Tag Archives: conscious uncoupling

Negotiating with Power

The Key to Negotiating with Power About Money

I recently had the great privilege of interviewing Maggie Baker, Ph.D., psychologist and author of Crazy About Money.  Our call, entitled Negotiating with Power (part of a series on Preparing for Divorce), dove in deep to explore how our personal money stories affect our negotiating power and our lives. Whether you are creating a divorce settlement agreement, negotiating a salary increase, bargaining for a new house, or navigating money conversations with your spouse, understanding your money script is critical to gaining strength and confidence.

What is a ‘Money Script?’

Simply put, your ‘Money Script’ is your money story – what your mind tells you at the subconscious level about what money symbolizes for you. These stories begin developing early in life at home. Regardless of how much money you had growing up, your script was informed Negotiating with Powerby the ways in which people around you interacted with and related to money. If you lived in the ‘land of lack,’ where people always perceived there was not enough, this affected the story you created around money. If you lived in an environment where money was a means of control, then this affected your story around money. For a quick example:  If you grew up in an environment of ‘lack,’ while you may want to have more money, your fear around not having enough may cause you to make choices around money that perpetuate powerlessness rather than strength. No matter how much money someone has, everyone has a money script because everyone interacts with money. Understanding what story your mind tells you about money is critical to developing a relationship with money that is aligned with what you most want and with your ability to negotiate with power.

Negotiating with power is all about knowing your ‘Money Script’

Whether you are negotiating a divorce settlement agreement, a raise at work, or with your child who is requesting spending, money, your money script is going to kick in and impact how you negotiate. If you related to money as a source of power, then you will assume that the person in the negotiation that has more money is more powerful. If you associate money with love or approval, you may feel personally disregarded or slighted in a negotiation for money. If you believe that money is correlated to hard work, you may feel that you need to prove yourself as having worked long hours in order to negotiate. I think you get the idea. The fascinating thing is that we always assume that the person on the other side of the negotiating table thinks about money in the same way as we do when most of the time, this is not true! People often lose power in negotiation because they are so stuck in their own money story that they don’t attend to the money story of the person on the other side of the negotiation – and this is the point of view that really matters!

4 Steps to figuring out your ‘Money Script’

So if you want to negotiate from a place of power, you need to figure out your own money script. Here is a step by step process:

– Study your money habits

Get a journal or use your phone and begin keeping track of how you spend your money for 30 days. There are great apps for your phone to help you do this. Mint.com offers one. You must write everything down since our mind will trick us if we rely on memory alone.

Use the same journal and keep track of what you consciously chose not to spend your money on. What did you forego because “it felt like too much money” or “not the right time?”

Finally, listen to the language you use when you talk about money. Do you talk about ‘not enough?’ Do you talk about ‘needing to be careful?’ Do you ‘not care’ about money? Do you ‘not know how to manage it?’ Do you ‘feel overwhelmed by it?’

– Analyze your money habits

Once you have the data collected above, sit down alone or preferably with a friend, family member, counselor or coach and review. What patterns do you notice? What seems curious to you? To the other person? Seek to understand the reasons behind your expenditures and your non-expenditures.

– Link your habits to your upbringing

Now think about where these patterns and habits may have come from. How do they relate to your family of origin? How do they connect to any significant life events that have occurred? How have they been supported by the language people in your family used around money?

– Name your story

Once you have completed steps #1-3, you are ready to write your money story. It can be one paragraph to one page. It describes what you believe about money, the choices you make around money, and how those choices have served you and not served you over time. And I do realize that this can be difficult, so for additional support, I highly recommend Maggie Baker, Ph.D.’s book, Crazy About Money for language that will help you understand and interpret your money script.

Negotiating with Power

By now, it is probably clear that in order to negotiate with power, you need to (a) know how you think about money and (b) understand the basics of how the person you are negotiating with thinks about money.  People leave evidence all over the place if we choose to pay attention so it is not always as difficult as it may seem. And if you are negotiating with your spouse or child, you likely already have all the information you need to understand their money story. Once you do, then negotiating with power is all about languaging your position to help the other see how there is a win-win available in which both sides can obtain a good deal of what is most important to them.

Conclusion

The biggest reason why we lose power in negotiations is that we operate from inside our own heads which are filled with fear, anxiety and anger and don’t pay enough attention as to how the person on the other side is thinking. Get out of your own head or get the support of someone who will not get wrapped up in the fear, anxiety or anger who can help you find your place of strength and clarity.

____________________________________________________________

Adina Laver is the founder of Divorce Essentials™ and author of the Divorce Companion™ a multi-media step-by-step guide to navigating divorce.  The Divorce Companion™ is the only resource of its kind that provides guidance and decision making tools for every aspect of the divorce process, including determining whether divorce is the next step.

Adina also provides limited one-on-one coaching support for those who recognize that divorce is a sign that life has gotten off track and are aching to finding happiness again – or perhaps for the first time ever.

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having an amicable divorce

The Imperative of Having an Amicable Divorce

having an amicable divorceThis week I am reminded why Divorce Essentials and the Divorce CompanionTM exist – because having an amicable divorce is an imperative.

 

I recently got a call from a client who was shedding desperate tears after a judge was so harsh on her and her attorneys that she left the courtroom feeling completely disempowered and helpless. In debriefing with my client, there was a palpable sense of victimization, as though the process had truly broken down and there was nothing she could do to improve her situation.

