Wednesday, 17 April 2019

5 Tips For Dealing With Anger During Divorce

After a divorce, most people go through a myriad of emotions. Hurt, disappointment, and grief are some of the more easily recognized emotions, but underlying all of these may be anger.

Anger is a fact of life, especially for most people experiencing a divorce. Because anger is a human reality, what can you do to deal with and use proactively the anger you feel during divorce?

Strategies for Dealing With Anger During Divorce

Below are 5 strategies that will help you understand and deal with anger in a positive manner.

Don't Give In

Anger is a legitimate emotion, it is your heart trying to tell you something hurts emotionally. Stuffing anger to avoid dealing with it can result in depression which, in some cases is your anger turned inward. Allow yourself to explore the reasons for your anger and to express the anger in a proactive manner.

Learning to respond in a healthy manner to emotional pain isn't easy. It's the first step you have to take if you are going to keep the anger you feel from becoming destructive. Our first response to being hurt or feeling powerless is to lash out. To attempt to get revenge and regain a sense of control. When that is your response, you're feeding your anger instead of exploring and attempting to understand it.

To lessen anger and fully understand what you are feeling, you need to allow yourself to feel vulnerable and hurt. Anger gives a false sense of empowerment, vulnerability causes feelings of helplessness.

Anger is an emotional fraud. It's there to trick you into not fully understanding what lies beneath the anger, a lot of hurt and vulnerability. Anger hardens your heart and, if fed, keeps you from ever getting in touch with what you are truly feeling.

There is no shame in admitting you are hurt and feeling out of control.

And, doing so softens your heart, leads to being in touch with your feelings and staying open to new relationships and a healthier life after divorce. Choosing pain over anger is hell in the short-term but, healthy in the long-term.

Don’t Fear Your Anger

Women especially may have been brought up to think that they should be “nice and agreeable” and not get angry. Everyone gets angry, and it is a healthy emotion, not something to be feared. Journal or talk to a friend to vent your angry feelings, so you can work through them.

Feared anger leads to stuffed anger which leads to you one day blowing like Mount Vesuvius and leaving a path of destruction in your wake.\Get in touch with the feelings causing the anger and explore appropriate ways to express the anger you feel.

Don’t Worry About Losing Control of Your Anger

One fear many people have is, if they let their anger out they won’t be able to control the rage that may be inside them. This is usually a fear with no basis in fact. Find a safe place to vent your anger.

Punch a pillow, scream, or do whatever makes you feel the release you need without harming anyone. And, that is the key, stop fearing your anger, express it in a way that leads you to a reduction in the anger you feel without it causing or exacerbating conflict and harm.

Don’t Worry About What Other People Think

If you feel anger, you have a right to your feelings. Individuals may think that it’s acceptable to express grief or sadness, but anger may bring on feelings of embarrassment or shame because it is generally frowned upon.

Anger can be an early warning system that something is wrong. Is someone mistreating you? Is someone trying to take advantage of you? Use your anger to build healthy boundaries and distance yourself from those attempting to do you harm.

Get Regular Exercise

If you are having a hard time processing the reasons for your anger, it may be resulting from your overall situation and the frustration you feel from dealing with stress. Taking a walk, doing aerobics or finding stress-relieving yoga poses, or even kickboxing can make a person dealing with anger feel much relief.

According to, "exercise acts like a drug, protecting against angry mood induction, almost like taking aspirin to prevent a heart attack." So, instead of working out to burn calories, work out to burn off those feelings of anger.

Do an exercise that you know is safe for you, and give it your all. Check with your physician if you have any questions about whether or not exercise is appropriate for you.

Nothing contributes more to divorce turning into all-out war than anger. Get it under check, explore what it is trying to tell you, and when needed us your anger appropriately to protect yourself during the divorce process.

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

How to Deal With Your Parents’ Divorce

Dealing with your parents' divorce is never easy, no matter what age you are. And while you may not have to worry about some of the issues that can arise during childhood, such as custody battles, moving, or coordinating after-school pickups, having to deal with your parents' divorce during adulthood comes with its own unique set of challenges and obstacles. If you're struggling or trying to make sense of your parents' divorce at their age, there are steps you can take right now to deal with and overcome these overpowering issues.

1. Reach Out for Support
Even though you're now older and wiser, dealing with parents who are divorcing doesn't spare you from the wide range of feelings and emotions that children experience when their parents divorce. If you're feeling sad, confused, hurt, guilty, or angry about the situation, it's important that you reach out to close friends, siblings, and other supportive people in your life who can help you work through these emotions and tackle them head-on.

Many children often meet with therapists when their parents get divorced, and being older doesn't mean that you shouldn't reach out to trained professionals to help you work through your emotions. You'll get through this, so don't be afraid to widen your support system to help you in the process.

2. Don't Let It Ruin Your Vision of Your Childhood
When your parents divorce when you're older, it's not uncommon to look back at your childhood and carefully review every wonderful memory in search of clues of your parents' unhappiness.

However, you shouldn't let their divorce jade or cast a negative shadow on the times that you spent as a family while growing up, and you shouldn't try to scrutinize and pinpoint evidence of your parents' discontentment. Even if your parents are divorcing, you should still treasure those happy moments and let them bring you joy.

Happy childhood memories don't dissolve when your parents' marriage does.

3. Set Boundaries With Your Parents
As an adult, your parents may treat you more like a friend and confidant rather than as their child, and this means that they may individually turn to you to help deal with their grief, vent and lament about the other. If you find yourself having to listen to each of your parents complain, name call, and insult each other, you should speak up and put an end to this kind of behavior.

You need to remind them that you're still their child, and that you won't be put in a situation where you have to choose sides or speak ill about one of your parents to the other to appease their needs. They should still play a parental role and make sure that you're coping with the situation and dealing with your own whirlwind of emotions during this challenging time.

4. Don't Let It Ruin Your View of Relationships in General
If you're dealing with your parents' divorce as an adult, it's not uncommon that this kind of news start to influence how you view relationships in general. You may wonder how such a seemingly strong and happy relationship can simply crumble after all these years. However, every relationship is different, and just because your parents' relationship is now ending doesn't mean that your current or future relationships won't work out for the long haul.
Don't let their ending marriage negatively impact your view of dating and relationships. Staying positive and optimistic is the grown-up thing to do.

5. Understand That It Takes Time to Get Used to the New Normal
When you're dealing with your parents' divorce, you should recognize that it'll take time for you to get used to the new reality. It may be strange to split up during the holidays, see your parents living in different homes or even watch them date other people, and you won't suddenly feel OK with the situation overnight. By taking it day by day and understanding that there'll be highs as well as lows, you'll be better able to make sense of their divorce and settle into this new chapter of your life.


Monday, 15 April 2019

6 Tips to Help You Process Emotions When Your Ex Starts Dating

Whether the divorce was your idea or your spouse’s, most people find themselves experiencing negative emotions when their ex-spouse starts dating again. Does this mean you still love them? Are these feelings normal? These are common questions you may ask yourself when your ex-spouse starts dating again.

