A Gift to Yourself

For some of us, it’s natural to have deep empathy for the pain that somebody else is experiencing. Some people have a great capacity for compassion. At times, we may feel responsible for the state of another person’s life even when it isn’t our responsibility at all. When we are more concerned with “fixing” someone else’s issues than we are in taking good care of ourselves, we call this codependency.

It is so liberating to recognize that attending to your own needs is not being selfish. It is self-care. It is freeing to let go of the need to make someone else’s life better. That is their job. Making our own life better is our job!

Divorce is an exercise in separating physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, and spiritually. Finding where to draw boundaries with the partner you shared everything with is a daunting task. Start with one thing at a time.

  • Wait before answering phone messages, emails, and texts if they come often (unless it’s an emergency with your children).
  • If you are separated, do not allow “dropping in” by your ex. If you must speak in person, do so in a public place. It will take you time to establish a new home. Setting a boundary that they not be in it will help it to become your own safe space.
  • Untangle as many shared finances as possible (bank accounts, phones, car and health insurance, EZPass, etc.) so that you need less contact.
  • Refrain from using your kids as sources of information about your ex or as message carriers.
  • Do not use each other as emotional support during the divorce. Talk to your family, friends, and/or a therapist and encourage your ex to do the same.
  • Treat yourself to a copy of Melody Beattie’s book “The Language of Letting Go.” Written for spouses of alcoholics, it is also a great divorce resource in detaching from your ex and practicing self-care.

It’s time for new beginnings and new ways of living. Revel in putting yourself and your needs first!

Deirdre Shaffer


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