As your marriage becomes more and more unraveled, men and women adopt patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving that are coping strategies. Whether or not they’re good ones, is something else entirely. We’ll take a quick look at the three elements required to get ourselves back on track. Our thought life, our feelings and their resulting behavior.
Overwhelmed by the confusion of the divorce process, we rarely reflect on the health of these coping strategies. Only until we step back and take an honest assessment of ourselves can we see where we’ve taken some wrong turns. This is where Divorce Detox is necessary.
We adopt faulty patterns of thinking. To support our own position, right or wrong, we rationalize and self-justify. We give ourselves permission to hold onto, for dear life, negative attitudes about our soon-to-be or now former spouse. If we think of them as crazy, defective, manipulative, even if they’re not, we feel better about ourselves. Labeling them in this dismissive manner, we can escape personal responsibility for our contribution of the deteriorated marriage and the feelings of regret. Anger is more self-protective and powerful. Remorse and sadness make us feel weak and lacking in control.
The second piece of the puzzle is the feelings that come out of the faulty thinking. If we’re not thinking correctly, by this I mean thinking in a way that aligns with reality, negative emotions predominate. Anxiety, unforgiveness, hate, anger, depression and all the rest occupy too much space in our head. In this instance, our feelings become toxic. They seep into all we are. The affect our perceptions of ourselves, others and the world we live in.
The last element is the behavior we exhibit as a result of toxic thinking and feelings. It’s very simple. You are what you think. You are what you feel. We act in ways that reveal our thought patterns and our emotional blueprint.
How do we get rid of the toxic thinking, feeling and resulting behavior? Here are four ways to get yourself back to a place that’s healthy:
- Awareness of toxic thinking, feelings and behavior. Make 3 lists. Be honest with yourself. Think of past criticisms of your behavior. Drop your defenses and ask yourself “is this criticism true? If you’re stuck, enlist the help of a compassionate friend.
- Replace the toxic with the healthy. This is essential as just removing something from your life creates a vacuum. Make a choice as to what will replace the toxic.
- Commit to a conscious change. Awareness and will power are essential. Intending to do something and never doing it, will keep you stuck in the toxic muck.
- Practice, practice and practice some more. You must retrain yourself. It takes time. Be patient and allow for some mistakes.
Divorce detox is essential as these powerful toxins can create a lifetime of dysfunctional patterns if not addressed. Divorce can dish out a lot of negativity. It’s your choice on what to do with it.