Here are six tips that will help you process those negative emotions.

Your Feelings Are Perfectly Normal

You spent a large part of your life with this person, and during the years you were together, dating and married, you came to think of that person as YOUR significant other.

You two were a couple and to see your spouse with someone else will trigger feelings in you that may be surprising and unpleasant.

It does not mean you are still in love but rather you are witnessing the evidence that your spouse now has someone else in the place you used to fill. Though you may not understand the feelings you are having, they are a natural part of moving on after a divorce. When you meet someone new, you will have a better perspective on how your ex is feeling about you and the relationship you both once had.

You Should Expect to Feel Jealous

Most people are puzzled as to why they are jealous of someone they didn’t want in their life any longer. It’s a common reaction. This was YOUR husband or YOUR wife, you expected fidelity, and now it may feel like cheating to see them with someone else.

Remember what you think and what you feel can sometimes be at odds, but it’s perfectly normal to feel some jealousy and even look for things to criticize in your ex’s new partner.

And, if you've not moved on to a new relationship of your own, your jealousy may stem from the mere fact that they have.

Remember the Reasons You Divorced

Divorce is not entered into lightly, and you probably have valid reasons for the divorce. Keeping this in mind will help you to accept the changes that have come as a result and the confusing feelings you are having over your ex dating again.

Every time you experience a negative reaction to your ex dating, stop and go through the list of reasons you are no longer married. Remembering the negative aspects of your marriage can go a long way in helping alleviate any the unpleasant idea of him/her dating again.

Move Forward in Your Life

Is it possible you are uncomfortable with the idea of your ex dating because you are stuck and unable to move forward with your life?

I’m sure you’ve heard that saying, “The best revenge is living well.” Well, it’s true! If you are feeling jealous, the last thing you want is for your ex to know. Instead of focusing on what he/she is doing, focus on living the best life you can and before you know it, you won’t be concerned with whether or not your ex is dating.

No Two Relationships Are the Same

The relationship that you had with your ex will never be reproduced with anyone else. Each relationship between two people is different, and what you had together during your marriage will never be reproduced with someone else.

The special things you had together were unique to the two of you. So, when you feel jealousy or discomfort over your ex dating, remember that no one can really take the same place in your ex’s life that you had.

So, keep in mind how unique you are and that you will also have someone new to share your life with one day.

Remember That Your Ex Deserves to Be Happy

No matter how much conflict you lived through during the divorce process, if you search your heart, you really don’t want your ex to not move forward. You also don’t want to stay stuck yourself. You really don’t want him/her to be miserable. Letting go is a process, and it may take you some time and effort to get there.

The time will come when you are happy again. More than likely, with a new partner. When that time comes you aren't going to waste time worrying about who your ex is with. Why not start not worrying about that now, instead of later?

Seeing your ex-spouse with someone else can be a shocking experience, but ultimately you will come to accept it, just as your ex will have to adjust to seeing new people in your life.
Concentrate on the good memories you had and the good times to come.


Saturday, 13 April 2019

6 Emotional Stages to Keep in Mind During and After Divorce

Grief for a separated partner is normal and you will get through it

Everyone will react differently to divorce. The vulnerable will endure emotional stages similar to grieving the death of a loved one. It is better to be armed with expectations of the separation process; at least this way, the worst feelings will not have the upper hand when they begin to manifest.

Just like with grief of any kind it is common to move back and forth between the stages. You may find some of the stages easier to navigate than others.

The thing to remember is that you will eventually find hope and healing.

Why Do People Grieve After a Divorce?

Why grieve the loss of your marriage? There are three reasons you may enter the grieving process during and after your divorce.

You're still in love or can't let go. Loving someone means you were attached to that person being part of your daily life. Losing a spouse via divorce is equal to losing a spouse to death.
You relied on your spouse. Your spouse, for years, was someone you could count on. You both gave and received many things from each other and your relationship. Due to divorce, you are losing both the physical and emotional aspects of the relationship you had with your spouse and came to depend on. Sexual intimacy will come to an end as will their emotional support.

Lifestyle changes. You shared a home and family together. You had plans together and dreams of the future. Whether the relationship was stable or not, divorce means giving up the lifestyle you had (or hoped for) with your spouse and adjusting to dramatic changes in your life.

6 Emotional Stages of Divorce

  1. Denial: You find it hard to believe this is happening to you. You refuse to accept that the relationship is over and struggle with trying to find solutions to the marital problems. You spend time believing that if you do or say the right thing your spouse will come home. You hate feeling out of control of the destiny of your marriage. You are convinced that divorce is not the solution to the marital problems. Denial is a powerful coping tool some use to keep from facing the reality of their situation. 
  2. Shock: You feel panic, rage, and numbness. You may feel like you are going crazy. You swing between despair that your marriage is over and hope that it will be restored. It seems impossible to cope with these feelings. Fear is common when considering a life alone; you may wonder how you are going to survive after your divorce. Many feelings and questions seem impossible to shake, but the most important thing is to remember that they are temporary.
  3. Rollercoaster: Depression is a danger at this stage and you may cry at the drop of a hat. You can’t seem to settle your feelings and thoughts. You swing from being hopeful to feeling utter despair. During this stage, you try to break down what has happened in order to understand your pain and make it go away. This can lead to many destructive thoughts, from how things could have gone differently to placing the blame entirely on yourself.
  4. Bargaining: You still hold onto the hope that your marriage will be restored. There is a willingness to change anything about yourself and if you could just get it right, your spouse would return. The important thing to learn during this stage is that you can’t control the thoughts, desires or actions of another human being. The left behind spouse—the one who didn't want a divorce—is likely to linger in this stage longer than the spouse who chose to divorce.
  5. Letting go: During this stage, you realize that the marriage is over, and that there is nothing you can do or say to change that. You become more willing to forgive the faults of your ex-spouse and take responsibility for your part in the breakdown of the marriage. You begin to feel a sense of liberation and hope for the future.
  6. Acceptance: The obsessive thoughts have stopped, the need to heal your marriage is behind you, and you begin to feel as if you can have a fulfilling life. You make plans and follow through with them. You open up to the idea of finding new interests. You no longer dwell on the past, but are emotionally prepared for the future. This is a period of growth where you discover that you have strengths and talents to build on and you are able to go forward in spite of your fear. Your pain gives way to hope and you discover that there is life after divorce.

Friday, 12 April 2019

The reasons why willpower is not enough

Those who are known for getting things done, for committing and then executing, even in times of adversity or hardship can become known for having a lot of willpower You can read a recent article I wrote on this very subject at In the episode I'll share my thoughts on how I believe willpower on its own is often not enough. If we're committing to do something or to get through something that is challenging or testing, if we require willpower then it's often an indication that we're not really committed to the decision, and we don't believe in ourselves strongly enough. I'll share the 4 things that I believe are essential to minimise our dependency on having to rely on willpower, and how these can be evidenced in our life, and built upon.