 

This sense of disempowerment is exactly the experience that Divorce Essentials and Divorce CompanionTM are designed to alleviate. And this is an imperative…

 

 

At a time when family structures change so frequently, placing critical decisions that affect the health and welfare of parents and children in the hands of an overworked and under-resourced court system leaves everyone more broken than whole.

 

The reason why divorce cases end up in court is because parties cannot resolve issues on their own. Sometimes this is because one partner has been more powerful in the marriage and the other is afraid. Sometimes this is because there is anger and people are looking to the divorce process to punish their partner or provide restitution for pain and suffering. Sometimes couples use the court system because they think it is the best way to get a fair ruling.

 

The truth is that marriage and family is the most intimate aspect of anyone’s life and there is no way that a legal system can possibly bring satisfactory resolution to issues in this area. Let’s face it, having 10, 20 or 30 years of marriage and all that has meant placed on one side of the scale against the bank account, furniture, and 401k can be one of the most painful and demoralizing experiences one can have. How do you place value on having cared for someone when they were sick or the efforts and sacrifices made to support a family? No, there is a no way a legal system can offer the penetrating resolution that most couples are looking for.

 

What we do know, however, is that when a case ends up in a courtroom, partners give up control over their destiny and they end up spending a lot more money to become unmarried.

 

And this is why I created Divorce Essentials and the Divorce CompanionTM. There has to be a better way. As Albert Einstein said, “You cannot resolve a problem with the same mindset that created it.” Taking the anger that has erupted during the breakdown of the marriage and fueling it with the adversarial nature of family court, can only make the problem worse. It can seem enticing to turn the problem over to someone else, but to hope that a court system with few resources and little time will accomplish what a couple could not do on their own – a fair settlement that truly honors the best interests of the children and empowers both partners to move on with their lives – makes no sense at all.

 

What this means is that the burden of achieving a non-adversarial outcome in divorce is – where it rightly belongs – on the couple who chose to marry. While this may seem like an impossible task… How can two people who have been arguing and making each other feel badly achieve this?… It is not.

 

The way to achieve the seemingly impossible is by reaching for the appropriate support. Every couple who has ever achieved the amicable divorce, succeeded in doing so because they (a) made the choice to achieve it and (b) found the resources and support they needed. This is how my husband and I did it and how every couple who has ever achieved this got there.

 

There is nothing easy about it. Divorce is one of the most difficult life transitions that there is, and yet, it is possible to do it well. Like raising a child, it takes a village of personal and professional support. And it takes the right kind of support. It takes the support of people who are deeply committed to helping you find a healthy path to a positive future. Your team may include a coach, an attorney, a mediator, a therapist, a clergy person, your best friend, a realtor, a coworker… But the team members that will get you there are the ones that push you to show up as your best self, not the ones who fuel the flames of anger and fear. And YOU are responsible for determining WHO is on your team.

 

Here are some questions to help you find your way:

 

If you are considering divorce, ask yourself this question, “What do I most need right now to help me get unstuck and take deliberate and intentional steps in a healthy direction?”

 

If you are building your divorce support team (legal, emotional, financial), ask yourself, “What are the qualities of the professionals, friends and family members who will help me achieve what I most want?”

 

If you are navigating divorce, as yourself, “How am I showing up to this divorce process? What do I need to do to be a person I feel proud of in this process?

 

And if you are truly committed to staying out of court and allowing this process to become a reflection of your BEST self rather than you WORST self, we are here to support you.

  • If you are considering or just beginning to pursue divorce, check out the Divorce CompanionTM – the most comprehensive resource available to support a healthy divorce process.
  • If you are anywhere in the divorce process and are committed to a deliberate and mindful process and would like support in achieving this, let’s chat.

____________________________________________________________

Adina Laver is the founder of Divorce Essentials™ and author of the Divorce Companion™ a multi-media step-by-step guide to navigating divorce.  The Divorce Companion™ is the only resource of its kind that provides guidance and decision making tools for every aspect of the divorce process, including determining whether divorce is the next step.

Adina also provides limited one-on-one coaching support for those who recognize that divorce is a sign that life has gotten off track and are aching to finding happiness again – or perhaps for the first time ever.

 

 

 

 

 

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hire a divorce lawyer

4 Critical Things to Know Before You Hire a Divorce Lawyer

Choosing who will represent you in your divorce is a big decision. While it makes sense to ask people you know for recommendations or even to engage the ‘free’ services of a friend of family member to help you, here are 4 critical things you should know before you hire a divorce lawyer:

What kind of support is best suited for your case. Not every divorce is handled by an attorney litigator. Many people are unaware that there are divorce mediators, collaborative attorneys as well as litigators. Some mediators are attorneys and others are not. With a number of options available, the first important thing to understand is what kind of representation or support is best suited for your situation.

Who your partner’s attorney is if they have already hired one. One of the most significant wastes hire a divorce lawyerof money in divorce is spending money on attorneys who have a track record of battling it out rather than finding ways to help a couple settle. While it may feel counter-intuitive to hire two separate lawyers who know each other and have a track record of working with one another, this can actually be one of the best things you do for your case. The healthiest thing for any couple and family is a quick and fair settlement so hiring attorneys who can help you achieve this while protecting your personal rights is a smart choice.

