When you stop feeling victimized and start feeling happy, you’ll be able to move on with your life.
No matter how you look at it, all divorces are unfair.
Is it fair that you’ve devoted x number of years to trying to make your marriage work only to wind up divorced? No.
Is it fair that you’re now paying child support instead of living with your children? Absolutely not.
Is it fair that s/he has already moved on with their life and you’re still in so much pain? No way in H#LL!
There’s nothing fair about divorce. But there’s a problem living with nearly constant thoughts of how unfair your divorce is. You will remain bitter, resentful and unhappy.
And when you remain in these emotions, you’ll be nearly unrecognizable to yourself and those you love. You won’t be the same fun, positive, energetic person you were before all of this happened.
Just in case you’re wondering if how you’re dealing with the unfairness of your divorce is really all that bad, here are some of the tell-tale signs that you’re focusing too much on the unfairness:
- Complaining to anyone who will listen about how unjust things are.
- Talking about your ex or the court or whomever you blame for the unfairness and who you view as responsible for destroying your life
- Allowing yourself to focus on the past and continue to fume about the injustice of it all
The solution for finding yourself and your happiness again is to use the emotions you feel when you think about the iniquity of your divorce as the fuel you need to begin taking constructive action that will build your future and move you forward.
Here is one strategy you can use to get over an unfair divorce:
- Quickly list all the things that are unfair about your divorce.
Doing this quickly is key here. You want to touch on the unfairness, but you don’t want to get sucked into dwelling on it.
To help you get started, here are a few of the unfair things my clients have dealt with.
S/he hid a lot of money when they were planning to divorce me. And now they’re living the easy life and I’m stuck scrounging for every penny!
S/he won’t actively participate in co-parenting. They’re waiting for me to make every decision and then complaining about the decisions I make!
S/he is still trying to control me. They’re threatening to take the children from me unless I agree to what they want.
- Identify which emotions you would rather have right now.
Hopefully this step is fairly easy for you and the emotions you would rather have center around feeling happy again.
- Quickly list all the things that you are happy about.
No matter how unfair things are with your divorce, you can find things to be genuinely happy about. Maybe it’s that you’re healthy, or that your kids are amazing, or that you’re not married to your ex anymore.
- Now look at each of the items on your list from step 1 and ask yourself “What’s one thing I can do about this item to move me forward?”
It can be difficult to come up with action steps when you’re mired in the iniquity of the situation. So, here are some examples of things you might consider doing.
Call your attorney. Just remember that if you choose to do this that there will be a cost in doing so, so be clear that calling your attorney will be worth the cost.
Decide you want to increase your income and figure out what you need to do to make that happen. Maybe you need to take a second job or start a side gig. Maybe you can go back to school. Maybe you can ask your boss for a raise.
Spend time every day being grateful for what you do have. Sometimes shifting your focus to the positive can make all the difference in your outlook.
Establish and communicate the boundaries needed with your ex. This is important if you’re feeling manipulated or controlled by your ex. (Here’s an article to help you get started.)
- Get into action to take your life back
Begin working on at least one of the ideas you came up with from the previous step. The longer you remain focused on how unfair things are, the longer you’re letting your ex continue to control you and the longer it will take you to get over your unfair divorce. You’ll be spending the majority of your time and energy focused on what has already happened instead of using it to live your life.
In some ways it feels really good to know that it’s not your fault that things are the way they are for you now and to vilify the one(s) responsible. However, if you’re not doing anything to move yourself forward from the unfairness and victimhood, then that is your fault.
And the beautiful thing about being able to take some responsibility for moving yourself forward from where you are now is that you will start to feel better and much less bitter.
I’m Dr. Karen Finn, a divorce and personal life coach. I help people navigate all the challenges of divorce. You can join my newsletter list for free weekly advice. And, if you're ready, you can take the first step toward working with me as your personal coach by scheduling a private consultation.