You Can Do War, or You Can Do Peace, But You Can’t Do Both at the Same Time

You have to admire parents and couples who make it through a divorce without an enormous amount of animosity or financial ruin. I often wonder if they’re superhuman or something! They’re the ones who still have holidays together or cry when they sign their decrees. It’s heartwarming and makes me believe in hope and to have faith in relationships and mankind and all those higher values and aspirations.

In reality though, I know very few of these couples. Most people I come across going through divorce are in the middle of an emotional war zone. They’ve lost all semblance of rationality, are constantly being triggered and have a very difficult time staying tethered to showing up as their best selves. The toll this kind of divorce takes on a family is enormous. It can encompass years, cost thousands and thousands of dollars, and like most wars, it doesn’t end the way anyone wants.

You can do war, or you can do peace, but

you can’t do both at the same time.

The best news is, it’s your decision.

So let’s say that you want to have a peaceful, harmonious ending to your marriage, and your ex does not or cannot play on that level with you. Let’s say you’ve tried to remain calm and rational, but you’re being dragged into a war zone. What do you do?

You get help.

You research personality disorders with a therapist so you can understand what you’re potentially working with (and may learn a thing or two about the breakdown of your marriage in the meantime). You get a divorce coach to help you feel safe being tethered to doing the right thing—literally holding you accountable to being the best version of yourself no matter what. You hire an attorney who’ll listen to your point of view and negotiate. You come to peace with understanding that you may not get what you deserve, but fighting for it will cost too much and won’t be worth it in the end. You know getting out and setting up boundaries are the only options.

If you’re in a war zone and want out,

remember this:

There are no peace talks in the midst of war.

Your divorce is a reflection of who you were in the past and what you were married to. Life isn’t always fair, and going to court is no carnival. This is the person who shared your bed; they may be the parent of your children. Going through divorce hell-bent on destroying another human being won’t serve you in the end; trying to enact revenge and harboring anger and animosity sucks the life out of you and will permeate every other relationship you have going forward; playing the victim card is remaining small. It’s not a reality TV show! You’re not being filmed, and honestly, your friends and family are tired of the drama. Stop abusing everyone you meet. Stop abusing yourself.

As you live into your future ask, “Who do I want to be now?”

These choices set up the foundation of your future self, so think about this carefully. How you do your divorce is a reflection of your personal values. If fighting is your only emotional tone, find a divorce coach and give yourself permission to shift. Divorce can become all consuming if we let it, but being angry, resentful and frightened or hurt doesn't have to be the only feelings. Put your attention on being part of the changing paradigm around divorce—this is your rite of passage to becoming who you’re supposed to be. This is the beginning of a new life. This is you stepping into the greatest version of yourself. This is forcing you to become who you were supposed to be all along.

Get through your anger and heal—choose to heal—letting go of the resentments, punishing, frustration, hurt, pain and feeling victimized. Take back control over yourself and your emotions so that you can have a great future. Everyone around you will be grateful (News flash: including your ex). Over time, trust that you’ll be grateful for taking the high road as well.

Do peace.

Do war, and get to peace,

but know that you cannot do both at the

same time.


Laura Bonarrigo

New York, NY