Monday, 15 January 2018

8 Things No One Ever Tells You about Divorce

Number Three May Surprise You

When you decide to divorce, it’s almost as if you’ve entered a club with a super-secret handshake — only no one is quite certain how to do it. So we asked the community what they wished they had known before they decided to file for divorce. From the emotional breakup of their marriage to the financial upheaval, here are some is helpful advice from people who have been through the real life turmoil of uncoupling. Read on for the 8 things no one ever tells you about divorce.

1. If you are parents, you have a relationship with your ex forever… but it’s very different.

“First, you and your spouse go from being best friends to enemies almost overnight,” says community member Banshee1, a 30-something dad who is in the process of getting divorced. The difference, according to Paula1, a single mom who was married for four years to a man who cheated, is this: “He doesn’t have to listen anymore. He doesn’t have to work out problems.”

To make matters worse, writes Georgia resident Rebec311, “Your ex will not cooperate… they want to stick it to your for whatever they think you did. They will not be fair at all or logical.”

Eve31, a single mother whose spouse has refused to mediate their divorce, relates a similar experience, one in which a soon-to-be ex is “always lingering in the background waiting for you to slip up so they can pounce on you again through the legal system because now they have a new life — and no longer want to be responsible for their first life.”

She describes the toughest part: “The little questions from the kids like, ‘Why do we have two houses?’ will drive you nuts.” And if you’re angry with your former spouse for driving those questions, parents say your children can sense it. “Don’t even think bad thoughts about their dad when they are within five miles of you,” community member timless says.
The best advice, said Maryland salesman wave, whose wife left him after 30 years is, “Keep your children first, always.”

2. Divorce starts after you’ve signed the papers.

You can go to Las Vegas and get married in 30 minutes, according to Eve31, “but getting a divorce takes a lot longer,” she says. Purebredinip, a California woman whose husband told her he “wasn’t happy,” says: “They should make divorcing easier, but getting married difficult.”

“What no one tells you,” says Eve31, “is what it’s really going to cost you to be divorced… your youth, your sanity, your faith, your trust, your ability to wake in the morning with hope.” You now second-guess all your decisions: “Your ex destroys your trust but also your ability to sometimes trust yourself,” she explains.

“The real pain starts after you sign the divorce decree, ” Paula1 continues. “Every fight can now lead to court, which costs you money. Every disagreement now leads to heated arguments where nobody wins. Every new life stage (dating spouses, remarriages, kids asking more questions, kids suffering with divorce) equals more pain.”

3. If you’re the custodial parent, every other weekend is a blessing.

Essentially, you are raising your children alone — even if your former spouse has them for a few days a week or every other weekend. If you have young children, it will be a long time before you can take a shower that’s longer than three minutes. “You’ll fight it during the divorce proceedings, but will count down the hours for his weekend after,” Paula1 writes.
And what if you’re ex has found a new partner? “You spend all your time raising the kids, through sickness, surgeries and through all the heartache and picking up all the broken pieces that the divorce has caused,” says community member Paris299.

Work can also become a refuge.”Taking care of kids all weekend without any help is hard and exhausting. Monday mornings now become something you look forward to,” Paula1 writes.

4. You lose a lot of friends and family in divorce.

Girl70 said her husband filed for divorce after having an affair. His family sided with him. “I was with him for 22 years. It is like I didn’t exist. It’s as if I was the one who had the affair. I truly cared for my father-in-law and stepmother-in-law. I miss them the most,” she says.

The reaction from friends can also be tough. “Some people will treat you like divorce is catching…like leprosy,” says Tracy74 of Michigan, whose husband fell in love with another woman. “Your married friends will fear you being around their husbands/wives,” agrees community member kdb, a 50-something mother of three whose husband told her he wasn’t in love anymore.

Community member Banshee1 felt a sense of being “completely alone” and “misunderstood by married friends” who took sides during the breakup. “You will lose a lot of friends/people that you like a lot because of your soon-to-be ex,” agrees Rebec311. “The friends you keep will either love you more and be there more or have no clue how to talk to you.”

What’s more, “You think they are all a bunch of whiny children, since you’re doing it all alone now, and they have husbands to help,” says Paula1.

5. The courts do not care.

You will waste money if you treat your divorce attorney as a therapist. Timless explains, “That’s what your girlfriends and personal therapy is [sic] for. If you don’t have them, get them before you start the process.”

