Are you feeling unsure what to do next in your marriage and wondering
how your choices will impact your future and your kids’ future?
Are you making the right decision to end the marriage, assuming you’re the
one to initiate the divorce? You may be feeling guilty for ending it.
On the other hand, if your spouse wants the divorce, should you grant the
divorce? You may be full of anger and shock and part of you wants revenge.
You may be very hurt and feeling insecure, “What’s wrong with me? Why
do they no longer want to be with me?”
Either way, you feel like the rug is being pulled out from underneath you, and
you’re feeling lost and unsure how to proceed.
I believe the solution lies in gaining clarity about how to proceed, what
decision to make that will empower you and your kids’ future.
In order to make a decision of this magnitude, you must be able to think
clearly and rationally and not decide from a place of fear of the unknown
or avoidance. Do you agree?
Therefore with this and the next two weeks’ emails, I will be offering you
3 tips, one per email in a countdown fashion, to help you gain clarity and
make peace with your decision. This will help you feel confident that you
are making the absolute best decision for you and your kids, and even your ex.
Let’s get started. Grab a special journal and a pen!
Tip #3) Get clear on WHY a divorce is being considered.
To get started, I’m going to ask you some deep and perhaps difficult questions.
Don’t rush this process. Use the questions as writing prompts and answer them
over the course of the next week.
Is your spouse abusive to you, mentally, emotionally, or physically?
Do they treat you worse than you treat yourself and if so, how?
Do they know how you feel or will this be a surprise for them? This tells you
if you’ve been keeping your thoughts/feelings to yourself.
Have you had a pattern of taking over-responsibility for their health,
happiness, thoughts, feelings, and now you’re feeling resentful towards them?
Are you bored within the marriage?
Is there anything going on in your life that makes you feel out of control,
making a change of scenery very appealing?
You may be looking for a distraction to relieve the tension and pressure occurring
within your own mind and heart. It’s easier to focus on another person’s stuff
(it’s less painful) rather than look within for our own answers.
That may be difficult to hear, but it’s a necessary aspect of this decision to get
The past you shared with them may have been very painful, and you’ve not
forgiven them. You’re still identifying them as the same person who hurt you
long ago. But maybe they have changed, and you might want to consider
seeing them in a different light.
OR Are they asking you for the divorce?
This brings up hurt feelings too, but from a different vantage point. You may feel
shocked, rejected, abandoned, inadequate, insecure, “Is something wrong with me?
Am I not good enough for them to stay?”
When someone asks us for a divorce, it’s easy to evoke feelings of shame.
When we feel shame, we want to hide and lash out at the same time, in
order to regain our pride and a sense of control.
We also probably want revenge, to hurt them like they hurt us. This desire
for revenge makes us vulnerable to falling into the trap of putting our kids
in the middle of the battle.
If we keep the kids from seeing them, we know this could hurt them badly.
And because we are so hurt and not necessarily thinking clearly, it feels like
one of the only ways to retain leverage and power, since right now it feels
like we’ve given them all of our power.
Remember, however, “The one who angers us controls us.” Do you really want
to keep giving them your power?
After doing much reflection and writing on these questions, my hope is that
you’ll arrive at 1 of 3 decisions:
You aren’t so sure that divorce is the right path, and you decide it’s okay to put
the brakes on and re-evaluate your decision.
You decide to move forward with the divorce, and you feel much more clear
and confident that it’s the best decision for all involved. You aren’t leaving them
because you hate them and want to get away. It’s more about what you are moving
TOWARD. You would like to encourage them to collaboratively divorce and keep
attorney fees down.
You decide to grant the divorce to your spouse who initiated it, and you are willing
to collaboratively divorce. Keeping the kids out of the middle has become a priority,
and you’re prepared to focus on your own inner healing.
If you do arrive at one of these decisions after journaling, I am here to help. Notice
that I didn’t list a 4th option, to have a contested divorce. Of course this is a possibility
and may even be necessary, but the only way that I’d want to work in this area is if you
have a sincere desire to collaborate and keep the kids out of the middle. You don’t control
what your spouse decides, and so if they aren’t willing, I understand that and would still
work with you.
You have every right to NOT WANT to collaborate, but then we wouldn’t be well
suited to work together. This doesn’t make you bad or wrong; it’s simply not my desire
to work in this realm of divorce because it doesn’t promote harmony and the well-being
of all concerned.
To my bias, the REAL PROBLEM underlying any decision that we make that leaves us feeling
bad about ourselves is due to low self-esteem and self-worth damage most likely
brought about from childhood trauma, which has left us lacking courage, confidence,
clarity and self-advocacy.
If you’ve read my divorce story over the last two weeks, you’ll know you aren’t alone
in having roots of low self-esteem and self-worth. We all have some of this.
I’m certainly not judging you.
If you’re ready to see yourself in a new light and to heal the trauma that underlies
the choices that negatively impact yourself and others, let’s talk. Schedule a
free Confidently Navigate Divorce Discovery Session.
Next week, I’ll cover Tip #2.
PS: You deserve to get clarity, and you will be safe in doing so.