I was at the funeral of a dear friend last week. He and his wife were and are the kind of friend that you choose to be family. In fact, I'm not sure who chose whom first. All I know is that when I heard that Bob had died, I cleared my calendar so I could be with Gloria and the rest of the family just as if they were blood relations.
One of Bob and Gloria's children is divorced. She and her ex-husband appear to have a fairly good co-parenting relationship for their three children. Her ex-husband was present at the funeral and sitting next to their middle child. During the service, I saw her ex-husband hand their son a bunch of tissues with the suggestion to have them handy for his mother. I have to admit this surprised me. I hadn't expected to see this kind of behind-the-scenes consideration. And it got me to thinking about what they must have done right with their divorce for him to be able to be that supportive and what they might still need to work on that he would need to be considerate by proxy (i.e. through his son).
Of course, I can only speculate, but this is what I think they must be doing right as exes:
They focus their post-divorce relationship on their children.
They know that their kids need both of them and support each other in having quality time with each child.
They have dealt with the legal and financial repercussions of their divorce.
They have both started living their own lives.
They respect each other as people.
However, based on what I observed, I'm suspicious that they also might have a few things that could still use some work:
They have some unresolved emotional repercussions of their divorce.
They have some lingering resentment and anger.
They are still playing the blame game and have a little more work to do in the area of each accepting personal responsibility for their divorce.
They're really like most people with children who divorce. Most parents put their kids' needs first and then just expect that since their divorce is over legally that they are just fine. BOY, are they wrong!!
The reality is things are so much better for everyone when the emotional component of divorce is completely dealt with. Most people don't even realize that there's more to be dealt with after their divorce is final because they've become numb to the pain, confusion, anger, and resentment they've been experiencing over the course of getting divorced. The weight that can be lifted simply by recognizing and working through the emotional repercussions of divorce is immense for the former spouses and their children. Neglecting the emotional repercussions of divorce will make their lives sadder than they need to be.
Your Functional Divorce Assignment:
Have you been neglecting the emotional repercussions of your divorce? Most people assume that they have without any thought. Take a moment and really think about it. Are you happy? Do you feel confident? Are you still angry at your ex?
Are you wondering "How do I know if I have worked through the emotional repercussions of divorce?" Don't worry, you're not alone. When I first ask my clients whether or not they've worked through the emotional repercussions of their divorce, they usually ask me how can they know? I always tell them there's a simple self-assessment they can take called the Fisher Divorce Adjustment Scale (FDAS) that will help them understand what they might still need to work on to finish dealing with the emotional repercussion of divorce. The scale will tell you which of the emotional components of divorce you might still need to work on.
Now are you wondering "How can I get through it all faster?" For most people, just having the results of the FDAS isn't enough. They want to know what to do to get over their divorce faster and completely. If that sounds like you and you want to have personalized suggestions for what you can do to finish your emotional work you can visit my website.
In 30 minutes or less, you can QUICKLY and EASILY pinpoint EXACTLY what you need to do to COMPLETELY get over your divorce... GUARANTEED! http://www.functionaldivorce.com/fdasproduct.html
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Karen Finn, Ph.D. is the creator of The Functional Divorce Coaching Program. She works with people in all phases of divorce who struggle with moving on and who want to find the direction they need to take their lives so they can be confident and happy again. Visit http://www.functionaldivorce.com to learn more about Karen's work and to register to receive her newsletter. Karen Finn, Ph.D. owns the copyright to this article and reserves all rights to it.