The court system is “cold,” says Rebec311, “and its participants don’t care about your feelings. It’s treated as a business.”

“Are your kids sick and is your ex clueless about how to take care of them? The courts don’t care. He still gets them,” says Paula1. “Is your ex-spouse not paying child support because he’s unemployed again? The courts don’t care. Visitation and support are not tied. Is your ex-spouse living with a drug addict with nose rings? The courts don’t care. As long as he is a good parent and doesn’t abuse them, he still gets them and can have anyone around that he wants.”

Maryland salesman wave, whose wife left him after almost 30 years of marriage, was surprised that the courts didn’t take into account who was at fault in the break up. “She turns 49, her mother dies, she got her inheritance, and two months later, she wants out. I have no drug or alcohol problems, no money problems, no abuse, no womanizing, but I lose half, plus I pay her child support…and she keeps the inheritance…The courts don’t care about right or wrong.”

6. Money is always an issue.

“You don’t just worry about money. You obsess over it,” writes Kitty7470, a 40-something mom from Ohio whose husband had an affair after 20 years of marriage.

“If you had a traditional marriage in which both parents were working, etc., get used to living on half. Child support, if paid, does not cover much. It’s not as much as you think it will be (which is another ridiculous tragedy by the courts), and your savings is probably wiped out by divorce costs,” explains Paula1.

Banshee1 doesn’t feel his financial settlement was fair. “It was tough for me to give up everything and move into an apartment that’s about a quarter of the size of my house — taking almost nothing,” he writes. Plus, as the breadwinner in his family, I will be taking the majority of the debt load, taking on losses due to the sale of our marital residence and providing significant child support payments to my soon-to-be ex.”

However, he says, “There is hope for recovery.” He’s slowly rebuilding and making a home for his children. And he believes he’s better off today. “(My ex) and I had very different views on money, and now that I’m on my own, I can save the way I feel most comfortable.”

For Soon2Bfine, a 40-something administrative assistant whose husband cheated on her, money wasn’t her biggest financial problem. When her spouse stopped paying the credit card debt after their divorce, he ruined both their credit ratings. “Having a great job means the money is there to make the payments, but good luck getting a loan for anything,” she wrote.

7. Your ex — and you — have personal lives.

Building a new life doesn’t include whining about your ex. “Learn to deal with it and not hold on to it,” Kitty7470 says. And when your ex finds a new partner? “They now have a say in your entire life, because your ex lets them.”

Banshee1 says he’s surprised at how bitter people can be. “I’ve talked to so many people that get upset because they believe their ex is doing better than they are or are suffering less. My feeling is — focus on you and your life. You can spend the rest of your life comparing to your ex-spouse and miss out on opportunities that are right in front of you.”

And some further advice: “Your ex has a life and so do you. Don’t share,” says timless. “I’ve learned to keep things focused on my daughter and vague pleasantries. Any unnecessary details come back to bite me in the butt.”

8. You will get a second wind.

When you think it won’t get any better, just keep moving forward. “The train wreck that was your life during the divorce suddenly gets a makeover as soon as your divorce is final,” timless says. “Somewhere near the end you have one final cry and then get a second wind. This is your saving grace, your reward for the pain and suffering.”

Unhappily married to her high school sweetheart for 15 years before she finally asked for a divorce, Wow65 agrees, saying when the divorce was final she realized: “I could do what I wanted with my life and have a great time doing it.”

“Now is the time to focus on you,” Banshee1 advises. “Look at divorce as a chance to rebuild, to start fresh. Yes, there will be hurt, loneliness, frustration — but that’s life, isn’t it? 
For me, I’m taking the experiences that I’ve had has a husband and turning them into a guideline for how I want to live my life as a man. I will always and forever be a father to my children — and my focus is 150 percent on them. But, to be the best father that I can be I must learn to take care of myself, too. I’m learning to pursue my dreams, and through that inspire my children (and possibly others) along the way. My legacy to my children will be strength and perseverance even when the chips are down.”

Divorce coach Annie O’Neill added: “You have your whole life ahead of you to do what you want to do. It is a chance to reinvent yourself, a new chapter of your life. You have to put your marriage behind you and decide to move on.”


