Tag Archives: divorce recovery

Divorce Recovery & Resistance to Change – How to Sabotage Your Divorce Recovery without Even Trying

Recovery from divorce requires us to make changes in our lives. Lots of changes. No big surprise here. For example, divorce almost always forces us to make changes in our relationships, our finances, our living arrangements, our health-related activities, our self-development, and our recreational and social activities.

The logical prescription to speed our transition from being unhappily married to happily unmarried is straightforward: make the necessary changes ASAP! No problem. Why, then, don’t we do it? Why are we universally reluctant to do the obvious and make the changes that would improve our life after divorce?

The answer? RESISTANCE TO CHANGE! Resistance to change is our reluctance to make a positive change because of personal reasons.

1. A Personal Example

What I did when my first marriage ended is an example of how resistance to change prevents us from making a swift and smooth recovery from divorce. After eight years of marriage, my wife and I agreed it was over. We had tried several things to save it – couples counseling, communication training weekends, couples retreats, individual therapy. These efforts only served to reinforce our belief that a divorce was the right thing to do. Even though a judge had not signed any paper yet, the harsh reality was the marriage was over.

2. Three Ways Resistance to Change Can Ruin Your Divorce Recovery

Three things prevented me from moving on and making my recovery from divorce.

(1) FEAR – I was afraid of an unknown future.

(2) LOSS – I did not want to lose my “perfect life fantasy” of being married “til death do us part” with a loving wife and living with two wonderful daughters.

(3) SKILLS – I did not believe I had the ability to live successfully as a single man. These three things illustrate the three causes of resistance to change, which had me firmly in its grasp.

3. Cause #1 of Resistance to Change – Fear of an Unknown Future

I could not guarantee my future would be happy. I could not guarantee that I would meet someone new. My disaster fantasy was that I would never find true love again and would live alone and lonely the rest of my life. This fear paralyzed me and prevented me from moving into the next chapter of my life.

4. Cause #2 of Resistance to Change – Distress Over Loss

Moving on meant I would lose daily access to my two daughters. It also meant I would lose the stability of a daily living routine. But most importantly, it meant I would lose the hopes, dreams, and assumptions about our family I had been collecting ever since my wife and I met.

For example, I had hoped my family would last forever. I had assumed I would be involved daily in my daughters’ lives. I had dreamed of growing old with my wife. My parents were married 67 years, so why not me too? Taking the active steps to recover would force me to admit that these hopes, dreams, and assumptions were shattered. The loss seemed more than I could handle. Hence, I put off moving on and thereby delayed my recovery from divorce.

5. Cause #3 of Resistance to Change – Uncertainty over the Operational Aspects

Logic-based resistance to change reflects our reluctance to make a change because we do not understand or agree with the Who, What, When, Where, Why, and/or How of the change. My logic-based resistance was based partly in my uncertainty about some How’s and Who’s of dating.

I had not dated for over nine years. I was convinced I would not be able to date without thoroughly embarrassing myself. I was stuck on such issues as ‘ “How do you date?” “Who will I date?’ “Where will I find people to date?” As long as I pretended I did not have to take control of my divorce recovery, I did not have to confront my ineptitude with dating.

6. So How Can You Use This?

One fact exists, resistance to change happens to EVERYONE. It will happen to you. Be aware of its causes and be alert to your fears, your reactions to loss, and your confusion over the operational nuts and bolts of making a recovery. It’s all about taking the next step. Making the next change. You can be paralyzed by resistance to change as I was, or you can confront the resistance and dissolve it, thus enabling you to get on with the next chapter in your life.

Some questions to ask yourself that will help guide you on your recovery might include – What about the future do you fear today? What about “how things used to be” are hard for you to give up? Are you confident that you have the skills and knowledge to make your recovery?


Books that Help You Cope with Divorce

M. Gary Neuman writes Helping Your Kids Cope with Divorce. This book discusses the fact that kids often take all of the blame when their parents split up, and it really mentions the Sandcastles workshop, which is a half day group session that encourages children to speak of their feelings and open up through the use of poems, role playing, and other kinds of art and games that help them vent their feelings. The book speaks of the importance of these methods and talks about how they can really help the children understand that what happened is not at all their fault. Also, the book suggests ways that parents can break the news to the children and help them deal with things like shared holidays, anger, custody arrangements, etc. Without a preaching tone, this book comes off as a really helpful guide.

Getting Past Your Breakup is a book by Susan J. Elliot who writes about how there is acute pain after a divorce and how no one can be expected to be cured of that instantly. She uses her own personal experiences and talks of how she is sometimes still obsessed with her ex or blames herself for what happened. She insists that a no contact rule is sometimes the best in getting through a hard time but acknowledges that there are times when shared friends and family can make things even rougher on a struggling duo. But, her book seeks to help people work through all that grief and to somehow transform their lives into something that achieves peace and serenity about all that took place.

Half of all marriages end in divorce and getting through this life-changing event can be hard on parents and children alike. Read these bestsellers to aid in getting through one of the most difficult times of your family’s life. Invisible Tears by Abigail Lawrence is a fictional story about the tumultuous life of a young girl named Abbie from childhood to teenage years. When she is six-years old, her mother goes to the hospital and never returns. Abbie is passed to whoever will care for her, which includes her twisted and psychologically damaging step-mother who inflicts unimaginable physical and sexual torture upon Abbie.

As a teenager, Abbie is uncontrollable as she becomes a Modette during the 80s revival, finds a love of scooters, rebellion, and gang life on the wild side. She dabbles with alcohol, drugs, and sex at a very young age. No one seems to be able to get through to her because she has no morals or sense of self-worth. Eventually disowned by her family, Abbie is in the care of courts until she is left alone and pregnant at the age of sixteen, haunted by the secrets of her past.

Rebuilding by Bruce Fisher is about what to do when your relationship ends. Internationally renowned divorce therapist Bruce Fisher makes the long and difficult process of divorce recovery easier than ever before. Through a proven and supportive nineteen step program of putting one’s life back together after divorce, Fisher builds his ideas off of twenty years of research and practice. His process is the most widely used approach to divorce recovery and has made the divorce process less traumatic and a lot healthier for its readers. This third edition has been revised and updated with the help of Dr. Robert Alberti, psychologist and marriage and family therapist who continues Fisher’s tradition of compassionate responses to those who are divorced or divorcing.

103 Group Activities and Tips by Judith A. Belmont is a therapeutic toolbox of innovative and experiential exercises to enhance any group. For more than 30 years, Belmont has gathered clinical experience from her passion for hands-on mental wellness education. These exercises are straightforward and universally relevant. They are geared to helping participants take a proactive approach and experience change instead of just talking about change. Each exercise is easy to understand. Blueprints for group success are included with icebreakers, role plays, stress resiliency, imagery, and skill building.

Source: Polo

Roberto Sedycias works as an IT consultant for www.ecommus.com  View profile