Whether your spouse cheated on you with a work colleague or simply “fell out of love” with you after 10 years of marriage, you’re feeling bitter, angry, and resentful. You just wish things were different. Unfortunately, when many people enter the divorce process, they have such strong emotions that they struggle for months if not years to regain equilibrium. In today’s post and two that will follow, we’ll address a very challenging topic – how to stop blaming your spouse for what went wrong in the marriage and start to listen to and attend to your own needs.
We’ve talked before on this blog about the power of empathy – that is: understanding and reflecting feelings and needs. Ultimately, you want to try to cultivate empathy towards your spouse – i.e. to see his or her behavior in a more compassionate and objective light.
But if you haven’t practiced empathy much, first start with yourself. Here’s a good exercise. Think of something that your spouse did that really made you mad. For instance, let’s say your spouse had an affair. Rather than calling your spouse a lying, cheating scoundrel, put the light on yourself. What about the cheating bothered you? What needs of yours were not met because of it? For instance, maybe you had a need for trust, which was broken. Maybe you had a need for companionship, which was violated when your spouse chose another person over you.
Now you have identified two critical needs – trust and companionship – that have not been met (in a big way). Just this knowledge alone can help you start to heal, because you can start to develop strategies to the effect of “how can I meet my needs for trust and companionship better?” The answers you get from that question are going to be a lot more soothing and nourishing than the answers you’ll get from questions like “how can I get revenge on that lying scoundrel?”
Of course, to move through the process effectively, you want trusted, experienced legal counsel. Call the team here at the Toussaint Law Firm, PC right now to schedule a free case consultation with our team.