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Lessons From the End of a Marriage

A “How to Thrive” Guide After Divorce

Sleight of Mind

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Our minds are so skilled at focusing on one thing to the exclusion of others. We see what we expect to see. We look to verify our assumptions.

Sometimes our brains filter information so that we can focus on the most important information. Other times, our brains take shortcuts so that we can free up processing space for more pressing concerns.

But other times, our brains perform this sleight of mind in order to distract us from the real issues at hand.

I had someone contact me recently who was concerned about the attentions his wife gave to another man while they were separated. Because it was less painful to focus on that man than on the changing feelings of his wife.

I have a friend whose husband is suffering from a degenerative disease. She is focused on creating a home. Not because she doesn’t care about her husband, but because it is an area that is safe for her brain to tread.

After my ex left, I focused my attentions on the legal process and on trying to label him. It was too excruciating to process the loss, so my brain looked the other way.

We want so badly to have control. So we choose to focus on those things that we feel like we can change or command.

But remember, just because you didn’t see the bear, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

Your brain is a powerful magician.

But you can learn to see through its tricks.


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7 thoughts on “Sleight of Mind

  1. PS. Now I have now read your post and ingested it. I too focussed on the legal process and as it is drawing to a close (2 years nine months after separation) some other buried aspects are beginning to surface. It can be a bit frightening because it makes me feel as if I am going backwards. I know I am not really. An understanding that one can only deal with one or two calamities at a time does help in understanding why the buried factors suddenly seem to surface. They have been there all along, but it is only now that I can give them my attention.

  2. Great read! I’ve been so focused of the legal, support and arrangements of the pending birth of our son that I seem and strong on the outside. But I’m worried the proverbial other shoe will drop and I will crumble… My therapist says no, I’m too strong (I do not share her confidence).

  3. I’m going through the angst and anger of the end of a 26yr affair and one of the ways recommended to me to get past his cheating on ME is to focus on his negative traits, and not wallow in the love that was lost. This seems to run counter to your admonitions in your post, but I liked it anyway! Great job, as usual — Exit 4A at WordPress

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