Keep A Journal To Help You To Figure Out Your Divorce
If there every was a time in your life when emotions run rampant, it’s when you’re going through a divorce. Wouldn’t you agree? There you are – you think your life is totally working when the rug gets pulled out from under your feet. You might feel shocked, dismayed or terrified. You begin to run “what if” scenarios through your mind and that frightens you even more. And then there’s anger, or maybe you’ve even escalated into rage. Those emotions can make you blind. Not physically blind, but you would be blinded to anything that appears reasonable. So what can you do to get a grip on these raging emotions? Time to process the ideas helps a lot and so does some distance from the event and person involved. One of the most useful things I’ve discovered to make myself rational again is to journal. What’s journaling – for those of you who might be new to the idea? I found many different definitions out on Google. This is the one I like the best: Writing to create a record of thoughts and feelings that a writer can return to. This might seem a bit far fetched to you especially if you are in the middle of some traumatic event right now. I can make some promises to you: if you will write down what is going on without any kind of filtering, and you will let it sit there for some period of time, and if you will add the next emotional events to it and let them sit for a while, when you go back and re-read it, your emotions will be diminished from the first time you wrote it. You will begin to see patterns. You will begin to look at things more objectively. Objectivity will allow your ability to reason to work, and those horrible feelings you were once feeling will drop away somewhat to permit you to see other options. You will begin to see the patterns and observe how things fit together. When you sit down and write in your journal about the challenges you are going through with your ex, you will begin to see his method of operating as well as your own. You’ll be able to eventually move from reacting to his shenanigans to simply observing him and thinking “There he goes again with the blame game or with the I’m innocent game.” And you’ll move from subjectivity to objectivity just through your journaling. It’s an inexpensive, but powerful technique. An additional benefit will be in learning what your own M. O. You might observe yourself whining repeatedly, or blaming, or freezing emotionally in shock, or whatever it is you are currently doing to protect yourself from feeling bad when you interface with your ex. Well, that can help you too if you notice what you are doing and work to make those corrections. Make your experience with writing in your Journal the best. Find a notebook that lays flat. Make sure you have a pen that you love to write with. My assistant uses one with purple ink! Choose someplace quiet to journal so you’re thoughts can flow without interruption. You single parents – after the kids go to bed is a great time. This isn’t about spelling or grammar perfection so don’t obsess over that. Just get the words down. Or, hey, maybe you’d like to just put the story down in pictures? Whichever method or style you choose, please choose one and then do it. The emotions stirred up by divorce are such a challenge, but journaling is the cheapest therapy available.
Frequently Asked Questions
Alternative Psychology Careers?
I’m looking for career advice in terms of possible career options within Child Psychology or Academia.
Here’s the short version:
I want to teach
I like doing the hands on parts of research
I dislike the theoretical/writing parts of research
Is there any job in Psychology for me?
Here’s the long version:
I’m in Canada. I have a Bachelor Degree with Honours in Psychology. I’m going to complete my Master’s Degree in Psychology in 2 weeks. Then, I will begin my PhD program.
As an undergraduate, I enjoyed psychometric testing and originally planned to go into Child Clinical. But I did not want to focus on autism or childhood schizophrenia, I was more interested in ‘typically counselling’ topics (children of divorce, anxiety, depression, bullying) and therefore I decided Clinical was not for me. I also decided a counselling program was not for me because it’s not academic/theoretical enough.
I enjoyed designing research ideas and critiquing research. I also enjoyed statistics. So I went to graduate school in Developmental Research. My area of focus is shyness and social anxiety in children and I work with non-clinical samples. I’ve been working as a teaching assistant and a research assistant.
I greatly enjoy teaching and lecturing and I would love to teach at the univeristy level some day. I’ve also learned that I love the “hands on” component of research. I love working with participants and administering psychometric tests. I also love really applied research on non-clinical populations.
However, I have learned that I am not passionate about the writing or theoretical aspects of research. Although I enjoy designing research and critiquing other studies and keeping up with important findings, I greatly dislike the thesis writing process and APA style. I also greatly dislike needing to know absolutely every study every conducted on a topic before commencing research on that topic.
