Left Brain vs. Right Brain: How We Handle Divorce. ~ Allison Pescosolido & Andra Brosh

Photo credit: J.E. Theriot

Just as there are two sides to every story with divorce, there are also two sides of the brain that come into play during this life transition.

The left brain is logical, rational, analytical and objective and looks at parts. The right brain is random, intuitive and subjective and looks at wholes. Most of us lean toward using one side of the brain more heavily than the other, yet we generally use both sides in our daily interactions.

The side of the brain you tend to live in most often will greatly impact how you manage your divorce transition.

People who are right-brained are often led by their feelings. While processing and exploring one’s feelings through divorce are an important element of healing, it can be a detriment when trying to deal with the more concrete issues during a divorce.

Right-brainers see the whole before the parts. It’s hard to see your future when you don’t know what you have to work with, so left-brained people are at an advantage here. Piecing a life back together after divorce requires small steps and resolution of details before a big picture can be established. They also lack organization and have trouble prioritizing. Divorce is a chaotic experience to say the least, so a person who lacks organization skills will be easily overwhelmed and may have difficulty getting their affairs in order.

Right-brainers like to know why they are doing something, too—the reasons for actions. Information is key during divorce, but it can be easy to get stuck in the “whys.” Whether it’s questioning the motivation of your ex’s legal actions or why they ended the marriage, it can often be unhelpful to focus on getting answers to things that aren’t really relevant to your legal process.

A large part of divorce requires the use of the left brain. Crunching numbers, planning for the future, focusing on details, time management and organizing paperwork are just a few of the task required as you divorce. These tasks are a “no brainer” for the left dominant individual, but can be extremely challenging and overwhelming for a right brain dominant person.

Whether your right brain is more dominant or your left, it is important to recognize that the stress from divorce causes both sides of the brain to slow during this transition, resulting in reduced productivity and bouts of frustration. If you are going through divorce, reach out and get professional help to shorten the transition so you can get back to normal functioning as soon as possible.

Allison Pescosolido, M.A. and Andra Brosh, Ph.D. are experts in everything divorce. They co-founded Divorce Detox, a full service center to transform the lives of individuals transitioning through divorce. Their success in helping clients quickly identify, manage and overcome the specific challenges of separation and divorce have led them to become the Nation’s leading divorce recovery experts. Based in West Hollywood, California, The Divorce Detox™ Center offers national support (in person, by telephone and online) for anyone going through separation, divorce, marriage crisis and relationship issues.


Editor: Jamie Morgan

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