You can only control what you can control. That’s one of the hardest things about divorce and the most stressful. The uncertainty and lack of control of your spouse is a major contributor to stress in divorce. You may be relying on your spouse for money which is not guaranteed to show up. You may strongly disagree with how your spouse overindulges your children or doesn’t discipline them the way you think they should. Perhaps your spouse is bad-mouthing you to your social network or worse, on social media.
Feeling out of control is a horrible feeling. The anxiety level you have leads you to emotional highs and lows that can be debilitating. Your anger may be through the roof causing you to be short and yell at your children. Not knowing when or how your divorce will end may cause you to feel paralyzed and unable to move forward with anything. How can you cope?
The key is finding things you can control and letting go of what you can’t. Easier said than done, however, trying these small steps can help you start moving in the right direction:
1. Make order out of your own chaos. There are so many moving parts in the divorce process that it’s easy to lose sight of what needs to get done now. Start using tools to help you get and stay organized. I likeTodoist which is a free app that syncs across all your devices. It’s an easy way to keep a running list of tasks even if you don’t use all the other bells and whistles.
2. Manage to a realistic budget. If you’re waiting for your spouse to send you money that may or may not come, you will never get ahead of your finances. Create list of your necessary expenses and make sure you have enough to cover those. Skip the extras until you have enough of a cushion to cover a few months of fixed expenses.
3. Accept what you cannot change. Unless your spouse is abusing your children (in which case you must get the courts involved to protect them), some overindulgences and missed homework will not kill your children. It’s not ideal and the kids may suffer for it somewhat, but you can’t change your spouse, that’s why you’re getting divorced. Teach your children the way you believe is right and explain that when they are with you there are different rules than when they’re with their other parent. You don’t have to agree with it or like it, you can only do your best to instill your values in your children when they’re with you. They will appreciate it when they’re older.
4. Find somewhere to channel your anger and get rid of it. Heed the words at very wise coach once said to me “don’t let them rent space in your head.” Anger hurts you more than the person you’re angry at. The longer you hold on to it, the worse you’ll feel and the more irrational you’ll be. Holding on to your anger will cause you to make poor decisions that may hurt you later on. You need to be rational and clear when you’re negotiating your divorce agreement.
5. Take some time for yourself. Meditate, read, exercise, go to a concert. Give yourself time to breathe and relax. Your brain needs to detox from what you’re experiencing in the divorce process. By taking time away from all things divorce you are able to regenerate and face the next potential obstacle.
“Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don’t.”