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Ep.3 – Taking Your Power Back

We’re talking one of my favorite subjects, I hope that it rocks your world as much as it did mine.

I call this the manual.

Think about it: You know this very thick manual that you’ve written for your ex, have you ever let him see it or read it? Does he know what he’s supposed to do in order to operate himself in your life post-divorce so that his relationship with you worked correctly? When I ask this of my clients, I get this perplexed look. The manual is like a playbook or rulebook on how the other person should behave, what he should and should not do and a manual is basically your instruction book that you have written for someone else.

While that, in and of itself, is not an issue, it’s when we are all tied up in letting our emotional state be dependent on whether this person follows the rules and expectations you’ve set in this manual that he has never even seen.

Today, we let go of the manual. Let’s do this together.

Favorite or follow Your Amazing Divorce on your fave podcast app. Click here to get updates, tips and expert advice and be one of the first to hear about Doreen’s new online community! Disclaimer: Views expressed by the participants of this program are their own and do not represent the views of nor are they endorsed by Yaffa Family Law Group or Your Divorce Law Center, their respective officers, directors, employees, agents, or representatives.

The content of Your Amazing Divorce is for entertainment and educational purposes. None of the content on Your Amazing Divorce should be considered legal advice, nor does anything herein create an attorney, client relationship.

As always, consult a lawyer for your legal questions.


There’s something I wanna talk about today. In fact, it’s so important to me to share this with you that I’m actually recording this over the weekend on our boat. I felt the need to record this because I know you really need to hear it. So the audio on this might sound a little different than usual, but here we go.

So, before we get started on my lesson today, I wanted to talk to you about something in my personal. My youngest daughter who’s 19, I have a 19, 21 year old and a 23 year old, and they’re all doing very well, thank goodness. My 19 year old told me that when she was visiting her grandmother this morning, who is my ex-husband, Sam’s mom, that she mentioned to my daughter how thankful she was that she and I still maintained some sort of a cordial relat.

Earlier today, I sent her a text message and I reach out on different holidays, birthdays, and different events in the children’s lives. I wanted to maintain a relationship with her and other family members on my ex-husband, Sam Cell because of my children. Whatever issues I had with my ex, whatever reasons that we decided to get divorce.

I thought my children deserved me to show them that I was capable of having a relationship with my ex’s family. Now, I’m not talking about day-to-day contact. I’m talking about special events of the children’s things that happen in our lives that would touch either side of of the family. To reach out and just send a text message or, you know, a, a card or, or a phone call, or to maintain some type of a relationship for the sake of our children, and I know it’s paid off.

Look, I don’t think that there is any reason, at least in my case, in my divorce, to hold on to grudges and to be mean-spirited and not kindhearted to my children’s grandparents, to my children’s aunts and uncles and nephews. Cousins and all of these other family members on the ex’s side. That’s just not something that I wanted my children to experience because when my parents got divorced, not only did my mom take us and move us from New England to Florida, my father never reached out to us.

His family never reached out to us, so we were divorced as children from the entire other side of the family, and that’s sad. So just a little tidbit. I hope you’re having a good day, and I hope you have many more to come. What if I told you that your divorce could end up being one of the best things that could happen to you?

I’m Doreen Yaa, marital and family lawyer and certified life coach. I’ve been coaching and consulting women for over 26 years. I’ve seen it all. Now, I’m sharing my expertise and my own personal experiences to help you turn a difficult time into your amazing divorce. Well, hello there. I’m so glad that you’re with me again today.

This is your amazing divorce where we change where you are today, which may not be in a great place to whatever you want to accomplish tomorrow, to make an amazing life for yourself. You know, I have so much to be thankful for on my end. I have been working with amazing people like you post. That are stuck in their old bad BS ways and working with them on cleaning up their minds, their thinking to move them and to move you to such a better place.

So today we are going to discuss one of my favorite subjects, and I hope that it rocks your world as much as it did mine. I call this the manual. Sometimes when I’m working with a client as their lawyer or I’m coaching someone post divorce as a life coach, I sarcastically will say something like, Hey, you know this very thick manual that you’ve written for your ex-husband?

