My Advice for Brad and Angelina (And the Rest of Us)

How to have a civil divorce and reclaim your better you.

Posted Sep 21, 2016

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Source: By Georges Biard, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9054776

​We all know how to have a destructive divorce. Just be the same two people you were when you were married. Give in to your inner voice that shouts for revenge and wants to inject misery on your ex. But having a civil divorce is much harder. It takes concentrated effort and a mindset that transcends your Id impulses. Here is my advice for Brad and Angelina and the rest of us.

  • Treat it like a business arrangement. One of the biggest problems with successfully navigating a divorce is the need to also divorce our feelings from what is now transpiring. No one gets to the point of divorce without anger, frustration, and hurt feelings. However, once you start a divorce, it is important to remember that this is now, in many ways, just a business deal. How we divide property, bank accounts, and even time with children are all objective procedural things common to many business transactions.
  • If at all possible, proceed with the mindset that this is a business settlement, not a place to “get even” or to rehash the hurts. Emotion stems from the hindbrain, our primitive fight or flight center. Our higher level critical thinking and reasoning are housed in our frontal lobe. The problem with emotion is that it tends to highjack our reason. By trying to see this as a business venture, you stand a better chance of staying in your rational mind and not succumbing to your baser emotions.
  • If there are things you just really need to say, go to divorce therapy. Couples will very often go to therapy to try to stay together, but once they decide to split, they end up either ditching therapy or going by themselves. You might think there’s no point, but if you want a “positive” divorce, it might be in your best interest to get some help on moving forward together! Don’t use divorce therapy as a means to rehash the relationship, use it in a forward thinking manner. Ask, “how do we proceed from here?” and “what ways can we learn to communicate with each other going forward.”
  • Joye Swan
    Source: Joye Swan
    No matter how much you’re tempted, don’t use your divorce as a way to scratch the sores your marriage created. Don’t shut down communication and don’t become passive aggressive. When we get to the point of divorce, most of us, in addition to not liking our spouse, don’t like the person we’ve become, either. We’ve become angry, suspicious, dejected, bitter, etc. Not very attractive qualities and certainly not how we want to be seen by the world. In a way, divorce is a chance to work on a new you. Use the opportunity to practice being the person you want to be or, perhaps, once used to be.
  • If you backslide, start again. Even with two steps forward and one step back, you’ll eventually arrive at your destination.
  • Divorce sucks. Even if you become a better person in the end, it’s not a fun experience. Work on the things you can change about yourself. Become the better version of yourself and, if you do that, you’ll, hopefully, never need this advice again.

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