Why You Need a Divorce Coach: The Transformative Power of Divorce Coaching

Why You Need a Divorce Coach: The Transformative Power of Divorce Coaching

Divorce, often described as one of life’s most challenging transitions, can feel like navigating through uncharted waters. Amidst the emotional turmoil, logistical arrangements, and the journey of redefining one’s identity, the guiding light of a divorce coach can be invaluable. Divorce coaching is a specialized form of support that focuses on helping individuals move through the process of divorce with clarity, strength and a vision for the future. Here’s how embracing the journey with a divorce coach can transform this challenging time into a period of profound personal growth.

A Compass Through the Storm

A divorce coach serves as a navigational aid through the complexities of divorce. From the initial decision-making stages to the final adjustments of post-divorce life, a coach offers a structured approach to manage the overwhelming aspects of this transition. Unlike traditional therapy, which often delves into the emotional underpinnings of relationships, divorce coaching is action-oriented, focusing on the here and now. It’s about finding your bearings in a storm and charting a course forward.

Emotional Anchorage and Clarity

Divorce can cloud one’s judgment with a fog of emotions. A divorce coach helps clear this fog, providing emotional support and helping clients to distinguish between emotional responses and rational decisions. This clarity is crucial for making informed choices about legal proceedings, financial arrangements, and parenting agreements. By serving as an emotional anchor, a coach ensures that decisions are made with a balanced perspective, safeguarding one’s interests and those of the family.

A Blueprint for the Future

Beyond the immediate concerns of divorce, there lies the essential task of rebuilding one’s life. A divorce coach assists in laying down a blueprint for this new chapter, helping clients to envision their future and set meaningful goals. This future-oriented approach not only provides direction but also instills hope and motivation, turning a period of ending into a launchpad for new beginnings.

Developing Resilience and Self-discovery

Divorce coaching is a journey of self-discovery. It encourages individuals to reflect on their strengths, values, and priorities. This process of introspection fosters resilience, empowering individuals to face challenges with confidence and to seize opportunities for personal development. Through coaching, many find a deeper understanding of themselves, emerging from the process stronger and more self-assured.

Power of Divorce Coaching

Practical Strategies and Skills

Divorce coaching also offers practical advice and strategies to navigate the logistical aspects of divorce. From organizing finances to co-parenting, a coach provides tools and resources to manage these challenges effectively. Moreover, clients learn essential life skills such as effective communication, conflict resolution, and stress management, which are invaluable both during and after the divorce process.

The Journey Forward

Choosing to work with a divorce coach is a step toward not just surviving divorce but thriving in its aftermath. It’s an investment in oneself, a commitment to navigating this life transition with dignity, purpose, and optimism for the future.

Remember, while divorce marks the end of a marriage, it also heralds the beginning of a new, perhaps even more fulfilling, chapter of life. With the support of a divorce coach, this transition can be an opportunity for growth, transformation, and the discovery of a renewed sense of self.

Divorce doesn’t have to be a journey you embark on alone. A divorce coach can be your companion, guide, and advocate, helping you to turn the page with confidence and grace. Embrace this support, and watch as you unfold into the next, most vibrant version of yourself and allow you to reconstruct your own happy.

How To Communicate With A Toxic Ex

How To Communicate With A Toxic Ex

While most of us dream of a co-parenting relationship that involves mutual respect, understanding and kindness, this often is not the case. So what happens when your ex just can’t be nice? How can you communicate with someone who is inflexible and cruel? Here are some tips and strategies that can help you disengage from the toxicity.

1. Put It In Writing

If your communication is emotionally charged and can spin out of control quickly, help control the narrative by keeping it to writing only. Establish a policy whereby all communication goes through email or one of the many co-parenting apps available (Our Family Wizard or Talking Parents for example).

This way, you can prevent the conversation from spinning in an unwanted direction and you have a record of your communication. It also helps us to stay more focused and “professional” when we write as opposed to less formal verbal communication. The writing holds both of you accountable for your words.

2. Stick to Facts Not Feelings

Remember who you’re communicating with. This isn’t a friend, or even someone that cares about your feelings, so why share them? You’re communicating with your co-parenting partner, and this relationship should be treated like that of a co-worker; professional NOT personal. Your emails should therefore reflect this tone. Keep them brief and to the point. For example, if your ex has requested a one-time scheduling change to his/her parenting time, an appropriate response would either be “sure” or “no, unfortunately that doesn’t work for our schedule…”. An inappropriate response would include something like “you never stick to your schedule and it’s not my job to accommodate you”. See the difference between fact vs feeling? Don’t bring your past relationship into the conversation. Stick to the facts surrounding the here and now.

