Happy even after: Helen’s Story

by | 19 Nov 2020

Helen (not her real name) came to me a few weeks before her first court hearing, some months into her divorce journey. 

She was a nervous wreck and had taken to drinking through her child-free weekends. 

Her ex had left her out of the blue several months before: she had been shocked and heartbroken, and fearing for her future. 

When we met she had a head full of ideas about what she was going to get from her court case. It quickly became apparent that she’d used friends for legal advice and some of that advice was out of date. However, she was soon in good hands with a direct access barrister and it wasn’t long until the end was in sight. 

One of Helen’s challenges was a sense of overwhelm which caused her to pick up the victim’s mantle. I was really sorry for her heartache, but the more she described her ex (and the more I got to know him through his spiky text messages), the more it seemed she was better off without him. I would challenge her every time she started acting like the ‘princess in the tower’ to help her increase her self-esteem and sense of hope and optimism. It wasn’t long until we were laughing about this, even though he really could act like a tiresome pest.

Although heartbreak had overshadowed her year, Helen was starting to find her feet as an independent woman. Having been married for years she had forgotten who she was, and she was starting to enjoy getting to know herself – her new self. She was conscientious about going to the gym – something she enjoyed – and found some better ways to spend her weekends other than drinking her way through them.

It was already clear that Helen would have to sell the marital home. She was overwhelmed at the prospect of doing so, not just because of the sentimental attachment (she was becoming quite excited about a fresh start) but because she’d never had to buy and sell a home before. By breaking this into manageable steps and finding the right help she was more than able to complete this process. As with many things, it’s about finding the right help or taking the first step. You’re never alone and there are people there who know how to make this easier for you.

As well as moving house, Helen decided she wanted a career change. Having worked part time for a few years, Helen was nervous about juggling childcare and work, but she had a burning desire to start her own business that made use of her creativity. I will always remember the day we wrote her resignation letter. She didn’t know how to start – she was in such an emotional state that she couldn’t think what to write. It took us all of ten minutes to draft the letter and later that week it was a brighter, more optimistic Helen who came to tell me her resignation had been accepted with grace and goodwill. This was a brave decision on her part but her new-found confidence left her feeling unstoppable and keen to live her ‘best life’.

Not for the first time, the divorce she didn’t know she wanted was paving the way to new adventures and opportunities. Her confidence had bloomed and she was herself again. 

As the months unfolded, Helen dropped the victim story and I’d go so far as to say she became the envy of some of her unhappily married friends. While not wishing sadness (nor legal fees) on anyone, I always say divorce is a cloud with a silver lining. I love helping clients to find this silver lining.

If you’re facing divorce, why not book a Clarity Call today to find out how coaching could help you, just as it helped Helen?


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