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Ep #157: Winning the Battle with Divorce Uncertainty | Becoming You Again Podcast

Updated: Apr 7

The uncertainty of divorce feels scary, worrisome and anxiety ridden.  In this episode we're going to understand the innate human quest for predictability and how that can be both a curse and a source of empowerment during divorce.

I'll walk you through how evolutionary biology plays a huge role in the pain we feel around uncertainty and what you can do to move through the uncertainty of your divorce moving toward a future that you actually want and are excited about.

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Grief and trauma are the two biggest struggles women deal with as they go through their divorce. It's highly likely that you are experiencing both and don't even realize what you're feeling. I'm here to tell you that it's okay for you to grieve your marriage (even if it was shitty) and it's normal to be experiencing some kind of trauma (which is essentially a disconnection from yourself - your mind, body and soul). I can help guide you through the grief in all of the forms it shows up so you can heal. I can also teach you how to ground yourself in healing so you can ease through the trauma. Schedule your free consult by clicking here.

Featured on this episode:

  1. Interested in the Divorce Betrayal Transformation? Learn more here.

  2. Are you lost and confused about who you are after divorce? Don't worry. I've got 51 Ways to Get to Know Yourself Again. Click here to download.

  3. Want to work first hand with Karin so you can stop worrying about what your life will be like after divorce, and instead begin making it amazing today? Click here to schedule a consult to find out more about working 1:1 with Karin as your coach.

  4. Haven't left a review yet? No problem. Click here to leave one.

Full Episode Transcript:

Going through a divorce. You're in the right place. You're listening to Becoming you Again, episode number 157, and I'm your host, Karin Nelson. Welcome to Becoming you Again, the podcast to help you with your mental and emotional well-being during and after divorce. This is where you learn to overcome the grief and trauma of your divorce. We're going to do that by reconnecting with yourself, creating lasting emotional resilience and living a truly independent life so that your life can be even better than when you were married. I'm your host, Karin Nelson. Welcome back to the podcast. My friends, I am so happy that you're here today.


I'm going to be talking about uncertainty. Uncertainty is kind of a huge part of going through a divorce, like if you're in a divorce. If you've gone through a divorce, like if you're in a divorce, if you've gone through a divorce, you understand what I'm talking about, right? There is so much uncertainty around how the divorce is going to turn out, if you're going to be able to co-parent, what the kids are going to be struggling with, what your future is going to look like. Will you be able to keep the house, will you get alimony, will you have to pay alimony, or will you have enough money to live the kind of lifestyle that you've been living up to now? Will you find another partner to love? Will you even want that? Will you be able to overcome this grief? Will you be able to figure out what living alone looks like? Will you be able to handle this emotional roller coaster that you're going through? Will you find the right lawyer? Will you even need a lawyer? Like? The questions are endless. Right, this is what our brain throws at us when we're going through a divorce. And then we, on the other side of those questions because it's in the future, because our brain can't answer a lot of them in this moment there is so much anxiety created by that uncertainty, by that unknowing, by that not being able to tell the future. So we're going to talk about it all today Because, first of all, we need to kind of understand that our brain wants to know the future.


Our brain kind of thinks that it can predict the future, kind of thinks that it can predict what's going to happen. Because if we slow down our everyday life and we look at it, we think that we know what is going to happen tomorrow. Right, and why do we think that? Because we take our brain is very good at taking the past and looking at the past and interpreting what has happened in the past and going well, this has been happening in the past, so that will probably be what's going to happen in the future, right, and our brain kind of takes this information, gathers all of this information and makes meaning out of it and then projects it onto because this all happened in the past.


I know what's going to happen tomorrow and we tell ourselves that and we kind of believe it because otherwise we would be going around living our lives completely engulfed in utter anxiety. Completely engulfed in utter anxiety, unable to live our lives on a day-to-day basis, because we have absolutely no idea what is going to happen within the next few seconds, few minutes, few days. But the truth of the reality is that we actually do not know what is going to happen in the next few seconds, few minutes, few days, projected into the future, even into years. Right, we think we do, but when we really slow down and think about it, we actually don't. Now I'm not saying you're doing anything wrong when you're trying to predict the future, when you're trying to believe that tomorrow is going to be very similar to what today looks like. Right, nothing wrong with that. It's okay that your brain does this for you. It actually can be a comfort for you. But when you're going through a divorce, this can be one of the most painful, worrisome things that we think we need to know, that we think we need to have control over, to be able to move forward and make decisions. And I'm here to talk about why that is just not true, but also how you can show up and start to support yourself through the uncertainty, through the unknowing of what the future will look like in the many different ways that we don't know how it's going to look.


