Let's face it, there is no life experience that affects our emotions more than divorce. Whether you chose to divorce or had that decision thrust upon you, the split can leave you with pain, confusion and low self esteem. These feelings are common, yet they can be overcome.
At Divorce Detox, we not only treat the life-changing trauma of divorce, we study it. Below are five mistakes commonly made by people going through divorce. Avoiding these pitfalls will allow you to divorce with integrity and keep suffering to a minimum.
1. Trying to be Friends with Your Ex
The most common pitfall for divorcing individuals is trying to maintain a friendship with your ex. Even if your divorce is the most amicable divorce in history, it is likely that your nerves and those of your ex are frayed. Your emotions are at their limits. Divorce affects the mind, the body, and the heart. Right now, trying to maintain a friendship will only lead to more heartbreak and pain.
Define what you would like out of a strong friendship. Do you have that with your ex? It's likely that you did, but you have to realize that the relationship has changed. Right now, it would be better for you to set some clear boundaries for the relationship you have with your ex. Stay friendly, speak with integrity, but avoid intimacy. Your goal now is to heal from your heartbreak and move on. Being close friends with your ex makes this almost impossible.
2. Going It Alone
Many people think they can go through their divorce alone. This mistake is not only detrimental to your mental health, it can be hazardous to your financial life, career, and much more. When going through a divorce, you need professional help. You need an attorney to represent your legal interests. You need a divorce coach to teach you tools and strategies to navigate the ups and downs of divorce and process your emotions. Friends and family are well meaning and can be a great source of support, but they don't always understand the effects of things they say or do. Divorce makes your emotional state more fragile than normal.
3. Making Hasty Decisions
Many people begin their divorce process with the notion that they're free -- and that's a great place to start if you keep it healthy and well balanced. Divorce is a major life decision. It affects your emotions, your body, and your thinking. A common mistake made by many divorcing individuals is rushing into major decisions. Where to live, buying a new car, moving across country or starting a new serious relationship are all things that should be carefully thought over. Making these decisions can be a great start to a new life and they need to be made with a clear head. Spend some time thinking about major decisions. Your whole life is ahead of you. There is no rush.
4. Bottling Your Emotions
People commonly hide their emotions from others. We've all heard the phrases, "Buck up," "Keep a stiff upper lip," and so many more. The truth is, culturally we are a bit afraid of extreme emotions. Divorce amplifies those emotions, leaving many people overwhelmed and on the verge of breaking down. Even if you are a very private person, you need to find ways to express your emotions in a healthy way. If you are angry, running or working out some of that anger at the gym can be a great outlet. Emotion is energy in motion. You do not want the anger to get stuck inside your body and later manifest itself in detrimental ways. Even screaming in a pillow can be cathartic. Your body can help you process the emotions that are coming from inside of you. If you are sad, express that to a trusted coach or friend. If you'd like more privacy, give yourself space and cry. Let your emotions come up, when you feel safe, so that you can process them and maintain your composure and integrity.
5. Using Divorce as an Excuse
Many people use their divorce as an excuse. It's a good one, just don't abuse it. Yes, your divorce will affect your thinking, sleeping, eating -- everything. Yes, you can use the excuse from time to time. However, like all excuses, it should not become a habit. When you find yourself always thinking about and discussing your divorce, keep in mind that this is a temporary transition, and you will get through this. Rather then dwelling on something that brings up negative emotions, instead switch to thinking about the things you are most grateful for. Your friends will love a change of attitude and it will do your mind and heart a good bit of rest.
Follow Allison Pescosolido, M.A on Twitter: www.twitter.com/divorcedetox