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amplighter: How to Be a Lamplighter

Many languages refer to anger as heat. It flows through our bodies like electricity. We think these charges come out of nowhere, and we find ourselves ready to “go postal.” You will undoubtedly encounter a great deal of unprocessed disappointment, regret, resentment, guilt and rage toward your spouse and yourself while in divorce’s waiting room. Sometimes your anger may feel as volatile as a pile of crisp leaves soaked in gasoline. All it needs is a match for a huge release that would let you get it all out. Maybe then you could finally feel your ex heard you, and be ready to really move on.

A lamplighter is someone committed to going into the pain-motivating conflict only to heal their relationship even if the marriage dissolves. The idea is to develop a capacity for reflection that allows you to remember the other as well as yourself. Your selfishness and forgetfulness is diminished as soon as you start remembering the other. This is, of course very important for divorcing couples who plan to co-parent. If nothing else, it sets a good example for the children.

The tendency is to then to too hard on yourself and the other. A lamplighter focuses on the will-to-do-good. This creates the atmospherics for positive change. This is your chance to set it straight between you and try to really be happy for each other. There are far better ways to deal with your anger than taking it out on each other. You loved each other once. Probably a lot!

Gas lighting, on the other hand is a dangerous dance with a destructive force. Blow-ups happen under pressure. Your spouse or other relatives who are stressed by your distress may even goad you into fighting as their own anger surfaces. Before you let things get to heated, remember we are talking about a controlled burn rather than a wildfire which causes lots of unintended damage. Often people who lash out at us feel backed up against a wall. You always have a moment to decide whether you would rather be a crazy making gas lighter or a peace making lamplighter.

For more information contact Peace Talks
(C) 2008 Peace Talks Mediation Services, Inc.

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