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Global Guide to Divorce

Jack Jack the Cat

Well-being

Playing the Victim in Divorce

Many people go through divorce playing the role of the victim and are oblivious to their part in the end of the marriage. Casting oneself as the victim in this drama is putting the blame onto their spouse. Blaming their spouse for what went wrong relieves them of any responsibility for a failed marriage. These people may go through life being the victim in other settings, such as on the job. One older man blamed his two ex-wives for his divorces and reduced finances. He was bitter and said his life was miserable because of them, even years after they had left him. A former friend of mine kept talking about her divorce and how she was wronged by her spouse. It was all his fault. On the job her boss supposedly was out to get her and she claimed to be the victim of co-workers’ jealousy. This got old and we eventually parted ways.

Some seem to be comfortable in the role of victim and derive satisfaction from it. They may take centre stage when telling tales of their divorce. It is like they are a leaf on the water, floating wherever the river takes them. This fatalistic view has them drifting along and not exerting energy to make changes. Getting out of victim mentality requires introspection and a willingness to see both sides of issues. Feeling like a victim can impact divorce proceedings. The situation will not be viewed realistically and the person may too passive. They may not be receptive to a fair distribution of assets if they interpret the divorce is 100% the other spouse’s doing.

What some solicitors and mediators do in this circumstance is mandate both spouses have at least one session with a life or divorce coach. The victim can have a reality check and get help with viewing the divorce from a different perspective. The spouse being blamed can get some support and strategies to deal with their soon to be ex.

Empowerment is the opposite of being a victim.

This is taking control of one’s life and doing the necessary actions to stay on course. Knowledge is a part of empowerment, whether it is learning about divorce law or emotionally supporting oneself. It is taking an active role in the divorce process and seeking advice on the most advantageous spit of assets. Empowerment is taking classes to keep current in one’s career for better financial footing post-divorce. Empowerment is discovering strengths and talents in order to feel good and be fulfilled.

Avoid feeling like a victim by taking responsibility for your life. This is taking charge of yourself. When a person admits their mistakes, they learn from them and can move one. Get out of childhood patterns of behaviour such as feeling you are a victim with the world out to get you. Break free from the past to ensure healthy relationships in the present. You are in the driver’s seat for your life, and not a passenger going along for the ride. If repeating old ways of interactions, consider seeking professional guidance to learn how to communicate more effectively.

Does feeling like a victim bring happiness? No. It is vacillating between being helpless and angry. The victim mentality can lead to depression when one feels powerless.

Please read more  www.thedivorcemagazine.co.uk/victim-in-divorce/

 

How to be Empowered in Divorce

Being empowered in divorce is the opposite from viewing oneself as a victim. It is the difference from being in a place of strength to feeling out of control during and post-divorce. Assess what you can control and what is out of your hands. You may be surprised that you really do have more input in your proceedings and can take a more active role. Speak to your solicitor or mediator about what you want to get out of the divorce, preferably also in writing for their future reference. I know a few acquaintances that felt helpless and just went with the flow, instead of being assertive. They are kicking themselves now post-divorce.

Empower yourself with knowledge. A great site that answers many divorce questions is www.gov.uk and gives a glimpse of what to expect. Look up on calculate-your-child-maintenance the calculator which indicates what to expect for child maintenance in your situation. In the US, each state has an online calculator to get an idea of what alimony or child support may be in your situation. Knowing what to anticipate ahead of time lets you think about Plan B. If you will be the receiver, and the amount seems too low, have a list ready of what else could be thrown in – sports, camp fees or other activities to be included as child support. If you are the payer, offer more in spousal maintenance which is a tax break for you, and less in child maintenance, which is not. Being empowered is having an idea what you are up against in divorce and forming plans on how to deal with it.

One fellow who survived an acrimonious divorce suggests having a “victory garden.” Grow some vegetables – even in containers- to show the children that you are self-sufficient. Putting food on the table that you grew is another way to feel empowered. The added bonus is nurturing living things takes the focus off your problems and on to what is thriving in your care.

Uncertain financial footing can put someone in a tail spin.  One woman took her personal items, engagement ring, and family heirlooms to a business who sells goods online. She did this after her husband walked out and before she had hired a solicitor. She felt empowered going into the divorce, since cash would be coming soon.

