All of my clients are planning for, going through, or dealing with the aftermath of a failed marriage. And, there is one unifying problem that continues to hold them back from handling their divorce and moving on with their lives.
Here it is: Analysis Paralysis.
This is that inner narrative that we subscribe to that glues us to our current station in life. It is the story we tell ourselves about change leading us to that which we fear most. It is our active and imaginative inner dialogue that keeps us put. It is our inner critic, the nagging voice in our heads that overanalyzes everything to the point of paralyzing ourselves from taking action and moving forward with what we know we must do.
When men and women become stuck in unhealthy family dynamics, analysis paralysis can keep them there. They spin their wheels on these narratives of worst-case scenarios and constantly talk themselves out of living the lives they deserve.
As long as you allow your inner voice to keep you glued to your failed marriage, you are unable to take care of that one person that you must have and hold until death do you part: You.
The only way to overcome analysis paralysis is by finding somebody that will support you while also holding you accountable to making choices that will be in your own best interest. When you are in a tough spot, you require somebody with the critical skill-set to compliment your existing support system of friends and family: Your family law attorney.
I practice family law because I am passionate about empowering my clients to navigate divorce towards a better future.
At Fenchel Family Law, we take in our clients’ narratives and the weight of their tough family situations. We apply their facts to California law and collaborate on a plan to move their lives forward in a positive and productive manner.
We are there for our clients every step of the way: the bad times and the absolute worst times. We comfort our clients, nag our clients, fiercely defend our clients, cry with our clients, whip our clients into shape, and always root for our clients. (You need an attorney that is going to tell it to you like it is and not always tell you what you want to hear.) At times, we add humor and comforting visuals to push our clients forward. I am always working on ways to provide our clients with the support and empowerment they need.
All along the way, I observe our clients’ analysis paralysis set in. The “but I can’t”, the “but what if” and the “but you just don’t understand.”
When my clients balk and try to go back on the action plan that we crafted together, they start making excuses for why they can’t hold themselves accountable to set a boundary with their spouse to get to the next step:
“I am unable to go to therapy tomorrow because I am too busy with work.”
“I cannot tell my husband that I want a divorce. He will get too mad, and when he gets mad, it is very scary.”
“I don’t want to file the paperwork to protect my kids because it will make my wife mad and she will take it out on the kids.”
I promise you, there are an infinite amount of stories that you can tell yourself to prevent yourself from taking that next step to start living the life you deserve. Our brains play jedi mind tricks on us every day to manipulate us into standing still and even backtracking every time we almost convince ourselves to take an inch of progress.
So, how do we conquer our own analysis paralysis? How do I empower my clients to divorce and take control over their lives?
I ask them the hard questions, which forces them to recognize the power of living their lives for themselves and their future. And, as we step forward down the path together, hand in hand, I constantly remind them how far they have come. When they create roadblocks of excuses, we go over the path to relief that California law provides, and we go over the plan we have crafted to get them through it.
Many men and women are stuck in failed marriages. Some are able to quiet their paralyzing narratives and successfully get out of these marriages with the help of a good family law attorney, powerful therapist, and strong support network. Some are not because they allow themselves to become paralyzed by their overanalyzed inner critic. It is as simple as that.
At the end of the day, you are not a victim of your circumstances. If you don’t like the situation you are in, you have the power to change it.
Every day in life we make choices:
Press snooze, or wake up at 6 am and go for a run.
Dedicate an hour of our day to self-improvement, or stay at work an extra hour to get one more task off our plate.
Stay put in a failed marriage, or meet with a family law attorney to create a plan to break the cycle and start living the life we deserve.
The more you choose to invest in yourself, the more you train your mindset to focus forward on the light at the end of the tunnel, rather than the fear holding you back from moving on.
My clients have already decided to hire Fenchel Family Law and are already on the path. My team will be with them every step of the way, guiding them toward the future that they deserve. But the key is to silence that pesky analysis paralysis. We all have sob stories. We all have narratives we tell ourselves to justify why certain parts of our lives suck, and why it is not our fault. How long are we going to let those voices get in our way? What would your life look like next week, if you started making choices to put yourself first today? What could it look like next month? What should it look like five years from now?
If you, or a loved one is stuck in a failed marriage, here are three steps to start conquering that analysis paralysis:
1. Give yourself some credit.
We are all too hard on ourselves. We constantly berate ourselves for not being good enough. It leads us to convince ourselves to stay put. We convince ourselves that we do not deserve to be treated with respect, that we would never find a life partner that would treat us better than the one we have, and that being alone is simply not an option. STOP THINKING THIS WAY. You are good enough and you do deserve to be treated with respect.
If you are unable to give yourself some credit and recognize that you deserve more, please immediately set up an appointment with a therapist. Do not wait. Do this today. Right now. Every single day you wait, you become more stuck to the status quo. Your life is passing you by due to your own inaction.
2. Calendar at least one hour of your day to self-care.
This hour can be in the form of therapy, yoga, or even reading at your favorite park. The more time you start taking for yourself, the more you can actively change your mindset to focus on meeting your own personal needs. While divorce may be the only outcome that will lead you to the life you deserve, the only way to truly achieve that life in the long-term is by learning how to care for that one person that is always going to be by your side no matter what. Yup, you got it: You.
3. Make an appointment with a family law attorney to help you craft a plan to live the life that you deserve.
The right family law attorney will start holding you accountable to make the changes required to handle your divorce and move on. She will sit with you, take in your entire tale of woe, and answer all the questions that are swirling in your head – all the what if’s and but’s that are preventing you from making progress toward having the life that you deserve.
She will also go over what you can expect your life to look like in the coming years. This will include going over your marital finances so that you have a clear understanding as to what you can expect to pay/be paid in support, and planning out your financial future together. This will help you visualize where you will live (staying in the family residence or moving out and securing a new home), and a budget for food, clothes, and other monthly expenses.
She will go over with you what assets will likely remain yours, and what assets will likely be deemed community assets and be equally divided by agreement or a court order. She will walk you through the California laws that she will use to secure payment of your attorneys’ fees from your spouse if your spouse makes a lot more money than you. If you make a lot more money than your spouse, she will go over the California laws that may protect you from paying fees if your spouse behaves unreasonably and frustrates settlement.
By the end of the meeting, you will have an action plan with clear deadlines. Your family law attorney will hold you accountable to the timeline of the action plan. She will give you the legal services to assist you in accessing the financial resources you require to start living the life you deserve. If you have children, she will assist you in crafting a parenting plan, which provides for your children’s best interests.
You may be pushing back in your head and convincing yourself that you do not need a family law attorney because your friends and family members are there for you. If they truly have your best interests at heart, they will be crucial for you to have as emotional support throughout this transition. But often times the advice that they give is not based on fact or law,but rather their own fears and analysis paralysis.
I know it is easier said than done, but I challenge you to stop justifying staying in a bad marriage by repeating these narratives, and instead make that appointment with a family law attorney and seek that advice from the only person that you are literally paying to tell you exactly like it is and help you navigate your way to the life that you deserve. If you need help finding a family law attorney, please call Fenchel Family Law. If we speak on the phone and determine that we are not a good fit for you, we are always willing to provide you with referrals of other family law attorneys that may be a better fit for your case.