How to Be Happy in a World of Turmoil

How many times have you thought to yourself the following: If only I had more money, if only I had someone to love, if only I had a better job, if only I felt better.

If only I had that one thing I am missing, I would be happy.

Truth be told, following that reasoning you will never attain real happiness.

Actually, the opposite effect would occur. Instead, you will keep hitting your head against an imaginary line of “wanting more” and suffer throughout the process.

If your basis for finding happiness is possession, whether monetary o
r emotional, the equation is doomed to fail.

Happiness is not based on what we posses, quite the opposite, happiness is seeing the light in the dark, the good in the bad, and the blessings hidden within the adversity.

All in all, this crazy maze of ups and downs, victories and defeats (aka lessons) are all part of this complex yet fascinating thing we call LIFE.

The key in all of this is to expect for good things to happen despite your current situation. By focusing on your blessings, you allow your mind to operate from a place of thankfulness.

It is then, by letting your mind to “just be,” that the greatest ideas come alive. If you operate from a place of abundance instead a place of scarcity, you allow your creative juices to flow and open the door to better things to appear.

If you are constantly facing rejection, find the strength and hope to keep going. If you do so, you’ll be stepping closer to achieving success and getting closer to achieving your goals.

At a young age, Oprah Winfrey was fired from her job as a reporter because “she was unfit for television.” Years later, by keeping the flame of hope alive, Oprah became the host of her own program, “The Oprah Winfrey Show” which aired 25 sessions before launching her own television network, The Oprah Winfrey Network.

I am convinced that HOPE is a combination of being persistent, optimistic, and faithful that better days are ahead.

If you keep that simple virtue within the core of your being, it allows your mind to think clearly, it allows you to reflect on the good things of life, and as a result, you allow your mind to operate from a place of creativity and joy, where new ideas and projects can be created.
Everyday that we are able to get out of bed, that we are able to breath, and our heart is beating, is a new opportunity for us to take on the world and hope that the days ahead will continue to get better... And trust me, they will.


Thursday, 11 April 2019

Adolescence and "Getting Over" Parental Divorce

Parental divorce is not a loss to get over, but to get used to

Of the 350+ weekly blogs I have written about parenting adolescents, the one that has received by far the most reads and correspondance was written back in December, 2011 about the Adjustment to Parental Divorce by Children and Adolescents. So it’s a topic worth revisiting.

I still get comments, mostly from young people, to this day, like this recent example.

“My parents divorced when I was 11. After that day I lost stability in my life, traveling to and from both households on a regular basis, seeing the family torn in two and not knowing which parent’s house I would be staying in for the day drove me crazy to the point where I would secretly cry in my room hoping that one day my parents would unite once again. Strange enough, my mum used to tell me I was lucky to have double houses, bedrooms, etc. I never bought that argument. After a few years my mum was annoyed hearing that I’m still hurting about the divorce and she wanted me to sort of like just get over it. I guess she always assumed that divorce affects the parents more than the children. Over the years I managed to console myself, but now being 20 and looking back I do still wish they hadn’t divorced.”


As I suggested back in 2011, age-stage of the girl or boy at the time of divorce can affect their initial adjustment.

Children (still focused on attachment to childhood and parents) often tend to have a scared and clinging, sometimes regressive response, acting in increasingly dependent ways to cope with family insecurity created by divorce. “I need them to take more special care of me!” their actions seem to say.

Adolescents (now focused on detachment from childhood and parents) often tend to have an angry and injured, sometimes more distancing response, acting in increasingly independent ways to cope with this disruptive family change. “I’m going to take more charge of myself!” their actions seem to say.

Sometimes parents will ask at what age a child can make an easier adjustment to parental divorce, often assuming the older the better, because of increased maturity. But I disagree. The more years of personal history there are with married parents heading the same household, the more challenging the adjustment becomes because the girl or boy has more years of historical investment and familiarity to modify when family life is split asunder.
Thus I believe a five-year-old can often make an easier adjustment to parental divorce than a fifteen-year-old, although neither can do so without some pain. The same goes for adjustment to parental remarriage (which happens more often than not) because the five-year-old is capable of accepting and bonding with a step-parent in ways that the fifteen-year-old usually cannot.

Even witnessing their marital unhappiness, most adolescents don’t want parents to divorce, and don’t agree with that decision when it is made. Often they take injury and offense, perhaps feeling something like this. “It’s not fair. Nobody asked me whether I wanted them to divorce and split the family, but I’m family aren’t I? I feel so sad and angry and yanked around! They think that doing what feels right for them should feel all right to me. But they are wrong!”

I believe the notion of “getting over” parental divorce misses the mark. “Getting used” to parental divorce is more realistic expectation. “Getting over” implies putting the experience behind you and carrying on, like it was nothing more than another bump in the road of growing up. “Getting used” to parental divorce means learning to live with an unwanted and painful family change, integrating its consequences in one’s life, and living with some lasting influence ever after.

When parents dissolve the marriage children and adolescents feel divided as living with either parent separately serves as a reminder of earlier times when everyone lived together. Children and adolescents of divorce must learn to lead dual family lives.

However, while the child is still focused on life in the family circle, the adolescent is in the business of creating an independent social circle of peers with whom spending more time is desired. Thus a child can be more accepting of visitation requirements than an adolescent for whom moving back and forth between households can interfere with a maintaining a growing social life.

So what is required for an adolescent to adjust (come to terms of acceptance and learn to live with) parental divorce? One way I think about this adjustment is in terms of ten common losses that parental divorce can bring to adolescent lives. Consider them one at a time.

LOSS OF HAPPINESS. Most young people mourn the loss of the in-tact family. They miss some of how life used to be when they lived as an original unit. Unlike children, adolescents (for independence and privacy sake) can be less openly declarative about their unhappiness to parents. Still, it often helps if there is some trusted adult with whom the young person can share this pain and get some emotional support. In addition, talking out reduces the need for negatively acting unhappiness out, which can often make matters worse.

LOSS OF STABILITY. Particularly early on, parental divorce can feel chaotic as parental separation and litigation and establishing twin residences and maybe moving living places and schools can create a lot of confusion. It often helps when parents can clarify arrangements and the young person can predict new demands and establish a semblance of order and routine to be counted on.

LOSS OF FAITH. Probably the most disturbing lesson for an adolescent about parental divorce is that love can be lost, that love does not necessarily last forever, that the commitment of love can be broken. It often helps when parents at least make clear that loss of love between parents entailed no loss of parental love for children, nor were children a factor in the loss of marital love.

LOSS OF CONNECTION. Parental divorce tends to reduce old accessibility to parents – a custodial parent can be much busier and a non-custodial parent can be harder to frequently see. In both cases ease of old contact with parents can be diminished. It often helps when parents make a consistent effort to be available when the adolescent needs to talk or get together.

