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Learning To Forgive In Divorce

Dina Haddad was an intern at The Law Collaborative two years ago. Today she’s an associate at the Law Offices of Michael L. Abrams and she specializes in family law matters. It is exciting to see young lawyers teaching these alternative principles to the community. She is rapidly distinguishing herself as a leader in the New Lawyer Movement. A grateful nod & tip of the hat to Dina.

By Dina Haddad

Suppose your settlement or trial results are exactly what you wanted. You have the parenting plan you desired. You are paying or receiving the support you thought was the fair amount. Now that the divorce is done, what are you going to do next?

As a divorce client, more often than not, the divorce process will consume you giving you very little time to process the divorce. During that time, you may become very angry, bitter and resentful of your ex-spouse. Sometimes anger forms because you expected your ex-spouse to act in a certain way. You might have said things like, “he should have,” “she failed to,” and “he should never have.” Imposing unrealistic expectations, you likely held your ex-spouse to standards that he or she was doomed to fail, and continue to do so during the divorce. When they do fail, it only feeds your forming anger and frustration, which can quickly over power you.

Divorce is hurtful. Often divorcees suffer deep hurt from a spouse’s betrayal, failure to work on the marriage, or inability to forgive the other’s wrongs. And even with a big win at settlement or trial, or a peaceful and agreeable mediated agreement, the anger and hurt is still there.

Although anger has the appearance of making you feel powerful, it will leave you frustrated and powerless. Anger can be the source of more pain, resentment and bitterness. Forgiveness, on the other hand, has the power to release you from the anger and stop the cycle of pain. When you forgive, you give yourself the chance to move past the hurt to a healthy future. You offer yourself the chance to heal.

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