Divorce and Separation: How to Handle The Reactions of Family and Friends

“I’ve been separated for a few months now and am still feeling pretty shell-shocked. How do I handle my friends and family? Everyone is telling me what to do, how I should feel, asking all sorts of questions I don’t feel like answering. I feel like shutting down.


The transition from going from married to separated can be pretty rocky. It sounds like your emotional stamina has been really tested, which is to be expected. Your family and friends and all of their advice and questions are well-intentioned, but it sounds like they aren’t really helping. So how do you ask for what you need?

Don’t be afraid to tell your supporters that you appreciate their help but right now the best way they could help you is simply to offer you love and to listen to you. Listening deeply to another without an agenda to “fix” them or solve their problem is such an important gift. Too often people listen more to what they want to say next, instead of ….

just listening and letting someone pour their heart out. Tell them the barrage of advice and “Here’s what I would do” are adding to your sense of overwhelm instead of helping you get your feet back on the ground.

Realize that your friends and family are likely going through their own emotional upset as well. People don’t get training manuals on divorce etiquette, so they are doing the best they can and may simply be feeling uncomfortable themselves. They may have strong feelings about your ex-partner, or are concerned about your well-being, or both. It could be bringing up their own feelings of insecurity or doubt about their own relationship. Regardless, it’s totally acceptable to let them know what you need. If the conversation starts to go down a road you don’t want to travel, simply tell them “You know, I’d rather not get into that right now. Let’s change the subject.” They will follow your cues.

It is important, however, that you do find some forum to express and explore your feelings. Divorce isn’t easy, but it’s an opportunity to discover new wisdom and strength within yourself, if you’re willing to look. So I wouldn’t recommend simply “shutting down” permanently. The risk there is that you could simply repeat past mistakes because the lessons that are in this separation for you haven’t been fully excavated and digested.

The Divorce Resource Kit offers many tools, such as the THRIVE Principles ™ and strategies to help you get your sense of center and confidence back. You may also want to work with a divorce coach or find a local support group where you can connect with others going through divorce. You don’t need to travel the divorce journey alone.

Ask your question, in confidence, by clicking here or you may email us at askthrive@thriveafterdivorce.com. We’ll answer your question in upcoming issues!

Leadership: The One Person You Absolutely MUST Lead

Being a brilliant entrepreneur, a brilliant mom or a brilliant partner requires one thing. To succeed we need to be able to calls forth the best of ourselves every day and in every way.

As the leader of your life, there are so many people who look to you to take their cues: your clients, your children, your partner, your colleagues, and your neighbors. Mompreneurs in particular are often caught trying to find that elusive balance between work and family, between joyful creation and stressful chaos.

But the true test of leadership is this – are you practicing your own internal leadership? Would you be inspired, motivated and decide to follow yourself?

One of my teachers used to say that the first person you must learn to lead is yourself. Attending management courses and reading the very finest leadership literature is good, but the greatest arena for learning about powerful and lasting leadership is … within yourself.

Having a strong and resilient emotional foundation is a key ingredient to one’s success and impact. So I believe we must always be willing to do our own emotional homework to ensure that this internal foundation is strong enough to hold the business we desire.

Here are some tips to help you diagnose and up-level your self-leadership!

1.  Do an Integrity Check

Do a scan of your life to see if there are areas where what you are doing is different than what you are saying. Are there places where things feel out of integrity? Are you tolerating things that are incomplete? Are you walking your talk? It might be finishing up a product, making a call you’ve been avoiding, or letting clutter overwhelm your office. This scan will tell you where you have the opportunity to recommit to the leadership of your life. Write them down and come up with a plan to tackle these areas that are energetically eroding your leadership.

2.  Get in the Driver’s Seat

It’s tough to lead your life, let alone a business, if you allow other people to be in the driver’s seat. Self-leadership requires you to take responsibility for your thoughts, words and actions. When you’re in the driver’s seat of your life, you get to decide where you’re going, the route you’re going to take, and how fast you want to drive to get there. Yet sometimes we subtly concede that driver’s seat position to others – a spouse, our children, a business partner, a demanding client, or a parent, to name a few examples.

