Divorce and behaviour are more often than not portrayed in a negative way. As negative emotions take over the divorce process so can bad behaviour, not only affect both parties, the children, family and friends but also impact on finances and personal wellbeing. The ability to communicate effectively through the divorce process and beyond can make all the difference for a less stressful divorce for you, your ex-partner and the children.

Having learned some techniques in the last lesson on how to overcome negative emotions and utilize self help techniques to minimize the impact of the negative emotions, we can understand how thoughts affect feelings which in turn affect your actions / behavior which impacts on your results.  

A good benchmark is to detach emotions from behaviour and using the TFAR techniques it is possible to do this. Remember, looking for repeated patterns of negative emotions will help identify negative behaviour patterns also. By taking the time to work through these patterns it will allow you to manage your behaviour more appropriately.

Remember the evidence based research that states the more amicable the parents through the divorce process the more well balanced and positive the children will be and aren’t they the most important factor in all of this?

We also have the capacity to think and feel in a certain way as well as the ability not to allow that to show outwardly. At times this may require some practice!  

Looking back at the Thoughts, Feelings, Actions and Results flow chart, behaviour is the acting out of our thoughts and feelings. So if we are feeling angry with our ex and we have not rationalized what is causing the anger the chances are we will respond negatively to a given confrontational situation and as a result of that, bad behaviour will be the result.

 For example, supposing your ex partner is late in picking up/dropping off the children and you call your ex and give them a piece of your mind in front of the children, which results in an argument with your ex and it upsets the children.

Stepping back from the scenario, even if lateness happens on repeated occasions, the idea is to work through the various scenarios with the help of your journal and to try and manage your own feelings and behavior. If you work on the principle that you can’t necessarily change someone else’s behavior but you can manage your own behaviour! 

So much bad behaviour can be avoided with a little forethought and planning. This is not to say you won’t still be angry or upset with your ex’s behavior or antics but you can try limiting the damage by effective forward planning