When conflict hits it can feel like a crisis urging us to act quickly. That makes sense because adrenaline and other stress hormones flood our body and brain preparing us to take flight or fight. This can lead to heroic acts like lifting a car off a trapped person, but in our daily lives it more often leads to a panic to action that causes all kinds of bad decisions and outcomes.
This is especially true when going through a divorce because there are so many unknowns: What will we do about the children? Where will we live? Will I be able to afford to retire in the future? Will I have to pay support? Will I receive support?
Yet, reflection, not reaction, are needed when working through a difficult situation. Take the time you need to think things through. If your spouse is pressuring you to act, reassure them by giving them a timeframe when you will give them answers or schedule an appointment with a mediator. Say something like, “This is really important and I don’t have the proper time to deal with it now. I will have more to share next week.”
Although divorce may be the last thing you want to be going through, ask yourself, if this situation worked out perfectly, what would the result be? This often leads to an immediate sense of calm because you are shifting your brain’s attention away from panic and focusing on a positive outcome. Next, ask yourself why that particular result is important.
Discovering why we want an outcome helps us to understand how we are feeling and what we are needing. Let’s say I am a parent and the best outcome for me would be to keep our current home and have the children spend weeknights with me. I could be feeling anxious because I have a need for security for my children. Or, I might be feeling scared, because I have a need for support from my neighborhood friends. You get the idea.
I may not get everything I want, but identifying how I am feeling and why I want an outcome helps me to regain a sense of control and opens up options to get to my needs met. Operating out of pure emotion without understanding what is driving me will often lead to hasty decisions to make the bad feelings go away. For help through divorce, contact a mediator today at 585-244-2444 or firstname.lastname@example.org.