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Taking the High Road; How to Do It, & Why It's Important

Updated: Dec 14, 2021

We all know about the intense emotions that pop up during a divorce. It’s common to experience emotional extremes during this time.

It’s so easy to fall into rage and vindictiveness! You might be thinking, “That jerk! How could he do this to me? How dare he upend our lives!” or, “I’m so angry about this that the only thing I could do was to throw the bum out!”

Yes, you’re allowed to have those feelings. It’s normal to feel that way after such a huge life upheaval! It’s not the feelings that cause problems, though; it’s what we do with them, how we act on them, that can sabotage us.

Well, how can those feelings of rage and vindictiveness affect us? What difference does it make if we blow off some steam?

Blowing off steam and sabotaging yourself are two different things.

Acting on your rage shines a negative light on you. Usually my answer to that would be, “So what?” but in this case it does matter. You don’t want the ex to say, “See? I told you she was crazy!” You want to be a calm, rational, solution-oriented partner. In this situation, what others think might actually make a difference.

Acting on your rage, feeling of betrayal, and hurt is going to cause you even more stress than is necessary. Is that the way you really want to feel?

What is going to get you what you need and want? Is being vengeful and angry going to get you the child support or maintenance you need? When we behave aggressively, others go into a defensive posture; that’s not the way to get what you need.

What kind of example are you setting for your kids? Children learn from the adult role models in their lives, usually their parents. We teach our children how men, women, husbands, and wives should behave. We also teach them the way to solve problems and overcome obstacles. What kind of example are you setting?

Is this really the person you want to be? When we behave in a way that contradicts our values, the results are guilt and stress.

Here are a couple of quick ways to get yourself back on the high road so you can be effective at negotiating - and surviving!- your divorce:

  • Be solution oriented. What are you trying to achieve? What result are you looking for? Is your behavior going to get that for you?

  • Ask yourself, “How do I want to feel right now?” and, “How do I want to feel at the end of the day?” Do you want to feel guilty that you lost your cool, or proud that you kept it all together and did the right things?

  • Ask yourself, “What lessons are my children learning from me?” Bonus for asking, “”How can I be a better example?”

  • Ask yourself, “What would the person I aspire to be do in this situation?” Be calm? Negotiate for what you want? Be reasonable? Then do that.

These are just a few of the ways we can survive tough days in one piece, and still have a clear conscience. Get a great first aid kit for times when you’re feeling out of control and overwhelmed, so you can stop the paralysis and start getting back to the business of your life! It's free, and you can get it here:

Susan Petang is a Certified Divorce Stress Mgmt. Coach, who specializes in the pain of divorce.


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