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Managing emotions after the dust has settled

High emotions can be ongoing after all the legal matters are finished so learning to manage your emotions becomes very important to allow you to move on.

Emotions after the dust has settled

One of the challenges that continue to happen even after all the legal matters have been settled is the continual stimulation of emotions as a separated family tries to adjust to new ways of operating. If the separation and settling of affairs has been a an extremely emotional period of time, suddenly ex-partners will find them selves with legal matters settled but realise the journey of establishing a working relationship has really just begun. It is the emotions of the people involved that can continue the stress of the adults and children now involved in the new family situations. It is how people manage this that will determine if families can move on slowly, not at all or at a quicker pace. It is usually the communication skills that will assist this process or the lack of constructive communication skills will stimulate more problems.

So what are you doing with your emotions now?

How are you fuelling your negative or positive emotions? How are your thoughts continually fuelling your negative emotions?

How are you learning to manage the emotions that are sure to arise until both parties can let go and allow the new relationships to develop in a manner that both are happy with?

Are you still seeing the situation in a negative manner and are putting all your energy in imagining the worst even before something has happened?

Sometimes when emotions are very high trying to express them to the person whose behaviour is the trigger for your emotions is not the best choice. Old emotions can be so layered that the intensity of the emotion is higher then what the situation warrants; it is an accumulation of emotions over many years. There is a need to let these emotions go so constructive communication can occur with the ex-partners.

Firstly what do you do with your emotions at the moment?

Emotions

What are the ways we deal with our emotions? What do you do with your emotions? Consider the choices we have.

Suppress Our Emotions

- Could be total denial of emotions

- No longer in contact with your natural emotional response
- Feels the emotion; chooses to deny or sidestep the real emotion
- Is fearful to express the emotion
- Feels tense, stressful, shallow breathes
- Avoids conflict and communication about problems
- Feels stressful and possibly suffers ill health.

Contain Our Emotions

- Feels emotion; chooses to appropriately deal with it.
- Releases some tension through acknowledging feeling
- Hold temporarily the emotion, finds appropriate way to express
- Breathes deeply, allows feeling of the emotion
- Has a confidence to finds ways to express the emotion to reduce stress
- Willingness to deal with the conflict or problem
- Willingness to own emotional response

Explode With Emotion

- Often a small incident triggers discharging of feelings
- Often dumps feelings inappropriately
- Often transfers feelings to dump 'safely' on innocent person
- Can be a lose of control, volcanic effect
- Damaging to relationships
- Sometimes feelings of guilt and remorse after explosion
- Others fearful of our explosions, keeps people away from us

Express Our Emotion

- Is appropriately expressing our emotion
- We own our emotion and use "I" Statements
- Is letting go with intention not to damage another person
- Leads to feelings of relief and completion
- Looks for constructive ways to express when emotions are intense before communicating with people
- Time out to express intensity of emotion before expressing directly to person
- Can choose other ways to express emotions; sport, gardening, counselling, etc
- Is emotionally honest

© ISBN 1-920904-00X

When one person decides to start to manage their emotions in an appropriate manner eventually the other person will start to change; this can take a long time!

So how can you manage appropriately? Firstly you need to recognise that emotions are not you. You can be in charge of your emotions or emotions can be in charge of you. You can make excuses for your emotional outbursts, because of the pressure you are under, or you can start to be determined to express emotions appropriately. It is important not to judge yourself or anyone else about emotions; there will be times that you may have lost it; going back over old ground is not going to help anyone.

When you are honest with yourself about your emotions you are on the right path; be it anger, resentment, fear, or depression (often immobilised emotions). It is important just to notice the emotion but stop identifying with it as you; simply recognise you are feeling a particular emotion and have the intention to let it go. The simplest way to clear emotions is to simply stop, feel what you are feeling and make a decision to let it go.

Some will be able to do this others will already be a victim to their intense emotions and may need to start by defusing emotions through the following methods; physical exercise that has the intention to let go emotions; some form of creativity that expresses the emotion; journaling that allows the emotion to be expressed through writing and then discarded.

Talking out old emotions through skilled counselling can also help to defuse emotions.

It is however what we focus on now that will either defuse emotions or fuel emotions? It is up to all of us to be honest with ourselves about our emotions. No one really makes us have an emotion; it our relationship to our thoughts, beliefs, values or attitudes that will determine what our emotional response or reaction will be. When we change we can also change our relationship to our emotions.

