DIVORCE: How can heartbreak lead to transformation?

Jan 11, 2024


Art Credit: Jano Tantongco, jano.tantongco@gmail.com


The paradox of trust and betrayal lies at the core of intimate relationships. Trust, deeply entwined with love and commitment, harbors the risk of profound betrayal. This duality is inherent in close relationships, where the potential for betrayal exists alongside trust. While a source of profound connection, the intimate bond simultaneously sets the stage for possible betrayal, which, when realized, disrupts internal harmony, propelling psychological growth.

Betrayal, particularly in romantic contexts, shatters the illusion of unity and completeness, often leading to an inner state of dissonance. It marks a rupture, an intensely human experience that propels psychological evolution. While originating from infancy, the anguish of betrayal finds its dramatic enactment in adult relationships, particularly in romantic betrayals. These experiences, though agonizing, are critical for individual psychological development.

Viewed through a psychological lens, it is a necessary evil for individual birth. It represents an exposure to life’s inherent dichotomies – life and death, love and hate, unity and separation. Growth through betrayal experiences is essential to unshackle from a repetitive quest for fusion, thus accessing life’s mysteries.

Individuals who endure betrayal, particularly in divorce, undergo intense emotional turmoil. However, this pain also brings the opportunity for transformation. Experiencing betrayal and its aftermath often leads to a deeper self-understanding and resilience. Though riddled with pain, this transformative journey fosters a mature sense of self.

Guilt and shame often follow divorce, impacting psychological health. Guilt, associated with actions that cause harm, can be constructive, leading to self-improvement. Shame, conversely, is destructive, emanating from a sense of inherent flaw in self. Differentiating and processing these emotions is crucial for emotional healing after a divorce.

Feelings of humiliation after divorce can trigger a profound lowering of self in one’s own eyes, often aggravated by public exposure. This experience can be deeply scarring, potentially leading to long-term psychological issues. Conversely, embarrassment, though related, stems from personal actions, highlighting the complexity of emotional experiences in divorce.

Grief is a natural response to the loss experienced in divorce, a realization of an irreversible change in life. It symbolizes the loss of a partnership and shared dreams. Loneliness, distinct yet related to grief, is the subjective feeling of isolation post-divorce, marking a critical phase in the emotional journey through divorce.

The harrowing experience of divorce can be a significant catalyst for personal growth and transformation. It forces individuals to confront their deepest fears, insecurities, and vulnerabilities, leading to a profound understanding of self. Though born out of heartbreak, this introspective journey can pave the way for a more authentic and fulfilling life.

Divorce can have a profound impact on physical and emotional health, often leading to stress-related illnesses and psychological distress. However, this turmoil can also be a turning point, allowing individuals to reassess their life choices, health, and overall well-being.

Passing through divorce, in its essence, is a transformative journey. It dismantles old patterns of being, allowing for the emergence of a new self. This transformation is not just emotional but also encompasses physical, social, and spiritual dimensions, leading to a holistic evolution of the individual.

Divorce can be viewed as a rite of passage, a transition from one life stage to another. It involves a symbolic death of the old self and the birth of a new identity. Like traditional initiation rites, this process necessitates solitude, introspection, and often reconnection with the inner self. This process aligns closely with Jung’s concept of individuation – the journey toward realizing one’s full potential and authentic self. It offers a unique opportunity to break free from unconscious patterns and societal expectations, facilitating a deeper connection with the inner self and the collective human experience.

Though divorce is a journey marked by pain and loss, it holds the potential for profound personal transformation. It invites introspection, emotional processing, and reconnection with the self, paving the way for individuation and a more authentic life.


“I dreamt I lived in a house with many other people and children, including my mother. I gave birth to a baby with crooked, yellow, pointy teeth, lots of hair, and could crawl. I knew my ex-boyfriend would be mad at me for having him, but I don’t think he was the father. I set the baby down and turned away for a few seconds, and then he was gone. I didn’t want anyone to know I had lost him, and while I was looking everywhere in the house, my mom came and told me the police were there to search the house because we had been reported by a neighbor as hoarders, I knew she had illegal drugs in the house, so I told her to let me hide them for her. The police didn’t find anything. After they left, someone from the house came and told me they found my baby outside by the pool, where he could have drowned. I had only been looking inside the house, and I was ashamed. I didn’t think to look there but was grateful to have him back.”

***Special Thanks to Jungian Analyst and author Leanne Downs for sharing her insights on divorce as an inner and outer process. You can learn more about her work HERE.


Dream School provides a gently paced program with live interactive webinars, an uplifting online community, thought-provoking audio modules, and guided journaling to deepen your experience. Lisa, Deb, and Joe crafted the program with you in mind and companion you through the process. “Step-by-step, we’ll teach you how to interpret your dreams.” Join the revolution of consciousness! Join Dream School and Transform Your Sleep into the Greatest Adventure of Your Life: LEARN MORE


Hey folks — We need your help. Please BECOME OUR PATRON and keep This Jungian Life podcast up and running!!




SUBMIT YOUR DREAM HERE and you might hear us interpret it during an episode.


HERE. We’re really interested in what you’re focusing on these days.




  1. Jesse Faciana

    I know this is a little silly but I wanted to make a few comments about your show on divorce. Divorces involving violence, alcoholism or other so called “clearer” issues are in no way less ambivalent or actually easier or clearer to make. I am sure you both are familiar with concepts such as battered woman syndrome and even Stockholm syndrome which has folks profoundly attached to extremely harmful marriages and partners.

    Secondly, nearly every woman I know also regularly dreams of their ex-husband and struggle to release their spouse from their subconscious. Women initiate divorce more often because often the effects of the patriarchal system we all live under which in heterosexual couples leaves many women feeling worse off in marriage than not.

    I often enjoy this program but truly believe there are some biases at play with this particular discussion which struck a chord.

  2. Karina

    Hello. Can you please share the book that Lisa mentioned in this podcast episode. I don’t think it’s linked.
    I would like to suggest an episode focusing on the stage of life around 23.

    • Marc Van Steenkiste

      “Marriage, dead or alive” by Adolf Guggenbühl- Craig. I ordered it second hand. Looks promising. I received it today.

  3. victoria siegel

    Getting together is about healing what our parent (of the other sex) did not get right. (IMO)
    Each significant relationship for me has been the main laboratory on how to get better from my childhood traumas, unconsciously entered into. Getting in was as easy as compromise. Getting out was the reckoning. Getting out takes real courage. When one of my kids got into his first serious relationship (age 28) his father was highly congratulative (I had left him after 25 years) but I told both my son and his girlfriend that I would save my congratulations for the day one of them left. It lasted about 16 months. She was and is a great person.

  4. Rob

    I appreciate this episode given my own personal circumstances and journey. Quite useful in processing my own experience and to understand the internalised significant other who has move on. The gender differences in navigating the end of a marriage are particularly useful. So thank you.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *