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Editor's Note: This series of writings, by Bill Ferguson of "How to Divorce as Friends" ( www.divorceasfriends.com ), may at first seem like what you would do "when it's all over", but in reality what he describes and what he teaches here is exactly what happens, and exactly the things we ALL need to learn if we are to "save our marriage" or create a healthy relationship.

Whether we do it "Bill's way" or another way, here are valuable lessons, succinctly written, and in a short and concise form, pretty much all we need to know and do to have healthy relationships. Enjoy, learn, and please visit his website!


Contents:

How to Divorce As Friends

Focus on Healing Your Relationship

Upsets Are Not Caused By What Happens

Learn To Let Go And Flow With Life

Heal Your Hurt

Find The Inner Issues That Run Your Life

A List Of Common Issues

Accept Your Full 100% Responsibility For Love

Be Free Of Guilt And Resentment

End The Cycle Of Conflict

Don't Argue

Resolve Disputes Without Conflict


How to Divorce As Friends

You can divorce as friends - Maybe save your marriage!

By Bill Ferguson

Whether you want to get a divorce or save your marriage, the action you take now becomes very important.

You can either interact in a way that restores love and forwards cooperation or you can interact in a way that creates more pain and suffering. Usually we interact in a way that creates more suffering.

We have so much hurt and upset, we lose our ability to see clearly. All we can do is fight, resist, hang on or withdraw. This in turn destroys love and fuels the cycle of conflict. This cycle of conflict then brings out the worst in people.

To be most effective in handling your situation, this cycle of conflict needs to end. This is true whether you want to save your marriage or get a divorce. Fortunately, it only takes one person to end the conflict. This site will show you how.

As a former divorce attorney, 15% of my clients never divorced and the ones who did were able to part as friends.

No matter how painful or destructive your relationship may be today. You can end the conflict and heal your relationship, one human being to another.

If you decide to get a divorce you can save a fortune in attorney fees. You can also avoid a tremendous amount of suffering.

The process for handling your situation is relatively simple, you just need to know the steps. As you read the various sections and do what they say, you will profoundly change both your relationship and your life.
 

Focus on Healing Your Relationship

You can divorce as friends - Maybe save your marriage!

The key to healing your relationship, and having it work, is you.

How you relate to the other person determines how that person will relate to you. How you relate to each other determines whether your relationship will be painful or supportive.

Once you discover your role in the problem, you can do something about it.

Unfortunately, we seldom notice that we have anything to do with what is happening. All we can see is how the other person treats us. We then treat the other person accordingly.

If we receive love and appreciation, we'll give love and appreciation. If we receive criticism and resentment, we'll give criticism and resentment.

We treat the other person according to how that person treats us.

The problem with this is that the other person is doing exactly the same thing. That person treats you according to how you treat him or her.

When you treat each other based on how you get treated, there is no telling what will happen. It's like sailing with no one at the helm. When no one is in charge of the ship, you're likely to end up on the rocks.

Usually it's just a matter of time until someone gets upset. That person then puts up his or her walls of protection and either resists, attacks or withdraws.

Then the other person gets upset and does the same thing. Then the first person gets more upset and reacts more forcefully toward the other.

Without knowing, you create a cycle of conflict -- a cycle of resisting, attacking and withdrawing from each other.

This cycle of conflict then continues on and on without either person ever noticing his or her role in the problem.

Sides get drawn and issues become something to fight over rather than something to resolve. Walls of protection get fortified and distance grows. The experience of love quickly fades away.

We hurt each other over and over again, feeling fully justified for everything we do. Serious damage is done, and none of it is necessary.

Two people are required in order to create and maintain this cycle of conflict. Fortunately, only one person is needed to end it.

The cycle of conflict is like a tennis volley. As soon as one person stops playing the game, the game is over.

You end the conflict by putting water on the fire instead of more fuel. Put the focus on healing your relationship, not as husband and wife, but as one human being to another.

To the extent that you are able to do this, you gain cooperation instead of resentment. Issues get resolved quickly. You become free inside and able to get on with your life.

To end the cycle of conflict and to heal your relationship, take the following steps:

(1) Discover your role in the cycle of conflict.

(2) Heal the hurt that fuels the conflict and sabotages your relationship.

(3) Release any upset, resentment, blaming or hanging on that you may have towards the other person.

(4) Find solutions that work for both of you.

These steps are easier said then done, but once you know how, the process is relatively easy. This site will walk you through the steps.

As you work with the various sections and do what they say, you will notice immediate results in your relationship.

The next section talks about the nature of upsets.

Upsets Are Not Caused By What Happens

You can divorce as friends - Maybe save your marriage!

When you are full of fear and upset, you lose your effectiveness.

Notice what happens when you get upset. You close down inside. You get tunnel vision and lose your ability to see clearly. All you can do is to fight, resist, hang on, or withdraw.

Almost any action you take in this state destroys love, fuels the conflict and makes your situation worse.

If you could somehow be free of the fear and upset, the tunnel vision would disappear. You could then see your situation clearly.

You would be creative, resourceful and able to discover solutions you could never have seen before. You would become very effective.

However, being free of an upset is much easier said than done. This is because we think our upsets are caused by what happens.

Fortunately, this is an illusion. Upsets are not caused by what happens. Upsets are caused by fighting and resisting what happens.

To see this in your life, select a recent upset. Now notice what would happen to the upset if, somehow, you were at peace with what happened. There would be no upset.

There would be no upset, because the upset wasn't caused by what happened. The upset was caused by fighting and resisting what happened.

The moment you take away the fighting and resisting, the upset disappears. You restore both your peace of mind and your effectiveness.

Now notice what would happen if someone spilled a glass of water on you. You would be wet, and you would be wet whether you liked it or not.

Your being wet is like any other circumstance. It's something that happens outside of you, and your feelings about it are totally irrelevant. Upsets, on the other hand, are located on the inside.

Since an upset is something that we experience on the inside, there has to be something on the inside that creates it.

We create our upsets by fighting and resisting what happens.

Let's go back to the water. If you were at peace with being wet, there would be no upset. If you fought being wet, you would be upset, and the more you fought it, the more upset you would be.

The same is true with all the circumstances of your life. Nothing has the power to create an upset in you. Only you can do that.

So why do we fight and resist what happens?

We fight what happens, because our circumstances trigger a suppressed hurt from the past. To say this another way, our circumstances strike a nerve.

This is why different people get upset at different things. Different people have different sets of nerves that get triggered.

This is also why the same type of upsets and the same self-sabotaging behavior keep showing up in your life. The same suppressed hurt keeps getting triggered.

It's the automatic, subconscious avoidance of this hurt that fuels the conflict and sabotages both our relationships and our lives.

Finding and healing this hurt is one of the most important things you can ever do.

The next section is on letting go.
 

Learn To Let Go And Flow With Life

You can divorce as friends - Maybe save your marriage!

Letting go is the key to being effective in any relationship.

At any moment, your life is exactly the way that it is. You are the way you are and the people in your life are exactly the way that they are. This is true whether you like it or not.

When you fight and resist the way your life is, and how it may become, you create a state of fear and upset that destroys your effectiveness and almost always makes your situation worse.

You close down inside. You get tunnel vision and lose your ability to see clearly. You then interact in a way that destroys love and creates opposition and resistance against yourself.

To handle a situation, you need action, not resisting.

Resisting destroys love and keeps you from seeing the action that you need to take.

If you could somehow let go of your resisting, you would restore your peace of mind and your ability to see clearly. You could then take the action you need to effectively handle your situation.

"Letting go" is the inner action that removes the resisting which in turn releases the fear and upset.

The moment you let go, everything seems to change. With the fear and upset gone, you become creative and able to discover solutions you could never have seen before.

To see how this works, let's look at the nature of fear.

Fear is created by avoiding and resisting a future possible event.

For example, let's say that you are married and that you are resisting the possibility of your spouse leaving. The more you resist this future possible event, the greater your fear.

As your fear increases, so does the chance of your fear coming true. You become threatened and hang on even more. This in turn pushes your spouse further and further away.

By avoiding and resisting this future possible event, you create a state of fear and upset that tends to bring you the very event that you are avoiding. This is the nature of fear.

To have a fear lose its power, you need to do the opposite of resisting. You need to be willing for the fear to happen. You don't have to like it, and you don't have to sit around and do nothing. You just have to be willing.

Letting go is strictly a state of mind and is totally separate from your actions.

Letting go is what removes the fear and upset so that you can see what action works.

For example, in your heart, be willing to lose your spouse. But in your actions, do everything you can to create an environment where he or she would never want to leave.

The moment you become willing to lose your spouse, fear and upset lose their power. The tunnel vision disappears and you become able to interact in a way that creates love and greatly increases the chances of the person staying.

Be sure and read the example at the bottom of this page.

To let go of your resistance and to restore your peace of mind, be willing for your life to be however it is and however it may become.

You do this by granting permission. "I am willing for my spouse to leave." I give my spouse full permission to be exactly the way he or she is." "I am willing to lose my home."

Let go of your demands and expectations for how your life should be and make peace with the way your life is. Set yourself free inside. Then take whatever action you need to have your life be great.

To make the process of letting go a little easier, there are two very important steps that you can take.

The first step is trusting. Trust that no matter what happens, you will be okay.

Now this doesn't mean that life will turn out the way that you want it to. Life often doesn't. Trust is knowing that however life turns out, you will be fine.

When you know that you will be fine, letting go becomes relatively easy. As you let go, you restore your effectiveness and life works out great. This then reinforces the trust.

When you don't trust, life becomes very difficult. You fight, resist and hang on. You then make everything worse, which reinforces "don't trust."

Trust is actually a choice. Trust is something you create. It's a declaration. "I will be okay no matter what happens. I trust, just because I say so."

Trust is also telling the truth. You really will be fine no matter what happens. Life is only threatening when you resist. So stop resisting and trust. Trust that no matter what happens, you will be fine.

The second and most important step in the process of letting go is to be willing to feel your hurt.

This is important because it's the automatic avoidance of this hurt that forces us to resist.

We think that we're resisting our circumstances but we're not. We are resisting all the feelings and emotion that are being reactivated by our circumstances.

More accurately, we are resisting a very specific hurt from the past. We are resisting the hurt of feeling not good enough, worthless, not worth loving, or some other form of feeling not okay.

Once you find and heal this hurt, the need to resist or hang on disappears.

You can then let go and take the action you need to effectively handle your situation.

Finding and healing this hurt is one of the most important things you can ever do.

