Divorce: Put Yourself First
Do you know what the main obstacle to divorce is for many women who are thinking about leaving? It’s not about how they’ll cope. And it’s not about money. It’s about shame.
Brené Brown and Shame
Shame is such a huge issue in divorce, even now in 2019.
Are you familiar with the work of Brené Brown? Brené shares her thoughts on the power of vulnerability and shame. In the Ted Talk shared here, she talks about how, in her research on ‘connection’ she uncovered shame – the feeling of not being good enough. The feeling of being unworthy of connection if we feel there is something fundamentally ‘bad’ about us.
Divorce often brings up this feeling of shame.
Women feel guilty that their marriage hasn’t worked out. They feel as though maybe they should stick with it. There’s a feeling of loss that something they committed to isn’t working. They ask themselves questions like: ‘Where did I go wrong?’, or ‘How can we have messed this up so badly?’ Here’s the thing. Some marriages just don’t work out. For any number of reasons. And when that happens, you need to focus on you. And I don’t mean on emotionally beating yourself up. I mean you need to look after yourself. When a marriage has gone bad, and you’ve thought about your options, you’ve thought about what you can change, you’ve given it some time, and your head and heart are screaming ‘leave!’ then you need to trust yourself. When you’ve got to that point, divorce is the right thing to do. For you, for your soon-to-be-ex-husband, for any children. Believe me, I’ve worked with hundreds of women over my fourteen years in law, mediation and divorce coaching. You are doing the right thing.
Ditch the shame and put yourself first
The trouble with guilt and shame is that it doesn’t help. It keeps us feeling wretched, and no-one benefits from that. If you’re still feeling any guilt, look at it this way. The most selfless thing you can do right now, is put yourself first. If you’re a parent, or if you have other caring responsibilities, that might be a hard thing to hear. But it’s true. Your children will benefit the most from you looking after yourself. If you’ve been on a flight ever, you’ll know the advice to put your own oxygen mask on first. And the same applies when you’re in a stressful life situation like divorce. If you don’t pay attention to yourself and your own self-care, you’re not going to be able to look after anyone else either.
How can you put yourself first?
I know what you’re thinking. You’ve not got time for this. There’s too much to do with running a household, taking care of other people’s needs AND managing the divorce process. Putting yourself first doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming. Here are some simple tips for bringing self-care into everyday life.
- Eat well: good nutrition can make all the difference to our mood and health. Don’t beat yourself up when you turn to junk food or a takeaway, but aim to stock up on fresh fruit and batch cook so you can get easy nutritious meals from the freezer when you need to.
- Get enough rest: It’s tempted to stay up all night rehashing old arguments or scrolling through your phone. Don’t. Even if insomnia bites, stepping away from your phone, getting comfortable and taking proper rest will help you.
- Allow your feelings. When you are feeling rubbish and need a cry, don’t push that away. Let yourself be sad, angry and frustrated. Then turn to someone for help if needed…
- Ask for help: it’s a strange thing that most of like to be asked to help (we feel needed and connected, which makes us feel good) but find it so difficult to ask others. If you’re struggling, ask friends to help with collecting the children from school every so often, making food or simply coming round for a chat to offload.
And remember you don’t have to navigate the divorce process alone. I am here to walk it with you every step of the way, from the decision to divorce, to creating a plan, to going through the courts, to the Decree Absolute. I’ve got your back. Just message me to book in a free 30-minute consultation. Contact Emma
The Divorce Alchemist
Emma Heptonstall, the Divorce Alchemist is author of the Amazon best selling book How to be a Lady Who Leaves, the Ultimate Guide to Getting Divorce Ready. A former lawyer, Emma is a practising family mediator and founder of Get Divorce Ready the online self study and group programmes. Emma is featured on BBC Radio, The Telegraph, the iPaper and in Marie Claire Magazine. To find out more visit www.emmaheptonstall.com