My partner is in the process of going through a divorce, and was asking my advice on how he can get through the process without becoming bitter and jaded.
I put my thoughts into an email which I wanted to share on my blog…
Divorce and forgiveness
I guess I can only speak from my own personal experience. Of what I did, and what worked for me.
It hasn’t always been easy to remain calm when it comes to dealing with my ex-husband. He can be very secretive and ‘closed’. And hostile as well.
For me I decided early on that I wasn’t going to let it affect me. I didn’t want my son to see it. And if I let it affect me, it was only going to compromise me, and my ability to handle the situation.
I have a need to have open communication and understanding to work through issues.. And it makes life difficult when I am not met with the same respect and courtesy.
I guess though at least by trying to continue doing the right thing myself, I could be confident that I’d done the very best that I could. To make the situation as easy and pleasant as possible. Even the times that my ex-husband was unpleasant I just remained calm.
Because that was something that he needed to deal with. It was no longer my problem. And funnily the more calm and even I remained, the more it annoyed him. Because he wasn’t affecting me.
It’s also very liberating to step away from their games. And to be free of it. To rise above it I guess.
Dealing with the feelings of resentment is going to be key in getting through this. Because if left as it is, resentment will turn into frustration, which turns into anger.
It will be a matter of how to deal with the resentment in a useful way. It can help to write out how you are feeling. Even if this is only in a letter that s never going to be read. Sometimes it helps to just put thoughts into words. It helps to untangle our thoughts by writing them out. And clears our head a little. Sometimes just by getting them out there it’s enough to release our tension and frustration. Nothing more needs to be done. Sometimes.
But just remember to put yourself first in all of this.
That’s something I learnt the hard way.
You need to do what brings you comfort and peace.
Enjoy the good times – however brief they may be. They give you strength to face the bad times.
And also accept offers of help from people. Let people that care about you support you through it.
I let friends know that I wasn’t okay. And mostly what I needed was just company. Someone to talk to. To spend time with.
You get out of relationships (of any sort) what you put into them. The more love, kindness and compassion you approach a situation with, the more you will (eventually) get in return. Perhaps not from your ex-partner, but from the universe in general.
Nothing has changed between my ex-husband and I. We have a very terse relationship.
However the world around me has changed as I have changed. As I have softened and opened, more opportunities have become available to me. I have met so many beautiful people.
Also just allow yourself to work through the stages. Grief, anger, resentment, etc. Allowing yourself the time to feel your full range of emotions is not only liberating, but necessary. It helps cleanse you of any negativity you may be holding on to.
The ability to wholly and truly forgive is one of the greatest gifts you can ever give yourself. Forgiveness sets you free from resentment’s confines; it breaks down the walls that anger builds and negativity reinforces. When we forgive, we stop letting ours pasts dictate our presents. We acknowledge we want the very best for ourselves; accepting that our past makes us the person we are today, and embracing that. Letting go of resentment doesn’t necessarily lead to forgiveness, but when you embrace forgiveness, resentment ceases to exist.
We cannot control what other people do, but we can control how we react. When we practice truthful living, and forgiveness, resentment fails to have any power over us.
And that’s really how I feel, and how I have managed to get through it without bitterness and anger.
I refused to let this experience change me – for the worse. Only for the better. I was determined to learn from it, and grow, and use it to be coming more open and loving and kind. And help other people.