Ghosts, Goblins, and Divorce
I love Halloween, and I love being scared. Scary can be fun when it’s within your control, like I am with my Halloween decorations.
- A five-foot replica of Frankenstein’s monster, which dances to the Monster Mash
- A fake graveyard in front of my house, with silly inscriptions on the stones
- Zombie garden gnomes
- A full-size skeleton sitting in a chair on the porch, wearing a baseball cap backwards, a college sweatshirt and sweat pants
It's all more ridiculous than scary.
It’s also fun to be scared when you know you’re safe and nothing bad is going to happen to you:
- If you’re watching a scary movie, all you have to do is turn it off or look away when you hear the ominous music.
- If you go to a haunted house, you may scream and run through it, but you know that no one is going to hurt or even touch you, and it’s all just actors playing their roles.
Yes, it can make you feel anxious, but you can stop it any time and go back to normal.
When I mediate, though, I see that the fear and anxiety that some of my clients feel is much different from the safe, orchestrated scary things running rampant at Halloween. It’s clearly not fun, it’s not make believe and it’s not going away all that easily.
Going through a divorce is one of the most frightening, real life experiences that most people will ever have to endure. You feel as though your world has just turned upside down. The person who you loved and probably called your best friend, will not be there for you in the same way. You’re afraid what your choice to divorce will do to your children. And you’re afraid that you will have to drastically change your lifestyle because you won’t be able to afford to maintain it.
These are not irrational fears, and if you address them head on and take control of the situation, you will be able to handle them better. In mediation, your fears and concerns, rational or irrational as they may be, will all be addressed and acknowledged. Your mediator will help you to resolve your divorce so that you control the outcome. You won’t agree to terms that are not in your children’s best interests or that are going to make it impossible for you to live reasonably.
Of course, there will be changes to your life after you separate, and some of those changes may be unpleasant. But the difference between being a party in a litigation and engaging in mediation is that you will be taking an active role in the process and the decision making. You are taking control of the situation and deciding your future, and which compromises you will make
And when you’re in control, things are not as scary as you think.