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 in a Small Town

Question:

“I live in a small community. My biggest challenge is I am always seeing my ex and the woman he had an affair with and married on a weekly basis because of the children’s activities. I feel like I can’t “get over” my divorce because I am kept inflamed constantly in the present.”

Answer:

Living in a small community where “everybody knows your name” can pose an additional challenge to those trying to rebuild their life after divorce, particularly when your ex and his partner seem to be omnipresent. Nonetheless, the basic principles of thriving after divorce … Continue reading

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

 

Is Your Body Story Keeping You From Happiness?

GUEST ARTICLE BY DR. KIRK PRINE

Are past memories, stored at a cellular level in your body, keeping you from happiness?

With the huge focus on “changing your mindset” these days in the self-improvement world, we may be missing out on a huge piece of the healing equation: our body wisdom.

Mind set is in the body, not just the brain. The body itself is a storehouse of information and wisdom. And as some ancient traditions teach, your consciousness is not in your head or in your brain, but stored in every cell of your body from your head to your toes.

A Body Story is the accumulation of life experiences stored in your physical and energetic body.

A Body Story may be the result of a traumatic experience. Examples may include …. Continue reading

It’s About Perspective: Lessons My Mother Taught Me

Doom and gloom continue to pervade the headlines. If it’s not the stock market, it’s a potential flu pandemic next. What will be tomorrow’s catastrophe? In the midst of any challenge, mastering your perspective is critical. Are you looking at the proverbial glass as being half full or half empty? How you view things creates a profound shift in how you respond and feel.

Wayne Dyer said, “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” I had a great lesson in this recently from my own mother. She lives in Berlin, Germany. My mom was hospitalized a few weeks ago when her doctors recently discovered a small tumor that needed to be removed. Living a few thousand miles away from each other, waiting for her diagnosis, prognosis and the doctor’s treatment plan hasn’t been easy for any of us.

Yet in the midst of her medical journey, my mother has chosen to look for the positive, instead of the negative. Instead of focusing on her illness, …… 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

Losing the In-Laws

Question:

“I find it hard to deal with my alienation from my ex-husband’s family. I am an only child, and they had become like my own brothers and sisters. They are polite if we happen to meet publicly, but I have essentially been shunned by them. It doesn’t seem fair.”

Answer:

In an ideal world, people could end their marriages without a significant impact on extended family relationships. In some cases, families do find a way to keep the relationship with the ex-spouse so the connection can be maintained, which is particularly useful when there are children involved.

But the reality is that for many people blood runs thicker than water. Particularly, if the divorce gets messy,…. Continue reading

Divorce and Revenge – What to Do?

Question:

“I still have feelings of anger and revenge towards my ex, and we separated over a year ago now. I feel stuck and let his decision to end our marriage cloud my perspective. How do I let go of this?”

Answer:

You are definitely not alone in holding a lasting grudge and feeling those angers and resentments towards your ex-partner. It’s a fairly common situation and most of us go through that as a phase. However, how long do you want to have this phase last? I’m reminded of a great quote… Continue reading