Why it is so important and necessary to keep your emotions in check during separation and divorce...
Get useful suggestions from Mike Mastracci's book Stop Fighting Over the Kids: Resolving Day-to-Day Custody Conflict in Divorce Situations. So much of the process is managing all of the things that are practical as opposed to the legal in nature. Control what you can control and take charge of life.
Fear is the mother of all emotions.The fight or flight syndrome is simply a part of humanity that dates back to caveman days, an animal-like response that drives our behavior in times of perceived vulnerability. Life during an acrimonious child custody battle produces the same chronic heightened state of alertness, helplessness, and fear of the unknown. The feelings are just as real as those experienced in immediate life-threatening situations. Without going into a science lesson or mental health dissertation, suffice it to say that stress, fear, and anxiety are more than just unpleasant experiences. These feelings can and do cause physical and mental problems. No one is immune. When entrenched in parental warfare, you are physically and mentally at your worst. It affects your quality of life and the lives of everyone around you, especially your children.
Be aware that:
The mind is a powerful weapon, and it can lead us to self destruction.
The mind’s effects on the body can take its toll without our conscious awareness.
Long-term aggravation, with no end in sight, is unhealthy.
Prolonged stress, the constant up and down feelings, the false alarms, and the recurring “what’s next?” thoughts can lead to dramatic and uncontrollable physical and psychological consequences.
A custody battle is unpredictable.
What is quality of life really worth?Separation, divorce, and child custody battles are “mind fields” of stress and anxiety. Prolonged and unnecessary fighting may affect your overall quality of life more than you realize. It can be overwhelming. Worse yet, it all trickles down to your children, especially during the crazy times.
Tips for keeping a healthy emotional balance through separation and divorce.Physical fitness and exercise help keep the mind strong too. Get off the couch, go out, do things.
Try to compartmentalize your life in certain areas by designating certain days or times to work on your divorce, separation, or child-related issues. At other times, try to just get on with life. Things still need to get done at home and at work.
Don’t constantly talk about your family problems to non-professionals.
If you talk about it all the time, even your friends and loved ones will eventually distance themselves.
Everyone has problems, and there is little they can do anyway.
Consider groups like Parents Without Partners, Divorce Care, or other support groups. Learn from people who genuinely understand what you are going through.
Internet dating and “pen pals” might be a good outlet, but be careful about your e-mail being subject to hacking or subpoena.
Counseling or therapy can help anyone, including you. It is not just for “sissies” or the “weak.”
Don’t be afraid of being negatively stigmatized by therapy or prescription medication. Judges understand the pressures and they usually want to help people who recognize they need assistance and who are committed to self-improvement.
When your children are with you, spend that time interacting with them.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor. Sleep deprivation can greatly contribute to chronic depression.
Do not use your children as your emotional crutch. Try not to let them know how upset and scared you are; but do always reassure them that you love them unconditionally.
Drugs and alcohol are temporary panaceas that further complicate matters. Don’t excessively drink alcohol; don’t do drugs.
Look for ways to laugh.
Limit the size of “to do” lists.
Prioritize more and focus on the most important things in your life more than ever.
Now would be a good time to focus on getting organized.