Survival Tip #2: Dayz of our Lives

 

A Divorce Dayz Quote: Recently I asked my neighbor Hank a question as part of a conversation we were having about how long we were married the first time. I had been married 30 years and he had been married about 27.

Ellen Sue: Hank, can you name me one good thing that came from your first marriage?
Hank (without batting an eye) replied: Yes, my divorce!


He’s leaving. Or you are. Now you know the divorce is becoming a reality.  Either he’s announced he’s leaving or you have asked him to leave, or some combination of the two. You’ve ranted and raged, or screamed and cried, or moaned and groaned, prayed and begged, or crawled under the covers and closed out the world. Maybe you have done all of these, and the reality is still unreal.

When my former husband left six weeks before our joint decision to stay until our youngest child, a daughter, finished grammar school, I was devastated.  And I knew he was leaving! Didn’t matter. When he actually packed up and left, I was bereft. I had gone the night before to stay with my dear friend Hope, because I did not want to be around while he was packing and leaving. Two days after he left, I felt a terror in my heart that I can only explain now as total abandonment. My good friends Jack and Karen were my immediate support. Jack came over and let me cry through a box of tissues. Then he slept on the living floor, all six foot six inches of him stretched out on my futon pillows, and I fell asleep exhausted on the couch.

For another six weeks I walked around like a zombie, and for months afterward I would pinch myself and say to myself, “Is this really happening?”  It was and here are some of the hints I pass along to you that I believe need to be addressed right after the two of you separate for good. Above all, remember this quote from Louise Hay’s You Can Heal Your Life: “We must be willing to begin to learn to love ourselves.”



What to Do When You’re at Ground Zero

  1. If he has threatened you with physical harm, call the police and file for an order of protection. You may also have to go to a women’s resource center or safe shelter if you are in fear of your life. Run, don’t walk!
  2. If he has threatened to take the children, call domestic relations to find out your rights and obligations.
  3. Close down any joint accounts with credit cards and banks.  Transfer your money to a new account. (Hopefully, you have started to put away some money on your own, as you felt the divorce might actually be happening.)
  4. If it is legal in your state, change the locks on your doors, especially if you are afraid of physical harm. (One of my friend’s ex-husband broke the new locks and “stole” the Christmas decorations for his new place, so be sure you install safety locks if you are worried.)
  5. Find a lawyer. If you cannot afford a private lawyer, go to the Legal Aid Society to find out about free advice. (You might want to consider this earlier if you know for sure you can’t hire private counsel.ÂÂ
  6. Take gentle care of yourself and your children. Eat healthy food, rest when you can, gather support from family and friends. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. That’s what friends and family are for.
  7. If you work outside the home, arrange for some personal business days so you can meet with your lawyer, the police, the bank, or anyone who you need to see to protect yourself, your children, and any material assets you may have.
  8. Share your crisis with people who care about you or those you are in contact with you regularly.  Most people are sympathetic, and even if they can’t help you directly, they may be more understanding when they know what’s happening. Long explanations are not important. Just tell them enough to alert them there are personal changes you need to address.
  9. Seek professional help if you feel you cannot keep yourself together enough to get a fair shake in the divorce. There are mental health clinics that charge on a sliding scale, and even private therapists who may do that.  (I was fortunate that the lawyer who led the divorce support group I joined helped me privately through my court hearings, charging a sliding scale, according to what I could afford.) If therapy isnit your style, try a divorce coach, a mediator, a minister. All of them will help you sort out the issues and keep you focused.

No matter how much you use these hints and prepare yourself for life after divorce, you may still feel angry, frustrated, depressed, and overwhelmed. All these feelings are natural in the light of what you are facing.  Do not be hard on yourself. Now is not the time to dwell on blame, but rather to focus on what you need to get through the next few months, or even the next day. Taking it one day at a time was even a stretch for me; rather it was moment to moment. Each moment counts, so count the moments lovingly!

 

UNCOUPLED

Distant thunder
Hearts asunder

So much pain
So little gain

Armored heart
Breaks apart

Marital sins
Lopsided grins

Married strangers
Bitter angers

Said & done
No one’s won.

One Response to “Survival Tip #2: Dayz of our Lives”

  1. Paula Buchak Says:

    Good advice. We all have our “books”. We should create a TV show.
    Paula

Leave a Reply

Subscribe