Stage One of Divorce: Something is Wrong

Liza Caldwell:
Divorce Stage One or “Something is Wrong”

Awareness is a tricky thing. Philosophically speaking, it’s what makes humans unique. We are aware of ourselves, and we are also aware of that awareness. As a species, we like to take our own temperature, trust our “gut”, listen to the little voices in our heads. It’s what makes us who we are on so many levels, from choosing what we wear to how we decorate the house to how we cook, navigate traffic, choose fruit. It’s all down to our own best sense of what’s “good”. We all feel like we have an instinct for it.

We also know when something’s wrong.

Whether it’s a lingering cough that tells us we need to see a doctor, a little stutter in the car that’s whispering “get me to the mechanic”, there are always signs—sometimes very small—that are telling us there’s a problem. But what do you do with that information? How do you move forward?

This week, I spoke with Liza Caldwell, cofounder and director of SAS For Women, graduate of Fordham University with an MA from Columbia Teachers College where she studied Gender and Leadership Development. She’s trained in transformational coaching and she’s a certified professional coach and recognized by the International Coach Federation.

The Trigger

Caldwell points out that the whole process of the first stage of divorce kicks off with a trigger. This is a moment or an event that forces you to break out of the cycle of acceptance or excuse-making that is keeping the status quo alive. According to Caldwell, this trigger often involves a third person—a child witnessing an argument or commenting on your behavior. It’s something that “compels you to look at the dynamic differently”.

Pain Tolerance as an Obstacle

Caldwell identifies something interesting as an obstacle: women’s capacity for tolerating pain. Married women often sustain a level of discomfort in the interest of keeping a family together, or supporting a husband’s career, or sustaining a familiar life for a child. This pain tolerance may actually act as an obstacle to finding happiness.

Talk to Experts

Your first step, the first action you move on, according to Caldwell, is to get the conversation out of your head. It’s time to talk to experts. It’s important to note that this doesn’t mean talking to friends for moral support (though that’s important). This is conversation-as-action. Maybe it begins with your own online research. But this critical first step is when you take it out of your home and make a call to find out more about your options for ending the marriage. You may have legal questions, or be investigating collaborative divorce.

The first step is a difficult one. You’re moving from the realm of the hypothetical to the realm of the possible. You are finally acknowledging that you may need a different path forward. Remember that you’re not alone. Everyone who has successfully started a new life after divorce had to begin with this step.

We’ll look more in-depth at Liza Caldwell’s four stages of divorce and the path to truth and recovery, find them here:

If you’re considering divorce but would like to try an approach that might mean a brighter future, call my team to schedule a confidential consultation.

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