Divorce: You decide your self-worth


date published

9th December 2019

written by

Emma Heptonstall

Emmaheptonstall.com Image

date published

9th December 2019

Divorce: You decide your self-worth


You decide your self-worth. 


Yes you do. Often we forget this. I forget this sometimes. Most of the time I remember, but I have my triggers – it’s one trigger actually, if I’m honest. She’s called mum. I love her of course, and she also triggers me massively, to the point I actually don’t like being around her that much.


As you already know, I’m a good girl, and as a good girl, I often give others power over my self worth even though I ‘know better’. So today’s blog is to remind myself (as much as you) why I (and you) get to decide our self worth. 


Yes I know this


If you’ve had therapy or you’re in it now, you’ll know that your self-worth is decided by you – that’s the official line anyway. Your parents/children/co-workers/boss or random social media troll isn’t in charge of how you feel about yourself. You get to choose. 


Divorce doesn’t make you a failure. You’re not a bad girl for disappointing your parents (or yourself). 


But there’s knowing something intellectually and there’s knowing it with every fibre of your being, feeling it.


Know what triggers you


Knowing what triggers you to lose your sense of self worth is only the beginning. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great start, it’s vital. But knowing what triggers you isn’t enough. For me, it’s not the entire essence of ‘mum’ that’s triggering. It’s specific behaviours. You need to go deeper and look at where the process starts for you.  


Something specific will have caused your reaction. It might be a look, comment, even breathing pattern that starts those anxious feelings in you. It might be specific words. Whatever it is, notice it. That’s how you can start to take away its power. You can interrupt the cause and effect pattern. 


Interrupt the pattern


Pattern interrupts are simple and yet oh so powerful. When you realise that your ex’s habitual behaviours trigger your habitual responses, interrupting the pattern can change everything for you. You can never change them, but you can change the way you respond. 


A pattern interrupt doesn’t have to be huge. It can be as simple as removing yourself from a situation physically. Or reasserting a personal boundary. It can be as simple as not opening that text message/email when you’re not feeling great. Instead of reaching for your phone to distract yourself or vent to a friend (getting into your victim groove) you could take a deep breath or put some music on instead. Doing something different creates a different response. And puts you back in control, there and then. 


Create and enforce boundaries


I’ve written about boundaries before – if you haven’t read that blog you can read it here. A quick way of thinking about boundaries is simply that you are enforcing a situation that is safe, healthy and affirming for you. 


We tend to get triggered more when we’ve let our boundaries slide. That’s because we’ve put ourselves in a more vulnerable place. Good girls often struggle with enforcing boundaries because they mean we put our personal values above people-pleasing. This can be a struggle at first – we’re not used to it! It feels rude and selfish. But know that it’s neither of those things. It’s necessary and it doesn’t mean you don’t care about others. It means you care about yourself as well. In order to build your self-worth, boundary-setting is a muscle you need to flex regularly. 


Your thoughts before his


When you’re going through divorce with someone who is either financially or emotionally controlling (or both), it’s really hard. If they’re skilled at criticism, good at telling you you’re rubbish with money or that you need them to cope with life, then listen up.


These are just thoughts. Their thoughts, not yours. Thoughts do become things – a self-fulfilling prophecy – but why would you let their thoughts become your thing? I’ll let you into a secret here too – emotionally secure people do not need to brag or prove themselves. Perhaps they desperately want to believe they’re a financial genius. But if they need to tell you they are all the time, chances are they don’t even believe it themselves. 


So what if he negotiates multi-million pound deals at work. And?  


He manages all the family finances at the moment. So what?


What does this mean? Does it mean you’re not capable? No. 


It means you have to sit up, take notice and get your shizzle on. You need to be the CEO of your divorce and lady, you gotta start talking nicely to yourself. Take that old piece of vinyl (remember that) off the record player, the one that sings along in harmony with him and break it in two. Time for you to take centre stage. 


Write a listen of 20 reasons why you are a competent and capable woman. If you have to dig back into the past when you bought your first flat and got your first mortgage on your own do it. That girl is inside you. She might be hiding but she’s there. Talk lovingly to her. Coax her out. You need her now. 


Accept you are enough


Accepting that you are enough just the way you are can be tricky when your self-esteem is on the floor. Rember, in Divorce: You decide your self-worth.


If that’s hard for you right now, are you willing to be open to the possibility that it might be true even if you can’t fully own it yet?


When you begin to put more faith in yourself day by day, you’ll find even more things and more things. You’ll start recognising what you are good at (it’s more than you think). What you give your attention to can literally rewire your brain. At the end of each day write down three things you did that you’re proud of yourself for. It might be something you handled well (a conversation at work, a screaming toddler meltdown). It might be something you’re good at. It might be that you asked for help. Or it might be something you surprised yourself with. Creating a habit of noticing the positive about yourself will start to rebuild your faith in your ability to handle whatever comes your way. 


Including the BS your ex throws at you. 


Affirmations vs Afformations


You’ve probably heard of affirmations. Perhaps your coach or therapist has suggested some to you.


Affirmations are statements that you repeat with feeling daily. These statement are always positive. Examples might include:


I am happy.


I am confident.


I manage my emotions with ease.


The idea is that you, in front of a mirror, repeat your affirmations once or twice daily until you feel and then embody the affirmation. 


What if you don’t believe what you’re saying?


It can be hard to do affirmations when your brain is screaming “liar” at you every time you say them. 


When this happens, try Afformations®. Afformations are a variation of Affirmations created by Noah St John. Rather than making a statement, afformations ask a question:


Why am I happy?

Why I am confident?


You get the picture.


When we ask ourselves a question, our unconscious mind goes on a search for the answer! 


‘Why am I the CEO of my divorce?’ Yes, I want you to ask yourself every day.


‘Why am I so worthy?’ That one too. Because in Divorce: You decide your self-worth.


Why is it more than okay for me to ask for support?


If you’re struggling and you want support, ask yourself:


‘Why is it more than okay for me to ask for support?’ 


‘Why is it more than okay to invest in myself financially?’ 


Your unconscious mind will bring you the answers – write them down and look at them. Own them. Accept them as true. 


John Donne wrote ‘No man is an island’. Neither is any woman. 


Asking for support can move you quicker and faster than you think possible right now. Working with me for just one day can move mountains. 


We can shift your mindset, file for divorce, review your disclosure, complete Form E, figure out what you want and need, get communication strategies in place and build your confidence. You get a written plan and a 90 minute follow up too. There’s no stronger jumpstart to your divorce.


You can find out more about a Clarity Day with me here. I have 1 space left this year. Want it? Not sure? Ask yourself ‘Why is it okay for me to invest in a Clarity Day with Emma?’ and see what your answers are. 


In 2020 all my prices are increasing so if you’ve been putting off investing with me, book now and together we’ll get your divorce done. 


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 family mediator and founder of Get Divorce Ready the online self-study and group programmes. Emma has been featured on BBC Radio, The Telegraph, the iPaper and in Marie Claire Magazine. To find out more visit www.emmaheptonstall.com


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