I don't know about you, but going through a divorce and trying to do it consciously can be challenging at times. Communication is always easier when stress is removed from the equation. Navigating the waters of divorce can be a stressful experience. Here are the 5 ingredients for my secret sauce to help us consciously navigate the oftenturbulent waters of a marriage breakdown.
Secret 1- Look at who is upset
As a general rule, the person who is feeling the strong emotion in any communication discourse- be it anger, jealousy, sadness, fear is the one who needs to heal.
In my divorce, I went through periods where I would be more upset than my ex and that was my opportunity to look at myself. By the same token, there would be other times, when my ex would be more upset. Too often, I see partners playing the blame game rather than looking at themselves. At the end of the day, we are each responsible for our own healing. We each have much more control over our own healing than someone else's. We cannot force someone else to heal.
Secret 2- Look at the wounds that are being reopened
Stressful situations and certainly marital problems will rip the scab off existing wounds. Ouch!....Chances are both partners need healing and issues brought forth from the past (usually childhood and before...) are now ripe and ready to be addressed. Too often, we run away from doing the healing work we need and find ourselves in divorce court over and over again. Statistics show that the risk of divorce increases with each new marriage. (Do we have a number for this - - this is a very interesting and important comment.
Steps to heal:
label the feeling: I feel angry, sad, disappointed, jealous, scared....
Label what you need: I need love, compassion, forgiveness, to be seen, to feel valued....
Look at when you felt that emotion before and most probably did not have your needs met- send loving energy to that younger "you"
Create a power statement and connect to the deeper truth of who you are
In my divorce, powerful emotions from my parent's divorce were triggered where I felt abandoned and scared. For a few months, I would suffer anxiety attacks when my ex went to a party without me. I felt very devalued and invisible. Luckily, my ex and I worked through these feelings together and I healed those wounds once and for all.
Secret 3 -- End one relationship before beginning a new one
It is much healthier to complete all the steps of the letting go process before beginning a new relationship. There is no magic time here. I suggest that once an emotional charge no longer exists then you can look to move on. Too often, people around us want us to move to the next step because it makes them feel safer. Our friends encourage us to start dating as soon as possible - it's important to resist the urge to succumb to peer pressure.
Steps to determine charge residue
Bring your awareness to your ex and notice how you feel about him/her Measure the amount of anger, sadness, bitterness, jealousy, disappointment you still feel on a scale from Very low 1 to 10 Very high. Notice where you feel it in your body. Bring loving energy to that part of your body. I suggest: 1) Begin dating once you gage your charge at a level of 5 or below, 2) Commit if it is at 3 or below and 3) only contemplate remarriage when it is 1 or below
Once the charge has diminished to a manageable level, you will be free to begin a relationship with a new person and you may be able to enjoy a fresh friendship with your ex. Divorce can be very wounding for children, so clearly mitigating the damage for them, as well as yourself is an important consideration. However, if you only focus on doing what is right for your children at the expense of what you need- the children will continue to be adversely affected by the wounds you still carry. As per accepted airplane safety practice- Place oxygen mask on yourself first!
Secret 4 -Tap into compassion for your partner
When we remain stuck in a place of suspicion, revenge and anger effective communication will be difficult. The tools I teach to access unconditional love are very helpful here to turn toxic feelings into more nourishing ones. Being open to see your ex as a soul on his/her journey, doing the best he/she can and wanting the same things you do -- that is to love and be loved will make you more compassionate and open to healthy dialogue. It then becomes easier to trust, be grateful for your journey together and to forgive yourself, as well as each other for the marriage breakdown.
Secret 5- Slow the communication down
This is especially important when wounds are being activated, and one, or both partners are being triggered. Focus on the light of his/her soul and see your ex in the best possible light. Here- I suggest using a conscious communication tool, that slows down the exchange when communication heats up so cooler heads can prevail.
Steps for conscious communication
Partner A shares 1 item
Partner B mirrors and then validates Partner A's item
Partner B shares 1 item and Partner B mirrors and validates
Complete process until both partners feel complete
It is my hope that these 5 ingredients to my secret sauce will will not only help you communicate better with your ex, they will also help you turn your divorce into a new relationship where you will be able to be better parents to your children, and friends to each other. Ending a marriage does not need to mean ending a friendship- so why not look at using the pain and sadness as a catalyst for change.
Author of Stepping into Consciousness
Nicky Rolland also holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Concordia University. She resides in Montreal with her three wonderful girls. She just launched a new radio show on BTR entitled "On Line with Nicky Rolland" and is in the process of creating an online school on her www.nickyrolland.com website. She just released her first book: Stepping Into Consciousness: A Guide to Living a Life of Joy, Meaning, and Abundance