3. Perfection is Not Required, Shifting is

Don’t forget that we’re all human, and we definitely make mistakes. So even if you see there are areas where your ability to lead yourself isn’t what you want it to be, don’t despair! Perfection is not required in order to move forward to unleash your brilliance. Self-awareness and a consistent choice to shift out of limiting behaviors or patterns is. Being able to see what’s not working and shift it quickly, and with confidence, is critical so your true brilliance can shine brightly in the world. Learning to lead yourself with confidence and ease is the goal.

© 2011-2012 Carolyn B. Ellis All Rights Reserved

Stop Lying, Making Excuses and Blaming – Why You Need to Own Your Results

Guest Article: Carla Young, MOMeoMagazine.com

Ever listen to a conspiracy zealot explain how the absence of proof is even MORE proof of a conspiracy? It seems no amount of evidence to the contrary is sufficient to sway them from their firm belief that the world is out to get them.

That’s what you sound like when you dodge fault in every situation. This idea failed because the system wasn’t set up to allow your success, that campaign flopped because the economy crashed, this big thing never got off the ground because fill-in-the-blank.

The truth is that whenever you say things like “But I can’t do that” or “If only this would change, I could”, you are giving up before you even start. Even worse, you are giving up your power to change your world by leaving it to mysterious outside forces that may (or may not) smile on you.

Why You Need to Own Your Results

Let me be blunt. You can’t change what you don’t own and other than a piano falling on you and other very random occurrences, chances are you own every result. So when you make excuses and blame outside forces that are beyond your control, you get stuck with the same bad results because of the problems you refuse to own.

To learn the 5 reasons why you need to own your results.

#1: You can’t see the real problem – If you don’t own your results (or rather the hand you played in them), you can only see the symptoms and never the real underlying problem.

#2: You can’t learn from what you don’t own – People make mistakes – accept that fact and get over it. The next step is to learn something from it. Start connecting the dots. What was the chain of events that lead to the catastrophic failure? Now you know for next time and that’s a powerful tool.

#3: You can’t fix what you don’t own – You can change everything around the problem, but if you are the cause (or somewhat responsible) the problem will continue to exist because you are the weakness link.

#4: You can’t seek advice on what you don’t own – What is your adviser to say when you tell him or her that all these random bad things just happen to you for no apparent reason? Probably something like “That’s terrible. Better luck in the future.” Owning your results gives you the tools to seek relevant advice.

#5: You can’t move forward from what you don’t own – No ownership means no growth and that means you are suck repeating the same bad habits again and again and again.

Carla Young is Founder and CEO of MOMeoMagazine.com and MOMeoCommunity.com. If there’s living proof that women can have it all – and then some – it’s Carla Young. Building her multiple businesses on a virtual work-at-home model, Carla is an inspiration to other mothers who want to start a lifestyle business. Realizing that “doing it all” was unhealthy and unsustainable, Carla started by getting organized to the extreme, developing support systems for both her work and family. She is dedicated to supporting moms at work, at home and at play (because every mommy deserves a little me-time)!

3 Tips to Getting Over Yourself and Into Action

(If you prefer to listen to the audio version of this week’s article instead, just click “Listen Now” below!)

“Your net worth to the world is usually determined by what remains after your bad habits are subtracted from your good ones.” ~Benjamin Franklin

A big challenge brilliant entrepreneurs face is we get tripped up getting in our own way. So with the deepest love and respect, I suggest we all get over ourselves! What do we need to get over? Just a few wee things that stop us from getting into some serious action – things like our perfectionism, our doubts, our
“reasons” why we can’t have what we want.

Have you ever had a great idea blossom in your heart, only to find yourself losing steam and courage? The perfectionism kicks in as you wonder whether the idea will be “good enough” for your clients. Or perhaps you delay product launches because you want to keep tweaking the copy, the packaging and the marketing because your doubt that people want what you have has been taking you down a side road. Maybe you decide you need just one more seminar in something and THEN you’ll be ready to take action. Does any of this sound familiar to you?

If it does, you are not alone

Tip 1. Take Imperfect Action

On the one hand, a desire to offer excellence in service is a beautiful thing. But when getting your products and services out there gets side-lined with a need to have everything be “perfect” that is a problem. Creativity is an energy that needs to stay in circulation. When you stop taking action because you’re tinkering with small details, that creativity and inspiration turns quickly into a form of emotional and spiritual constipation.

