Divorce is an emotionally difficult process, a statement most of us believe to be true. Yet, when you're the one going through a divorce, the full truth of this statement becomes self-evident. You find yourself on an emotional rollercoaster with your emotions ranging from sadness, anger, bitterness, self-doubt, failure, and fear - just to name a few. These negative emotions can overwhelm you, rightfully so. So how do you hold it together to protect yourself and your children from emotion harm during this very stressful situation? Is it possible to reduce the acrimony you may be experiencing and get off the rollercoaster? Susan Heitler, PhD, a clinical psychologist, suggests the following 8 guidelines for a friendly divorce:
Guideline #1: Find a non-blaming way to understand what happened.
Guideline #2: Focus on discovering your own mistakes and how to rectify them.
Guideline #3: Learn skills for collaborative dialogue and shared decision-making.
Guideline #4: In the settlement agreement, aim for somewhere between fairness and generosity.
Guideline #5: Choose your legal advisors carefully for a proven track record in mediated settlements.
Guideline #6: Find a trusted person with whom you can talk through your feelings of hurt, shame and guilt, anger, sadness and fear.
Guideline #7: Treat divorce as a gradual process, not a one-time action.
Guideline #8: Remember that there is life after divorce.
As hard as it may seem to embrace the points that Dr. Heitler suggests, I believe that any extent to which you can adopt the above suggestions will make your divorce easier and less painful for everyone concerned. Every divorce is different. However, one thing I can say with certainty based upon my experience as a family law attorney is that when anger and vindictiveness are minimized, the step-off platform for your new life after divorce is significantly better.