Staying in control of your emotions as you divorce or separate
It is not easy to remain calm when you have to talk to a partner about divorce or separation. You know each other so well that you have become expert at reading each other’s body language, tone of voice and even the silences. Your responses are automatic, instant and predictable. While you are getting along this is comfortable and reassuring, it mean that you have rapport and a good understanding of each other.
When you fall out it is these same automatic responses that are irritating and inflammatory. It is as if your partner knows exactly how to press your buttons and they seem to choose to do this the minute you begin to talk to each other. Before you know where you are you have lost your cool and have started to raise your voice and fallen into a now familiar pattern of bickering and point scoring which is hurtful to you both and achieves nothing except to increase the divide between you.
The good news is that you can learn how to avoid this pattern and keep focused, calm and clear on the issues that you really want to discuss.
It is useful to use the parent/adult/child model to understand what is going on when you ‘lose it’ like this. When you are calm, reasonable and respectful you are allowing the adult in you to be in charge. It is only when both you and your partner are in this mode that you will feel heard and be in a position to find a compromise that works for all concerned. When you ‘kick off’ it is the subconscious unhappy child within you that takes control and begins to feel and communicate the emotions that you felt when you were little. Once your partner hears this he or she will automatically go into a condescending or parent mode with you, a move that serves to increase your frustration.(It may, of course, be your partner that goes into child and you into parent or you may both do both at different times).
Once it has been pointed out you can begin to recognise when you are going into either parent or child. You may even get to recognise the flash points that make you do it. Unfortunately, this does not make it much easier to keep control next time it happens. The reason for this is that the response is subconscious and it happens instantly: Several seconds before the conscious mind notices and has a choice about whether it takes charge. Imagine how difficult it is to calm a toddler down once it has launched into a full blown tantrum: It doesn’t want to listen to reason any more, the only solution is to carry it off and wait until it calms down.
As with an upset child, the solution is not confrontation but understanding and communication. The unhappy child within you can be placated in a very few one-to-one sessions of guided mindfulness. It can be shown that its behaviour is not needed and that it can relax and trust the adult to remain in charge. This allows you to stay in adult even in the most challenging of situations.
Your part in the relationship may be to go into parent mode and it may be your partner who kicks off into unreasonable tantrums. Some mindfulness sessions with a coach will allow you to approach interactions with your partner in a more adult way which will allow them to take responsibility, remain in control and stay reasonable.
When you can remain consciously in adult you change the dynamic of your relationship with your partner. They may go into child or parent but you do not meet them with the predicted response any more, you remain in adult and you give your partner the opportunity to do the same. In this happy state of affairs you can begin to work constructively together to take care of your children and other family members and divide your assets fairly. www.absolute-specialists.co.uk