Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Value of Grief: Part One

Grief is positive; it’s part of healing. If you bang your toe and it bruises or bleeds, your physiological reaction is part of the recovery process. The pain you feel is a signal to be tender with your toe—not to test it.

Swelling tells you that your immune system is taking charge, and bruising reminds you that it will take time to heal.

You know that if you bandage your wound properly, keep it clean, and allow nature to do its thing, you will heal, and you’ll heal well.

What is true for physical wounds holds true for emotional wounds. Grief is our psychological immune system at work—it allows our spirit to nurse itself back to life. If you are the “leaver” in a divorce, you may feel relief and elation. Your grief may be minor. There is a good chance that you were doing some grieving while still in an unhappy marriage. I counsel you to be pragmatic for the sake of your children; they are going to need your attention and care. If you are running around, too elated, or deep into a new relationship, they may feel abandoned. Hold tight and help your kids through this.

If, however, you’re the “leave-ee,” the one who has been left, you’re probably holding a bag of resentment, hurt, and maybe even fear. You’re swollen with emotion, and in response, you may want to sleep and avoid, or simply attack. In my experience, there are really no words to express just how wounded you may feel.

This is all part of the grieving process, and ultimately, it’s all for the best. Just be conscious to be there for the children, regardless of how tough it is for you.

Grief is the natural, psychological response to the loss of a marriage, and you need to go through it in order to come out of your divorce healthy and strong.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Know Thyself

"There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one's self."

Ben Franklin

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Balance, Divorce and Health

The following image is what The Intelligent Divorce: Taking Care of Yourself, proposes for you: balance and a clear identity.

By taking charge of your life, you’re more likely to be healthy and happy, and your kids will follow suit.

I admit that this isn’t easy. But once you get started, you can begin a positive feedback loop—one that continues to yield returns. The better care you take of yourself, the more likely you will feel good and continue to take good care of yourself. The more your children feel parented in a solid way, the easier it will be to parent them next time. Goodwill counts for a lot with kids. Trust with your ex-husband or wife leads to more trust and better co-parenting. And setting good limits, when required, lets a difficult ex know that they have to think twice before misbehaving.

One parent can make a difference, and your good decisions work for everyone.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Despite the Divorce, Take Charge of Yourself

Take a look at the diagram below:

The image above depicts something you see frequently in divorce—individuals whose personal selves are crowded out by that which surrounds them. I am quite certain that anyone going through a divorce can relate to not having enough time for herself. It also makes sense, there are so many competing demands and very often, just one parent instead of two. But this type of life just cannot hold up – you have to take charge of your destiny.

Smart parents find time for themselves. They schedule in time to be with friends and family, time to exercise, time to eat right and time to sleep. And this can make all the difference in the world. If you feel tended to, you will overreact less often and have a more even tempered approach to your ex and to the kids.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Taking Control of Yourself

Take a look at the diagram above. Unless your ex-husband or wife disappears and is no longer involved, you, your ex, and your kids are in a dynamic relationship with each other, and will be for years to come. What he does affects you directly and indirectly through the children.

And you are the one person in this system over which you have the most control.


Wisdom is not a 21st Century commodity—it’s been around for thousands of years. Plato, considered one of history’s greatest thinkers, had a simple saying written on the entrance to his academy in 4th Century B.C. Greece:

"Know Thyself"

This is a good motto for you, too.

When you know yourself, you know how much you can handle—when to say yes and when to say no. When you’re centered, you can deal with almost any ex, even the most difficult one, and you’ll be better able to parent your kids. They need to know that you’re there for them. And you can only be there for your kids if you are taking good care of yourself.