Other people are triggers only in that they highlight for us our own relationship to beliefs and values, expectations etc; which are ours. eg. if we believe that partners should never divorce we will have intense emotional reaction when a partner decides to divorce us.

(More on this topic at a later date.)

Does the dust ever settle?

My experience and most phone calls I have from members, suggests that at the end of the day, whether we like it or not, an intransigent resident parent with the spoils of victory fresh in hand (being the children), wins all, controls the roost, decides what meagre and minuscule limited time a non resident parent will have (Outside of any orders) and generally behaves in an completely inhumane way in relation to extending any contact time.

In almost all cases I have represented or assisted in courts, some many years later, the sole crux of most issues relates to inadequate contact arrangements where one parent can, by way of the default status that goes with the resident lives with status, manage that contact in the same manner as a deep sea fisherman with a hooked Marlin.

Expecting court orders made for a child at say 3 years of age to be final until 18 years of age is completely ridiculous yet case after case attempting to make a more appropriate arrangement fails because of the in-transience and simple downright inflexibility of the resident parent. Couple that with the various pieces of archaic precedent at law such as Rice and Asplund and it is not an easy business for the faint hearted to make any change.
sage said
It is usually the communication skills that will assist this process or the lack of constructive communication skills will stimulate more problems.
What would be interesting to hear about is how you get a completely uncooperative party to become cooperative. You can only turn the cheek for so long.

I would suggest it is very difficult to suppress emotions when your child has been taken away, you are almost broke from having to continue paying a mortgage or bank loans, your possessions are all gone (destroyed or disposed of) extricate the parties from often long time and complex financial agreements, Superannuation, loans, company structures and share securities and at the same time continue to live.

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
 Was my post helpful? If so, please let others know about the FamilyLawWebGuide whenever you see the opportunity
 
I support your post Sec SPCA.

My partner does not have the best communication skills. That is granted. He can be verbose. But he is also kind hearted and naive - only seeing the best in people, never the worst.

I have just spent the morning with him, laying out some information for our solicitor.

I can see, as an external observer, how he was manipulated and carrots extended at every step. I read his attempts at communication where he begs the mother of the child to be fair, where he pleads with her. And her very callous responses.

Countless visits arranged, cancelled at the last minute, or watered down so that minimal access is granted in preference of spending access time to visit friends and family living in the region.

I have personally witnessed the other party lie about incidents. The other party lives in such a world of half truths and fantasy, that she begins to believe her own "spin".

I have seen her deliberate attempts to thwart communication with the child.

Every time the court supports a rational and reasonable step toward increasing time with the child and improving the child/father relationship, I have seen the punishment and backlash.

I would never have thought a mother would be capable of the inhumanity I have seen. Deliberate acts to sabotage the child's time with the father that have had uncomfortable physical outcomes for the child (neglect and medical issues).

No, it's not like a fish on a hook, it's more like a cat toying with a mouse.

Junior Executive of SRL-Resources

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (Look for the Avatars). Be mindful what you post in public areas. 

So what are you doing with your emotions now?

Sage said
So what are you doing with your emotions now?
It is possibly more relevant for parties to a broken partnership to begin to deal with their emotions from the first moments.

As judges can be heard counselling that partners are best appreciated when they act in the best interests of their children, the challenge presents as a need rather than as an option.

Dealing with the issues as they present themselves is possibly more fruitful when emotions do not overawe one's logic. Not easy for sure. In tormentous moments a cool head can oft times hold the higher ground.

The moral issue is perhaps who has the respect and love of a child in one's later years. Perhaps that is the appropriate moment to evaluate who has love and respect?

What is done for you, let it be done, what you must do, be sure you do it, as the wise person does today that what the fool will do in three days - Buddha
Emotion will always play apart in the sorts of dealings as discussed above. All you can really do is deal with the person and the court system in a business like fashion.

What you do with the feelings is acknowledge them and talk them out with a partner, close confidant or counsellor.

While this doesn't make the emotion go away, it allows it to disipate enough to function and behave in that business like manner.

All communication and messages should be proof read to try to remove emotion.

Time with the child is focussed on enjoying the child and developing our family.

An interesting point I would like to make is that I do not think you are successful if the child grows up to only love and respect you, but only if the child loves and respects both parents.

This may not always be possible, but is what I will be striving for. If the child makes decisions about their feelings toward the other parent, that should be their decsion and not coloured by anything that has been (but should not have been) disclosed or intimated.