Who you really need on your team. One of the biggest misconceptions that people have is that their attorney can help them with every part of their divorce. They bring all their issues – legal, emotional and financial directly to their lawyer. Your lawyer is your legal expert only and there are other professionals such as certified divorce financial planners, divorce coaches and therapists who can help you address other issues more effectively and in a more cost efficient way.

The family court culture in your county. One of the most overlooked factors in hiring an attorney is how well they are recognized and known within the family court system in which they will be operating. While hiring the top rated attorney can feel like great protection, if they are unknown or not well regarded within your local court system, you may be at a disadvantage. 

Deciding how you will divorce and who will represent you is a critical decision that can have significant financial and emotional ramifications. It is important to make this decision thoughtfully before you hire a divorce lawyer.

 

For a complete step-by-step guide to hiring an attorney and navigating your divorce, visit www.divorcecompanion.com.

____________________________________________________________

Adina Laver is the founder of Divorce Essentials™ and author of the Divorce Companion™ a multi-media step-by-step guide to navigating divorce.  The Divorce Companion™ is the only resource of its kind that provides guidance and decision making tools for every aspect of the divorce process, including determining whether divorce is the next step.

Adina also provides limited one-on-one coaching support for those who recognize that divorce is a sign that life has gotten off track and are aching to finding happiness again – or perhaps for the first time ever.

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Talking to your partner about divorce

Talking to Your Partner About Divorce – 5 Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make

Initiating a conversation with your partner about divorce is one of the most important conversations you will ever have. Not only is this typically an emotionally charged time, but the way in which you navigate this conversation often sets the tone for the rest of the divorce process. Given the significance of this moment, here are 5 mistakes you don’t want to make when talking to your partner about divorce:


Talking to your partner about divorceDon’t spring the news on your partner in the middle of a heated argument.
While it makes sense that one person may reach the breaking point during an argument, holding your tongue and waiting until things have cooled down to raise the topic of divorce can help prevent a snowball effect of anger and emotionally driven reactive behaviors.

Don’t hope or expect that your partner will make the process easy. Many people hold off having the conversation about divorce much too long because they are waiting for their reluctant partner to come around and see how parting will really be better for both of them. The truth is that if one person does not what the relationship to end (for whatever reason), they are not going to give permission or make things easy. Stepping forward with a clear, concise and definitive message is the most compassionate way to share the news.

Do not try to be the one to comfort your partner when you talk about divorce. No one likes to hurt someone else’s feelings, but if you have just shared with your partner that you want a divorce, you cannot be the one to then try and comfort them. Leaning in to try and help your partner feel better is very confusing and this is a role best served by a friend, family member, coach or counselor.

Don’t plan to share the news in a public space. While it may feel easier for you to share the news in a public place where your partner is likely to not express their genuine response, this can make for a very uncomfortable situation all around. Your partner needs a safe space to have their reaction and placing them in a public situation can be humiliating and unnecessarily challenging. (Note: this applies as long as you are not at a threat for physical abuse.)

Do not tell friends and family members before you tell your spouse.  Receiving the news that your spouse wants a divorce is difficult enough, you do not want to run the risk that they may hear it from someone else before they hear it from you. A spouse who feels like they are ‘the last to know’ is much more likely to become contentious and adversarial in the divorce process.

The way in which you conduct yourself while talking to your partner about divorce will communicate a lot about who you are and will have a significant impact on how each of the next steps will unfold.

For additional support in planning this conversation, please check out the Divorce Companion: A Step by Step Guide to Your Healthy  Divorce.

____________________________________________________________

Adina Laver is the founder of Divorce Essentials™ and author of the Divorce Companion™ a multi-media step-by-step guide to navigating divorce.  The Divorce Companion™ is the only resource of its kind that provides guidance and decision making tools for every aspect of the divorce process, including determining whether divorce is the next step.

Adina also provides limited one-on-one coaching support for those who recognize that divorce is a sign that life has gotten off track and are aching to finding happiness again – or perhaps for the first time ever.

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runaway story train

STOP the Runaway Story Train

Remember the last time you saw a movie that kept you on the edge of your seat? For me, James Bond and Indiana Joes feel like classics, but any movie that kept you mesmerized with anticipation about how things would unfold will do.runaway story train

 

What keeps us so engaged for 2+ hours in the theatre? The story. And there is a basic story arc that goes something like this: Get us connected to and identifying with key characters, create some conflict or disequilibrium, add twists and turns to keep us wondering about how the conflict will be resolved, and then bring it to some resolution. And if you are anything like me, you may feel as though the resolution is the hardest part to pull off well because it is so easy to feel let down after engaging so deeply in the rising action and climax of the story.

 

I bring up stories because my own mind became so consumed with them this past week that I felt like I was in a non-stop movie loop with a story line about how my future was not going to bring me the things I most wanted. I had become very attached to certain visions of the future, and in my obsession, I was scanning for – and of course finding – evidence everywhere that things were not heading in the right direction and never would! In my fixated state, I kept feeding my stories with more thoughts, more evidence of their truth, and heightened levels of emotion.

 

The end result – a complete blockbuster hit featuring my own unfulfilled dreams!

 

Wow! I can only write this article now that I have found my way out of this trance-like obsessed state. My hope in doing so is to provide support to anyone else whose mind is speeding out of control like a runaway train with a story. And to take a lesson from the movie industry, the higher the stakes in our story, the more likely we are to become consumed. If the story affects our marriage, our dreams, our happiness, our well-being, or our security, it is likely to have a HUGE charge for us.

