In our society adversarial divorces are the norm. We've come to expect them. The decision to divorce is usually a painful and difficult one. Feelings of sadness, loss, failure, loneliness, fear and anger are often inevitable when a marriage ends. However, when feelings morph into rage, bitterness, hostility and contempt they become toxic and destructive. Such animosity is emotionally expensive for everyone involved, including the children. Just as there are good and bad marriages, there are good and bad divorces.
In a bad divorce, divorcing/former spouses:
* inflict emotional pain onto their children through spoken and unspoken hostility and contempt toward one another.
* have children who are caught in loyalty conflicts.
* have children who don't maintain relationships with extended family members,
* are unskilled at co-parenting.
* engage in power struggles over custody and finances.
* feel and exhibit hostility and ill will toward the other.
* remain emotionally attached to each other through angry arguments, though will never admit it.
* carry negative feelings into future relationships and marriages.
In a good divorce, divorcing/former spouses:
* Share custody of the children and share in child-rearing responsibilities.
* Plan and solve problems together.
* Comfortably attend and participate in events involving their children.
* Are child-focused.
* Encourage their children toward a positive relationship with the other parent and his/her future partner.
* Maintain a friendly relationship.
* Work cooperatively toward a settlement agreement that each view as economically fair.
* Disengage from the marital relationship and the issues that led to its dissolution. They deal with unfinished business and are able to let go and move on.
* Are willing to use mediation and/or therapy in order to solve problems.
* Keep their word and agreements with each other.
* Take responsibly for their actions and responses.
In short, a good divorce leaves you and your children better able to adapt to your new lives. Your children will not become the collateral damage of your divorce, and you will move forward, unweighted by the burden of cumbersome, loaded baggage.
A good divorce requires intention, self-responsibility, communication skills and emotional flexibility. Let me help you. While a good mediator can help you with your settlement agreement* , I can help you navigate difficult emotional issues that could threaten your ability to cooperate, co-parent effectively, let go, heal and move forward. It's worth it to do this right. It may be the most important thing you ever do for your children and yourself.
* Please see my Resources Page for an excellent divorce mediation referral.
Take some time to contemplate your situation. If you feel that you would like to meet me and see if therapy might be helpful for you, I offer a free 50 minute consultation. That will give you a chance to meet me, ask questions and we can each get a sense of what it would be like to work together.
If you'd like to speak with me or make an appointment, please call at 707-792-2654.