There’s an amazing rating scale of stressful life events called the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale you should know about if you are having a relationship breakdown.
When you look at it there are 24 items that are related to family and relationship events.
That underlines the importance that this area of our life has for us.
Death of a spouse comes in at the top of the scale at a rating of 100 (By the way, death by torture was the top contender, but they chose to put death of a spouse as a more common occurrence in our society.)
Next in line is divorce at a rating of 73, followed by marital separation at 65…get the drift? These are major life events.
If you are looking for your motivation during a meltdown, you run the danger of getting the booby prize: getting into action too early and missing out the emotional processing you mentally, emotionally and physically need.
And in our culture, looking good under all circumstances is valued and promoted to the great cost of our humanity.
So what do I suggest you do?
Raise your awareness of what is happening to you and map your progress through your emotional reaction to change.
Why do I suggest that?
Mainly because you can’t think resourcefully through the first two quadrants of the cycle of change.
When you are in Denial, you refuse to accept that the change is happening. “This can’t be happening to me!” “This isn’t happening to me!” You are so busy putting your head in the sand that any rational thought is impossible.
When you are in the volatile and unpredictable stage of resistance, you are busy experiencing strong emotions. Anger, Upset, Fear, Grief – it’s a roller-coaster ride! You’ll get through it faster if you keep your eyes open throughout the ride. Maintaining your awareness through lots of personal acknowledgment and self- acceptance will help you work your way through your difficult and emotional part of the cycle of change. You also need to learn to respect yourself all the way through whatever you are feeling. When you get through your feelings, you will reach a state of acceptance. (Phew!)
Your next quadrant starts with Acceptance. That wonderful point in time where you find the calm centre of your hurricane. This is when you can finally start thinking. You have accepted the situation and you have processed your emotions. Now it’s time to start setting new goals and coming up with some options of how you can achieve your goals.
Having the ability of clear thinking makes all the difference. Denial and Strong emotions can really reduce your thinking to knee jerk and panic. Realising this when you are going through these states, helps you deal with your situation with an aim of working your way through the first two states of change.
There’s another article related to this you might want to check out: “Wake Up! Denial spells “D-I-S-A-S-T-E-R”