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Step 7: Change Your Story (12 Step Divorce Recovery Series)

By Lisa Brick

Human beings are, at heart, story tellers. 

We weave our stories from the threads of our personal experience combined with what we’ve observed, heard about, read about, or seen on the screen. The conclusions we take from our experiences and those of others are determined by the perspective through which we view them. What we conclude, no matter how sure we are, is not reality.  It is one of many interpretations of reality. 

Ask your spouse about your last argument. How likely is it that your story will match his/hers. The stories we tell ourselves are not “true”, they are our unique perspective on what we experienced.     

During marriage and divorce these stories influence how we act. 

When we do not examine our stories for accuracy our actions can work against our relationships as well as the outcomes of divorce.  Examining our stories for accuracy is vital if we are to navigate divorce in a way that is effective and healthy.  

There is often a significant discrepancy between the stories we believe as well as the meaning we give them and the actuality of the circumstances we are and have experienced. As long as we are living solely in the stories we repeat to ourselves we are sabotaging our ability to see the situations we find ourselves in accurately and design effective actions.  

The habits of doing and being you’ve developed over time have brought you to where you are now.  

If you want to change the quality of your life those habits need to change. In many cases your habits arose out of the stories you designed to explain your circumstances.  Once you truly examine the story, your perspective changes. Once the perspective changes you begin to see other explanations for your experiences and new approaches to alter your life and your relationships for the better.  

“We can not solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them” 
~ Albert Einstein

One of the most damaging stories during divorce is that we are powerless.

We tell ourselves that our spouse holds all the cards and pulls all the strings.  If the circumstances have been that for years you have been unable to communicate with your spouse effectively and eventually gave up, it is understandable that the story would be he/she has all the power and you have none. It’s understandable yet it is not accurate. In your story you neglect to acknowledge that you gave up your power in frustration and exhaustion. Once you acknowledge this you can begin exercising your power again, only this time seeking out innovative and more effective ways to make yourself heard or, if that is impossible, to give up frustrating yourself trying. 

Another crippling story told during divorce happens as a result of infidelity and deceit.  

The story is that your spouse thinks you are an idiot, or worse, you think you are an idiot for “believing” him/her.  The complementary story is that the spouse is evil.

  • Fact, your spouse has been deceitful.  
  • Fact, your spouse had neither the discipline nor integrity to honor his/her marriage vows.
  • Fact, your spouse was lacking in the courage or skills to admit to his/her transgression.  
  • Fact, the elephant is now being addressed and either there is a chance at healing the relationship or not.  

The rest of the story is a fabrication. The infidelity, no matter how much it hurts, need not be the end of a marriage or a family although one of you may choose to end the marriage anyway.  

Playing the victim is taking on the role of the powerless one.  

While this may be the first role you take on it does not have to be the role you remain in. It is IMPOSSIBLE for your spouse to continue playing his/her role the same way once you begin to change the role you have assigned to yourself. While you may tell yourself that he/she holds all the cards you hold a wild card. That wild card is within you. That wild card is you.

Divorce rips apart the known and catapults you into a chaotic world where you can’t know, at least for much of the process. You will have definites eventually.  Patience is a virtue until... 

The situation you are in is a painful one. While divorce brings suffering and chaos it also offers the potential to begin acting and living differently, and if you take advantage of change, the growth potential is enormous.  Real and productive change begins with recognizing, examining, and altering your story. 

Are you ready to change your story and create new healthy habits? Book your FREE Rapid Relief coaching call today. 


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