A DIVORCE COACH’S GUIDE TO EASING THE PAIN

  • Divorce is a tough time for everyone, but pain can be mitigated by avoiding these pitfalls 
Divorce is devastating for everyone involved, but lessening that pain may be possible if we avoid the most common pitfalls along the way.  By Jo Hartley
Divorce is one of the most stressful things anyone can go through, and it’s not hard to see why. With assets to split, child custody arrangements to be made if you have kids and an emotional rollercoaster to ride, it’s not for the faint-hearted.

Yet, divorce in society is unlikely to change anytime soon.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in 2015 there were 48,517 divorces granted in Australia, marking an increase of 2,019 (4.3 per cent) from the 46,498 divorces granted in 2014.

Similarly, divorces involving children represented 47.5 per cent of all divorces granted compared with 47 per cent  in 2014.

Regardless of this increase in numbers, one thing remains the same: the mistakes that people make when it comes to working through their divorce.

It’s something that Jenny Smith is all too familiar with.

As a separation and divorce coach, Smith helps guide people through their divorce, equipping them with tools and strategies to navigate through even the worst of days.

Smith offers her clients coaching throughout their journey, as well as access to skilled professionals such as financial advisors, legal experts and meditation staff.

Through her service she aims to mitigate the mistakes that divorcing couples most commonly make.

Using kids as ammunition 

Unfortunately, when children are powerless victims, it’s common for parents to use them as tools to manipulate and control situations,” says Smith.  “It causes the most heartfelt grief and pain, not just to the children, but also to the other parent.”

Smith advises that parents need to remember that the consequences of their choices will have a direct influence on their children when it comes to issues of trust, life choices and beliefs about relationships and marriage.

Unfortunately, when children are powerless victims, it’s common for parents to use them as tools to manipulate and control situations”

“Children are not equipped to handle these sorts of confrontations and many will feel they are to blame,” she says.

Smith acknowledges that it takes a certain level of maturity and personal responsibility for couples to put their own issues and pain to one side, but notes that it’s important to work together.

“Keep in mind that children will have a long list of milestones coming up that you’ll both want to be part of,” she says. “Also, thinking longer term, there’ll likely be engagements, weddings and their own children one day.”

Poor communication

While there are many couples that manage to communicate well through divorce, Smith notes that it’s not the norm.

“When communication blocks are put up, it’s a no-win situation for everyone.  Most people have no idea of the long-term implications and, subsequently, the risk of emotional and financial costs spiralling.”

In any communicative situation, Smith recommends asking yourself ‘what is the outcome I want from this?’, or ‘what is it that triggers my emotions in our communications’?

“Being self-aware is critical,” says Smith.  “I call it taking a helicopter view so you can observe yourself in the situation and learn from it.

“Creating change always has to start with us and, even though we can’t control others, we can control ourselves and who we choose to be in any relationship.”

The end of a relationship is the perfect time to assess what you really want next time around from both a personal and partner perspective

Rushing into a rebound relationship

There are many reasons why people may rush into a rebound relationship during divorce. The most common reasons relate to a sense of self-worth or loneliness.

While it’s normal to want to feel loved or needed, Smith says it’s important to remember that it’s unlikely you’ve met the love of your life.

“The end of a relationship is the perfect time to assess what you really want next time around from both a personal and partner perspective,” she says.

Before leaping into a relationship, Smith suggests really getting to know yourself, as well as recognising and acknowledging your own contribution to the failure of your prior relationship.

Consider if you failed to express your needs, enforce your boundaries, or put your own dreams and goals on the back burner to support your partner.

“We have to know ourselves really well and divorce provides plenty of opportunities to see ourselves in a whole different light and not always in a good way.”

Seeking the right kind of professional advice 

Education and information is key in helping you make decisions about your divorce, however, seeking the advice of a lawyer immediately is not always recommended.

“We have to know ourselves really well and divorce provides plenty of opportunities to see ourselves in a whole different light and not always in a good way.”

“Once couples start the separation journey at this point there’s a higher risk of ongoing litigation and conflict, along with higher legal fees that may escalate,” explains Smith.  “Children in the relationship can become a negotiation tool, too.”

Smith says it’s essential to have a great team of professionals on your side who can help you to take steps prior to you seeing a lawyer. Subsequently, this will also prepare you more for the journey ahead.