Have you ever let him see it or read it? Does he know what he is supposed to do in order to operate himself in your life post divorce so that his relationship with you works correct. Now, most of the time when I say this to people either by Zoom or in person where I usually do most of my meetings nowadays, I see this perplexed look on the face of my client and she’s like, well, what are you talking about?

Emmanuel is like a playbook or a rule book on how the other person should behave, what he should and should not do, and. Emmanuel is basically your instruction book that you have written for someone else. And while that in and of itself is not an issue, it’s when we are all tied up in letting our emotional state be dependent on whether this person, let’s just say your ex follows the rules and expectations you’ve set in this manual that he has never even seen.

I know what you’re thinking, but Doreen, shouldn’t I have expectations of other people? I mean, like, isn’t that practical? I mean, if he would just do what is to be expected of him, then my life, our lives would be so much easier. And PS by the way, I’m right. But having these manuals is downright damaging and frustrating for you because you can’t and never, ever will control another.

And never ever are they going to follow the rules. You get that right? So many of you have these built in belief systems that if other people, including your ex, would just behave themselves the way that you would like them to behave, then you could in turn be happy. Now how many of you don’t even realize or didn’t even realize until now that you were doing this and that you had these manuals?

Now, originally when I outlined this episode, I was going to call it my ex’s manual. And you know, that may apply to your circumstance, but I think the concept of the manual is so useful that I didn’t want you to limit it just to your ex-husband. Because the manual applies to anyone in our life that we are expecting to act, behave, or to be a certain way.

When I discovered the manual, I realized that I’m all over this stuff and that I am so darn guilty as I had plenty of these manuals for most everyone in my life, including my ex.

You see, I had manuals, I call them brain operational manuals per people. And to be honest, it wasn’t just my ex-husband or other people in my life. It was my new husband. And what I saw was when I understood the concept of the manual and I started to study it, is that I needed to change that if I wanted my marriage, this marriage to be.

So lucky for me, I learned about the manual after I got divorced. So it helped me with my ex-husband, helped me in my life in general with people, but it also helped me mostly with my new husband, Jeff. So what I want to share with you today and to get you to think about. Because it was such a game changer for me, and I expect it will be for you as well, is that if you have these manuals, I want you to be aware of them so that you can figure out what you wanna do with them.

If you have these manuals, which I know you do, if you’re honest with yourself, it is likely one of the reasons you are upset post divorce, many things that you don’t need to spend so much time and energy being upset. Take that time. Go for a walk, make a meal plan. Set a goal, take a nap. I don’t care, do anything else, but spending time getting so frustrated with these things I call the manual is really just nothing more than a waste of time.

My goal for you in this podcast is to awaken you to consider. To help you move on and use your divorce and learn from it to create the most amazing future life you can have. Hence the name your amazing divorce. Remember that from adversity in life like your divorce, you can go down the path of self pity and poor me, and you can hide and buffer with alcohol and food and social media.

And ignore things and stay in and with bad habits that are hurting you or you can own it and learn and move on and be stronger and better, and have a great future. Many of my teachings are directed to you and the divorce, but these lessons will assist you moving forward when you get into new relationships, like with my husband Jeff, so that you learn from what I consider mistakes, so that you break certain cycles you may be in.

Have awareness and make better choices moving forward and create the life you want.

Now, we all have certain reasonable expectations of how the people in your life should behave. And when I say that out loud and you hear. I would venture to say that you think that’s pretty reasonable, right? That certain people in your life should act and do and behave in certain ways. But the issue with this is that you are assuming that what you think is reasonable is, I’m sorry to say, not what someone else is thinking is reasonable.

That’s just a reality of life and you know, your ex, you got divorced for a reason. So trying to make sure that he acts in a certain way when he probably was doing these saying behaviors beforehand is really kind of ridiculous when you think about it. One of the first things that I want you to really grasp is that adults get to act and do or not do and behave however they.

They get to make choices and they get to decide and have the freedom to do so. And yes, this includes you. I want you to really sit with that and think about this for a while. There is nothing you must do ever, or that anyone else has to do for you. There are certain things that you should do or maybe you want to do, but the reality is that we as adults get to make the decisions in our lives on how we.

