-provoking questions that you might not think to ask yourself. Or a plain old sprial-bound notebook. Pick whatever works for you and get writing. Leaving some of your angst on paper may make your load a little lighter.

Discover Your Voice After Divorce by Lin Floyd. Click picture for more information.
Discover Your Voice After Divorce by Lin Floyd. Click picture for more information.
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19 Comments

  • Connie

    I was married to my first husband for 21 years -when we separated, I was pretty much a complete wreck. I started journaling every evening before I went to bed. It helped me so much, and even became a time that I looked forward to. It did everything you mentioned and more…. and you are so right – now years later on the other side of that situation, and in a much better place in my life – it is really awesome to read back on now and see how far I have come and how much I have grown.
    Thanks for another great article, Shel 🙂

    • Shel Harrington

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Connie – I think it will inspire others by letting them know there IS getting on the other side where they are. You are such a shining example of that – and I’m so happy for you and all that you have accomplished over the past few years.

  • I never went through an official divorce, but I know how it is to separate (without a marriage) when there are children. That already was nerve wrecking enough. I’ve been to quite some very dark places. One day I will write an e-book about it, (partly a draft I keep on an extern memory, because I have worked on giving it shape) but it’s not easy to dive back into the past and relive everything again, just to have written it down. The only positive thing out of this is that it’s a hell of a story to mold into a book and I should use it.

    • Shel Harrington

      I can’t imagine how difficult that would be, Mirjam, to revisit such a painful time. Having seen some of your writing, I anticipate there will be a time when you will be able to use some of your life experiences in a way that will helpful for others.

  • Writing in a journal is a great tool for any difficult situation you might be experiencing in life. I’m a big believer in its benefits.
    Great post!

    • Shel Harrington

      Thanks, Jill. You’re right – no matter what the difficult circumstances, journaling is such a useful tool for processing, venting, and growing. Have a great weekend!

  • FAbulous idea. I was in a writing class once with a woman who did just that and then she used it to write her story.

    • Shel Harrington

      Double cathartic! I saw it written once that If we had more great parents we’d have less great authors. So much creativity seems to be a result/by-product of dealing with difficult circumstances.

  • Pam

    I journaled too when I was going through my divorce, except it was 17 years ago – I just called it venting. When it was all over I actually destroyed the disk, but now I wish I had saved it so I could see how much I have changed (if at all!) However, it did help a lot and I encourage others to do the same thing while going through any tough situation.

    • Shel Harrington

      I can relate, Pam – I destroyed personal diaries I kept while growing up – they seemed so insipid when I reviewed them as a mature 18-year-old. Wish I could undo that move – it would probably tell me something my own evolution.

  • Fabulous idea, and your readers provide evidence of effectiveness, Shel. Journaling, as Pam noted, can be a useful tool in working through many kinds of personal challenges.

    • Shel Harrington

      Like Pam, I wish I had kept some of my past journaling – when I reviewed them before destroying many moons ago I wasn’t mature enough to recognize the lessons that could have been learned from them.

  • As a lifelong journal keeper, I would add: Lock your inner English teacher in the closet while you’re writing in a journal. If you keep worrying about spelling, punctuation, grammar, and neatness, it will freeze you up. I’ve journaled (badly) through all sorts of tough times, including a year-long separation from my husband. Writing things down is so helpful.

    • Shel Harrington

      Good points, Maria! It will make a difference if one is secretly or subconsciously writing for an audience versus just writing!

  • thanks for the advertisement for my book…I’d be lost without journaling daily!

    • Shel Harrington

      You’re welcome, Lin – it has some very thought-provoking questions that I think will really be a benefit to those traveling that path.