It sometimes seems that the leap required for faith in humanity is getting bigger by the second.

On certain days, the leap required, I dare say, is 1cm more than that needed to jump over the Grand Canyon, especially when the chasm is created by betrayal from someone you once thought of closely.  I recall when I first started family law I came across an article that stated that separation or divorce is the second most traumatic  experience a person can be exposed to in their lifetime – with the first being the death of a loved one. Yet more often than not, my clients have not given themselves the chance to deal with their grief – and by that I don’t mean going through the 5 stages of it – but actually giving themselves ‘a break’ and a chance to acknowledge that they are going through a difficult time and that they can permit themselves to say that it is a hard period in their life.

Acknowledging the pain for me is not about jumping head first into a murky pit of swirling emotions, but about forging a path in a valley of sadness, hurt, distress and heartache. And to traverse this valley especially when you find yourself in the middle, with neither end in sight, I tell my clients they need to arm themselves with survivor tools starting with the following:

1-      Spark of Spirituality. No matter what the background, religious or otherwise, history is rife with stories of people resorting to their inner well of strength and connection with higher power in times of trouble. Studies of survivors’ of periods of great distress often showed people having great faith whether in a deity or in the belief that “this also shall all pass” during the times of trouble. So rekindle that flame. I know for Christians and Jews, parts of the book of Psalms are the most comforting passages to read, for they too were written during times of great needs and distress. Muslims recite certain sections of the Quran; other religious beliefs include chanting and lengthy prayers. While those of a non-religious inclination, may find meditation and yoga to be effective.

2-      Gathering of the Group – reaching out to your support network will be vital during the difficult times. Even if you don’t want to tell them everything (and why should you?) there is something to be said for the old adage “sharing doubles the joy and halves the comfort’. So reach out to your friends indeed or join a local group of members going through the same issues as you such as by enrolling into a Parenting after Separation Class. You can forge lifelong friendships or like some of my clients stay on to become mentors to other people going through the same thing.

3-      Contacting a Counsellor – whether you want to tell your close network about the most intimate parts of your life or not, you must contact a counsellor. A counsellor’s help and guidance in assisting you in navigating this difficult route is important and a good counsellor will ensure that not only do you have the right tools to assist you but that those tools remain sharp.

A good family lawyer will not only deal with the legal lattice but equally importantly assist you in addressing the emotional matrixes along the way – and having the lattices and matrixes well navigated in your matter is well, a happy feat.

By Nadia Messiha