It's almost Halloween; a time when children and adults face their fears. For those going through divorce, it can feel like Halloween all year long. It's a time to be scared. The difference is we don't have the benefit of great costumes to place a smile on our face and temper our fears as part of the divorce.
It's important to remember that not only are you scared, but so is your spouse. Your children are also very scared. With everyone at home feeling uncertain and scared, it's really hard to parent effectively and meet your responsibilities.
What to do? First, give yourself a break. Accept that you are not functioning at peak capacity. Compensate by taking care of yourself. See your therapist. Don't let anyone tell you that working with a therapist is a sign of weakness or an admission that you are crazy. It's smart. Do other things that soothe you. Get a massage. See a movie. Spend time with a friend. Play with your children.
Next give your spouse a break. Acknowledge that he/she is not operating at his/her best right now. Try not to let their minor lapses in judgment get under your skin. They too are grieving the loss of your marriage. Encourage them to take care of themselves, too. If you are not able to separate soon, consider having you both go to a therapist for some communications counseling incident to divorce.
Finally, pay extra attention to your children. They have not yet developed many of the coping skills that adults have. Reassure them that it is not their fault. Let them know that you parents will always love them. Maybe the parents have fallen out of love with each other, but you won't fall out of love with them. Make the children available to your spouse. Make yourself available to them. Set aside fun times with the children. It will cheer you and reassure them.
Work with experienced professionals who can effectively guide you.
Have hope. This is a very difficult time for everyone. My clients reassure me that their lives become better after the divorce. Healing takes patience, self-assurance, understanding and love. You will always be a family. You just will not be living together.