This hurt is responsible for all your fear and all your upsets. It is responsible for all your self-sabotaging behavior and ultimately, all of your suffering.

In relationships, the avoidance of this hurt destroys the love, fuels the conflict and pushes people away.

To learn how to heal this hurt, make sure you read the next two sections, Heal Your Hurt and Find And Heal The Inner Issues That Run Your Life.

Example

Ginger was so afraid of losing Paul that she tried to control his every move. Whenever she felt threatened, she would get angry and upset. Without knowing, Ginger was pushing Paul further and further away.

She was afraid of losing Paul because if he left her, this would reactivate all her hurt of feeling not worth loving. To avoid this hurt, Ginger hung on.

Once she realized this, Ginger started working with her hurt. She allowed herself to feel all the hurt of being not worth loving. As she did this, the loss of Paul ceased to be a threat. She became willing to lose him. She didn't want to lose him, but she was willing.

The moment Ginger was willing to lose Paul, the fear and upset lost its power. She saw her situation clearly and saw what she needed to do.

She met with Paul and apologized for hanging on. She told him to do whatever he needed to be happy, even if this meant his leaving her. She told him that she loved him and that she wanted him to stay, but that she was willing to lose him.

Within a few days, Paul realized that it was safe to be around Ginger. He even enjoyed their time together. Soon, Paul felt so loved and able to be himself around Ginger that he didn't want to go anywhere.

By being willing to lose Paul, Ginger was able to keep him.

Heal Your Hurt

You can divorce as friends - Maybe save your marriage!

Healing your hurt restores your peace of mind. It also restores your ability to see what needs to be done.

There are two steps in the healing process. First, be willing to feel your hurt like a child. This releases the hurt.

Second, find and dismantle the inner mechanism that creates your hurt in the first place. We'll talk more about this in the next section.

To begin the healing process, lets talk about feeling your hurt.

When you were born, you were created with the natural ability to heal hurt.

Look at little children. Little children are masters at healing hurt. When a child feels hurt, the child cries. Then, after the child finishes crying, the hurt is all gone.

Little children are able to release their hurt because they do something that we don't notice. They feel their hurt willingly. This allows the hurt to run its course. It comes and then it goes.

This is the natural process for healing hurt. As you allow yourself to feel your hurt willingly like a child, your hurt goes away.

Unfortunately, we have been taught to do the opposite. Instead of feeling our hurt willingly like a child, we have been taught to fight our hurt. "Big boys and girls don't cry. If you want something to cry about, I'll give you something to cry about."

You soon learn to avoid your hurt. This then circumvents the natural healing process.

Instead of flowing with the hurt and letting it go, you fight the hurt and keep it inside.

You try to push the hurt away, but you can't. The hurt isn't outside of you, it's inside. So, in your attempt to push the hurt away, you actually push the hurt deeper inside.

You suppress your hurt. You then spend the rest of your life running from this hurt. But no matter what you do, you can't get away from it. You will continue to experience these feelings whether you like it or not.

As long as you have this hurt, it will get triggered. Your only choice is to feel it willingly like a child or to feel it unwillingly. When you feel your hurt unwillingly, the hurt turns into pain and stays.

When you feel your hurt willingly like a child, the hurt runs its course and disappears.

To see this in your life, find a time when you were hurt and you allowed yourself to cry. Then, after you cried your last tear, you felt a wonderful freedom. This is a time when you felt your hurt willingly.

So feel your hurt willingly like a child. Keep telling yourself, "It's okay to feel the hurt. It's okay." Let the hurt come and let it go. Cry as hard as you can. Crying is the most powerful tool for releasing hurt.

If you feel the hurt but there aren't any tears, fake it. Fake the tears and get into the emotion. This can be just as effective as feeling the real tears.

Reach in and grab all the hurt you can. Exaggerate the hurt and feel it fully.

You may notice certain thoughts as you cry: "Why did she do this?" "Why can't she love me." Let the thoughts guide your crying. Cry each thought. Then move to the next one. Let the hurt take over.

Feel the hurt of your circumstances and the deeper hurt of feeling worthless, not worth loving, a failure, and not good enough.

It's not the truth that you are this way, it's just a hurt, but it's a hurt that we'll do almost anything to avoid feeling. "If I really am worthless, I might as well die."

Notice how painful it would be if you really were this way. Notice how much you have avoided this hurt.

This is the hurt that runs your life.

Subconsciously, anything that triggers this hurt becomes a serious threat. Instantly, you become full of fear and upset. You get tunnel vision and lose your ability to see clearly. All you can do is fight, resist, hang on or withdraw.

This hurt is responsible for all your suffering and all your self-sabotaging behavior.

Finding and healing this hurt is literally one of the most important things you can ever do. To learn how, make sure you read the next section, Find And Heal The Inner Issues That Run Your Life.

Find The Inner Issues That Run Your Life

You can divorce as friends - Maybe save your marriage!

Finding and healing this hurt is the single most important thing you can ever do.

When you were a young child, you were pure love. You were happy, alive and free. Unfortunately, you were born into a world that suppresses this state. As a result, you got hurt, and you got hurt a lot.

As a little child, the only way you could explain these painful losses of love was to blame yourself. In a moment of hurt, you bought the notion that you were worthless, not good enough, a failure, not worth loving, or in some other way, "not okay".

