If you are in the midst of separation and divorce, you may be tempted to shout from the rooftops about the misdeeds of your ex. Since the village crier is less common, you can post your rants on Facebook, Twitter and maybe do a little live streaming on Periscope, right? Although very cathartic momentarily, it is absolutely not productive in the long-term. There are a few healthy ways to blow off steam but first, let's get you off that cliff of creating an online presence that may be entertaining for others but may haunt you for years to come. Here's why you should avoid social media negativity during separation and divorce:
1. The way you feel today may not be the same way you feel tomorrow. Sure, you can delete the post but, if you have lots of friends, they are likely to see it. And, more often than not, they will have cringed when they read it. You've surely experienced that sentiment on social media. Don't make that your issue. More importantly, if it falls into the hands of your ex, you may find your catharsis used against you, at the very least portraying you as someone with questionable judgment, at the same moment you are forced to negotiate with your ex. Social media clauses are popping up in all kinds of Divorce Agreements right now so don't give you ex cause to request one.
2. If you have children, your posts may injure them. Even if they aren't old enough to be on social media, it's likely they can "overhear" an adult, including your ex, discussing the post and painting you or the other parent in a negative light. It's important, whatever your legitimate grievances with your ex, that you not involve the children in the conflict. Studies repeatedly show that it is conflict that hurts kids in divorce and not the divorce itself.
3. Most importantly, how do you want to feel about yourself and how do you want to portray yourself to the larger community? If you think about people you admire and the qualities you exhibit when you are acting in line with those, you will likely see that a momentary spewing of strong emotion is not in line with whom you want to be going forward. Think first and post, well, maybe never.
What can you do to express yourself during an emotionally charged divorce?
1. Start a private journal. You can do it the old-fashioned way and pick up a book with blank pages at the local bookstore or create an anonymous journal online.
2. Although you do not want to exhaust friends and family, you will likely know one or two people who want to be your emotional support, even a crutch, during this time. Talk to them: vent, cry, rage and thank them afterwards for listening. Of course, if you find yourself unable to cope and feel unusually anxious or depressed, you should seek out a licensed therapist who has experience with divorce.
3. Another great resource is a divorce coach. In addition to helping you navigate the emotional storm with specific exercises to understand who you are, and who you want and can be. The coach can help you organize for the undertaking of divorce and save you money in the process. Although divorce may feel overwhelming, and perhaps unfair, the divorce coach will help you organize yourself in a way that makes you feel prepared. Divorce coaches are great referral sources for the types of legal, financial and therapeutic support professionals you may need. What better way to weather the storm than by preparing in all the important ways you need?
In sum, think carefully and post on social media only after you consider the consequences. With a thoughtful approach, you can likely be grateful one day that you exercised restraint. Imagine the great satisfaction you will have when you can post something funny or for which you are grateful again. Your friends and family will see the ways you have overcome adversity and likely have gained more respect for you. Most importantly, you will certainly know your new strength and be very proud of accomplishing more than you knew you could.