Sunday, 14 January 2018

What My Parents' Divorce Taught Me About Money

You don’t generally associate “divorce” with “excellent personal finance education.”
Most children of divorced parents might argue that divorce is a terrible, emotionally unpleasant time—particularly where money is concerned.

While I agree that it can be a miserable time, emotionally and financially, I also credit my parents’ divorce with some of the most important financial lessons of my life, and for making me the financially responsible adult I am today.

The Divorce

I come from a relatively wealthy background—I grew up in a safe, affluent suburb of New York City, where I was raised by two parents with advanced degrees, and went to excellent schools with kids in similar situations. For much of my life, I didn’t have to really worry about shopping for school supplies or getting the clothes I wanted or having money to go to the movies or other incidentals. It was all given to me, just like it was given to my friends.

And then, at the age of 15, my parents got divorced. It was a messy, unpleasant period in our lives, and not worth recounting here (who wants to hear about another suburban kid whose parents fought and eventually separated?).

But as unpleasant as the experience was, I consider it one of the best things that could have happened to me—financially. While my friends were going about their youth unconcerned with material worries, suddenly I had to learn relatively quickly what it meant to have a handle on your money —and your life.

Here are the three key lessons I learned as a result.

Lesson #1: Financial Independence is Everything

Around the time I was 15, my mother made a discovery: My father had been slowly draining our family’s savings, retirement, and checking accounts. By the time my mother realized what was happening, the money was gone. My mom had thought his yearly bonuses would be going toward college for me and my sister, but not only was my dad a big spender, unbeknownst to her, he had also been buying regular tickets to visit his girlfriend in Greece. The money went fast.

Here, I witnessed firsthand one of the most important financial lessons of my life: It is essential as a woman (and for anyone in a relationship, although women are particularly vulnerable) to know where your money is, and to keep an eye on your household finances . You should never rely on someone else to manage everything for you.

Does this mean, now that I’m grown and married myself, that I regard my husband with perpetual skepticism, always under the assumption that he’s about to take the money and run? Not at all. But we both keep an eye on our joint accounts (which makes good sense for a number of reasons, including monitoring identity and credit card theft), and we both discuss how our money is being saved and spent . I also know I will always stay in the workforce, even if and when we have children.

My mother, who had a PhD and a JD, decided to stay home with my sister and me when we were young, then found a job in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office, which eventually turned into a position as a full-time prosecutor after the divorce. As I watched her realize how difficult it would be to re-enter the workforce, I realized how important it is for women to be able to support themselves financially, regardless of circumstance. Divorce aside, in case of any kind of tragedy (death, unemployment), I want to be able to rely on myself for income.

Lesson #2: Needs Are Expensive

After the divorce, my mother was adamant that we stay in our house and school district. Her desire to make sure we weren’t totally uprooted from our lives, regardless of finances, meant that I soon had to rely on myself for all of those financial incidentals I had always received from my parents.

While my mother was concerned with getting food on the table and paying for medical care (we didn’t have health insurance—we had been on my dad’s plan and he changed jobs, and my mom was looking for work—and I ended up forgoing dentist’s visits for five years), I soon learned what all of those teenage “needs” cost, and how to budget for them.

From gas for my old Honda (a hand-me-down from my grandmother), to movie tickets for nights out with friends, I learned how much money I would need and what I could go without. I picked up more babysitting shifts than I ever had before, took summer jobs at the local Barnes & Noble and as a tutor, and managed (and saved) my own money.

There were days when I hated everything about our situation. One winter day, a pipe burst in our basement, and my mother had no idea what to do, so I called my father and figured out how to fix it. I remember thinking it was ridiculous, but it really taught me how to take control of a situation when I need to. I can fix things around the house; I’m proactive in making things happen; I’m never, ever late on a bill. It wasn’t fun, but it was certainly character-building.

Now, I don’t mind making a dollar stretch (cereal for dinner is a frequent guilty pleasure), and I know how to budget realistically . I also realized that I became more independent than many of my peers at an early age. In college, I used my own money to buy clothes or take trips, while many friends were still fully supported by their parents. Resisting spending on non-essentials early on definitely helped shape my habits as an adult.

Lesson #3: College Isn’t a Given

Even more importantly, what seemed like a tragedy—losing my college savings account—ensured that I knew the value of a college education, and taught me how to find scholarship money and financial aid. My guidance counselor worked with me to find schools that had great financial aid and vouchers so we didn’t have to pay for the SAT or ACT.

