Seeking Support in Divorce
Friends, Family, and Others
There are four types of support resources you may rely on during this stressful period; family, friends, professionals, and support groups. Of these four options, your family will most likely be your best. Unfortunately, the family unity and nucleus are not always strong. There may be members who are considered black sheep. There may be jealousy and disharmony within your family. But of all the people you know, you should be able to trust your family.
It is a guarantee that you will be under an immense amount of stress during this period. Some individuals express their frustration and stress by telling others. This can be a turn off to family and friends when all they hear from you is details of your divorce. At first you’ll gain sympathy. After awhile it can push them away. Your family should be very supportive during this turbulent time, but after awhile, the stress can take its toll on them as well. Seek support only when really needed and do not confuse support with venting your frustration.
When speaking of family this includes sisters, brothers, parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and sometimes offspring. Offspring only applies when they are adults. If you have a stepparent with a good relationship between you and them, then they are also to be included.
Talk to family members who know you and your relationship and who are responsive with advice. If your family has a strong nucleus, you should not fear what you say.
Do not overwhelm your family with your personal struggles. Your family members have problems of their own. These problems may be related to their marriage, job, friends, and/or school. When you detect a negative feeling from them, be sure to back off. You may want to consider not discussing your divorce with them unless they ask about it first. Remember, the most important thing to do is to preserve and reinforce the bond you have always had with your family.
Divorce has a profound effect on your friends. No matter what you may think, your relationship with some of them will become estranged. The negative situation you are part of has a natural tendency to make friends feel uncomfortable. They do not know what to say or how to act in your presence in both private and/or in social situations. Friends tend to become distant around you and do not understand or relate to the emotional trauma you are experiencing.
You may feel the need to vent the anguish from this struggle. But you must stay in control of your feelings and emotions at all times. Venting your thoughts will over time have a detrimental effect on all of your relationships, especially friends. People you met through your spouse may never be seen or heard from again. The quantity of friends and relationships will dramatically decrease. These negative feelings and loss of friends is one of the primary reasons divorcees tend to leave their community to start over.
Divorce is a time when your true friends will be distinguished from acquaintances. Your true friends will come to your aid and stand by your side. They will support you in this time of need. They will offer advice and a shoulder to lean on. Some will even provide financial support or a place to live when you are in transition.
Some of your friends will take sides. Some will even act as a friend for the only purpose of gathering information for your spouse. These people are nothing less than spies, so beware.
There are a number of ways to distinguish friend from foe. The first is perceiving the knowledge they have about divorce. Have they been through a divorce? Has a close family member been through a divorce?
Another way is to ask them for advice. Is the advice sound? Or does it appear to be coming from the mouth of your spouse? If it does appear to be a direction from your spouse, agree with it. Continue to keep in contact with this person, giving them the details of your plan and actions you are taking in regards to their advice. The difference is it should remain only as talk. If you feel as though this information is being leaked to your spouse, then you will discover the true loyalty of this individual.
If a friend directs you to a professional, for example an attorney, it is a good bet they are not acting in your spouse’s best interest. If they direct you towards a good strategic maneuver or court case that may assist you, then they are most likely trustworthy. But even here do not let your guard down. Only provide information you feel will be securely protected and only provide information that will help this person assist you.
Some friends will stay away from both of you. Others become infatuated with the divorce. They take steps of an aggressive behavior aimed at wreaking havoc at your expense. They spread lies and rumors with you as the target. These enemies will even interrogate your other friends without knowledge of their intentions.
There are a number of organizations that assist in the emotional and legal aspects of divorce. Organizations like Fathers United for Equal Justice assist in custody battles on an educational and group level. Local churches provide divorce recovery groups. Generally group sessions take place once a week or month during evenings hours.
Further research will identify groups, which promote marriage and families. They are strong believers in the nucleus of the family. Some are tied directly to churches or religious organizations. They provide assistance at many levels to those in need when their marriage is falling apart. Their objective is to strengthen marriages through counseling, self-help material, and group sessions.
Psychologists are professionals who provide avenues to decrease the pain and stress of this emotional time. They also provide a pathway for healing. A number of psychologists have been through similar experiences themselves. They are able to provide comfort from both an educational standpoint and personal experiences to guide you through the emotional aspect of a divorce. This guidance often continues well after the divorce.
Medical doctors are also available to prescribe medication for anxiety, sleep deprivation, and depression. With the stress associated with divorce, it is not uncommon to have your body produce excess adrenaline. With the depletion of adrenaline a number of medical disorders can occur, so keep an eye out for this.
There have been a number of suicides from the stress and depression of separation and divorce. High-profile cases across the United States have involved murder with suicide. One of the parties becomes so despondent they kill family members ranging from offspring to aunts and uncles. After killing their own family, they turn to themselves and commit suicide.
Many individuals have considered taking this course of action. If you are in this extreme emotional state, get some help. Professionals are available to help you in this time of need. Do not do the unthinkable.
Unfortunately, the system is corrupted to the extent that whatever you say can be used against you. The courts have now forced therapists to testify and go as far as informing law enforcement of any statements which have a potential criminal intent. The law in many states requires therapists to file a report to the authorities when a patient discusses potential criminal behavior.
If you have a friend or family member you trust, it is advisable to talk to them first. Another way to approach this is to speak to your family doctor. Tell them you are going through a terrible divorce and have allowed your emotions to get the best of you. There are a number of medications that may help reduce your stress. Your family doctor may even refer you to a colleague who has been through a similar experience.
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FOR THOSE CONSIDERING DIVORCE – The decision to divorce is always very difficult and terribly dislocating. It is wise to consider the marriage as a whole against any one single mistake.
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