You’re feeling awful knowing what you’re about to face or in the process of dealing with. You might feel compelled to tell a friend or colleague, or maybe they heard about your divorce through the grapevine and feel compelled to comment. While they have good intentions, they may be so uncomfortable with what you’re telling them that they seem to feel the need to make you feel better. In so doing, unfortunately, they only make you realize how little they understand your situation. I actually had a parent from my daughter’s school ask me if I thought she should fix up my husband with her sister!
If you anticipate these unhelpful albeit well-intentioned ‘words of wisdom’, you can be better prepared to respond.
- The put-down of your spouse: “Don’t feel bad, you’re so much better than him/her” , “I never liked him/her anyway.”
- The Disaster Anticipator: “OMG, I have a friend who just went through the most horrible divorce!”
- The Husher: “You need to be strong for the kids, don’t let them see you fall apart.”
- The I Don’t Want to deal with it: “You’ll be over him/her in no time!” or “Don’t worry, you’re a great catch, you’ll meet someone else right away.”
- The Driller: “What happened, tell me everything!”
Regardless of what they say and how they seem to feel, you have a right to shut them down. Some suggestions I’ve given my clients:
- To the Put-down: “He/She’s still the parent of my children and I prefer not to bad mouth him/her.”
- To the Disaster Anticipator: “I’m sure you have a ton of stories to tell me, many worse than mine, right now, my own story is enough for me.”
- I wouldn’t even respond to The Husher, you need to be whatever you are, no need to hide your emotions.
- To the I Don’t Want to Deal: “Thanks for the words of support, right now I’m taking it one day at a time.”
- To the Driller: “I’d rather not talk about it right now.”
You are now the master of your story, write it however you like!