The seven stages of the Brexit divorce
The European Union is breaking up. The UK is leaving the European Union and the world reaction is similar to the seven stages of divorce.
The headlines are as dramatic as the most emotional divorce.
“Despite Leaders’ Assurances, ‘Brexit’ Leaves Markets Nervous” – The New York Times
“British Pound Falls Further as ‘Brexit’ Shock Lingers” – The Wall Street Journal
The financial markets and many around the world are reacting to Brexit in the same way many react to a divorce. In the same way that divorce is the legal dissolution of a marriage, Brexit is the legal dissolution of Britain’s marriage to the European Union.
Like many marriages, the parties may try to reconcile, however, unless all of the parties are willing to work on the nature of the problem, divorce is likely inevitable.
The seven stages of divorce are:
- Shock and denial: For many, a divorce is an upsetting or surprising event and denial is a common reaction to the ‘shocking’ and often emotionally overwhelming news.
- Guilt: As the shock wears off and the reality of the situation becomes more apparent, along with the pain of the loss, the uncertainty of the future and feelings about what you did wrong.
- Anger: It is hard to accept responsibility for things that have gone wrong. When things get out of balance a normal reaction is to become angry. After all, it is easier to be angry at others than to look within. This is a normal stage of any grieving process.
- Bargaining: Shock, denial, guilt and anger eventually gives way to the bargaining stage in an effort to regain control of the situation.
- Guilt: When the bargaining stage wanes, people question what they could have done differently.
- Depression: The absence of control of the situation often migrates to depression when the reality of the loss settles in. The depression stage can be overwhelming, the feelings of guilt and loss are most severe. This is a normal step in the grieving process and typical in many divorces. The depression stage is ends with the beginning of the upward turn called the acceptance stage.
- Acceptance: During the acceptance stage lessons are learned on how to deal with the situation. Hope replaces depression and the future looks bright once again.
Understanding the seven stages of divorce may provide insight into the Brexit crises. The world and financial markets reactions to the U.K. decision to exit the European Union is reminiscent of the shock and denial stage of divorce. If the seven stages of divorce model are followed in the Brexit crises, the journey towards a healthy U.K. and European Union is just beginning.
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By: Daniel Findling