LOSS OF CONFIDENCE. Parental divorce is not a simple family event, but is a complex and challenging one for the adolescent on four levels of adjustment. For example, they have a lot to STOP, like no longer celebrating full family occasions. They have a lot to START, like establishing a visitation schedule. They have a lot to INCREASE, like assuming more self-management responsibility. They have a lot to DECREASE, like having less time with parents and living on reduced resources. In the face of so much change it is easy to feel overwhelmed and hard to feel competent. “I can’t get used to all that’s going on!” This is why it often helps when parents can identify hard adjustments the adolescent is accomplishing so sense of progress can be affirmed.

LOSS OF UNDERSTANDING. Parental divorce takes the adolescent from a known experience of family life into one where the present can feel inexplicable and the future unknown. If the divorce hits the young person as a surprise, “I never knew they were that unhappy,” it can often help understanding when parents give some reasons for the divorce, even when they have different explanations to offer. If there was some evidence of parental discord to prepare the adolescent, there are still a host of open concerns about the future: “What’s going to happen now?” It often helps when parents encourage and answer these questions so the young person can better manage her or his ignorance and need to know.

LOSS OF POWER. Most adolescents feel disenfranchised by parental divorce: “I have no say about how divorce is turning my life upside down!” It’s easy to feel helpless and angry as parents undo marriage and alter the adolescent’s family life. It often helps when parents can show that to some degree the other side of loss is freedom – freedom from some old restraints and freedom for some new opportunities. In this way they can open up areas of discretionary change where the adolescent can assert some preferential control.

LOSS OF FAMILIARITY. When a parent divorces, both by necessity and desire they begin to make a host of personal changes as well that can alter the adult in adolescent eyes. A single parent picks up responsibilities the other parent used to do. Freedom to pursue a new parental interest is allowed. If adult dating for companionship develops into a significant attachment, that new relationship can alter how the single parent used to be. It often helps for the parent to openly to discuss these influences so the adolescent can get used to so much that is new, and perhaps the parent can moderate some of the changes going on.

LOSS OF TRUST. When parents, for their own self-interest, divorce and divide the family, the adolescent tends to lose some trust in their leadership, particularly when it comes to parents directing the young person’s life. Consequently the adolescent’s drive to independence tends to be intensified as she or he becomes more dedicated to pursuing their own self-interest. It often helps if parents support this increased drive for self-direction where they constructively can.

LOSS OF COMPATABILITY. Parents decide to divorce because they cannot get along. For the adolescent, the hope is that they will relate better living apart than married. However, in an un-reconciled divorce (parents still embittered and embattled) the young person can feel caught in the middle of their ongoing hostility. It usually helps if parents can come to terms of emotional acceptance with whatever differences drove them apart so they can recommit to parent together in the best interests of the children, and for the adolescent to know this ongoing partnership is so.

So: adolescents do not “get over” parental divorce so much as they get used to it by rising to the challenge of meeting a host of adjustment demands, a few of which associated with loss have been listed above. In the process of making these adjustments, there can be some gifts from adversity – strengthened resilience, determination, and independence among them.

But what parents need to remember is this: although meant to primarily change adult married lives, divorce changes the family lives of adolescents just as much, and maybe more.

For more about the effects of divorce on adolescents, see my young adult novel, THE CASE OF THE SCARY DIVORCE -- A Jackson Skye Mystery, (Magination Press, 1997.) Information at:


Wednesday, 10 April 2019

The Psychological Effects of Divorce on Children

Take steps to help kids bounce back faster.

As a marriage dissolves, some parents find themselves asking questions like, “Should we stay together for the kids?” Other parents find divorce is their only option.

And while all parents may have many worries on their mind—from the future of their living situation to the uncertainty of the custody arrangement—they may worry most about how the children will deal with the divorce.

So what are the psychological effects of divorce on children? Researchers say it depends. While divorce is stressful for all children, some kids rebound faster than others.

The good news is, parents can take steps to reduce the psychological effects of divorce on children. A few supportive parenting strategies can go a long way to helping kids adjust to the changes brought about by divorce.

The First Year After Divorce Is the Toughest

Divorce rates have climbed across the globe over the past few decades. It’s estimated that 48 percent of American and British children live in divorced single-parent homes by age 16.

As you might expect, research has found that kids struggle the most during the first year or two after the divorce. Kids are likely to experience distress, anger, anxiety, and disbelief. But many kids seem to bounce back. They get used to changes in their daily routines and they grow comfortable with their living arrangements.

Others, however, never really seem to go back to “normal.” This small percentage of children may experience ongoing—possibly even lifelong—problems after their parents’ divorce.

The Emotional Impact Divorce Has on Kids

Divorce creates emotional turmoil for the entire family, but for kids, the situation can be quite scary, confusing, and frustrating:

Young children often struggle to understand why they must go between two homes. They may worry that if their parents can stop loving one another that someday, their parents may stop loving them.

Grade school children may worry that the divorce is their fault. They may fear they misbehaved or they may assume they did something wrong.

Teenagers may become quite angry about a divorce and the changes it creates. They may blame one parent for the dissolution of the marriage or they may resent one or both parents for the upheaval in the family.

Of course, each situation is unique. In extreme circumstances, a child may feel relieved by the separation—if a divorce means fewer arguments and less stress.
Stressful Events Associated With Divorce

Divorce usually means children lose daily contact with one parent—most often fathers. Decreased contact affects the parent-child bond and researchers have found many children feel less close to their fathers after divorce.

Divorce also affects a child’s relationship with the custodial parent—most often mothers. Primary caregivers often report higher levels of stress associated with single parenting. Studies show mothers are often less supportive and less affectionate after divorce. Additionally, research indicates their discipline becomes less consistent and less effective.

For some children, parental separation isn’t the hardest part. Instead, the accompanying stressors are what make divorce the most difficult. Changing schools, moving to a new home, and living with a single parent who feels a little more frazzled are just a few of the additional stressors that make divorce difficult.

Financial hardships are also common following divorce. Many families have to move to smaller homes or change neighborhoods and they often have fewer material resources.
Remarriage and Ongoing Adjustments

In the United States, most adults remarry within four to five years after a divorce according to the Pew Research Center. That means many children endure ongoing changes to their family dynamics.

The addition of a step-parent and possibly several step-siblings can be another big adjustment. And quite often both parents re-marry, which means many changes for kids. The failure rate for second marriages is even higher than first marriages. So many children experience multiple separations and divorces over the years.

Divorce May Increase the Risk for Mental Health Problems

Divorce may increase the risk for mental health problems in children and adolescence. Regardless of age, gender, and culture, studies show children of divorced parents experience increased psychological problems.

Divorce may trigger an adjustment disorder in children that resolves within a few months. But, studies have also found depression and anxiety rates are higher in children from divorced parents.

Divorce May Increase Behavior Problems

Children from divorced families may experience more externalizing problems, such as conduct disorders, delinquency, and impulsive behavior than kids from two-parent families. In addition to increased behavior problems, children may also experience more conflict with peers after a divorce.