I also am concerned about research grants. I find applying for research grants to be largely hit and miss. Some professors always win grants and other never do. I feel I would be better suited for a job with more stability – like a private research company, or a government research centre – in which I didn’t need to apply for grants.
Finally, I am worried because my advisor does not do any “hands on” work. His job is primarily the “theoretical” aspect of the research, reviewing journals, writing grant applications, writing journal articles. He hasn’t even taught for the last two years because last year one of his research grants excused him from teaching and this year he is on Sabbatical. I’m concerned that if I become a professor, I will not be able to do any “hands on” work which I like and instead my career will be primarily “theoretical” work which I dislike. I do not want a career that is entirely reading and writing.
So, because of all this, I’ve become concerned that a career in Academia as a Psychology Professor may not be for me. I don’t want to just be a lecturer – because the salary is not good (,000). But I want to teach, and I want to be able to do some research – but I don’t want my career to be dominated by research grant applications and journal reviews.
Are the any alternative career options that might be appropriate?
Are there certain colleges which are less research focused?
Has anyone heard of any academic positions (besides lecturer) that are less reserach focused?
First off, congratulations on your achievements! Be proud of what you succeeded at accomplishing -as it truly is remarkable and worthy of acknowledging for your own “sense-of-self.”
Next, in two weeks when you receive your Masters, run as fast and as far as possible from your present work in that particular school!! If you even hesitate, you’ll get sucked into doing exactly what you are very clear that you don not want to do.
Now, the good news -the world needs people like you!! And because of your academic success -and delightful articulation of your thoughts and feelings- you will not have any difficulty in settling in to do what you prefer … in fact, the only way that will not occur is if you “edit yourself” out of the opportunities.
As you know (mentioned in your post), the world does not revolve around theoretical academicians, and there are wonderful opportunities for individuals with your competencies within business, government, and yes, educational institutions (not like the one you presently are linked with).
In my view, the nexus of your situation is that you do not want to fall into the trap of the “traditional” academic dance (i.e., read and analyze a convoy of other theorists … write a paper that is 80% sourced material, 10% your thoughts, and 10% a blend of the two … struggle to first find relevant grants and then beat the h*** out of yourself to actually write the grant … and then get restrained by the severely constricted parameters of the grant … and, of course, all the while, be sure your name shows up in a few journals here and there). As I said, run fast and far!!
All-in-all, you must reframe your lens to ignore the foreground of traditional education -as well as anyone and anyplace that puts a premium on that perspective. As such, for your PhD -or maybe- PsyD, seriously screen those schools that come across as traditional … you’ll be bored-to-tears, frustrated and angry and, most likely, become another statistic within the ranks of the ABDs … and educational institutions sit around scratching their heads -and other parts of their anatomy- wondering why sooooooooo many doctoral students do not complete the program!!
Part II to follow ….
Child support vs Visitation. Non payment of child support means quick and harsh penalties, but for?
a custodial parent who vindictively denies access to the non custodial parent, there’s hardly ever any punishment. WHY?
Good article to enlighten you on it:
Some stats and these of just of what was admitted by mothers and adult children:
Source: Joyce A. Arditti, “Factors Related to Custody, Visitation, and Child Support for Divorced Fathers: An Exploratory Analysis,” Journal of Divorce and Remarriage 17, 1992, pp. 34, 39.
A study of children of divorce found that 42% of children who lived solely with their mother reported that their mother tried to prevent them from seeing their fathers after the divorce. However, only 16% of children who lived solely with their father reported similar obstruction.
Source: Glynnis Walker, Solomon’s Children: Exploding the Myths of Divorce (New York: Arbor House, 1986), p. 83
Source: Cathy Young, Ceasefire!: Why Women and Men Must Join Forces to Achieve True Equality, The Free Press, 1999, p. 209.
