Law Office of Stephen W. Penn and Associates

DON'T LET DIVORCE INTRODUCE THESE NEGATIVE COPING METHODS

The decision to divorce is typically emotionally-charged. These strong feelings can make an already difficult process even more challenging. It's important to learn to work past upset feelings to make rational decisions during proceedings.

Here are a few examples of negative coping methods you should be careful to avoid while working through a divorce.

Avoiding the problem

One popular coping mechanism many people to use to deal with big life changes is avoidance. In the context of a divorce, you may do this by waiting to file for divorce, putting off answering a divorce complaint or not accounting for shared assets.

While these tasks may be unpleasant, ignoring them won't make them away and could result in even worse consequences. If you tend to be an avoider, try to flip this tendency around to carry out important responsibilities as soon as possible.

Addiction

Many people think of an addiction as being related to substance abuse or gambling. While these are more likely to encourage addiction, someone could theoretically become addicted to anything.

An addiction can develop when a pleasurable activity is rewarded by your brain with the release of dopamine. The feel-good sensation encourages you to repeat the activity over and over.

The divorce process may leave you more susceptible to developing an addiction as you look for ways to feel better or distract yourself. Unfortunately, addictions can cause irritability and a lack of care or regard for other responsibilities. This often leads to financial and emotional loss. In some cases, addiction can also lead to criminal charges.

To avoid using addiction as a coping method, try to focus on how you can lift yourself up, rather than depending on a specific substance or activity to bring you happiness.

Taking frustrations out on others

Those who struggle to manage their anger are more inclined to succumb to this behavior. But, when you're feeling stressed or upset, you'll find more benefit in asking for support from your loved ones than if you lash out at them. Hostile or aggressive behavior can also lead to custody issues if you and your ex-spouse share children.

Try instead to turn to healthier coping methods designed for anger management, such as breathing techniques, taking a time-out or using a squeeze ball.

By working with a professional during your divorce you can learn self-help strategies to use to assess your emotions rationally and move forward.

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  • SCBA | Santa Clara County Bar Association | EST 1917
  • State Bar Of California | California Board Of Legal Specialization | Stephen W. Penn
  • Henry P. Collada Memorial Award 2012