Divorce May Affect Academic Performance

Children from divorced families don’t perform as well academically. Studies show kids from divorced families also score lower on achievement tests. Parental divorce has also been linked to higher truancy rates and higher dropout rates.

Children With Divorced Parents Are More Likely to Take Risks

Adolescents with divorced parents are more likely to engage in risky behavior, such as substance use and early sexual activity. In the United States, adolescents with divorced parents drink alcohol earlier and report higher alcohol, marijuana, tobacco, and drug use than their peers.

Adolescents whose parents divorced when they were 5 years old or younger were at particularly high risk for becoming sexually active prior to the age of 16. Early parental separation has also been associated with higher numbers of sexual partners during adolescence.

Problems That May Extend Into Adulthood

For a slim minority of children, the psychological effects of divorce may be long-lasting. Some studies have linked parental divorce to increased mental health problems, substance use issues, and psychiatric hospitalizations during adulthood.

Many studies, including one study in the Journal of Family Psychology, provide evidence that parental divorce could be related to less success in young adulthood in terms of education, work, and romantic relationships. Adults who experienced divorce in childhood tend to have lower educational and occupational attainment and more employment and economic problems.

Adults who experienced divorce during childhood may also have more relationship difficulties. Divorce rates are higher for people whose parents were divorced.

Parents play a major role in how children adjust to a divorce. Here are some strategies that can reduce the psychological toll divorce has on children:

  • Co-parent peacefully. Intense conflict between parents has been shown to increase children’s distress. Overt hostility, such as screaming and threatening one another has been linked to behavior problems in children. But minor tension may also increase a child’s distress. If you struggle to co-parent with your ex-spouse, seek professional help.
  • Don’t put kids in the middle. Asking kids to choose which parent they like best or giving them messages to give to other parents isn’t appropriate. Kids who find themselves caught in the middle are more likely to experience depression and anxiety.
  • Maintain a healthy relationship with your child. Positive communication, parental warmth, and low levels of conflict may help children adjust to divorce better. A healthy parent-child relationship has been shown to help kids develop higher self-esteem and better academic performance following divorce.
  • Use consistent discipline. Establish age-appropriate rules and follow through with consequences when necessary. Studies show effective discipline after divorce reduces delinquency and improves academic performance.
  • Monitor adolescents closely. When parents pay close attention to what teens are doing and who they spend their time with, adolescents are less likely to exhibit behavior problems following a divorce. That means a reduced chance of using substances and fewer academic problems.
  • Empower your child. Kids who doubt their ability to deal with the changes and those who see themselves as helpless victims are more likely to experience mental health problems. Teach your child that although dealing with divorce is difficult, he has the mental strength to handle it.
  • Teach specific coping skills. Kids with active coping strategies, like problem-solving skills and cognitive restructuring skills, adapt better to divorce. Teach your child how to manage his thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in a healthy way.
  • Help your child feel safe and secure. Fear of abandonment and concerns about the future can cause a lot of anxiety. But helping your child feel loved, safe, and secure can reduce the risk of mental health problems.
  • Attend a parent education program. There are many programs available to help reduce the impact divorce has on kids. Parents are taught co-parenting skills and strategies for helping kids cope with the adjustments.
  • Seek professional help for yourself. Reducing your stress level can be instrumental in helping your child. Practice self-care and consider talk therapy or other resources to help you adjust to the changes in your family.
Are Kids Better Off When Parents Stay Married?

Despite the fact that divorce is tough on families, staying together for the sole sake of the children may not be the best option. Children who live in homes with a lot of arguing, hostility and discontentment may be at a higher risk for developing mental health issues and behavior problems.

When to Seek Help for Your Child

It’s normal for kids to struggle with their feelings and their behavior immediately following parental separation. But, if your child’s mood issues or behavioral problems persist, seek professional help. Start by talking to your child’s pediatrician. Discuss your concerns and inquire about whether your child may need professional support. A referral to talk therapy or other supportive services may be recommended.

Individual therapy may help your child sort out his emotions. Family therapy may also be recommended to address changes in family dynamics. Some communities also offer support groups for kids. Support groups allow kids in certain age groups to meet with other children who may be experiencing similar changes in family structure.


Tuesday, 9 April 2019

How To Show Up For A Friend Going Through A Divorce

I recently read an article about how important it is, in general, to “show up” for your friends. 
It got me thinking, specifically, about the toughest time I’ve gone through, my divorce. A few showed up, many didn’t and I understand why. Unless or until you’ve personally gone through it, you don’t know what to do. To those who would have shown up had they known what to do, to those who would like to show up in the future, here are the best ways to “show up” for a friend going through a divorce.

Say Something

Say something, anything. By the time someone goes through divorce publicly there have been months or years of fighting, turmoil, pain, anguish and often silence. Many feeling alone in marriage retreat to varying degrees. In my case I went radio silent. For several years I parsed my words carefully in my home. Free flowing with my kids, when my ex would enter our domain I’d tread delicately. If I could keep quiet for a few more days things might be OK, maybe a blow up could be averted, a holiday or weekend lived in peace. Eventually, exhausted by the horrendous ending to my 10-year marriage I couldn’t fake it anymore so quiet became my norm in and out of my house. I stopped speaking to most of my friends, no longer engaged in small talk around town and ceased making social plans.

When my divorce became public everyone around clammed up. The silence that surrounded me was deafening. I know it’s awkward and you don’t know what to say. I know you’re scared divorce could spread into your home. But silence stings and it lingers. It’s so much better to say something, anything, the wrong thing rather than nothing. Call and stick your foot in your mouth, I appreciate the effort. Email and tell me that you don’t know what to say but are thinking of me, I feel supported. Text “I’m sorry to hear of your divorce” or send an old-fashioned note or card in the mail offering words of regret, I thank you.

Unless you will never see each other ever again, hiding and waiting it out won’t work. Six months, one year, two years later, I had many run-ins with those who hid. Each a cringe worthy reunion filled with extra apologies to make up for the one “sorry” that never came. If you’ve known someone for 5, 10 15 years, if you’ve been in their home or see them often at yoga class or at school drop off, reach out. If you celebrated the beginning of the union don’t disappear when it crumbles, reach out. If your kids are friends or were on the same baseball team, if you’ve got a bunch of mutual friends and heard the news, if you’ve stood as bridesmaid or groomsman at the wedding, reach out.

You won’t regret saying something and those on the receiving end will always appreciate it no matter how fumbled the delivery.

