Divorce can be a difficult and lonely experience. Having a strong support network during divorce can make a world of difference. Building a support network can be tricky as people going through divorce can feel shame about the divorce and can isolate themselves. Below are several ways to create a supportive network during a divorce.
Friends and Family
Your support network should include people who are understanding, non-judgmental, and have your best interests at heart. These people could include close friends, family and others in your network such as mentors or religious professionals. It’s important that you let them know what you need from them because they may not know how to help you. Do you need them to listen? Do you want advice? Do you just need them to help with the kids? Clearly communicating what would help you the most is key to having the right support around you during divorce.
While friends and family are an important party of your support network, they may not understand what you’re going through. If they haven’t been through divorce, they probably don’t really know how overwhelming and devastating divorce is. They may say the wrong thing or be so consumed with their own feelings that they can’t support you.
That’s why support groups and other divorce communities can be so helpful. There are many online and in-person divorce support groups and communities. Connecting with others going through divorce helps you recognize that you’re not the only one who’s feeling so devastated. It can help with the healing process. Listening to others stories and hearing about others who’ve survived divorce can give you hope for the future. They can share what has worked for them and what hasn’t which can help you have a better idea of how to move forward.
There are a number of divorce professionals that can help you as you go through divorce. Many people hire an attorney and let the attorney lead their divorce. That can lead to an increase in cost and conflict. Here are professionals that you can use during your divorce:
Remember, asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Your divorce does not have to define who you are. It is a transition and a new chapter in your life. By creating a strong support network and taking advantage of the services of a professional such as divorce coach, you can move forward with your life in a positive and healthy way.
Divorce is a difficult and overwhelming experience and can be especially challenging for those who are co-parenting with their soon-to-be-ex (STBX). You want what's best for your children but you may have difficulty communicating with your STBX. You both may have hurt, angry, and resentful feelings toward each other. There are things you can do to reduce the stress of co-parenting and make it more effective.
1. Communicate with your ex as much as necessary.
It's critical to keep the lines of communication open for the sake of your children. Schedules, pick-ups and drop-offs, extracurricular activities, medical issues and other details should be discussed. The more you can agree on in advance, the less stressful things will be when they arise. And, if disagreements do arise, try to handle them calmly. You don't want your children to see you arguing or hear negative things about their other parent. But you don't have to communicate about anything unrelated to the children. If there's something going on that you'd rather not tell your STBX, it's ok to keep it private. You're navigating a new relationship with your STBX and you can decide how much you share and how much you keep to yourself.
2. Do not use your children to communicate.
Using your children to communicate will only harm your children in the long run. Your children should never feel responsible for things that happen between their parents. If they are required to communicate because you aren’t able to, your children can feel an incredible amount of stress. It’s best to find ways to communicate including text, email and phone calls.
3. Focus on your future.
You and your STBX’s relationship is changing. You’re no longer going to be married, you’re going to be co-parents. That means that everything that happened in the past doesn’t really apply to your new relationship. Let go of the past and focus on your future as co-parents who both care about your children. Be polite and respectful no matter what your STBX does. Eventually you’ll be able to develop a healthy co-parenting relationship. Make sure that you’re taking care of yourself so that you won’t be triggered by any inappropriate text or confrontational attorney letter.
4. Talk about feelings with your children
Divorce brings up so many emotions. It’s important that you create an environment where your children can express all of their feelings, even if it’s difficult to hear. Ask your children how they’re feeling and listen to what they say. Listening without talking is an essential skill that parents need to be effective at. When your child expresses a fear, ask them to tell you more. Then ask them, “Is there anything else?” When your child is completely done talking, then you can try to address some of their concerns without minimizing them. Empathize with them and say, “I can see why you feel that way.” Be honest with your children and let them know that it’s hard for you too but let them know that you’ll all be ok. Come up with ideas together on how you can make things better. If your children feel comfortable talking about their feelings, you can all move forward and have hope for a really good future.
Divorce is one of the most difficult things to go through in life. You have to take care of yourself to manage the stress of co-parenting. If you communicate effectively with your STBX, focus on your future and talk about feelings with your children, you will have an easier time managing the stress of divorce and co-parenting. If you’re struggling with any of this, reach out to a therapist or an experienced divorce coach.
Divorce mediation is a process where you and your soon-to-be-ex (STBX) work with an impartial third party to negotiate the financial and parenting aspects of your divorce agreement. There are ways to prepare yourself emotionally for the divorce mediation process to make it less stressful and more effective.
Keep In Mind That It's Not About Who Wins or Loses
You and your STBX are going to have disagreements as you go through your mediation process. It’s important to remember that winning is not as important as reaching an acceptable agreement for both parties. Be prepared to let go of the need to win and instead focus on finding a resolution that works for both of you.
