What a couple of weeks! Osama Bin Laden dead, (finally), Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver divorcing after 25 years of marriage and four kids, and the flooding all along the Mississippi River! It feels like the world has turned upside down at times like this! It can shake up everything we take for granted, like a safe home, and a loving, lasting marriage, and a safe world. It can also create “compassion fatigue”, that numbing that happens around constant catastrophic news, a feeling of dread — (what about Bin Laden’s son on the loose, seeking vengeance, what now?), and “survivor guilt” related to living personally unscathed by devastation.
My personal remedy to combat the toxic effects of all this is to:
- Limit exposure to the news!
- Engage in activities and contacts which foster faith in mankind.
- Help others in need, so you feel like you make a difference.
- Breathe deeply, watch your catastrophic thoughts, and redirect to benign ones.
- Practice gratitude mindfulness. Appreciate your health, loved ones, and your freedom!
I hope it helps just a bit,
PS. Tune in to my BlogTalk Radio show for the upcoming episode called “Sane Divorce – Yes, You Do Have Choices”, featuring New Hampshire attorney Honey Hastings, author of “The New Hampshire Divorce Handbook”, and co-founder of The Collaborative Law Alliance Of New Hampshire. It should be a very interesting and informative show! You can call in live and toll-free Wednesday, May 18th at 9PM EST at 877-497-9046. Don’t miss it, especially if you’re facing a divorce!
We’ve all been glued to our TVs, watching with horror the unfolding tragedy in Japan in the aftermath of their most powerful earthquake ever. As I write this, I dread finding out about the death toll, the human suffering, and the likelihood of a nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima power plant. Some of the aftershocks of the earthquake have also been huge with as yet an unknown toll on life and the Japanese landscape, and infrastructure.
I’ve been thinking about the dread and anxiety related to aftershocks, as a kind of re-traumatization. It’s reminded me about “aftershocks” in marriage and partnerships, and how an initial traumatizing event tends to reverberate in a way which can be entirely overwhelming, as I imagine the aftershocks are for the Japanese now. (I’m aware that a life or death catastrophic event is, in many ways incomparable in the degree of suffering to an event which is emotionally traumatic). The concept of “aftershock”, however, is familiar to anyone who’s spouse has had an affair, leaving a residual breach of trust, and “reverberations” in the way of new information about the marital history, which contradict history as it has been known. My work with couples who are wrestling with some emotionally devastating event, often centers on these “aftershocks” and how they jar the landscape of a marriage.
For anyone who is trying to repair the damage caused by some emotional or trust breach, my hope is that you appreciate the devastating impact of these “aftershocks”, and that you don’t rush to closure for your own purposes.
With much sadness,