Free yourself from Post-Divorce Negativity

Leave-Negativity

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.

Avoid these Bad Mental Habits after a Breakup

Sad-Woman

Avoid these Bad Mental Habits after a Breakup

There are those relationships that you are relieved are over, even if it took a year to finally get rid of them. Then there are those that rip a hole in your chest and mash your heart into guacamole. Nothing is more painful. A recent study using brain imaging had participants who had recently broken up with someone look at a picture of their ex while hooked up to an FMRI. They found that the parts of the brain that lit up fit the pattern of enduring physical pain. So a breakup literally hurts. Trouble is, when we endure physical pain it goes away relatively quickly. Depending upon the relationship, you and the circumstances, you could endure the pain of heartbreak for weeks, even months. One reason that heartache lingers so is that people fall into certain psychological habits that inhibit healing rather than lessening the pain. Unfortunately, feelings of anger, sadness, rejection and loneliness can be compounded by impulses that feel perfectly natural to indulge. We often consider negative habits we have in our diet, when we exercise, sleep and other physical aspects. But we avoid or disregard poor mental habits that can shackle us to anguish rather than liberating our hearts from pain. Here are some bad mental habits to avoid after a breakup.

A lot of us sub-vocalize negative thoughts or feelings. Inside our head we repeat to ourselves our inadequacies, play over and over mistakes we made, hurtful names or phrases we or our former lover uttered and more. This constant rerunning of negative thoughts may be particularly poignant after feeling rejected or if the relationship ended through some fault of our own. When the ego is bruised and one’s self-esteem has taken a blow, such self-talk will make things worse. Instead, catch yourself when you get into this pattern and replace negative phrases for positive ones. Show yourself some compassion. Think of yourself as a friend trying to get someone through this. What would you do? What would you say? How can you put things in perspective? Brooding over mistakes you’ve made can lead to the same result. Contemplating them and learning from them in an emotionally unattached manner is one thing. But dwelling and obsessing over them is like tearing out your stitches after heart surgery. Isolate those instances where you blundered, learn from them and move on, or else you will be hindering instead of facilitating your own emotional recovery.

Don’t throw yourself into dating if your heart is still aching and you are pining away for your former love. But if you just feel too vulnerable or just scared, you may be missing an opportunity to move healing along, and a way to repair your ego and boost your self-esteem. A couple of months without dating is okay. Six months to a year is a little obsessive. Some people even benefit from a rebound relationship, while others don’t. Find what’s right for you but don’t be too cautious with your heart or you may lose out on a chance at finding love or rebuilding your self-image. Some people cut off everyone, stop taking part in activities they enjoy and wallow in self-pity. Instead, connect and reconnect with hobbies, friends, family members and more. Sure, the first few days you may want to sit on the couch and watch comedies, polish off a crate of sinful snacks and curse the happy couples of the world. But afterward, isolation and keeping yourself from the things you love will only make it worse. Lastly, remember the point is to get over the person and move on with your life. Don’t keep them in your newsfeed on your social media pages. Get rid of all the mementos or put them in a box in the closet or the trash. The fewer reminders you have around the quicker your recovery will be. For more on embracing positive mental habits and avoiding negative ones after heartache read, Emotional First Aid: Healing Rejection, Guilt, Failure, and Other Everyday Hurts by Guy Winch, Ph.D.

Does your Ex make you Jealous?

jealous

Does your Ex make you Jealous?

When you’ve been together with someone you care about and you break up, it’s hard to pivot away from seeing them as yours and instead seeing them as someone you’re not associated with anymore. But that painful transition becomes compounded when your ex moves on before you’ve had a chance to fully heal. Don’t hasten through when you aren’t ready. But don’t wallow in misery either. Some people reflect on it over and over, making the heart sicker than it needs to be. Instead, let the grieving take its course but focus on healing. Stop focusing on what your ex is doing and focus on what you are doing. Learn how to let go.

Whether they are enraptured in a rebound relationship with a would-be superstar or are touring the Vegas Strip, ask yourself what it really matters what they are doing? Should your focus really be on them? If they are going out on a rebound or partying up a storm, it shouldn’t matter. And what does it really say about them? Are they really emotionally secure or are they making grand gestures to show how “over” you they are, in effect showing a deeper side of how not over you they really are? If they were so over you why would they go through all of this trouble to show that they were?

Sometimes we focus on our ex as a target for the horrible emotions a breakup puts you through. We want an outlet and hating them becomes a good one. But it can also become an obsession and take away your own power, and your life. Your goal is to rejuvenate yourself. Become the person you’ve always wanted to be. Make this a transformative experience. Learn from it so you can make your next relationship ten thousand times better than the last and you ten thousand times better than the person you were.

