Santa Monica Observer August 29, 2003


As seen in The Santa Monica Observer Weekly



The 7 Stages of Divorce© are Panic, Denial, Agony, Rage, Epiphany, Negotiation and Peace

“He's wrong; she's wrong” is a very old song. Often, new clients, calling for my free phone consultation begin with a litany of “crimes against humanity” that they believe have occurred at home. When I explain, Nonviolent Communication™, one technique used for reconciliation or mediation, there is often a shocked silence. What is so shocking about empathy and unconditional love? Isn't this the basis of the world's religions, practiced by hundreds of millions of people? What stops us from seeing our partner's point of view, his needs, her desires? Isn't it our own pain, our own fear or anger that stands in the way of peace and our compassion for our partner?

Can you feel the RAGE beneath your grief? Are you aware of the RAGE behind your PANIC? Which thinking style do you have; which is your partner's? Remember that even couples who are diametrically opposed in their approach to everything, can create a wonderful life together if they respect their differences and they allocate job skills accordingly.

Marital, not Martial, Arts Training:

If you are “L ogical”, do you use Criticism to clarify facts?

If you are a “V isionary”, do you utilize Withdrawal to attain an overview?

If you are the “Organizer”, do you use Defensiveness to get safety?

If you are “Emotional”, do you feel Contempt when attempting to relieve feelings?

Which of these thinking styles describes your partner?

CLIENT : “Susan, thank you for this training; it made me feel 100% better. I can go to work with a clear mind now. Thanks again. ” RB


Dear Divorce Coach,

Me and my husband have been legally separated. The guy I am now dating wants me to move in with him. Can I legally do that without it starting a lot of problems with my divorce?  There are two children involved. PLEASE HELP!                 

Sincerely yours,

Moving On or Moving Out

Dear Moving,

There are a number of factors to consider: Is there anything your husband can say about this man that would jeopardize your custody of the children such as violence, drugs, drinking? Do you need spousal support and can your husband make a case to the courts to withdraw it? Although the court may not respond adversely to your new living arrangement, your husband may be triggered into jealous rage and may attempt to undermine you. It is much safer to maintain your own home until the divorce has been finalized and you are less vulnerable.

Sincerely yours,

Ask the Divorce Coach, Susan Allan


Dear Divorce Coach,

I am going through a separation, possibly leading to divorce.  Since my husband left, he has become very different. He says he wants to work things out, but he doesn't show it or sound like it when he talks to me.  He threatens to take the kids away from me because I am “too emotional” about our break-up.  I
don't understand what is happening to me.


Witless and Worried


Dear Witless,

Your husband may be demonstrating anger (and threats) to mask his own fear. Among my trainings is Nonviolent Communication ™ which allows us to come to peace ourselves so that we may calmly hear our partner's feelings and needs. Once you have mastered this, you will have acquired the necessary skills for co-parenting. Sometimes, this allows clients to reconcile and to rebuild a wonderful marriage, even from the ground up. If you would enjoy one free phone training, please let me know.

Sincerely yours,

Ask the Divorce Coach, Susan Allan

What is the most useful strategy for dealing with that “same old song” about your mate? How can you “let it go” when you feel triggered into feelings of Rage and Panic by situations at home? What can you do when you feel terrified about financial issues or emotional ones?

When you feel endangered; having a conversation with yourself about your potential disintegration, or the “collapse of the family”, what can you do to bring yourself back to peace? Dr. Frank Zizzo calls Panic, the 1 st Stage of Divorce “fear of the fear”. As psychological consultant to The Divorce Forum ™ , Zizzo advises, “Live in the present and trust that when the future becomes the present you will find strength from within and without.”

For 101 Divorce Survival Secrets , and free E-zine at , with Collaborative Divorce information For 1 hour free, private telephone coaching



Susan Allan COO of The Divorce Forum™