Know What’s Important To You
Knowing what’s important to you is key to understanding how to prepare for mediation. Think of the dream solution – if you could have everything you want, what would that look like? Then think about what you could give up. Do you want to keep the marital home? How important is that to you? Are you agreeable to 50% custody? Knowing what’s important to you and what you can give up will help you keep your emotions in check so that you can get to an agreement.
Focus On The Future
The purpose of divorce mediation is to agree on what’s going to happen in your and your children’s future. Sometimes during mediation one party brings up something that happened in the marriage in the past. It’s usually not helpful to discuss emotional issues from the past during mediation. If you or your STBX starts to do this, respectfully redirect your attention to discussions about the agreement and the future. Mediation is about moving forward so think about the following questions:
Keep Emotions Out Of It
During mediation, you’re negotiating one of the most important transactions in your life. You must be able to think clearly in order to make all of the important decisions that you need to make. If you’re emotional, you won’t be able to think clearly. If you feel upset, take a few deep abdominal breaths and try to relax. It may also be helpful to take breaks throughout the mediation process to clear your head. Otherwise, you may say or do something that you'll regret later.
Divorce mediation can be a very difficult, emotional process. However, by preparing yourself mentally and emotionally for the journey ahead, you can make the experience a little more manageable.
If you're considering divorce mediation, it's important to talk to someone who can help guide you through the process and offer support. A divorce coach can be an invaluable asset during this time – they can provide information about what to expect during mediation, help you prepare for mediation, and help keep you accountable throughout the process.
No one tells you what to expect after a divorce. For some people, it's a total relief. They can finally start living their lives the way they want to. But for others, it can be challenging. There's so much change happening all at once, and it can be hard to know where to start. In this blog, we will go through ways to be happy in your post-divorce life.
Grieving Leads To Happiness
The process grieving is a necessary part of moving on. Research has shown that those who don't allow themselves to grieve after a divorce are more likely to experience long-term negative effects such as depression and anxiety.
So what does it mean to grieve? It means that you go through the five stages of grief: denial, bargaining, anger, sadness and eventually acceptance. And it’s important to remember that grief is not a straight line so you may be in any of the 5 stages at any point in time. These emotions are all normal reactions to grief and it’s common to cycle through these stages multiple times. Allow yourself the time and space to grieve in whatever way works best for you. Journaling is a great tool to help you process your grief. With time and patience, it is possible to feel happier and more fulfilled as you go through the grieving process.
Have A Support System
Divorce can be a confusing and emotionally charged process. It’s important to build and reach out to your support system. This could be a divorce coach, close friends, a therapist, a support group, a minister or family members. Talking about what you are going through can help you make sense of your emotions and move on. A support system can offer so much when you’re in need of practical advice, a safe place to vent or even help with childcare.
Learn To Manage Your Finances
Taking control of your finances after a divorce is important so that you can understand and have clarity about so many important decisions in your life. First, make a budget from your previous year of expenses so that you can project out what you need to live on. Start by listing your monthly income and expenses, then see where you can cut back or make adjustments. Second, get organized and keep all of your critical financial documents in one place so you can easily find them when you need them. This includes things like tax returns, bank statements, and investment accounts. A financial advisor, accountant and a CDFA can help you with all of this.
Being single after a divorce can be liberating. Your relationship status for so long defined you - now you get to define yourself. This is a time to reconnect with who you are and what makes you happy. It's also a chance to set some new goals and create a life that is even better than before.
Of course, there are challenges to being single, but that’s all part of the journey. Embrace your new status and enjoy being single. You may just find it's something to be grateful for!
Indulge In Self-Care
It can be easy to get lost in the shuffle of everyday life and put your own needs on the back burner. However, it's crucial to take some time for yourself to recharge and refocus. Dedicate some time each week to do something that brings you joy, whether taking a yoga class, going for a walk in nature, reading your favorite book, or getting a massage. You have to make self-care a priority because if you wait until you have time, you may not ever make time for this.
Develop New Interests
After a divorce, it can be difficult to know what to do with your life. You may have spent years focused on your family, and now you find yourself suddenly with a lot of free time. This is an opportunity to pursue interests that you never had time for. Maybe you've always wanted to learn to play the guitar or take up painting. Perhaps you've always dreamed of traveling but never had the chance. Now is the perfect time to develop those interests.
It will give you something to focus on outside of your divorce and help you meet new people. Don't be afraid to pursue your passions after a divorce – it can be just what you need to start fresh and build a great life for yourself.
Yes, You Can Be Happy After Divorce!
