Relationships have changed more in the past 50 years than they ever have in the previous 5000. So the fact that we don’t really know how to do this divorce thing… well, it makes sense. It’s all brand new. But it’s important we learn – because we are doing some serious damage as we careen through this unfamiliar life transition without the necessary guidance.
It is time for us to develop new skills and capacities so we can navigate relationship changes in a way that leaves all people involved healthy, happy and whole. Here are some basic pointers (with a bow to one of my mentors, Katherine Woodward Thomas)
Mistake #1 – Hating the person we once loved. Many people believe that hating our former partner is a great way to detach. Not so. Hate is so intense that it actually keeps us attached to our former partner. It is a sign that you are not ready to move on. If you want to move on, it is imperative that you work on letting go of the hate, the resentment, the blaming, the shaming. The goal is to achieve a neutral feeling towards the former partner. This requires work on our part, in order to fully become whole again so we can create healthy, fulfilling relationships. This important and challenging work.
Mistake #2 – Not taking responsibility for our part in the ending of the relationship. Even if we only believe we were 5% responsible for problems in the relationship, it is important to take full responsibility for our part. As long as we shame and blame another, we are unable to grow, heal and move on. Ideally, as you reflect deeply on the problems in your relationship and the challenges of your breakup, you will become aware of the behaviors that create your experiences. This requires a shift in consciousness. This is not to say that you are responsible for someone else’s bad behavior. You are only responsible for your reactions. For a lot of us, this idea of personal responsibility is actually pretty radical.
Mistake #3 –Believing the myth that time heals all wounds. Time may diminish your pain, but it will not automatically give you the valuable lessons that you could learn from this experience. Working through a process in which you get a chance to choose your new behaviors and grow out out old patterns is what will give you the power to create a new way of loving and living. Many people spend years, if not decades waiting for “time” to do it’s work.
Life’s too short! Lets get through this faster, stronger and wiser!