 

How to know if your mind has been hijacked by the ‘runaway story train’?

 

Before you can do anything else, you need to become aware of the fact that your mind has been hijacked by the runaway story train. And in fact, it is not that hard to tell. If you constantly find your mind and attention returning to the same thing again and again – upon rising in the morning, multiple times during the day, and when preparing for sleep – your mind has been hijacked. If the story telling persists for weeks or even months, you story train is likely speeding way out of control. And here is the thing, the longer your mind has been listening to and feeding the story, the stronger is has become and the more undeniable is feels. This is the power of the mind.

 

5 Steps to Stopping the ‘Runaway Story Train?’

 

Step #1: Take up a pen and paper or your journal and write the story down. This is an important step of awareness and owning the fact that your mind has become consumed with a story. (Yes, you perceptive readers, writing this article is a piece of this for me!)

 

Step #2: Make a commitment to stopping the runaway story. Remember that the climax, conflict and twists and turns are way more engaging to the brain than the resolution. This is the reason why movie producers spend way more time on the rising action, conflict and twists and turns than the ending of the story. Our mind likes the excitement. However, while high conflict and tension are great for box-office ticket sales, they are not great for relationships and for living a balanced and healthy life. Commit to letting go of the high-energy engagement of conflict.

 

Step #3: Imagine the positive possibilities that could arise from letting go of the story. On your paper or in your journal, begin to write down a list of all the positive things that could come once you let go of the story. Part of what makes the story so engaging is that it projects doom and gloom and the mind love tragedy. And, like most of Hollywood’s tragedies, most are not based in reality. In fact, most things work out much better than we expect. So challenge yourself and make a list of at least 5 good things that could result from letting go of your story.

 

Step #4: Create a new story that matches a reality you would like to experience. There is no greater influence over how our lives turn out than the story we tell about how it will turn out.

  • Do you tell that story that your ex is out to get you and you can never trust them or do you tell the story that you and your ex are both hurt but as the hurt subsides, you will build a healthy co-parenting relationship?
  • Do you tell the story that your partner’s affair is undeniable evidence that they can never be trusted again and that you need a divorce or do you tell the story that your marriage hit a difficult place and there is an opportunity to build something even stronger than before?
  • Do you tell yourself that life will be lonely and miserable after divorce because this isn’t what you wanted and you have no means to support yourself or do you tell yourself that divorce is a crossroad in life and can open doors to exploring opportunities, relationships and experiences that were never possible in the course of your marriage?

 

Step #5: Begin to live the new story. Once you construct your new story, begin to live it. Sometimes in life we need to ‘fake it till we make it.’ The new story may not feel very powerful at the start because the old story has gotten, days, weeks, months or even years of your undivided attention and old story will not want to give this up! But you can choose.

 

Make a commitment to the story you wish to live, train your mind to ‘think’ the new story, and then choose to live it!

 

You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you.  ~Brian Tracy

 

And if you are seeking support in creating a new story, training your mind, and/or figuring out how to live it, contact me. Let’s do this together.

 

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Adina Laver is the author of the Divorce Companion™ and founder of Divorce Essentials™, a specialized divorce coaching and support service for those who are considering, in the midst of, or post-divorce and are committed to a healthy path for reclaiming their lives.

 

If you are contemplating a divorce but are stuck or if you are in the throes of making key decisions for your future but need guidance, reach out to Adina. Whether you coach together for one Ala Carte Session or coach for a full Personal Empowerment Breakthrough, Adina is ready to help you navigate through uncertainty so you can create a happier and healthier future!

 

 

 

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Respect, Responsibility & Resilience

3 R’s of Parenting: Respect, Responsibility & Resilience

It is fairly universal that parents want their kids to be happy and healthy, respect themselves and others, take responsibility for themselves and follow through on commitments, and demonstrate resilience. We want these things for our kids, and even if life presented NO extenuating challenges, it would be a monumental challenge. Throw in doses of reality such as health issues, divorce, learning differences, job loss, (this list could go on and on), and the task seems downright daunting.Respect, Responsibility & Resilience

 

Raising children we love to embody these qualities without living a life of stress and guilt demands that we pursue a mindful and intentional approach to our most important responsibility of parenting.

 

I recently reviewed a newly released book, Get the Behavior You Want…Without Being the Parent You Hate by Deborah Gilboa, MD. Gilboa’s book is organized around the three R’s: Respect, Responsibility and Resilience – what these things really mean and what they look like in the parent-child relationship (ages birth – 12) – and concludes with a section on how to actually make change happen in your house.

 

Giboa’s book does not focus at all on divorce, AND here is what I like about it for all families, including those who are going through a divorce… Gilboa is clear about one critical idea… What kids need most is for their parents to be the parents. Guilt and shame we feel at different times are never really useful when making parenting decisions, and they are even less helpful during transitions such as divorce when our kids desperately need us to be clear and to create a safe and stable environment.

So, here is a sampling of some of Gilboa’s wisdom. I invite you to think about how it applies to your family dynamic as you read.

