– Discovering Dyslexia: Do you want to know more about dyslexia or how to support someone who is neurodiverse? Get information and tickets here for our upcoming online seminar.
– Divorce month? In the month nicknamed ‘Divorce month’, Rafan House looks at how to do divorce better.
|“Out with the old, in with the new.” So goes the old saying about the ending of one year and the beginning of the next. January is a month of new brooms sweeping clean, new year’s resolutions to do better or start again, of lighter days to come. It is also said to be the busiest month for divorce lawyers and couples therapists, coming directly after a prolonged holiday of enforced proximity with family. Time spent with family can be a wonderful thing, but for some it exposes the pressure points within relationships and rubs them raw. The Christmas holidays can also be the ‘last hurrah’, one last family gathering of an already-fractured marriage, by parents unwilling to ruin the children’s holiday. Thus January sees a 33% surge in divorce enquiries.|
When couples arrive at this point after making the effort to be civil during the festivities, emotions can explode and events develop an impetus of their own. It can look as though the endgame is going to be high conflict, and inevitably bitter. Children, possessions and pets become pawns in manouverings for access or financial issues, and even basic courtesy and kindness are lost.
How can this be better navigated? Is there a way of mending relationships that look so broken? Or of achieving a separation or divorce which minimizes conflict and allows respectful co-parenting? The answer is – maybe. And it relies on a few basics:
– Holding on to a memory of why we loved that person in the first place.
– Believing that both parents have the best interests of a child at heart.
– Understanding that conflict is born of fear, and benefits no-one, emotionally or financially.
– A willingness to examine WHY we react the way we do.
These might seem random basics, but they are fundamental to understanding the workings of the unconscious mind and thus to better communication. For example we may remember that we loved that person because of their glorious indifference to tidiness, perhaps because we ourselves were over-tidy. On an unconscious level, we yearn for that freedom to be untidy. Later on, however, we may come to view that same untidiness as an irritant, a deliberate undermining of our own standards – a gratuitous dig. Remembering may be key to understanding how and when things changed, and our own role in that. A good couples therapist can help people to get to that point, which is important to be able to move on, whatever the destination.
In terms of children, the instinct to protect them is primal and is born of fear. Our children are the product of what we first loved; we believe that only we know what is best for our children – we instinctively claim that right, born of having the responsibility. At base, it is a good thing. But it can become the unconscious stimulus for demands which, to us, look reasonable but to the other, are not. The reasons why we react the way we do are buried deep in our unconscious minds, often triggered by experiences beyond the reach of memory. Understanding that the same fear is in both parents is a preliminary step to being able to negotiate co-parenting in good faith.
For some, January is going to be the first month of a great year. For others, it will be difficult. For those people, help is always available at Rafan House, from our team of discreet and compassionate family and couples therapists.