Sep 19, 2012

Life Coaching: Divorce – The First Emotions

“I’m leaving you!”

That may have been you that heard those words or said them.  And, now, every time when you think about it, all of the emotional trauma returns to haunt you once again.  Divorce is rarely, if ever, a reaction to a single event.  It has taken time to develop.  Time to develop the fear, the anger, the resentment, the loneliness, the hate and the wealth of other possible emotions that have led to divorce.  And, a strange phenomena has occurred; the hopes and dreams of a life-long loving relationship that once dominated the two of you have significantly diminished or vanished completely.  It’s as if that was someone else that held onto those hopes and dreams and you were just watching from the outside.

Whether you were the one that made the initial decision that the marriage was over, or you were the recipient of that message stated above, you can now look back and see the signs that weren’t apparent at the time.  It was the “little” things that started to add up, much like a “Buy 10, get the 11th free” card.  It was when he would pay more attention to work, sports, his friends, or something else, than you.  It was when she wanted to talk more to her friends, relatives, and neighbors than you.  It was when he forgot your anniversary.  It was when she didn’t bother to get you even a birthday card.  It was when both of you didn’t care to make love anymore, and, when you did, it was just sex.  The closeness in intimacy was gone.  The only emotion that is worse in a relationship than anger and hate is apathy.  Like a large ship that’s about to run aground, you may feel it’s too late to be able to do anything significant enough to change the course.  Now what?

The negative emotions of resentment, anger, hate or apathy within the relationship now turns to the outside looking in.  The loneliness that was felt within the marriage also turns to the outside.  Let’s take a look together at these two most prominent emotions immediately following the decision to divorce.

ANGER –

This emotion is based on someone crossing a predetermined boundary that you/we have set.  Anger has a way of holding on and being compounded with each additional feeling of anger.

The wife may be angry because the husband:

  • Constantly leaves the bedroom, or other rooms, a mess
  • Behaves in a way that makes her feel like his servant
  • And, of course, the always mentioned, he always leaves the toilet seat up

The husband may be angry because the wife:

  • Goes shopping even when there isn’t a need
  • Doesn’t add to the family’s income
  • Is always telling him what to do

And, now, both are angry because they feel they have been abandoned.

As a Master Practitioner of NLP, I want to share with you a couple of exercises to help get through the anger.  By the way, these can be used before a couple get to the point of divorce.  If they were to use these techniques, they might not get to the stage of divorce at all!

Exercise 1: How to keep the peace within yourself

Close your eyes, sit back and relax.  Imagine yourself in a time and place where you felt very peaceful and calm.  Imagine it on an IMAX movie screen in full color, surround sound, and with all the feelings, tastes, and smells you experienced then.  Take some time to truly re-experience the event.  Fully live it.  Now, put yourself in the movie and see everything from this new vantage point.  When you are at the height of the experience, take your right index finger and touch your left index finger and hold it there while you stay intensely engaged in your experience.  Only after the end of the scene arrives do you let go.  Open your eyes and think about something else, maybe what you ate for breakfast.   Now think of a time that caused you to become angry.  As soon as the feeling of anger starts, touch your left index finger with your right and discover that the feeling of anger dissipates and peacefulness and calmness take over.  You can do this for any scenario that make you upset.

If you want to take this a step further, do this:

Identify 5-10 times where you became angry at your spouse or ex-spouse.  Like the exercise above, let yourself fully experience each one and, at the height of each one take your right middle finger and touch your left thumb and let go after the scene concludes.  You’re “stacking” each event on top of the others.  You should be pretty upset by now.  Break this state by thinking of something entirely off the subject, like what you need to get at the grocery store.  Now, take your right index finger and “fire” the anchor you created for the resources of being at peace and calm.  Hold on to it and now touch your right middle finger to your left thumb to “fire” the anger anchor.  These two anchors are now going to blend to create a neutral response.  Test it out by thinking about those scenarios that formerly made you feel angry.  You will now feel dispassionate and easily able to have a resourceful response to them.

LONELINESS –

What I experienced from my own divorce and what I have seen with most couples that are divorced or are the process of, is that there is a certain amount of loneliness during the final part of the marriage.  There is emotional and, sometimes, physical separation that has gone on for some time.  They may have already been emotionally divorced, they just didn’t bother to tell each other.  Now the feeling of loneliness is validated because there is true separation.  When a newly divorced person is now out on their own, they may feel abandonment beyond that of their mate.  Friends may get divided up or may all go toward one or the other person going through divorce.  There may be family members on the ex’s side that were once beloved family, but are now siding with their ‘blood’ relative.  In any case, you may feel entirely alone.  So, let’s take a close look and see if we can  reframe this feeling.

There are groups for every situation a person may be in where they can meet others in like situations.  If you go to www.divastogether.com you’ll find resources to help you meet people who are like you.  In addition, at www.MeetUp.com, you will discover that there are meetup groups for almost any and all types of people you might want to meet.

But, what if that feeling of loneliness just won’t go away, even when you’re with people?  First, I want to have you close your eyes and think about how the feeling of loneliness comes upon you.  Think about it this way; You’re going on vacation from feeling lonely and you have to hire someone to feel lonely for you.  So, write a job description of how you come to feel lonely.  How do you get feeling lonely started?  What do you have to do to make the feeling stronger?  If you cry when you’re lonely, what are the thoughts going through your mind that makes you cry?  What colors, sounds, sights, tastes, and smells are associated with the experience?  Where does the feeling of loneliness start in your body, your stomach, your head, or somewhere else?  Discover which direction the feeling is spinning, where it starts and where it goes to.  How fast is it spinning?  Does the spinning have a color?  Write this all on a piece of paper and in great detail.

Now that you have this information, what resource(s) do you need to be able to control it?  Mental and/or physical strength?  Self-confidence?  Self-reliance?  Fully consider the resource you need, now.  As in the exercise you did for anger, find a time when you exhibited the resource you need and revivify it, again, just like in the previous exercise, and then anchor it.  Here’s where you will discover a huge amount of relief from loneliness; First, make yourself go into the state of feeling lonely.  Next, take the spinning, give it the color red, and let it spin briefly in the natural direction that it has been all along.  Aloud, tell it emphatically to “STOP!”  In your mind, reverse the spinning and give the color blue, as if it’s a cooling, comforting color and let it spin and start to slow down to give you a feeling of peace and comfort.  Lastly, “fire” the anchor you created for the resource you need for feeling lonely and go into that state of resourcefulness, such as mental strength, until you’re fully in that state.

There is much more to say about divorce and the emotions of anger and loneliness, but the purpose of this blog is to give you some things you can do on your own, and immediately, that will give you relief and help you get through for now.  Please don’t hesitate to contact me when you’re ready to go the next step in getting through the tough times of divorce.  I’ll help you be successful as you transition to your new life and, to the extent you let me help you, you will find that you’re happier than ever before!

Creating life in forward motion,

Dr. Edward Lewellen

ed@trans-think.com

let’s find the resource that, if you had it, you wouldn’t feel lonely.

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