In November 2005 my then wife (now my ex-wife) announced her desire for a divorce. Today I am self-employed and happy, remarried, spending lots of time with the kids, and getting ready for a basketball game at their school (I am an assistant JV coach!). I did it and you can, too.
Last week I summarized 12 steps to financial security during and after the divorce, and here’s the first one: getting a handle on your emotions.
If you want financial security you need to have equanimity, that is, self-possession and calm amid the crapstorm. In child custody cases you’ll need to be imperturbable when the other parent tries to throw you off center. For financial issues you’ll need to channel your inner mathematician, someone who can make wise decisions under pressure. You need the ability to bring the joy, even when others try to tear you down.
You really can be calm, and even joyful during your divorce process. I’ve lived this and watched countless others live it too. Here are some ideas about how to get through the post-announcement doldrums.
Bad emotions will cause you to make bad mistakes. Among these mistakes are:
- Sending nasty text messages and e-mails that can be used against you later;
- Posting nasty things on social media;
- Dumping your case on an aggressive divorce attorney and creating a plan for revenge rather than for happiness;
- Purposefully withholding your children from the other parent;
- Getting arrested for domestic violence.
Understand that whether you’re leaving or being left, this is going to be emotionally difficult. It’s the nature of the beast. But you can come out ahead if you can see a happy future, one in which you are achieving your highest values and aspirations. It’s hard to see it now, but you can see it.
I would urge you to write out a detailed description of what your post-divorce life looks like, as though it’s already happened. Write about that big house by the ocean that you finally have, and the great school district where your kid are now getting straight As. Write in detail about how you finally wrote that “Meditation through Painting” book, got a spot on the Oprah Winfrey Show, and went on to make seven figures selling instructional videos.
Talk about your dreams as though you’ve already accomplished them. This will set your subconscious to work on making your dreams into reality. Dream big, and read your dream sheet out loud to yourself every day.
By contrast, nothing can destroy hope faster than dwelling on what is lost, plotting revenge, or trying to hold on to the past. Don’t dwell on what a jerk your ex is. Instead, think ahead to the great life you are now creating. Don’t let anger or resentment set in—these will cause you to make bad decisions.
Keep in mind that the best revenge is always living well. Reach for your dreams; it will drive your ex crazy. Then, when your ex tries to draw you into conflict, all you’ll hear is “blah, blah, blah.”
Next week I’m going to talk about your divorce plan of escape. Until then,
Love your family,
Protect your finances, and
Reach for your future!
Thomas D. Ferreira, Esq.