The audio for this podcast can be found here
Announcer: [background music] [0:02] You're listening to the OverDivorce.com podcast with host, Tom and Adrian. Two guys, swapping stories about getting over divorce.
[0:10] If you're going through a painful divorce and are struggling with anger and anxiety then, you've found the right podcast.
[0:16] Hang with us for the next 30 minutes or so. We promise, you'll gain useful insight and effective tips and techniques for getting over your divorce and rebuilding a better life.
Tom: [0:25] Welcome to number four of the podcast, I'm Tom.
Adrian: [0:30] I'm Adrian.
Tom: [0:31] Today, we're going to be talking about responsibility: how to take it and things in our life that we are responsible for. How that leads to a more successful, more speedy in getting back on your feet and finding happiness again.
[0:48] I want to start out by talking about why all this is important to begin with. I think in the last episode, we talked a lot about the distractions that come into our lives really easily when we're looking for ways to make the pain go away. Ultimately, those things make it harder to get back on track, right?
Adrian: [1:08] I think that if you fill the void with things like drinking, smoking, drugs, and that type of thing, where you're trying to eliminate some of the pain, give yourself a distraction from what you're going through, in the short term I'd feel good and might, in fact, alleviate that, but it stops you from dealing with the real issue.
[1:37] Going through that kind of pain without that distraction could be a better way to go about getting through your divorce.
Tom: [1:47] Let's talk a little bit about the responsibilities that are out there because we've talked in an early podcast about making the decision right, as opposed to worrying about whether or not you're going to make the right decision.
[2:05] I think that really dovetails nicely into this idea about the importance of responsibility...the responsibility to make that decision. The responsibility, I think, the first and most obvious one is to your children.
Adrian: [2:20] To your children, to yourself, to your ex to a certain extent. From my perspective, it evolves around really taking responsibility for your actions and your decisions. We talked about making decisions and how to take ownership of that.
[2:42] I think being accountability for where you are and taking responsibility in a mature way is an empowering way for you to take ownership of your role in the divorce. Then, to take ownership in your role in the recovery. Getting over that and getting through that and overcoming it.
Tom: [3:05] Let's talk about responsibility. Kid thing it's obvious. There's lots of opportunities to talk about that. I think also, there's a lot of opportunities to hear about that when you're in this situation. You're going to hear over and over about the children. I think that's correct.
[3:18] I don't think the well-being of the kids can ever be overstated and the thing to remember during divorce.
[3:25] We'll hear more about this when we talk to experts is that, the whole legal system, while it appears it's all set up for women.
[3:32] We're all honest about it, it's really set up, can be for the welfare of the children. That's a long way of going about. What I really wanted to say which was the responsibility we have to take care of ourselves.
[3:43] The first episode of the podcast, we talked about self-care. When we talk about responsibility, I think after children, it's really responsibility to take care of yourself, which is so easily forgotten. That's so easy to lose track of that.
Adrian: [4:00] It's easy to allow yourself to get into a role of victimhood. While you're going through that, I think your friends and family will give you a lot of leeway. Almost expected, if something, the divorces and something you necessarily wanted to happen.
[4:16] You get a lot of leeway from friends and family. They'll say, "OK, you should be feeling that way. You are the victim. You weren't responsible for that, for whatever that happened."
[4:27] It's easy for you to get into that role of abdicating your responsibility, in terms of what happened through the relationship. No matter how things went down with the relationship, whether you wanted it to happen, but especially if you didn't, then you need to look at ways that you contributed to what happened and take ownership of that.
[4:48] The very least, it's going to empower you to make better decisions. If you can see how you made bad decisions or bad choices or were playing out wrong. How you can better that in the future. You can learn something from that. Hopefully, you're going to move in a better, positive direction.
Tom: [5:06] When you're sitting there, thinking about your responsibility in the divorce or your responsibilities relative to the breakup, don't you think that can get a little destructive and futile in the sense that you're thinking and maybe even over-thinking about, "Oh I did this thing and that caused her to leave," and spiral you back into, "I'm going to make it better. I'm going to make her love me. I'm going to make her come back to me," and all that stuff?