The decision the child makes, about the other parent, should be based on that parents actions and behaviours that the child will witness first hand.

Junior Executive of SRL-Resources

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (Look for the Avatars). Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
When the topic on emotions triggers more emotions it goes to the heart of the great challenge and difficulty of attempting to develop an ongoing relationship with a partner so that all can move forward no matter what the circumstances. Many very wise responses have been given suporting the need to aim for a cool head when dealing in the court system or even after settlements. It does not mean we suppress our emotions; it means we learn to manage and deal with them so we don't become depressed, ill, angry all the time or what ever your symptoms are.

The bottom line is firstly acceptance that for many they are in situations with ex-partners who are malicious and will continue to be so if given the opportunity. Many are dealing with the loss of nearly everything they have worked for; the reality is that if one cannot let this go and look to the NOW and the future they will be still putting their energy and emotions into the past on a daily basis. No one said it is easy to let go of all your dreams, expectations and the materialistic achievements of your life; but for some of you this is what you are being asked to do. No one said it is fair; but it is the situation you are in; so you have a number of choices that when looked at in a calm manner will either be constructive or destructive - you have to work this out.

Added to this is for many it is the separation and loss of parenting; time and love with their children: they can let go everything else in the materialistic world but they will not let go their rights to be part of their children's life. This is very understandable and of course may become the reality of your life for many years. Children are unfortunately used in the power struggle that continues between the two parents after the separation. It is a power struggle. What one has to learn is to be able to hold their space in a calm and strong manner by disengaging from the power struggle yet at the same time maintaining their personal power and their rights under the law. What is still important is how you change and develop and move on so you are strong within yourself to be able to be totally appropriate and skilled in all you interactions and communications. The reality is that everyone has part of the shadow side of their personality where they have not learnt skills to be able to move on. It is by becoming skilled that you will be able to change yourself; become less stressed; help your children be less stressed and just maybe the other person will change. You can only change yourself and then the other person cannot play the same games with you because you are different. This firstly takes intention and then the learning of new skills throuugh reading, courses, counselling, and personal choices etc.

To be cooperative means you have a cool head and you really understand power games and can be honest about your part in the power game. You also need to learn to negotiate at a very high level. I will write later on power games, negotiation skills and also how to diffuse other peoples emotions so you can be heard. Communicaiton with an ex-partner often requires a very high level of skilled interaction and still you may feel you are hitting a brick wall because the law has not been on your side and your children are being used as a weapon. You can only take one step at a time; focus on the positive, be very clear what you want (make sure it is fair). I will also take up the issue of children being used as weapons or turned against a parent in later writings.
Sage said
You can only change yourself and then the other person cannot play the same games with you because you are different.
That is very true Sage, but there are many more games that a custodial parent has available to them. The stakes just get higher.

This is when custodial's do strange things like go into hiding, leave the country or meddle with the child's health. You can have all the skills in the world. You will still be hurt by these "games" because they are so extreme and directly affect your child/ren. The one/s you are programmed at a very basic biological level to protect.

I look forward to the writings of children being used as weapons.

Last edit: by OneRingRules


Junior Executive of SRL-Resources

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (Look for the Avatars). Be mindful what you post in public areas. 

Nutters

Sage - I really think you need to follow a couple of our cases through to their hopeful conclusion, to really see how bad people get.

For starters, it is quite normal to get accused of abuse, just so the mother (in most cases) can stop you having the kids; this is a control and money issue. We call it revenge.

It is the people who do not go to court who are the ones who are reasonable.

The legal system in place does not encourage niceties in the court room - it is a system of kill or be killed.

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on the site (Look for the Avatars).   Be mindful what you post in the public areas. 
I do  agree with what you are saying; it is like you have been put into one of the most demanding situations that you have ever experienced and you thought you were skilled to handle really difficult people and you still find that because of different reasons, especially children you need you go deeper and find other answers.

From my own personal experience of needing to go places I did not really want to go on a number of occasions in my life; I do know some of the pitfalls when faced with these challenges; but probably because I am closer to 60 then 50 I have been through these dark places of the soul; I now look at life differently and I have different skills and knowledge to what I had when I was in my younger years.

