Whether you are planning an amicable divorce or a “conscious uncoupling”, you will need strategies to steer away from a bitter ending and protect your children so they can flourish in two homes.
As a single mother and someone who has been there, it is my passion to help both men and women “make lemonade out of the life you are dealt with”, so that at least one parent can provide emotional support for the children. Divorce is always hard on the children, and some of them need special consideration to survive the traumatic experience and continue enjoying a positive relationship with both parents.
Divorce is a traumatic event, no matter which parent initiates it. Nothing hurts like heartache, and grief from a divorce can quickly become all-consuming. Research has shown that physical pain and intense feelings of rejection from an unwanted romantic break-up "hurt" in the same way. (Kross, Berman, Mischel, Smith and Wager, 2011).
In trying to overcome the trauma that the marriage has come to an end, it is easy to get caught up in a negative feedback loop that often involves the children and disregards the pain they are experiencing. Feeling let down and defeated, we might even pressure the children into taking sides, further complicating an already difficult life event and delaying recovery.
If you are going through a messy divorce and cannot control the other parent’s behaviour, there’s still a lot you can do for your children to reduce the confusion, sadness, and anxiety they are experiencing. You can take action in redressing the relationship difficulties, and together we can find strategies to ameliorate the negative effects on you and the children. You can learn how to ask yourself and your children questions that optimize healing and growth during this difficult time.
Children whose parents reach out for help are the lucky ones.
If you are contemplating a divorce and want to minimize the damage to your children, or if you are tired of working with a difficult co-parent, I am here to help you make sound choices and help you understand how the legal process of ending a marriage works. Learning to manage your expectations, developing a healthy working relationship, and setting boundaries with your co-parent for the sake of your children can make a world of difference.
I know from first-hand experience how tough divorce can be on everyone involved, and I am familiar with the feelings of anger, fear, grief, and betrayal you and your children might be experiencing. As a therapist, I have also seen how the trauma of divorce can have lasting effects on the children and usually the left-behind.
As a parent, there is nothing worse than experiencing a deteriorating relationship with your children during or after the divorce. However, there are conscious steps you can take to keep the divorce relatively peaceful and your communication with the other parent constructive.
“Ultimately, we all have to decide for ourselves what constitutes failure, but the world is quite eager to give you a set of criteria if you let it ”
― J.K Rowling
Being in a high-conflict situation—emotionally drained from being taken advantage of, and feeling like you are constantly on edge—can be overwhelming, but you have the choice to get support and learn to embrace the divorce as a learning experience, especially if the other parent is uncooperative.