Don’t Gossip

We all gossip, it’s bad, but especially so when someone has spilled secrets they’d never normally share-were they in their right mind. Ever run into a recently divorced friend or acquaintance and they blurt out something that leaves you thinking, “I can’t believe she just told me that.” Well, she didn’t mean to and when it dawns on her an hour later she’ll hang her head in shame. I equate the fog I was in immediately following my divorce with pregnancy brain. I just wasn’t all there. Past and current trauma, worries for my kids, combined with an uncertain future and a newfound freedom to speak overwhelmed and short wired my brain. Typically discreet and private with the details of my marriage as the ship went down, post divorce I often found myself blathering on about a situation I’d never normally discuss. Many a brunch with my girls involved my relationship as the main dish and much regret hours later as I rehashed our conversations. I still share, but now when I do it’s of sound mind and body. We should all keep what we’re told to ourselves, it’s hard and no one is perfect. But if someone is going through it and spills it, stick the heavy in your vault. Leave the gossip to the truly light, shallow and meaningless.

Include, Don’t Exclude

When you get divorced you lose your family unit, you lose time with your kids and you lose some friends along the way. Human connection can help ease the pain of this very lonely time so it’s unfortunate that becoming a single is the single best way to halt invitations. I know all about Noah’s Ark, two by two they went. I get it; pairs and even numbers are how it’s done. Adding a seat for one screws up your table setting and sets everything off kilter. What was once a fun night out or vacation with two couples sounds dreadful to your man who will be outnumbered in the absence of my ex. Make adjustments if that suits you, invite other couples to what used to be a party of four but as you include more don’t exclude your newly single friend. Holidays, tense for all can prove especially fraught in the land of divorce and shared custody. The first few years after my divorce I preferred to stay home in bed on those special days when my kids were with my ex. Traveling to my family to sit among everyone in their normal setting, when nothing in my life was normal, was more than I could handle. Luckily I had a friend locally invite me to her table. I accepted and while I am mostly back to my family gatherings I appreciated her invitation, one that still comes every year. 
Make sure the divorced in your group have somewhere to go on Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving, Christmas, Passover and the Fourth of July. Don’t forget your Labor Day Barbeque, Superbowl party and any other gathering in which you find yourself inviting a dozen of your crew. Feeling left out sucks and more so when you’ve just lost out on everything you built and planned for. I know it’s a pain-we were in your coupled file, now you have to move us to your single file and I’m asking that you keep us in the invitation file for both. I apologize for the extra paperwork but assure you on behalf of the divorced crew we appreciate your efforts.

Check In

There was a period of time after my divorce that I would wonder, what if something happens to me on a day my kids are with my ex and no one notices until a few days later when they come back and find me rotting on the stairs? My family is local and I’ve got a good group of friends but we’re all busy and consumed with our own lives and responsibilities. My response time to emails, texts and calls varies so there’s no reason anyone would worry if they hadn’t heard from me for a few days. Thus my recurring fear of rotting alone somewhere I had fallen and couldn’t get up. It’s obvious on February 14th to check in on a newly single friend. When your calendar reminds you of a friends anniversary the first year they’re divorced, that’s a clear prompt to call, text or email. It’s fairly likely on Valentines Day, anniversaries and birthdays that someone will offer up some attention to your friend that needs it. It’s the other 362 days a year that attention is sparse. Do what you can to regularly check in on that friend. Once a week say “hey,” if it’s a very close friend how about once a day? Not forever, just the first few critical months. After daily check ins as I settled into a new home, soon enough my bestie and I were back to our usual pattern of me calling and texting and her, taking her sweet, far too long in my opinion, time getting back to me.


Monday, 8 April 2019

What to Do About Deep Loneliness Post-Divorce

Three tools to push through the pain and get on the other side 

Melissa has been incredibly lonely since her husband moved out last December.

She called me after reading my newsletter talking about a retreat I was hosting. She told me she was thrilled to see an opportunity to meet other women in transition. Melissa was now in the middle of her
divorce and realized that she was still feeling very lonely.

After her split, it seemed like her friends mysteriously fell away and she found it hard to meet new people. This is something I hear a lot from the divorced population. Even today, well into the 21st Century. As far as our culture has come with accepting divorce as a reality, the social stigma is still alive and well. Couples or married individuals don't necessarily want to hang out with single or divorced folks.

For Melissa, this was definitely unexpected fallout from her breakup and it added an extra layer of pain and loss to an already painful situation.

Being a take-charge kind of person, Melissa attempted to remedy the social situation. She joined a gym, a book club and she even got a part-time job but none of these activities produced any lasting friendships. Everyone was either married (and didn't want to hang out with a single woman), much younger than she, or too busy. Another issue for Melissa is that she was longing for deep, meaningful relationships where she could talk about the pain of her
marriage ending as well as the challenge of starting life over at the age of 48. Her friends and family were very supportive to her for a couple of months but since March, they've all but stopped returning her calls.

Spending a weekend with other women who were wanting to take control of their destiny and give and get support around that sounded like the perfect remedy for Melissa.

It is this sense of isolation and marginalization that propelled me to start running groups back in 2000 and to hold more regular retreats. I have found these outlets to be not only magical ways to help participants find a way out of the marginalization, but it can be a powerful springboard into the next chapter of their lives.

If you have an opportunity to connect with other divorcing people in an intimate setting, I highly recommend it. There are more groups today than ever before but, unfortunately, not all of them provide deep connection among members. Drop-in groups or informational divorce classes just don't offer the same intimacy as the closed groups (those where members commit and return each session) where people can share more vulnerably and honestly.

There are also three important tools I've learned over the years that can help anyone get through divorce better and come out of that isolation.

1. Grieve until your
grief is over ~ Grief sucks. That's why most people want to be done with the emotional roller coaster far before the process is over. But the more you fight it, the more you actually prolong it. (And, by the way, getting into a new relationship will, at best, postpone your grief. You really can't escape it).

Be with your grief and it will actually pass quicker.

2. Don't stay stuck in the past for too long ~ Although you need to feel the sadness and perhaps even
anger as part of your grief, there's a point at which you will want to look at the road ahead rather than continuing to look in the rear view mirror. You have a right to all of your feelings but if you see everything through a divorce lens for years afterward, you won't go on to enjoy life.

There is life--even FABULOUS life--beyond divorce.

Keep moving.

3. Ask for help ~ This is one of the more important things you can
do to get past your pain and heartache.

Those who reach out for help ALWAYS land on their feet whereas those who try to go it alone, end up suffering much more and don't do nearly as well. Over the years, I've watched many great people connect with other great people in my groups or workshops and go on to form close friendships. Some even find movie partners or travel companions.

Connecting with others in a similar place has brought these divorcees
out of their isolation and into mainstream life again.

Find a new community.


Sunday, 7 April 2019

Divorce Recovery: Dealing with Jealousy

You know that moment. Some of us know it all too well during and after divorce. The moment when one of your grown children, after spending the weekend with your ex, tells you about the “new friend” who is at your ex’s house. Or when you hear about the trip your ex is taking to Europe while you’re struggling to make ends meet.

Ah, jealousy.

The Green Eyed Monster that consumes us, when what we should really be doing is focusing on our own divorce recovery.

You’re not alone when it comes to dealing with jealousy, especially after a divorce. And I have to share with you two very ugly truths about this emotion.