One of my mentors says, “Imperfect progress is better than perfect inaction.” Waiting until all your ducks are in a row before you green light a new idea is a way to stifle your brilliance. Your market and the rest of the world are moving and you may be missing out on some valuable opportunities as you tinker to get everything “just right.”

Tip 2. Keep Your Eyes on the Horizon

Remember there is a whole big world out there full of people who need to be touched in some way by the gifts and services you offer. So keep your eyes on the horizon so you can get the bigger picture.

Getting in your own way means you’ve just narrowed your perspective to only see your own issues and obstacles. And that ultimately robs those people who have problems you can help solve get the relief and solution they are looking for. Plus, it robs you of the ability to be compensated for your gifts and grow your business and influence even further.

Tip 3. Eat the Elephant One Bite at a Time

Feeling overwhelmed and not knowing where to start is another way to get tripped up. To get into powerful action, remember to break things down into manageable chunks. As the story goes, the way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.

Keep asking yourself what is the next actionable step you can take, and then take it. That way you won’t let the scale of a project give you an excuse to sit on the sidelines while you figure it all out.

Scan your project lists – both business and personal. See if there’s an area that is calling out for you to “get over yourself.” Identify one bite-sized piece of imperfect action you can take. Take action on it within the next 7 days.

© 2011 Carolyn B. Ellis All Rights Reserved

Divorce and Separation: How to Handle Criticism from Your Ex

“How do I handle my anxiety? My ex-husband says negative things to me constantly.”

Thank you for a great question about how to learn to manage your emotional state so it doesn’t go completely topsy-turvy when your ex-spouse fires off a nasty comment or jibe. So many people can relate to this situation, and there are indeed some strategies that can help you to not spin out emotionally.

In divorce there are lots of strong emotions that run rampant, often for months on end. This makes it hard to keep your emotional balance. Ex-spouses seem particularly gifted at knowing how to push those hot buttons that can send you into fear, anxiety, anger or depression. But it’s important to realize that we may never be able to get them to stop pushing the button BUT we can learn how to unplug that button so it doesn’t take you out of your power. To do this properly requires far more than can be offered in this article, but here are some strategies to get you started.

First, realize that what your ex thinks of you is actually none of your business. As I explain in my award-winning Divorce Resource Kit, the degree to which you continue to allow your energy and time to be sucked into drama about why your ex said something derogatory is the degree to which you help contribute to your ongoing suffering. Recognize that your ex is upset and acting out in a particular way because of their emotional reality, but that is your ex’s responsibility to sort out. Your primary responsibility has to be to your own healing journey. Don’t let your ex’s emotional state become a distraction to your own healing.

Second, go beyond the content of the negativity and get curious about what the dynamic is underneath it that bothers you so. If you’re having a strong emotional reaction, there is some gold here to mine for you.

For example, perhaps your ex mouthing off about you makes you feel totally disrespected. But look at that button of “I feel disrespected” closely. Are there some ways you might be disrespecting yourself? If so, what steps could you take to better honor and respect yourself. Often when you dig more deeply into the issue you will find some area where you need to uplevel and support yourself. When you address that, you’ll invariably find that particular barb from your ex will have far less ability to upset you because you have started to defuse the button altogether.

Ask your question, in confidence, by clicking here or you may email us at askthrive@thriveafterdivorce.com. We’ll answer your question in upcoming issues!

Divorce and Separation: When Your Ex Badmouths You To Your Children

Q. “How do I maintain a good relationship with my son who is regularly exposed to negative talk about me from his father?

A. This is a great question and unfortunately it is an issue that way too many separated parents have to deal with. Badmouthing, criticizing, or gossiping about one parent to the children hurts the children far more than it hurts the parent who is being criticized. Children see themselves as a product of both mom and dad. When one parent is derided by the other, the children quickly conclude that there may be something wrong about them too.

I would recommend a two-pronged approach. First, focus on building … Continue reading

Divorce and Separation: Ex-In Laws

Q. “After 24 years of marriage, I am now separated from my husband. I actually love my in-laws, who are now my ex-in-laws. Do I have to lose them too?”