This wasn't the truth, but to a little child, this was the only explanation that made any sense at the time. You then hated the very notion that you created. "No one can ever love me if I'm worthless. Worthless is a horrible way to be."

The moment you bought the notion that you were "not okay", you created a mechanism that would then sabotage the rest of your life.

From that moment on, the underlying focus of your life would be to avoid this hurt.

You may never notice this hurt but it is certainly there. It determines your actions and shapes your life.

A good way to see this hurt is to notice what happens the moment you get upset. Notice the immediate surge of feelings and emotion that come forth. This is the hurt that runs your life.

Any circumstance that reactivates this hurt then becomes a threat that must be avoided at all cost.

To protect yourself from this threat, you automatically fight, resist and hang on.

This fighting and resisting then creates a state of fear and upset that sabotages your life. You destroy love and create opposition and resistance against yourself.

Ultimately, the avoidance of this hurt is responsible for all your self-sabotaging behavior and all your suffering.

The irony is that the more you fight these feelings of being not okay, the stronger they become and the more they run your life.

Everything you do to avoid this hurt actually creates more of the very hurt that you are avoiding.

To see how this works, be sure and read the examples at the end of this section.

The avoidance of these feelings is what gives them power. Here is a short exercise that can demonstrate this:

Imagine four large yellow balloons on the ceiling above you, but don't think about them. Whatever you do, don't think about those four large yellow balloons on the ceiling above you. You just thought about them. Don't do that.

Notice what happens when you try not to think about the yellow balloons. You keep thinking about them. In fact, you can hardly think about anything else. Your resisting keeps the thought alive.

The same is true with the feelings of being worthless, not good enough, or whatever your issue is. Ultimately, these feelings are only a thought, but by your resisting the thought of being this way, you give the thought power and carry it with you day after day.

To heal this hurt and to be free inside, you need to do the opposite of fighting and resisting. You need to find the specific hurt that you've been avoiding and make peace with it.

As you do this, the hurt loses power and disappears.

The best way to find your hurt is to look at your upsets.

Make a list of all the major upsets that you've had in your life. Then find the hurt that's under each upset. The hurt will always be some form of "not okay."

For each upset, go back in time to the moment the upset began. Then move to the hurt and ask yourself this question: "What do those circumstances say about me?"

If someone leaves you, this may say that you are not worth loving. If you lose your job, this may say that you are a failure.

Find the words that hurt the most. The more painful the words, the closer you are to your hurt.

For most people, the bottom line hurt is that of feeling worthless.

A list of common issues follows this section.

As you work with your upsets you will discover that the same hurt keeps showing up in your life, over and over. This is the hurt that runs your life.

After you find the specific hurt that you've been running from, the next step is to do the opposite of fighting it, which is to embrace it.

Allow yourself to feel the hurt of being this way. Cry if you can. Then, while you are feeling this hurt, look at your life and see all the evidence to prove that this is indeed an aspect of you.

Find the evidence to prove that you are worthless, not good enough, not worth loving, a failure or whatever else you've been avoiding.

The evidence will be there if you are willing to see it. It has to be. It wouldn't keep showing up in your life if it wasn't part of you. You don't have to like it. You just have to tell the truth about it. Let it in.

Worthless is part of you. It's also no big deal. You are also worthy. Worthless and worthy are both aspects of being human.

So allow yourself to be human. Allow yourself to feel all the hurt of being worthless, not good enough, a failure or whatever your issue is.

The more you let in the fact that this is an aspect of you, the more impossible it is to run from it. When you can't run from it, you can't fight it. When you can't fight it, the issue loses power and disappears.

It's just like the yellow balloons. If you stop fighting them and let them be there, they go away.

As you heal this hurt, your whole life then begins to change.

Instead of creating a life of fear and upset, you create a life of love. You restore the happiness, the freedom and the aliveness that you once had. You see life clearly and you become far more effective.

In relationships, you can end the conflict and restore the love, one human being to another.

The process for finding and healing this hurt is very simple and very fast. All you need is the desire to be free.

Example 1

When Rhonda was growing up, her father was so occupied with his work that he seldom paid any attention to her. When he did pay attention, he would yell at her. She felt totally unloved.

As a result, Rhonda couldn't help but buy the notion that she wasn't worth loving. This wasn't the truth, but this became a hurt that she would spend the rest of her life running from.

To avoid this hurt, Rhonda would interact in a way that would sabotage all of her relationships.

Anytime something implied that she wasn't worth loving, she would become full of fear and upset. She would try to control life and force people to be a certain way.

No matter how hard the men in her life tried, they could never treat Rhonda "worth loving" enough. She would constantly be upset about one thing or another.

She would also hang on to the men in her life. She had to, because if someone left, that would reactivate all her hurt. To avoid this hurt she hung on.

Rhonda was so hard to live with, she pushed everyone away.

Finally, after her third and most painful divorce, she noticed that there was a pattern in her life. She realized that she must have something to do with her relationship problems.

This was the point when Rhonda's life turned around.

It wasn't hard for Rhonda to see that "not worth loving" was an aspect of her. She spent her entire life running from this, but now the hurt was so much in her face, she could no longer deny it. The evidence was overwhelming.

As she owned this aspect of herself and allowed herself to cry, the hurt that ran her life began to fade away. She then realized that "not worth loving" was just part of being human. What a wonderful freedom.