Some solicitors advise their clients to get a job during divorce so that they feel more in control. Not only does this boost their self-esteem, but enables them to feel more secure during the proceedings when they know they have earning power. Think about what your talents are and in what areas you excel.  Please read more…  www.thedivorcemagazine.co.uk/empowerment-in-divorce/

Dealing with Past Regrets

It is easy to fall into the trap of living in regrets. One may regret the distribution of assets in divorce. Another cannot seem to get through a week without saying, “If only I had…” My two sons are pragmatic, and calmly state, “Well that’s in the past – get over it!” when I rue that I did not buy a lifetime pass to United’s Red Carpet Lounge. I did not realize that it was a one-time opportunity, and I had put it off. When asking people about any regrets, the overwhelming answer was what that they regret what they did not do, rather than what they did. It was actions or possibilities not taken, not what they did or had said. Lucille Ball of “I Love Lucy” stated, “I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things that I haven’t done.”

I used to be a trauma nurse in a busy surgical intensive care unit. Some patients who felt death was knocking on the door were willing to talk about their past. All were calm and ready to go, but had a common theme about their lives. The universal comment was letting opportunities pass them by or being too afraid to take chances. It was not about what they had done (with the exception of working too many hours and missing out on family life), but instead what they hadn’t done. That regret shaped my attitude of spending as much time possible with my sons. A regret can be a wake-up call that something needs to be changed. It can be a positive stimulus to make an adjustment in your life, such as embarking on a new career path that holds more meaning and passion for you. If you are regretting some life choices, then let this propel you in a new direction. My mother’s only regrets on her deathbed were not getting to Provence, and procrastinating on taking a desired tour to Turkey. That regret pushed me into taking my sons to far flung places so I would not have her same disappointment down the road. I am not putting off travel, and instead am ticking off places from my Bucket List.  – See more at: www.divorcemag.com/blog/regrets-in-divorce-and-life#sthash.OxeBUzrp.dpuf

Get Rid of Guilt in Divorce and Life

We may live in guilt for what we did or did not do while still married. We might think we could have tried harder to salvage the marriage or feel guilt over not putting it out of its misery earlier. Let the feeling of guilt be a wakeup call that something needs to be changed and use it as an indicator to embark on another course of action. One cannot go back into the past like Dr Who, so being stuck in guilt is a blockade to having a fulfilling life now.

One young man is an example of this and feels guilty that he did not try harder and undergo marital counselling before calling it quits. Guilt is holding him back from committing to his new partner. On a positive note, guilt is pushing him into having a strong relationship with his former spouse as a co-parent. His two children are reaping the benefits of having two parents on the same team.

Sometimes guilt is dumped upon someone although it is their choice whether or not to accept it. Several women said their husbands married them mainly for their looks. After a baby or two, they gained weight and a few wrinkles. At first they felt guilty when spouses insinuated that they were breaking a deal (to look good). After their divorces, they are comfortable with their bodies and increased their self-esteem.

During my hypnotherapy training, our New Age instructor said that the Catholics got it right regarding guilt. They make mistakes (sins), report them (confess) and do reparations (say a Hail Mary or two). They wipe the slate clean and go on their way. He challenged us to come up with our own rituals to banish guilt. First acknowledge its presence and determine what it is telling us. Perhaps we are chronically snapping at the kids or have been ignoring elderly family members. Make amends. Apologize to the youngsters and explain that you are feeling overwhelmed. Then add some fun activities into your schedule with them. Visit or at least call relatives who may be feeling left out of your busy life.

Whatever is troubling you, face it, deal with it and move on. The secret is not to wallow in guilt but view it as a messenger to approach life or people in a different way. Someone may be punishing themselves over guilt when other people did not feel that they were mistreated at all. We can be hard on ourselves and our worst enemy. One friend felt guilty that she did not spend more time with her mother before her death from breast cancer. She was caught up in her wedding plans which her mother understood, and was fine with the situation. My friend was able to let go of this guilt by becoming a mostly stay-at-home mum, cherishing family togetherness.

If you have chronic guilt, consider discussing this with someone. When I am on a guilt trip, my friends set me straight and I readjust my outlook. Guilt keeps one partly living in the past, so apologize, make extra donations to charity, anything to release guilt and move on.

Originally published in The Divorce Magazine  thedivorcemagazine.co.uk

 

 

 

 

Lowering Stress Post-Divorce for Optimal Well-Being

When we are stressed, the hypothalamus activates the sympathetic nervous system and the adrenal-cortical system (via bloodstream) to produce the fight or flight response. The problem is when we stay in this state, it wreaks havoc with the body’s functioning. Being chronically on red alert affects the immune system, decreasing white blood cells and making us more susceptible to colds and the flu. High cortisol (stress hormone) levels raise the heart rate, blood pressure and the probability of insomnia.

