Recently, I went through my older posts here at Divorce Magazine to review all the comments. I feel badly that people left comments years ago that I just saw for the first time last week, but there was also something interesting in these comments. I noticed two common themes that were in these comments…fear and lies. I want to address both, so this post might be a little longer than normal. Also, I wish to apologize to those of you that I didn’t respond to personally when you left your comments back then. For some reason I didn’t get notified, and to respond now seems shallow and selfish. Your comments have been read and heard though, and inspired this post in response.
Fear is all around you when experiencing a divorce, or at least I know it was for me. I have rarely been as afraid as I was during my divorce, and there was also a lot of false evidence appearing real (fear) in my divorce process as well. Years after I got divorced, someone told me fear during divorce stands for false evidence appearing real. This is comical to me if you’ve been reading the posts where I talk about my divorce (or if you are eagerly awaiting the full story in Tears in a Jar). However, it is also the truth of court proceedings.
I noticed recurring themes when I went to court: lies I told myself about the process, lies others told me about the process, and lies I told others about the process. For me, many of the lies I told others were lies I told myself, about how the process would help me correct some wrongs that were happening. However, the amount of false evidence appearing real (fear) that was presented against me during my divorce was astonishing to me. The betrayal of those that took a stand to present these lies that others tell about us was unreal in my experience.
Fear is also an emotion, but what causes the fear during divorce? Fear comes up when we think in extremes…I’ll never marry again, all (wo)men are like this, I’ll never see my children again, etc. These are fears people legitimately experience due to the way the court process works…but these are also based on false evidence appearing real in our own minds. Lies we are telling ourselves, lies others are telling us and we are believing, or lies we are telling others because we really do feel we will never see our children again and all (wo)men are like this person.
Neither is correct, so put down the false evidence that is appearing real to you. Examine it, why are you jumping to never seeing your children again? Why are you lumping all (wo)men together? Why are you absorbing the shame of what others have done? This last one was a big one for me! I was hiding my experience from everyone, I was so alone when I got divorced, but now I have learned there were those that were willing to assist me, and I could not find them to allow the assistance. I couldn’t find them because in my own shame and humiliation about what others had done, I was unable to process that anyone would assist me. It was a lie I was telling myself and others were telling me (nice, one lie in two categories).
Stop believing the lies that you are telling yourself, you are telling others, and others are telling you. At about this point in my post, you are no doubt asking yourself, “Rebecca, HOW do I put these beliefs down and function during this time period?” Well, I’m glad you asked…here are three tips for fears and lies that need to be put down. Please feel free to leave me comments with questions, additions, subtractions, and I will be more diligent in reviewing the comments here.
Tips for Putting Down Fear During Divorce
Is it true?
Byron Katie, in the Work encourages people to take their judgments and then ask four questions. This process is helpful to me when trying to determine if I am experiencing fear the emotion or false evidence that is appearing real. The questions are: is it true, can you absolutely know that it is true, how do you react to the thought, who would you be without this thought? Then she encourages people to find turnarounds for thoughts that aren’t true. I also had a coaching colleague tell me she tells people to ask: is it true, is it kind, is it necessary, who would you be without these beliefs? Whatever process you choose, make sure that you are examining things objectively to assist you with determining what is actually happening.
Is it necessary?
I like this question from my friend, because if it is not necessary, I need to put this idea out of my mind.
What does this thought provide me?
This is an interesting question. My ex-husband called me the root of all evil once. I laughed and said God was having a great day, and he looked at me confused. I explained that Satan is the root of all evil, and he was a fallen angel created by God, therefore God was the root of all evil. This thought that I had at the words of my ex-husband provided me the opportunity to tell him how ridiculous he was being and elevate myself in the conflict at the same time. The real question is, what did calling me the root of all evil provide him? He’s passed away now, so we can’t ask him…but I suspect it provided him the opportunity to elevate me as the cause of the conflict and to justify the lies he was telling. Think about what the thoughts provide you and make a list.
Tips for Putting Down Lies During Divorce
Identify what kind of lie this is. Is it a lie I am telling myself, others are telling me, or I am telling others.
Why is this lie so important for me to say or believe?
Who would I be without this lie?
What can I say, think, and believe instead of this lie?
The real tragedy of divorce is the way we go to war with people we love, and who we have to become to survive. I know I did a lot of work to become who I wanted to be after the divorce and to stay in integrity while embracing the warrior queen I needed to be to get through it all. Please know you are not alone and fear is both an emotion and a non-emotion. If you can separate the emotion from the non-emotion, everything will be better. Please leave me comments so I can help you through this process.