It’s been said that people who are going through divorce are nothing like their usual selves; they are showing the worst part of their nature.  It’s worth asking the question: why is that?  And further: how can we fix it?

My personal belief is that people show the worst side of their nature because they feel out of control.  The loss of control can come from a lot of places.  Mostly it is the fact that each of the people feels misunderstood and hurt by the other’s actions and now the formality of the divorce brings all that into focus.  Most legal systems favor a no fault approach to divorce which means that a lot of the stuff about the emotions of the marriage become irrelevant in the legal context.  This makes people even more angry because they cannot use the court system to get justice for their emotions so they feel powerless.

How I think this can be fixed is by taking control of everything.  The steps start small and then grow from there.  First, you must allow yourself to feel how you do but then look at whether those feelings are leading to anything positive.  Anger, for instance, can spur us to action.  Sometimes that action is good, other times it is very bad.  Ask yourself: is this thing I am doing going to lead to any positive outcome or will it make things worse for me?

Many people feel anxious about dealing with the legal system.  One way to deal with that anxiety is to partner with your lawyer in preparing all the information that will be needed for your court papers or hearings.  The more you do the less your attorney will have to do, especially when it comes to the facts of your situation.  When it comes to the law itself, it is best to leave that work to the lawyer because there are things about the way the law works that may not make sense to a person who doesn’t work with it all the time.  Also different people within the court system do things differently and your lawyer may know how your court personnel will handle various things.

Many people feel sad and worry about the future.  One way to handle that sadness and worry is to start imagining your future now.  Ask yourself:  where am I today and where am I going?  The mistake people make often is they keep replaying the past so they never move on.  You can see the future in increments.  Where am I going might be for this afternoon, it might be for next week, it might be in five or ten years but it has to be forward.  If you start thinking ahead you will start moving forward, and once you get going you will develop momentum.

Finally, be kind to yourself.  Find some time for something enjoyable and be sure to really pay attention to your enjoyment of it.  Realize that although things are changing for you there is good in every day and you can find it.  Also, if you are impatient or difficult with others because of all the stress you are under, ask for their understanding and don’t be afraid to ask for their help.  It may be that you just need a shoulder to cry on or another point of view, or it may be for something more tangible but get the help you need.  If you feel you might need further professional help with your emotions, seek it out.  There are many possible ways to get it, not all are expensive.

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