I’d always been smart, and a good student, but I definitely kicked myself into high gear after my parents’ divorce.

I’m not sure how much of that was the hyper-competitive academic environment my high school fostered, and how much was the knowledge that I’d have to do very, very well to get into the kinds of schools that would provide excellent financial aid. Either way, I started figuring out that if I wanted something, I would have to go after it, whether that was an after-school job or leadership positions at my school . I stopped being afraid to ask for what I wanted.

I ended up going to Wellesley College, which has great financial aid. During those four years, I was able to go abroad to London, intern in Washington, D.C. one summer, and intern another summer at a literary agency with a $3,000 stipend. That summer at the literary agency, I gave myself $5 for a “fun budget” every week and put any remaining money into a savings account.

Between my jobs during the school year (tutoring, babysitting, and working on campus), a few graduation gifts, and the remainders of my stipends, I graduated with $12,000 of savings—which I used to fully pay off my relatively small college debt . Now, I’m extremely proud to say I’ve saved another $10,000 in an emergency fund. (The secret to this? No fun, ever. I don’t recommend it.)

My family is in a much better place, financially and emotionally, than we were during those years during and after the divorce, and I wouldn’t wish that kind of steep financial learning curve on other teenagers.

But while divorce can seem like the worst thing to happen to a family, what we went through turned me into a more responsible adult than I might otherwise have been, and for that I’m incredibly grateful.


Saturday, 13 January 2018

Why Friendships Take A Dive After Divorce

As a young girl, I instinctively appreciated the importance of friendship. I gravitated to older girls who I could admire and look up to. Reflecting on my adult friendships, I’ve come to realize that true friends stick by you no matter what. They’re there for you when the chips are down, your boyfriend cheats on you, or you lose your job. Since I grew up with three sisters and have been lucky to have many wonderful friends, I was surprised by how my friendships changed after my divorce.

After my divorce, which was over a decade ago, several friends seemed to vanish into thin air or became distant. To this day, I struggle with figuring out why my divorce cost me so many friends. I’ve spent plenty of hours analyzing this and only recently realized that I’m not alone. When I mentioned this to a colleague, she expressed curiosity and encouraged me to research the topic.

What I found out may surprise you. While there isn’t much research on the topic of friendship after divorce, most studies report that after a breakup, friends often fall by the wayside. Fortunately, I found a highly informative chapter on post-divorce friendship in Dr. Bruce Fisher’s book, Rebuilding When your Relationship Ends. I was also inspired by a blog written by Aunt Becky for Cafe Mom’s blog “The Stir” entitled, An Open Letter to My Happily Married Friends. In this insightful post, Aunt Becky admonishes her friends to be more tolerant and empathetic about her recent divorce. She writes, “things don’t always work out as planned, my dear friend.”

Most people report that some of their friends become invisible while they’re in the process of divorcing. Sadly, this was my experience and I’m still trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together. The first Christmas after my marriage collapsed, I was struck by how few invitations arrived via email or my mailbox. I quickly learned that there are many reasons why friends disappear or become remote.

Perhaps one reason why friendships change so much after divorce is because friends — like some family members — aren’t comfortable with grief and so become rejecting or cool. They might even side with your ex, not realizing that they are polarizing and encouraging conflict between the two of you. Friends and family often take sides after divorce. Let’s face it — most people don’t have a clue about how to support a friend who is suddenly single.

Dr. Fisher, a renowned divorce expert, cites four main reasons why friendships change after divorce. I hope this list helps you gain insight and feel less isolated.

1. You are seen as a threat. As a newly divorced person, you are suddenly seen as eligible to your married friends — so invitations die off or disappear.

2. Divorce is polarizing. Friends tend to side with one partner — either the ex-husband or ex-wife. Rarely do friends maintain contact with both partners. Thus, you might lose the friends who sided with your ex.

3. Fear.
Many people fear that if they associate with others whose marriages ended, theirs will head in the same direction. Several women I interviewed for my book Love We Can Be Sure Of told me that the shakier their friend’s marriage appeared, the more quickly they were abandoned by that person.

4. Social Stigma. Married people are simply seen as mainstream and more acceptable in our couple-orientated culture. While this issue has subsided somewhat in the past decade as we’ve witnessed the second and third generation of divorce in our country, it’s still alive in many social circles. Divorced people are viewed as part of a singles subculture where the standards are seen as looser, and that may make some married people uncomfortable.