In another study, 40% of divorced mothers admitted that they had interfered with their ex-husband’s access or visitation, and that their motives were punitive in nature and not due to safety considerations.
Source: p. 449, col. II, lines 3-6, (citing Fulton) “Frequency of visitation by Divorced Fathers; Differences in Reports by Fathers and Mothers,” Sanford Braver et al, American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 1991.
Source: J.A. Fulton, “Parental Reports of Children’s Post-Divorce Adjustment,” Journal of Social Issues 35, 1979, pp. 126-139.
According to the US Dept. of Health & Human Services study, “Survey of Absent Parents” over 60% of mothers regularly violate the access rights of fathers, cutting off all contact between the children and their fathers within five years. Unlike child support, mothers are not jailed, even with multiple Contempt of Court ruling against them for violating the fathers’ court ordered visitation rights.
Was no-fault divorce the beginning of the end?
This writer seems to think so. What do you think?
“Yet patently false accusations of both child abuse and domestic violence are rampant in divorce courts, almost always for purposes of breaking up families, securing child custody, and eliminating fathers. “With child abuse and spouse abuse you don’t have to prove anything,” the leader of a legal seminar tells divorcing mothers, according to the Chicago Tribune. “You just have to accuse.”
Among scholars and legal practitioners it is common knowledge that patently trumped-up accusations are routinely used, and virtually never punished, in divorce and custody proceedings. Elaine Epstein, president of the Massachusetts Women’s Bar Association, writes that “allegations of abuse are now used for tactical advantage” in custody cases. The Illinois Bar Journal describes how abuse accusations readily “become part of the gamesmanship of divorce.” The UMKC Law Review reports on a survey of judges and attorneys revealing that disregard for due process and allegations of domestic violence are used as a “litigation strategy.” In the Yale Law Review, Jeannie Suk calls domestic violence accusations a system of “state-imposed de facto divorce” and documents how courts use unsupported accusations to justify evicting Americans from their homes and children.
The multi-billion dollar abuse industry has become “an area of law mired in intellectual dishonesty and injustice” writes David Heleniak in the Rutgers Law Review. Domestic violence has become “a backwater of tautological pseudo-theory,” write Donald Dutton and Kenneth Corvo in the scholarly journal Aggression and Violent Behavior. “No other area of established social welfare, criminal justice, public health, or behavioral intervention has such weak evidence in support of mandated practice.”
Feminists confess as much in their vociferous opposition to divorce reform. A special issue of the feminist magazine Mother Jones in 2005 ostensibly devoted to domestic violence focuses largely on securing child custody.
Both child abuse and domestic violence have no precise definitions. Legally they are not adjudicated as violent assault, and accused parents do not enjoy the constitutional protections of criminal defendants. Allegations are “confirmed” not by jury trials but by judges or social workers. Domestic violence is any conflict within an “intimate relationship” and need not be actually violent or even physical. Official definitions include “extreme jealousy and possessiveness,” “name calling and constant criticizing,” and “ignoring, dismissing, or ridiculing the victim’s needs.”
For such “crimes” fathers lose their children and can be jailed. “Protective orders” separating parents from their children are readily issued during divorce proceedings, usually without any evidence of wrongdoing. “Restraining orders and orders to vacate are granted to virtually all who apply,” and “the facts have become irrelevant,” writes Epstein. “In virtually all cases, no notice, meaningful hearing, or impartial weighing of evidence is to be had.”
Rebecca, Thanks for your balanced, principled answer.
I think it plays a key part in destroying families, men and children.
The divorce industry has become all about women. It isn’t about families or even the best interests of children.
And false accusations are the bread and butter of lawyers while they are working for a female client.
Edit: Sunshine you are wrong my divorce was no fault yet in court i was still some sort of horrendous scum bag. She got everything she wanted and I got a high legal bill.
Like most women I suspect you make statements like the one you just made because you like the way the divorce system works.
I just found this and wish I’d have known it a few years ago?
Sex Only Reason for Cohabiting
By Cheryl Wetzstein
“I didn’t know how to be in a relationship and not have sex. That was how I kept men interested, how I kept them with me. It’s why they liked me. Or at least that’s what I thought.”