 

Respect, Responsibility & Resilience

 

RESPECT

According to Gilboa, respect is the ability to recognize someone’s (your own or another’s) worth and excellence and communicate it. She asserts, how we treat ourselves and others is the most important concept we can teach our children. Why? Here is some of what she has to say:

  1. Self-esteem is built on self-respect. When children learn to take care of themselves – their bodies, personality and needs, then they know they deserve to be treated well.
  2. Self-respect gives children the ability to walk away from disrespect such as negative peer pressure and abusive relationships.
  3. Showing respect is a skill that takes time to learn. While it is easy for kids (and us) to detect when we feel respected, learning to respect someone else requires some explicit guidance.
  4. When kids are taught to demonstrate respect to their parents and the adults around them, they place greater value on those relationships and learn more from them.

 

Most of us have been guilty of lowering our “respect” standard at one point or another, particularly when we feel that our kids are stressed or are going through something difficult. We do things for them rather than expecting them to do them for themselves and we accept more disrespect than we would like. While there are no universal answers, Gilboa challenges us to think about what we are trying to achieve as parent in long-term terms rather than short-term terms. What are we teaching through the choices we are making?

 

RESPONSIBILITY

Responsibility, Gilboa says, is about learning to be reliable, dependable, and to meet your obligations. Children [do] Learn What They Live and teaching them to be responsible is one of the keys not only to their success but also to their happiness. Why? Because the ability to be responsible coupled with initiative to grab opportunities is how we achieve our dreams. In other words, when children learn how to be reliable, dependable and meet their obligations, then they learn to trust themselves in all kinds of situations. They learn how to follow things through from beginning to end, they learn how to show up in uncomfortable situations, and they learn how to gain the trust of others.

 

Children of divorce often have to take on more responsibilities in single-parent homes. As parents, it is easy to feel guilty about this because we are ‘making our kids’ lives more difficult.’ Shifting the perspective a bit, we can look at a change of life or a new situation as an opportunity for kids to take on new responsibilities and develop additional confidence. Perhaps the change is enabling them to discover how much they have to contribute to the home. They may not always enjoy it, but what is the long-term gain of learning to be reliable and dependable at an early age?

 

RESILIENCE

Resilience means learning how to handle life when nothing goes as planned. Every challenge our children face is a chance to learn resilience. If we think about it, “making it perfect” is much more about our trying to prove our worth (personally guilty here!) than it is about what our kids’ needs or what is best for them. How we react when things do not go as planned, is far more valuable a life lesson than how to make things turn out ‘just right.’

 

Divorce, of course, (I couldn’t resist), like many other life challenges, is a suitable time to cultivate resilience. While we acknowledge that as parents

  • we love our kids and want what is best for them,
  • we have a primary responsibility to protect our children from harm, and
  • we (all) burden ourselves with a degree of guilt (for working too many hours, not working enough, being too easy, being too hard, buying too many things, not being able to afford to buy enough ….and so on and so on),

 

when is it really necessary or important for us to step in and protect our children from emotional or physical discomfort and when is it better to step back?

 

Gilboa provides a standard: Is it life-threatening or is there true physical or emotional danger? If the event ends badly, is there something valuable that could be learned? Let’s consider…

 

  • When do we step in to make things easier out of a sense of guilt?
  • When do we step in and solve a problem because we want to spare our child discomfort?
  • When do we jump in to save the day so that our child will be spared the consequences of their own failure to act responsibly?
  • When do we step in and fix things because it makes us feel relevant?

 

What would really happen if we didn’t?

 

This is the journey of parenting. How do we figure it out? Every child is unique and every parent is unique. In Get the Behavior You Want…Without Being the Parent You Hate, Gilboa offers practical advice to provoke our thinking about how to raise children in an intentional and conscious way.

 

Another valuable resource, specifically for parents going through divorce or navigating on the other side of divorce is Parenting Apart: How Separated and Divorce Parents Can Raise Happy and Secure Kids by Christina McGhee. Parenting Apart offers effective ways to minimize the effects of divorce on children, and offers immediate solutions to the most critical parenting problems divorce brings.

 

Christina McGhee will be my guest on the upcoming FREE support call I host each month: Preparing for Divorce. Join us on October 15th from 12:10 – 1:00 pm EST as we discuss: What Your Child Really Needs. You can register here.

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Adina Laver is the author of the Divorce Companion™ and founder of Divorce Essentials™, a specialized divorce coaching and support service for those who are considering, in the midst of, or post-divorce and are committed to a healthy path for reclaiming their lives.

 

If you are contemplating a divorce but are stuck or if you are in the throes of making key decisions for your future but need guidance, reach out to Adina. Whether you coach together for one Ala Carte Session or coach for a full Personal Empowerment Breakthrough, Adina is ready to help you navigate through uncertainty so you can create a happier and healthier future!

 

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Mind Full of Mines

A Mind Full of Mines

Two nights ago I gave a presentation to a group of attorneys and judges on Understanding the Divorcing Mind. Yes, I finally took my neuroscience fascination for a public speaking spin!

 

One of the images I had on my PPT presentation was of a man walking blindfolded through a minefield. This, I shared with the audience, is what it is often like for both attorney and client during the consult and throughout the divorce process. Two people walking blindfolded through a mind full of mines, fearing and experiencing explosion after explosion with no idea how quickly they will land on safe ground.

 

Well, you don’t have to be going through a divorce to experience the sudden detonation of a Mind Full of Minesland mine in the mind. Last night, after an otherwise lovely day, a simple e-mail detonated one of mine and I was overcome with a sadness and sense of vulnerability that was very old and painfully familiar. The author of the e-mail would have no idea that this simple communication would impact me the way it did, but the effect lingers with me, even fueling the writing of this article.

