The following is a guest post written by Erica N. Reed, LCSW-C. Additional information about Erica can be found below.
As you planned the wedding ceremony and created your life together, the last thing you anticipated was scheduling a meeting to dissolve the marriage. Whether the marriage had been in turmoil for a while, or you were caught off guard by the request for separation, women who are in the process of separation and divorce are on an emotional roller coaster and are simply trying to find stable footing.
Experiencing anger, sadness, hurt, fear, and resentment are to be expected during this time. It’s very typical. However, when entering mediation, these emotions can sabotage a successful outcome.
Here are three mindset shifts that are important for you to address as you prepare for mediation with your spouse.
Do you remember that emotional roller coaster I spoke about? I’m sure you can imagine how experiencing these emotions will make it difficult to think clearly and make decisions from a place of reason and long term planning. The first mindset shift is to embrace the calm. This may sound overly simplistic but many women resist this mindset shift. There’s a belief that if you let go of your anger and resentment it means that he wins. You may think that if you embrace calm that excuses all the things that were done in the marriage or makes it okay. Embracing calm is for your benefit, not for his! The calm allows you to think clearly and not be ruled by hurt, anger, and resentment. It keeps you focused on the life you want to create after the marriage.
One of the strongest emotions that you may be facing right now is fear…fear of what will happen next, fear of your ability to manage it, fear of what others will think…etc. Regardless of the basis for your fear, entering mediation from this mindset will sabotage your efforts for a successful solution. The second mindset shift is to one of empowerment and confidence in your ability to address and respond to whatever comes your way. This empowerment and confidence comes from having a clear vision of your desired outcome.
Define the New
I imagine that where you are right now is not where you imagined you would be. However, as you enter mediation, the third mindset shift to adopt is to define your new. This means clearly defining your “new life” and the vision that you have for your new identity. How you defined yourself while in the marriage, will now evolve into how you view yourself in the future. Your needs, lifestyle, goals, and purpose will change. It’s important to define your “new life” so you can make decisions in mediation to set yourself up for success.
As you enter this next phase in life, your mindset will determine your outcome. Gaining steady footing by embracing the calm, adopting an empowered and confident mindset, and redefining your sense of identity will help you to heal and embrace this next life phase. With this new clarity, you will become clear on your goals and vision for your future.
Erica N. Reed, LCSW-C is a psychotherapist in private practice in Maryland. Erica has created Get Unstuck which guides women step by step through the areas in your life that have kept you stuck. By the end of the program, you will be clear on how to create a life you love. www.ericanreed.com