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5 Divorce Screw-Ups to Avoid

5 Divorce Screw-Ups to Avoid

Although feeling overwhelmed and confused during divorce is normal, remember to avoid the egregious divorce mistakes. It will save you time, money, and your sanity so that you can move on to the next chapter of your life better, not broken or bitter.

1. Not looking at the big picture

One of the reasons why divorce feels horrible is because you probably weren’t taught how to plan ahead in divorce. It’s funny, isn’t it? Guidance counselors and academic advisers in school harped on planning and envisioning our future, while financial advisors preach about planning for retirement. But why, during divorce, don’t you apply those same principles?

Instead of asking yourself, “What’s the game plan? Where do I want to be in a year with this divorce and how can I get there?” and then reverse-engineering. Most people just stumble through the days and months, allowing events to unfold and then reacting to them. It’s no wonder why you feel helpless and that your life have spun out of control.

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Planning where you want to be with the divorce six months from now and a year from now, and then then putting the steps in to get there, has bigger dividends than struggling to make it through the day and merely reacting to events as they unfold. This method can also help plan for contingencies and worst-case scenarios so you don’t freak out if things get ugly.

2. Making decisions based on emotion rather than logic

When you strip away the grief, heartache, anxiety, and overwhelmed feeling, divorce is a business transaction: dividing assets and debts and then continuing your life as an individual. That’s not said to minimize the relationship you and your spouse had together, but it’s absolutely critical to shelf those thoughts and memories when dealing with the business transactions of divorce.

Your head understands, but the part of you that is heartbroken and angry may spend months fighting over things that have nothing to do with business. It’s understandable: we make decisions based on emotions because we are hurting. And the only way you know how to deal with those emotions is by projecting that pain onto our business decisions. We fight and emotionally overreact because we think we will “win,” the divorce. This tit-for-tat can go on for months and years, which only prolongs the stress and ensures a future of bitterness.

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Nobody wins in divorce, and you must make your decisions from a clear-headed and rational place. Otherwise, you will find yourself robbed of time, money, and emotional energy—assets that are put to better use in your post-divorce life.

3. Letting other decide for you

When you’re going through a messy divorce that has a million moving parts to it, it can be easy to say, “You know what?!?! I’m just going to let my lawyer figure it out for me.” Or, if we have a particular problem, you may throw a question out on a group forum, and listen to the advice of other contributors, basing your decision on strangers.

There is nothing wrong with educating yourself or asking for advice. But remember that ultimately, this is your life and your future. It is your right and your responsibility to make divorce decisions for yourself. Sure, you can have people advise you—divorce professionals working for you is never a bad thing. But remember, at the end of the day it is you who has to live with the divorce decisions that are made—shouldn’t you be the one making them?

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4. Not Educating Yourself

Do you remember those cheesy public service announcements on TV with the shooting star that said “The More You Know?” Or the posters in elementary school, that were like, “Knowledge is Power.” Well, teachers and librarians loved that stuff because it is true.

Divorce can feel overwhelming because you’re scared of the unknown. And the only way to ease that fear is to educate yourself about the process. Quality divorce resources online are plentiful, many divorce lawyers and divorce coaches offer free consultations, and there are support groups and community classes that will help you understand your rights, provide you to-do checklists, and offer assistance so you do not get run over in the process.

5. Latching onto someone else too soon

Once you and your spouse split, you are given this amazing opportunity to heal, rediscover yourself, and reclaim your independence—things that only you can do. So why on earth would you invest yourself emotionally right away with someone new, when you haven’t had any time to learn how to be on your own? And how much worse will you feel when that “new, promising” relationship doesn’t work out?

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Sure, you’re human, and you want to be touched and loved. And it may have been months or years since you have felt wanted or passionate. Separation is a lonely place to be, but you know what’s even worse? Dependence—depending on another romantic relationship to make you feel loved and validated. Now is the time to break that cycle.

Desperately going on the rebound does a great disservice to you because it robs you of the opportunity to heal your heart and clear your head. When you look to that other person to fill that emptiness and to “save you,” you’re robbing them of the chance to have the healthy relationship that they deserve.

You don’t need anybody to save you or to heal you. You are strong and smart and you’ve got this. Lean on your friends, your family, a good therapist, divorce support groups, to listen and encourage when you feel hurt. Find the happiness you’ve been missing by discovering and enjoying your newly found freedom.

Featured photo credit: Help/Marina del Castell via flickr.com

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Martha Bodyfelt

Certified Divorce and Recovery Coach

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Last Updated on January 18, 2019

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

Some people will have a rain cloud hanging over them, no matter what the weather is outside. Their negative attitude is toxic to your own moods, and you probably feel like there is little you can do about it.

But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

If you want to effectively deal with negative people and be a champion of positivity, then your best route is to take definite action through some of the steps below.

1. Limit the time you spend with them.

First, let’s get this out of the way. You can be more positive than a cartoon sponge, but even your enthusiasm has a chance of being afflicted by the constant negativity of a friend.

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In fact, negativity has been proven to damage your health physically, making you vulnerable to high levels of stress and even cardiac disease. There’s no reason to get hurt because of someone else’s bad mood.

Though this may be a little tricky depending on your situation, working to spend slightly less time around negative people will keep your own spirits from slipping as well.

2. Speak up for yourself.

Don’t just absorb the comments that you are being bombarded with, especially if they are about you. It’s wise to be quick to listen and slow to speak, but being too quiet can give the person the impression that you are accepting what’s being said.

3. Don’t pretend that their behavior is “OK.”

This is an easy trap to fall into. Point out to the person that their constant negativity isn’t a good thing. We don’t want to do this because it’s far easier to let someone sit in their woes, and we’d rather just stay out of it.

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But if you want the best for this person, avoid giving the false impression that their negativity is normal.

4. Don’t make their problems your problems.

Though I consider empathy a gift, it can be a dangerous thing. When we hear the complaints of a friend or family member, we typically start to take on their burdens with them.

This is a bad habit to get into, especially if this is a person who is almost exclusively negative. These types of people are prone to embellishing and altering a story in order to gain sympathy.

Why else would they be sharing this with you?

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5. Change the subject.

When you suspect that a conversation is starting to take a turn for the negative, be a champion of positivity by changing the subject. Of course, you have to do this without ignoring what the other person said.

Acknowledge their comment, but move the conversation forward before the euphoric pleasure gained from complaining takes hold of either of you.

6. Talk about solutions, not problems.

Sometimes, changing the subject isn’t an option if you want to deal with negative people, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be positive.

I know that when someone begins dumping complaints on me, I have a hard time knowing exactly what to say. The key is to measure your responses as solution-based.

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You can do this by asking questions like, “Well, how could this be resolved?” or, “How do you think they feel about it?”

Use discernment to find an appropriate response that will help your friend manage their perspectives.

7. Leave them behind.

Sadly, there are times when we have to move on without these friends, especially if you have exhausted your best efforts toward building a positive relationship.

If this person is a family member, you can still have a functioning relationship with them, of course, but you may still have to limit the influence they have over your wellbeing.

That being said, what are some steps you’ve taken to deal with negative people? Let us know in the comments.

You may also want to read: How to Stop the Negative Spin of Thoughts, Emotions and Actions.

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