The question most of us want the answer to is “What to do when divorce is turning my ex into his or her worst self?” The answer to that is simple, although not what we want to hear. Nothing. We have no power over anyone else but ourselves and as horrifying as it is to watch someone we have loved and lived with turn into a person we hardly recognize, fuming with hate and anger, hurting us even when there is no gain for them in it, there is nothing we can do about that. Of course, we have our lawyer handle the legal stuff and be sure we get what we deserve both financially and legally but we cannot talk sense into our ex, change their mind, or behavior.
It is painful and shocking to see someone change during the course of divorce and do things we never thought they were capable of. We stare at them and wonder if we had ever known them. But it is even more shocking when it is us, turning into our worst selves, thinking and doing things we never thought we were capable of, feeling more hate in our hearts than we can even admit to ourselves.
Self care is knowing our needs and taking care of them. Ourselves. Not expecting someone else to do it for us.
Some of us have a hard time with this generally and it can get extremely challenging during divorce.
Self care sounds selfish and divorce already feels selfish. No matter which side we are on, the one leaving or the one being left, either feeling selfish, or resenting selfish. If we are doing the leaving, the guilt produced by it is already telling us that we are self-centered people so taking care of ourselves seems like heaping more shame on. If we are being left, the naturally comforting role for us is being the martyr, and we all know, martyrs don't have needs, and even if they do, they can be sacrificed.
Divorce is extremely draining. It takes up so much of our mental, emotional and even physical energy. It is important we find ways to recharge our batteries in these areas and take good care of ourselves. Otherwise we can come to the end of our endurance pretty quickly.
It is easy to understand and see when we are running on low energy in any of these areas. We know well when we are physically exhausted and simply need more sleep. Getting it is probably the harder part. We can tell when we are low on mental energy and can't even remember the 3 things we stopped for at the grocery store. We can also tell when our emotional reserves are drained and we lose it over the cat.
But what exactly is relational energy and how can we tell if we are having enough of the good kind?
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