Sometimes you aren’t ready to accept that things are over. But that is strictly part of the grieving process. Even at its worst you know brighter days are ahead. The pain subsides little by little each day, wearing away like a season until that season is gone. Let it go naturally of its own accord. Explore where the hurt really comes from. Is your ego bruised? Was it really this person? Was there some other deep seeded thing that surfaced in this relationship? Explore the root of your jealousy and use it to find out what issues and baggage you brought to the table, how you can own those, and release them from it. Through this transformative experience, that of self-discovery, you will ultimately become free. For more advice read, How to Stop Being Jealous and Insecure: Overcome Insecurity and Relationship Jealousy by Michele Gilbert.

Wishing all the Best after a Breakup or Divorce

breaking-up

Wishing all the Best after a Breakup or Divorce

Some breakups make you wish you could tear the other person’s arm out and beat them with it. Some leave you crying and quaking. Others are an absolute relief. You feel like a heavy weight has been lifted off your shoulders. But more breakups are somewhere in between. Both parties made mistakes. There are irreconcilable differences. Many people still feel angry, hurt, upset, even a sense of longing for the way things were in the beginning. It’s hard to wish someone all the best after a breakup and even especially after a divorce. But to do so is not only classy, and shows that you will be fine on your own, you don’t want to look devastated. What good is that? Besides, self-love, that bright white light shining from inside of you will be the beacon to call your true love to you. This person clearly isn’t it.

You may feel justified for one reason or another to not take the high road, to not wish this person well. Vengeful thoughts often hurt the keeper of those thoughts far more than who they are directed to, so let them go. Forgive them for their transgressions and you will release yourself from the burden of hatred, anger and even the need for revenge. That doesn’t make it okay. And of course many people need to feel that pain and anger first, to get through the healing process. But don’t impede your own progress in reaching acceptance, for it will set you free.

Some people do forgive and accept, but only to a certain extent. The forgiveness comes with strings. Say the relationship wasn’t that bad but there were certain hurtful things said or done, as love is complicated. You may feel as though you were big enough to forgive them. You want them to be happy but not happier than you in the near future. You want them to find love but none so intense or gratifying as it overshadows what the two of you had, or so that it isn’t as satisfying as your next love affair. You want them to have success in their career or objectives but not be so successful as that envy leaks into your heart, or that you wish you had stuck it out with this person. Of course this line of thinking is selfish. It undercuts the spirit of letting go, of acceptance, of full selfless generosity. It speaks of still clinging to the past and not accepting how things are.

That splinter of the past will burrow its way into your heart and make you bleed if you let it. Instead, wish them the greatest love affair, the most success and the greatest happiness. Karma will only move to reward you. You can revel in your detachment and your ability to cope, come to terms, accept things as they are, and find happiness in the world as it is. For more ways to elegantly maneuver after a breakup pick up a copy of, Releasing a Person: Fast Recovery from Heartbreak, a Breakup or Divorce by Kathryn Alice.

Should You Date Someone Who Is Separated?

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Should You Date Someone Who Is Separated?

It used to be that you didn’t want to date someone who was separated. It meant that they may go back to their spouse. Or that the wounds of this relationship that he or she was giving a final shot with were too fresh.  But in the recent downturn of the economy, many people who would otherwise be divorced are staying separated instead, to save the cost of a lengthy litigation and the strain, pain and drain it delivers to you. People are staying separated for years rather than march into divorce court and legally end the marriage. So this new paradigm may make the old adage not to date someone who is separated null and void.

So what is the rule today? Should you date someone who is separated? Does the amount of time they’ve been separated matter? Certainly they should not be separated for only a day. Evaluate how long they’ve been separated. Have they been up front with you about the divorce or separation? Is this a break where both people decided to see other people? Or is it just because they can’t afford or don’t want to go through the pain of the proceedings? How the issue is addressed and what the situation is will make whether you date them or not abundantly clear for you. Don’t settle for less than you really want. Make sure you are okay with their situation before moving ahead.

If a marriage counselor has suggested the separation, perhaps give this person some room. You don’t want to start to develop feelings for someone when all of a sudden they are back in the arms of their ex. Consider keeping in touch as friends over some time and seeing what happens. But don’t put all your eggs in this one basket. You should actively seek other possible mates as well. If the person tried to hide it from you, they are starting this relationship off on the wrong foot. Do you really want to be involved with someone who lies to you from the get-go? What’s going to happen when the relationship is rocked by something important? Certainly you won’t be able to count on them.

Everyone should look for someone whom they can trust and depend on in a relationship, even if it is very casual. IF you can’t have that there is no chance at intimacy. Of course, you may become physical. But the lies they spout will poison that soon enough. If the person is up front with you and it has been some time, why not go out with them? But if they’ve only been separated a short while, they will likely need some time for grieving and to heal. If you don’t mind being the rebound, it could be fine, depending on where you are in your life. But if you are looking for a serious relationship, wait at least a couple of months and take it from there. For more advice read, How to Survive Your Boyfriend’s Divorce: Loving Your Separated Man without Losing Your Mind by Robyn Todd and Lesley Dormen.