 

Each of us (simply because we are human) has a childhood and lifetime of vulnerabilities and fears that stem from our experience of being in this world. For most people, our deepest pains stem from events that happened within the first 8-10 years of our lives when the neural structure of our brain was first being shaped. Seemingly small things like the way someone reacted when we showed emotion or the jokes people made when we struggled with something new, all created an imprint in the brain that shaped how we experience the world. Of course traumas that occurred at older ages also have a powerful impact.

 

The thing is that once this memory and the visceral experience of this memory are embedded in our brain, it can be re-triggered at any time. Last night with this simple e-mail, I was suddenly transported back to a time when I was about 8 years old and felt extremely socially vulnerable. In an instant, I felt like a child again, helpless and rejected.

 

As vulnerable as I feel in sharing this when the experience is still saw raw for me, I bring it forth for a few reasons:

 

  • To encourage self-compassion. Even as I was feeling so badly, my first response was to berate myself for being sucked into the vortex of this old story. I was upset with myself for still feeling so weak and vulnerable to a story that is so old. As I write this now, I am still feeling vulnerable but I am practicing much greater self-compassion and recognizing that it is through our shared experience of vulnerability that we are all linked to one another.

 

  • To encourage us to be mindful in how we care for each other. With an average of 15,000 verbal communications every day and a much larger number of non-verbal communications every day, it is almost daunting to imagine the impact that we can have on others each and every day. EVERY interaction we have with another person has the potential to build their strength or trigger their vulnerability, make them feel valued or make them feel dejected. What is the impact of smiling or not smiling when someone enters the room? What is the impact of sending the quick e-mail reply versus taking the time to be engaged with the communication in a full way? What is the impact of giving someone our full attention or splitting our attention between them and our phone?

 

  • To encourage us to pursue forgiveness and compassion. We all respond differently when we get triggered and feel vulnerable or afraid. We can get angry and volatile, we can get shy and pull away, we can learn to become invisible or learn to preemptively strike out against others as a means of self-protection. By design, human beings are wired to seek connection. Therefore, whenever someone engages in behavior that seemingly breaks down or interferes with connection, it is always because of things rooted inside. Knowing this can perhaps help us pursue forgiveness and compassion with greater openness.

 

  • To encourage the pursuit of self-awareness. As painful as it is to be aware of my childhood story and re-live it, it is much more painful and disorienting to be impacted by the childhood story without awareness of it. It would seem logical that if we don’t want to face the hard stuff of our past, that we can just close ourselves to it and keep on moving. The problem is that the hard stuff affects us with or without our awareness, and it is much more likely to come out in ways that lead to addiction, the breakdown of relationships, self –destructive patterns, and so on when we try to pretend it isn’t there. It is with the awareness that we can assert a conscious and healthy response.

 

From this month’s featured teacher, Pema Chödrön:

 

“When you wake up in the morning and out of nowhere comes the heartache of alienation and loneliness, could you use that as a golden opportunity? Rather than persecuting yourself or feeling like something terribly wrong is happening, right there in the moment of sadness and longing, could you relax and touch the limitless space of the human heart? The next time you get the chance, experiment with this.”  

 

This article is my way of experimenting.

Namaste

______________________________________________

Adina Laver is the author of the Divorce Companion™ and founder of Divorce Essentials™, a specialized divorce coaching and support service for those who are considering, in the midst of, or post-divorce and are committed to a healthy path for reclaiming their lives.

 

If you are contemplating a divorce but are stuck or if you are in the throes of making key decisions for your future but need guidance, reach out to Adina. Whether you coach together for one Ala Carte Session or coach for a full Personal Empowerment Breakthrough, Adina is ready to help you navigate through uncertainty so you can create a happier and healthier future!

 

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Mrs Doubtfire

Divorce Wisdom from Mrs Doubtfire

As the world pays tribute to one of Hollywood’s greatest legends, I took the opportunity to re-watch one of Robbin Williams’ most famous films, Mrs Doubtfire.  In addition to all the comedic brilliance that is built into this film, it also contains great wisdom for both divorce and life.

6 Lessons on Divorce from Mrs Doubtfire   Mrs Doubtfire

In the 1993 classic, Mrs Doubtfire, Robbin Williams plays the role of Daniel, an unemployed voice over artist who is viewed by his successful corporate wife, Miranda (played by Sally Field) as irresponsible and incapable of disciplining the kids or keeping order in the house. After a birthday party for their son gets wildly out of hand, she tells Daniel she wants a divorce. They have grown apart and she doesn’t like who she has become while married to him. (Click here for a full synopsis).

 

Both funny and poignant, Mrs Doubtfilre offers six lessons on divorce for couples, friends and family members:

#1 – Divorce is not the end. One of the things the divorced couple is faced with is the realty that divorce is not the end. Just because they don’t live in the same house anymore, doesn’t mean that all the things that drove each one crazy disappeared. Ultimately it is the words and the pain of their children living between two parents who are angry and intolerant that becomes the impetus to begin to do things differently. Especially if there are children, the relationship does not end after divorce.

