Making Mistakes Over and Over Again? Why People Make the Same Mistakes Repeatedly

Making the same mistakes over and over again may cause divorce because our partners will not forever tolerate us making mistakes that we promised we would not make again.

We make the same mistakes because that is how our brain works – that is unless we get training to change it. Over our lifetime, we develop many brain patterns. Brain patterns form when we experience something many times or when something marked us deeply like a traumatic event.

Imagine that your father was very critical of you. You would have developed many brain patterns associated with how you felt when you heard these criticisms. Then in your adult life, you probably developed the habit of being critical towards your children and your spouse. This is because your brain constantly recalls memories of the past and suggests behaviour or emotional reactions that it thinks would fit with the current situation. Your brain being familiar with the “critical” response, will often choose these types of brain patterns in your adult life.

In your marriage, if you try to change behaviour without specific training, it is likely that it will not work. For example, you may promise to your spouse that you will not be critical of your children, but yet you probably won’t change behaviour and you’ll end up being critical of them. You make the same mistakes over and over again because this is how your brain knows to react.

The problem with making mistakes repeatedly in a marriage is that over time, your partner may grow impatient and intolerant and it may cause divorce. People often realize this too late in the game when their spouse will have run out of patience waiting for them to change behaviour.

Then, unfortunately, people will be making mistakes during the legal separation process that are similar to the ones they made during the marriage; they have the same brain patterns. You may be critical of your lawyer, of your former partner’s lawyer, of how your ex negotiates, etc.

I often warn my clients that to limit their disappointment, they should expect to see their spouses making mistakes that were present during their relationship.

Here are some tips:

  • Set proper expectations: your ex-spouse’s brain patterns (and yours J ), will be present during the legal separation process. Work with your ex’s personality and don’t try to change it.
  • If you want to have a chance at dialoguing with your partner with a view to creating outcomes that work for both of you, use an alternative dispute resolution process. Alternative dispute resolution processes include direct discussions with your ex, collaborative law, mediation and traditional lawyer-driven negotiation. Another alternative dispute resolution process is Arbitration but that process resembles litigation and should be your last choice of alternative dispute resolution processes.
  • Select a family lawyer that you feel comfortable with. I can’t see how being intimidated by your lawyer would benefit anyone. Dispute resolution services abound and it should not be difficult to find a family lawyer Toronto that you are comfortable with. Dispute resolution services allow you to be self-expressed.

Once people have gone through the business of separating, they often believe that they won’t make the same mistakes that were present during their first marriage with another partner when they re-couple. Beware, though, your brain patterns are still there…

So what’s the solution?  There are ways to changing behaviour patterns. Changing behaviour patterns takes specific training and few companies are equipped to address this.

In the meantime, remember to access dispute resolution services rather than court services when facing a separation, and set proper expectations about how you think your former partner will behave.

For more information please contact Nathalie Boutet.

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