Dealing with divorce effectively requires you to conquer your fears.
There are few things more frightening getting divorced and realizing that you’re all alone.
You’re alone with your daily activities. You’re alone with your kids (when you have them). And you’re alone with your thoughts.
And all of this aloneness breeds fear which makes dealing with divorce even more difficult.
Fear of not being enough to get through your daily activities because there were two of you getting everything done before. Fear of not being able to fully meet your kids needs when they’re with you and terror of not being able to meet their needs when they’re with your ex. But probably the most terrorizing part of divorce is being alone with your thoughts.
Your thoughts are so tough because they are what-if’s – the negative what-if’s. What if this happens? What if that happens? What if it all happens? How will you deal with any or all of it?
These what-if’s you create in your mind are so powerful that you’re thrown into a fight, flight or freeze response.
And, honestly, what I see the most of is the freeze response (a.k.a. overwhelm and/or over-analysis) because most of us are too frightened to make a move. We’re frightened to do anything because we’ve come to doubt ourselves as a result of our marriage ending in divorce.
Yeah, dealing with divorce is tough and it becomes absolutely horrible when you find yourself trapped in your thoughts of fear.
But what I want you to know is that you can also use your thoughts to break through your freeze response.
The first step is to identify what type of fearful thought is causing you the most trouble right now. I know you probably have lots of them you’re facing as you’re dealing with divorce, but choose just one.
Now that you’ve got the one in mind, I want you to know there are basically three types of fears.
There is the fear of loss. When you get divorced there are TONS of losses that can make anyone hesitant to do something that might result in another yet loss. So you choose to do nothing instead of proactively dealing with your divorce.
Then there is the fear of process. This is just the fear of doing something or really anything because you’re afraid of what negative stuff might happen or because you think that doing anything will be too hard for you. So you do nothing and continue feeling trapped instead of putting your energies toward healing from divorce.
Then there is the fear of what might happen on the other side. If you do x, then some horrible y might happen and that fear of the what-if keeps you from doing x or anything else.
So which type of fear is it that’s causing you the most trouble right now?
If you’re dealing with a fear of loss, then you can write a goodbye/hello letter to process the potential loss. By writing the letter, you’ll be able to put the fear into its place by taking an action to address it. And taking action will break the trap of overwhelm and over-analysis you are in.
If you’re most fearful of the process, then you need to figure out a way to make the process fun instead of frightening. A great analogy here is a roller coaster. There’s a part of being on a roller coaster that is incredibly terrifying, but everyone (just about) who gets on a roller coaster finds a way to have fun. They might throw their hands up in the air. They might scream. They might even laugh hysterically the entire time. So how can you think about what’s ahead of you in a different way that will enable to you have even a smidgen of fun?
If what the future might hold for you is terrifying, then you need to start taking control of your future. Begin dreaming about what you want your future to be like when you’re not constantly dealing with divorce. Make your dream so compelling and wonderful that you’re excited to start making plans and then taking the steps necessary to fulfill those plans.
Look, I know this is advice might seem pretty simplistic and doesn’t take into account all of the realities of your life. But here’s the thing, the truth is that your fears and the what-ifs your mind generates (just like mine did when I got divorced) make things more complicated than necessary.
Try this advice. Doing even a simple thing to help you while dealing with divorce is better than staying stuck. Isn’t it?
And who knows you might be able to break through some of your fears on your own by trying this advice. Or you might have better language to talk about your fears with others – maybe even a helping professional. And by refusing to continue to let your fears control you, you’ll be taking a huge step forward in dealing with divorce.
Looking for more help with and information about dealing with divorce? Read more advice in Healing After Divorce.
I’m Dr. Karen Finn, a divorce and personal life coach helping people just like you who are struggling with dealing with divorce. You can join my newsletter list for free weekly advice or schedule a FREE 30-minute conversation with me directly in my Time Trade calendar.