#2 – Everything transforms in time. I think one of the most important lessons of divorce (and life) is that everything transforms in time. At the first judge’s meeting, Miranda is so angry that she says nothing when the court temporarily awards her full custody with Saturday visitations only because Daniel does not yet have a job or place to live. She stays silent again 3 months later when the court makes the decision to permanently award her sole custody because Daniel, in his desperation impersonated a woman so he could apply for the job as Miranda’s housekeeper and see his kids everyday.  By the end of the movie, however, the couple’s relationship has so transformed that Miranda herself has the court order removed. Things do not stay the same forever. Time and intention have the capacity to transform any situation.

#3 – What kids need most is love. The children in Mrs Doubtfire, like the children of many divorcing or divorced couples, are stuck between two parents who are so angry and fed up with each other that they cannot help but speak ill of one another. The parents are suspicious and each feels so bullied by the other that they begin to pull at the kids like two teams yanking either side of a tug-o-war rope. Having no idea how to keep everyone happy, the kids’ anxiety levels rise. Divorce is grown up stuff. As with Daniel and Miranda, two people can get to a point where they have grown apart and are no longer making each other happy, but the only thing that the kids care about is feeling loved by both parents. Taking the high road when you feel you have been mistreated or manipulated is one of the greatest challenges a divorcing or divorced parent faces. However, for parents who love their children, there really is no other acceptable alternative.

#4 – People are capable of change. One of the most fascinating aspects of the movie from a divorce standpoint is the way in which Daniel, impersonating a housekeeper named Mrs Doubtfire, uses all his knowledge of who Miranda is and what she likes to adopt the very habits, patterns and ways of being that she always wished Daniel would have demonstrated while they were married. What changed? How come Daniel was suddenly willing to do what he was never willing to do while they were married? Over time, couples can get into the habit of bringing out the worst rather than the best in each other. Sometimes couples have to separate in order to find their best selves and sometimes they need the need a fresh new start with each partner dropping their shield and sword so they can develop new patterns together.

#5 – The courts and attorneys do not always know what is best. The movie was a powerful reminder of what can happen in the legal process when couples get so swept up in their own anger that they lose site and control over what is best for their children.  Miranda knows that Daniel is a loving and devoted father, but because she has felt so slighted and disrespected, she allows a judge to award Daniel limited, court supervised visits only. While the courtroom scene is not realistic in many respects, the truth remains the same that judges and attorneys, who have only a snapshot view of a family at best, are not in the best position to make decisions about what is best for the family or the children. The health and wellbeing of the children is most critically dependent upon parents who can show up to make choices from a place of love rather than anger.

#6 – Things usually get more chaotic before they get better. As if things are not tumultuous enough leading to the decision to get a divorce, the truth is that things often get more chaotic before they get better. In the movie, both Miranda’s and Daniel’s lives become even more chaotic and frustrating immediately after the divorce. The pattern before the divorce was at least familiar, if not healthy. The new routine after Daniel moves out is so disorienting that everyone is initially thrown into a state of chaos and disequilibrium. It isn’t until Daniel’s impersonation is finally revealed and everyone realizes just how chaotic things had become, that they find their way to a state of equilibrium. The chaos is normal. The chaos stems from the sudden reconfiguring that is necessary to move things from a past state to a new state.

 

Divorce challenges people in ways never imagined. It is often a painful and demanding process. However, navigated with intention and care, there is great potential for healing, stability and even miracles on the other side. These are the rewards of being willing to follow the road less traveled.

 

If you know anyone struggling with challenges in their relationship or navigating divorce who can benefit from support in getting from chaos and pain to stability and hope, please refer to them to Divorce Essentials. They do not need to wait until divorce is inevitable to get some help.

__________________________________

Adina Laver is the author of the Divorce Companion™ and founder of Divorce Essentials™, a specialized divorce coaching and support service for those who are considering, in the midst of, or post-divorce and are committed to a healthy path for reclaiming their lives.

 

If you are contemplating a divorce but are stuck or if you are in the throes of making key decisions for your future but need guidance, reach out to Adina. Whether you coach together for one Ala Carte Session or coach for a full Personal Empowerment Breakthrough, Adina is ready to help you navigate through uncertainty so you can create a happier and healthier future!

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Supposed to be Hard

Why Its Supposed To Be Hard

I can be a terribly impatient person at times. I am able to do many things quickly and there are a lot of things that come easily to me. That may sound like a great thing, but what it means is that when something truly is hard, I can get seriously thrown emotionally.

 

In today’s world of instant everything, we are not used to having to struggle and our resilience threshold (as an evolving species) can be very low. Think about it… We can cook a dinner in a box in under 5-minutes in the microwave, we can get same day dry cleaning, we expect 24-hour customer service from our bank and tech support. We simply expect things to happen quickly and for problems to be resolved with relative ease.

 

The result of this is that when something arises that truly demands tenacity, perseverance, courage, and resilience, it can feel excruciatingly difficult. We want to call 24-hour support to solve the problem for us. There must be an easier way out of this mess.

 

What is true, however, is that some things are supposed to be hard.

I invite you to share in one of my favorite stories…

 

 

Supposed to be HardA man found a cocoon of an emperor moth. He took it home so that he could watch the moth come out of the cocoon.

 

On the day a small opening appeared, he sat and watched the moth for several hours as the moth struggled to force the body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no farther. It just seemed to be stuck.

 

Then the man, in his kindness, decided to help the moth, so he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The moth then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The man continued to watch the moth because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time. Neither happened! In fact, the little moth spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.

 

What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the moth to get through the tiny opening was the way of forcing fluid from the body of the moth into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon. Freedom and flight would only come after the struggle. By depriving the moth of a struggle, he deprived the moth of health.

