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Should I take advice from a friend during separation?




Your friend might feel they are supporting you throughout your separation journey, but they may be causing more destructive damage than helpful support.


They may be taking on the protector role, angry that your ex has treated you so badly. What has happened to you may even be triggering their own traumas from their previous breakups which they had no control over but feel a sense of satisfaction to have control ‘helping’ you.


Donning their battle armour they may encourage you to go to war on your ex to seek revenge for hurting you. Seeing you sad, heartbroken and helpless spurs them on to ignite fire in your belly to gain the courage to take on your ex at any cost.


Encouraging you to not agree to anything, not allow your ex to see the kids or avoid contact with the ex, leveraging a lawyer to be the conduit of communication.


Your gut feeling may be telling you that something isn’t right and yet you brush that feeling aside putting it down to the major changes you are undergoing with your life turned upside down. You may find yourself saying and doing things that go against your normal character as your values are not aligning with your actions. Values are basic and fundamental beliefs that guide or motivate our attitudes or actions. They help us to determine what is important to us. Values describe the personal qualities we choose to embody to guide our actions; the sort of person we want to be; the manner in which we treat ourselves and others, and our interaction with the world around us.


Values such as fairness, family happiness, integrity or cooperation may be the foundation of your belief system and yet through separation you are being influenced to go against your values. This can actually make you feel nauseas, have a knot in your stomach, a feeling of guilt or regret.


It’s important to know that your friend who thinks they are supporting you, are in fact taking you down a path of destruction. You may be seeing everything with a negative lens, unable to see the positive opportunities to create a win/win solution. You doubt your own thoughts as your self-worth and self-confidence have taken a hit. Your thoughts on what you should do may be in conflict with your friend’s advice creating confusion.


It is important to surround yourself with a supportive network of people who encourage positive solutions rather than fuel your destructive anger.


Imagine this;


You tell your negative friend that your ex said he wants your wedding ring back as it was his grandmothers. Your friend says ‘no way, that’s yours, don’t give it back. Sell it, you are going to need the money to fight him in court to get what you are entitled to’. You think about his grandmother, how kind and generous she was to give it to you. You put yourself in your ex’s shoes and think what you would do if it was your grandmothers ring that your ex wore. You think to yourself I should be fair and give it back. Your friend says, ‘the way he has treated you, he doesn’t deserve it back’. You think she is right; I’m not giving it back. Arguments with your ex escalate affecting negotiations of property settlement with both parties wanting to win at any cost. Your need to win is fueled by the anger for your ex cheered on by your negative friend.


Conversely, you tell a positive friend that your ex said he wants your wedding ring back as it was his grandmothers. Your friend says, ‘What do you think you should do?’ You think about his grandmother, how kind and generous she was to give it to you. You put yourself in your ex’s shoes and think what you would do if it was your grandmothers ring that your ex wore. You say, ‘It isn’t as though I’m ever going to wear it again, I should be fair and give it back.’ Your friend says, ‘I’m so proud of you, it will help you move on and stay calm to negotiate a fair settlement’ Your ex is pleased he has his heirloom back and is amicable during negotiations ensuring you have the value of the ring added as an extra amount to create a fair win/win outcome for you both.


A friend who is a positive influence during a traumatic event in your life will help you to be positive, future focused, empowered to decide based on your values rather than controlled by revengeful advice. This enables you to be calm, rational and fair to create a positive outcome.


Author – Cheryl Duffy, Divorce Coach, Mediator & Author

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