Although human beings are wired to avoid pain, there is no way of escaping the fact that divorce hurts. Everyone experiences divorce pain. Pain is a legitimate, understandable, and unavoidable experience during divorce. Herein lies the conundrum: In the midst of experiencing this unavoidable pain you are being called upon to make significant decisions with information that is, at least initially, insufficient while you are:
On top of this, you are being impacted by the pain and emotionality of everyone else involved. This is quite the assignment.
How you respond to divorce pain will have an immense impact on how well you are able to navigate the divorce landscape, including determining custody of minor children, living arrangements, establishing interim budgets, and ultimately negotiating a divorce settlement agreement.
Knowing how to manage divorce hurt goes a long way in allowing you to create the breathing room necessary to regain your grounding and determine and stick to strategies that keep the inevitable divorce chaos to a minimum. Knowing how to manage divorce hurt allows you to emerge clearer and stronger, albeit with a change in your finances, than you were when you began on this path.
You are able to impact how your divorce unfolds. You are not and will not be able to control THE divorce process, only your process. Your power, your agency, is in influencing the process. If you are to divorce well it is necessary to create a new relationship with the pain you are experiencing. In this new relationship you:
While it will take commitment and practice to forge this new relationship and response to divorce pain you will find considerable immense benefit. You will be able to hold on to your agency and your ability to negotiate from a place of clarity rather than fear or hysteria.
There will be times when fear or hysteria grabs you. Give yourself a time out to allow the emotions to pass. If you are driving pull over and to allow the emotions to pass. If you are at work, with the kids, or in conversation with your spouse, excuse yourself and go to the bathroom to allow the emotions to pass. It is counterproductive to continue to engage when strong emotions overtake you.
Strong emotions disconnect individuals from their ability to see more than one perspective, to think logically or creatively, or to say or do anything constructive. It’s not just you...it’s everyone.
When you are interacting with anyone who is grabbed by his/her strong emotions remember to Stop, Step Back or Out, and Give Space for them, as well as for you, to come back to sane is the key to more productive interactions and certainly, to keeping divorce conflict as low as possible.
Remember, pain occurs while healing takes place as well as when you get hurt. By creating a new relationship to pain and recognizing its necessity you will move from the pain of injury to the pain of healing as quickly as possible. Creating this relationship with pain allows you to learn from it where you can, process and release it where you can’t, and move on.
Allow yourself to shift into this new relationship with pain at a pace that is comfortable for you. Everyone has his/her own speed. Honor your speed.
Your new relationship with pain will allow you to integrate the many changes occurring and influence outcomes positively through the choices you make. No more paralysis!
It is said that a “good” divorce is one in which the parties involved walk towards their new lives able to accept the compromises they made. Here’s to a relationship with divorce pain that will allow you a “good” divorce.
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