Splits

Shannon Beador Is Going Through the 5 Psychological Stages of Divorce

The Real Housewives of Orange County mom calls the whole thing "a process."

Shannon Beador is learning that divorce has lots of different phases.

She starts off this season of The Real Housewives of Orange County in middle of a split from her husband of 17 years, David Beador. She officially filed for divorce from David on December 1, 2017.

While it plays out on the show, Shannon says she is in a much better place than when we last saw her at the RHOC reunion.

"Life today at this very moment couldn't be better. I am honestly happy. And it's not me trying to convince anybody that I'm happy. I'm happy," she recently told The Daily Dish. "I pinch myself sometimes. I'm so grateful and blessed for the things that are going on in my life and for the people that I have in my life right now. So things are very good."

It had taken her some time to get to that place.

"After the reunion when we officially announced the separation, it was difficult for me because even though we had been separated for a little over a month, it had become public, and now everybody knew about it. It just made it real to me," she said. "So there was a long period of sadness and a lot of tears and a lot of pain. And I had to process through that pain. And I think that I emerged from it by literally staying home and learning to be happy with myself, that I came out a stronger person. And I know that whether I found another partner or not, I'm gonna be OK standing on my own. It's all a blessing."

Her relationship with her ex is not so good right now, but she’s keeping her head up with help from her RHOC pals.

"My relationship with David today is no bueno. It is not good. Hopefully when we settle everything there will be more of a friendliness," Shannon said. "But my kids are doing well, as well as can be expected. We're trying to co-parent. They're spending a lot of time with their dad. We're trying to do it 50/50, and I want him to be a part of their lives… Tamra [Judge], Vicki [Gunvalson], and Kelly [Dodd] have been so supportive throughout this whole divorce process. Tamra and Vicki, they've been through it before. Even though you walk through a divorce and say, 'It's gonna be positive. We're gonna be amicable,' they've pointed out, yeah we all go through, but there's gonna be a point where it's gonna turn, and they were absolutely correct. And to be able to have somebody kind of hold my hand through that and give me their insight as to what they did when the same things happened, it was invaluable. And then also, then you go to Kelly, who's basically going through the same thing I'm going through at the same time. So to have that support system, and to also have a friend who lives 5 minutes from me that I'm able to go and do things with all the time, that's nice."

She also launched a business, her Real for Real cuisine food line and said it helped her through the split.

“This opportunity came to me right after the separation. It's like all of the stars were in alignment," she said at the time. "God has an amazing plan for me. I can't wait to see where."

Shannon is making huge progress in her post-divorce life — according to The Psychological Stages of Divorce by Diane Neumann, “everyone goes through a period of emotional transition, which can be described as a series of stages.”

“Over the years, my work with separating and divorcing couples has shown five distinct emotional stages that comprise the divorce transition,” she writes. “These combined stages generally take an average of three years, though for some people the period is shorter, while for others, it is longer. The [five] stages may occur in a specific order, though they may also blend and overlap.” 

Blaming the Spouse

“The focus during this stage is on the spouse. The individual blames his or her spouse for all of the past, present and future problems in their life. Both men and women are obsessively preoccupied with their past marital relationship, and often relive scenes from earlier years. During Stage One, the individual may develop a negative self-image and be easily hurt. S/he appears depressed and sad much of the time and experiences a low energy level. Friends and relatives describe the individual as very upset.”

Mourning the Loss

“Anyone who has witnessed someone in this stage is struck by the profound grieving. When a person explains, “I just sat and cried for weeks,” this is not an exaggeration. The grief feels overwhelming. The future looms ahead, hopeless and meaningless,” Neumann writes.

Anger

“The rage comes from a feeling of being betrayed — by your spouse — by life itself,” Neumann says. “Though anger is seen at just about every stage of the divorce transition, it is now the dominant trait. The rage is upsetting, especially to friends and relatives…The individual’s energy level is higher than at the earlier stages and there is, correspondingly, higher self-esteem. Anger and energy are part of the same cycle, and anger means movement.”

Being Single

“This is the stage that the media glamorizes as ‘second adolescence,’ since individuals are frequently trying out new experiences. Contrary to popular belief, these experiences are not exclusively sexual. Often the spouse will be upset to learn that the new activity is something the individual wanted their spouse to share in. For many people, this is the first time in their adult lives that they have been single. Being single, however, has more to do with making your own decisions than with marital status. One of the most significant changes is the growing sense of being a whole person - of not needing the spouse to make him or her complete.”

Re-entry

“Re-entry is the fifth and last stage of the divorce process. This stage of the divorce process is a time of settling down. If there is a predominant theme during Stage Five, it is the feeling of being in control of your life again. Men and women, alike, believe that they have some control over their future. Individuals in Stage Five are able to make long-term plans and commitments. If both spouses are in this stage, they will rarely be engaged in a courtroom trial. Invariably, however, spouses have completed most, if not all, of their divorce settlement.”

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