3. Establish Boundaries

Depending on the age of your children, there should be some “policies and procedures” set up to manage the communication expectations. For example, we’ve already discussed establishing a co-parenting platform for these emails, but you would be wise to also establish response times. With the exception of time sensitive matters, there’s nothing unreasonable about setting rules that emails will be answered within 48 hours (or whatever time frame works for you). You should always take at least 24 hours before responding to emotionally charged emails. If something upsets or triggers you, wait! If you have been sent a request that requires more time, an appropriate response could be, “I have received your email and will respond to you by……..”. Then stick to it.

Boundaries can also be established when it comes to what’s appropriate and necessary to discuss and what isn’t. If for example, your ex brings up matters unrelated to the children, you can choose to not respond, or you can say “I will only respond to matters that directly affect the children”. We often feel the need to defend ourselves, but you don’t have to! Again, taking us back to rule #2; facts not feelings.

4. Know Your Triggers

Identifying when you’re becoming emotional or triggered is a key component to managing it. Does your heart race? Does your face start burning? Does your stomach tense up in knots? Whatever your triggers, being able to manage them before they get the best of you, is the first strategy in being able to disengage. Spend some time working with a coach or therapist to understand your triggers and how to control them so that they don’t control you.

5. Work With A Coach

Working with a Certified Divorce Coach can help you set healthy boundaries and establish a healthier, more productive way to communicate with an uncooperative, toxic ex spouse. To learn more about obtaining the right tools and strategies, reach out to a Certified Divorce Coach who can help with all aspects of your divorce process and communication going forward.

Our Divorce Journey… Creating Our Own “Yellow Brick Road”

Our Divorce Journey… Creating Our Own “Yellow Brick Road”

This article first appeared on divorceangels.ca

When one is going through a divorce, you believe that this is as bad as it’s ever going to get. You hope that if you can just get through this, then all will be right again in your world. I told myself this. Everyday. I have written about it. My advice is sound and my thought processes good.

But how do we get to that magical land? Dorothy was given all the answers, as long as she followed a pre-determined path. There’s no yellow brick road for us to simply skip along. Life doesn’t make it that easy for us. We have to build it for ourselves, laying down choice by choice. We will have hills and valleys, forks and curves, but we do all the heavy lifting.

The early days of divorce and separation are the darkest. Like Dorothy, we’ve been knocked down hard and when we get up, we see the world through an unfamiliar lens. Things are strange and while we’re not really in a different land of technicolor, everything around us seems to have changed somehow.

We take and meet friends and supporters along the way. Instead of inspiring our friends to be a better version of themselves, their role is to sometimes walk beside us. We go through times when we feel like the scarecrow… no brain. “I would not be just a muffin’, my head all full of stuffin’, my heart all full of pain…”

During these early days, I was envious of the Tin Man. How much easier the divorce process would have been if I didn’t have a heart. The absence of emotion would on days, have been a blessing but alas, in order to get to our Emerald City, we need to mend our broken heart.

As for courage, well, I could certainly relate to the Lion. Sometimes you need to be infused with super human amounts of courage just to get through your day, to face people, to be strong for your kids. It’s nearly impossible to put on a brave face when we feel defeated as the Lion, but we do it. We have to and eventually, it becomes easier.

And so, as we continue along our yellow brick road, also known as our journey of self discovery, our self-esteem returns with more power than we ever could have imagined. Our heart mends, our courage is rehabilitated and strengthened, and we reach our very own Emerald City.

While Dorothy was motivated by her need to get home and restore life as usual, ours is to get to a happy place and create our new normal. This is our Emerald City. When you get to your version of Emerald City, I can’t promise that it’l be what you expect, but here’s what I can assure you; You will meet colourful characters. You will laugh and be open to new things. There’s no Wizard awaiting our arrival. We are our own Wizards as long as we allow ourselves to have faith in our yellow brick road.

How To Ask For A Divorce; 4 Key Ingredients

How To Ask For A Divorce; 4 Key Ingredients

BY: Heather Tannenbaum, CDC Certified Divorce Coach®

1.BE PATIENT

So many clients come to me and say “How could he/she be surprised that I want a divorce? I have been telling him/her for years that I am not happy!”

