A wise mentor and friend told me that. Mary Heafner also taught me this: in family court, cooperative parties win.
But cooperation seems impossible when parties are stuck in cycles of fear, anger and retribution.
Clients make it worse by claiming the need for an ‘attack dog’ lawyer, or the like. But those characters are no more effective than the ‘attack dog’ believer who blows up an airplane; the ‘attack dog’ journalist who ambushes a candidate; or, any other dysfunctional dolt who mistakes personal cra-cra as service to others.
Fear in a divorce drives the bumpy ride. It dictates the course and the tolls charged by the lawyers and others who share your journey. Dysfuction is expensive. Truthfully, lawyers sometimes drive the crazy train.
But it only takes one sane party to stop that train.
Divorce = Change . . . Change = Fear
Divorce is about change . . . and change causes fear through our loss of the known — and frustrated hopes from what we thought we knew.
Worse, fear grows into a poisonous concoction: anger and a desire for retribution against the agents of change who messed with our comfort zones.
Whether the agents are former lovers, new rivals or terrorists, agents of change make us fearful, angry and ready to kill, kill, kill. Fear messes with our heads and screws up our lives.
But it’s the fear, itself, that does the damage. Change alone is not poisonous. Divorce itself is not our problem.
Know your fear; own your fear; and conquer your fear.
Knowing My Fear
Most of us love our children, our stuff and our lives. We’ll do what’s necessary to protect it all. Most people really, truly will do ANYTHING if we’re sufficiently fearful.
No judge, saint or chanting believer (anywhere) is exempt from that truism.
Owning My Fear
I became a divorce lawyer several years after my own divorce. My transition into being a divorce lawyer (and every case along the way) helps me deal better with many painful aspects of my own life.
Mostly, it helps me fight the poison of fear itself.
Rational living requires rational thinking and rational acts – there’s no room for lingering fear in a rational life (or the anger and retribution it begets).
We’re only truly free, rational thinkers when we learn to let go of . . . wake up from . . . and break free of . . . our own philosophies of fear . . . and the scaredy-cat narcissists who pimp them (they need to get real jobs, I think).
Conquer the Fear: Don’t Engage Crazy
But any perceived ‘threat’ to our children, our comfort and our property has its way of making us irrational – and, often, downright crazy.
So as 2 other wise friends (also daughters of Venus) constantly remind me: don’t engage crazy. Indeed, silence is power. I sense that I’m better for accepting these truths.
To me, that approach works on a personal level (as individuals) and on a societal level with the assorted groups of sheep and cattle who claim INJUSTICE! (or, END TIMES!) every time there’s a happening contrary to their understanding.
For some reason, crowds of people equal crazy. One-to-one, we make some beautiful music.
But too often: Crowd = Crazy.
True, there are some genuinely, objectively crazy people ‘over there’ (whether next door, on Facebook, on television . . . and, of course, always . . . those people).
But if you don’t engage the inmates (and mingle much with the herd), you’ll survive the poison.
Red or Blue? Don’t drink the cool-aid.
Black or White? Don’t sip that tea.
Truth: don’t drink the poison expecting it will kill someone else.
Divorce = Tomorrow
You’ll survive divorce if you don’t drink your poison. You don’t HAVE to engage crazy.
Yes, your former lover might be recording everything you do (in fact, it’s best to assume that they are, because they’re crazy-scared, too). But you don’t HAVE to engage them – not through the kids or other shared relationships and not through social media.
Yes, it’s irrational to distrust every interaction . . . but change makes us irrational sometimes, so just take a pass on those poisons — give my dysfunction a try. No prophet, chosen ones or magic glasses necessary — keep your tithes, don’t hurt anybody and, most importantly, mind your own business.
Your divorce will pass. Change will happen. But in the process: know the fear; own the fear; and kill the fear . . . not your tomorrow.
Remember my Venus . . . Silence = Power.