"I'm not worth loving, how great. Now I don't have to prove to myself and to everyone else that I am worth loving. Now I can just be me." She started laughing once she saw the joke that she had been playing on herself.

From that moment on, the hurt had lost its power.

Rhonda was then able to go on and find the relationship of her dreams, and most importantly, she was able to keep it.

Example 2

Mark spent his life running from the hurt of failure, trying to become a success.

In his attempt to avoid the hurt of failure, he would overspend and take unreasonable financial risks. He lived in a state of fear and upset. He lost his ability to see clearly and he interacted in a way that continued to produce more failure.

Finally, he failed so big, he was forced to face this aspect of himself. He lost everything. He lost his property, his office and even his home. Failure was in his face like never before.

Then there was a moment when Mark let in what a failure he was. He looked over his life and saw one failure after another.

Mark was forced to let in what he had feared the most. He was a failure. He could no longer avoid or deny it. Success was also an aspect of Mark, but at the moment, all he could see was failure.

This was a very painful time for Mark, but the moment he let in what a failure he was, something shifted inside. His fear of failure lost its power. How can you run from something that is always there? It's like running from your shadow. You can't.

Mark was sad for a while but soon his whole outlook toward life seemed to change. The fear and upset that ran his life was no longer there. He no longer had to be a success. For the first time in many years, Mark was able to be himself. What an incredible relief!

With the fear of failure gone, Mark was able to put his focus on creating a life that worked. He stopped overspending and got out of debt.

He continued to go for his dreams, but he did so in a way that worked. As time went on, his dreams began to come true. Now he has a life that he could never have imagined before.

Mark's life turned around the moment he made peace with failure.

A List Of Common Issues
You can divorce as friends - maybe save your marriage!

Look over the following list of common issues.

If possible, have someone read them to you. Hearing an issue is much more reactivating than reading one.

Listen to each word as though someone was accusing you of being that way. Notice which words reactivate the most hurt.

Also, pay particular attention to any words that you are certain aren't part of you. You wouldn't need to deny a particular word unless you had an issue with it. Find the words that hurt the most.

For most people, the bottom line hurt is worthless.

How do you feel at the notion that these characteristics accurately describe you?

unlovable
not wanted
not needed
disposable
a throw-away
not worth loving
not worth respecting
worthless
no good
not good enough
don't measure up
not enough
not good enough to be loved
have no value
inadequate
insufficient
less than
useless
insignificant
a nothing
unimportant
don't count
don't matter
a nobody
a loser
a failure
can't cut it
don't have what it takes
incompetent
screwed up
something is wrong with you
can't do anything right
stupid
unstable
inferior
defective
weak
helpless
needy
clingy
a wimp
a coward
irresponsible
unreliable
lazy
self-centered
inconsiderate
selfish
dishonest
bad
wrong
evil
heartless
ugly
fat
a slut
just like your parents

Notice that some of these words are painful and some aren't. Find the words that hurt the most.

Accept Your Full 100% Responsibility For Love

You can divorce as friends - Maybe save your marriage!

No matter what happens in your relationship, you have something to do with it.

Once you discover your role in the problem, you get your power back. You can turn your situation around. When you can't see your role in the problem, you lose your power and you stay stuck forever.

We've been taught that relationships are 50/50 but they're not. They are 100/100. Each person is 100% responsible for the presence or absence of love.

In any relationship, each person is constantly reacting to the other. No matter how someone gets treated, that person will react accordingly.

Notice what happens when someone accepts and appreciates you. You feel loved and automatically accept and appreciate that person in return.

Now notice what happens when someone is judgmental and critical towards you.

You get upset and become judgmental and critical in return. However you get treated, you will respond accordingly.

This makes the other person 100 % responsible for the presence or absence of love in your relationship. It makes you 0 % because no matter what the other person does, you are going to react quite naturally.

At the same time, the other side of the coin is also true. How you treat the other person determines how that person will respond to you. This makes you 100 % responsible and the other person 0 %.

Each person in a relationship is constantly reacting to the other. At the same time, each person is constantly determining the other person's reaction.

In other words, each person is 100% responsible for the presence or absence of love.

Unfortunately, we seldom notice our 100%. We only notice how the other person treats us. We can easily see the other person's responsibility, but we can't see our own.

When you can't see your 100%, all you can do is react. When all you can do is react, you have no ability to determine what will happen.

If you want a relationship to work, you need to accept your 100 %. You need to make sure the other person feels loved, accepted and appreciated. When you are reacting, this becomes impossible.

Usually, it's just a matter of time until someone gets hurt and upset. That person then puts up his or her walls of protection and either resists, attacks or withdraws.

Then the other person gets upset and does the same thing in return. Then the first person gets more upset and reacts more forcefully toward the other.

Without knowing, you create a cycle of conflict, a cycle of resisting, attacking and withdrawing from each other. This cycle then goes on and on without either person ever noticing his or her role in the conflict.

To create and maintain this cycle, there must be two people participating.

It is physically impossible to have a cycle of conflict with only one person. Each person is 100% responsible.

Once you discover your role in the conflict, you can do something about it. You can stop the non-accepting. You can end the cycle of conflict and restore the love.

Take a moment and look at your relationship. Find your 100 % responsibility for the loss of love. Notice how non-accepting and critical you have been. Notice how you have hurt the other person and how that person has gotten upset and given it back to you.

