Divorce is one hot mess and so complex that most people involved, including the professionals, often find it challenging to navigate. Even when divorce is amicable, it can still leave a wake of uncertainty and emotional scars all around you. There are tremendous benefits to divorce coaching. I wish that when I got divorced, I had known about the benefits of divorce coaching. In retrospect, divorce coaching would have dramatically improved my divorce process.
Divorce requires you to think logically and strategically about your future, while simultaneously navigating the most emotionally charged time in your life. Not only do you feel at odds with your ex, but also at odds with yourself, especially as far as your head and heart are concerned. You don’t need to be a trained therapist to know that this kind of turmoil can leave you exhausted, chronically stressed, and wanting to give up.
There are plenty of metaphors that paint a good picture of what divorce looks like and feels like… the one I like to use is… Divorce is like learning to unicycle on a tightrope over the Grand Canyon with fireworks going off on either side of you, as you desperately try to hold on to your balance to get to the other side.
Divorce knocked me off my feet before I even had the chance to catch my balance, let alone learn how to cross a behemoth like the Grand Canyon. Just like that, I was pushed off the cliff, holding onto the only branch on the side of the Canyon walls, when my now ex-husband came home from a trip, looked me in the eyes and said he wanted a divorce. At that time, I was 6 months pregnant with our first child, full of hormones and all sorts of irrational thoughts. All I could hear was the ringing in my ears, and this loud sound of my heartbeat muddled with the sound of his accusative voice and suddenly it felt like I was free falling, finding it so hard to hold on to anything that could be used to hold onto or to be used as a safety net.
Life as I knew it or thought it would be, changed in that very moment. My body felt sick and I watched all sense of reality disappear in front of me, while Icould only face helpless, scared and lonely thoughts. It was one of the hardest moments of my life and I honestly never thought I would recover from it.
Although I had all the love and support from my family and friends, I couldn’t have felt more alone on my journey. What I felt I was missing the most was someone to help guide me while I walked the tightrope of separation, someone to throw me the lifesaver or the trampoline that would support me and catch me on my falls so that I could get back up again in order to work on my own strengths and remind myself of who I am. I needed someone who could be both patient yet directional and who could ultimately navigate me across the pitfalls towards the life I could recreate.
Unfortunately, no one in my inner circle had experienced divorce, which meant no one knew how to give me the support I needed. Despite their best efforts, it was all too precarious for them and the pity I sensed in my friends’ and family’s concerned eyes reinforced my personal feelings of failure and impeded my ability to move forward. After struggling for a long while, that is when I realized that there needed to be a role in life like a Divorce Nurse.
As a Divorce coach, I am privileged to foster the care for so many people going through one of the hardest things in life, so I do not take it lightly. I am aware of the trust and emotional support that is required on their journey through separation.
I have clients who find it hard to let go of the pain and the wrongdoing they faced in their breakup. For them, it is important that they come to realize on their own, that it does not serve them any good to hold onto to that pain and anger and in order to get what they want, they need to let go of their story and free themselves so that they can rebuild their lives. Some of my clients actively seek revenge on their ex. My role is to help them move past that resentment and learn that revenge only depletes energy from themselves, not their ex-partner. As they say, resentment if like swallowing poison and expecting the other person to die. I also have clients who abdicate all their decision making to their lawyer or their ex as they can’t face the reality or make any choices for themselves when in fear or under emotional strain. For these clients, it is important that we go through a ‘rebuilding of oneself technique’ that will allow them to start understanding and knowing what they want so that they feel empowered and ultimately learn to abdicate for themselves.
Divorce does not have to be a long and messy experience. I truly believe that with the right kind support, knowledge and a thinking partner by your side who understands the landscape of divorce, there are ways for two people to learn to communicate better and achieve their desired outcome.
There are numerous benefits to having a divorce coach. I speak from personal experience when I say, unequivocally, that had I had my own divorce coach – my own strategic thinking partner- I would have spent a lot less money and a lot less time navigating the legal process. Moreover, I would have felt much more confident and much less stressed while forging ahead and reclaiming my identity. Regretfully, by naively relying solely on my attorney for all the answers and emotional support, I ultimately paid a much heavier economic and emotional price.
A divorce coach is your ally and will help you set the stage for realistic expectations for the future. They become your accountability partner and urge you to dig deep within yourself for the answers you need, instead of seeking outside yourself to assign blame. They help you regain your inner power. They remind you that you – and only you – hold the key to the best version of yourself and that version will be the version that will get you through the drama and over to the other side.
With a divorce coach, you take over your own narrative and won’t abdicate so much decision-making power to your legal counsel or to your ex. With the guidance of a divorce coach, that precarious tightrope in the midst of a minefield becomes a positive path forward on nothing but solid ground.
After spending a decade, trapped inside the family law system, I emerged with my masters in divorce. There were times when I thought the experience would break me, but I came out stronger than ever and with a newfound purpose to help others who are going through the same thing.
I am now an accredited mediator and Better Apart and CDC accredited divorce coach, and I call myself The Split Coach. I hold a B.S. in International Management from George Mason University. I obtained a mediation accreditation from Regent’s University London; School of Psychotherapy and Psychology.
Find Laila here:
IG @thesplitcoach www.thesplitcoach.com
Also at @splitfyi www.splitfyi.com
FB community https://www.facebook.com/groups/2046255635673904/
DISCLAIMER: The commentary, advice, and opinions from Gabrielle Hartley are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice or mental health services. You should contact an attorney and/or mental health professional in your state to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.