What if you took 100% responsibility for your divorce?
What if you took 100% responsibility for your divorce?
“Sorry! What?!” You say. “But it’s not my fault!”
It doesn’t mean what you think it means. And it has the power to change everything, both now and in the future.
Responsibility versus blame
We often equate ‘responsibility’ with ‘blame’ in the context of divorce.
‘It’s his fault.’
‘It’s her fault’
It wasn’t my fault.’
Although it’s tempting to meander down blame lane, none of these are helpful statements. They are expensive though.
What do I mean? Blame and anger are expensive commodities in the world of divorce. They burn up a LOT of time, energy and money. And they don’t move you forward, because they focus on the past. They only benefit the lawyers who referee the fall-out and charge for the privilege. Sometimes even your lawyers get bored – believe me, if they wanted to work in emotional support and relationship management they wouldn’t have gone into law.
What is responsibility?
Responsibility is power. It’s being aware of your rights, your options. And it gives you the ability to respond. Importantly, it’s not about blame of self or anyone else. Responsibility is about being able to deal with what is right now in an emotionally appropriate way. It’s about seeing what is, what needs to be done and doing it.
Taking responsibility doesn’t mean that you are letting someone ‘off the hook’ for their poor behaviour, it means that you respond to the situation caused by the behaviour and not the behaviour itself. You are not his mother so it’s not for you to deal with his behaviour.
Taking responsibility doesn’t require you to ‘forgive and forget’ or any other vomit-inducing cliché you care to think of. No. Taking responsibility puts you as the captain of your ship, the CEO of your divorce.
Yes, but it was his fault
You know that the phrase ‘yes, but’ is a negator right? It actually means ‘no’. So if you’ve read the first paragraphs of this blog and you said “yes, but” even in your head, you have more work to do.
What if the fact that he caused the breakdown of your marriage was just a fact? A fact without any emotion? Just as night follows day? A fact without emotion is just a fact. It’s not loaded. It’s not a bomb waiting to go off. You can respond to facts much more calmly and this allows you to make much better decisions, and it costs you less both emotionally and financially.
Choosing to take 100% responsibility
When you take responsibility you put yourself in a position to respond calmly, not react. You are in control. Emotions aren’t knocking you about. It’s the difference between crossing a raging river with a calm, strong bridge to hold you, versus sliding around on slippy stepping stones as the waters whip at your feet and pull you down.
Facts are solid ground. Emotions are powerful, and they need to be acknowledged, processed and accepted. But they aren’t the best basis for taking charge of what needs to be done to get you to where you need to be.
Remember that taking responsibility is not about taking the blame. It’s about responding in your full power to the situation, as it is now. When you take not just 50% but 100% responsibility it all comes down to you but in a good and powerful way.
When you take 100% responsibility
In taking 100% responsibility, you stop worrying about what your ex is or isn’t doing. You stop obsessing about what they’re thinking or feeling or whether they’ll agree to this or that.
When you take 100% responsibility you just start doing. You find your divorce groove and you stay in your lane. Focused. Confident. On a mission.
Need to get that divorce plan done? Do it.
Pension statements? On it!
House valued? All under control.
Figuring out your future income need? You are working on it without having a total freak out about his response.
His response is not your responsibility.
Free yourself emotionally
The biggest benefit of taking 100% responsibility in your divorce is that you free yourself emotionally. Not only do you stop waiting for your husband to conduct the divorce orchestra, you grab the baton and do it yourself in your own way and in your own time.
If there are some funky bits in the middle, so what? It’s your tune now. You stop drinking from the poisoned chalice of bitterness, anger and resentment because, while that might feel comfortable, it stops you getting your divorce done.
It’s not about him any longer, it’s about you and your needs. Your future, in your hands.
Take responsibility for yourself
Whether you’re just embarking on divorce, mid-way or stepping into your newly divorced life, you have to take responsibility for yourself first and foremost. Eating well, sleeping well, moderating your alcohol consumption – you know the drill – but do you do it? Are you exercising, meditating, seeing your therapist or going to pilates? If not, why not?
No one can take care of you until you show yourself what it is to take care of you first. So start now. Today. What is your reality today? What needs to change? Take action – what can you do? There is always something.
It might be about your self-care – you might need more sleep, or fresh air, or someone to talk to. It might be about your divorce process – finding the bank statements you need, or responding to an email from your ex or their solicitor. Right now, there is something you can do to more your situation forward.
If I can help, let me know. Whether it’s a 90 minute chat, a full day together or joining my awesome community of women in the Absolute Academy, I can support you to show up for yourself every day, to take 100% responsibility to get your divorce done.
Ready? Book in here.
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