Sometimes people make decisions and act in ways that get them fired or divorced or arrested and on. When you have a relationship with someone who you expect to fulfill your needs and make you happy, you are headed for absolute failure from the get-go, you are the only one responsible for your. But making someone else responsible for your happiness, when you cannot control it, and when we know that they’re not going to do what you want, it’s going to happen, I promise.

Is just setting yourself up for disaster.

So I wanna talk about therapy and counseling for a minute, and I have a great respect for therapists. And that’s a big, but when it comes to marriage counseling, I do take a few issues with this common practice where the therapist will sit with the parties and say, Hey, why don’t you tell him what you want him to do?

And hey, why don’t you tell her what you want her to do? That’s one of the more common practices amongst therapists, but in my humble opinion, a therapist trying to expose what I call the manuals can be a real formula for a disaster. I think it is a disaster because first, we should all be responsible for meeting our own need.

So going to the therapist and explaining each of your needs to the other. If we go there, then unfortunately now, not only are responsible for someone else’s needs and them feeling responsible for your needs, but now each of you are supposedly responsible for the other person’s happiness. I mean, it just doesn’t make any.

Then you’re in this relationship that you are always on guard and always trying to check in and see if the other person is living up to his end of the bargain so you can feel happy. No one comes outta winner. And my personal take on it is that this formula lends itself really to hurting relationships.

So can you acknowledge first that you truly cannot control another person?

Next, I ask you to think about who you have manuals for in your life, an ex, a friend, a family member. The next thing I want you to truly consider is to start taking responsibility for your own happiness and check into your own manual that you have for how you live and want to live your. Because with your own manual, you can control it, modify it, take responsibility for it, and decide what you want it to be.

Operating manuals for ourselves are okay. Truth be told, we have enough challenges in our own life trying to control our own brains and do what we know we need to do. I ask you, how can we possibly then be expected to control someone else’s? I mean, it seems really rather crazy, right? How many of you have tried to control someone else and you find yourself living in this place of constant frustration?

I suggest that you may want to consider why you want them to act a certain way. Think about that. I’m going to explain why. The reason why is because you have this thought process that you think you will feel a certain way if he does this or. But remember that your thinking causes a feeling, not what the person did.

It is your thinking about what they did See, the action of what he did is not what causes the good feeling. It is the thinking about what he did. The act itself is nothing. It creates nothing until you think about it. And then a feeling stems from that. So when he is following your manual, you think he. He respects me.

He’s good. And that thought brings you a happy feeling of sort On the other hand, when people don’t follow your manual, the ad they took itself didn’t create a negative feeling like anger or sadness. It is a thought you had about the person not following your prescribed operating manual. That causes the negative feeling.

And remember, most people don’t even know what the operation manual wants them to. It’s in our mind, but even worse than the fact that we have no control over the actions of another person, is that we put all our anticipated happiness in the control of another person. I mean, if I was you, I would question whether you wanna place all the control over your feelings and the hands of your ex or anyone else in your life for that matter.

Wouldn’t you want to be the one in control of how you. I know I would. So I strongly suggest that when you expect someone else to act a certain way in order to create happiness in your life, that you are always going to be super disappointed. So know that, please,

if you guys are anything like me, I’ve spent so much energy and wasted time and got myself into such a frenzy trying to get other people to behave the way that I expect them to. So I was able to catch myself and be aware that I was doing this. It took a lot of self-awareness, but now what I do when I catch myself trying to enforce Emmanuel or getting upset that someone did or didn’t do something is first I’m aware.

And then I know that I need to take a huge breath and stop trying to control things and people, I first have to recognize that I’m doing it. And then I have to take that deep breath and realize, what am I doing? Why am I doing it? And really just take a step back. So now I wanna make a distinction here.

There are situations in your life in which there are expectations, but those are like with children that need your direction to learn and grow and do the right things. Or if you are in a business or hire someone to do a job for you. And those situations, you have an understanding that I will pay you X for Y.

And of course, it is appropriate in those circumstances to have expectations and let the job be done correctly. And as you. If you ask your child to take his plate and put it into the dishwasher, you expect him to do it, and he should, because he’s learning from you. He is a child, but these, as I’m sure you can see, are very different than having manuals for adults.

