There’s no getting away from it – Divorce is painful! Whether you are the instigator, it’s not your choice or the situation is a mutual decision.
Divorce is a life transition that marks the end of one era and the start of a new one.
It’s not the Divorce that is painful; it’s the conflict and heartbreak it brings with it; it’s the having to let go of lifestyles, your spouse and your fantasy of how life should be!
Each of us deals with it in different ways, so how can we make it easier for ourselves?
Whilst Going Through The Process:
Know The Outcome You Want:
We get stuck in the pain, the loss and the daily problems that separation creates. So set yourself a short term goal of where you want to be in say, three/six months’ time. Set intentions. And most importantly, write the goal down!! How do you want to feel? (e.g. more settled, more in control, more confident etc) What stage do you want to see the Divorce process to be at? (e.g. legal papers in place, child care arrangement sorted, financials agreed etc.) How do you want to be behaving? (e.g. civilly, amicable, )
Remember, if we communicate and behave in a manner to which we want to be treated, we are more likely to have it coming back to us in the same way.
You cannot control what your spouse does, but you can control what you do!
Create a Support Network:
In this life transition, your friendship and support networks are going to be different and acceptance of this makes life so much easier. Choose your friends wisely. Friends of you both (as a couple) will be facing their own loyalty issues; don’t be surprised if they don’t act as you would expect them to.
Be open to external help and advice, just as you would taking on any new project in life.
Become Self Aware (know your own feelings):
The bombshell of Divorce sends our minds off in many different directions. Knowing how to work with your feelings and thoughts will be key to getting through this transition in the best possible state.
Being Self-aware may be completely new to you, but we can change the way we feel. It just takes knowledge and practise.
Awareness is the key.
Once you know how you are feeling, you can change it.
It’s normal to feel devastated, distraught and worried. So give yourself permission to feel that way, then decide to do something with those feeling, because if you don’t, THEY will take over your life.
Unresolved negative feelings linger in your mind-set infecting all areas of your life and when not dealt with and resolved they can follow you to your grave. Sounds dramatic, but that’s how important it is.
Vocalising your feelings can help, talk to friends or sympathetic relatives, speak to your doctor or find a support group. Work with a Coach to help you with your emotions.
You wouldn’t learn to drive a car without lessons, but we often leave the most important life lessons to chance.
Be Kind To Yourself:
Be aware of the pressure you are under. Looking after yourself is crucial at this time; eat and drink healthily. It might be tempting to drown your sorrows in alcohol and comfort eating but this is just numbing your responses, delaying the inevitable issues that will come to the surface. Everything in moderation of course, I’m not suggesting you go tea total or deny yourself small pleasures. Just the opposite in fact, know what is the right and best way for you to treat yourself to build up your physical strength, which takes a healthy lifestyle.
Sleeping well is also key…. easier said than done!! Try sticking to a ‘kind’ bed routine; not staying up to late watching mindless telly; have warm baths; appropriate night time drinks. Create a cosy bedroom for yourself and keep it clean and tidy. Play low soft music to go to sleep by (rather than leaving the TV on).
Focussing on your own well-being makes you feel better.
Children and Divorce
It’s also a very tough time for the children, whatever age they are. So how can you help them:
Just know that whatever you are going through, the children pick up on, so look after your own well -being and it’ll pay off for them too.
Decide in your own mind that you can Co-parent the children, separately. This decision is one of the most important ones you can make during the Divorce process. Of course it take two to make it work, but if you need to be the one to make the first, right move, then let it be you!
Having experienced this position, as a child, as a parent and as a Divorce Coach, I can whole-heartedly say, this decision is the one which will have lifelong positive repercussions for your children.
Be honest with your children in a child friendly way. They are entitled to know you are getting divorced but stick to balanced conversations with them.
Avoid blame and criticism of your soon-to-be-ex. Remember they need to feel the unconditional love of both parents and to skewer their perception of the other parent isn’t fair. It wrecks parent – child relationships, sometimes for many years and those years cannot be reclaimed. So however bitter, anger and despondent you feel, keep the gory details to yourself. Share them with your support network, not your children.
Be there to listen and reassure your children when they have their many questions. Support them by allowing them to express their emotions, let them vent their feelings, assuring them of your unconditional love.
Allow your children and ex to have the communication needed to keep their relationship alive and healthy. Using your children as pawns or bargaining tools is extremely cruel to all parties concerned.
Keep your children in the picture of where the other parent is living. Visualising and know where the other parent is living can be of comfort to a child. Thinking they’ve just disappeared into thin air can be very confusing and painful.
As far as possible stick to routines, even older children like routines, it gives a sense of security.
Keep the light hearted side of life alive in your single parent household. Bring humour. laughter and love to the table; it’s as important as nourishing food. Hugs and physical contact play an important part at this time too. Children can feel reassured and comfort when you put your arms around them.
Most of all, assure the children the divorce isn’t their fault. Many children torture themselves thinking they are the reason Mum/Dad left home.
In the long distance future, when your children have grown up, wouldn’t it be great to have them look back on their childhood and say that although their parents got divorced it was done in a civilised way.
Mindful parents can work together to create a loving, healthy family way of life, separately, but it takes a good deal of work from both sides.
Watch out for the Newsletters with lots of Hints and Tips on this subject