Divorce involves a complex variety of challenges; personal, emotional, legal and practical. The formal process of becoming “unmarried” involves uncomfortable often life changing decisions and you are facing these difficult decisions when you are likely to be feeling at your most vulnerable.
It is a sign of strength, not weakness to recognise you need help and support.
Having a strong support network in place, helps put you in the best position possible for coping with the challenges ahead of you. Some people are lucky enough to have good friends and family around them. Others may not, but both can benefit from the professional support and guidance of experienced divorce professionals to help them through this difficult time.
Whilst it is extremely beneficial to have people to turn to in your hour of need, please ensure you are getting the right type of support.
In some cases, the wrong type of support is worse than no support at all.
How do I know if its not the WRONG support?
Be careful who you confide in during your divorce. Friends and family have the best intentions, and want to support and help you through this difficult time in your life. But, be warned that they will often give their opinions and judgement about your situation. They are also likely to be biased. They have their own agenda and feelings about what’s happening. Whilst they are trying to show their support for you, this type of “support” can be very negative and unproductive.
You are likely to be feeling sensitive about the advice you receive from those around you. When we are feeling vulnerable, we are more susceptible to the influence of strong -willed friends and family. Remember, this is your life and you are the one living through this divorce. It is important for you to make your own informed decisions. You are the one who has to live with the decisions, not your friends and family. By all means listen to what they have to say, but then give yourself some space and decide for yourself whether you want to accept the advice.
So, how do I get the RIGHT support?
Here are my 4 top tips for ensuring you get the right kind of support during your divorce:
1. Choose carefully who you confide in.
Choose friends and family who are calming influences on you and have great listening skills. Can they give sensible advice? Do they know when it is appropriate to keep their own personal feelings to themselves? Are they okay about you saying thanks but no thanks to their advice?
2. Keep the number of people you confide in fairly small.
The more people you tell about every small detail, the more people you’ll need to update along the way. This can be exhausting and you want to avoid having to talk about the divorce all the time. It also increases the number of people who may feel the need to give you their opinions. More people, means more opinions and more time spent talking and thinking about the divorce.
3. Be confident in telling people how they can help you.
It is very difficult to see someone you care about going through a difficult time, not knowing how you can help them. Let your friends and family know if there is anything they can do to support you- e.g. is one of your friends a good cook who could help prepare some home cooked meals to save you some time? Do you just need to vent and have someone listen quietly without passing judgement? Could you do with some help with the kids, whilst you do some chores or have a break?
4. Get professional support and guidance from divorce professionals.
Whether you have family and friends who provide great support or not, there are significant benefits to instructing the services of a divorce coach and sometimes a counsellor. They can provide a different perspective to friends and family. They are non- judgemental and can provide valuable perspective. They have experience “in the field”, having worked with many other clients going through divorce. This can put them in a strong position to provide helpful suggestions on how best to approach things in your particular situation. See my blog The Benefits of Divorce Coaching for more information about how working with a divorce coach can help you through your divorce journey.
Like friends and family, make sure you’re getting the right kind of support from the divorce professionals. If you are contemplating instructing the services of a divorce coach/consultant or counsellor, first find out their credentials. Do they have professional qualifications to be providing support and guidance to people going through divorce? Be warned, if their only experience is that they have been through divorce themselves. That makes them an expert in their divorce, not yours.
If you have found the tips in this blog useful then you will find lots more in my ebook “Tips for Coping with Divorce” which you can download here: free ebook.
By signing up you will also receive my monthly newsletter with more free advice on different aspects of divorce.