The other thing that I want to make really clear is about a request or asking for something versus a manual. If I request you to call me in an hour and you don’t call me, that’s on you and not on. I can make the request, but if you don’t call, I am not going to be all hung up on it. I realize it’s just a request and nothing more than that.

So some clients will say to me, Hey, Doreen, are you telling me that I shouldn’t ask my ex to put the kids to bed on time? Or to do the children’s homework with them when he has ’em or not. Let them stay up late and be so tired. And what I say to them is, listen, you can make whatever requests and how many requests you want of everyone in your life, but when you get all crazed up and tie your emotional happiness to whether he does it or not, then you will live in constant problems and be banging your head against the wall and frustration trying to get him to do what you want so you can feel.

Remember, we cannot control another person. You can make the request and do so from a place of explaining why and asking, but just know that there is a strong possibility that the person that you’ve asked a request of may not do what you’re asking. And so be ready for that and understand it. You have to take responsibility for how it makes you feel when they don’t do what you’ve asked and not get all crazy.

Let me also clearly say that this doesn’t mean that you have to stay with or around people that have a different set of values than what you have. You get to make choices on who you associate with. There are some, like your ex, if you have children together, that you have to deal with on some level, and that’s reality, but you also need to recognize that you can’t control or change him or make him operate the way you.

Now if it’s a legal issue, then you can discuss it with your attorney and maybe there are certain specific parameters that the court can impose, like paying support on time. And if they don’t, then your attorney can likely get an automatic deduction order for the support payment straight out of his paycheck and situations like that.

But know that there are certain things that the court can do and certain things that the court can’t help you with. The court’s not gonna micromanage him, and you can. You get to decide how you wanna spend your energy in your life and where you want to place it. Do you wanna place your energy into trying to change someone and control a situation that you absolutely cannot control?

Or would you rather accept that you can’t control another person? Instead, place all that energy on your self development improvement and the things that you can control.

So let’s discuss another situation as this applies to all people in your life, not just your ex. Let’s assume, for example, you have a friend that is always late when you meet up with her. Now you can tell her, Hey, it would be really great if you could be on time when we meet because it makes me feel like I’ve got a priority or my time isn’t important to you.

Or I don’t like standing around the bar by myself and explain it in a kind and loving way. But if the next time you set a date, she shows up late, you can get all angry and you can ruin your. Or you can just know that this is a choice she made and you get to control whether you wanna set another date with her again or not.

You get to control your own decision as to whether or not your friendship is worth waiting or not. Cuz you know she’s likely gonna be late again. That is your choice and that is where all the power lies. Get it. You have the power then to decide to enjoy your friendship or. Know that whether someone decides to honor your request or not has nothing to do with you.

It has everything to do with them, and you can enjoy them as a person anyway or on some other level, and that is on you. This in term, makes for a happier, more satisfying relationship with people. So ask yourself who you have manuals for in your life. We mainly have these for people who are closest to. We have ideas on how we would like them to behave and who we would like them to be.

It comes from this idea that if they were more likely want them to be, then we would somehow be happier. This could be spouses, boyfriends, friends, family, coworker, bosses, our ex. It could even be our neighbor or someone that we see on a regular basis that we don’t even have like super close relationship.

I hope you get that your emotional happiness comes from you. Some people make it easier to have positive relationships with and thoughts around because they just live and they jive with us. They understand and we’re like on a sync together. You know, it just kind of flows easy. You share more common values.

It’s like my ex and I, we were both similar in the way that we raised children, and so that made it a lot easier for us post divorce to kind of not have a lot of issues surrounding the kid. If I asked or requested something of my ex, he was like, sure, no problem. And because we jived together when it comes to the kids, he usually followed through because it just made sense to him.

But that’s not every relationship when you’re dealing with. You know, some of you just have very, very different thought processes about many things, and if that’s your relationship with your ex and know it, own the fact that he likely is not going to do what you ask of him. I think about my current husband, Jeff, and like I used to get so worked up that he would forget to do something and then I would nag him about it.

