Top 10 Books to Help Cope with Divorce, Healing and Life Transition


While I was coping with my own separation and divorce, I looked to books as guides. I was healing from trauma and extreme grief, while also trying to adjust to my new single-life where I felt completely alone and unsure about my path. The words inside the following books validated my feelings, ushered in avenues of healing and encouraged personal development and growth. I poured over each of the following books and spent hours reading and re-reading. I would not be where I am today if I have not read these books. These texts were invaluable when my life was in huge transition and I felt lost and heartbroken. The below list is my ultimate top 10 list of books that helped me heal after divorce and transition my life. If you are interested in purchasing any of the following texts, click on either the title or the image of the book.

The Verbally Abusive Relationship

Anyone who has been a victim of verbal abuse knows how toxic and damaging it can be. In my marriage, I had encountered numerous episodes of verbal abuse; however, I didn’t even realize they were abusive. I knew they were seriously wrong, but I didn’t have a word for what I had encountered. I was healing from trauma that I didn’t realize existed. This book provided insight into what I had experienced and helped me to find clarity and healing.


Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men

After reading Patricia Evan’s, The Verbally Abusive Relationship, I was surer of what had happened (and how toxic it was), but I still had questions about why. I wasn’t sure why my ex had behaved the way he did. The “why” haunted me and I needed to understand. The understanding I desperately wanted to find was what held me back from moving on, so I needed to understand to heal. This book was the perfect guide to understanding my ex’s behaviour a little bit better.


When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress

Gabor Mate is a renowned doctor who, for years, studied the mind-body connection of individuals suffering from chronic illness. He made some incredible discoveries about how stress can lead to chronic illness. When I was in the early stage of my separation, I felt extreme grief, loss and loneliness. I considered about a thousand times, returning to my marriage (mainly because I felt so alone). After reading this book, I realized that an uncertain future on my own would always be a better choice than returning to a union that was unbelievably stressful and extremely toxic to my mental health.

Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself

I don’t fully identify as codependent, but I definitely exhibit some personality traits that fall under the codependent sphere. This book helped me acknowledge and identify some of my patterns. It also helped me better understand the role I was playing in my marriage and how I contributed to the unhealthy dynamic that had developed between us. Not only did this text provide insight into my marriage, but it also helped to prepare me for future relationships (so I could break some of the patterns I had developed over the years).


Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow

Divorce is arguably one of the most challenging experiences you will ever go through. Elizabeth Lesser has penned a fantastic text, rich with lessons and experiences from her life and the lives around her that show the amazing personal opportunities that can be uncovered following difficult times. After reading this book, I realized that even though my divorce was incredibly painful, it could possibly be the gift I needed to grow into the person I am to become.


The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

I had this idea that my path was meant to be conventional. I believed that my journey was meant to include one marriage, kids, a house and the white-picket fence (you get the idea); however, there I was, in my early 30’s, blowing up my life and all I imagined my life was meant to include. I needed to let go of this vision I held so dear of this “perfect” life I thought I was meant to live. I needed to accept how my life was actually unfolding and honour who I was becoming. This book helped me move in this direction.


Stop Wrecking My Home: How to Come out of a Broken Marriage in One Piece

This page-turning debut shares Lauren McKinley's raw and authentic story of how she survived a marriage rocked by infidelity. "Stop Wrecking my Home," is a fascinating personal story detailing the destruction caused by an affair. McKinley's narrative shows that infidelity not only shatters a marriage but also forever impacts a family and a community. McKinley has done a fantastic job weaving together a story to remind people who have suffered infidelity that they aren't alone. From start-to-finish, this awesome read is extremely captivating! It is very well-written and is a true page-turner that can be finished in one sitting as it's almost impossible to put down. Throughout the story, Mckinley provides so many truths and revelations that inspire the reader to reflect on their understanding of marital loyalty and what it truly means to fight for marriage. McKinley also highlights the fact that love truly does have limits, as she inspires readers to reflect on the balance between fighting for your marriage and maintaining your self-worth in the process.


Living Beautifully: with Uncertainty and Change

Life will never be certain, which is is the exact message communicated by Pema Chödrön in this insightful read. Life will be filled with storms; however, is it possible to live a beautifully during these storms? Yes, says Chödrön. The secret Chödrön shares with us is that there will always be storms and the ground of your life will always shaky. So what is to be done to manage? Well, Chödrön shares traditional Buddhist practices as a grounding principle to find simplicity and relax, no matter what stress or storm is occurring. These principles can help change the way you look at the world.


Taking the Leap: Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears

Author Pema Chödrön continues to provide amazing guidance in this text. Chödrön uses the Buddhist concept of shenpa in this interesting read. Chödrön helps the reader see how we establish specific habits in our minds which can “hook” us and unfortunately lead to us becoming stuck in a mind-frame of blame, anger, self-hatred, or addiction. Pema helps guide the reader to understand that when you identify these patterns, they lose the grip they have on your mind. This can lead to you taking the steps needed to change your life. Whether you are trying to move past negative emotions following a break-up, attempting to shift dating patterns, or more significantly, trying to identify and change life-long detrimental patterns, Taking the Leap will help you make a bold positive transition to live the life you desire.


Riding the Dragon: 10 Lessons for Inner Strength in Challenging Times

The main lesson from this text is, "Don't try to slay your dragons; learn to ride them!" Through a combination of eastern and western traditions, psychologist Robert J. Wicks encourages readers to face every single difficulty or “dragon" head-first, instead of cowering in defeat. Readers will be encouraged to look at problems and strife as an opportunity for personal growth and transformation. A big lesson from this book is to ride those “dragons” instead of just slaying them or chasing them back to where they came from. It is during the ride that you learn your biggest lessons.


For a list of links to all books mentioned in this post (and more), click the below link. Today’s a perfect day to start healing and changing your life. These books can help guide you in that direction!