Divorce can change the dynamics in any relationship, and particularly in friendships, it’s important to set boundaries. For instance, you might feel like venting with a friend and bemoaning the loss of a love, and they might not be up for a heavy conversation. Letting your friends know what your needs are can be very helpful. Be sure to tell them the truth but be sensitive to their limitations and desire to discuss other topics. It’s normal to feel emotionally needy as you’re navigating the grieving process, but friends play a different role than counselors. So give them a breather by keeping things light at times.

If you’re reading this and wonder how to support a friend post-divorce, perhaps the best thing you have to offer them is acceptance and a listening ear. Try to avoid appearing judgmental since they may be hypersensitive to comments that come across as blameful. 
Think about it — when someone is grieving the loss of a marriage, they need time to grieve and gain a better perspective on things. Ideally, friends will be there for each other when they are at their worst. Some are definitely keepers.

In my case, I’ve been lucky to make new friends who have enriched my life since my divorce. Fortunately, I have even held onto a few friendships for decades, in spite of my changes in lifestyle and marital status. I’ve been blessed with the good fortune of having many amazing friends who have been there for me during times of turmoil and triumph, as I hope I have been able to do for them.


Friday, 12 January 2018

How To Be In A Relationship After Divorce Broke Your Heart

You’ve worked hard to get over your divorce. Don’t let it get in the way of your future happiness.

Living through the tumultuous end of your marriage is one of the most difficult things you’ll ever do. And the repercussions of it echo through your life in often surprising ways – and sometimes for a long time after your divorce is a done deal.

One of the most common ways to experience the fallout of divorce long after it’s final is in your new relationships.

So, when you meet someone you really like, it’s natural to wonder how to be in a relationship with them or if you even want to be in a relationship again.

This pause to question whether you want another relationship usually driven by fear. When your heart has been broken by divorce, it’s very difficult to believe that you could ever have a good relationship.

Your struggle with how to be in a relationship again could quite simply be a fear of the past repeating itself. But here’s the thing, the ONLY way this fear is real is if these two things are true:

  1. You’re exactly the same person you were.
  2. Your new love interest is just like your ex.

Now, if you’ve done your work – really done your work – to heal from your divorce, one of the things you now understand is your part in the failure of your marriage.

And because you’re smart and determined, you’ve taken the steps necessary to make sure you no longer behave in that way and you know how to spot it quickly when you do. This alone guarantees that you’re NOT exactly the same person you were.

Another benefit of doing your work to get over your divorce is that there’s very little chance you’re attracted to the same type of person you divorced. (Remember that the person you divorced is seldom the person you thought you married.)

So, if you’ve done all the hard work to heal, your fear of not being able to have a good relationship isn’t based on facts. It’s just a fear of the past that’s holding you back from exploring your new life – the life you’ve been working so hard on making great.

Now when you really take a step back to look at it, it’s your ex and the memory of your marriage that’s keeping you from exploring the connection you have with your new love interest. And you sure don’t want your ex controlling your future!

Another reality is that the connection you have doesn’t guarantee that a relationship with this new person will work out or that you should enter it without caution. It just means that you’re attracted enough to want to explore how to be in a relationship with them.

Taking a chance to learn how to be in a relationship again with someone you genuinely care about can be extremely fun – especially after all the effort you’ve put into moving on with your life. And if this new relationship has the potential to contribute to your happiness, you deserve to explore it without fear.

So silence the echoes of your divorce and don’t let them get in the way of your pursuit of happiness.


Thursday, 11 January 2018

Don't let yourself off, keep on going!

As we work towards a goal or through a period of challenge, and when faced with a difficult task, when we feel tired and in need of a rest, or sometimes just when we're controlled by fear, it can be tempting to take a break, to let ourselves off, to be 'kind' to ourselves.
At times like these, it's all the more important to keep on going, to take the difficult decision, confront the unpleasant task and to have the awkward conversation. 
Through continued action, relentlessly committing to the goal and taking step-by-step eventually we'll achieve our goals and get to where we want and deserve to be.
I wish you a happy, fulfilled and successful 2018 as you work through your divorce and forwards to your new and better life. I'm right there with you, pressing ever forwards and onwards!

