Finding Grace under Pressure

Having been through heartache more than once, I really know how to behave badly around friends and former acquaintances especially when I was catching up with them during the holidays. I was brilliant at dumping my pain, frustration, and gossip onto others and as a result, I lost a lot of friends and colleagues. It’s easy now to admit I misbehaved: while I was going through my divorces, I was impossible to be around.

This was mostly because I simply didn’t know there was a way to have grace under pressure! Who knew the story I was living was impossible for those around me? I certainly didn’t and for those friends I hurt by dumping on, if you’re reading this, this holiday season, please accept my gift of apologies: I didn’t have the skills at safe lines of communication. I really didn’t know any better!

As a coach, I hear a different perspective - the friends who are judgmental, exhausted really from listening to the anger; the teachers who are fixated only on their students’ well-being not the parent’s; the attorneys and financial advisors who don’t really want to be therapists and aren’t licensed to be; the friends and family who don’t have a clue about how to help the person in their life going through a divorce. They too don’t know what to do when another is in pain and (News flash: this is a season of lots of difficult emotions for everyone).

Divorce is stressful. Period.

Going through one is demanding and even when we try to be our best selves, it’s incredibly difficult to leave the story of the divorce behind. It's actually nearly impossible. The problem is that without a structure or a process to help someone going through divorce stay stable (being their Best Selves, holding them accountable and helping them calm down - skills to be learned) then everyone has a tough time when one among them is separating. Working with a trained divorce coach is different than working with a therapist or unloading onto friends and family. Divorce coaches are taught how to keep their clients stable, giving them new skills, helping them to look towards the future and move forward in their lives. Clients create optimism and are held accountable taking actions, and goals are set and met around showing up positive and interested in others during the holiday season.

This is what I’ve learned… get help: you’re not alone, you’re not impossible... you're in pain and need new skills

I can spot a new divorcee a mile away: they’re talking nonstop about their life (because they can’t stop themselves) their listener is leaning back trying to escape the onslaught of words and energy; the friends are torn because they wish they could help but they’ve lost their fun-loving friend and don’t want to appear rude, and really want to be there, but not like this. Extended families are the worst because usually, they never liked the person we're leaving, so they heap more fuel onto the fire - especially around the punch bowl.

Do yourself and all your friends and colleagues a favor: Find a certified divorce coach you can work with this season and make the process less stressful for yourself. You can go through and heal from divorce with grace, a few new tools, and some skills. This is a gift you give yourself. Your friends, colleagues, and family will thank you, together you’ll have more fun and share joy, and as a result, you won’t lose them the way I did come the New Year.


Laura Bonarrigo

New York, NY