Remember that you may have been wanting this for a while, but this is all new to your spouse and is likely going to come as a great shock to them. Whether you feel they should be surprised or not, they likely will be, so tread carefully and keep this in mind.

They need time to process what you’re telling them and so you need to choose carefully now, what you tell them and how.

2. BE CLEAR BUT KIND

While this will undoubtedly be a lot for your spouse to take in, you need to be clear that there is no chance for reconcilliation or couples therapy. Be consise in your words, that you have been giving this much thought and consideration and that you feel it is the only option.

Kindess is important here. You have just dropped a bomb on your spouse. If you allow anger, resentment or blame to fuel your conversation, you are likley to create an adversary where you may possibly have been able to create an ally. Avoid expressions like “you always….” or “you never….” Instead, use language like “we have been trying to…..but……” By acknowledging that you have got to this point together as opposed to blaming one party, your words will be less confrontational and far less contentious.

3. THIS ISN’T THE TIME FOR DETAILS

If you’ve been bouncing divorce scenarios and logistics around in your head for some time, you have likley given thought to issues such as parenting time, dividing your assets and property. It’s also likley that your spouse has not. You want to be sensitive to this when telling your spouse you want a divorce. The news of the divorce will be enough to put their thoughts and fears into overdrive. You needn’t add to that turmoil at this time by throwing in overwhelming terms and concepts. Give them some time to digest the news and keep things general and on the surface for now. There will be plenty of opportunity to discuss the nitty gritty down the road. For now however, stick to generalities.

4. LET IT SINK IN

Even if you do everything right in the way you approach this topic, there’s no real way of predicting your spouse’s reaction. Be prepared for them to react however they need to and try not to take it personally. While relations between spouses are very personal, it helps during this time to remember that your spouse’s reaction comes from a place of fear, anger and pain. Give them time to process and it’s best to not engage in a back and forth dialogue at this time. Emotions will be high for both of you and you’re more likely to react and say something you wish you hadn’t, if you stick around to engage. It’s best to acknowledge to your spouse that you appreciate that you have just dumped a lot for them to process, and then tell them that you will walk away now and give them some time with this information.

Telling your spouse that you want to end your marriage is never going to be an easy conversation to have. If you approach it with compassion, kindness and understanding, this dreaded talk can likley go much better than you could have anticipated.

3 Tips to Act Well When Your Ex Doesn’t

3 Tips to Act Well When Your Ex Doesn’t

When you’re separated or divorced, you hear expressions like, “take the high road” and “do right by your kids” a lot.

We all want our kids to thrive and none of us want our kids to suffer the effects of our choices. So how do you ensure that you can always take the high road? How can you be sure that you’re putting your feelings on hold so that you can give your kids the best of you and what they need?

This can be a challenging task in the best of circumstances. The divorce process and all that comes with it is a trying time no matter how amicable or collaborative your process. There will be good days and bad and we’re all too well aware of how this effects our mood, coping abilities and spirit.

The task is made even more difficult when we’re faced with an angry, spiteful ex. If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, then you’ve likely read and re-read articles on “Handling Your Narcissistic Ex” and “How to Co-Parent with a Narcissist”. Whether your ex is in fact a narcissist, or simply operating on anger and hurt, you’re likely facing more obstacles to peace and calm than you anticipated. There are a lot of labels that you can affix to this behaviour, but does it really matter what you call it? It is what it is, and you needn’t spend your time and energy worrying about labeling your ex.

Here are 3 tips to help you choose the right path, despite how wrong your ex behaves:

1. Don’t Let His/Her Actions Dictate Yours

However your ex chooses to behave, should not in any way dictate your behaviour. While this is obviously easier said than done, it’s actually a wonderful and necessary skill to master. What does this mean and how can you do this? Firstly, you need to be overly mindful of your actions and reactions. In the beginning, while you’re honing this skill, you need to always be cognizant of your actions and reactions. If for example, your ex doesn’t return the children on time and he/she knows that you’re on a tight timeframe, you need breathe, remain calm and simply wait. After the fact, you may wish to send a matter-of-fact email to your ex kindly requesting that next time he/she be on time and why. Free from emotion. Stick to the facts.

2. 24 Hour Rule

Emotions can run high, particularly when things are fresh and wounds are still open. It’s important to recognize that we don’t always act our best when our buttons have been pushed. It’s important to take a step back when we receive a potentially upsetting email, phone call or other type of correspondence. I have implemented the 24 hour rule for myself, whereby I don’t respond or do anything at all for at least 24 hours. Things look very different (and often more calm) when we let things sit and we give ourselves time to process and respond. This will likely reduce conflict by avoiding the knee-jerk emotional reactions that happen initially. Allow time for this to pass.

