This is a guest post from life coach and author, Jeff Brandt, who describes some of the people you might be encountering during your divorce, how they might react, and the advice they might offer. It’s good to recognize the ones who might be unhealthy to hang around when you are trying to cope and heal.
The Myth About Support From Those Around You During Your Divorce by Jeff Brandt
Divorce is devastating. Having the right kind of support from those around you is essential for your recovery because it helps you successfully combat the biggest roadblock you face: the feeling that you are all alone.
One of the biggest causes of disappointment for many divorcees is expectation. Specifically, frustration over unmet expectations as to how much and what type of support they receive from those around them.
Here’s a story from my own divorce experience:
After my divorce I started attending the local Catholic Church. There was a priest I liked there. I had many lingering questions about my divorce, so I approached him one Sunday after mass. “Father, I am divorced and have a question that has been bothering me,” I began. My hope was that he would impart some divine wisdom to soothe me – maybe a passage from scripture that would speak clearly to my pain and alleviate it somehow.
“What is that, my son? How can I help you?” he asked. “My wife divorced me without ever bringing the subject up for discussion. What could I have possibly done to prevent this from happening?” I asked. His answer was straight to the point. “My experience is that when one partner makes a decision to end a relationship, and isn’t willing to discuss his or her position, there is absolutely nothing the other person can do,” he said. Shrugging his shoulders, he walked away.
To have realistic expectations about help and support after your divorce, it is useful to identify the different types of individuals around you and the characteristics they exhibit. This will save you a lot of emotional upset and heartache. I have given each group a name. See if you recognize any of these:
1. Taking Sides
For these folks there is no decision to make. They are simply going to go back to being friends with the person they were friends with originally. Has very little or nothing to do with the actual facts. Don’t take it personally
2. The Taboo Treatment
They will avoid you because they don’t want to hear about your divorce. It either contradicts their belief system, hits too close to home for them, or they feel they have enough problems of their own without getting involved in yours
3. Bitch Buddies
Typically only meet you when and where alcohol is available. Focus on criticizing and bad-mouthing every member of the opposite sex because of their own experience; usually a miserable childhood or bad marriage. Will mercilessly beat down your ex even when you try to defend them
4. “I Told You So”
They were convinced from day one you marrying your spouse was a mistake, still feel that way today, and will feel that way tomorrow. Never miss a chance to remind you of it, either
5. Attack Mode
Will want to attack your ex simply because they see the pain you’re in and know you don’t deserve it. The facts don’t really matter.
6. Rowing the Same Boat
Another divorced person who hasn’t fully gotten over their ex and/or divorce. You may find yourself drifting into a relationship with them that may be physically satisfying and helps fill your spare time, but lacks any real depth.
Bear in mind this simple fact: a person can only give away something that they already possess. What does this mean? It means if you haven’t been forgiven, you won’t be forgiving. If you haven’t been understood, you won’t be understanding. This is how human beings become the way they are, and why they behave the way they do. The way they treat you is nothing more that a reflection of the way they have been treated.
Here’s some great advice from Jim Rohn, businessman and motivational speaker: “Spend heavyweight time around heavyweight people, lightweight time around lightweight people.”
This post is an excerpt from my digital program titled Divorce Healing Blueprint, in which I dissect the 8 biggest myths about divorce recovery. We break down the barriers to getting over your divorce by identifying where you’re stuck, understanding why you’re stuck, and showing you how to get unstuck so you can get your life back NOW! For more information on this product, and other products designed to help you get unstuck in life, please visit my website, www.getunstuckseries.com.
Jeff Brandt is an author, speaker, and life coach specializing in helping people get out of the ruts we all find ourselves in and live the life you were meant to live. Jeff’s highly acclaimed first book, Beware of the Therapist, chronicles his divorce journey from devastation to destiny.