The other person is also fully responsible, but so what. When you point at the other person's responsibility, you may be telling the truth, but it doesn't change your situation. You just give your power away.

To have your life be as great as it can be, you need to give up the blaming. Find your role in the problem.

Then take whatever action you need to handle your situation.

Once you discover your 100% responsibility, you get your power back. You can then take the action you need to heal your relationship and to create a life that works.

Example

Ed and Joanne argued constantly. Each was angry and resentful toward the other.

At first, Ed could only see how Joanne treated him. All he could see were the hateful things she did to him. The situation looked hopeless until Ed saw his responsibility for what was happening.

Then he began to look at the relationship from Joanne's point of view. He saw how critical and non-accepting he had been of her. He saw how much he had hurt Joanne and how this had forced Joanne to be hard and resentful.

Once Ed saw the truth of his 100% responsibility, he permanently altered his relationship with Joanne. Even though Joanne was also 100% responsible, Ed could no longer blame her for what had happened.

Ed took responsibility for the success of his relationship. He stopped being demanding and critical. He made sure Joanne felt loved, accepted and appreciated.

The relationship altered almost overnight. The constant arguing stopped. Joanne felt safe and let go of her walls of protection. Each expressed more and more love for each other.

The healing began the moment Ed accepted his full 100% responsibility. Now he has a relationship that works.
 

Be Free Of Guilt And Resentment                                    

You can divorce as friends - Maybe save your marriage!

You can be free of guilt and resentment.

Guilt and resentment are states of mind that destroy love and create suffering. They seem to be caused by what happened but they're not. They are caused by how you relate to what happened.

Fortunately, since you created them, you can also release them. Use this section to learn how.

Guilt

When you have guilt, you reinforce the feelings of being not okay. You lose your confidence and self-respect. You feel undeserving and you hold yourself back.

The key to releasing guilt is to recognize that we all go through life doing the very best we can with the extremely limited skills and awareness that we have at the time.

Unfortunately, the awareness that we have is seldom enough. As a result we make mistakes. Sometimes we make big ones.

Making mistakes is part of the human process. This is how we learn. Every time you make a mistake you learn a little more about life. You then become wiser and more aware.

Five years from now you will be much wiser than you are today, but the wisdom you will have five years from now doesn't do you any good today. This is true because today, you don't have it.

Likewise the wisdom that you have today didn't do you any good back when you made your mistake. This is true because back then, you didn't know what you know today. You only knew what you knew.

To see this in your life, go back in time to the moment you made your mistake. Notice that at the time, you had a very particular state of mind and a very particular way of seeing life. Notice that you acted totally consistent with where you were at the moment.

If you knew then what you know today, you could have acted very differently, but you didn't. Even if you thought you knew better, you didn't know the consequences like you do today.

So here is the big question: Are you willing to forgive yourself for not knowing? Are you willing to forgive yourself for not being wiser and more aware? You might as well. If you look, you did the very best you could with where you were at the time.

Forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for not being wiser and more aware. Forgive yourself for acting consistent with your limited awareness and forgive yourself for the damage that you caused as a result of your not knowing.

Allow yourself to be human.

Resentment

When you have a resentment, a major part of you closes down. You become bitter and less able to express your love. You lose your aliveness and your joy for life. You put up walls of protection and you make your life more difficult.

Letting go of a resentment is not for the benefit of the other person. It's for you.

When you resent someone, you are saying very forcefully, that the other person is the problem, the cause and the fault. Not you. You forcefully blame the other person so you don't have to look at yourself.

If you looked at yourself, you would have to experience all the hurt from what happened. You would have to feel all the hurt of being not good enough, not worth loving or some other form of not okay. To avoid this hurt, you resent.

The first step in releasing a resentment is to be willing to feel this hurt. Look under the resentment and find what you really avoiding. Find the feelings of being not good enough or not worth loving that you don't want to feel. Then be willing to experience them. Cry if you can.

Once you are willing to feel this hurt, the need for the resentment disappears.

The next step is to notice that the person you resent has a very particular state of mind and a very particular way of seeing life. Notice that this person has a very limited awareness and acts totally consistent with his or her limited skills and ability.

Now notice that if this person was wiser and more aware, then he or she would be able to act very differently, but the person isn't wiser and more aware. This person only has the limited awareness that he or she has.

This person is doing the very best he or she can with his or her very limited ability. Notice how much this person suffers as a result of his or her limited equipment.

Now ask yourself, Are you willing to forgive this person for not being wiser and more aware? Are you willing to forgive this person for acting consistent with his or her limited ability? Are you willing for forgive this person for the damage that was caused?

Remember that forgiveness is for you, not the other person. Forgiveness is a choice. Let go of your resentment and get on with your life.

End The Cycle Of Conflict

You can divorce as friends - Maybe save your marriage!

Learn the steps for ending conflict in any relationship.

Love by itself is never enough to have a relationship work. The divorce courts are full of people who love each other. If you want your relationship to work, you need to make sure the other person actually feels loved.

This is true whether you stay together or get a divorce. To the extent you have the experience of love in your relationship, your relationship will be supportive and relatively effortless.

You create the experience of love by giving the gift of acceptance and appreciation. Just look at how you feel when someone genuinely accepts and appreciates you. Doesn't this feel great? Of course it does.

You feel better about yourself and better about your life. You also feel better about the person who accepts and appreciates you. Automatically, you become accepting and appreciative in return.

