Having been a family law attorney for nearly three decades, I fully understand how extremely difficult it is to find a healthy balance, and a self-protective distance, from the disturbing and chaotic day-to-day details of navigating your way through the divorce process. I tell all my clients that the way to keep a level head during what is arguably one of life’s toughest transitions, is to pull back and take a more global look at all the goings on—separate each issue to keep a proper perspective.
That starts by letting go of many thoughts and feelings that are often non-productive and self-defeating, and that interfere with making prudent decisions.
The following are 5 sensible “let go” ways that will help you divorce yourself from your divorce, all of them geared to help you relinquish the negativity as you move forward in a more productive manner.
1. Let go of the obsessive ideas that seem to dominate your every thought cycle. Oft times when an individual is the “dumpee,” he or she can’t stop thinking about the humiliation, deep hurt resentment or frustration that permeates the mind. Obsessing over one single thought (like their partner having cheated on them with so and so) or scheming to unearth assets an ex is hiding (or other similar mental distractions) can be all-consuming. As a result, one searing thought feeds another. When you find that you are “drilling down” into one single thought (such as how angry you are that your ex is bedding down with a new lover), find a way out of that useless thinking. Instead, direct your thoughts elsewhere. For instance: Log on to an Internet news site; pick up that great book you’ve been meaning to read; flip on your flat screen and binge-watch that Amazon Prime episodic series you promised yourself you would get to; or focus deeply on the ingredients listed on the back of that breakfast cereal box in front of you at the kitchen table. Whatever you can do to shut down that obsessive run-amuck thought pattern, do it! Meditation is also a great go-to remedy, but let go before you close your eyes and concentrate on tranquil thoughts.
2. Let go of could have/should have/what if…. Acceptance is a great way to separate you from the tension of divorce. Pledge to focus only on finding ways to stand back and take a panoramic view of your entire situation. If, for a moment, you can see yourself as a fly on the wall simply observing the whole picture, you will have successfully disengaged yourself—at least temporarily—from the aggravating issues surrounding your divorce. Moreover, this time-out “detachment” approach will offer you a more healthy perspective when you take a fresh look at all the crazy developments connected to your divorce proceedings. Ultimately, this point of view allows you to discard the negatives you don’t need and focus in on what really deserves your attention. When you start to gravitate back toward those could have/ should have feelings, leave them behind and redirect your perspective of “what if?” as a positive mandate about the future. Think of the latter as a mantra to move you forward through the divorce negatives. For example, “what if”: you finally join that book club; sign up for a marathon run; make that movie; volunteer for a good cause; or finally get off your duff and start that new business venture you’ve been dreaming about. Any one of these undertakings will help you step outside your divorce “activities” and help you separate from your divorce.
3. Let go the need to control (everything): Allow your attorney, family therapist, forensic accountant, and other capable professionals you’ve recruited, to help you through your divorce, do their respective jobs. Only if you think they are faltering in their assigned tasks should you take back control (and find some other professional to take his/her place). The more you try to insert yourself in every aspect of your divorce, the closer you are to becoming mired down in the misery you just don’t need! Divorce is a process and accept the reality that is not going to be buttoned up overnight. There are always steps everyone goes through to get to the other side of it. If you turn over a reasonable amount of control of those you have put in charge, you are separating and distancing yourself from your divorce. The goal is always to remain calm and sensible because many of the divorce residuals are results you will have to live with for many years to come, especially if the two of you have small children.
4. Let go of the need for revenge: Though it is tempting to conjure up ways to get back at your ex, doing so keeps you fully embedded in your divorce—whether it is early on in the divorce process—or long after the final judgment has been entered. No one should be stuck in divorce-hell for an extended period of time. The idea is to get through this major life transition by ditching all negative thoughts and moving on to more productive schemes that better ensure your future. Let go of thoughts or continual plans to exact revenge against your ex. If not, the irony is that you will remain married to your divorce (and your ex, in a peculiar way) indefinitely. Is that what you really want?
5. Let go of the past: This will take time and discipline. And, this necessity is probably the hardest task of all for reaching the goal of divorcing yourself from your divorce. Passive longing—pining for your ex—can only prolong your divorce. If you’re one of those divorcees who simply can’t let go of the good memories; the wish to reunite that person who has already moved on, or if you remain in a state of unrealistic hope, get help. Curb those fantasies of him/her walking back through that door and replace them with dreams about you and the potential of fulfilling something even better in the way of an intimate relationship. Though I think a therapist can be most helpful in assisting you with tackling the complexities of this dilemma, I think an even better remedy is to join a support group whose members have encountered the same issue. It is often hard to let go for many people. Few divorces are amicable; most are fraught with conflict, which precents one or both from letting go of the past. Taking methodical steps to let go will allow you to sever your intense “relationship” with your divorce.