Divorce is never easy – 10 assertiveness tips to help you both

Going through a divorce or separation can be very difficult and challenging for most people.

The following TEN TIPS will help you to remain assertive and behave in a way that is effective, respectful and beneficial to yourself and others:

1. Express your opinions and feelings in a clear way.  Ask the other person what they think and feel too.

2. Be clear about what you want whilst considering the needs of the other party.  This includes stating your position and priorities and listening to the other persons position and priorities. Put yourself in their shoes!

3. Take your Time to think about positive outcomes for you both and for your family, especially if children are involved.

4. Say No without feeling guilty.  Do not allow yourself to be pressurized or bulldozed into agreeing things or making decisions until you are ready to do so.

5. Talk at the same level.  Body language communicates over 50% of the message. Give eye to eye contact and keep movement to a minimum. Avoid finger pointing or moving into the personal space of others which will only raise defences and antagonize.

6. Breathe deeply and calmly if you feel stressed.  The calmer you feel the more able you will be to see things clearly and when you respond your voice tone will reflect a more assertive message.  Try slowing down your speech. Raised voices will automatically put the other person in a defensive position ready to fight their corner.

7. Think before you react.  It is not always helpful to respond immediately to a situation. Take some time to assess the situation before you give your response. Time will allow you to take an overview of events rather than making snap responses or decisions under pressure.

8. See the bigger picture.  Sometimes its better to say nothing if there is nothing to be gained.   Think about how you would like things to be five years from now! Calm or Conflict? Your choice! Start the process now.

9. Mind your language.   Use language that defuses rather than escalates a situation.

Assertiveness statements might be:

I appreciate your point of view .. and this is what I think about it

These are my thoughts on access arrangements, what are yours?

Non assertiveness statements might be:

Some people think that is not a good idea to go to Court (avoids giving your own opinion)

Don’t you think we should divide everything 50:50 (again hints at what you might be thinking but do not say outright.

10. Support Yourself with Positive Thoughts.  Give yourself strong messages about who you are and what you stand for rather than being afraid of what people may think of you, or being critical of what you think others are doing to you.

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