Dealing With Grief

A childhood claim is the key to divorce recovery. Seriously!

"You're not the boss of me!" is a familiar refrain from the playground. Remember shouting it at one of your friends when they got a little too bossy?

Well, believe it or not, "You're not the boss of me!" is a fantastic thing to say to yourself whenever your divorce, your ex, your friends and family, or even your attorney seem too bossy or overwhelming.

This childhood claim of personal power is just the thing to break the tension and stress. It is your cue to stop being reactive and start being more purposeful. In other words, you really do get to be the boss of you!

How do you know if you're being a good boss? Look for these signs that you're doing a fantastic job:

  1. You talk about it, but not incessantly. Talking about what's going on helps you to come to grips with your divorce and to think of new ways to deal with all of the changes and demands. But you also know that if all you're doing is talking, you're probably stuck and could use the help of a coach or counselor to get moving forward again.
  2. You let yourself feel a full range of emotions, but don't let them take over your life. You accept that you're going to be emotional as your life changes dramatically and you grieve what was. Yet, you avoid the temptation to numb the uncomfortable feelings away with TV, alcohol, drugs, food or even another relationship because you can't get through your divorce by ignoring it.
  3. You take appropriate, purposeful action to feel empowered and move forward with your life. Even the baby steps you take are moving you through your divorce.
  4. You keep perspective and recognize that even your ex could have valid points for you to consider. Although it's tempting to think that it's gotta be your way or the highway when you're the boss, you recognize that the best bosses listen to all input to have a full picture of any situation before taking action.
  5. You support your kids' relationship with their other parent. No matter how much you may despise your ex, you know they will always be your kids' parent. You choose to be respectful and supportive of your kids' relationship because you know it's one of the most helpful things you can do to help your kids through the divorce.
  6. You make time for yourself to have fun and relax every day. Even if it's only 5 minutes, you take time out for you. Your "me time" gives you the energy you need to make it through your day.
  7. You look for the positive things and experiences in every day. You know that despite the difficulty of divorce your life is still filled with good and you notice the good daily!
  8. You surround yourself with supportive people - not enablers. The people in your life listen compassionately when you talk and tell you the truth with kindness when you need to do something differently. No "yes people" for you!
  9. You remind yourself your marriage failed and that doesn't make you a failure. You don't confuse your marriage with who you are as an individual. You know you're still lovable and desirable.
  10. You avoid the blame game like the plague. You know that it takes two people for a marriage to work and two people for a marriage to fail. You accept your part in the end of your marriage (even if it was just agreeing to marry your ex), learn from it and move forward with your life.
  11. You are patient with yourself as fully recover from your divorce. You give yourself the time and space you need to adjust to and create your new life as a sensational single.
  12. You listen to your attorney's guidance thoughtfully and still make your own decisions. You avoid blind trust and embrace your right and responsibility to make the best long-term decisions for yourself and your family.
  13. You are financially literate. You've taken responsibility for making the most of your post-divorce financial status and manage your money (and maybe your debt) successfully.
  14. You look for peaceful solutions. You know that fighting with your ex over any facet of the divorce is just not worth it in terms of money spent or thwarted healing for your entire family.
  15. You keep a to-do list. Divorce can be overwhelming. There are all kinds of tasks and responsibilities that you're not used to handling. Your to-do list helps you make sure it all gets done.
  16. You don't look to your ex for emotional support. Despite years of habit, you know your ex isn't your confidante any longer. You have other people (friends, family, a coach or counselor) you lean on for your emotional support.
  17. You stick to or create a routine. Your routine gives you a sense of safety and security. It is your calm in the storm of the changes that come with your divorce.

How are you doing? Are you being a great boss?

Even if you feel like a kid when you say "You're not the boss of me!", reminding yourself that you are the boss of you and your divorce is the most mature way to take care of you and your kids.

Blog: I’m Dr. Karen Finn, a divorce coach and advisor helping people just like you who are dealing with the stress and pain of divorce. You can join my newsletter list for free weekly advice or email me directly for a free consultation at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..