  1. Holy Basil is an ayurvedic medicine from India which has been around for over a millennium and lowers cortisol. It has helped my friends and I feel more balanced using it. Another great resource is Bach’s Flower Remedies which have been around since the 1930’s. They have homeopathic medicine for very specific anxieties. For example, Walnut is for those facing a change in their life, such as divorce or a new job. I use White Chestnut before I go to bed for a more tranquil rest. It is used for stopping persistent thoughts in one’s mind, which can be a problem post-divorce. Their Rescue Remedy is for an acute situation and I use it to stabilize one woman in a panic attack so she could get out of the building and be taken to urgent care. Bach’s Sleep Rescue Remedy is fabulous to use when one wakes up in the middle of the night or to get to sleep. I keep a bottle in my nightstand to squirt in my mouth.
  2. Consider adding supplements to your regime. Omega 3 helps to keep a steady heart rhythm and maintain flexibility with blood vessels. Stress depletes B Vitamins, which are crucial for the immune system, so it is beneficial to take these post-divorce. Up your intake of protein and green vegetables. If cooking is too overwhelming, get healthy take away food from a natural grocer’s café.

To read more:  http://divorcedmoms.com/articles/anxiety-postdivorce-6-natural-ways-to-combat-stress

How to Keep Your Sanity When Getting Divorced

There are ways to get through the divorce process in an easier manner. Allow yourself to fully feel and express your emotions. Keeping a “stiff upper lip” or bottling up angry feelings prolongs getting over an issue or risks an explosion in the courtroom.  I would scream in the car when driving on an isolated stretch of road, saying what was happening was not fair. I was quite calm when arriving home afterwards. One divorcing person stated: “Honestly, in my darkest moments, the only thing that helps me is laying on the floor in front of my altar and allowing myself to cry for as long as I need to.  In these times, the pain is so intense that I can barely move.  And because I’m in that state, I am able surrender to it (because there is nothing else I can do!) and surrender to God…knowing that eventually the pain will shift.  And knowing (reminding myself) that the pain will shift, helps me tremendously.  Every single time I think “this pain is too great…I cannot survive….” I am proven wrong.  It DOES shift.  The waves of emotion come and go.  Knowing that has helped me every single day!”

Shari’s husband had an affair which led to their divorce and has this advice: “Consciously breathing into my heart helps me tremendously. It’s about going into the feeling/emotion and sticking with it….knowing that only I can shift it, only I can ultimately heal myself.  Being willing…not looking to the outside…recognizing that LOVE is always there deep inside me.  Imagining my teacher, Amma, holding me is soothing.  (My real mother did not do this for me).  Using the imagination and visualization process helps me feel the deep LOVE that is ultimately me.  (I can go into fear quite easily but visualizing being in Amma’s arms helps me align with LOVE instead).”  Centering herself with deep breathing now helps Shari face whatever is in her path.

– See more at: www.divorcemag.com/blog/ways-to-get-through-divorce-with-sanity-intact#sthash.gdCkCuTG.AXL91fA9.dpuf

 

 

 

 

Practicing Gratitude during Divorce

Practicing gratitude during divorce may seem as much of a dichotomy as an elephant riding a bike. Various studies validate the link between keeping a gratitude journal which results in the outcome of increasing joy, enthusiasm and the feeling that life was getting better. These individuals were more apt to reach out to others and willing to offer support. These are all actions which will enable divorce to be an easier experience.

In a study done at university of California, subjects either kept a gratitude journal or wrote about problems or neutral subjects weekly. At the end of the study, those in the gratitude group achieved their goals quicker and scored higher in feeling more positive about their lives. Psychologists Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough are in the forefront of doing research in the field of gratitude and find that those who practice it, have an increase in their amount of exercise and are more optimistic about what is happening that week. Medical research looks at an EKG as one tool in determining the effects of gratitude on the heart. These studies are indicating that practicing gratitude has a positive effect on the parasympathetic nervous system which regulates heart rate, rhythm, blood pressure, and other body functions. Thoughts influence body functions. Happy thoughts (like gratitude) increase endorphins (the feel good neurotransmitters) and angry ones cause constriction of blood vessels, leading to cardiac disease.

Energy goes where your thoughts are, and if your focus is on misery, then that is what you’ll experience.  Just as weight training enlarges muscles, gratitude is a way of training yourself to notice the good things that are happening around you.

