Lindsay feels as if she's trapped in a nightmare. She was well aware that her marriage to Sam has been rocky over the past year or two, but she always believed that the two of them would eventually work out their problems.

She was completely unprepared when Sam came home from work a few evenings ago and announced that he is filing for divorce.

When Lindsay heard Sam's words and watched him begin to immediately start packing up his clothes, she cried, she yelled, she tried to reason with him and she even begged him not to leave.

Now that Sam has packed up his essential belongings and has moved out to stay with a friend, Lindsay is still in shock. Her life seems to be spinning out of control and she feels like there is nothing she can do about it.

If your spouse has recently made it clear to you that he or she wants a divorce, you might be going through similar emotions. You may be angry, fearful, confused and panicked. You might feel helpless to this unwanted situation.

As much as you want (and have possibly tried) to convince your partner that he or she should stay with you, nothing seems to be working. As a result, you may feel even more powerless.

Even in the midst of this difficult situation, you can begin to turn things around so that you can begin to heal and start to feel more in control of your own life.

Here's how...

Feel what you are feeling.
As helpless and overwhelmed as you might feel, it's really important for you to allow your emotions to come up.

When faced with painful emotions, many people do their best to avoid them. They notice what is welling up inside of them and they worry that they won't be able to make through their day-to-day lives if they acknowledge it.

Turning to alcohol, drugs, food, work or other substances and activities to dull or numb the pain is what too many people do. Others try to deny or attempt to control their feelings.

Unfortunately, these methods of dealing with uncomfortable and upset feelings are ineffective.

As you might already know, the numbing out is only a temporary state. Shoving down your feelings can't last forever either. At some point, the pain returns and it usually does so at even more intense levels.

Set aside some pocket of time every day where you can just “be” with whatever feelings you are having. Give yourself permission and space to cry, yell, sob, rage or do whatever you need to do (as long as you don't hurt yourself or another).

Believe it or not, in just about every case, you will not experience more than you can handle. If you do feel like you need help with the intensity of your emotions, please consult a professional counselor or coach.

Remind yourself of the choices that you DO have right now.
When you are regularly allowing yourself to feel what you are feeling, you will most likely notice periods of relative calm.

Yes, your sadness and fears may still be there, but they will most likely feel just a little bit more manageable once you have let your emotions out. For many people, it can feel like the proverbial calm AFTER the storm.

Especially in those relatively calmer times, you can get into the habit of reminding yourself that you do have power in your life right now. Despite the events that are unwanted (like the divorce, for example), there are probably many many choices that you can-- and already do-- make each and every day.

It can help you feel more empowered and directed in your healing and your life when you remember that you have choice.

If this is difficult for you, take out a piece of paper and make a list. Write down the choices that you get to make every day.

For instance, you might write down: “I choose what and when to eat and drink. I choose whether or not I will go to work. I choose how much contact with my ex I will have. I choose whether or not to call my friend when I need emotional support. I choose where I will live.”

Some of these choices are mundane and commonplace. Others are more involved and potentially life-altering.

If you begin to feel overwhelmed by all of your choices and decisions as you do this exercise, put down your pen or pencil, turn your paper over and just breathe deeply and slowly for a few minutes. The point here is to remember that you are not helpless and you do have the power to choose.

From that place of choice, you can start to move closer and closer to the kind of new life you want to create for yourself.

Author's Bio: 

Get helpful advice and learn strategies to help you heal after a divorce or relationship break up by clicking here for Susie and Otto Collins' free e-mail mini-course.

Susie and Otto Collins are relationship coaches and authors who help couples communicate, connect and create the passionate relationships they desire. They have written these e-books and programs: Magic Relationship Words, Relationship Trust Turnaround, No More Jealousy and Stop Talking on Eggshells among many others.