Adrian: [5:36] Yes. I went through that for sure. Initially I took on all the responsibility of that. I don't think it was helpful. It was harmful. I think it's a balancing act of trying not to deny, where you will accept...ultimately, I think it's just accepting where you fell short.
[5:55] On the other hand, on the extreme end of things, you don't want to paint yourself into being some kind of a martyr, where you take it all on and you start whipping yourself emotionally about what happened. There is a balancing act there.
[6:10] I think it's finding that middle ground somewhere between, "I'm a victim, this happened to me," to, "I'm a martyr and all the pain, I'm responsible for that. The only way that I can feel good about myself is if I mentally punish myself for this."
[6:26] I think it's finding that middle ground. There's two extremes and it's not easy to do. I think it comes down to just having a sense of the only thing you can control is your decisions and your actions. If you can let go of everything else and just focus in on that element and look at how your decisions and you actions led to your divorce and have that in check and then move on from there.
[6:56] Maybe catalog how you've learned from that is a mature, developed way of handling your divorce. I wish I'd done more of that. Mine was more of a manic, all over the place kind of thing where I was bouncing around between victimhood and martyrhood and it wasn't necessarily a healthy way to go about it.
Tom: [7:16] Thing is, you're not a victim or a martyr. It is what it is. There's very little sense to be made if it I think if you were not part of the decision. If you just found yourself alone because your significant other went, "I'm done."
[7:30] Or whether you tried really hard to get her back or whether you just went, "All right, see you, don't let the door hit you on the ass on the way out." You still find yourself in this place between victim and martyr.
[7:42] I want to bring up that thing that happens as you're making those swings. As I made those swings, one of the things that I've been really very sensitive to and aware of, and still probably crossing the line multiple times with my friends, is this tendency to talk about it and being the divorced guy.
[8:03] You and I, when we started this podcast we were, "We don't want to be the divorced guys. We don't want that to be our identity." There are huge social pressures I think societally to be the divorced guy. You have failed in your relationship. You are stigmatized. You have potentially some divorce disease that may get passed on to me and my wife.
[8:31] I have been shunned in my neighborhood. People I used to talk to around my neighborhood, they don't talk to me anymore. It could very easily be because I'm a dick and nobody wants to talk to me. I really do feel like I have some sort of scarlet D on my chest.
[8:46] You do get this reflective thing about being that divorced person and I think the older you are, the more years that have passed in your marriage and the more apparently your relationship was similar to those who are around you, the more potential there is for stigma.
[9:06] People are like, "Oh I didn't know they were even having problems. Good Lord. What does that say about my relationship? I don't want to be around that person because I could catch it. I could catch the divorce disease."
[9:20] I don't think it's something that's conscious. I don't think they're consciously alienating me but it's too uncomfortable and too weird so people just go inside as opposed to come out to see me and my dog when we're walking around the block.
Adrian: [9:34] That's interesting because I think mine was more self-imposed. I didn't get that feeling really from where I live. I think it was me more just shutting down and not wanting to be out and about and feeling closed off. I wasn't putting myself out there. I think probably more of a defense mechanism where I could go in my shell and hang out and not have to deal with people because people can't be trusted.
Tom: [10:04] If we had an expert here, particularly a therapist or psychotherapist, they'd be going, "You're both wrong. People don't give a crap either way, quite honestly. They're not thinking about you. They're not thinking about what you're going through. Everybody's kind of wind up in their own thing.
[10:25] You're hypersensitized to have people responding to you based on your experience for your entire life. It's got really, nothing to do with me and my case, thinking that people are sort of, shunning me because I'm in the house where I used to live with my wife and daughter. There must be something wrong with me for them to have left. In your case, you're just not wanting to interact with people because you're wanting to be left alone.
[10:53] I experienced that, too, but ultimately if you're rational and step away from it -- completely --. You're kind of looking at it and go yeah, people aren't really thinking about you. They don't really care that much. They're involved with their own life.
[11:06] It is important to not sit and lean on people too much about the pain that you're going through because you do get that stigma attached to you as being, "Oh, I've got to fix you up with someone. You've got to get back on the horse and ride." Other clichC B)s around. Getting re-engaged socially that you hear from people when you do go through this.