3. Think Before You Speak

This, like the 24 hour rule is key to allowing yourself the time you need to clearly, calmly and effectively collect your thoughts. Think about why you’re being triggered. Think too about what you would like to see happen and then consider ways to achieve your objective. Once all these questions have been answered by you to you, are you in a position to speak and/or respond.

I grant you that it’s not always easy to keep our emotions and reactions in check, but when your co-parent is high conflict and thrives on fuelling the fire, it is on you to decide whether you allow him/her to get the better or you or whether you wish to simply stick to the facts, work as best you can to obtain your goals and function with less conflict than you would otherwise have. We can never control our ex’s but we can (with practice) control how we react to them. It’s at that point that we have gained the power to change our conversation.

Good luck!

3 Do’s and Don’ts of Co-Parenting

3 Do’s and Don’ts of Co-Parenting

Co-Parenting is a fine art when you’re a happy, functioning couple. You both bring to the table your individual experiences, values, and expectations. When you’re divorced or divorcing, co-parenting can make any situation worse if you let it. Co-Parenting through and post divorce is like a dance, only the steps and footwork aren’t pre-written. You need to choreograph your own number, and customize it to your situation, expectations and standards. While figuring it out, you’re constantly seeking that delicate balance between finding your single parent rhythm and not stepping on your parenting partner’s toes.

I have always been a good co-parent, but I have had my share of miscalculated beats and missed steps. The dance has become smoother now and while the dance is something you simply have to start and get good at, here is a list of Do’s and Don’ts that will hopefully make your dance smoother.

1.Daily Household Routines

You’re inevitably going to have different rules than your ex. Perhaps you’re the stricter one, the cleaner one, the “not as fun” one. If so, fear not…here are some tips to handling some of those “We don’t have to do that at Mom’s/Dad’s house” complaints.

SCENARIO: When you’ve set a household rule that there’s no screen time until rooms have been clean, and you’re met with resistance, eye rolling or the general, “Mom doesn’t make me do this”…

DON’T: “Well, your mother has always been a pig and I’m trying to teach you now so that you don’t get into the same poor housekeeping habits”. Just no. Never attack your ex’s character or criticize them as a person.

DO: “Well, how lucky for you but when you’re here, you need to follow our household expectations”.

2. Don’t Get Emotional

When your child tells you something that your ex says or does while the kids are with him/her, don’t take this as your opportunity to slam your ex and communicate your disapproval to your kids.

SCENARIO: Mom said that this weekend we can go to ______ even though you won’t let us.

DON’T: “I will have to speak to your mother because there’s no way I am letting you go there”.

DO: “Unfortunately I don’t have any control over what your mom does when you’re with her. I’m sure she has her reasons for taking you there and I hope that you have fun.

The above is appropriate of course, as long as the blank doesn’t pose a safety risk to your children. If you feel that it does, I would suggest saying nothing to your child and ask your ex in a non-accusatory way to help you understand why he/she is taking them and lay out your concerns in a non-personal manner.

3. Stick to Facts; Not Feelings

When discussing matters involving your children, it’s tough to be anything but emotional. When discussing these matters with your ex however, it would serve you best to keep it professional. I always encourage writing out your arguments supporting your position and present it to your ex in a calm, fact-based way. Keep your feelings out of it and stick to the matter at hand. Do not drag irrelevant history into your arguments.

SCENARIO: Your daughter tells you that she never eats breakfast when she’s at Mom’s house.

DON”T : Call your ex and accuse her/him of not providing a nutritious meal for your daughter.

DO: Tell your ex that you’re concerned that your daughter says that she doesn’t eat breakfast at your ex’s house. Something along appropriate lines would be…

“_____ says that she doesn’t often eat breakfast at your house. Can you help me understand the situation?” This gives your ex an opportunity to explain and you may be surprised to learn that when approached in a non-abrasive way, you and your ex may actually be on the same page. If you’re lucky, you’re able to work together to come up with a solution that works for everyone.

The truth is, that co-parenting is a long term gig. The sooner you can learn how to navigate in a non-confrontational and professional way, the sooner you’re able to move forward with your life and achieve the peace and happiness that you and your children deserve.

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