How to Stay in Control

Divorce, at all stages, involves dealing with others’ actions.  Your ex’s actions and communications can provoke an emotionally charged reaction in you.  You can also be affected by things that your children, other family members or friends say and do.

You can’t control the actions of others; you can only control your response to their actions.
Trying to remain calm and avoid reacting with anger, tears, or barbs can be exhausting.  But it is worth it.  It keeps you moving in a positive direction.  It’s healthier for you, for your children, and for all of your relationships.

I have found the following approaches to be helpful:

  • Anticipate situations and prepare – your situations are unique, but there are common threads in the divorce experience.  Find out about situations that others have experienced that might affect you and think about how you would handle them.
  • Understand anger is part of the process – expect it.
  • Avoid instantly responding to emails that have hit emotional trigger points.
    • Write your response if you must, but DON’T send it.
    • Discuss your reactions with a supportive yet objective sounding board
  • Stay on the high road.  It is a lonely place at times but will pay off big time later on.   You will find outsiders admiring your strength and integrity.
    • Keep anger and ugliness out of emails.
    • Speak positively about your children’s other parent.
    • Remove yourself from situations or phone calls that are not productive and pull you backwards.
  • Ward off toxic support.  When sharing details of your divorce with friends, be aware of when they fall in the circle of doom with you.  While their intention is to protect and support you, it tends to encourage unproductive behavior.
  • Most importantly, repeat often:
    I can only control my response to another’s action. I have a choice as to how I respond.

Try these approaches.  You will find you have more time and energy to direct toward your loved ones, and less angst.

Do you have a situation that you diffused to share?  Please tell us in the comments below.

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