Once we have made the decision to separate from and divorce our partner, we are faced with the emotional fallout. Not just your emotions, but your estranged partner’s and if there are children, theirs as well. What seemed to be a very logical decision has now morphed into the messiness we were hoping to avoid.
I have treated many people who complain of the difficulties they are having with their estranged partners trying to come to a mutably agreeable divorce and custody settlement. The same old angry, jealous, fearful feelings erupt toward each other. Why is this, when we thought the separation and divorce process would make it all go away?
The emotional triggers that arose in the marriage between the two of you have an intergenerational component. This means we bring into our new relationships established feelings and notions from our childhood with our families. We use these known mechanisms as a “do over” in our new relationships. Sometimes we learn from our “do over” to work out the glitches and have happy fulfilling relationships. When we aren’t able to do this, our relationships falter and can fall apart. It’s these old emotions that have a hold on us that interfere with our being able to move on from the divorce.
There is a psychological method that can help alleviate these interfering feelings that have such a huge impact on us and others; thus making the divorce process more manageable. The method is called EMDR.
EMDR stands for Eye Movement, Desensitization and Reprocessing. This is an established method of psychotherapy that has been in practice for over 20 years. The way it works is to take the charged emotions out of a difficult experience. Let’s say a couple is in the midst of a Collaborative meeting with their respective lawyers and there is a sticking point where neither party is able to see a compromise, only their viewpoint. This type of intransigence is due to some emotional hurt experienced in an earlier relationship and is unresolved. For instance, the issue could be who the dog stays with during the custodial time with the children. If one of the parents has hurt, angry, disappointed or anxious, etc. feelings due to a past experience where they believed they had to relinquish something dear to them, this will create the aforementioned digging in of heels. EMDR is useful in helping the person with these negative beliefs to mentally process the residual emotions and be better able to see the compromise without feeling abused.
EMDR is used universally for anxiety, anger, panic, post traumatic disorder, OCD, ADD, etc; as well as those niggling negative beliefs who hold onto about ourselves, i.e. I’m not listened to, I’m stupid, I’m not respected.
If you would like more information on this topic you may contact me, Debi Meyrowitz-Weiss, M.Ed., LMFT at 215-322-7462, voice box 3.
Or go to our website www.innovative-child-family-psychotherapy-counseling.com.