Patience and perseverence while in the prison-like process of divorce


ID-10077229.njajThe courage I spoke of in my last post has really been put to the test this past fortnight.

I spoke of ‘passive’ courage (showing strength in a difficult situation beyond your control) and ‘active’ courage (choosing to change a situation). There is another place one may find oneself and  that is in the limbo nowhere land of a marital property settlement process. Being caught in that place of nothingness, between the past and future, I am not able to move onto my new life. I am like a butterfly transformed from the caterpillar yet unable to fly away.

These are the downsides of the property settlement process:

  1. Dealing with my previous life-partner in opposition to me.
  2. Being continually confronted with loss of dreams, as they are removed layer by layer
  3. Feeling out of control as the process is dictated by professionals, mainly lawyers.
  4. Wading through the mud of the gathering of information and processing it.
  5. Keeping everything ‘alive’ (ie: the business) while the process is taking place
  6. This is not something I can get over, it is something I must get through.

It is like prison. I am playing a waiting game and yet it requires much time, thought and action from me. Waiting for legal steps to complete; acting on required administrative steps when requested; when all emotions and brain-mush need to be swept aside in order to remain clear-headed and act with logic and reason.

So last week when a few big decisions and actions were required of me in an already busy ‘normal’ week; as I became over-whelmed with the complexities of what needed to be done and the time it would require of me; as I batted with unspoken rage and resentment; as my mind was spinning out of control; as emotions flared and brain-mush returned; I sat down in a quiet moment and ……

….. I realised that it was quiet.

The torment was in my mind.

After some time in that quiet place, my logical clear-thinking brain returned and I planned my week. I then spent time each morning in an activity for myself, then sat quietly in reflection. Doing something for me first thing each day helped squash the feelings of ‘it’s not fair I have to do this’ resentment. However, I made sure I cut the ‘me’ time short so the days did not turn into complete days of nothing. If stressed, I become good at having days of doing nothing. With so much to do, I could not let that happen.

The next part of each day (from 8am) I did a few hours of marital mud processing; then I began normal business activities later in the day. In the evenings I considered the important pressing decisions. Choosing to do marital mud before beginning my real work day was an important coping strategy. When I leave it until the end of the day I battle all day with underlying rage that another evening will be ruined in divorce mud. It is better to get it over with. Pain before pleasure. I also took Thursday off in order to get through the mud. It was awful spending a whole day in the mud, and I took frequent breaks. I got through it. (Phew…. relax for a bit).

Something for me

One of the hardest things I have been struggling with is not being able to find any shred of positiveness in this part of the process. In overcoming grief, you gain grace. In striving to a new life you gain self-esteem. In wading through a marital property settlement process you gain nothing. Yes, patience and perseverance are admirable qualities (and definitely needed) but this week I needed more. I needed something for myself.

Then I thought of one small thing. In the back and forth of many documents between umpteen people I have learned a lot in document management and high-level technical intricacies behind word-processing and spreadsheet applications. These new skills will be of benefit to me in my future endeavors. This may seem like a totally fruitless thing to cling onto. It is not. It is a tiny spark of hope. All is not lost. I still have my spirit for learning new things. Something, one tiny something, has been gained.


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26 thoughts on “Patience and perseverence while in the prison-like process of divorce

  1. I admire you too. I think you have gained a lot in the way you handled the past two weeks. Yes, good for you. You say: “I still have my spirit for learning new things.” Now, I say, this is really good and for sure is going to help you a lot. My best wishes that it won’t be long now and you’ll have most of the ‘mud’ behind you.

  2. This is all part of the pain of divorce as opposed to being widowed. It’s a jagged, dirty, messy tear not a clean final cut. I am sorry for widows, but I think they have it better in lost of ways than a divorcee. Hang on in there – you are past the middle and on the way out of the tunnel.

  3. I love your presence in this!

    “I sat down in a quiet moment and ……

    ….. I realised that it was quiet.

    The torment was in my mind.”

    I love that you have sorted through this noise and have found an approach that serves you including insuring that there is time for you!

  4. Thank you for the insights and reminders. I find it hard to remember there’s anything positive in slogging through the mud and I resent that I have to clean up the mess that the mud has created. But there is perseverance and patience, as well as (for me) nobility and integrity in behaving honorably even as another is not.

    • So right. I like your attitude of reaching to those high ideals of self-respect in acting by our true inner values and keeping our own heads held high.
      Thanks for the reminder.

  5. It is extremely difficult to slog through the ‘mud’ of a divorce. But once you have made it through, you have the satisfaction of 1) having made it through, 2) having a bright shiny new future, and 3) the knowledge that you can survive way more ‘mud’ than you first thought. Kudos to you for choosing to slog through the difficult pieces first – I always ended up putting them off. 🙂

  6. You have given others some feelings of your situation and also, by sharing; gave them glimmers of hope. Should anyone be going through this, or counseling a friend through this, you also helped to remind us to encourage our friends and help them to find any little ‘positives’ in the situation. I have to tell you, when it is all over, despite my not getting what I wanted out of the whole thing, I felt relieved and happier. There is a light at the end of the tunnel! You will find it! I also admired the words you chose to describe and others mentioned some great examples… Smiles and hugs, Robin

    • Thanks for your kind comment that my writing may be of help to others. that in itself helps me.
      Yes, i believe that there is a light at the end of a tunnel.. a very dark tunnel.. and I do see the light. Thank you for your support.

      • I think knowing your ‘complaints’ or problems are helping others to relate, should really help you to feel like you are not alone, too! Some of us have just been n this path longer… Smiles, Robin

      • I am discovering that. Some people who have blogs about entirely different things will suddenly write a comment about their own divorce from twenty years ago because something that I say relates to something they went through or something they still feel.

  7. I love your analogy of the ‘mud’. And I think this is profoundly beautiful. ” In overcoming grief, you gain grace. In striving to a new life you gain self-esteem. In wading through a marital property settlement process you gain nothing. Yes, patience and perseverance are admirable qualities (and definitely needed) but this week I needed more. I needed something for myself.”

    And then, finding that small morsel of hope in it all — how soul-lifting.

    BTW, I like dancing barefoot in the mud. It is deliciously juicy on my feet — and it squelches any torrential torments of the mind! 🙂

    You inspire me with the depth of your understanding of what is needed, and your commitment to giving yourself what you need to retain your own sanity and well-being. Hugs

    • Ah-ha! After the rain there was this part down the back of my grand-mother’s home that had a spot with some squelchy mud. It was SO much fun ‘dancing’ it is. I can hear my laughter now! Thanks for the reminder that mud can indeed be fun 🙂

  8. Oh, brings back not far-gone memories. First, passive courage to me is so much harder than active. And your quiet realization–so wonderful. A book that helped me find that quiet–When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron. Made my brain bubble:). In a good way.

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