A. In the separation process, a lot of the discussion focuses on things like splitting up the assets of money and real estate. But there’s not usually a lot of awareness of how the social assets, like extended family members and in-laws, can get divided. There are many factors that come into play about whether ex-in-laws will still have a meaningful relationship with you or not. Some of these factors include whether you have children together, how their son feels about you having an ongoing relationship, and whether your in-laws feel they need to demonstrate some sense of loyalty to their son. So it is not a simple “yes” or “no” answer to your question about whether you have to “lose them” as well.

There are a few things I recommend you do. First, take it one step at a time and beware of …making any assumptions on how anyone is supposed to act at this stage. Allow things to unfold as those people also affected by your separation come to terms with this new reality. Second, let your in-laws know how you feel. Whether you end up with an active ongoing relationship, or it becomes clear that you will lose their presence in your life, honor them for the place they hold in your heart. People come into our lives and enrich us. It can be very healing for both you and them to speak to them from your heart about how you feel about them. Third, be open to the nature of your relationship with them changing. Don’t fall into the trap of having the dynamic of the relationship change, which is quite natural after a separation, and then bemoan the fact that things aren’t like they used to be. The one thing we can always count on is change. Be willing to be flexible and open to the nature of the relationship changing, and yet know that those threads of love you feel for them can still connect you.

© 2010 Carolyn B. Ellis

Ask your question, in confidence, by clicking here or you may email us at askthrive@thriveafterdivorce.com. We’ll answer your question in upcoming issues

Divorce: Father’s Day Without My Children

Q. “My ex and I now live in different cities and it’s hard to be a non-custodial father. I find days like Father’s Day especially hard when they’re not with me. How do I build my relationship with my kids when I see them mostly in summer and major holidays?”

A. Being a non-custodial parent isn’t easy, but I believe it is definitely possible to be connected and an important part of your children’s lives. Certainly occasions like these Hallmark holidays of Father’s Day and Mother’s Day can end up feeling like more salt in a wound if you’re not prepared.

Keeping current on your children’s quickly evolving lives requires a commitment of time and energy. Luckily with advances in technology, there are many ways to keep in tune with the latest and greatest developments and interests of your children. Phone calls are clearly simple to do, but not always in fashion with the teen crowd. Options like email, text messaging and skype offer immediacy and connection in a format that many children nowadays like to communicate. The option of video skype offers the chance for

Continue reading

Speaking The Truth: Debunking 3 Popular Myths

Do you ever find yourself biting your tongue, and reluctant to speak your truth? Does the idea of giving others your honest feedback make you cringe inside? Imagine a situation where you are working with others on a project and things are going along just fine. Yet you feel like there is a whole other level of excellence you could be going for together. Do you speak up even if your team members don’t want to hear it? Or do you just shrug your shoulders and figure the results you’ll get are “good enough” so why risk rocking the boat?

Being able to speak the truth isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Telling the truth requires a certain amount of courage. To thrive in life, making a commitment to living in your truth is well worth taking. Telling the truth in relationships might end up saving more relationships, and bring them to a greater level of intimacy and authenticity in the process. Telling the truth in our careers can lead to discovering new ways to express one’s true purpose and joy on the professional front.

Yet there are some common beliefs out there that can stop us from speaking the truth. Here are three common myths and how you can bust through them to a new level of truth-telling that the world seems to be in great need of these days. … Continue reading

Divorce: Communicating with the Ex

Q. “I need help being able to communicate with my ex-spouse. Everything seems to get bogged down into arguments these days.”

A. Learning how to communicate effectively with an ex-spouse is one of the biggest hurdles there is out there. Clearly if you’re co-parenting your children, your ability to be able to work through the day-to-day decisions that come up affecting them is critical to your children having the ability to thrive after divorce. Learning how to establish a new kind of relationship with your ex is one of the divorce puzzle pieces I teach about in my award-winning product, The Divorce Resource Kit. From soup to nuts, with checklists and even a template for how to have an effective discussion with your ex, I highly recommend you check that resource out and save yourself heartache and time.

Allow me to share a few tips here. First, if you’re co-parenting you’ll need to set healthy boundaries. If you’re co-parenting with your ex, try to develop more of a business partner relationship with each other. Be willing to set healthy boundaries so you… Continue reading