Jealousy is selfish.
Have you ever known someone in your life who was always “me me me” and never bothered to ask you about your day, or your hopes and dreams? Well, jealousy is like that person, because it’s a barrier that causes you to worry about something (your ex’s new life) that you have no control over.

And instead of focusing on yourself, jealously is there telling you, “Oh, look at their wonderful life! Oh, look at all the amazing things they’re doing!”

What benefit is there to focusing your energy on what the other person is doing? What benefit is there to thinking about how good your ex has it, when you feel like you were screwed over?

You already know the answer. Being jealous has no benefit. So why is it still something that we can’t seem to shake while trying to move on from divorce?

The truth hurts and you’re about to learn why.

Jealousy is also lazy.
You know what’s easier than working on yourself? Sitting there, stewing over about how much better your ex has it.

One of the many reasons that jealousy brings out the worst in us is because it diverts attention away from putting ourselves first. And instead of doing the hard work of focusing on how we can move on, jealousy leads us astray, by taking the easy road of being reactive about things beyond our control. And while you’re worrying about that, you waste precious time that could be spent focusing on the most important thing — YOU. It’s easier to say, “Oh, it should be ME taking that vacation instead of my ex”, rather than focusing on your own finances and schedule, so you can plan a vacation that fits your lifestyle and budget. It’s easier to say, “That jerk already has a new partner! It’s not fair!” than starting to take care of yourself, learning how to plan for your own future, and focusing on getting out of your rut and getting your life back on track.

See what I mean? Jealousy is sapping you of your energy to move on. It’s a lot easier to remain bitter over something you can’t control than it is to be responsible for your own happiness and moving ahead under your terms.

But I am jealous! So what am I supposed to do?!
I know, I know… you’re human and you may be hurting, especially if your marriage lasted decades. But there’s something you can do about it.

Exercise: Turn your jealousy into productivity.
The next time you’re feeling jealous about whatever your ex is doing, or anything going on in your life for that matter, do the following.

  • Pinpoint exactly what is making you jealous. These are your jealousy triggers.

“I heard from my son that his father is going to Europe in the fall with his new girlfriend, and I’m here having trouble paying rent. What the hell?”

  • Dig deeper. What is it exactly that you’re jealous of? List it, and be honest with yourself. Jealousy rarely has anything to do with the other person. It has everything to with what you’re doing and how you’re thinking about yourself. It is an emotion that has no power when you are being mindful and proactive with your own life.

“I am jealous because I am hurt. I feel hurt because we never did anything fun or adventurous or travel in our relationship and I feel left out. I am also jealous because, financially, I feel like I cannot treat myself.”

  • Ask yourself what you can do instead. How can you divert that energy you are spending being jealous into something actionable for you?

“My feelings are hurt and maybe I can’t fix that pain myself. The next time I am triggered, perhaps I can reach out to friends or family for support, or instead direct that energy into doing an activity that I like to do. As far as finances go… sure, I can’t go anywhere exotic right now. But I can start looking at my finances and budget, and maybe start planning a getaway or a nice trip for myself that is within my budget.”

How about you? Do you struggle with jealousy? And what actions can you take to overcome it?


Saturday, 6 April 2019

5 Tips for Dealing With Adversity

You lost your job. Your marriage isn't going well. Someone close to you passed away. Your finances are a mess. Whatever problem you're facing, there are ways to deal with it and come out feeling good about yourself.

1. Remind yourself of the good things

Grab a sheet of paper and a pen and write down ten things that are good about your life. Maybe you have a terrific network of friends, a supportive family, or a job you enjoy. Take the list and put it somewhere like the refrigerator or the bathroom mirror. Take some time each morning and evening to read over the list and be thankful for what you do have.

This exercise not only helps you remember that everything in your life isn't bad, it also helps you to practice being thankful. It's all too easy to fall into the trap of feeling sorry for ourselves when bad things happen. Taking time each day for gratitude will help keep things in perspective.

2. Can you fix it?

Sometimes, there are things you can do to fix, or at least start down the path to fixing, your problems. If your finances are horrible, then make an appointment with yourself to sit down and make a budget. If you're having trouble with a friend or partner, sit down with the person and make a real effort to patch things up.

Even if what you try doesn't pan out, the act of doing something will help to pull you out of your depression and start recovering. Also, you'll know that you did everything you could to solve the problem.

3. Accept that it's over

Depending on the situation, there may be nothing you can do to remedy it. If you lost your job, you're not likely to get it back. If a loved one passed away, you may be left with regrets for things you did, or didn't, say and do. Accept the situation for what it is, and know there's nothing more you can do about it.

While regret is a common emotion, it's also not very productive. Channel your energy instead into more positive pursuits, like remembering the good times you had or pursuing new goals.

4. Learn from your mistakes

If you approach a bad situation as a learning experience, then you can at least profit from it and turn it to your benefit. Did you lose a job? Think about what you might have done differently. Is your marriage struggling? Ask yourself how you might become a better spouse.

This is one of the most difficult tips to implement, because we have to consider that we might have been wrong. After the initial hurt wears off, it may be helpful to ask for a neutral party's advice. Perhaps a coworker can give you some feedback on your performance or you can talk to a friend about your relationships. Use the advice you get to improve your situation or do better next time.

5. Stay positive and move on

One of the best things you can do is to stay positive about yourself and your life. It's easy to fall into the trap of negativity when bad things happen, but try to keep your perspective. Losing your job doesn't mean your career is ruined. Having a marriage fail doesn't make you a bad person, or a bad spouse. Remember to focus on the positive and continue to set goals.

Having a goal to reach can be one of the best things you do for yourself. Working toward something positive will not only get your mind off the problems you have, you'll build self-confidence as you strive for something better.

Everyone makes mistakes, and everyone faces adversity. It's what you do about that adversity that defines who you are and where your life is going.


Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Is Divorce Bad for Children?

The breakup may be painful, but most kids adjust well over time

Many of the 1.5 million children in the U.S. whose parents divorce every year feel as if their worlds are falling apart. Divorcing parents are usually very concerned about the welfare of their children during this troublesome process. Some parents are so worried that they remain in unhappy marriages, believing it will protect their offspring from the trauma of divorce.

Yet parents who split have reasons for hope. Researchers have found that only a relatively small percentage of children experience serious problems in the wake of divorce or, later, as adults. In this column, we discuss these findings as well as factors that may protect children from the potentially harmful effects of divorce.

Rapid Recovery

Divorce affects most children in the short run, but research suggests that kids recover rapidly after the initial blow. In a 2002 study psychologist E. Mavis Hetherington of the University of Virginia and her then graduate student Anne Mitchell Elmore found that many children experience short-term negative effects from divorce, especially anxiety, anger, shock and disbelief. These reactions typically diminish or disappear by the end of the second year. Only a minority of kids suffer longer.