 

If your divorce or whatever other life struggle you are in feels hard – even excruciatingly hard at times – then it is supposed to be hard. Breaking out of a way of life that you have outgrown is a necessary struggle to prepare you to embrace and navigate what is on the other side.

 

I cannot tell you exactly how long this particular struggling will last. For me, I had many intervals of feeling very disheartened at how far I was from the “extraordinary” on the other side when I thought I should already be there. What I can tell you is this… It is worth it when you get there – and – you will renew the journey again and again if you want to live a fully actualized life.

 

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of those depths.”

~ Elizabeth Kubler Ross – Psychiatrist, often attributed with creating the

Theory of the Five Stages of Grief & Loss

 

For more on why the journey to the life we truly want is supposed to be hard, check out this video clip from one of my favorite movies: A League of Their Own.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndL7y0MIRE4

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Adina Laver is the author of the Divorce Companion™ and founder of Divorce Essentials™, a specialized divorce coaching and support service for those who are considering, in the midst of, or post-divorce and are committed to a healthy path for reclaiming their lives.

 

If you are contemplating a divorce but are stuck or if you are in the throes of making key decisions for your future but need guidance, reach out to Adina. Whether you coach together for one Let’s Get Real Mini Session, or coach for a full Personal Empowerment Breakthrough, Adina is ready to help you navigate through uncertainty so you can create a happier and healthier future!

 

 

 

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Predict the Future

How to Predict the Future

One of the biggest struggles for anyone going through divorce or another major life transition is the fear of uncertainty about the future. Whether the status quo is good or bad, our inability to predict the future and the uncertainty that comes with that can easily send us scrambling for the comfort of the familiar.Predict the Future

 

While I have always had a bit of an entrepreneurial spirit, ending my marriage, moving, and beginning a brand new business at the same time tested me beyond anything I had ever experienced in terms of my capacity to navigate through very long stretches of uncertainty. There is no keeping track of the number of times I wanted to run in retreat (as though there was anything to run back to) or tried to cling to anything that seemed more stable and predictable than my future. I pleaded with anyone I could find to just assure me that everything would work out exactly as I wanted it to so that I could find the confidence to take the next step forward. I begged for certainty and the ability to predict the future.

 

Does any of this sound familiar? Have you ever been there?

 

As a divorce coach, what people want most when they call for a consult is certainty that things are going to be OK – and by ‘ok,’ they mean ‘work out in a way that will make them feel comfortable.’ This is totally reasonable and makes sense.

 

Through my own journey and the experience of serving as a guide to others through a journey of transition, I have figured out that the only way to predict the future and to know that things will work out is to…

 

Align your happiness and sense of security with things over which you have control.

 

Think about it… most of our anxiety stems from our having expectations or desire for things over which we have no control. They are external to us and often tims in other people’s hands. What if all the things that really mattered to us and impacted our sense of happiness were within our control? What if we could predict the future?

How to Predict the Future

 

The truth is that this is possible. We choose what makes us feel happy and we choose what makes us feel secure. They are not chosen for us. In the course of my journey, my work was, is and forever will be to let go of the external measures of happiness and security and create news ones of my own – those over which I have control.

 

My future is much more certain when I align my happiness and sense of security with the following:

 

  • Responding well to events outside my control. While I cannot control everything I will encounter along the way, I can control how I respond in each situation. Cultivating the ability to respond well makes me feel happy and gives me a sense of security.
  • Living in alignment with my values. Humans are the only species that can make decisions based upon values rather than instinct. Knowing what I value and striving to live each day in alignment with my values makes me feel happy and gives me a sense of security.
  • Taking in the good. Very few things are all good or all bad. There is always an opportunity to choose what I take in – the rose on the bush or the prick of the thorn. Focusing on and taking in the good makes me feel happy and gives me a sense of security about the quality of my life experiences.
  • Being with people who care about me. There are those in my life who care deeply about me and support me in becoming my best self and others who don’t. Allowing those who care into my inner circle (and keeping the others at bay) makes me feel happy and gives me a sense of safety and security in my relationships.
  • Deciding how to spend my time. Like you, there are many demands on my time from people, work, and life! Being intentional about what I give my time to makes me feel happy and gives me a sense of security.
  • Nurturing my inner coach. Like everyone else, I have an inner critic and an inner coach (or cheerleader). Despite the fact that the inner critic speaks with complete confidence and certainty – ALL the time, choosing to give more credence to my inner coach makes me feel happy and creates a sense of security.

 

If you want to predict the future, try letting go of your attachment to some of the things over which you have no control and begin focusing your attention on the things you can truly affect.

 

What expectations are you holding onto that are creating anxiety about the future?
What are you ready to let go of?

What can you align your happiness and sense of security to instead?

“The future depends on what you do today.”  

~Mahatma Ghandi

__________________________________

Adina Laver is the author of the Divorce Companion™ and founder of Divorce Essentials™, a specialized divorce coaching and support service for those who are considering, in the midst of, or post-divorce and are committed to a healthy path for reclaiming their lives.

 

If you are contemplating a divorce but are stuck or if you are in the throes of making key decisions for your future but need guidance, reach out to Adina. Whether you coach together for one Let’s Get Real Mini Session, or coach for a full Personal Empowerment Breakthrough, Adina is ready to help you navigate through uncertainty so you can create a happier and healthier future!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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