Free yourself from Post-Divorce Negativity

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Free yourself from Post-Divorce Negativity

Few events in life can fill you with so many negative emotions such as sadness, a sense of loss, despair, depression, anxiety and hatred like a bitter divorce. Even conscious uncoupling can be deeply unsettling. The first thing to realize is that it is all inside your own head. You may feel a torrent of emotions. But you decide exactly what to do with them, how to manage them and ultimately whether you come out a stronger, more developed, self-actualized person at the end who has experienced a kind of personal growth from this experience, or if you miss that chance due to retaining bitterness. If you are hurling all of this hatred and anger at your spouse, you’ll soon realize it’s like swallowing poison to murder someone; it hurts you terribly, but the impact on them is limited. Instead, an outlook of yourself both as patient and doctor is sufficient. You have these emotions and now it’s time to see how to best tend to them so that you get the best outcome. Your spouse as well may be casting vitriol at you every chance they get. You can’t control what happened or how they feel. Nor can you control their behavior. What you can control is your reaction to it, and how much you will let it bother you. There are some simple beliefs you can adopt to help shed your negativity and also protect yourself against your ex’s. Here’s how to free yourself from post-divorce negativity.

Realize that whatever your spouse says about you is their problem, not yours. Be sure to clear your name. And if they are using the children to spy or as a weapon, make sure to nip that situation in the bud. The children should never be put in the middle. They will suffer for it. But other than that, they will say what they will. You choose how you react to it. Their speech is all about them, not about you. What’s more, other people will be watching how you react. Will you be classy all the way, or sink to their level? In the end others judge them for their behavior, and they’ll sink themselves. Instead of seeing divorce as an end, which it invariably is, see it as a new beginning. You have freedom to be who you want to be, and discover a whole new you. Your life won’t be perfect after divorce, but it is still pretty good and it can be even be better. Make a dream board. Write in a diary. Make a bucket list. Go back to school. Get some more training or try and climb the ladder at work. Invest in a hobby. Take a trip with a friend. There are so many things you can do and so many directions you can take your life in now that your ex isn’t weighing you down. There will be good days and bad. If you need to cry it out, do it. It’s a healing process and think of it as such. But don’t wallow in grief. Know when it’s time to pick yourself up and get going again.

Realize that every experience you have in life is another lesson that makes you wiser and therefore a better person in the end. It may not feel like it now but this could be a completely transformative experience for you. Not everything in life is meant to endure. Change can be very scary and it can be hard to say goodbye. Just keep things moving. Make the necessary steps, no matter how small or staggering. Sooner or later you will make it to where you are supposed to be. Sometimes it feels satisfying to take part in divorce drama with your ex. But sooner or later you will understand that it weighs you down far more than it lifts you up. After a divorce you may feel like damaged goods. But the truth is people are judging you far less than you think. Understand that your life and your happiness is ultimately based on your own thinking and no one elses. You can make the world a better place and you can make your life all you want it to be. It’s all up to you. For more, pick up a copy of the book, The Rediscovery of Me: Reinventing Life after Divorce by Dr. Marcia Brevard Wynn and Earl Sewell.

Remaking Yourself after Divorce

Reinvent-Yourself

Remaking Yourself after Divorce

Everyone’s divorce is different. Whether you have kids or not, or if you’ve been married for a long or short time, and the reason for the divorce are all factors that can make it radically different. Some people are shattered. Others are relieved. There are those two who feel a little of both. But there are lots of newly divorced that feel lost. They don’t know how to be single. Sometimes their financial situation has radically changed. It’s also difficult to find momentum and a new direction for your life.  So what can you do? What steps should you take to remake yourself after a divorce? First, it’s really important allow yourself to mourn. Even if you mostly feel relieved, for most people there is still a sense of loss. Author and psychotherapist Florence Falk, Ph.D., MSW told Web MD, “You may feel remorse for what you did or didn’t do, or wonder what you did wrong. Don’t dwell on those feelings, but make room for them.” She continues saying, “Loss is loss. There is an empty space where something once filled it up, even if that something may not have been desirable.” Don’t wallow in self-pity. Some people push themselves to look all better when they really aren’t ready. It’s a process that is different for everyone. Don’t hold onto it, or push it away. Just let it run its own course and focus on healing.