Also I have spent most of my adult life teaching about personal development and have continued to learn - every situation I am in I look to see how I can grow and change to be able to move forward in a constructive manner. I know it is not easy; you don't teach well the material I teach unless you have been in some of these places. I work on a daily basis with some of the most challenging of human behaviours; I do not judge; I hope to offer a hand to go forward. Some people will break down; some will have psycotic experiences; some will even commit suicide; there will be others who will be able to look back after a period of time when they have got through these challenges and realise they have learnt so much. They would not have liked to do it this way and they certainly would not want their children to also be stressed and affected possibly for the rest of their lives; when they get to the point of acceptance that this is where they are they do start to let go the emotion.

I will write soon about children as weapons.
monteverdi said
For starters, it is quite normal to get accused of abuse, just so the mother (in most cases) can stop you having the kids; this is a control and money issue. We call it revenge.
I would call it despicable and we see it often in the various manifestations of AVO proceedings in the first part. I have written in various forums here about "entrenched conflict". The Council spent some years and effort removing "entrenched conflict" from the Act as a means to exclude substantial or equally substantial time parenting orders. The use of abuse allegations is now subject to penalty when proved false. What concerns us at the moment is the push to place entrenched conflict back into the Act to exclude contact from parents who are "conflictual". We will not accept such change and this issue of creating conflict is well known to us and others who operate in the court realms as a tactic to ensure contact orders are limited.
monteverdi said
It is the people who do not go to court who are the ones who are reasonable. The legal system in place does not encourage niceties in the court room - it is a system of kill or be killed.
Yes, from experience in the court room it is not a place for the faint hearted or the disadvantaged. The LAS (Less adversarial system) is supposed to make things easier and less daunting. Proper planning makes a difference and often good planning and execution can force a negotiated settlement toward the end.
Sage said
when they get to the point of acceptance that this is where they are they do start to let go the emotion. I will write soon about children as weapons.
So one day we get to the point we finally accept that the difficult "ex thing" is the lowest human form possible and will never change … Now what? There is an awful lot to learn in this topic and I look forward to more pieces of this seemingly complex puzzle being exposed.

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
 Was my post helpful? If so, please let others know about the FamilyLawWebGuide whenever you see the opportunity
 
I don't know everyone I think everyone is agreeing in a lot of ways.

If you don't look at the post as situational but just general we often advise people to fight smarter and not so emotional.

We often advise to avoid conflict.

Be less confrontational.

Agree to what you are willing to give up and many other tactics.

Many look for way's to avoid emotional triggers and play the nice game to their advantage because this wins in the end.

I personally used similar techniques to control nerves and emotions between battles, I controlled  triggers so they would be less effective and I dealt with things in a non-confrontational way.

This is what I was advised to do by one mentor I met on a forum.

But in combination with this there had to be education and preparation.

We can't get it all right but I do think learning how to be relaxed helps focused and if triggers are quelled in combination with preparation and education it sure can't hurt.  
monteverdi said
Sage - I really think you need to follow a couple of our cases through to their hopeful conclusion, to really see how bad people get.

For starters, it is quite normal to get accused of abuse, just so the mother (in most cases) can stop you having the kids; this is a control and money issue. We call it revenge.

It is the people who do not go to court who are the ones who are reasonable.

The legal system in place does not encourage niceties in the court room - it is a system of kill or be killed.
It would be an advantage to follow through cases to the end and have first hand experience of the court system. (I went through it 28 years ago!) I do know how "bad" people can get and nothing really surprises me. One reason I entitled this forum to be conflict after all the legal battles were over was because the court system is not where I spend my days; even though many things I will write about apply to people still in the court system. I am closely in personal connections with a number of people who have just finished the court system route; many very unhappy at the cost over a number of years to their final settlement. They have not at present focussed of the personal cost!

The issue of bad behaviour is more intense in the court system and the factors very complex that is why I simply choose to work in an area to offer a few hours of my time. I will look at control issues and power games etc that are played in every day life. These issues happen daily every where; even in offices some people will have break downs because of  relationships with the people they work with!

I agree with you about the legal system and its affect on people. Like many areas in our society there is a need for change and a movement to values and practices that reflect what we all really want; (even those people who act in the most shocking ways) fairness, compassion; honesty; justice and so the list goes on. Some of you will be working on improving the legal system and the people in it. The more knowledge you have on personal development issues; projection; conflict resolution; personality and ego development the better you will be at improving the system. What I hope to offer in the two forums I presently post articles is some ideas and "food for thought" that just may help some people to see more clearly what is going on and where they need to be become skilled.
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