Okay, so there's one main reason that I've identified why we feel uncertainty, and I talked about it a little bit. It has so much to do with our brain and our brains need to kind of predict that future. It wants to know all the answers. It's a problem solving machine. Our brain is really good at problem solving. The problem comes with uncertainty, with trying to fit, you know, 10 pieces of a 500 piece puzzle together. When we don't have all the pieces in our brains, like, why isn't this fitting together? Why don't I know what's going to happen, just because we don't have all the pieces.


But the one main reason that we have uncertainty is because of our evolutionary biology as humans, right? So evolutionary biology means that our brain has evolved over many, many, many years to what we have now, and in the more primitive days of humans our brain was not as evolved as it is today. Our brain was very much more conditioned with the belief of pain could equal death and pleasure likely means life. So pain being that lion that's you know, hiding behind that bush over there If I go out and it chases me and gets me, that's pain and that's death. Or pleasure being like this fire that is keeping me warm and is cooking this food over this fire. That food and this warmth means is very pleasurable and that means that I can continue to live because I have these comforts that are helping to sustain my life, that are keeping me alive. So we've kept that idea, my life, that are keeping me alive. So we've kept that idea.


Our brain has kept that idea, that ancestral, primitive idea over pain equals death and pleasure equals life, and it's kind of locked it into our DNA in our brain over the many, many years. And so in many ways the primitive part of our brain today still believes this idea. And this is where uncertainty fits into that, because uncertainty often creates a feeling of pain, right, a feeling of anxiety within us, a feeling of worry, a feeling of doubt about what could possibly happen, a feeling of fear about what could possibly happen, a feeling of fear. And so that uncertainty creates pain within our body and to our brain. When it feels those feelings of pain, that anxiety, that fear, that worry, your brain is like uh, this is surefire, this is a surefire way of death, like we are on our way. This is total death. Danger, danger, danger. Let's get out of this, let's figure out how to make this uncertainty stop.


And on the flip side of that, right, the comfort that we have about what we know our life to be right now, or what we've known our life to be in the past, feels safe, safety to our brain equals that pleasurable feeling, that comfortable feeling which tells our brain oh, we feel comfortable, we feel safe in some ways, we feel secure in some ways, and so that means life, we're good, we don't need to change anything, we don't need to try and figure out what the future looks like, because we know it's going to probably look like it has been looking. And the really interesting thing about all of this is that, even if you've been living a life that isn't what you want it to look like, where you're not happy, where there's a lot of emotional turmoil, where you don't really know yourself, where you're not happy, where there's a lot of emotional turmoil, where you don't really know yourself, where you feel very betrayed by, maybe, your partnership, maybe by yourself, even where you're just not, there's no happiness and it's not a life that you're, you know, really excited to be living. However, that life that you've been living is what you've been living for a long time. That becomes comfortable, that becomes known to you, and so thinking outside of that, that something outside of that comfort that you've known, is going to change, that you've known is going to change, but not knowing what that change will look like, seems very scary. That's where the uncertainty part fits in.


So, even if you're living a life that you're not happy with, that you know you want a divorce, or you know that this is the right move for you, or you're in the middle of it right, even if it wasn't your choice, but you're in the middle of it and it's what's happening that comfort feels familiar and it feels safe in the moment, even though it's not truly what you want or even though it's not truly the direction that your life might be headed because of choices that have been made. So it's interesting because, even though it's not what you want or even though you're not very happy in the moment, because it feels comfortable, because you're used to it and you're familiar with it, that feels more like life to your brain than uncertainty, and uncertainty, we all know, feels like death. It feels scary, it feels fearful. It feels fearful, it feels so heavy and it feels so hard. This is why it's evolutionary biology, my friends. This is why it feels heavy, this is why it feels hard, this is why we don't feel comfortable making decisions, moving forward, even toward a life that we think might be a little bit better.


Because our brain is like danger, danger, danger. We don't know what's going to happen, we don't know how this is going to turn out, and it could turn out terribly, and terribly possibly means death. Now you know what I'm saying. It possibly means death. That I don't actually mean you're going to die, right, but to your brain. Your brain does not know that. Your brain cannot distinguish in many ways between actual death and emotional death To your brain. That is like the same thing, it's like indistinguishable. And part of your brain's job, part of my brain's job, part of our brain's job, is to keep us alive, and so anything that like threatens that idea, even if it's emotional threat, is like nope, we don't want to do that, we're not going to go that direction. That's too scary, that's too hard. No, no, no, no, no. And so what's the answer then?


