The following is the ninth segment in a 13-part series based on the book, Divorce: It’s All About Control — How to Win the Emotional, Psychological and Legal Wars, by renowned family law specialist and managing partner of Phillips Lerner, A Law Corporation in Los Angeles, Calif. This continuing series deals with one of the most destructive wars—the Internal Wars—and the Enemies Within, all of which can be just as devastating as the emotional, psychological and legal wars. The Internal Wars deal with “way too much” and “far too little,” — both of which can be vicious enemies. As I mentioned in the prior four segments which covered alcohol/drugs, over-spending, gambling and overeating, each one of the Internal Wars deals with self-abuse in one way or another. This segment highlights overworking.
Though it may sound strange and even funny to you, talking too much may also be a contentious Enemy Within (that comes “Without” at the not so propitious times). Some people are in such dire straits they feel a constant need to unload—to talk about their divorce. They spill their guts—their fears, wants, their thoughts of retribution—and far too often they do so indiscreetly and to the wrong pair of ears! Yakking too much can get you into trouble and also cause you great remorse. So talking too much is not a good idea for the people you talk to (unless they are licensed professionals who are mandated to keep your conversations confidential). Yes, people talk. They tell other people what it is you have said. Do not forget you and your ex may have common friends, family members (the children!) and business associates. So one sure way for your thoughts and feelings to get back to your ex is to talk a lot. It is your attorney and your therapist and perhaps a trusted family member or friend you can vent to, but be wary of not spilling the beans to anyone and everyone. One of my favorite sayings is: Lose lips sink ships. If you over-dialogue, it could be that you are tipping your hand or providing your ex with ammunition that he or she can pummel you with in one of the Three Typical Wars. I know it is very tempting to let this Enemy Within infiltrate your status quo because it is natural to have the need to want to discuss your pain and suffering and confusion and disillusionment with others, but do not do it randomly. Choose your listeners wisely. Sharing too much information could lead to a disaster.
The following are only a handful of reasons why chatting it up about your divorce, your feelings about it, and perhaps your plans of attack against your ex to win either the Emotional, Psychological or Legal War, could cause you to lose the “Way Too Much” War as well as the former three!
- What you say may get back to the wrong person.
- If you are thinking “strategy” you may just well blow your cover.
- People may perceive you as being unstable.
- Without knowing it you could be constantly embarrassing yourself.
- You may say things you will live to regret.
- The people you talk to will probably gossip.
- You may hurt your children, parents, friends and others close to you unintentionally by the things you say.
- You may lose friends because you are obsessed with blabbing about everything in your divorce.
- You may “turn off” potential new friends or alienate old ones because they just do not want to hear it anymore!
- “Over-dialoguing” more than whispers: “I am Out of Control!”
If you are in a conflict with this Enemy Within, do not beat yourself up about it just become more cautious with what you say and to whom you say it. One way to impress upon you the importance of keeping mum except to those you should be talking to is for you to make your own, very personal list as to why too much talk could hurt you. So, go ahead, start writing.
Stacy D. Phillips is a co-founder of Blank Rome LLP, which specializes in high-profile family law matters. She is a Certified Family Law Specialist by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization.