Fear of the unknown can hold one back during and post-divorce. Fear and divorce can keep a person stuck, and prevent movement. An individual may feel that they are in the freeze part of the flight or fight response to a perceived danger (the divorce drama). Not taking action can seem like the safer bet when someone feels paralyzed with uncertainty. This indecisiveness can come back to haunt you later, as it did a few people who were not happy about how assets had been split. If you are feeling clueless and overwhelmed, consider having your attorney or paralegal clarify the information being given. Asking for specific options or advice is helpful.
Fear creates a stress response which releases a cascade of hormones, such as cortisol. The University of Minnesota found that fear “impacts thinking and decision making in negative ways.” It leads to “impulsive reactions” instead of taking a better course of action. One reacts in a rash manner instead of having clear thinking, which is needed to get through divorce proceedings. Reducing stress is way to get out of the panic mode. Do what works for you – meditation, prayer, retreats, exercise, being in nature and so forth.
Fear can keep an individual rooted in one spot – making you not comfortable enough to take a step in any direction. This happened to me during divorce. Rather than making a mistake, I decided to take no action about the marital home and just stay there. It was the easy way out. Luckily, I got out of the fear mode, found a small house and then applied at a few companies for a mortgage. It was work moving, but worth it.
There are other causes besides fear which can cause people to feel stuck. It can be challenging to step out of one’s comfort zone, such as deciding whether or not to take a different career path post-divorce. One may feel it is easier to stay in an unfulfilling job than to pursue various possibilities. Divorce can bring a new opportunity to start over. I got a job as a school nurse after my divorce which became stressful when too much work was crammed in to only a day or so.
I feared that I would not find other part-time work with some flexibility. After talking over my job situation with a life coach, I realized my folly and resigned. Being in a stressful situation, as in divorce, makes it harder to calmly go over options. Get help, more and more middle-aged adults are seeking the guidance from a career coach. Others get vocational testing or training at a community college to open the door to other career directions.
Are you stuck or frozen, unable to move on because you have too many commitments which includes helping others? We can be afraid to tell people or organizations “no” or worry about being judged if we do. During divorce, one has so much on their plate, that extra requests can be overly demanding.
Learn to say “Sorry, I can’t.” By eliminating the things in life that you do not enjoy – this opens up time and energy for new opportunities. Visualize an overstuffed closet or drawer. There is no room for any additions. Your life is like that as well. During divorce, think about what is important and what you can release. It helps some individuals to make a list to prioritize what they want, and to let go of the more trivial aspects. I left clubs and organizations, plus got out of some obligations during divorce. I spent more time with my sons doing fun activities. I made space in my life for pleasure, which in turn reduced my stress and anxiety.
When feeling chained to a spot and unable to move during divorce, consider getting advice from a professional. It may be hiring your own financial adviser to look at joint assets in order to give an opinion on a favourable split. It can be joining a divorce group who are facing the same issues as you. MeetUp.com lists divorce, single parents and many other groups globally. A divorce coach can help one form strategies for moving through this tricky time in life. The point is to reach out and not go through divorce alone.