Divorce and Separation: Stopping the Negative Mental Loops

Question:

How can you stop the negative loops recalling what went wrong (and what was so right)? How do you stop trying to ‘fix’ it in your own mind?”

Answer:

Divorce, heartache, grief and rebuilding your life – it’s all part of the healing journey everyone must travel when your relationship ends. The mind is a beautiful problem-solving tool. But when it comes to matters of the heart and relationship, our brain is often not well-equipped to help us heal.

Having those cyclical thoughts and questions of “What if….?” or questioning what might have turned out differently if you’d made different choices in the past is quite natural. It is simply the brain sifting, sorting and trying to find patterns and solutions from past experiences it has stored to find a way out of the situation you find yourself in. Sometimes you know your relationship is on the rocks, and sometimes you don’t. So our powerful brain is literally scanning its memory banks to find pieces of data that might help you to create a solution and get to the other side of your heartache.

But your power and choices lie in each present moment. The problem with unchecked cyclical thoughts is that they keep you replaying the past or projecting yourself into a fantasy future that is sheer speculation. The key to making empowering choices for yourself and navigating through your divorce is when you stay present, moment-to-moment.

If you find yourself caught in a mental spin cycle, a great way to break out of it is to write it all down. Use a journal to capture your thoughts and questions. This will assure your brain you’re doing something productive with all of its gyrations and help loosen the grip of these negative loops on your mind.

You can also set some boundaries around this kind of thinking. Give yourself a time limit of some kind to fully review the good, bad and ugly about your situation and how you got there and then once your timer goes off, stop. Break your physical and mental state by putting on some great tunes and dancing, or do some jumping jacks, and then undertake another kind of activity.

It’s also important to ask great questions. Setting your brain to the task of “How could I “fix” things?” assumes that something is broken that you are responsible for fixing. Redirect your powerful mind to answering the question “If this experience is part of my soul curriculum, what are the gifts in it for me and my personal evolution?” or “What can I learn from this that will serve me in all future relationships?”

Have a question about divorce you’d like to see answered? Submit yours to Thrive after Divorce by sending an email to askthrive@ThriveAfterDivorce.com.

 

Divorce Relief: What to Do When You Can’t Stop Thinking About Your Ex

Q. “I am challenged by wondering all the time about what my soon-to- be ex-spouse is thinking or doing, and most agonizingly sad, who is is with?

A. Separation and divorce is a bumpy road and it takes some time, dedicated effort and great tools to help get through to the other side. You are not alone is having part of your mind get on a frustrating hamster wheel of wondering about your ex. Our brain can get like a dog on a bone, chewing endlessly (often in the middle of the night) with a litany of questions like:

Is he as sad as I’m feeling?

Is he regretting his choices?

Is he healing faster than I am and what is wrong with me that I still feel grief?

Has he moved on in love, and who is he with? What is she like? How do I compare to her?

Divorce, even if you’re the one who initiated, is still a shock to your emotional system. The brain wants to make sense of it all, so it starts to seek and scan for answers. Our egos want to compare and judge – who is “winning the race” for getting through the pain and over the divorce first. It’s simply a natural way our sense of self-identity gets constructed.

It is important to realize excessive speculating and wondering is actually a distraction from your own healing journey. Here are some ways you can break the pattern and stop fixating on your ex….

Keep a journal and write out all the questions you have running around in your head. Like taking the lid off a boiling pot of water releases the pressure, journaling your worry thoughts will help them to dissipate more quickly. You get to see your questions from a more objective perspective.

Sometimes we let our attention wander and get ourselves stuck in the past is because we don’t have a clear vision for our future after divorce. Do some work to help create your road map through your divorce. The award-winning Divorce Resource Kit to has questions, exercises and guided meditations that can help you chart your course for your future.

It’s also important to keep your focus on what you actually have control and influence over, such as your own thoughts, words and actions. Diverting your energy to anyone else instead of your own process of understanding the deeper spiritual lessons that are available through your divorce is a distraction. Take responsibility for what you can change and learn, and let the rest go.

© 2012 Carolyn B. Ellis

 

Divorce: When Someone You Loved Now Hates You

Q. “How do I reconcile the fact that the mother of my two beautiful little girls and my once best friend now hates me with all her being? I find this shift from love to hate a hard process to follow.”

A. I think there is a moment everyone has going through separation and divorce where they look at one another and wonder “How did we get from being so in love to being HERE?” We once loved each other, perhaps had children together and dreamed of a “happily ever after” fairy tale ending together, but it comes crashingly to a halt often in a lawyer’s office or during a nasty argument.

The shift you’re experiencing witnessing the mother of your children tell you and demonstrate to you in various ways is very difficult. It feels so painful, and so personal. But this is the perfect time for you to decide to …. Continue reading

Divorce Process Stalled?

Question:

“What do you do when resolution is slow? In my case, we decided almost 2 years ago to divorce, but are still in the same house with the “For Sale” sign in the front yard. Limbo sucks! I’ve tried every healthy approach possible. It’s tough to be grateful, patient and sane!”

Answer:

I hear your frustration! I appreciate how difficult it must be for you to have made the decision to separate, yet it’s taking such a long time for your physical reality to line up with that decision. I think many of us can relate to the despair of being in a “limbo” state.

Unfortunately when it comes to … Continue reading

Anger and Betrayal in Divorce

Question:

“Three years down the road, why am I still soooo angry at the betrayal of my husband?”

Answer:

Thank you so much for your honesty in asking this question and, if I may, I’ll give you a blunt answer. You’re still angry because you are getting something out of holding on to your anger. There is some kind of emotional pay-off you receive and that’s why you are choosing to stay angry. I’d like to acknowledge you for asking this question though! It shows me that you are becoming aware that this anger is holding you back. Awareness is the first critical ingredient in transforming any situation, so you… Continue reading