"Throughout this book, I felt Bruce had a secret window into my own life and private thoughts. Many private feelings I am currently dealing with were addressed and revealed in a manner that made me feel it is not only normal, but I am truly not alone in this. I was surprised that I cried while reading it and the comfort that the words brought me. I read tons of self-help books, among other types of books, and this book actually gives me hope and things to look forward to. My tears were from the fact that I am facing the words I read. I have been getting negative feedback from outside sources and these words reassured me not to listen, keep them out of your life and do what is right. The section on the other home/parent opened my eyes and freed me. I did not go into reading this book thinking it would help me on such a deep emotional level." ~Dorothy Justice, Vice Chair-Community Action Partnership

September 13, 2012

Fearless in Divorce

I read somewhere courage is fear with a lot of prayers. One thing I hear more, from others in the throes of marital transition, is fear of what the other will say in divorce proceedings and what will the judge think.

I say, give more credit to the judicial system. Staying focused on your gifts as a parent and sustaining a consistent, safe, loving and predictable environment for your child will win more hearts including the judge’s. This is the foundation on which to build your platform for a new and everlasting bond with your kids. Your kids will be depending on you.

I never went to court during my divorce since I negotiated out of court. In hindsight now that I’m older and wiser, that should have been a deeper consideration. If I felt comfortable with my relationship in my kids and my parenting skills, I should have let the judge review my situation in person.

Eventually, I went back and won custody and brought my kids home fulltime.  I didn’t need a lawyer, but I had one anyway and I sought several opinions.  Personally, I recommend seeking and talking to 5-6 lawyers quite honestly. That may just mean you’ll receive 5-6 different opinions and that’s why you seek so many. What’s important to you will surface.

Divorce can bring up all kinds of emotions regardless of whether you are the one filing. The very thought of being on your own without your kids, if even temporarily, can be upsetting. Thoughts of
whether it’s wise and just stay in the marriage may linger. Should I work it out?  Should I leave my spouse? Thoughts and confusion will deepen your angst of whether you are doing the right thing.

Heartache is going to happen if you decide to separate. You may already be there. Weighing your life in the situation and how to move forward while impacting others around you, including your kids and partner, is the highest consideration on your mind right now.

If you are thinking about the kids already you are on the right mark. That’s where your focus should be in this precarious place.  Before you pull the trigger on separation, whether it’s cordial or not with your spouse, get ready for the rollercoaster of a lifetime.

If you are communicating with your partner, then working an agreement or arrangement out in advance or even filing the papers together is wise and has long-term healthy emotional, and financial benefits. Bringing your file to a lawyer for review is prudent. If additional time with your kids is your priority, bring it to court.

If you and your spouse have agreed mutually on your split, moving forward and letting go of the past is the best advice anyone can give you. Finding harmony and balance is your new standard.

If your new household status is not mutual, or at least not amicable, for any reason, forget about your ex-partner’s actions or words. Separation hurts and it sucks for both of you, but your next steps could save you and your kids more heartache in the long run.

Fighting and arguing with your spouse is real money. Time costs money. Ego and scorned love is money. The best alternative- think of the kids and move on.  Focus on the kids, your gifts as a parent, and your new household. Emotions are exhausting.

Accepting your new life’s twists and turns will prepare you for change and challenge, which by the way results in growth. Your growth translates harmoniously into your child’s outlook and therefore their lives. You may not be seeing it now, but your new life may just make you happy again.

Get as much time you can warrant in your kids lives. Children need both their parents more than ever right now. While it may be hard to understand initially, your kids love both of you regardless of how dire the circumstances or who screwed up.

When committed to divorce, here is your new strategy for you and your children:

First order of business, learn to ignore the chatter. What you hear through small lips is not important- it doesn’t change the fact you are a loving caring person who holds the best interests of your children and their hearts. Look beyond the adversity.  What you hear through adult lips shouldn’t matter either. Additionally, a great division of friends will occur regardless of your feelings or outcome of the divorce. Let it go.

Second, take ownership of the issues you need to work on and do them privately. There’s no need to include the children. Allow the children to see you own your issue and that you will work through it- that you know they see your pain, but you can fix it. Moreover, your children can focus on being kids more without carrying the burden or anxiety they see in their mom or dad.

Third, understanding your roles/ responsibilities. They are the same as before – its only that the living arrangements have changed should be your child’s new perspective. The relationship as provider, caregiver, loving bond, and general support doesn’t change. Even more so, great consideration should be made for improvement to these areas now.

Fourth, keep moving is imperative. It won’t be easy and there will be days that you won’t want to leave your bedside. Start the healing process and grieve, but find ways to keep yourself up and about. Start organizing and re-prioritizing your life- cleanup the mess both literally and figuratively. Finding and maintaining healthy distractions is now your new norm. Placing energy in your child’s well-being while all parties adjust is a good form of healthy.

Fifth, staying positive. Easier said than done, but looking back will only make you dizzy. Keeping your mind and eyes peeled on the horizon is now your new motivation. Once you have started to balance well on your own feet, start setting targets for the new life that waits.

Sixth is self-compassion- a sort of “…antitoxin to the soul.” Be easier on your self. Don’t beat yourself up. Rather understand life can be your teacher and will throw you hard lessons, but understand you have limits, you are not perfect, you are only human, and there is Devine passage to the next chapter in your life. God is looking after you.

Courage is fear with a lot of prayers. Separation leading to divorce is an anxious and stressful time for not only you, but those around you. Emotions will be riding high-  pace yourself, allow acceptance of self, and trust in your ability to be a remarkable parent. Your gifts as a parent are weighing most in the lives around you. Build your platform for an eternal bond with your kids. Your kids are depending on you.

Bruce Buccio resides in Colorado, USA,  is a Rebuilding Coach and soon to be published Author. Today, he writes primarily inspired by experiences raising his children, but also writes about inspiration, growth, and love.

-photo credit: Jeremy1786/ Flickr

© 2012 Bruce Buccio