The way you process and think about a divorce can keep you stuck in the drama of divorce.
If your divorce has been long and dramatic, there is a reason. It may not seem like a logical reason, but even so, there is a reason in your head and you need to keep the fight going. In your view, based on your core beliefs and thought processes, you have no choice but to keep getting involved in the drama of divorce.
Consider this, according to Michael J. Formica, MS, MA: “Each of us maintains a collection of core truths about our lives. Our core truths are repetitive patterns of thought and behavior that are defined by our various assumptions and expectations, as well as our ideas about how the world works, accumulated over time. “
As a child you were taught or learned how the world should work, how you and other people should behave, and what to expect in certain situations. Could these lessons you learned as a kid keep you in a place that is negatively affecting your life and keeping you from straying from the drama of divorce? Yes!
Our core beliefs and truths play a huge role in the perception of our reality. It is great when these core beliefs and truths are based on doctrines that promote a healthy worldview. If not, they’re working against us.
Basic illogical beliefs that keep people stuck in the divorce drama:
Can you identify with any of the following illogical thought processes?
One mistake is not acceptable:
Did your parents get you to bring home a direct A-grade report? Perhaps you’ve played sports and felt like you had to be the best player on the team to get your dad’s attention.
However, you learned the lesson because you are unwilling to fail in your pursuit of sole custody, lifelong support, or just to prove a point, and you fight well past the point of positive compromise. If you accept or agree less than you think is justified, you will not fail. It makes you someone who is willing to compromise, which is so much more beneficial in the divorce process than someone who fights at all costs not to fail. Talk about getting stuck in the drama of divorce!
Control of other people’s behavior:
I saw this during a post-divorce visit. Gatekeeper custody mothers want to control every aspect of their children’s lives. If that means setting the rules in her home and her ex, so be it. She needs him to be a parent according to her rules, and if not, his life will be hell.
The gatekeeper may believe that it is normal for her, the mother, to dictate to him, the father, how to behave when the children are in his care. But as natural as it feels to her, it puts the children in the middle and shows how unreasonable she is as a mother and person.
We cannot control other people’s behavior, and if we try to do so, we become problem originators, not problem solvers.
Every problem has a solution:
Your ex refuses to speak to you; Maybe he refuses to adhere to the parenting plan. Or he won’t send back emails or notify you of children’s school events. Post-divorce and parenting relationships can be fraught with problems. And you, and your belief that there is a perfect solution to every problem, keep you busy focusing on and solving every little problem.
Trying to find solutions to any problem can hold you tight and leave you to stagnate in an impasse of drama. You may feel that you shouldn’t settle for less than perfection when faced with a problem, but eliminating unreasonable beliefs goes a long way in letting go of the stress that a particular divorce drama creates.
They believe that if you do not meddle, close down or ignore the problems created during the divorce, you will be safe from harm and upset. Think again! I know a man who filed for divorce, left his wife, and from that date onwards adamantly refused to speak to or see her.
In addition, he refused to participate in his children’s activities when she was involved, which over time drove a wedge between him and his children. This guy wouldn’t even pick up his kids to visit the house they shared with his kids because “she was home”. He didn’t have to see her; All he had to do was pull up, blow the horn, and pick up his children. But for him, self-protection meant getting his ex-wife out of his life completely. Something that is impossible with kids involved.
His belief that he had to avoid her in order to protect himself was so severe that it created a complete chasm in his relationship with his children. The last time I spoke to him it was 10 years since he had contact with his daughters. When I encouraged him to reach out to her, he replied, “It would just invite more pain into my life and I have to focus on dealing with the pain I am already living with.” This man was literally speaking out of the most rewarding relationships in his life and all in the name of an illogical belief that he would not be able to deal with the pain.
Bad people have to pay:
They believe in justice and punishment. If he left you for another woman, he’ll pay. If she left you and took the kids, she’d better take care of them. You will leave no stone unturned and no period of time is too long for your desire to make him / her pay and be held accountable.
Crimes need to be punished in your head, and if infidelity or losing a child through divorce isn’t a crime I don’t know what compares. This is one of the most common illogical beliefs that get us into trouble. If someone does a moral wrong against us, we want them to get their “righteous deserts”. Here’s the problem, they will experience their punishment, but you can bet it will be easier to live with than the constant discomfort you will feel about your constant moral outrage.
I’m about bad people who do bad things and suffer the consequences of their behavior. The problem is, we talk about divorce and no fault divorce laws make practically any behavior of one spouse towards another (other than abuse) above the law AND our moral indignation.
We only punish ourselves when we hold on to the need to punish a spouse who has hurt us. You moved on, stopped thinking about it, doesn’t it just make sense for us to let it go? Moving on and not giving them the power to influence our lives in the future?
Just because you believe that your reaction to certain situations is right doesn’t mean it is right. We all benefit from doing a self-inventory and thinking twice about the role that illogical core beliefs play in our continued involvement in drama.