– See more at: www.divorcemag.com/blog/gratitude-during-divorce#sthash.tyvwXPFy.c054U9OX.dpuf

 

Importance of Sleep in Divorce and Life

Sleep is crucial in divorce to ensure that information is retained and appropriate decisions are made that can affect the rest of one’s life.  Both the Slow Wave sleep of Delta and REM are required for optimal processing of material taken in and new skills that are learned. There are three parts to memory formation and these are Acquisition where new material is obtained, and Consolidation when memory is stabilized in the brain. During sleep the neural connections that form memory are strengthened and this stage is called Recall. The hippocampus is the region of the brain that goes over the events of the day. When there is poor quality of sleep, Researchers at University of Berkeley found that memories do not travel from the hippocampus to the prefrontal cortex, where long-term information and memories are stored. Not retaining information can impact divorce hearings or cause complications post-divorce if a client feels that he never received important facts.

In Delta sleep, the growth hormone is released and is the stage that consolidates new memories and learning. Cell growth and repair of cellular damage occurs in Slow Wave sleep. Too little Slow Wave Sleep can cause weight gain, increases the risk of pre-diabetes, and affects the functioning of the immune system. Not having enough deep sleep can affect a divorcing person’s health.

In the REM stage of sleep, it is as if a secretary is going through memory files and sending less important ones to the archives. New research indicates that REM increases activity in the right hemisphere of the brain which is linked to creativity. Some inventors, such as Thomas Edison, have gotten ideas and answers in their dreams.

Insomnia decreases the ability to focus and take in facts. Various studies indicate poor quality of sleep hinders being able to recall facts. Irritability and poor judgement can occur when a person is sleep deprived. If a person is getting out of control, it may not be entirely due to stress, but also because of lack of sleep. Here are some tips to try:

Bright light can hinder the release of melatonin, so do not use the computer for at least one half hour before bedtime. Exercise earlier in the day and develop a bedtime routine to wind down and relax. Listening to a relaxation CD can help. Sleep in a cool, dark room and recharge cell phones and other devices in another room. Write in a journal or jot down future tasks on a to-do-list to deal with a later time. Please read more:    blogsondivorce.com/importance-of-sleep-in-divorce/

Published in Divorce Magazine

Importance of Sleep in Divorce

Mindfulness in Divorce

A way to keep one’s sanity in the divorce process is by practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness is mainstream and not in the sole domain of gurus. It not a New Age thing, but has been done for over a millennium, especially in Buddhism. Mindfulness is about being focused on the happy activity you are doing with the kids and casting worries aside. It is experiencing and being fully in the moment, whether strolling the cobbled stone streets of Tuscany or baking brownies with a child.  Mindfulness is being engaged in an endeavor without being on autopilot because your thoughts are elsewhere.

Mindfulness is useful in divorce. When concentrating on the divorce session, one is able to take in the information, process it, and make rational decisions. Being immersed in the present lessens fear based reactions of when one’s mind is drifting into worst case scenarios.  Staying focused in the moment allows one to clarify confusing points, ask pertinent questions and not make decisions in haste. This is keeping the mind from being scattered. When thoughts are veering off into many directions it is easier to miss some key points in the proceedings.

Mindfulness is looking at the here and now and not dwelling in the past which cannot be changed. The what ifs, such as “What if I had only…..” is detrimental and not going to alter your current circumstance. Mentally living in the distant future also causes one to miss out on life now. When I was in a toxic marriage, I was dreaming about being on my own after my last child graduated from high school. Instead of doing something about my marriage (fix it or divorce sooner), I was not fully present, enjoying every moment of my sons’ childhoods. It is fine to have goals and direction, but not to be on a permanent vacation from what is happening today.

Mindfulness in Divorce

Balancing Work and Family Life as a Single Parent

It is possible to keep one’s sanity and sense of humor, yet still be a single parent in the workforce. The trick is to be extra organized and do as much as possible when the kids are with the co-parent. It is challenging stepping back into a career when being a stay-at-home mom, or changing to full-time. These tips make life a bit easier.