Now notice how you feel when someone is non-accepting towards you. Notice how you feel when someone is critical of you or tries to change you. Notice how fast the experience of love disappears.

Instantly, you get hurt. You get upset and close down. You put up your walls of protection and automatically become non-accepting and critical in return.

Then the other person gets upset, puts up his or her walls of protection, and becomes even more non-accepting towards you.

Then you get even more upset. Your walls of protection get stronger and you become more critical of the other person. Then that person gets more upset and becomes more resentful of you. Then you become more hateful towards the other person.

Without knowing, you create a cycle of conflict, a cycle of resisting, attacking and withdrawing from each other. This cycle of conflict then destroys your relationship and produces tremendous suffering.

If you have any relationship that isn't working, this cycle is present. If you want to heal your relationship and end the conflict, you need to end this cycle.

Fortunately, all it takes is one person.

The cycle of conflict is like a tennis volley. Two people are needed to keep the cycle going. Only one is needed to end it. When one person stops playing the game, the cycle is over.

You stop playing the game when you give acceptance and appreciation instead of being critical and resentful.

To make the shift from criticalness to acceptance, you need to let go of your resistance. You can do this by taking the following steps:

1. Find and heal the hurt that has been reactivated by the other person.

Ultimately, the reason you are non-accepting is because the other person has reactivated some hurt in you. As you heal this hurt, the need to resist disappears. You can then interact in a way that creates love instead of destroying it.

2. Give the person full permission to be the way he or she is.

Notice that the other person is the way he or she is whether you like it or not. Your feelings are totally irrelevant. Hating the way someone is doesn't change a thing. That person is still exactly the way he or she is.

When you fight the truth of how someone is, you fuel the cycle of conflict and you lose your ability to see what needs to be done. When you are at peace with the way someone is, you see your situation clearly. You can see what needs to be done and you can do it in a way that is supportive.

3. Forgive the person.

When you resent someone, a big part of you closes down. You become bitter and lose your ability to love. You also interact in a way that automatically creates opposition and resistance against yourself. Forgiveness is not for the other person, forgiveness is for you.

Read the section, Be Free Of Guilt And Resentment.

4. Let the person go.

When you hang on to someone, you push the person away. The person feels suffocated and has to fight for breathing room. Just look at how you feel when someone hangs on to you. To have any relationship work, you have to be willing to lose the person.

Read the section, Learn To Let Go And Flow With Life. Be sure and read the example.

5. Accept full 100% responsibility for the loss of love.

Relationships are not 50/50. They are 100/100. Each person is 100% responsible for the presence or absence of love in a relationship. Once you see your 100% responsibility for the loss of love, you can no longer blame the other person. You also become more effective in all your future relationships.

Read the section, Accept Your Full 100% Responsibility For Love.

6. See that you are just like the other person.

Any characteristic that you can't stand in another person is an aspect of you that you can't stand in yourself. Once you discover that this characteristic is also in you, your resistance towards the other person gets replaced with compassion. You also become more at peace with yourself.

7. Get with the person and clean up your relationship.

Once you let go of your resistance towards someone, the next step is to get with the person and clean up your relationship. Tell the person that you've had some major self-discoveries and that now you're interacting in a new way.

Take full responsibility for what happened and ask the person to please forgive you. If you have been hanging on, give the person freedom to leave.

Say whatever you need to say to clean up your relationship. Then follow your statement up with action. Make sure the other person always feels loved, accepted and appreciated.

Every time you interact with someone, you will either create love or destroy love, and whatever you give will come right back.

So put the focus on ending the conflict and restoring the love, not necessarily as husband and wife, but as one human being to another.

As you do this, you will heal both your relationship and your hurt. You will also create a life that is a lot more enjoyable.

Don't Argue

You can divorce as friends - Maybe save your marriage!

Learn how to avoid arguments.

Arguments can cause serious damage in a relationship. They destroy the experience of love and make people defensive. They create distance and escalate the cycle of conflict.

Fortunately, they can easily be avoided. Once you become aware of how they work, you can stop the conflict before it does much damage.

To see how an argument works, look at the following situation.

Jennifer says something to Robert that strikes a nerve. Instantly Robert is threatened. He can't just hear what Jennifer has to say. He has to fight it. He has to get rid of the threat.

He then tells Jennifer that she is wrong or that she doesn't know what she's talking about. He does whatever he can to make the communication go away.

This in turn strikes a nerve in Jennifer. She gets upset and puts up her walls of protection. Without thinking, she raises her voice and uses force to get her point across.

Robert then becomes more threatened and fights her communication more forcefully than before.

He couldn't care less about what Jennifer has to say. He is only interested in eliminating the threat and getting her to hear his point of view. He then tries to force his communication on Jennifer.

Of course, Jennifer isn't interested in what he has to say. She is only in interested in getting her point of view across.

Both Jennifer and Robert enter into a form of tug-of-war. Both are trying to push their opinion on the other, but no one is listening.

This is the nature of an argument. Nothing gets resolved and everyone gets upset. The cycle of conflict grows and people become more and more distant.

Take a moment and look at the arguments in your life. Notice that neither one of you are listening to the other and both of you are getting upset. Notice the damage that this does to your relationship.

If you want to avoid arguments in your life, you can. The key is very simple. Don't participate.

