To say that divorce is a nasty time is a serious understatement.
Your world is crashing down around you. You’re feeling hurt and betrayed by the person you thought you’d spend the rest of your life with. You’re angry and upset. You sure as hell don’t feel like being mature and understanding right now.
Trouble is, the way you act when you’re going through your divorce can have a lifelong impact.
It affects the way you manage your relationships with your ex, your children, your family – and even future partners. It affects how well you’re able to stay professional and productive at work, or even whether you’re able to hold down a job at all. And perhaps most importantly, it affects how quickly you’re able to heal and recover.
Getting stuck in a rut of self-destruction or harm with respect to your children or ex-spouse is harmful to yourself and to your healing process. If you don’t nip it in the bud, it can develop into a cycle of behaviour that dooms every new relationship before it’s even got off the ground.
If you don’t take the time now to address those negative and self-harming behaviours, chances are your relationships will end up the same.
I’m not saying this to depress you. This doesn’t need to be depressing – because you can change it. You might feel like your emotions are spinning way out of control right now, but in fact:
Learning how to handle your trauma with grace will make you stronger.
It gives you the power and poise to prevent yourself from being a victim of your own emotions and pain. It helps you to protect yourself and the people you love from the ugliest elements of divorce.
There are all kinds of ways to change behaviours and responses that feel ingrained – Leo Babatua over at Zen Habits has 29 excellent tips – and it’s got nothing to do with ignoring your emotions or dulling your pain, as I explain here.
In fact, much of it comes down to having the courage to listen to your self-doubt, allow yourself to really face up to the feelings that hurt you, and to take care of yourself even as you’re pushing yourself to change for the better. This is hard enough in general life, but when you’re going through a trauma, it’s seriously tough.
While coping with my own divorce trauma and over my years of working with people who are going through similar situations, I’ve seen some of the same damaging behaviours crop up again and again.
To help tackle this, I’ve created this 10-step report on divorce etiquette.
In the report, I talk you through the biggest pitfalls that people face when they are going through a divorce – and show you how to avoid them.
- I help you to deal with your ex’s (inevitable) emotional outbursts, and to learn to forgive them while staying strong and composed.
- I give you the tools you need to handle the awkwardness that springs up with family members when they just don’t know what to say or how to be supportive, as well as how to address some of that awkwardness in yourself.
- I suggest practical things that you can do to improve your physical and mental wellbeing when your heart is aching and you just want to scream at something or someone.
- I empower you to develop ways of behaving that prevent your trauma from spilling over into your work life, so that your career doesn’t become collateral damage of your divorce.
- I help you to spot behaviours that are harmful to your kids, so that you can keep them shielded from the worst of it and make sure they can have a healthy and resentment-free relationship with both their parents.
- I explain how to identify the BS that you’re being fed by therapists and other well-meaning people about how long your recovery will take and how you should be dealing with it, so that you can avoid “false healing” and destructive behaviour.
And I help you to get yourself ready to fall in love again.