Pain and Fear Caused by Divorce Distort Reality and CrippleOur Problem-Solving and Decision-Making Ability
Our emotion-based reactions to divorce sabotage our problem solving ability by:
Trap #1. Concealing the issues that are not immediately obvious
For example, it is all too easy to see our ex as the problem, rather than realizing the real issue is our reluctance to let go of our attachments to “how life used to be” with our ex in it so we can get on with the next chapter in our life.
Think of an example of when you allowed your emotions to cover up some real underlying issue related to your divorce. What was the real issue? How did you use a pseudo issue to hide it from yourself? What was the result?
Trap #2. Exaggerating the importance of minor issues
For example, our pain and fear can escalate the minor problem of our ex being ten minutes late to pick up the kids for a weekend visit into a full-blown tirade about the ex’s lack of respect for me and how he or she “uses our kids as a weapon against me!”
Think of an example of when you allowed your emotions to blow the importance of a minor issue related to your divorce completely out of proportion. What was the minor issue? How did you make it into a big issue? What was the result?
Trap #3. Distorting our perceptions of the major issues
For example, in our obsession with our anger and resentment over having lost our hopes and dreams for the life we have envisioned, we often fail to appreciate what the upside of divorce offers us. We can lose sight of the fact that we now have the opportunity to reinvent ourselves using all the wisdom gained over the years of our marriage plus the invaluable gifts of insight and self-knowledge our divorce has “forced upon us.”
Think of an example of when you allowed your emotions to distort the reality of some big issue related to your divorce into either ignoring it or treating it as minor. What was the issue? How did you distort it? What was the result?
Trap #4. Preventing closure with a never-ending stream of “new” problems
The bundle of pain and fear seems to act like a very powerful “What if?” magnet which prevents us from accepting and dealing with simply “What is.” As one problem gets solved, we tell ourselves, such things as “OK, even though my ex did not like the outcome, the issue of child support is resolved. But, what if he doesn’t pay it on time? What if he simply refuses to pay it? What if he loses his job and can’t pay it at all. WHAT WILL I DO THEN?” Like ducks in an arcade shooting gallery, when one target is hit, another one pops up to take its place thanks to that bundle of pain and fear that is part and parcel of getting divorced. Where there is festering pain and fear, the supply of disaster fantasies is infinite.
Think of an example of when you allowed your emotions to create some never-ending stream of issues related to your divorce. What was the issue? How did you create follow-up issues ad infinitum? What was the result?
Thinking back over the four examples of how emotions attached to your divorce hindered your seeing and solving the real problem, which one do you feel comes most naturally to you? Could this be your Achilles’ Heel?