To withstand means to remain undamaged or unaffected by, to offer strong resistance to someone or something.
To remain undamaged or unaffected by the vicious attacks of our ex when he or she is attacking our character, our past actions, our ability to parent, and our right to have the finances and property we are entitled to. To offer strong resistance to him or her and not to bend over and just take whatever the overwhelming current is trying to make us swallow.
In other words how to stay not just strong but intact and stable under the tremendous pressure of these cruel blows, accusations, and threats? When the very intent of them is to brake us and make us weak and give up.
For many of us these attacks go much deeper and make us feel much more than what they are really about. They threaten our self-worth, our dignity, and sometimes even our survival. At least that's how they feel like. They make us spin out of control emotionally, wanting to scream, hit, kick, or just to curl up in a ball and cry until we disappear. We swear, we sob, we hate , but most of all we try to wrap our brain around the fact that some time ago we married this person out of our free will. The very same person who is doing this to us today. It just does not make sense anymore. We even start hating ourselves for it.
So how to take these attacks at face value? How to treat them as they are and not to react to them out of our wounded and hurt self? Not an easy task that is for sure. Here are some things we can do to improve our chances of staying strong and stable while under attack from the ex.
1. Not to act impulsively.
Whatever our first reaction is, either to flee, hide, or hit back is probably not the smartest choice on the long run. It doesn't mean we should ignore it altogether, but it's probably wise to give some space and time for these initial feelings to come out and eventually get out of our way. We need to air them with a safe person, acknowledging whatever we are feeling, be it anger, fear, shame, revenge, hate, etc. Knowing that we have the right to feel them, but that does not mean we have to act out of them instantly. It always serves us to be sure there is adequate time between the attack and our actions. In other words, it is best not to react to the situation, but instead, waiting some time and responding out of our centered, true self. Which means, first doing the things that would bring us back to our centered self and then deciding on the action we want to take.
2. Not to take it personal.
This is really a hard one during divorce, because divorce is as personal as it gets. But chances are, most of the time whatever bad is happening to us is not a personal attack against us. Even if it feels hundred percent that way. Most of the time it is simply our spouse doing whatever he or she feels like the best way to take care of themselves at the moment. To judge if that is actually true or not, if they are really taking care of themselves the best way possible, is not our job to decide. If we can simply accept the fact that they are doing the best they can to protect and look out for themselves at the moment, and if we refuse the hook of "he's doing it just to hurt me" or "she's doing it to destroy me" explanation (even if it's true), we are giving ourselves a huge gift of sanity. And also a chance to make a smart response, something that will benefit our own divorce process.
3. Focusing on the big picture.
Once we have successfully calmed down, centered ourselves, and has taken away the personal stinger from the story, we are finally capable to expand our vision to see the big picture. What is our final and most important goal here? Where are we trying to get? What is the outcome we want? By focusing on the desired end results we can decide how to respond to the attacks. Our response can be anything from not engaging at all to fighting back with full force. The important thing is that it comes from our big picture view and serves our overall goals for our divorce. Being sure that we are not blindsided by anger and hurt but making a conscious decision based on the end purpose in clear sight. Only in this way we can be positive that we are contributing to the solution and not creating more problems.
These three steps might sound vague, simplistic, or just plainly unattainable while in the midst of so much hostility and stress during divorce. But if we take them and apply them as literally as we can to our specific situation we will find that they really work and have so much power to change the one thing we have true control over, ourselves, and through us the entire divorce process.
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