Divorce Recovery Mindset Option No. 5: Keeping Your Eyes On The Prize Or Getting Distracted By Emotions?

Exactly what It is the award?

The general divorce transition process goes through three distinct stages: (1) getting divorced, (2) recovering from the divorce, and (3) establishing a new life as a single person. Each stage has clearly different objectives or “prizes”.

The objective of the Divorce Stage is to: Obtain NOT COUPLED. The goal of the Recovery Stage of Divorce is to: Dissolve ATTACHED FILES. The goal of establishing a new life is to: Elaborate the NEW YOU.

This article focuses on the goal of Stage 2, Divorce Recovery: to dissolve all ATTACHMENTS to your ex and the life you shared.

What is an “attachment” and why is it a problem?

The death sentence for any successful recovery from divorce is persistently holding on to your attachments to your ex and your past life together.

So what exactly is an “attachment”?

By attachment, I mean any positive or negative. emotional reaction we connect with a person, object or event in our life. If we still have emotional reactions to our ex and the life we ​​shared together in the past, we cannot fully participate in the present, much less plan for the future.

You cannot eliminate what happened in your past. However, it can and should dissolve strong positive and negative emotional reactions to your memories of those events.

Attachments come in two types: tangible attachments and relationship-based attachments.

Tangible attachments .

All attachments, including tangible ones, come with emotional connections to the past.

For example, a short list of typical tangible attachments to remove includes legal documents and other legal tangles, souvenirs, sentimental items, joint checking accounts, shared credit cards, photos, gifts, shared social media accounts, and email. Common passwords and security codes, keys to your house or apartment, past email documents, beneficiary designation in your will, and joint ownership of real estate, cars, and gym memberships.

The first step in handling many tangible attachments is physically removing them.

Relationship-based attachments

Relationship-based attachments, both positive and negative, are especially difficult to dissolve because the strong emotions you associate with them are intensely personal. Also, your brain misinterprets these emotions as evidence of a current and ongoing long-term relationship between them.

After a divorce, persistent negative relationships based on the relationship can be expressed through ongoing fights, seeking revenge, demanding that your ex apologize, waiting for the ex to explain why they wanted to end the marriage, expecting the ex to be respectful, friendly and admit that he or she “did you wrong.”

Positive relationship-based attachments also cause problems and can be expressed by wanting to “stay friends,” continuing to chat on the phone or email, meeting for coffee, and so on.

A client of mine wanted to be friends with his ex. He realized his mistake when, after a pleasant conversation start at Starbucks, his ex started yelling at him for ruining his life. It is best to avoid friendships post-divorce, at least until both parties are safe in their new life situations.

Strong positive and negative reactions mean that you are still in relationship with your ex

As long as the memories of your ex trigger strong positive and / or negative reactions, you will remain locked in the past because your emotions do. feel like are you currently living like the past was actually the present.

The important thing is to realize that having positive and negative feelings towards the memory of your ex implies that you are still in a relationship with him / her. That’s what people in long-term committed intimate relationships do. They love each other and have conflicts together.

However, after a divorce, the two partners are no longer in a relationship. So keep behaving like they are still partners, or even close friends, it is extremely confusing. Not only does it inhibit your recovery, it also lengthens the time it takes to “get over your divorce and move on.”

So you may ask, “If I have to change my emotional reactions to my past memories with my ex, what do I change them to?”

Enter the relationship indifferent.

How “indifference” saves the day

After a divorce, the goal of the divorce. Recovery is to change your relationship with your ex to one without emotional investment. This literally means that you are totally and completely emotionally indifferent your ex and what he / she does, When he / she does it, as he / she does it, where he / she does it, and with whom he / she does.

For example, when you are walking down the street and a completely normal stranger walks your way minding his own business, are you overwhelmed by affection, anger, resentment, hope, revulsion? Of course not. You don’t know him, you don’t have any relationship with him, and you don’t have any emotional ties to him. You don’t care what you do, how you do it, when you do it, where you do it, or with whom you do it. It just doesn’t occupy any position in your life. He is for all intents and purposes a complete “nothing” to you. You can live your life as if this person doesn’t even exist. In other words, you are completely indifferent to this person and what they think, feel, and do. This is the goal of how you should change the way you think towards your ex.

Fact of life: Your relationship with your ex is over. And when you allow yourself to become indifferent to your ex, then you are free to move on to the next chapter of your life without the baggage of your marriage holding you back.

What if you have to interact?

Sometimes you have to interact with your ex, especially if you have children. It is extremely important to realize and accept that even though your ex may seem like the same person you were married to, they are no longer a couple. You no longer have a personal or intimate relationship with him / her.

If you have to interact, treat the relationship as an “administrative” or “business” relationship with no personal emotional connection involved. Your goal is to act as you would when interacting with a bank teller when cashing a check or when interacting with a customer service representative when returning a defective product to Best Buy. You are friendly, factual and complete your business. Then you leave and continue with your day.

So what is the point?

I know, this may seem extreme. You say, “I lived with this person for years and now I’m supposed to believe they don’t exist.” No, that’s not what I’m saying. I agree, you lived with this person for years and you have a shared history.

However, you are now transitioning from being paired with that person to starting a new chapter in your life without that person in you. To do this successfully, you must cut your emotional attachments to your life with your ex that you have built over all those years. You can keep the memories. But you must release the emotions that those memories used to trigger.

The choice becomes: Will you indulge in the emotions triggered by your memories to the detriment of a successful recovery from divorce? Or will you keep your eye on the prize and allow the good and bad memories to morph into a feeling of indifference that will allow you to recover quickly and successfully from the divorce?

How are you supposed to do this?

Dissolving resistance to change is the key

Letting go of your emotional reactions to the life you lived with your ex and replacing them with detached nonchalance represents a big change in how you think about your ex and your life. Making this change will meet significant resistance.

The key to a successful recovery is in dissolving that resistance. The result will be that previously strong emotional reactions to your ex are replaced by a new, deep sense of detachment. Only then will you truly free yourself from the baggage of the past and be ready to forge your new future.

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