Life after divorce: How to rebuild your self-esteem and confidence

With divorce often comes a feeling of shame, low confidence and low self worth - as if people who get divorced have done something wrong, or failed somehow. It’s only natural to perhaps feel scared at finding yourself single again. You may feel alone, isolated, and surprised by who has turned their back on you. This is normal. However, it needn’t be this way. Self confidence and self worth have everything to do with having a strong inner core. Often times, outer success can hide a weak core, but without a strong core true happiness is not sustainable long term. The inner core has to do with loving yourself for who you truly are. Here are some spiritual advice to help you remember who you truly are so you can rebuild your self confidence and self worth after your divorce.


  • deepen your inner connection
  • tend to your healing
  • look your best
  • improve communication with your ex
  • push out of your comfort zone


ignore your needs and desires
get triggered by your ex
give up
go into negativity
stay stuck in the past


Do deepen your inner connection

To begin, you want to remember who you truly are, and what you are here to do. When you remember that, you cannot help but truly love yourself. Perhaps you lost yourself in your marriage and defined yourself in terms of being a wife, a mother, or other outward marker. A good way to find yourself again is by establishing some form of meditation or mindfulness practice. This will help you connect to the present moment so you can focus on who really matters - you.

Do tend to your healing

Feelings of anger, sadness, fear, disappointment, jealousy, loneliness and others are all healthy indications that you need to tend to some healing. In the same way we all need to eat, drink and exercise to stay healthy, healing, is something everyone needs. Your divorce has, no doubt, brought up to the surface some powerful emotions that need to be healed at this time. Rather than run away from them, this is a wonderful opportunity to give yourself some love and tend to your healing. Anything you do that fills you up with unconditional love heals you. As soon as you set the intention to receiving the healing you need, you will be amazed by the help you are offered.

Do look your best

Even if you don’t feel very attractive or inspired at the moment, do make an effort to look your best. This means taking care of your grooming as you normally would and making a special effort with the clothes you choose to wear. You may feel like wearing your cosy sweat pants to the supermarket, but putting on some pressed jeans and lipstick will lift your spirits. Your outwards appearance is just as important as your inner well being and both contribute to a healthy, happy you. It’s important to honor the vehicle that holds your spirit just as much as your spirit as both are sacred gifts.

Do improve communication with your ex

Ensure you are both communicating as effectively as possible. This may be challenging depending on where you are in the letting go process. It’s important to honor the process and what you are feeling while remembering that your ex has his own process, and his own feelings as well. Using clear language to express what is going on with you will help make you and your ex more attentive and respectful to each other. The more effectively you communicate, the less likely you will be to fall back into your old pattern, and the easier it will be for you to rebuild the self confidence and self worth you may feel you lost during your divorce.

Do push out of your comfort zone

Here, change is a good thing. There is no point sticking to the routine you had as a married person because it will just keep you stuck in the past and prevent you from moving forward. You don’t need to give up your old routine completely. You want to get rid of what wasn’t nourishing you and hang onto those parts that were. Here you want to make whatever change you need to make so you feel your life is expanding into a new direction. If you are not expanding out, you are contracting in. Whenever growth is dampened, suffering happens on some level. As long as you feel your life is getting bigger and better as a result of your divorce, you will feel happier and your self confidence and self worth will improve.


Do not ignore your needs and desires

As a loyal wife you have perhaps spent years putting the needs of your husband first. If you have children, you have perhaps put the needs of your children ahead of your own as well. That was fine for a time, but now it’s time to reclaim yourself. Who are you? What’s important to you? What are your talents and gifts? How do you want to spend the rest of your life? You have talents and gifts the world has never seen and you have been put on this earth for an important purpose. Nurturing others is no doubt important to you, and the more you can nurture yourself too by paying attention and devoting time to rediscovering you, the more loving you will be.

Do not get triggered by your ex

Keeping a level head with your ex will help keep your self confidence high; losing your temper, showing tears, or clamming up will only reinforce past patterns and will not help your self esteem. Remember here, that under duress some bottle up their emotions while others let them all hang out - neither is sustainable long term. Healthy, happy people know when to share and when to hold back. Finding this balance is an important skill that is not always learned in childhood. Relationships in general and marriage or divorce specifically, provide great opportunities to learn this.

