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When a woman has lived through a chaotic marriage, you may think that a getting divorce will lead to more peace. However, there is a possibility that chaos will still be present even after a divorce.
The Latin root term “di” means apart to divide or separate. The act of getting a divorce means that you divide yourself from your spouse physically and legally. However, the one person that you cannot divide from is yourself.
If you have experienced chaotic or dysfunctional behavior in your marriage, there is a strong possibility that you may have had a similar experience at some point in your childhood. So, even though you were able to separate from your spouse, you may still unconsciously identify with the chaotic behavior that was associated with your marriage.
For a lot of my coaching clients, when we discuss issues around their marriage and why they got divorced, many of them say there were clear red flags before they got married. However, the reason that they moved forward was that a part of them felt that the behavior was normal.
From a psychological perspective, 0-7 years old are the prime years that are the foundation of children’s mental, emotional, and behavioral development. Those are the prime years where you absorb everything like a sponge. That is when your mind starts to normalize certain behaviors that you see, hear, or feel.
So, if you grow up in a household watching your parents struggle to make money and pay bills, even if you have a great job, you may still marry someone that creates the same situation where you struggle to pay bills.
If you grow up in a household where one of your parents has a drug or alcohol addiction, you may decide that you will never drink or do drugs. However, you still may end up in a relationship with someone who has addictive behavior patterns.
If you grow up with an abusive or narcissistic father, you may say that you would never marry someone like him. However, even though you may move to a different state and have a completely different lifestyle than your parents, you may still end up with an abusive, narcissistic, or controlling husband.
The point is, whatever you saw or experienced in childhood, your mind on a subconscious level normalized that behavior. When you grow up, you unconsciously recreate your childhood all over again. Different characters, same scenario.
When you are able to look objectively at your marriage, you will find you are looking at your childhood experience all over again. You have recreated chaos and confusion because your mind thinks it’s normal.
So, the question then becomes, after you get divorced, how do allow yourself to create a new normal? How do you allow yourself to live a life where peace is your baseline? Peace is the new normal life standard? How do you allow yourself to understand what peace looks like versus what chaos looks like?
A lot of my coaching clients come to me because they are trying to understand how to cope with peace. They don’t know what to do with themselves, and some will even put themselves in other chaotic situations after their divorce. Many times, they confuse peace with boredom. The reason is that chaos feels so familiar, so in some ways it’s comfortable.
Many times women in these situations don’t know how to identify peaceful relationships, peaceful friendships, peaceful jobs, peace in their finances, peace in their living circumstances, or peace in their health. It’s hard to normalize peace when you don’t know what it feels like.
Here are some tips on how to normalize peace after divorce:
Journaling helps you reflect on who you are, your daily experiences, and how you react to them. Keeping a journal will start to give you insight into the people, places, or situations that trigger chaos. Be willing to question your behavior. Start asking yourself why you do the things you do, and be mindful of your response or reaction to your environment.
Sit in silence and if you can, meditate. Experience what peace physically feels like. It is a sense of calm, quiet, and stillness. Align yourself with that feeling, because that is the criteria for which you will begin to compare all the other things in your life. This is the beginning of your understanding of how to become comfortable with peace and how to allow peace to be familiar in your life experience.
Many times when you grow up in a chaotic situation, you become accustomed to giving people second chances or being very mindful of their feelings. However, when you can pull emotion out of the situation and look at the facts, you can make more rational decisions.
When you are faced with a situation that makes you feel unnerved, unsure, or uncomfortable, take a look at the concrete facts. Look at the numbers, look at past behaviors, and recognize patterns. Look at the situation for what it is and not what you want it to be. Take out the possibility of “potential” and focus on what you see, what you hear, and then decide on a strategy based on those characteristics.
Schedule time in your calendar every week for yourself. This is the time when you don’t focus on anyone else but yourself. Go for walks, take up a hobby, etc. Just do something that you enjoy that does not rely on other people being involved. Giving yourself time alone helps you bring in deep self-awareness and more understanding of your personal needs.
Stop allowing yourself to be the person who will solve, fix, or figure out a problem. Give yourself a week where you tell yourself, “I’m not going to solve anyone’s problems, I’m only going to focus on myself.” Let someone else figure it out, it is not your job to fix other people’s problems.
Give yourself a break from chaotic people or situations, even if those people are family members. Be willing to say no to phone calls, visits, conversations, or requests. Be willing to confront issues that violate your boundaries and make you feel unhappy or uncomfortable.
Surround yourself with functional people who take accountability for their actions. People that you don’t have to do anything for or give anything to. Look at the people who have helped and supported you with things that matter to you. The people that didn’t get anything out of it and just want to see you win.
Many times, when children are surrounded by chaos, they believe that they’re supposed to do something for someone to get love. Such as good grades, obedience, sex, or even putting themselves in danger for a parent. That’s not normal- that’s called conditional love. When you are with people who care about you, you don’t have to give them anything. All you have to do is be yourself.
Your physical health is a major part of how you feel. When you are sick, in pain, or dealing with a health issue, you are keeping yourself further away from peace. Feeling healthy gives you a feeling of physical and emotional peace.
We as humans have a mind-body connection. Therefore, what happens to the mind affects the body, and what happens to the body affects the mind and emotions. Making sure you get preventative care or keeping yourself healthy is a part of normalizing a feeling of peace.
Get support, whether it is group support, therapy, or a coach, to help keep you accountable and focused on the next steps for moving closer to peace. Going through your past issues and being able to have someone give you objective points will help you have a broader perspective and give you insight into the issues you have experienced in your life. This will also help you navigate what may be dysfunctional and unhealthy behaviors.
Focus on what makes you feel good. Stop allowing the noise of the world to betray your loyalty to yourself. Remember that no one else gets to be you and your uniqueness is a gift. Love your mind, body, style, thoughts, and everything in between. Don’t allow past pain to keep you from acknowledging your worthiness and value.
Normalizing peace can be incredibly difficult when chaos has become such a big part of your personality. However, with daily practice, a clear plan, and consistent focus on behavior, change it is possible.
If this is something you want to learn more about, jump on my calendar for a free call. As a life coach, I focus on helping divorced women get clear on what they want, figure out what is holding them back, and create a strategy to get them moving toward their new life goals.
Tiffiny has a B.A. in Psychology, and master’s degree in Public Health Education. She worked in consulting for over 16 years, as well as previously owning a fitness and health business. In her personal life, she used personal development, mindset and health strategies to go from being overworked in a demanding corporate career, emotionally drained in a toxic marriage, physically unhealthy, and depressed to becoming an award-winning figure level bodybuilding athlete and entrepreneur. As a women’s empowerment coach, she works to help women get clear on their goals, build confidence, increase self-esteem, take action on their deep desires and create a life they love