Halloween is one of my favorite nights of the year. Particularly when it lands on a cool, windy evening and you can hear the leaves crunching and rustling underfoot as the children laugh up and down the sidewalks before shouting “trick or treat” at doorsteps. I enjoy the occasional whiffs through the air of burning pumpkin and the taste of the crispy Kit Kat that I inevitably steal from one of my daughters’ treat bags by the end of the night.
What I do not enjoy about Halloween is the feeling of being scared. I would no more willingly walk into a haunted house to be terrorized than I would send one of my children walking out into a busy lane of traffic. I do not enjoy the feeling of total and complete vulnerability. I do not like the unknown or unseen. I do not like the uneasy feeling of not being able to plan for my future.
Divorce is one of the scariest life events that can happen to a person. Undeniably, at some point in the divorce process, a person will feel terrified. Whether it be from having to put in writing and fully disclose the status of their debt load, or whether it is not understanding words like “praecipe” or “subpoena,” or whether it is not knowing if they will spend Christmas with their child this year, going through a divorce is scary.
When people are scared they usually revert into survival mode. They will react in one of the fight, flight or freeze responses to the divorce process happening around and to them. This oftentimes makes it challenging to discern or remember what their true intentions are or what their primary goals and most important outcomes may be.
It is useful to remember that it is okay to feel scared silly during divorce. Not only is it okay, it is normal. I submit to you that it is impossible to go through a divorce without experiencing an iota of fear. It is important to acknowledge your fear and move through it. To look closely at what it is that is scaring you most and why. The next critical step is to then ask your lawyer, your financial advisor, your counselor, your mother, or your best friend to help you brainstorm thoughts or actions to replace the fear which can paralyze you, make you combative or even make you driven.
Keep acknowledging, facing and working through your fear. Just like taking steps through a haunted house, you eventually will make it out the door alive.