‘….I worked so hard for 20 years to build a solid financial security, now it’s all gone!!….’
Was a quote from a client I was working with on his divorce. There are many challenging areas when you get divorced or separated – the children, heart break, the animosity, the worry about future happiness, the stigma, and of course the change in your financial situation.
Obviously this will effect different people differently depending on their situation, but it is amazing how common and universal the feeling of ‘ hard done by’ is, regardless to which side of the settlement you are on. We often here comments like this in our work:
‘How can X feel hard done by, X has the house!’
‘Y doesn’t realise how hard it is to support myself and the kids for the next 10 years’
‘X bought nothing financially into the relationship and has walked out with a mortgage free home’
‘Y even thinks it is fair for me to support her when she is living with Z’
‘The law is so unfair, it doesn’t take fault or cause into account, if X wanted to leave, they shouldn’t get such a big share’
‘This is going to completely change my life, I need to downsize my house, not do the job I want, all because X said it wasn’t working’
It’s fine to not be worried about money, when you’ve still got some…’
The list goes on.
For some people their wealth, their lifestyle, and their financial status is completely linked to their sense of identity and freedom. They believe without financial security (or with less of it) life can’t be the same.
So, what can we do about that?
There are two major areas we work with our clients on with regards to this subject
The more harmonious and mutually understanding you are together as you separate the more likely you are to create a financial settlement that meet both party’s needs, and you see as ‘fair’.
We need to insightfully realise that our wealth and financial situation does NOT determine our well-being and sense of freedom. It does not determine our sense of satisfaction, fulfillment and enjoyment in life. Despite how it might look, and how most of society has been conditioned, that is an innocent misunderstanding of how the mind works, as money (or anything for that matter) can’t do that.
Let take those points separately:
1. Creating a more harmonious financial settlement.
Something many separating couples dream of. ‘If only he would see that’….’why doesn’t she listen’…. it isn’t fair her taking all that….’ He’s so angry about the whole thing’.
At a psychological level the issue we are up against is called ‘separate realities’. Due to how the mind works, each person is always and only ever creating their own individual experience of the world around them. Our personal reality is subjective. This means that it can’t actually be the same as someone else’s; it is impossible to have the same thoughts as someone else. Yet we often live life as if we should. ‘Why don’t they see it like me?’ Well, whether it is Brexit, the football match, or the taste of broccoli, we are always living in separate realities. Now, this is an important point. And one that needs to be seen beyond what you think you know already about it.
Separate realities is more than - 'you and I see things differently'.
It is much, much more. Why? Well, due to the way the mind functions there is no objective truth. We are all only ever observing a construct of our thought creation through the resulting Quality of Mind in the moment.
We aren't seeing the same actions, and then interpreting them. Right now, you and I are forming and then experiencing different realities altogether. The mind works like a projector, not like a camera with photoshop.
Insightfully realising this can be immensely helpful to us, as naturally and without effort, we ease up on the thinking that others need to think like us, it helps us get curious and listen. It also helps us see the other person's logic for their opinions and actions. And most importantly, it engenders connection at a human level which is the most significant pre-cursor to influencing change in a pervasive and effortless way. This results in more tolerance, appreciation and progress for any agreement. This, by the way, is very different, to ‘giving in’ and accepting or putting up with the fact you are getting a hard deal. It is genuine compromise and collaboration.
How do I do this? The key is to have a realised understanding that the words in this article are not just a nice idea, concept or mantra. But instead to have that insight and realisation for yourself. That can happen all by itself but from our experience often gets nudged and stimulated by working with a Separation Simplified coach.
2. We need to insightfully realise that our wealth and financial situation does NOT determine our wellbeing and sense of freedom or enjoyment in life.
That statement might seem a bit of stretch! And for many years I would have disagreed with it. I could have agree with it to an extent if someone said we don’t need 2 holidays a year, or a big house, or a posh car to be happy. But surely the money we have helps us buy the basics like food, shelter, clothes etc, and without those things we ‘d not be as happy. Well it turns out that isn’t true either. (If you want some empirical evidence watch a great little TED talk by Dan Gilbert who talks about a study where people 12 months after winning the lottery and becoming paraplegic experience the same level of happiness). But realise more fundamentally - the mind just doesn’t work that way. Experiment for yourself with this principle:
Our experience in any moment comes from thought, not the outside the world. The mind works like a projector not a camera. We can’t experience something without it coming via thought in the moment.
So, what we mean by this is that the outside world, events, circumstances, your past etc. don’t determine your experience. Thought does. Feelings come from thought, not from external things. Now of course it looks like it does, it is very convincing, compelling and an often-seductive illusion, especially when our quality of mind is low (which it can be during a separation). You will notice, that your degree of insecurity and satisfaction regarding the financial settlement discussions, does vary, so in some moments you think you can’t possibly survive on ‘that’, or (s)he is a money grabbing so & so etc. etc. and other moments it doesn’t look quite like that and there are more feelings of resilience and possibility.
One could argue: “But aren’t some things just inherently stressful/insecure/unpleasant?” No. Only if we engage in a personal narrative of thoughts that create those feelings. All our thoughts are formless, arbitrary and transient. They can appear and disappear in an instant. A thought might come into our minds that has the potential to be insecure, but if we see it as just that – a passing thought - it just floats by without hanging around to create meaning and wreak havoc with our feelings. And we all have the capacity to do that in any moment.
How do I do this? Our experience of working with separating couples has shown us time and again that the key is to have a realisation for yourself that the words in this article are not just nice ideas or theories.That can happen all by itself but from our experience it often gets nudged and stimulated by working with a Separation Simplified coach.
If you would like to find out more please contact us for a no obligation chat.