Tag Archives: Divorce and Mental Health

Why Is Divorce So Stressful?

by Dr. Carol R. Hughes, Ph.D., LMFT

“There are few blows to the human spirit so great as the loss of someone near and dear.” ~ John Bowlby, M.D.

The Holmes-Rahe Stress Scale indicates that divorce is the second highest stressor for humans, second only to the death of a spouse. Why is divorce so stressful?

When we view divorce through the lens of British psychologist, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst John Bowlby’s attachment theory, it helps us understand the reason why divorce is so stressful. Attachment theory states that we humans have a biological predisposition to form attachment bonds (strong emotional ties) with significant others to have a secure haven and safe base where we can thrive and return for support and comfort during times of need, stress, and crisis.

We form these attachment bonds via our relationships with other human beings who are of primary importance to us. Indeed, Dr. Dan Siegel, Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA Medical School, states, “Relationships are the most important part of our having well-being in being human. It’s that simple. And it’s that important.”

From birth to death, throughout the human life cycle, attachment bonds ensure our safety, security and even survival, and these … Read More

The Last Thing A Man Needs To Hear When He’s Going Through A Divorce

Many men feel adrift without any support system or coping skills during a divorce.

by Diana L. Martinez
Collaborative Lawyer and Mediator, West Coast Law & Mediation, APC
with Dr. Marvin Chapman, Collaborative Coach, LMFT

“Real men don’t cry,” right? BS!

I have represented many strong and successful men in divorces. The skill set which creates business success often does the opposite when seeking conflict resolution in a personal relationship.

Too often, men tend to handle negotiations in their divorce as they do in the boardroom. They become frustrated when their previously successful tactics do not work. Frustration often shows itself as anger, stubbornness, yelling, or complete withdrawal. The real obstacle to their successful divorce resolution is grief, or, rather, the failure to work through the grief.

Divorce is the second most traumatic event a person can experience, second only to the loss of a loved one. While there is plenty of information and support for women to work through the trauma of divorce, there is very little available to men. Why? Because “real men don’t cry.”

The reality: men do grieve the loss of their marriage, but their grief is expressed so differently it appears as aggression, arrogance, or as a complete lack of empathy to the untrained eye

To better understand … Read More

The Most Effective Way to Reduce the Cost of Your Divorce or Civil Dispute

by Brian Don Levy, Esq., Collaborative Attorney and Mediator

What single item can add the most cost to your divorce or civil dispute? Acting or reacting based on emotional thinking, or making unilateral decisions that are based in emotional thinking.  It is critical to understand how our emotions can drive our thinking and our behavior, and it is important to manage those emotions in a healthy way that allows for understanding viable solutions and facilitates well thought out problem solving.

Every legal and financial decision is potentially wrapped in emotion, and those emotions can prevent us from fully understanding our options and choosing the options that make the most sense going forward. For almost every divorcing couple or civil disputant, trust is usually broken and communication is not working very well, if at all.  Bringing broken trust and poor communication into the decision-making process is not a good recipe for success.

Therefore, communication coaches are an important investment to be made in achieving a long term satisfying outcome for those in conflict. I use the term “investment” because failure to understand and manage emotions is a huge cost inflator for those engaged in civil and family law disputes.  The … Read More

Carol Hughes: Advice About Divorce and Adult Children

Choose the best option for your divorce - learn more at our July 19 workshop.

Psychotherapist, Divorce Coach, Child Specialist, and Mediator Dr. Carol Hughes was recently featured on the website Bottom Line Inc., in the article “What To Do When Your Parents Divorce – And You’re Already a Grown Up.”

With the holidays ahead, Dr. Hughes explains what the adult children of divorced or divorcing parents need to know to respond to common situations, including:

  • Feelings of abandonment are normal, even for adult children
  • Divorcing parents may lean on adult children for support, and why it can hurt your OWN marriage
  • Divorce parents may battle each other through their adult children, causing conflict between parent and child, or among siblings
  • Old holiday traditions may be broken; consider establishing new holiday traditions
  • It’s normal and it’s OK to feel relieved about your parents’ divorce
  • Four ways divorcing parents can limit the fallout from their divorce for their adult children

The website Bottom Line provides wellness and wealth advice from experts, including Dr. Hughes. Its approach offers “useful, expert, actionable information to help you navigate your world, saving time and money along the way.”