Most children of divorce also do well in the longer term. In a quantitative review of the literature in 2001, sociologist Paul R. Amato, then at Pennsylvania State University, examined the possible effects on children several years after a divorce. The studies compared children of married parents with those who experienced divorce at different ages. 
The investigators followed these kids into later childhood, adolescence or the teenage years, assessing their academic achievement, emotional and behavior problems, delinquency, self-concept and social relationships. On average, the studies found only very small differences on all these measures between children of divorced parents and those from intact families, suggesting that the vast majority of children endure divorce well.

Researchers have consistently found that high levels of parental conflict during and after a divorce are associated with poorer adjustment in children. The effects of conflict before the separation, however, may be the reverse in some cases. In a 1985 study Hetherington and her associates reported that some children who are exposed to high levels of marital discord prior to divorce adjust better than children who experience low levels. Apparently when marital conflict is muted, children are often unprepared when told about the upcoming divorce. They are surprised, perhaps even terrified, by the news. In addition, children from high-discord families may experience the divorce as a welcome relief from their parents' fighting.

Taken together, the findings suggest that only a small percentage of young people experience divorce-related problems. Even here the causes of these lingering difficulties remain uncertain. Some troubles may arise from conflict between Mom and Dad associated with the divorce. The stress of the situation can also cause the quality of parenting to suffer. Divorce frequently contributes to depression, anxiety or substance abuse in one or both parents and may bring about difficulties in balancing work and child rearing. These problems can impair a parent's ability to offer children stability and love when they are most in need.

Grown-up Concerns

The experience of divorce can also create problems that do not appear until the late teenage years or adulthood. In 2000 in a book entitled The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: A 25 Year Landmark Study, Judith Wallerstein, then at the University of California, Berkeley, and her colleagues present detailed case studies suggesting that most adults who were children of divorce experience serious problems such as depression and relationship issues.
Yet scientific research does not support the view that problems in adulthood are prevalent; it instead demonstrates that most children of divorce become well-adjusted adults. For example, in a 2002 book, For Better or For Worse: Divorce Reconsidered, Hetherington and her co-author, journalist John Kelly, describe a 25-year study in which Hetherington followed children of divorce and children of parents who stayed together. She found that 25 percent of the adults whose parents had divorced experienced serious social, emotional or psychological troubles compared with 10 percent of those whose parents remained together. These findings suggest that only 15 percent of adult children of divorce experience problems over and above those from stable families. No one knows whether this difference is caused by the divorce itself or by variables, such as poorer parenting, that often accompany a marriage's dissolution.[break]

In a review article in 2003, psychologists Joan B. Kelly of Corte Madera, Calif., and Robert E. Emery of the University of Virginia concluded that the relationships of adults whose parents' marriages failed do tend to be somewhat more problematic than those of children from stable homes. For instance, people whose parents split when they were young experience more difficulty forming and sustaining intimate relationships as young adults, greater dissatisfaction with their marriages, a higher divorce rate and poorer relationships with the noncustodial father compared with adults from sustained marriages. On all other measures, differences between the two groups were small.

Bouncing Back

Even though children of divorce generally do well, a number of factors can reduce the problems they might experience. Children fare better if parents can limit conflict associated with the divorce process or minimize the child's exposure to it. Further, children who live in the custody of at least one well-functioning parent do better than those whose primary parent is doing poorly. In the latter situation, the maladjusted parent should seek professional help or consider limiting his or her time with the child. Parents can also support their children during this difficult time by talking to them clearly about the divorce and its implications and answering their questions fully.

Other, more general facets of good parenting can also buffer against divorce-related difficulties in children. Parents should provide warmth and emotional support, and they should closely monitor their children's activities. They should also deliver discipline that is neither overly permissive nor overly strict. Other factors contributing to children's adjustment include post divorce economic stability and social support from peers and other adults, such as teachers.

In addition, certain characteristics of the child can influence his or her resilience. Children with an easygoing temperament tend to fare better. Coping styles also make a difference. For example, children who are good problem solvers and who seek social support are more resilient than those who rely on distraction and avoidance.

The good news is that although divorce is hard and often extremely painful for children, long-term harm is not inevitable. Most children bounce back and get through this difficult situation with few if any battle scars.


Monday, 1 April 2019

Divorce MMA: Release the Narcissist Hold on Your Life

It's time to get out of these nasty constraints and reclaim your life.

You’re divorcing a narcissist who, ironically, keeps claiming that you (the caring and loving one) only cares about themselves. And after years of psychological warfare, you feel strangled to near suffocation in your marriage.

It’s time to get out of these nasty constraints and reclaim your life.

It’s time to end the narcissist’s chokehold on your personality, happiness and decision making.

But it’s going to be hard. Studies have found that 8% of men and 5% of women have 

narcissistic personality disorder, so there’s a decent chance that your partner is a narcissist.
You can release their nasty hold on you by:

1. Realizing Narcissists Play Games

That’s right: narcissists play games with everyone, including the people that they say they love the most. Why? Well, just like Conor McGregor shows us in the UFC, people can get where they want by playing mind games.

Sure, Conor is throwing his opponent off their A-game with trash talking, but in a divorce, the rules change:

  • Motions will be filed time and time again
  • False accusations will be made
  • Personalities will change abruptly
The end game? Wearing you down to the point where you’ll do anything to end the marriage or end the divorce proceedings.

He or she may even call you a neglectful parent just to get in your head.

2. Refusing to Negotiate or Give In

There will be legal negotiations, and there may even be a little giving in to get the divorce settled, but when narcissists are at their best, they will pressure you into their manipulative grasp. The bad thing is that time is not on your side.

The longer the proceedings take place, the harder it will be to get loose.

  • You never want to:
  • Settle just to get it done
  • Expect good faith dealings
When facts and circumstances change, these individuals will continue stating their same position again and again. Turn these narcissists off using your lawyer as your only form of contact.

3. Letting Go of Emotions

I get it: you love your ex. You might still be in love with this person and hope that things change before it ruins your happy little family. The problem is that unless a person is willing to give it their all, we’re talking therapy and major life changes, there is no way that they’ll change.

You need to stop feeling all of these overwhelming emotions (easier said than done), and start thinking about your current situation.

The narcissist has prepared for the grand finale their entire lives.

They’ll put on a show that has never been seen before.

And they’ll play they leading role of:

  • Victim
  • Martyr

The goal of this performance? Well, making you out to be the horrible, low-life person that isn’t worthy of being loved. You’ll find this the hardest aspect of the divorce where you’ll need to let go of your emotions and block out the act.

You’ll be painted as a bad parent, or you may be painted as an unworthy person who can’t be loved.

Ignore it all and fight on.

Studies indicate that narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) has:

  • Doubled in the US in the last decade
  • May be common in the financial sector

Since there are no known causes of NPD, the best you can do is prepare for the fight of your life. Study NPD, work with a sensei (i.e. your lawyer) and find a game plan that ensures you release the chokehold your ex has on your life.

The moment you realize that the person, the man or woman that you loved so passionately, is never going to be wrong, listen to your feelings or even think about you, you’ll be able to surmount the divorce proceedings unscathed.