How do we overcome this battle that our brain and our body is throwing at us when it comes to divorce, when it comes to the uncertainty of the future? How do we overcome this? To be able to get to a place where we can make decisions, to be able to get to a place where we feel like there's excitement, or even neutrality around what our future is going to look like and what our future is going to be. How do we get to that place? The key here is a couple of things. First of all, we want to get our nervous system regulated in a space where we feel safe, where we feel more neutral, where we don't feel that wave of anxiety, that wave of fear, that wave of this, you know the alarm bells going off. We want to get to a place where we feel secure in our body. Because once we feel secure in our body, that's when we can bring our prefrontal cortex back on, because, remember, the alarm bells are coming from our amygdala, the part of our brain that is like the primitive part, the part that has been passed down for many, many, many generations. We want to turn back on our prefrontal cortex so that we can make informed decisions based off of what we want our future to look like, not based off of fear and anxiety keeping us in this comfort zone of no change at all. So we want to get our nervous system regulated, even if it's just a little bit. We want to regulate and feel safe in our body as much as possible and then turn back on our prefrontal cortex and get into a space where we are consciously, intentionally, thinking about what we want our future to look like and then taking steps, one step at a time, even toward creating that word, that goal of what we want our future to look like. So the first step is we want to regulate as much as possible.


I have so many podcasts on somatic practices, on grounding practices. You can do breath work, you can do yoga, you can do movement, whatever you want to do, whatever works for you to regulate your body, to feel more calm. Remember, before you do the practice, kind of rate it on a scale of one to 10. Where's your dysregulation at? What are you feeling? What's your, what's going on in your body? Where are you feeling it? And then, after you do whatever it is that you're going to do to regulate, to, to create safety within your body, to feel more connected to yourself, you're going to rate it again. Did it go down? Did it stay the same? Do you feel a little bit better? Do you feel a little bit more connected?


Your mind, body and intuition that's what we're looking for is we want to create more opportunities to connect our mind, our body and our intuition, to have those intuitive hits, to know what our next best step is going to be, once you've regulated your body, even just a little bit. Then you can take moments and start to decide okay, I'm in this divorce, I'm in this situation. What's my next best step going to be? What feels right, what feels like the best next decision, what feels like the best next step? And even you can take moments and think about what you truly want your future to look like If you're grieving the past and you want to leave it where it is in the past and you're not completely happy with what's presently going on. There is no rule that says you can't intentionally decide what you want your future to look like Now. Will you get everything out of what you intentionally decide? You want it to look like this vision that you have? Maybe, maybe not. That's not the point. The point is that we're intentionally thinking and making choices toward what we want and leaving behind, leaving, pushing aside the things that we don't want, the things that feel scary, the things that feel worrisome.


Now, I'm not saying that doing this practice is going to take away any feelings of anxiety, any feelings of worry, any feelings of uncertainty moving forward. Of course, you'll still have those things, because you're human and there is no outrunning emotions. There just isn't. There's no way to evolve yourself into the perfect human being that doesn't feel negative emotion. If that were to ever happen and it wouldn't even be negative emotion, it would literally be all emotions. If that were to ever happen, you would just be AI, you would just be a computer, you would just be a robot. Right? That's not the goal. The goal is to learn to feel negative emotion and to navigate your way through that by creating safety within your body, turning your prefrontal cortex back online and allowing the negative emotion to not guide and direct you, but rather using your grounded self, your prefrontal cortex and knowing how to navigate through the negative emotion.


Uncertainty does not have to be the worst part about your divorce. Uncertainty can just be a stepping stone to growth, to evolution and to more connection with yourself. You got this, my friends. Take these steps. Work yourself through the uncertainty that you're feeling as you go through your divorce, or, if you're through your divorce, as you're moving into your future, and decide intentionally what it is that you want your future to look like. Thank you for listening. I will be back next week. We'll talk then. Hi, friend, I'm so glad you're here and thanks for listening. I wanted to let you know that if you're wanting more, a way to make deeper, more lasting change, then working one-on-one with me as your coach may be exactly what you need. Together, we'll take everything you're learning in the podcast and implement it in your life with weekly coaching, real-life practice and practical guidance. To learn more about how to work with me one-on-one, go to karinnelsoncoaching dot com. That's www. karin nelson coaching dot com. We're married. Make sure and check out the full show notes by clicking the link in the description.




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