This comment, from an unidentified 25-year-old woman, is both familiar and pathetic. She wants love, so she offers sex. He, not surprisingly, takes it but runs.
“While it’s possible that a couple having sex before marriage will one day make a lifelong commitment, it is statistically more likely they won’t,” say Dr. Joe S. McIlhaney Jr. and Dr. Freda McKissic Bush.
“In fact, the likeliest outcome of premarital sex is simply more premarital sex,” they write in their book, “Hooked: New Science on How Casual Sex is Affecting Our Children,” which included the quote from the 25-year-old woman.
Cohabiting is growing in America, and young women should not kid themselves. It’s all about the sex.
If a woman doubts this, she should suggest to Mr. Might-Be-Right that she is willing to move in with him if there are separate bedrooms and no sexual activity until marriage. She should not be surprised if he says that if there’s no sex, there’s no reason to move in with her.
In focus groups on cohabiting, women defend it as a way to study a potential mate and experience the relationship 24 hours a day. Cohabiting reveals personal habits — does he (ever) hang up his clothes? — moods, noises and smells, women say.
But whether guys say so or not, cohabiting to them is primarily a bedroom test. If a woman gets a passing grade there, she moves on to the nuisance test. If she’s too moody, demanding, ditsy, picky, boring, weird or obnoxious, bags will be packed. After all, this is just a test drive. Good times, but see ya.
Some may think I am a little too glib here, so let me quote Francis Fukuyama, who wrote “The Great Disruption, Human Nature and the Reconstitution of Social Order,” a 1999 book about the social upheavals of the 1960s and 1970s.
“One of the greatest frauds perpetuated during the Great Disruption was the notion that the sexual revolution was gender-neutral, benefiting women and men equally,” he wrote. “In fact, the sexual revolution served the interests of men.”
Birth control and abortion may have freed women from worrying about pregnancy, Mr. Fukuyama explained, but it also meant “men felt liberated” from social norms requiring them to take care of any woman they managed to impregnate. Men became less attached to women and children.
Virtually all men have benefited from this new sexual paradigm, Mr. Fukuyama added. Throughout history, only powerful, wealthy, high-status men enjoyed sexual access to many women — in fact, that was a major reason men wanted to be powerful, wealthy and high-status, he wrote. Now millions of women are giving ordinary men (i.e., men without power, wealth or high status) sexual access.
I find it inexplicable that women think cohabiting is in their best interests. How many times do we hear about a woman who has gone through life collecting boyfriends, house keys and bedroom experiences, only to end up at a sperm bank in her 30s because she (still) doesn’t have a husband but can’t live another day without a baby? And yet that is the fate for many female cohabiters. Single women, not married women, are using sperm banks in ever greater numbers, according to a recent article in the Harvard Journal of Law and Gender.
Divorce brings heartache to both men and women, and cohabiting has been portrayed as a way to avoid divorce. But here’s another way to look at it: Divorce is like having your childhood home burn down because of an electrical fire in the furnace. Cohabiting is like coping with that tragedy by living without a furnace and using space heaters instead.
Marriage education can rescue us. In fact, as relationship-skills programs spread through U.S. schools, houses of worship and communities, men and women will see they can create satisfying, lasting, healthy love relationships.
When that happens, they can both get off the merry-go-round of cohabiting and kick the “divorce revolution” to the curb.
• Cheryl Wetzstein can be reached at email@example.com.
Copyright 2009 The Washington Times, LLC
Most Interesting. Thank you
Mental health & men: “Women banded together…Men don’t want to do that”. What needs to be done to change this?
‘Men’s Mental Illness: A Silent Crisis’
“It’s being called a silent crisis, a sleeper issue. But there are signs that this sleeper is at last awakening. Around the world studies, surveys, web networks, journals and newspaper articles are shedding light on a shadowy subject: men’s mental health.
