Fear in divorce may be the number one cause of a poor outcome. Fear can manifest through our clients in many forms: victimized, aggressive, impatient, controlling, disorganized, overly organized, or detailed, cold, and uncaring, non-committal, just a hot mess, several of the above, all of the above. Especially where personality disorders reside, fear certainly can inflame and embolden bad behavior. But like a child’s belief in a monster under the bed, the fear is real, it just may be out of proportion or based on fantasy.
When fear takes over, executive functions disengage. Clients in fear stall in decision-making or make decisions based on fabrications. Distrust piles on the fabrications; unreasonable expectations pile on the distrust; entitlement piles on the unreasonable expectations, and reasoned resolution has little chance.
When fear becomes the biggest body in the room, other participants may minimize the underlying issues, reject the fear as unreasonable or overcompensate, all in an effort to remove fear from the room. But fear is natural in a time of upending and monumental change. Divorce is monumental change. Ignoring, minimizing, or placating it simply feeds the beast.
To reduce the burden of fear in the Collaborative process, professionals are trained to see beyond the external behavior in order to name the conduct, ask key questions, and deconstruct behaviors that pose barriers to productive executive function. In the Collaborative process, the team works together to ensure that the clients are supported in framing their interests, given thorough data, and provided good information to help provide real answers. Attorneys work with their clients to hear and speak to the issues at the heart of the genuine fears of the other party, while clearly expressing their own. When both clients and their attorneys are working together with neutral professionals to deconstruct the fears head-on with respect and understanding, fabrications have little room to dwell.
In the Collaborative divorce process, we have the tools to separate the real objects of fear from the imaginary ones, to help our clients embrace the truth of the fear then provide solid information and direct communication to build scaffolding of support for our clients in the process. We cannot promise to remove the fear entirely, but in Collaboration, unreasonable fear has much less room to reside.
For more information visit https://alexissquier.com/ or to schedule a consultation call (206) 330-0673. The Law Office of Alexis Squier, PLLC is located at 7010 35th Ave. NE, Seattle, WA 98115.