Posts Tagged ‘Coping with Divorce’

The true cost of Divorce.

Chris Huhne and Vicky Pryce have given us a very graphic insight into the devastating consequences of divorce. The reason we are so horrified by the disintegration of their family life, and their own lives is because theirs is an extreme version of what so many people feel when they are involved in the process of separation.  Sometimes, looking at a catastrophic playing out of events, can show us all what can happen when the brakes aren’t put on acting on how we feel.

Their fall from grace has been like watching a car crash in slow motion.  The only difference between the Huhne/Price separation and others, is that they actually put into action, all their anger, bitterness and hatred, with devastating consequences for not only themselves, but also their family and their friends.  They say that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned; well one would have to look no further for the evidence.  Their separation and its Technicolor ramifications should make us all take a deep breath before acting out of spite. 

There has been no upside in their separation.   The consequences of their downfall and unravelling has meant losing jobs, losing face, losing family, losing friends, losing security and losing respect.  During separation, we can feel many of the things that this couple clearly felt, but fortunately, when dealt with quietly and thoughtfully, they are temporary and are capable of remedy.  They are capable of remedy because if we are sensible in managing separation, then our sense of right and wrong can remain intact and we can grow and develop out of it.  It is not just because Huhne and Pryce are in the public eye that they will always be associated with this.  It is because they have wreaked such havoc and nastiness on each other, that they can never successfully be good role models for their children, or have respectful relationships with either each other or their children.  Their friends will have looked on in horror, as each of this couple in trying to communicate the loathing of the other, have destroyed something fundamental in life – integrity. 

It is unusual that a divorce ends in criminal proceedings and prison, but we would do well to hold in mind in this extreme case, what can happen when we let our actions get the better of us.  Anger, bitterness, envy, hate are all normal feelings. It’s what we do with them that really matters.  Understanding, that in bringing the other person down, is only going to bring you down.  Tearing someone else apart however justified it might feel, will only tear you apart in the process.  Take your feelings somewhere where they can be understood and managed.  Feel them, go through them and come out the other side in time.  Keep family relationships intact for the sake of the children and for the sake of your own sense of self.  That is what is important.

Chris Huhne and Vicky Pryce may have quite a bit of time now to reflect on the craziness of the past year.  I wonder if they will ever wish they had managed it all differently.  From the insensitive, callous way he chose to communicate his affair, to the vengeful, spiteful way she chose to bring him down.  There are never any winners in these sorts of battles.  Both people lose.  The only way to win is to be good to yourself by not embarking on a war of attrition.   Hopefully, if nothing else, their case will serve to teach us that.

Children deserve more.

Recent publicity of the government’s proposals to enshrine in law the importance of children having a relationship with both parents post separation has resulted in controversy.  This controversy has, in my view, deflected from a debate which is fundamentally important in relation to children’s welfare after a divorce.  

Up and down the country there are many cases where fathers win a court order allowing them contact with their children however they often find it is still impossible as courts do little to ensure that the other parent complies. The new proposals are supposed to make it clear that both parents are equally important in a child’s life.

Despite the change in legislation, it is hugely difficult for a judge to say that a mother thwarting a court order should spend a few days in prison or be fined.  No-one wants to send mothers to prison or impose more financial constraints on a family.  Nor do courts want to take children away from their mothers and place them with their fathers as an antidote to alienation.  By the time children are alienated from their fathers, it may be more emotionally abusive to uproot them from their primary home. 

Where children are lucky enough to have two parents, they should not be stopped from loving and seeing them.  That has to be their inalienable right, with the exception of abusive or violent parents.

Most people recognise that an on-going relationship with both parents is fundamental to the healthy development of a child.  It is the few who don’t that cause untold problems.

Will a law change this? I don’t think so.  We need to change attitudes and the way the courts deal with non-compliance. Something needs to be done to ensure that spending proper time with each parent is what actually happens

Divorce Workshops

Divorce Support Group continues its series of one day workshops,designed to help you recover from and cope with your divorce or separation.  Our next one is in Holborn, Central London on 25th February 2012.
Whether you are newly separated, or going through the legal process or are already divorced, the Divorce Workshop will give you an opportunity to meet others and share your experiences.  We will help you think about how to move through your painful feelings, feel less stuck and start to think about your future without fear.  
We will also help you think about how to answer your children’s questions about their situation and manage any worries that you may have about them.
The workshops run from 10 am to 3.00pm The cost is £55 including lunch.
For more information go to or to book a place please call 0207 483 1378 or email

Top Tips for Divorce and How to Survive it.

Divorce is a major life changing event and although statistically quite common is one of the most painful and difficult events that any of us should have to endure.  These tips are given to try and help you cope and to help make your separation more manageable.

Allow yourself to feel grief.   No-one ever died from wallowing.

It is okay to cry yourself a river until there are no more tears left to cry.

Don’t be surprised at the intensity of your feelings.

Don’t fight how you feel.  It will only add to your exhaustion.

It is completely normal to feel rage, grief, envy, and all the other emotions that you are feeling. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Don’t let anyone tell you that its time to move on or get over it. It will be time when you say so and not before. This is your divorce.

Don’t be surprised at how long it takes to catch up with this life changing event.  It may have been imposed on you when you were least expecting it.  Catching up is a long distance run, not a sprint.

If your friends are also seeing your ex and you don’t like it, let them go.  Your real friends will stay with you and you will meet new ones.

You may fantasise that your ex is living a great life and you feel left out and on the side lines, it is just that – a fantasy.  That feeling will pass.

You are capable of and entitled to a happy and meaningful life, you will get there. 

You will think that the whole world is made up of couples and that is all you see.  Again, not true and more than half the couples that you see will have problems. 

The framework of your life has changed, embrace it and shed the last frame.  By holding on to ideas of how you want your old life back, you will start to feel stuck and opportunities will pass you by.

Start to allow your life to be different from before, instead of longing for how it was. 

Take control of this new life and start to inhabit it. 

You are still you and although you may feel abandoned you are the wonderful person that you were before and you will be stronger for this life experience.

Although you may not believe it now, you will survive and you will be happy again.


Men seeking support during separation

Since I started Divorce Support Group, many more women than men have contacted me either for individual counseling and support or to join a support group, that is, until now.  Now I have as many men as women so that the groups are more balanced in terms of numbers.  It is really useful to hear the other side of things.  As a husband who has perhaps been left, it is useful to hear from a woman in the group who has done the leaving and vice versa.  It is so much easier to hear things from people who have come together solely to share experiences than from well intentioned friends, who may have their own agendas.  I don’t know why more men are now seeking help and are happy to talk about their loss, but it is good both for them of course, but also for women who can hear now the male perspective.

New Divorce Support Groups across the Country.


Celebrating Divorce – I don’t think so.

Just preparing for the ‘divorce show tomorrow in London.  It will be interesting to see what sort of response it gets from people and from the media.  There has been much in the media lately of ‘celebrating divorce’ with cakes, and lists and parties.  I think it is difficult to see how a major life event, that is on a par with bereavement can feel like a celebration.  It is a loss and like all losses has to be processed in order to make sense of it.  Hopefully once that is done, it is possible to move forward and look to a different future which is meaningful.  I do believe that divorce can be an end but it is also in time a new beginning.