Don’t ignore your feelings. Instead, this is the time to work through them. You may want to do this yourself, chat in depth with a close friend or family member, or talk with a therapist. Psychologist Robert Alberti says, “It’s common to sweep these emotions under the table, but you have to work through them or they’ll pollute your life going forward.” Just remember that almost anyone can benefit from therapy. It just means making a better you. Divorced people often have to rebuild relationships with themselves. They haven’t been single for a while. Divorce itself can make people feel damaged or tainted, though it’s not true. Divorce happens to all kinds of people for all kinds of reasons. Alberti says, “You have to work on getting confidence and faith in yourself and ability to believe in your own worth.” Reach back in time and see who you used to be. You will like that person and might want to resurrect them. Think about the things you couldn’t do with your ex. If you are an outside person, but they didn’t want to set foot outdoors, why not take up hiking, camping, and kayaking again? Alberti asks, “What were your hobbies and activities before the marriage? What did you defer in favor of the relationship? Exercising your interest in those again is important to rebuilding yourself.”

What’s more, find new sides to yourself. Try a new hairstyle, a new outfit or a new look. Do you want to go back to school? See the world? Volunteer in a foreign country or teach in the inner city? What dreams have you forgotten and what new ones can you unearth? Don’t feel silly or stupid for what your dreams are. Go get them. Make a list or a dream board. Alberti says, “As long as the changes you make are healthy and constructive, these are very appropriate.” He continues saying, “Think about who you want to be — the person you were before the marriage, or maybe a new person? What are some of the things you can do differently?” Don’t be afraid to be seen alone, flaunt it. You are in good company today. Falk says, “There are more than 30 million people living alone in this country today. That’s a lot of people, and there are a lot of opportunities for social connection. There are possibilities to pick up new friends and enter different kinds of groups that have to do with your interests. The social dimension after a divorce can be very rich.” Pursue your many fascinating pastimes and chances are you will meet new people. Writing classes, acting classes, dancing, painting, a social club or business networking opportunities abound. Making new friends, meeting new people, making business contacts and even finding someone special could happen to you, even before you know it. For more on this topic pick up a copy of, Rebuilding: When Your Relationship Ends by Robert Alberti, PhD.

Erase your Ex-Spouse from your Life

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Erase your Ex-Spouse from your Life

Once the fights have stopped, the divorce is pending and you have moved out of the apartment or house, you can find it so hard adjusting to your new life. One thing human beings hate is change and the worst kind is upheaval. That’s what a divorce is. So of course you need time to deal with the trauma, grieve and adjust. The trouble is some people tend to wallow in misery. Brooding only creates a cycle of negativity in your life. You don’t want to dwell and be haunted by the shadows of the past. The best divorce advice for women and men is to erase your ex-spouse from your life. It’s of course easier said than done. Everyone’s heart takes some time to heal. But when you can’t lift the veil of negativity and sullenness, here is some advice on how to help you move on. First, get rid of all your connections to your ex and any memories associated with them. Don’t follow them on any social media sites. Unfriend them. Take all of the photos and things they got you and anything that reminds you of them and stash them away. You can keep them as mementos for when you are feeling better about the situation. It was a part of your life. You don’t have to destroy it or get rid of it. But you also don’t want to be reminded of them all of the time either. That can be torture. Start setting up your own routines. Decorate your place with your own stuff. Start to rebuild your life and make it your own and you’ll settle into your own routines and feel better.

