Your go-to style when communicating is nice. Maintaining a good relationship with your ex — and everyone you know — is really important to you. Your friends express awe at how you never say an unkind word about him. Something to aspire to, right? Not always. While Pleaser Patty might be good at keeping the peace, she’s doing it to her own detriment. She’d rather not fight at all than fight for what she and her children deserve.
If you’re a Patty, you might need to dig deep to find the conviction to hold your ground. It’s possible to be both strong and nice! Pay close attention to how you undermine yourself when you communicate, with phrases like “sorry about that,” “maybe it’s just me,” “I’m no expert,” and “I just.” Remove those phrases and your words will instantly become more powerful.
You want to communicate with ease but are really having a hard time doing it. Nervous Nancy doesn’t trust herself and is terrified she’ll say or do the wrong thing. She spends hours worrying about her divorce case and wondering how her ex and his lawyer have one “up” on her. She talks about it with her friends constantly, sharing with them many of her text messages with her ex. She’s uncomfortable communicating with her ex, even about every-day things for the children, without showing them to her lawyer first. She wonders why her legal bill is huge.
If you’re a Nancy, practice trusting your gut. You don’t have to say everything perfectly. Once you’ve written the email, proof it and hit send. You can use the scripts in here verbatim until you gain more confidence in your communications, then tweak them as you want.
You were wronged and you’re owning it. No way is he going to get the better of you anymore! Good for you? True, a healthy dose of anger can spur you to empowerment, but when left out of control it can be crippling. Hostile Hannah’s anger may be justified but her communications are so filled with hate that she’s her own worst enemy. Her lawyer says she needs to tone it down, and lately her friend are finding her difficult to be around.
If you’re a Hannah, pay close attention to the words you use. Hannahs tend to write and speak with a lot of adjectives (insults). If you reduce your words to include only the facts (think things that are provable as opposed to opinion), you’ll appear less hostile and your writing will be much more effective.
You’re one gabby gal! Oversharing Olivia is so used to telling her spouse everything that she can’t stop doing it. Her boundaries haven’t changed with their separation. She figures if she tells him what her lawyer says, what her therapist says, and what she’s thinking about all the time, he’ll be more agreeable and a better co-parent. She doesn’t understand why it’s not working. Her friends love her but she’s starting to wear them out.
If you’re an Olivia, try this simple exercise: Write out everything you want to say. Then go back through it, and see how many words you can eliminate while still making your main points. Also, try to keep your communications to the main subject. Less is more!
You have your moments of doubt in communicating — who doesn’t — but you rarely let them rule your day. Cool Caroline has learned that when she reacts quickly, she’s usually sorry. Patience and thoughtfulness are skills she’s worked to acquire. She also knows when it comes to communicating, less is usually more. Her style is polite, nice when appropriate, yet firm when needed. She is flexible but not taken advantage of.
If you’re naturally a Caroline, keep honing those good communication skills! Divorce can test even the most cool and collected of us. It’s also ok to let a little emotion in once in a while, at least to those closest to you.