Getting a divorced is very anxiety provoking. There is usually uncertainty about the future. In addition, there is lots of fear. For example;
- Fear of financial hardship.
- Fear of being shamed in front of your community,
- Fear of losing contact with your children, your extended family, friends
- Fear of being blamed for wrongdoing
- Fear of being alone
These uncertainties and fears often keep people in marriages that have long since deteriorated and are really toxic. So, when one party to the marriage decides to end it, generally, the communication between the parties has also broken down. The lack of effective communication augments the fears that each feels. This can provoke a great deal of anxiety.
If you have been following this blog, you know that the cost of the divorce is directly related to the level of acrimony in the divorce. The greater the anxiety; generally the greater the acrimony and the greater the cost.
How do you control your anxiety?
- Get educated regarding the divorce process. There are many misconceptions about divorce. Don't rely on your friend's, relative's or co-worker's legal advice. Ask your lawyer or read books about divorce written by reputable professionals (your lawyer may have a library where you can borrow good books), read your lawyer's blog or information on the lawyer's website. If your lawyer doesn't provide such resources, surf the net. There are good resources out there.
- Work with a therapist. Divorce is a process. At the beginning, you are probably inclined just get it over with. However, there are many aspects to the divorce; financial, familial, social, emotional, community. Take the time to review how you got to the place you are, how to work with it and how to make it better. Get to a place where you have hope that life will be better.
- If your mental health professional recommends it, get medications. You don't need to stay on the meds for a long time. However, if the divorce related anxiety is interfering with your work or relationship with your children and other important members of your family/social network, then be open to taking medication for a time. Follow directions and check in with the professional who prescribed the meds to be certain they are working well.
- Take a personal inventory of what is really important to you. Keep contact with the most important people in your life; your children, your family, your spouse's family, supportive friends. Don't give up activities that you enjoy. The most important thing is don't wall yourself off from people or enjoyable activities.
- Resist engaging your spouse in tit for tat behavior. If your spouse is very accusatory of you and you feel it is unwarranted, then act like a duck caught in the rain; allow the water to roll off you back.
- Use alternative dispute resolution methods for resolving your divorce; mediation and collaborative practice. These methods and the professionals who will help you will give you a sense of having control. They will also promote civilized behavior between your spouse and you. Most importantly, they will encourage you to focus on caring for your children and promoting a future relationship with your spouse where you can work together on wrapping up your divorce.
- Take care of yourself. This may be the time to start new methods of caring for yourself or return to methods that you have neglected; exercise, yoga, meditation and other methods of relaxing and staying healthy and focused.
- Most importantly, keep sight of the fact that you are a good person. Sometimes relationships become toxic, but you continue to matter individually.
- Be patient. Allow the process to work. The person you are at the beginning of your divorce will not be the same person you are four or six months later. You will see the world very differently later in the process. You will make different decisions (usually better decisions) later in the process. Give yourself time to heal, figure things out and build hope.
Don't allow anxiety to derail you from achieving a successful divorce.