Divorce is one of the most difficult things a person can go through. But it doesn't have to be the end of your happiness. You can be happy after divorce. Take your divorce journey one day at a time, and don't be afraid to reach out for help when you need it. You’ll find that each step that you take to move forward will make it that much easier to continue. And eventually, you’ll become so grateful for the new life that you have and you won’t be able to imagine any other life.
Is your marriage a mess but you’re afraid to get a divorce? Are you scared of being on your own? Are you staying together for the kids? There are so many things to think about before you decide to get a divorce. The average person thinks about divorce for 7 years before taking that step. So it makes sense if you’re stuck and not doing anything about it.
If you’re feeling that you don’t want to stay married but you don’t want to get divorced, you’re not alone. Many people stay in their marriages because they’re scared of the alternative. It feels better to be together because your children are in an intact family. And staying married feels safe and stable. But if you’re unhappy, depressed or anxious, that’s not really stable. And if your children see conflict or tension, that’s not good for them.
If you’re unhappy in your marriage, it’s taking a toll on you. Even if your marriage looks ok from the outside, you know what’s really going on inside. If there is no connection, no communication, no partnership or respect, it can feel horrible. Maybe one partner shows their rage toward the other in private but everyone outside the family thinks he or she is a great person. Maybe one partner isn’t willing to work on the marriage and expects the other to accept it as it is. Being in an unhappy marriage can have emotional and even physical consequences. I understand; I was there too. I started having optical migraines and acid reflux which are both physical conditions that stem from stress.
Once you realize that there are serious negative consequences to being in an unhappy marriage, you can start to get closer to a decision to divorce. Understanding that you deserve to be happy, and your children deserve to have happy parents, provides you with the courage to overcome your fears of getting divorced. Millions of people have gotten through divorce, you can too.
Get support as you go through this very stressful time - get support from family, friends, a therapist or from my group coaching program – Thriving Through Divorce. If you know it's the right decision, you can find the courage to do this. You can build an amazing new post-divorce life for yourself and your children.
This past year has been tough and a lot of people have lost hope for a better future. But that can change by recognizing that we’re somewhat in control of our thoughts. Did you know that we have about 6,000 thoughts per day? And about 80% of them are negative! That means that we have a huge amount of negative self-talk. We spend a lot of time telling ourselves that we’re not good enough, not smart enough, not thin enough or not as good as someone else. When we do this often, it becomes a habit. We can start feeling bad about ourselves and lose hope.
The great news is that we can change these negative habits and train our minds to interpret our experiences in a more positive way. Sure, life can be HARD, but our patterns of thinking and the way we perceive the world can make it much harder than necessary.
In the words of Greek Philosopher Epictetus, “We are disturbed not by things, but by what we think about things.” Therefore, if we can change the way we think, we can change the way we feel!
Have you ever expected, even visualized disaster? Have you noticed or heard about a problem and started asking, “What if?” What if tragedy strikes? What if it happens to you? That way of thinking is called “catastrophizing” where we catastrophize a problem and make it worse by escalating our negative thoughts.
With catastrophizing, we worry that the worst possible outcome will happen. We exaggerate the problem. When you realize you might be catastrophizing, stop and ask yourself the question, “What story am I telling myself?” It might take a moment, but get specific. For example, maybe you are telling yourself that you are ruining your kids and that you are a terrible parent and that none of you are ever going to be happy again. Whatever it is, when you force yourself outside the thoughts and examine them, it becomes apparent how dramatic your story has become.
After identifying the story you’re telling yourself, ask yourself, “What other story could be true?” This is where you use your logical brain and reference facts. An example of this would be, “Patty went through a divorce and it was so hard, but her children are all doing well and she moved on with her life and is thriving. That can happen for me, too.”
When you identify the negative thoughts, and replace them with positive ones, you’ll feel better. If you think you are a good person who deserves to be happy, you’ll create a happy life. You’ll see possibilities for the future and have hope. While using these techniques takes mindfulness and work, it’s worth it as it can give you a tool to start the new year off in a great place.
It’s hard to let go of anger: anger at our parents, anger at a former friend, anger at a betrayal, anger at an ex-spouse, anger at ourselves. It’s understandable. Someone has done us wrong and we’re angry. We don’t have to forgive them. We can hold onto the anger for the rest of our lives if we want to. It’s our right to do that. But forgiveness can be healing and enable you to move on.
Holding on to anger can consume you. You start thinking about it all the time. Special occasions can be ruined simply because the person you are angry with is there. Relationships can be damaged as you project what happened to you in the past onto your current situation.
