Penicillin is widely regarded to be a scientific and medical marvel, as it has been used to treat a range of bacterial infections in millions of people worldwide since the 1940’s. Countless people have penicillin to thank for treating ear infections, strep throat, and numerous assorted ailments.
Give me penicillin, and plan to take me to urgent care to treat hives and vomiting caused by an allergic reaction I have to the popular drug.
Penicillin. Good medicine for the majority, and a very bad idea for the few, like me, who will have a negative reaction.
Any medication one takes can have risks and side effects. If we need the treatment, we tend to accept whatever negative might come along with the positives. Some side effects are bearable, while others rattled off in those lengthy television disclaimers are downright horrifying!
“Might cause projectile vomiting, memory loss, rash on eyeballs, intense nightmares, stroke, or even death…”
All I have to say is, it better be worth it!
Divorce is not much different than a drug.
We all anticipate such side effects as anger, depression, frustration, confusion, and a period of time in our lives that will be chaotic.
Those of us who decide to divorce, take the treatment in hopes of ending an unhappy phase of our life, removing someone who is bad for us, and in hopes of finding happiness again.
Like a drug, it is possible to have a “bad reaction” to divorce.
My guess is that you won’t discover that you are allergic to divorce as I discovered that I’m incompatible with penicillin. (A moment of silence for the time I had an emergency extraction of my wisdom teeth the day before my epic Super Bowl party, and I spent the whole weekend in the bathroom throwing up- not exactly what my oral surgeon had in mind as “recovery”).
Chances are, that you may not even recognize that you’re having a significant bad reaction until someone expresses concern for you or points out that your exposure to divorce is abnormal.
Let me help you out. If you are exhibiting any of the following signs, I urge you to seek help to alleviate your symptoms. I repeat, it is not normal to react in the following ways (please note, the longer it has been since your divorce, the greater the need for you to remedy these behaviors!):
You text or call your ex, ex’s family, or their new partner multiple times per week (be honest, for some this is multiple times per day!). On occasion, it is necessary to have a high flow of communication because of an emergency or other special circumstances; otherwise, why do you need- or want– to talk to your ex so often?
The obsessive need to be in contact with an ex is a concerning symptom of still trying to hang onto something that is no longer there. Special attention should be given to this malady if the tone of communication tends to be argumentative. Communication drama can create anxiety, aggression, headaches, and distract one from matters of higher importance in the here and now!
Set some reasonable limits. Wouldn’t one text in a day or a handful in a week be sufficient to pass along needed information about schedules and other concerns? Any more than that opens the door for conflict. Addiction to drama is a secondary symptom that can also rob one of joy, focus, or the ability to establish a new life. If your ex is the one doing all the calling and texting, you have the power to slow down the flow and filter the content by ignoring invitations to fight.
You still think of your ex as your “go to” person to answer questions or solve problems. Your ex might be the best carpenter, trip planner, or chef that our world has ever known; however, your ex is now your ex, as in formerly part of your life. A few exes out there manage to remain best friends through it all. Good for them. For the rest of us, the trip to the courthouse is an indication that it’s over, you’re now your own person, and he is now his.
Ladies, we are intelligent, we are talented, and there is little we cannot do. I admit it. If something goes wrong with my computer, I am screwed! Am I going to call my ex to fix it? Oh, hell no!
I have witnessed exes act as though they are incapable of loading a map app on their phone to locate an address, appear clueless as to how to read a flyer and disseminate the time, date, or location of an event, and roll over in surrender because it’s too hard to tell the kids “no.”
If technology (or fill in the blank) is not your “thing,” I assure you that there is help out there to get you through! We all probably have a dozen people, other than our ex whom we could ask how to search for information on the internet, where to take a car for repairs, or what Timmy needs to take to band camp.
Why make yourself dependent on your ex to solve every last problem? Why tell your ex (without so many words) that you think they are the most brilliant and indispensable human to ever live? Why shortchange yourself when you can make your own way and solve your own problems!
Repeat after me: “I can figure it out!” If this is a matter of lacking confidence and fear of the unknown, take a deep breath, and I swear you can make it through. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but each time you take a risk you can get better and better at this!
If you’re not even trying to be self-sufficient, you are just making life more difficult for yourself by staying latched onto your ex. Let go!
You are still filled with rage at the mention of your ex’s name or your blood pressure rises each time you talk. Care enough about yourself to no longer let your emotions related to your ex control you. It’s natural to make a negative association to an ex; but, it shouldn’t consume your time or influence the way you feel long after the fact.
You still feel as though your ex’s business is your business. News flash: it’s not! That divorce decree you both signed is your invitation to remove your nose from their affairs (and theirs from yours). That means that your criticism, interrogations, and other involvement in how your ex runs their life is not only unwelcome, but unhealthy. Tend your own garden the best you know how, and leave your ex to their own.
This dose of reality may be a bitter pill for some to swallow. I apologize for the abrupt bedside manner; however, it is with care and concern that I urge you to reflect on your feelings and actions and honestly assess if you have room to heal and improve. Any of the above symptoms are cause for concern, and they will hold you back from the life you deserve! Now is the time to get well!