  1. Work more during visitation. I went to my father’s every other weekend and my nurse mother worked at a hospital during that time. She also picked up extra shifts for the two weeks that I was on vacation with my father and at camp. Another woman worked 8-3 without a formal lunch break. She then went into the office for five hours every Saturday while the kids were at visitation. Since the office was closed, it was peaceful enabling her to get ahead with work. See if you can build flexibility into your job. A dad might work extra on the weekend that he is not with the kids.
  2. Make a huge quantity of lasagne or another dish, and freeze single portions (your work lunches) and family size ones. When you are tired – reheat with a prepared salad. Do a cooking marathon when the kids are at visitation. I buy organic, but yummy prepared meals to give to hungry fellows in a hurry. My sons like Trader Joe’s pot pies and their frozen meat which is quick to cook.
  3. Team up with other single parents to have potlucks or share some tasks. Three moms decided to rotate cooking evening meals, each doing one night a week. One cooks enough for the other two families and packs up the complete meals into containers. They are delivered to those houses nearby and for the next two evenings, she is off the hook for providing dinner. These three have been doing this arrangement for years and treasure those blissful cooking-free nights.
  4. Nurture yourself. If you are frazzled, then you are less able to give your full attention to the kids. Pop in for a pedicure or an occasional facial. Indulge in high end, but low cost organic plant based skin care, such as Boot’s Botanic line. My skin is smooth and I feel heavenly. Sitting on the couch reading a magazine with a cat on my lap is so relaxing. Do what rejuvenates you. Some divorced dads got back into sports and enjoy the camaraderie as well as increasing physical well-being.    Please read more …  divorcedmoms.com/articles/balancing-single-parenting-and-work-10-tips-for-the-overwhelmed

Anger Keeps You Attached to your Ex

Anger is another way to keep you attached to your ex after divorce. Here are reasons to sever the anger tie that keeps you bound to your ex.

1. Anger can shrink rather than expand your social network. One divorced woman I know was perpetually angry with her ex and his truly awful family. Instead of being pleased that she got out of that mess, got her Master’s degree, and an exciting job, Penny kept harping on her ex. She endlessly kept going back to that subject, even though her friends lost patience eons ago. She drove pals away when they responded “enough is enough” and Penny refused to listen. Anger can turn a friendship from give and take to just being a sounding board for someone’s misery.

2.  Anger is energy that is spent thinking about your ex or plotting various ways of his demise. It may be a two way street with your anger fuelling his, with retaliation. Anger robs people of time and energy that can be used in a more constructive manner. If you are neutral about someone, such as a co-worker or neighbor, there is no specific tie to them. You interact with them, but then go on you merry way about your own business. Anger is a strong emotion – no take it or leave it attitude. Do you really want this attachment to your ex?

3. Anger builds a wall around people. it is like wearing a “No Trespassing” sign around your neck – stay away. One woman who was bitter post-divorce would yell at her daughter over trivial things. Anger towards her ex splashed over into most areas of her life. The girl did not have much of a relationship with her mother until after college when they were more like friends. Be careful that anger is not endangering your relationships with your children and friends.

Please read more… divorcedmoms.com/articles/5-reasons-anger-keeps-you-attached-to-your-ex

Ways to Boost Your Self-Esteem After Divorce

One’s self-esteem can take a beating during marriage, particularly if wed to a spouse with a personality disorder. Some may find it difficult to trust again or not feel confident about decisions. Without a higher self-esteem as a buffer, we feel life’s hurts more acutely. First recognize that your self-esteem has dipped and seek ways to get back on course. Tips on boosting one’s self-esteem:

  1. Surround yourself with supportive and nurturing friends. This is not the time to deal with competitive or catty acquaintances. Take a break from people who are not your cheerleaders. If you have a few negative relatives who find fault, take a breather from them. Just say, ‘’I have a lot on my plate and will get back to you when my life is calmer.’’ You are not pointing a finger at anyone’s meanness, just stepping back to regroup and feel better about yourself.
  2. The key to boosting self-esteem is to follow your strengths to success. Kick-start your self-esteem by perfecting a talent. Karri had an acrimonious divorce and her self-esteem had plummeted. She had enjoyed dabbling in painting as a youngster and decided to give it a go again. Now her paintings hang in galleries across her state and she has a line of cards showcasing her artwork. I felt devalued during my marriage and put aside my love of writing. Post-divorce, my book got published and I am thrilled with my new career. Write down your strengths and talents. If you feel stuck, get some honest feedback from friends who will help get you thinking in a new direction. A life coach can be invaluable in exploring this area with you.
  3. Push yourself to accomplish new endeavors. This may be training and completing a marathon, or joining a choir. When self-esteem is low, doing something one did not think was possible gives a sense of achievement. Reaching new goals amps up a low self-esteem. Connie was divorced and decided to get out of her comfort zone and do a jungle trek through the interior of Bali. She was renewed and since then has completed more challenging physical feats. Other women have opted to take part in charity treks and bike rides globally to raise funds for various charities. The camaraderie and life changing experiences have increased their self-worth and esteem post-divorce. divorcedmoms.com/articles/7-simple-ways-to-boost-your-selfesteem-after-divorce