Divorce is scary. The unknown is so great and unpredictable (even if it's not our first divorce), it can keep us in constant fear. We can only speculate how things will go down, nothing is sure or calculable, there are so many variables at every turn, that we might feel completely overwhelmed or frozen by fear.
To feel overpowering fear sometimes and to have many specifics worries and concerns about our divorce and the future is very normal. We would not be humans if it were otherwise. Fear is a survival instict and during divorce our very survival feels at risk. The purpose of fear is to keep us alive and that's all we want during divorce, to stay alive.
When fear floods our body we flee, fight, or freeze. These are normal, instinctive, primitive survival reflexes. But even if it feals like our survival is threatened, most of the time it really isn't, and letting our fear determine our decisions and actions is not healthy or beneficial for our divorce. When we act on our fear, making decisions out of it, eventually we are creating what we fear. It will manifest in our lives, change the course of our divorce, and determine who we are and how we show up for our future.
How not to let our fears make decisions for us? How to acknowledge them but don't give them the power to run our divorce?
Acknowledging them means facing them one by one. Putting words around them, naming them, writing them down, talking about them, exposing them. Being very specific about what it is we fear. Separating them from each other and not letting them lump into a huge, scarry monster. The more we can make them separate and indivudual, even if there is a high number of them, the less intimidating and horrifying they become. Some of them even shrink down to outright ridiculous or totally irrational.
After identifying the strongest, most alarming and terrifying ones we need to look at the roots of them. Where are they coming from? When did we have this same fear before? How did it threaten our survival before? They might be coming from an earlier time and the divorce is simply activating their trigger. Some might be reminders of past painful experiences and protecting us from getting hurt again. It is helpful to separate our current reality feelings and fears from past ones.
Eventually we will need to decide if we will follow our fears' suggestions when acting, making a divorce decision, and do what they suggest: flee, fight, or freeze. Or if we will override these suggestions with a different action, whatever that might be. The most important thing to realize is that we are in control of our fears and NOT the other way around. It might not feel like that in the moment but we have the power to follow or veto them. Our decision making does not have to be impulsive or fear based. There are better and safer ways to make divorce decisions than purely reacting out of fear.
It is always important to identify and expose our fears no matter what we are going through, but it is crucially important during divorce. Not dealing with our fears timely and properly will make us carry them into the decision making process and that will affect the outcome of our divorce. To ensure that we are not sabotaging ourselves by obeying our fears and blindly following their commands, we need to process them with the help of a trusted confidant in a safe and supportive enviroment. Only after that we will be able to make reality based and not fear based decisions that will serve us well on the long run.
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