The power of connection during divorce
Divorce is perhaps the ultimate challenge in life. The power of connection during divorce should not be underestimated. In the Holmes and Rahe stress scale divorce is second only to the death of a spouse or child. The trauma wrapped up in divorce is high. And with divorce, there’s also the guilt we feel from choosing to do it. There’s the guilt we feel from having ‘failed’.
It is easy, and understandable, to spiral into the depths of blame, shame, and failure. To beat yourself up. To want to hide. But that leaves you frozen, miserable and powerless. Which is no good to you, or anyone, including your children.
What’s the strongest vaccine against that dangerous spiral?
Connection. Connecting with other people who get it, who get you. The power of connection during divorce is incredible. Women who are there to support, not judge. Making those connections is the number one thing you can do to support yourself during this stressful life experience.
I must admit, even I (with all my years of supporting women) didn’t realise just how powerful connection is. Let me explain.
Last weekend I ran the first Get Divorce Ready Live event. What happened blew me away. What I observed, and what came through loud and clear from the fabulous attendees, was that connection of like-minded ladies is absolutely essential. It makes us all stronger.
The divorce virus
Sadly, divorce can see changes in lots of relationships, not just marriage. Friendships can fall away. Coronavirus has been a big news story this week. People are terrified of it spreading. Have you got ‘divorce virus’? A tell-tale sign is how your friends are treating you. Are they keeping their distance?
If lots of your friends have already been through divorce, it’s probably okay. Everyone is calm and knows you’re not contagious (though they may overwhelm you with their own experiences and advice, which brings its own problems). But. If you’re the first to divorce in your friendship circle, you may have noticed that those around you start to avoid you, not wanting to catch those divorce germs. Worried that if your marriage has broken down, theirs may be next. Worse still, they fear you will steal their spouses (as if). It’s a very lonely place to be.
Together we are stronger
When your relationships with friends and family change, it hurts. You feel the loss of more than just your marriage. In many ways, it hurts even more to see friends drift away, or feel your parents’ judgement.
When you surround yourself with women going through the same experiences as you, it’s a revelation. The power of connection during divorce is phenomenal. You’re no longer alone.
“What? You mean your husband said that too?! Oh!”
Light bulb moments. This is always important but so much more so if you have been in a high-conflict relationship and your ex has gone out of their way to convince you and everyone else that you’re unstable and paranoid.
When you realise that you aren’t the only woman experiencing all kinds of crazy, it’s bizarrely liberating. You can begin to heal and regain your strength. And you begin to see solutions. You become re-energised – another way is possible. Importantly, you begin to laugh again. There was plenty of laughing in the room at Get Divorce Ready Live.
Sharing your divorce story in a safe place where others will listen without judgment is vital. You may need counselling to process challenging thoughts and feelings. You may need to unpick what happened. It might be you need support to move through your story so that it doesn’t define you. You are not your marriage or your divorce.
Hearing other women’s stories is strengthening too. It allows you to review your own situation and see a way forward. Sharing stories in an appropriate way releases the power they have over you. You can take the reins and choose a new direction. Your story is not over. You are part of it right now. You’re the hero of your own story, and you get to make your move.
A problem shared is a problem halved
A problem shared is a problem halved, they say. Sometimes a problem can be resolved, and therefore is no longer a problem. In your world of one, you are dealing with the problem alone and pressured with finding a solution. Sometimes that pressure can change starts off as a minor issue into something that keeps you awake night after night.
When you’re in a group there are multiple viewpoints, perspectives, and experiences. There may be people who have answers. There may be people who simply walk alongside you and stick by you, whatever happens.
When you trust your divorce team, you know there are people who absolutely have your back. It’s not about them, their stories and their egos, it’s about you. Your team might be your lawyer, your divorce coach, your pensions adviser, and your wealth manager. It might be your mum and your best friend. Whoever it is, those people who support you without imposing their own agenda – they will make your divorce journey so much easier. And so much less lonely.
The Absolute Academy
The Absolute Academy is a group of 50 women who are using the power of connection to get their divorces done. A group of them attended Get Divorce Ready Live last week, and met in person for the first time! It was magical. It created a tribe – a deeper connection, a real face to a name. And it made my heart burst. Smiles, greetings and hugs, women united in a common endeavour – to get their divorce done. Their connections are cemented now in a way I had not envisaged. Those connections will continue long into the future.
The Absolute Academy is both a community and a learning tool. You can access the online training portal whenever you like. It includes access to the Get Divorce Ready self-study course which takes you through all the steps you need to get emotionally, practically and legally ready for the divorce process.
It’s also a secret (not open to public search, so no-one knows you’re in it) Facebook Group. I’m there every day. It’s a safe, engaging place to be. You’ll have my support and the support of amazing women who also have your back. Women in your situation and women ahead of you – women who get how you feel.
Emotional, practical and legal support
Need help understanding the law and your options? The Absolute Academy will support you – I run a Q&A every week. Need help sense checking the latest text or email from your ex? Not sure how to respond? The Academy will help you unpick what’s really going on. And provide a space to vent so you can get all the vitriol out in private, then respond calmly and practically like the CEO of your divorce.
Connection is your best defence against drowning in divorce stress. And The Absolute Academy is where you’ll find it.
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