[11:30] Even though you still need your time to recover and figure out what your identity is and take responsibility for your new identity.
Adrian: [11:39] You've hit on a really good point. I think that the root of a lot of things is that the whole...nobody gives a shit, really what you're kind of doing. We're all worried about that social pressure. How our friends and family and strangers, how we appear to them. I think that really limits who we are just as people.
[12:01] We're trying to live up to somebody else's expectation. Living our lives through other people's eyes. It's a hard thing to get out of because you're raised as a child. You're raised to make mommy and daddy happy, by performing and doing certain things and you get love. You get acceptance, if you do the right thing. You're cut off from that as you do the wrong thing.
[12:22] They're kind of training you to look outwards for validation. You're going through and you're getting validated externally, your whole early childhood. When you become an adult, the same thing rolls out. If you look at high school and the whole high school experience, it's about peers and about being in the in group, and belonging. If you're shunned from that, it's a horrible kind of experience.
[12:46] Being able to first, I think, recognize that and try to turn that off so that you're not getting that external validation. Ultimately, nobody gives a shit, really. [laughs] Your close friends and family do but most people don't care, really. I think it's hard for us to accept that, too.
[13:05] We want to think we're making a bigger impact in the world. Our egos want us to think that yeah, everybody cares what kind of shoes you're wearing or what you're eating or if you're buying this kind of car. Real people don't give a crap for the most part.
[13:21] They're just worried about their own thing. They're doing the same thing. They're looking out into the world. They're feeling the same pressures and going through...so it's a funny little circle that we've go in, in terms of our peers and society in general, where it goes round and round.
[13:38] We're just like, these double mirrors that are [laughs] looking at each other. It just kind of go on forever. It's very hard [laughs] to see the truth when you're looking at all these reflections that are, for the most part, bullshit.
Tom: [13:51] You're exactly right. It's funny. I've worked with a sales trainer one time. One of his really, most compelling lines was "People don't care about you." It's really about saying this to sales people. This was the lead for sales training. The whole thing maybe it was trying to tell people in the whole root of his message was, when you're doing business to business sales, you really want to very early on, build rapport around the challenge of that person that you're selling to.
[14:24] If you don't go into that new relationship, recognizing that the person you're speaking with, doesn't care about you at all, you're going to lose traction from the very beginning and slowly just kind of, lose it all together.
[14:39] Whether you approach the news of your separation and divorce by digging in and covering up, or going out just looking for people to shun you, or looking for that validation that you are a bad person by seeing people's reaction to you, either way, you're not going to get yourself any better.
[15:04] You're not going to be taking responsibility for that self-care where you really do have to turn inward in a healthy way as oppose to an unhealthy way. You have to begin to access your new identity.
[15:19] You have to take responsibility for taking care of yourself. Keeping your place clean, getting exercise, eating the right food, revisiting all your vices, whatever they happened to be. We've talked about those a little bit.
[15:35] But then, figuring out, what of this can I shed? How much of this was I doing to get through what was now clearly, a bad relationship? Shedding all of that old skin and taking responsibility for it.
Adrian: [15:49] Now that the relationship's over. It's really kind of an ideal time to rebuild yourself. To really look at yourself in that light. Let me look at each of these aspects of my life. You've mentioned some physical, some mental, spiritual aspects.
[16:11] What are some best practices that I can implement and these different factors to make myself better? How did I screw up in the past? My point isn't to dwell on how you contributed to the end of your marriage. It's to recognize that and be aware of it. So that next time, you can have a better relationship, if that's the way you want to go. Ultimately, hopefully a stronger, better life.
Tom: [16:36] It's interesting because...I want to use the example of food. I can't say necessarily that I'm Mr.Diet. Really, the opposite, I eat terribly. One of the things that I have discovered is that since I'm only responsible now for what I'm eating.
[16:55] I used to be the one who cooked in the house. I'm not responsible for that either but one of the things that is easy to do is, it is easy to make healthy decisions about eating.