“You need people who are experts in their field, not your mum and dad, sister, brother or your mate or girlfriend who has been through divorce. No divorce journey is the same and the experience is different for everyone.”

http://www.sbs.com.au/topics/life/relationships/article/2017/04/20/divorce-coachs-guide-easing-pain

If you would like to chat to Jenny about anything at all, even your favourite wine click here to schedule a time https://calendly.com/jenny-smith-1/what-s-going-on-in-your-world

FINDING STRENGTH AFTER A SUDDEN BREAKUP

If you have just had one of those life-changing shitballs come completely out of the blue and totally rock your world and how you see yourself then I have a few things to share with you!

One minute everything seems great with your relationship, sharing intimate moments, making plans for the future, enjoying being together, had great sex that morning and wham! Your partner arrives home and says, ‘I need to talk to you about something!’

The actual words they are saying are not registering as you struggle to hold everything together in an attempt to comprehend what the hell is going on. Then the words ‘someone else’ start to register as they tell you they have met someone else, they are leaving oh! and adding pathetic words like, “I really do care for you!”

How women react in a situation like this will very much depend on the person involved. From erupting like a volcano and spewing forth all manner of profanities, to falling into a hopeless heap on the fall begging for this not to happen and everything in between.

It’s interesting after the fact to observe yourself in this situation, (well I thought it was!). Once the words actually registered with me I erupted like Mount Vesuvius and I let fly with a string of profanities that even shocked me. When he left, because that was the ‘thing’ to do, I went into a frenzy of collecting everything he owned and all the things he had given me that I could lay my hands on, piling it up in a big heap on the floor. Then I messaged him and said he had an hour to come and collect it all or I would trash the whole lot. The saying ‘hell hath no fury like a women scorned,’ that was me. If they were making a movie and needed someone to play this part I would have nailed it!

And, yes I then took the really mature approach of having a few glasses of wine that night which ignited a tirade of slandering text messages. Seriously this is one approach that I would not recommend, ever!

I’m the cut and run, ‘fuck you’ kind of girl as a response in some situations, not always useful when the reality is that we have to maintain some sort of communication on a fairly regular basis just to sort through all the practical issues that have to be addressed and the decisions to make on ‘how to separate’ (with our dignity intact :))

Here are some practical tips to help put you in control of a situation that could potentially have you operating ‘out of control much of the time.

    1. You will need those special people in your life now more than ever. Make sure you keep talking, ‘a lot,’ and have them close by to listen, to help you think more clearly and see possible alternative approaches to important decisions you will be required to make
    2. Look at your situation from a practical point of view to determine how you want to move forward. Your self interests come first!
    3. Write down a list of what needs to happen, what you are prepared to do and what you are not prepared to do
    4. Get sound legal and financial advice on exactly where you stand
    5. If you need to see a coach or a counsellor do so! They will be able to give you some tools to help you manage your emotions, practical tips and an impartial ear to really listen to you
    6. Accept that this is real and that the only way out to the other side is by moving through it and the sooner the better
    7. If you prefer not to have any communication other than through an intermediary then do this
    8. Many people are just too upset to eat anything because they are feeling so nauseous. If you are like this force yourself to have a nutritious smoothie with all the goodness you need and sip it over a period of time during the day
    9. Every single day do something for yourself that will help you manage the emotional overwhelm that you will be experiencing
    10. Going to the gym, getting out for a walk, spending time with people who make you laugh, having a massage, begin to feel OK about spending more time by yourself when even the mundane chores can be helpful.
    11. Recognising and acknowledging your feelings! There will be many and they will engulf you from time to time. Allow yourself to really feel them.
    12. Their leaving will rarely be about you!  Working in this field for several years now I have began to recognise a pattern in many people. There is something missing in their lives and instead of doing the inner work they look for a new partner, or a new ‘something’ external things in the hope they these will make them ‘feel better’.

Within a few months, things will begin to settle down and although you have a little way to go to really get back on your feet again implementing some of these tips will make a big difference.

In time we all find our way through it, some of us left feeling a little battered and bruised from the experience, life lessons that we can take on board to ensure we move into the next relationship more discerning in who we chose to share our life with, an inner strength to support us as we shape our new lives and the gift of wisdom that comes from any life changing experience.

To share your comments or personal story – send me an email: jenny@divorcedwomensclub.com.au

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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