Tune In to Your Internal Station
It’s natural to have a whole bundle of tangled feelings and thoughts about the divorce and leading up to the divorce. Therapy can be one of your best bets in terms of making time and space for yourself and the myriad of thoughts and feelings that are coming in. Listening in on your internal dialogue, having a place to unpack and unfold what is happening inside yields tremendous results for our well-being.
There are many online resources and apps that connect you with therapists quickly and affordably. BetterHelp Therapy is an app that advertises professional and affordable counseling; Talkspace Therapy and Counseling is an app that offers convenient and affordable stress support.
At times like these we may temporarily dip into anxiety or depression and would be able to access mental health providers through insurance. In this setting as well, you would have a place to process the knot of painful experiences, feelings and thoughts leading up to and in the divorce process.
A Divorce Coach can also provide the time and space for bringing priorities into focus, digesting all the changes and managing the stress inherent in this transition from one house to two.
In this way, you can process all your big reactions, feelings, and thoughts OUTSIDE of texts, emails, calls, conversations with your ex-partner. And, very far from the little ears (or big ears!) of your children. You have a lot of pent-up anger, sadness, or both (and for good reason). Unleashing it in response to your ex’s angry text is counterproductive—most likely you will both end up even more upset!
Surround Yourself with Collaborative Divorce Pros
Surround yourself with legal and financial professionals trained in conflict resolution and negotiation. These professionals will have the tools to bring down the temperature between you and your spouse rather than douse the fires with gasoline. Not only can these professionals understand your needs and advocate for you, but they can also help you find paths forward that meet those needs and retain respectful communication with your ex-spouse.
It’s natural to feel scared about what is going to happen with your house, income, debt, and kids. Your collaborative professional will have a deep understanding of this and be able to move forward in a way that keeps interests central and conflict low.
How do you know who is collaborative attorney, mediator, or financial expert? One standard is their membership in the International Association of Collaborative Professionals (IACP), an organization being considered for a Nobel Peace Prize. Another standard is their membership in Collaborative Practice California.
Be: Brief, Informative, Friendly, Firm when you respond (or even if you are initiating and you know it’s a hot topic).
Try implementing BIFF with your ex-spouse when you feel the most irritated, offended, exasperated, ignored, furious, crushed.
Bill Eddy is a nationally recognized figure in high conflict divorce. He came up with this simple intervention to bring down conflict when the divorce fires are running hot, when you get that text that pushes you over the edge, the email you’ve been dreading, the phone call that sends you through the roof. It turns out that keeping it simple at these times works.
Bill Eddy has written several books that have detailed examples of this method to bring down conflict.
Be the Turtle (Not the Hare)
It turns out that slowing down is more useful to us when we are in a heightened state (when our heart rate goes up, our palms sweat, there’s a tightening in our jaws or tummy, we feel a weight on our chest, a rock in our gut).
Slowing down may look like taking a walk around the block, counting backwards from 15 or breathing exercises. In essence, you want to find ways that help your body get back to a comfortable state. There are several somatic exercises that help us physically calm our nervous system.
When your mind and body has slowed down, you may notice that a response isn’t necessary. You may notice the other person is triggered or venting and you don’t need to respond.
Certainly, slowed down, you will be in a better state to make a BIFF reply, to make a sound decision about whether to replay and, most importantly, you are taking good care of yourself by keeping conflict down.