Starting Over Again
Changes now to make your life a win
A Series of Articles on Adjusting to Divorce
By Harlan Jacobsen
YOU WILL PROBABLY GROW MORE IN YOUR FIRST SIX MONTHS OF SINGLE LIFE THAN YOU DID IN TEN YEARS OF MARRIAGE
You can grow up and gain a valuable, new, improved emotional maturity in a short time. Right now, while you are motivated by your divorce to make some changes in your life, it will pay you to look at changes you can make that really work and put your life on "winning" automatically.
LAST ISSUE WE LISTED MORE VOCABULARY CHANGES YOU CAN MAKE
Previously, we had suggested other vocabulary changes and now we want to suggest some other simple changes that will help make your new life and relationships work automatically.
YOU OFTEN GO TO ONE EXTREME OR THE OTHER AFTER DIVORCE
It seems either you completely deny you have needs or insist you are the only one who does and needs of others are insignificant compared to yours.
AS NEWLY DIVORCED, WE ARE EITHER WALKED ON OR HOSTILE
We are either dictators or doormats. We need to be able to reestablish our personal worth and value, and do away with your feeling of powerlessness.
To give your subconscious programming and others that you are, indeed, okay LEARN TO VERBALIZE WHERE YOU ARE AT. Make a conscious effort to use Dr. Gordonís. "I" messages. For example, "I am feeling angry because," not "My ex makes me angry." The latter message, for example, tells (and programs) your big computer that your Ex still controls you.
"The bills my Ex caused or left me are giving me ulcers." Wrong! Instead, say "I am feeling overwhelmed by the bills my Ex dumped in my lap." Starting out with "I" tells others and your subconscious (programs your big computer) where you are, not that outside uncontrollable influences are running your life.
"I" MESSAGES MAKE NEW
RELATIONSHIPS AND OLD (INCLUDING YOUR KIDS) WORK BETTER
"I" messages tell where you are or are affected by behavior. To Junior, "YOU go hang up your clothes." (Dictator). Instead, say, "I would appreciate it if you would hang up your clothes."
"YOU promised to call and I sat up all evening waiting to hear from you." (Inducing guilt). Instead, use "I". "I waited all evening and was disappointed I didnít get a call last night."
The latter will tell them where you are and will help change an unacceptable behavior without alienating the relationship.
When you have conflicts, talk about how you feel and where you are; just remember to start the sentence with "I" -- not "you".
THIS SIMPLE CHANGE WILL HELP MAKE YOUR NEW LIFE WORK
You program yourself incorrectly for bad results automatically. Change your programming (what you hear yourself saying) and you change your results automatically.
The results will be automatic; to correct the way you have been programming yourself will take some conscious effort. In terms of making your life work, it will be the most profitable thing you ever did.
sidebar: What to call your ex
In past issues we suggested that when divorced or separated you stop referring to your ex-spouse as "My husband did this" or "Guess what my wife did now?"
Make the simple vocabulary change, referring to them hereafter as "my ex."
We discovered several years ago that people who had worked through their divorce and were getting on with their lives all used the term "my ex" when referring to their former spouse.
It became apparent also that when you switched early intentionally, you worked through the divorce in much less time.
When you say "my husband" this or that, you are programming your big computer that you are still in relationship. Even though you are not married, you are programming yourself that you are. Then when you do something married people donít do (according to your programming) you have an internal conflict. Your big computer sends down bodily reactions that when you do this you are uncomfortable because of this conflict.
When you use the word "ex" you are notifying and programming your big computer that you no longer are in a relationship. When you are doing things marriedís donít do (like attending singles events), then you will be comfortable because your big computer wonít turn on body "uncomfortable stress" alarms.
A widow asked me how she should refer to her former husband, now deceased for several years. Ex does not fit here. We suggested always referring to him as "my late husband."
Again that tells your big computer (remember, you are constantly programming your big computer with words) that the relationship is over.
Keep telling your computer you are still in a relationship by saying "My husband did this or that" and you will program your big computer so that you cannot get on with your new life with out a stressful conflict of programming.
Itís a simple change. Make it now.