How To Survive Divorce When You're An Introvert

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How To Survive Divorce When You're An Introvert
Heartbreak, Self

These communication hacks can help.

Do you freeze when you see the paperwork? Is your attorney waiting for you to take action? 

If you are an introvert struggling to survive your divorce process, there may be good reasons for it!

Michael Gregory, an expert who helps introverts deal with social issues, writes: "Introverts have less tolerance when it comes to external stimulation. Unlike extroverts, who get their energy from other people, introverts charge up their energy from within, and it drains the longer they speak to other people. And it’s not because they’re arrogant or anything like that."

He goes on to say, "It’s because with only a limited amount of social energy, they want to spend it on those they cherish."

Procrastination and introversion are similar, which can make getting through your divorce tricky.


RELATED: 10 Ways To Exude Confidence When You're Introverted


During a divorce, the introvert is put under tremendous pressure to keep up social appearances when she may have lost her closest ally and friend. Even if the soon-to-be-divorced husband is relatively cooperative and collaborative about the divorce, the communication strains can be paralyzing.

According to Introvert Spring, it is not because introverts are disorganized or lazy but rather it's the way a lot of introverts complete tasks, especially ones that require thought. Studies show that procrastination and introversion are similar in that both are lifelong personality tendencies.

As Terrance Phillips writes in The Divorce Disease: Options for a Cure, "Procrastination does not resolve issues; it prolongs them, making you endure the issues' negative energy."

It is logical to imagine that slogging through the divorce process with introverts is frustrating at best and expensive for sure if your attorney has to chase you down to get your papers in order.

If your voicemail is full of messages from your divorce attorney and you are overwhelmed, you may find it helpful to equip your attorney and her staff with ways on how to best deal with you. If you succeed in helping your divorce team deal with your introversion, you will save yourself money and the professionals time.

But, if your attorney is not sensitive to your needs as an introvert, you can do a number of things to help him.

For example, if your learning style (my preferred description of learning disabled adults) stops you from finding peace of mind in love and money, chances are communication is a big problem. It is not uncommon for introverts to withhold themselves emotionally. Introverts naturally avoid conflict and in picking an attorney, they might not be able to select one with a natural sensitivity needed to help the introvert get through the process.

Many introverts worry about being annoying and causing problems. If you are afraid of bothering your attorney when you have a legitimate concern and yet procrastinate with what the divorce team is demanding of you, use the following communication hacks to create a document for your team so they know how to best support you.

Communication problems for divorcing introverts fall into two categories. See if you can relate:

How does this work? Let me tell you two quick stories.

Story 1: Marcie (not a real person) has a great job. She loves her boss and is good at what she does. The trouble is, she is super sensitive to other people's moods. When her boss is upset, Marcie loses her voice. If he is sharp in his tone and asks her for something, she looks at him blankly, swallows hard, blinks, and fumbles with the papers on her desk.

Powerless to comply with his request by asking for the clarification she needs, she nods aggressively and pretends she knows what he wants. She then proceeds to incorrectly complete a task and is reprimanded.

Story 2: Jill (not a real person) is a great accountant. She loves her work and when she is busy with her numbers, she is content. Her secretary takes all the calls and she can crank out excellent product when she needs to. There is just one problem. When she needs clarity, Jill goes into her bosses office and takes 25 minutes to ask a one minute question. She beats around the bush so far that her boss is completely frustrated and gets harsh or rude to her.

Can you relate to either of these two stories? If so, you can still fix the habit. If you are in a high pressure, nerve-wracking or tense situation, you MUST advocate for yourself.

If you know that you have a learning style that causes problems in love or at work, you can protect yourself and your sensitive feelings if you front load your client/lover/attorney/realtor whoever for success by telling them how best to communicate with you and keep you on target.

If you cannot speak clearly when you need to or you babble on childishly, finding fluency is critical. In pressuring situations, making a way to speak clearly for your own needs and advocate for yourself in a professional relationship is achievable. 

Tell your service provider that you have a learning style that makes communicating difficult under stressful situations. Let them know that they must adapt to some of your needs in order to guide you through the process. Prepare a document that is specific to the requests of the individual you are dealing with detailing what you need so that silence doesn't steal your charisma from you.


RELATED: 4 Things You Need To Do Immediately If You Want A Divorce


But, you can learn how to survive divorce by helping the important professional people in your life communicate clearly with you.

Feel free to cut and paste these into a document or email:

1. The Silent Curse

This is when you go radio silent under stress. 

Try the following:

  • "When I am stressed, I lose focus and to stay on target, I prefer to read off a prepared statement for our meetings. I would like you to go over my notes before the meeting to make sure they are short, to the point and what the meeting requires."
  • "If you notice me starting to stutter or get flustered, a reminder to take a breath always works to refocus me."
  • "If you sense that I am not understanding a point, I appreciate if you ask me to repeat back what you think you said to me so I have a chance to reiterate an important point."
  • "If you notice me worrying about things that are not needing my attention right now, please remind me this is a marathon and not a sprint. Please feel free to remind me that the step I am working on is a small achievable step."

2. The Babbling Curse

If people have harped on you for years to get to the point, this curse may be yours. Under stress, if you wander all over the place and even though you know your listener is getting really frustrated, you babble on...setting your listener up for success will do wonders for building rapport! 

Try the following:

  • "If I am roaming around and can't find a point, please stop me and ask, 'What is the problem I need to solve right now?'"
  • "I tend to get on tangents when I am stressed and waste time. If you notice that happening, I am totally cool with you interrupting me to get me back on track."
  • "If you notice me getting frustrated and upset, reminding me to stop always works. Gently interrupt and say to me, 'Do you want to activate this feeling right now?' You can stop thinking about this if you choose and you can coach your professional service provider to help you stay quieter."

As introversion expert, Dr. Marti Olsen Laney is famous for saying, "Most introverts need to think first and talk later."

Dr. Olsen goes on to explain that introverts are over analyzers and it can be like herding cats to get an introvert to focus. It is important that professionals not get pushy and overbearing with an introvert who is simply mulling over the problem of the moment.

Introverts are misunderstood on a good day. Under stress, it can be impossible to connect, especially once an introvert retreats into their shell. Help your divorce team know you and what you need in your communications and you will have a much smoother ride.


RELATED: It's Not That Introverts Hate People, We Just Hate Shallow, Petty Small Talk


Catherine Behan holds a masters degree in Communication Disorders and delights in creating experiments designed to unlock old self-defeating language patterns. If your communication style is holding you back when it comes to love or money, you might just have learning style issues that have never been identified. If you relate to this post, contact Catherine at The Breakup Candy Divorce Care Program.

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