It doesn’t matter if you were the “leaver” or the “left behind”. At some point you will doubt every decision, every motive, and every fiber of your being. How can you learn to trust again when the person you doubt is the one inside?
There are many ways to redevelop your self-trust. It helps to keep these things in mind:
- Trust the Uncertainty
The time before, during, and after divorce is scary. You won’t know how things will turn out. Where will you live? How will you support yourself? What about the kids? The questions will race through your head and sleep is elusive.
Understand that uncertainty is part of the process. It’s not up to you to have all the answers. Focusing on the future (especially the long term future) will drive you insane when you try to juggle all of the “what-if’s”. So take things slowly and deal with the moment. If you feel the urge to plan out your future, plan out tonight’s dinner instead.
- Trust in the Change
Recognizing that your life will change will help you to deal with those challenges. Too many times wives try to keep things the same, ex. remaining in the marital home when the funds aren’t there to support that lifestyle.
Yes, your ex-husband has changed into someone you don’t know. Yes, your life is upside-down as you battle over things that should have remained shared and mutually enjoyed (season hockey tickets, anyone?) But…
Consider this changing time as an adventure, one where you star as your own Lara Croft and get to find the priceless treasure at the end. You’ve handled change in the past and you’ll do it again. And when you come out of this, you’ll be wiser, stronger, and self-aware. Like a big beautiful diamond.
- Trust the Future
Tell yourself, “This too shall pass” because it will. No matter what you’re facing, it won’t last forever. It’s hard to think of the good when you’re wrapped up in custody battles and lawyers’ fees but there is a future with your name on it.
Unless you’re battling with Pauline’s husband! (Pauline, I feel for you.) But let’s face it, even THAT guy will die someday.
No matter how bitter the fight, time will continue to pass and eventually the kids she’s battling over will turn into adults. Child support issues will fade away. The new future won’t have room in it for petty people from long ago.
- Trust the Past
There was a time when YOU believed in YOU. Whether it was the belief that you could stagger out of bed and shuffle to a college lecture, or reaching as far back as the time a tiny you believed she could walk. (Sometimes you have to look waaaaaaayyyyy back.)
- Trust in a Good Heart
Maybe you did some things that Sane You would never do. It’s hard to have self-confidence or inner peace when you look back and see the crazy person you became. The Rational You says things like, “I would never spy on my spouse. I would never chase after someone who betrayed me.” Yet there you are, hiding in the bushes like a Super Ninja watching his every move with the other woman. Or maybe all you did was read his email or listen in on his phone calls…
It’s OK. Take a deep breath and recognize where you were in the moment…possibly a confused wife who was trying to evaluate whether to go or stay…hungry for information that would help you to make the right choice. Let go of the notion that you are somehow evil and trust that you still have a good heart. Forgive yourself for these transgressions and move on.
While you’re at it, forgive your ex as well.