Divorce is complicated. It doesn’t have to be but there are so many decisions to make. Working out who is going to live where, deciding on who is going to pick up the kids (and where the essential sports kit is kept), managing the finances, keeping up with the legal process – there is so much to do…
Some of the decisions are really day-to-day practical things, working out a rota for being with the children, for example. Or dividing up the belongings or getting your name on the utility bills. And deciding when you will find time to deal with all of this.
Other decisions are of strategic importance, such as choosing a lawyer, deciding on a legal strategy, dividing major physical assets, separating complex finances. These are not just divorce decisions, they are decisions that will impact the rest of your life. And sometimes you have to make decisions really quickly, for example if you or your children are in imminent danger.
But there is so much going on, so much is changing and behind all of this decision-making is one big gremlin that gets in the way of making those essential decisions. That gremlin is fear. Fear comes from all the changes that are happening and fear runs alongside emotions such as feeling loss, grief and uncertainly. Uncontrolled fear may lead to anger or apathy.
Anger in divorce may be a completely justified emotion and it does give you the energy to carry on, but it can be a misdirected energy that can lead you into serious trouble and uses up huge amounts of physical reserves.
Apathy can also be damaging – if you push all the divorce forms in a drawer because you can’t be bothered to deal with them and if you don’t have the energy to think and act strategically then you may be seriously disadvantaged in your divorce negotiations.
The best response to fear is to use it to energise constructive activity, where you can make the right decisions without getting tied up in the emotions of the fear. Easier said than done, when everything about you is about to fall apart.
But here are three pointers to set you along the right road to managing fear and getting the best out of your divorce:
- Get as much information as you can. The more you know about the legal and practical issues you are dealing with the more prepared you can be for whatever comes your way. And getting information can be the first step in conquering the fear.
- Surround yourself with people who can support you. You need to find people you can trust to help you through the emotional turmoil so that it doesn’t engulf you.
- Find a clear space in which to think and plan. This means a clear physical space and also time set aside that is just for you.
This is the beginnings of a framework to help you…and The Divorce Mentor is here to help you take that next step when you want a clear strategy to move forward and you need full emotional support.