Do not give up

It’s important to just not give up. You will be tested. Though life is perhaps not flowing as you would like, it’s important to remember that you can handle it. The challenges will make you stronger, but they are setting the template for your new life. It took years to build a life with a partner, now it may take some time to rebuild a life on your own as a single woman. This is where it’s important to surrender into the unknown.

Do not go into negativity

It’s easy to get trapped in negativity, after all your divorce and the last days of your marriage were no doubt filled with negativity. Here it’s important to change that pattern. Let go of all toxicity - this means let go of negative thoughts, words and actions. You can do this by cutting out all negativity from your life or by transforming negativity into positivity. This applies to your friends, your job, your family, as well as your ex and your marriage. Like attracts like so the more you spiral into darkness, the harder it will be to get out and the less self confidence and self worth you will have. You may need to fake it a little at the beginning, but you will soon see how easy it is to be positive. The more positive you are on the outside, the more positive you will soon feel on the inside as well.

Do not stay stuck in the past

Here it’s important to really accept and let go. It’s the only way to move on and create a new life. When you keep a foot in one life and another in a new life, you are not fully anchored into the present. The more you can accept what has happened, the easier it will be to let go and then to create a new life which is more aligned with the deeper truth of who you are and the deeper truth of the life you are now ready for.


As long as your inner core is not strong, your divorce will affect your sense of self confidence and self worth. Making that core strong will pave the way to the next chapter of your life as a single, which will then set the foundation for the rest of your life. The stronger that inner core, the more resilience you will have to navigate any future challenge or crisis that comes your way. Hopefully this advice has offered insight to help you rebuild your self confidence and self worth after your divorce so you can bring in more of the love that you are, and remember the love that you have always been.


Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Surviving Emotionally While Divorcing A Narcissist

Narcissistic behavior is one of the character traps Dr. Mark Banschick explains in his article on Malignant Divorce. According to Dr. Banschick, "the narcissist is completely self-serving and selfish." So, how do you get through a divorce unscathed if your spouse is narcissistic?
In some situations, a divorcing couple is made up of one narcissist and one reasonable person, the narcissistic spouse can single-handedly create enormous conflict.

The narcissist’s negative actions and response to the divorce cause the reasonable spouse to go into defensive mode especially if there are children involved.

To those who don’t know better, it looks like the reasonable spouse is fully engaged in creating conflict. But what is really happening is that the reasonable spouse is trying to protect themselves and their children from the narcissist who is using the legal system to bully them. Many do not recognize the characteristics of a narcissist, even during the marriage but, introduce divorce into the narcissist’s life and it can become quite evident that this person has a personality disorder. One that keeps them from being able to play fair when they feel backed into a corner.

That is why so few people find themselves emotionally equipped to survive while divorcing a narcissist. The reasonable spouse goes into the divorce process expecting the same level of consideration that they experienced during the marriage to only be met by an adversary who will stop at nothing to “win” what they perceive as a war being waged against them.

It’s difficult to stay emotionally level-headed when what you thought would be a simple process turns into all-out war and all you care about is at stake. The only way to survive while divorcing a narcissist is having the ability to quickly recognize who you are dealing with and the willingness to do battle, roll up your sleaves and go to war.

First Consider the Characteristics of a Narcissist:

  • Has a need for admiration
  • A need to be right
  • A need to be seen as the good guy
  • A need to criticize when you don't meet their need
  • Is charismatic and successful
  • Lacks the ability to feel remorse
  • Has no conscience
  • Has a tremendous need to control you and the situation
  • Has values that are situational; if you believe infidelity is wrong, so do they, even if they don't, their need to impress you motivates them to hold the same beliefs
  • Uses a facade of caring and understanding to manipulate
  • Is emotionally unavailable
  • Nothing is ever their fault
  • Hangs onto resentment
  • Has a grandiose sense of self
  • Feels misunderstood
  • Is not interested in solving marital problems, it is their way or the highway
  • Is envious of other's success

When divorcing a narcissist, Dr. Bansckick says, "he completely dismisses any of your needs or all the years of devotion and mutual companionship that you had built together. Normal people remember the good from the past. It informs a sense of balance and fairness during a divorce (even through a betrayal). You may be getting a divorce, but that doesn't mean that you don't have valuable memories and a life story together. For the narcissist, it is all gone; like it never happened.