It takes two people to have an argument. It only takes one to end it.

The next time you find yourself in the middle of an argument, stop. Stop talking and listen. Listen to the other person's communication and hear it from his or her point of view.

Look for the fear and hurt that is behind the words. Be interested in what the person has to say. You don't have to like it or agree with it. Just hear it.

By listening to what the other person has to say, you take away his or her resistance against you. You then create an environment where the other person can hear what you have to say.

Once both of you have said everything you need to say, you can start looking for solutions. Until you get each other's communication, finding solutions is almost impossible.

So stop arguing and listen.
 

Resolve Disputes Without Conflict

You can divorce as friends - Maybe save your marriage!

Take the conflict out of resolving disputes.

In every divorce, there are certain issues that need to be resolved. Decisions need to be made about the care and support of the children. How will the debts and the property be divided?

How you go about resolving these issues is extremely important. It determines the type of divorce you have and it sets the stage for how your relationship will be in the future.

Normally we handle these questions in a way that causes tremendous damage. Here's what usually happens:

Two people start out being in love. Then someone gets hurt. Then that person puts up his or her walls of protection and automatically withdraws and becomes critical of the other.

Then the other person gets upset and becomes more judgmental toward the first person. Then the first person gets more upset and becomes more hateful toward the other.

Without knowing, the couple creates a cycle of conflict that goes on and on without either person ever noticing his or her role in the problem.

The suffering that comes from this conflict is painful enough, but as soon as you add the threat of losing your children, your financial resources and your well-being, the situation quickly becomes much worse.

Now the situation is threatening. This potential loss of well-being can be a serious threat to a person's survival. It can make a person fight as though his or her life depends on it.

The moment this happens, the cycle of conflict escalates dramatically.

Often this conflict escalates into full scale war. People become so full of fear, upset, anger and resentment, that they do horrible things to each other.

The hurt and destruction are enormous. Relationships are destroyed and financial resources are lost. The pain and suffering are often so great that people never recover.

The sad part is that none of this conflict and suffering is necessary. We bring it on ourselves.

We think that we need to fight for protection. We believe that if we just fight hard enough, then somehow, everything will get resolved in our favor. Not so. In fact, the opposite is true.

The more you fight someone, the more of a threat you become to that person. You force that person to fight you even harder. This in turn puts you at even greater risk.

Everything you do as an adversary creates more adversariness against you.

Besides, when all the fighting is over, the issues that you fought so hard to win rarely get resolved the way you want them to. In most cases, the issues get resolved in some sort of compromise with no one being happy.

The final solution is one that you could have worked out between the two of you with a lot less effort and a lot less expense.

The key to resolving issues without conflict is to stop being a threat to the other person. Be committed to finding solutions that are fair and that work for everyone.

When someone is committed to everyone's well being, the adversarial process stops.

How can you fight someone that's on your side?

As a matter of physics, adversariness requires two opposing forces. When one opposing force is removed, the adversariness disappears. It takes two people to be adversaries. It only takes one person to stop it.

As soon as you draw sides against someone, you create an opposing force. So don't draw sides. Keep your focus on finding solutions where everyone wins. This is the key to resolving issues without conflict.

When you focus on everyone's well-being, you create an environment of cooperation and understanding.

You can then work together to find solutions, and when you look for solutions, you find them.

This is how you resolve issues. You find solutions.

This makes perfect sense, but as crazy as it may seem, in an adversarial situation, there is no focus on finding solutions. None. All the focus is on winning.

When there is no focus on resolving issues, they don't get resolved.

Trying to resolve issues in an adversarial situation is like playing tug-of-war. It takes forever to accomplish anything and every step is full of effort and struggle.

In most contested cases, the people are so caught up in the fighting that they don't even know what the issues are. It's insane. So keep your focus on finding solutions.

Look for the other person's fears and concerns.

Look beyond what the person is asking and find what the person needs.

For example, the real issue behind most custody cases is the fear of losing the children. When you can insure easy access and broad visitation, the fear loses power, and so does the need to fight for custody.

If the issue is child support or alimony, you can find what the court would do and agree to that.

If you can't come to an agreement, use the services of a mediator.

Whatever the issue, there is a way to resolve it.

Sometimes you find the answers quickly. Sometimes you don't. Just make sure you don't stop looking.

Finding solutions that work for everyone also includes you. A commitment to everyone doesn't mean that you have to give up your soul in the name of cooperation. You don't have to be taken advantage of.

Sometimes you need to be careful. Some people are dishonest. Sometimes you need to say "no." Sometimes you may need to go to the judge. Do whatever it takes to find solutions that work for both of you. Just don't lose sight of your commitment to everyone's well-being.

Even if the other person demands everything and refuses to cooperate, don't draw sides. As difficult as your situation may seem at the moment, it can get much worse.

Keep looking for solutions that work for everyone.

The type of divorce and the type of relationship you have is determined by how you treat the other person and how you resolve your differences.

You can keep your pride, draw sides and go to town on each other; or you can be committed to a relationship where everyone comes out ahead.

The one you choose will affect the entire rest of your life.


Bill Ferguson goes on with much wisdom and knowledge to guide us through these difficult and sometimes painful situations in our lives. Please visit his website at: Divorce As Friends and Bill Ferguson's Bookstore

Or get the Audio-Book at Amazon.com: How To Divorce as Friends


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