Read the entire article at this link.

 … Read More

Men Speak A Different Divorce Language

Men process emotions differently during divorce than women. A skilled divorce coach can help a man manage his strong emotions. Call the Collaborative Divorce Solution of Orange County at 949-266-0660

by Marvin L. Chapman, PsyD, LMFT, CFC

We generally understand that men and women take in information differently. Men are typically more visual and women are typically more verbal. Many times men and women speak different languages. Men have three primary areas of their lives which greatly influences their level of self-esteem and impacts their sense of well-being: work, home, and sex. For women, these areas are money, family, and intimacy. No overlap at all!

Ask a man to give his definition of money, family, and intimacy. Next, ask him to give his definition of work, home, and sex. You will find a significant difference between these two definitions. Men and women label these traits with different names, indicating just how differently we view them.

Divorce is all about these things: Work, home, family, money, sex and intimacy. Without speaking the same language, it’s no surprise men and women have so much trouble navigating marriage and divorce. So let’s take a closer look at these concepts based on my experience as a divorce coach working with many couples on these issues.

Work / Money

For most men, going to work is more than … Read More

5 Steps to Overcome Divorce Anxiety

Divorce can create anxiety in many ways. These tips can help you find ways to cope. Photo: Marinadel Castell, Creative Commons

by Jann Glasser, Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT), Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), Coach/Psychotherapist, and Collaborative Coach

Fear of an uncertain future can stop us from doing great things, and it can keep us holding onto things and habits that are hurting us. The majority of people occasionally wonder what the future will be like. Whether we will be happy, whether we will have enough money, whether we will be healthy. But when you are contemplating, going through, or coming out of divorce, your anxiety over the future can be overwhelming and unbearable.

For some, future fears are about their children: whether their children will cope with or forgive them for the divorce.

Others question whether they will adjust to living alone, have enough money, or meet someone special who they can share and enjoy life with.

Some are concerned about how family, friends, colleagues, business partners and others will react to the news and whether their relationship with them will change.

Finally, there are those who are still in grief, dealing with the loss and questioning whether the pain, stress, frustration, guilt, sadness or resentment will ever pass.

The common theme among them is the desire to know … Read More

Collaborative Divorce Featured in Stu News Laguna

Collaborative Divorce in the News Orange County

Stu News Laguna Headline

The effect of divorce on children and the benefits of the Collaborative Divorce approach were recently featured in the community news publication Stu News Laguna. Collaborative Divorce Solutions of Orange County member Patrice Courteau was interviewed and provided her insight and expertise on lessening the negative effects of divorce on children, particularly teenagers who are not always considered as vulnerable as younger children.

Read the entire interview at this link to the publication online.

Collaborative Divorce Patrice Courteau in Laguna NewsRead More

Your Brain on Divorce: How to Take Charge

Your brain on divorce responds with the "Fight or Flight" response. A "Pause and Plan" approach is far more helpful.

by Jann Glasser, Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT), Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), Coach/Psychotherapist, and Collaborative Coach

During your divorce, you may find your heart pounding and your thoughts racing as if you were driving in the Indy 500. An email, text or voicemail from your attorney, accountant or spouse in your inbox may result in fear and dread as immediate reactions. This is one example of the brain on divorce; easily triggered, distraught and overwhelmed. You are trying to function while stressed, sad, and sleep deprived, reacting as if under attack.

Divorce is one of the most significant losses and stressful life events people experience. Unlike other losses, there is no bereavement leave from work, no sympathy cards, and no rituals that bring your friends and family around you to acknowledge the loss. Life goes on without skipping a beat. You are expected to go on.

Not only are you expected to go on, but you are also expected to gather all financial paperwork, other information, make time in your schedule for additional meetings, phone calls, emails, help your kids cope, and be prepared to make major parenting and financial decisions that have long term consequences. No wonder … Read More