You will have to understand this if you are to deal effectively with him. The narcissist can undermine you with your friends, with your children and steal your money, all while looking sincere and generating good will among the community."

How To Protect Yourself When Divorcing The Narcissist

A narcissist finds it hard to accept that his/her influence in your life is over. Whether they file for the divorce or you, the narcissist will attempt to remain in control of his influence over your life. If you have children with this person they will work over-time at attempting to control how child support is spent, how child visitation is handled and every other aspect of the co-parenting relationship.

How much emotional abuse, financial and sometimes domestic abuse the narcissist is able to inflict depends on how you respond to him/her.

If you show the narcissist any sympathy, fear, weakness or confusion the narcissist will feed off of it and continue his/her cycle of abusive behaviour.

Protecting yourself means showing no weakness, not buying into anything the 
narcissist says, researching as much as you can find about narcissism and having an attorney on your side who is willing to pull out all the stops when it comes to protecting your legal rights.

4 Tactics For Dealing With The Narcissist During Divorce:

1. Examine your role in the ongoing conflict. The healthier you are emotionally the more success you will have in dealing with the narcissist. You are giving into the narcissist's attempt to manipulate every time you respond to him/her.

A narcissist is adept at causing confusion. When in an adversarial relationship such as divorce you begin to question whether the problem is with you or the narcissist. That is exactly where the narcissist wants you; confused and questioning yourself.

People often ask me what they can do to change how someone responds to them. If you are attempting to do something that will make a difference in the way he/she behaves STOP. You cannot change the behaviors of others but you can change the way you respond to their behaviour.

Your response to a narcissist should be measured. You should be aware that he/she is trying to push your buttons and wants a negative response from you. The best advice I can give is to realize that the things the narcissist does or says in not about you, it is about them. The narcissist is attempting to make themselves feel better by making you feel shame, fear or guilt.

The narcissist will project his own fears, shame, and guilt off onto you by using the Family Court System to abuse. Not retaliating or challenging them puts the shame, fear, and guilt back onto them.

2. Deal with the reality of the situation. The world of the narcissist is made up of fantasy, nothing is real, all is an expression of their need to be someone they are not. It is imperative you see the narcissist for who he/she really is and not for whom you wish he/she was.
Regardless of how good you want the narcissist to be, the more you work at bringing goodness out, the more the narcissist will exploit your goodness.

The narcissist wants you to doubt your own value. The best defense during divorce against such a person is to appreciate your own self-worth and refuse to buy into their need to dismiss and belittle you and your needs.

3. Be willing to set firm boundaries. The narcissist believes their needs are more important than yours, they believe they are more intelligent than you and find it unacceptable that anyone would disagree with them. For this reason, they lack an understanding of boundaries and respecting the needs of others.

You can't teach or expect the narcissist to ever respect your boundaries. You can, however, refuse to allow the narcissist to cross your boundaries and cause you undue stress during the divorce process. This is done by you controlling what behaviors you will and will not allow.

Don't make the mistake of believing that trying to control the behaviors of the narcissist is the answer to setting boundaries with him/her. Most believe that protecting themselves and setting boundaries means confronting and being assertive. This does not work with the narcissist. The more you confront and assert your position the more you play into their game.

When setting boundaries with the narcissist you need to refuse to communicate unless it can be done in a manner free of conflict, manipulation, and disrespect. You may need to insist that all communication is via email. You can let it be known that you will not respond to any communication that dismisses or belittles you and your needs.

You can expect the narcissist to push back against the boundaries you set. If you want to stop the cycle of abuse and disrespect you must be firm, stand your ground and refuse to allow him/her to push your buttons. Remember, you are trying to separate yourself from the narcissist. As I said, this is a threat to him/her so be on guard for efforts on their part to draw you back into the toxicity of the relationship.

4. Surround yourself with an understanding support system. During the divorce, we all go to family and friends for support and advice. Your situation is unique, though; friends and family will not understand and may even doubt your honesty when you relay what you are dealing with.

It is essential that you hire a divorce attorney who has an understanding of narcissistic personality disorder and how to deal with it during the legal process of divorce. Also, find a therapist who can help you work through the feelings you will have during the divorce and after. A therapist can help you set boundaries and stick with them, a therapist can help you identify your role in the conflict and can help you understand what is and isn't "real." The people you choose to go to for help will play a huge role in how well you navigate divorce from a narcissist.