[17:07] When I was married, my wife used to play that game about, what do you want for dinner? I don't know, what do you want for dinner? I would suggest something and she would say, "No." She would suggest something and I would say, "No." We had rules to the game where it was OK, if you said no, so you have to come up with something.
[17:23] [laughter]
Tom: [17:28] I don't need to go through that at all. One of the advantages I think that if you're listening to this and you're trying to take some takeaways is that, well, I can eat fruits and vegetables every day and nothing but. I can be Joe Vegetarian if I want. Conversely, I can eat spaghetti and pizza every day if I want to.
[17:45] It doesn't really make any difference. Once you've realize that you have the freedom to make these decisions and you can do either one, it's starts to make sense that our time on this planet is short. It might be in our best interest to follow a regime that could potentially improve you as opposed to a regime that's going to sort of slowly tear you down because you're not eating the things that you know you really should be.
[18:15] There are plenty of experts online and we'll give you some places to go to look at and find some tips about how to eat healthy. Most people know the general basics of that, eat less, and when you do, eats fruits and vegetables more, eat animal proteins less, try to keep he calorie count down. It's as simple as that. Again, there'll be links tto give you places to go to get more in depth information.
[18:39] Particularly if you're interested in losing some weight or whatever your particular goals are. The point here is to take responsibility for making a change because now you can. You are not in those same ruts, you're not in those same habits.
Adrian: [18:53] Yeah, I'm more of a paleo diet kind of guy. My view is I eat a lot more fat and a lot more protein than I used to. So I've come to a different kind of conclusion diet, but I think what's important is you go out and try to find the best diet that works for you, for instance. Spend some time really looking in to that and doing some research on a healthy way to eat for instance.
[19:22] That in itself helps you take charge and you can look at some different areas of your life and if you decide, "Hey, I want the best diet that there is on the planet that works for me", spend a week or a month researching that and then that's going to help you build something that's solid.
[19:40] I think that also helps you take away from some of the pain and anxiety of going through the divorce, is focus a little bit of your time on, this week I'm going to focus in on my diet and I'm just going to do a ton of research, I'm trying to find what the best diet is for me that works and that's going to give me some confidence, it's going to help me, it's what diet is going to give me the most energy.
[20:00] You can do that for different segments of your life. Spirituality, if you're into that you can research meditation or Buddhism or Christianity, what kind of work you're doing, what kind of car you're driving. Whatever it is, going out and doing the research to try to build this new you 2.0. That process in itself can be extremely rewarding and the journey is just as important as the end.
[20:27] Going out to find the right healthy diet is almost as important as actually getting there and actually implementing it.
Tom: [20:33] Just as long as you don't do the paleo diet, because that's really all been debunked.
Adrian: [20:41] It's the diet of the week my friend and I've done them all. I've done Atkins, weight watchers. Whatever, you name it, I've done. I'm on the enema diet this week, it's not very comfortable but...
Tom: [20:54] That nurse I think makes it a little more pleasant, too. Right?
Adrian: [20:59] Yeah, that might have something to do with it. She's got very soft hands, but her mustache tickles.
[21:06] [laughter]
Tom: [21:12] What are some things that you've come across to help with your decision making? Whether it's some tools or things that you've implemented that have helped you stay focused and to push through there geared more towards being accountable for where you are.
Adrian: [21:26] I think for me the big thing is to not spend so much time thinking about it. The story that I always like to tell about is running, because I hate running. My daughter gave me a t-shirt that says, "Running sucks," and I wear that occasionally.
[21:42] What I've found is when I wake up in the morning to run that if I just lay there and think about running then the chances of me running are going to be really low. But if I get up and just start in that direction. It's that power of intention thing I think, if i just put things in motion in that direction I will be much more likely to find myself outside and actually running in the morning and starting my day that way.
[22:12] Related to that is list building. Sometimes I will build a mind map of the steps that are required to get something done. I will move that mind map into a list and then I'll add to the list as I see tasks on the list that seem daunting.
