Whether you are high strung in general, or shy and reserved, hearing “calm down” when you are feeling out of control and angry can sound like fighting words. People will say “breathe,” or “relax” or “don’t let him/her get to you.”
Let’s face it: that’s easier said than done when you are going through a contentious divorce. It’s easy to feel as though every move — every text, every email, every glance, even every conversation with your children — is your soon-to-be-ex’s calculated way of getting at you. Divorce is a high stakes endeavor. Whether you have a bankfull of money or are scraping by financially, if you have children, there’s a reason to fight for your best interests.
One thing is for sure, how you handle the divorce negotiations today will set the stage for communication going forward. You may have always been the bickering couple type. Perhaps every time each of you speaks the other gets stressed out immediately. One or both of you tends to get frustrated and all discussions end the same way — in conflict and often with yelling.
If and when you find yourself getting very upset — about everything, or virtually nothing important — consider some of the following self-help steps. They may sound obvious to some. They bear repeating and careful consideration. Don’t knock ‘em until you’ve tried them.
What To Do
Taking the time to pay attention to your breath means you have to stop the forces in motion that are taking over and setting you into fight mode.
Leave the Negativity at the Door
It can be the door of your bedroom, your car, the front door of your house, your patio door leading to your outside oasis. Choose a place you can go to be free, at least temporarily, of your negative emotions. Focus on the positive when you are in those places.
Focus on the Big Picture
You know what’s most important. If you and your children are healthy, happy and provided for — what more do you really need in the end? When you have perspective, you can pick and choose which things are really worth arguing about.
Besides, if each day is an opportunity to carve out your new life for yourself, what do you want in the future? Do you want infighting and resentment? Or, do you want to bury the upset and resentment and move forward in peace and with hope. Focus on where you want to go and you’ll have a better chance of achieving those goals.
Look at It This Way
You’ve made the decision to move forward with your life. It may not be easy — in fact, it may feel almost impossible — but the sooner you are able to stop getting worked up by the other person’s actions (or lack thereof) the quicker you will be on the road to healing. Now, while you are dealing with the divorce negotiations, it’s a good incentive to start. Stop focused on being so disappointed and angry with the other person. Focus on the future. What is important to you? What will be in the best interests of your children.
Speaking to an experienced divorce lawyer who can mitigate some of the stress and frustration is an excellent way of taking control of an out-of-control behavioral relationship.
There aren’t many people who jump for joy at the prospect of having a potentially contentious and heated conversation with someone they are divorcing. It can be very unsettling, profoundly frustrating, and deeply disappointing. The unfortunate reality for the vast majority of divorcing couples is that tense moments, conflicts, and arguments are inevitable during your divorce journey; how you handle the conflict will help to determine how long and how difficult the process will be. The truth is, you may not be at your best right now. But, you need to be the best you can be — you are being asked to make decisions that will impact you and your family for a long time to come.
A knowledgeable lawyer can protect your rights and help facilitate communication between the two divorcing spouses.
Contact Graziano & Flynn in Cherry Hill, NJ, for a consultation about your personal family situation. We will listen, not judge, and we will guide you through the divorce process every step of the way.