I’d say, Hey, but I don’t understand. Why didn’t you place it on your calendar? And blah, blah, blah. And then I realized that he’s just that kind of guy that while he gets things done, his timeline is different than mine. And so while I like to calendar everything, And I’m super detailed and specific, and I like to get things done quickly.

He takes his time, he gets things done, but he runs at a certain level that’s just different than mine. And you know, that’s okay. And so now when I’m like, Ugh, why do he do that? Why am I waiting? It’s been like two minutes. No, just kidding. It’s been like two days. I’m like, okay, let me just give him another day.

And nine times outta 10, he’ll come through in the long run. It’s just a few days later than what I want.

I suggest that you think about the people in your life and who you have manuals for. Write down things you think it would be awesome for these people to do. Really take out a piece of paper and write down the things that you think that this person in your life should do. Then I want you to take time and think about it.

What do you imagine that you would feel if he did it voluntarily? What would you be thinking? Remember, all of your feelings come from your thinking. What would you be thinking if this person behaved in the way that you want them to behave? Think about that. Do you have that thought available for you now?

Now ask yourself, can you think about this person without having them do those things? If the answer is yes, you. You don’t have to go around changing other people in order to feel better. What you can do is feel better on your own accord. You can decide that you’re not going to make your life about what you think you’re entitled to have or get from other people.

What if you were to change your thinking to the thought that you are not to have any expectations, and instead that you have to and will take control of your own happy? Your own emotional life that you get to make the happiness in your life yourself, and having thoughts over people and situations that serve you instead.

For example, if you really want something done and it’s really important to you, ask yourself why you’re not doing it yourself. Instead, be honest with yourself and ask yourself why you are not doing it or why you’re not willing to. Again, you can make a request always from a place of kindness, but just get that.

Even if the person says, yeah, I can do that, that there’s always a chance they won’t. I see this with my divorce clients all the time. They get so wrapped up in what their ex is doing or not doing. They spend so much energy telling me, well, he did this, he did that, and I’m just like, hello. They’re not gonna do it.

So you can ask, but they’re not going to. And so assume they’re not and move on and just know that, you know, I’ll give you an example. One of my clients this week was having such a meltdown because her ex refuses to work with her son on his schoolwork, and he needs help. But this has been an ongoing issue that I’ve heard from her for the last year.

So what I said to her was, look, is there any possible way that we can just accept the fact that your ex is just not gonna come up to the plate and help your son with his homework and the extra studying that he needs? Can we use this energy and direct it towards getting him help somewhere else? And she did.

She got a tutor, which by the way, her ex has to pay 50% up. She talked to the teacher. She’s putting aside more time to work with her. So instead of spending all that energy complaining about her ex, she’s now taking that energy and using it to really make a difference to help her son get better grades.

Take some time to consider this idea. Are you willing to give up your manual? Are you willing to let go of your expectations that are based on what you want in your life and focus all that time and energy on yourself and create the best life that you can for yourself that’s independent of anyone else’s behavior or action.

And in fact, it will only, in essence enhance the relationships around you because people will generally do things not because you are telling them and insisting on it, but because they want. Again, you can always ask, but just don’t expect If it happens, great. If it doesn’t know it, and take action elsewhere.

So I ask you to sit down with your journal and to think about the people in your life again, that you have manuals for. Write out what your expectations of them. Put down the reasons why you have these expectations and figure out if it is something that you can take control of. Use your energy wisely because you know what, you’ve been through a lot and it’s time now to focus in on you, the life that you want and your amazing future.

So listen, have a most amazing week. Remember to love yourself. You are amazing just the way you. And take care of yourself. You deserve it. Until next time, my friends, thanks so much for listening. Get further information and some free secrets on how to make your life amazing after [email protected].

And remember my friends? Yes, you can have an amazing life after divorce. See you.

Views expressed by the participants of this program are their own and do not represent the views of, nor are they endorsed by Yaha Family Law Group or your Divorce Law Center, their respective officers, directors, employees, agents, or representatives. The content of your amazing divorce is for entertainment and educational purposes only.

None of the content on your amazing divorce should be considered legal advice, nor does anything herein create an attorney-client relationship. As always, consult a lawyer for your legal questions.

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