Among the findings is the revelation that new fathers are also vulnerable to postpartum depression. In Canada, young and middle-aged men are being hospitalized for schizophrenia in increasing numbers. The gender gap among people with mental illness is much narrower than might be suspected. The StatsCan Canadian Community Health Survey on Mental health and well-being found that 10% of men experienced symptoms of the surveyed mental health disorders and substance dependencies, compared to 11% of women. In the United Kingdom, studies of depression show a major shift in the traditional gender imbalance, with depression rising among men and decreasing among women.
The greatest evidence of male vulnerability is in suicide statistics. Among Canadians of all ages, four of every five suicides are male. In the UK, men are around three times more likely to kill themselves than women. In New South Wales, Australia, suicide has overtaken car accidents as the leading cause of death in males since 1991.
Barriers to seeking help
According to the Toronto Men’s Health Network (TMHN), even the concept of “men’s health” is relatively new in Canada. Dr. Don McCreary, co-chair of TMHN, associate editor of the International Journal of Men’s Health and one of a small handful of men’s health researchers in Canada, says there are a number of reasons for this.
One reason is the low priority given to men’s health issues in the research community. More funding and more specialists in this area will encourage ongoing research into male mental health.
Male and societal attitudes have fostered the silence. “The women’s health movement was very self-directed,” says Dr. McCreary. “Women banded together to work on problems with health delivery. Men don’t want to do that. We have inculcated a culture in our society that men have to be tough, men have to be strong. Our society is very good at punishing gender deviation in men. Weakness is not considered to be masculine.”
The “code” governing men’s behaviour is one of the prime barriers preventing men from seeking help. According to UK-based MaleHealth.com, men may feel it’s “weak and unmanly to admit to feelings of despair.” Because it’s easier for men to acknowledge physical symptoms, rather than emotional ones, their mental health problems can go undiagnosed.
Beliefs about masculinity also encourage men’s general lack of interest in health issues; many men simply don’t believe they are susceptible to depression, so why bother learning about it? Similarly, risky behaviour, seen especially in younger men – including abuse of alcohol and/or drugs and violence – can mask their emotional problems, both from themselves and their physicians.
Western society’s view of the value of men is seen as an important factor affecting men’s mental health. An Australian study suggested that “there is a strong element of negativity in our culture about men which cannot contribute to positive mental health…”.
Greater recognition of the significance of men’s roles as fathers and partners would help men cope with the difficult feelings that accompany a breakup and the loss of full access to their children. The social isolation experienced by many men at such a time is believed to a factor in the high rate of suicide amongst divorced men.
Men and depression
What do a firefighter, police officer, US Air Force First Sergeant, college graduate and publisher have in common? They are all male and they have all suffered from serious depression. They told their stories for the National Institute for Mental Health “Real Men. Real Depression.” campaign.
It’s estimated that up to 6 million American men have depression each year – about half the figure for women. But this gender disparity is being questioned, in the US and elsewhere. In focus groups conducted by the NIMH, “men described their own symptoms of depression without realizing they were depressed.” They made no connection between their mental health and physical symptoms, such as headaches, digestive problems and chronic pain.
Dr. Michael Myers has noted the same thing, saying, “I couldn’t do my job as a psychiatrist if I didn’t listen to women describe their concerns about men.” A psychiatrist and clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia, Dr. Myers says, “In men, mental illness can be masked. We’ve known for decades that women are more apt to recognize illness of any sort and go to their doctor. This doesn’t mean women are healthier, but that some men just repress it. We believe a lot of somatization [symptoms] in men, for example, migraines, back pain, irritable bowel syn
Denial, blame, projection, rationalisation, justification…all the ego defense mechanisms in the world won’t help.
So what’s your point? You picked a Men’s Health article impressive or what?
How would anyone believe men suffer mental health issues too? Western culture is focused on Women’s issues, as one society we shouldn’t have to be divided up.
Your article forgot to mention divorced men are probably one of the highest groups likely to kill themselves. I guess after the judge helps your wife rape you, you lose your kids, maybe a bullet sounds good. What do you think?