Monday, July 30, 2018

Emergency Response Plan

          Not wanting to add gasoline to the divorce fire, I hate to use the words “emergency” and “divorce” in the same conversation.  However, my mission in life is to help and sometimes that means straight talking about stuff that people don’t want to hear.  So, with that warning, here’s my advice: You need to write an “Emergency Response Plan” as part of your divorce!  The data proves that those who have an emergency plan are more likely to survive a disaster and while I’m not exactly saying that divorces are like disasters, there are definitely some parallels….If you have your plan, when “stuff happens” and your emotions are flaring (which often means you’re reacting instead of thinking), you can follow your plan instead of screaming at your ex in front of your children, or throwing a cast iron pan, or any number of things that normal angry people might do…and then later regret….
          During a divorce (which could start long before the word “DIVORCE!” is uttered and keep going all the way through the final decree and way beyond – sometimes a whole lifetime if there are lingering issues), it’s pretty certain that at least one “emergency” will pop up. Maybe money is withheld, or you learn that your ex is about to take a great vacation with your children and the new love interest, or a judge “unexpectedly” rules against you, etc., etc.  There are a bunch of things that could easily ignite a trigger. I’m guessing that everyone reading this could tell me about some horrific button-pushing-divorce-emergency. 
You can’t plan for everything; however, you can have a general plan to fall back on when the going gets super rough so that when it does (because at some point, it will), instead of retaliating, you can calmly do what you need to do.  I promise you that no matter how livid you get when the “emergency” hits you, your interests will be much better served if you can stick with a measured response.  Trust me, notwithstanding how angry and justified you feel in the moment, a judge reading about it later will probably see it differently.  There’s also the reverberating emotional baggage that you (and your children) will carry from an angry outburst.
          And after the heat has passed, as you continue on with your life, you will feel better if you have used your “Emergency Response Plan” instead of reacting in the moment.  Anger begets anger – no matter how great it might feel at the time (to lash out), feeding the fire of anger only leads to more anger.  Before you get to that point, try to focus on how you want to feel – do you want to feel hopping mad or do you want to feel blissful and content?  There is a time and place for anger, though it’s much better if it can be directed to an appropriate channel. In my Divorce Wellness work, I coach clients to focus on their wellness and help them to take steps to build it. 
          Hopefully you’re now convinced that Emergency Preparedness is a fundamental part of Divorce Wellness and you’re ready to try it. Here’s some ideas to help you get started:
  • ·        In a quiet time, think about your trigger points, write them down, remind yourself that when triggered, you will utilize your Emergency Response Plan
  • ·        Write down a list of friends and family who you can call, text, hang out with when necessary to vent (and use this with care so that loved ones don’t get burned out)
  • ·        Think of activities that self-sooth you (these are individual for each person so my suggestions may not do it for you and that’s okay – think about your own self-soothers). Possibilities: yoga, running, swimming, walking, singing, dancing, washing dishes, gardening, etc., etc. (Recently I dragged my grumpy friend to a plant nursery, a magical couple acres in the middle of the city – we were both blown away at how wonderful it felt to walk through the aisles of beautiful lush little plants – I highly recommend!)
  • ·        Educate yourself about the different ways of obtaining a divorce – e.g., “do it yourself,” mediation, litigation – to decide which method will work best for you
  • ·        Always try to practice self-TLC (tender loving care) – it’s okay if you blow it and blow up sometimes! We are all human beings and not perfect so if you fall off your plan once in a while, please give yourself a pass and move on….

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  • ·        Contact me if you want to talk about your Divorce Wellness and creating the new normal that makes you happy – OR 510.210.3796