[22:32] The big lesson for me is, break it down, take that thing and make actually more tasks. So if you're going to spend your time thinking about this, as opposed to just worrying about what's going to happen, like we talked about in our last episode, really just build the list, break it down, the elephant is eating one bite at a time, break it down into smaller tasks.
[22:56] At least make that list because once you build the list then it's easy to go to the list and then say, "OK, I'm going to check some boxes off."
[23:05] And when you're done at the end of the day, regardless of whether you've got all those things done or not, at least you've achieved things that can help you get to the next day because we get into these places where we just don't want to do anything.
[23:21] We're right at the July 4th holiday now and these are real danger points for me personally because these are times when everybody is back with family and we're socialized to take it easy, we do need rest.
[23:34] I find that these are the times where I can get really into those darky, inky, black, funky places and get myself in trouble, get in bad behaviors, do things that are subversive to getting over this stuff.
[23:50] What I have to remember is, I need to stay on task and that I have responsibilities to myself, I owe it to myself to get at those tasks.
[24:01] With this very podcast it's a really great example, we agree that we're going to do it at one time and you got back and said, "hey, can we do this earlier" and I was like, "yeah, there's no reason we can't do this earlier."
[24:13] We scheduled it earlier and then I played golf really early this morning and then the bell went off. It's like oh, we got to get this shit together and I'm scrambling to get it all together. Running a little late and you were cool about it. It's like responsibility of getting this done, making this commitment, just driving to it and not spending too much time thinking about it because I can get wrapped up in that.
Adrian: [24:34] That's another problem, kind of thinking versus doing. Getting back to personal responsibility and the list taking, it gives you an idea by going through and doing like a mind map and building a list of everything that you can control and everything that you are responsible for.
[24:53] By breaking that down I think gives you a greater sense of ownership and control over your life because that's a whole other issue is, often times you just don't feel like you're in control of anything.
[25:04] By listing things out and going through and looking at the different areas in your life that you do have control over and then taking ownership over those areas can be very helpful and empowering and give you a sense of control and a sense of ownership and confidence.
[25:19] I think that's extremely important to build self-esteem and confidence through exerting your personal responsibility.
Tom: [25:28] We've reached our 30 minutes here and I think the real keys to all this is recognizing that you are responsible for redefining yourself as you hit this point in your life, that you are responsible for making sure your kids get the kind of care that they deserve and that you want them to have despite your feelings for your ex.
[25:50] That you are responsible for maintaining a rational, legal, and responsible relationship with ex-spouse and that you're going to have to have that regardless of how awful the relationship is, and that you're going to have to push through with your job and you're going to have to continue to be a good friend. That means not leaning on that martyr side or leaning too much on the victim side either.
[26:23] That you find this medium, this center for being that new person, making those lists, not obsessing over things to the extent that you can't get them done, but breaking them into smaller steps so that you can achieve things that at the end of the day you can say, "hey, I moved it forward, I moved the ball forward, I'm making progress, and I'm finding my new identity and I'm finding who I am at this point in my life."
[26:52] Which was something that I never expected to do, but a cool person may emerge out of this and most likely will if I take my time and avoid those trouble spots.
Adrian: [27:04] That's right, so keep moving forward and keep progressing and stay strong.
[27:09] [laughter]
Tom: [27:11] And keep reaching for the stars.
[27:13] [laughter]
Tom: [27:15] What are we talking about next AJ?
Adrian: [27:17] Next time we're going to be talking about presence, looking at fighting regret and worry and kind of being in the moment and how you can avoid the negative self-talk.
Tom: [27:30] The next show is going to be really, really good because I know that this was a huge problem for me at the very beginning and I still rustle with it. I know that talking to you early on when I was first going through this, you were really helpful.
[27:44] I'm really looking forward to the next podcast when we're talking about presence and killing that negative self-talk and learning some tricks about how to be in the moment and really focus on what's going on now instead of what's going to happen tomorrow or next week or next month or next year. Until the next time we get a chance to talk to you, I'm Tom.
Adrian: [28:07] And I'm Adrian., thanks for listening.
Announcer: [28:08] Thanks for listening to the OverDivorce.com podcast, with Adrian and Tom. The opinions expressed are theirs alone, they're not professionals.
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