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After Divorce or Job Loss Comes the Good Identity Crisis

Posted on August 20, 2013

Whether you've lost a job or a girlfriend, it won't take long before someone tells you, Dust yourself off. Time heals all wounds.

Yes, but how much time?

Experts say most people should give themselves a good two years to recover from an emotional trauma such as a breakup or the loss of a job. And if you were blindsided by the event—your spouse left abruptly, you were fired unexpectedly—it could take longer.

That is more time than most people expect, says Prudence Gourguechon, a psychiatrist in Chicago and former president of the American Psychoanalytic Association. It's important to know roughly how long the emotional disruption will last. Once you get over the shock that it is going to be a long process, you can relax, Dr. Gourguechon says. "You don't have to feel pressure to be OK, because you're not OK."

Some experts call this recovery period an "identity crisis process." It is perfectly normal, they say, to feel depressed, anxious and distracted during this time—in other words, to be an emotional mess. (Getting over the death of a loved one is more complicated and typically will take even longer than two years, experts say.)

Some people may find they need less than two years to bounce back from a divorce. But experts caution that it probably doesn't pay to ignore the process, hurry it along or deny it, say, by immediately moving across the country to get a fresh start or diving into a new relationship. That will probably only postpone the day of reckoning.

After all, it takes time to rethink all the things that may be disrupted by emotional trauma, such as one's living situation, finances, professional goals and—maybe most important—how a person sees him or herself. There aren't any shortcuts. "The whole sweep of your life has to be reassessed and rewoven," Dr. Gourguechon says.

Click here to continue reading this article from The Wall Street Journal.

 

"After Divorce or Job Loss Comes the Good Identity Crisis." Weblog entry. The Wall Street Journal. July 30, 2013. Accessed Aug 20, 2013, from http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324354704578635900864791348.html.

Posted in Moving Forward