In order to get to forgiveness, you must work through your anger. A beneficial way address anger is to express it. Although anger is a normal emotion, it must be expressed in a constructive manner. Problems develop when the root of the anger isn’t recognized and the feelings aren’t expressed.
One of my clients was angry at her father for leaving her and her mother when she was a child. She carried that anger into her marriage and became angry at her spouse after their child was born. She felt that he was acting like her father even though he wasn’t anything like her father. It became a self-fulfilling prophecy. Her husband left her.
With some guidance, my client learned how to express her anger at her father and went through all of the feelings she had about him which included sadness, anger, regret and grief. After expressing all of her emotions, she was actually able to forgive him. After forgiving him, she was able to move on in her life and develop a deep, intimate connection with a man.
It’s like a jar with the top on. If you keep the top on the jar, the anger stays inside. But if you open the jar and let the anger out, it goes away. Once you release the anger you can start the path to forgiveness. Remember forgiving the person is for you, not for the other person. You’ll feel a sense of relief when you aren’t burdened by the anger anymore. Through this process, you’ll be amazed at your ability to heal your past wounds, let go of your anger and move on in your life.
Effective methods of releasing anger:
The following blog is authored by guest author, Chloe Pearson, a freelance writer and research specialist. She volunteers for Consumer Health Labs, which aims to help consumers make healthy choices.
When living with any mental illness, routine can be key. Routines are helpful for everyone but they can make profound improvements on the symptoms and side effects (http://www.drugrehab.org/addiction-suicide-veterans/) of mental illness. As stress decreases and your life becomes more reliable, your symptoms can significantly decrease.
If you have PTSD, here are 3 things you may want to incorporate into your daily or weekly routine:
1. A Well-Rounded Diet
Nutritional gaps and deficiencies can trigger or exacerbate a number of symptoms, leaving your illness more difficult to manage. Examples of nutrients that if deficient can affect mood include calcium, folate, iron, magnesium, zinc, Omega 3s and vitamins B6, B12 and D.
It’s a good idea to consult your doctor or a nutritional expert to locate where your diet is lacking and how you can correct it. Supplements can always be used to fill any deficiencies that are difficult to correct with diet alone.
2. An Evening Routine
Insomnia is a symptom that plagues many people struggling with PTSD. Whether due to nightmares or simply the inability to fall asleep, this symptom can wreak havoc on one’s mental health.
While there are many medications or supplements you can use to encourage sleep, one of the best ways to do it is to cultivate an evening routine. A series of actions done at the same time each night will help train your brain to release melatonin at the appropriate time which can help you fall asleep and stay asleep through the night. For example, choose a time during the evening at least 30 minutes before your bedtime to refrain from working or engaging with a screen of any kind. Have a cup of non-caffeinated tea and read a book to wind down. Figure out a routine that works for you and stick with it.
3. Regular and Enjoyable Exercise
Regular exercise that you enjoy not only keeps your body healthy but also improves mental health by releasing endorphins. It reduces stress which can be a major factor in the severity of PTSD symptoms. Exercise can also battle co-arising issues such as depression by boosting mood. Be sure you pick a form of exercise you won’t dread. You don’t want to cause stress by forcing yourself to perform an activity you don’t enjoy. Some fun ways to get moving might be yoga(1), hiking, tai chi, or swimming.
Learning to live with PTSD is simply a matter of learning through trial and error. Of course, you should always seek the help of your mental healthcare provider to steer you in the right direction. A good diet, a routine and exercise do not replace professional treatment. It is a way to make daily life a little easier on your own. Give a few of these suggestions a try and see what works best for you.
Image via Pixabay by FotoArt-Treu
(1) Research on the benefits of yoga at https://www.jenreviews.com/yoga/
Many people have negative thinking patterns. Changing these negative patterns is the basis for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) which is one of the most successful techniques used in therapy. Some examples of negative thoughts are:
Once in a while, we all have thoughts like these. But if it happens much of the time, these negative thinking patterns can have serious consequences. Our thoughts impact the way we feel and repetitive negative thoughts can lead to depression, anxiety and low self-esteem.
What can we do about it? The first step is to notice when you have one of these thoughts. Stop yourself from continuing to think about it by asking yourself two questions: What is the evidence that this thought is actually true? What is the evidence that this thought is not true? Because these thoughts are usually distorted, it is likely there will be a lot more evidence that the thought is not true.
After you recognize the thought is not true, replace the negative thought with a positive one:
At first it may feel awkward to do this but it will become more natural with practice. Give CBT a try and let me know how it goes!
Jill Barnett Kaufman, MSW, LCSW and Certified Parent Educator is an experienced clinician who helps clients discover new ways to resolve a variety of challenges and bring more happiness and peace into their lives.