It’s harder to forget your ex-spouse if you have kids. But start to erase from your heart and your memory all the good feelings you had. You are going to have to co-parent with this person. Pivot toward that sort of relationship. That’s a relationship filled with schedules, rules, and structure. You can interact professionally, in a distant, calculated manner. Do not drunk dial your ex and do not jump into bed with them. As much as you think it’s a good idea to have fun with no strings attached, or you just want to feel those feelings again, usually you just end up falling into the same negative routines and you have to disentangle yourself all over again, which can be heartbreaking. Don’t keep thinking about the marriage, the relationship and what you should have done, or how you could have saved the marriage. If it really broke up like this it was meant to be. Don’t beat yourself up. Forgive yourself truly to the depths of your soul. When your emotions have calmed sometime in the future you should reflect on your baggage and the negative things you brought to the relationship, only to learn from your past mistakes and not make them again in future relationships. This next one is difficult, especially for those who have trouble letting go. You should forgive your ex-spouse. That hatred, malice, resentment and anger only hurt you. They only infect your psyche. Your ex-spouse only sees you so often. You are with your own head 24 hours a day. So all that negativity will never hurt your ex as much as it hurts you. Let it go. Forgive. Find compassion, and peace will fill your heart.  

Now is the time for focusing on yourself and your own healing process. Find positive ways to heal. Avoid drugs and alcohol, gambling, obsessive shopping and so on. That will only make things worse. Lots of people find journaling a healing experience. Yoga, transcendental meditation, exercise, a hobby, making a dream board, travel and community service are all ways to heal. You want to reconnect with yourself as well. Though a divorce is an end, every end is a new beginning. So instead of focusing on the end perhaps it’s best to focus on the new lease you have on life. What do you want to do? Who do you want to be? What do you want to work toward? Everything is open for you. For more on coping with divorce, read How to Survive the Loss of a Love by Peter McWilliams, Harold H. Bloomfield and Melba Colgrove.

Don’t make your Happiness Depend on your Relationship

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There are plenty of people who invest all of their time, energy and thought on their relationship. But what often happens is that they become sorely disappointed, come off as high maintenance, desperate, too intense, clingy or needy, and in the end drive the other away. Of course, a relationship has to be tended like a garden to grow and bloom. But if you overwater the flowers you will drown them. Don’t make your happiness depend on your relationship. You will only set yourself up for disappointment. Who can live up to the high standard you are setting? It’s too much pressure to be putting upon another person. Instead, find your happiness from within. You yourself are the captain of your own happiness. It comes from your own brain. Life is at it is. Your significant other and the rest of your life won’t change. Instead, you choose how to react to it. You choose whether you are satisfied or unsatisfied. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t expect to be treated well. You absolutely should. But too many people export their happiness and expect the world of their partner only to be disappointed again and again. If you find yourself putting too much focus on a relationship, bring a bit of that focus back on to you.

What are you doing? Do you have a career? Are you going to school? What are your dreams? If you aren’t sure, perhaps you need some time to sit alone, with some quiet or perhaps some relaxing music and think. Get a pen and some paper and make a list of your life’s goals. Make a dream board. Then make plans. How can you reach these goals? What is it you have to do? Without having something to work toward, we scramble for something to maintain us, and our relationship is normally it. But if we are pursuing our own interests, passions, callings, or goals we are less likely to put so much pressure or focus on our relationship. Take good care of yourself. Visit a friend, family member or mentor and discuss this with them. Go on a road trip with a friend, a sporting event, concert, meditation or yoga retreat or a weekend at the spa. Reinvest in yourself. Find some place to relax and collect yourself. Give your mind a rest and allow whatever is in your psyche to bubble to the surface. Look back at where you have come from, revisit your past and understand who you are with new eyes. Evaluate where you are going. Come to the realization that you are an amazing person, and truly blessed. Love yourself, but make plans to make yourself better. Your romantic partner will notice it and will be drawn to you like a magnet. If you feel like you’re codependent in your relationship, read the advice of Melody Beattie in her book, Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself.