If, after this challenging year and quarantine, you’re not sure what you want to do about your relationship, then this blog post is for you.
Many years ago, I was facing a similar crossroads.
There wasn’t a pandemic, but my world did turn upside down…
I faced the possibility that my twenty-year marriage to my beloved college sweetheart might be headed towards “irreconcilable differences.”
I Wanted to Save My Marriage.
I finally convinced my husband to go to marriage counseling, but the counselor was not very helpful… and our issues persisted.
Perhaps we had each thought about leaving, but we didn’t want to talk about THAT, because we thought the counseling would be over and we would have to find attorneys.
So we didn’t talk about that “elephant in the room.”
And we went back to carrying on and making do and neither one of us was really happy…
After a very long period of parallel living, or loud confrontations, or days of silence, we decided to separate….
I hoped that the distance would help us both realize how much we loved each other and would then fight to rebuild our marriage.
But that wasn’t what happened.
We had not learned how to communicate, so we got further apart.
At first, we went through the motions of co-parenting our two young daughters.
We came up with our own schedule of having them live with me with his seeing them as often as he wanted, and sleepovers at his place when schedules allowed.
We kept our finances joint.
We even did some outings as a family.
Sometimes we looked like an example of a respectful separation…
But deep down, my heart was breaking as I saw our marriage slipping away and my family been torn apart.
I Stayed “Stuck” for Years
Although I was a licensed attorney, nothing prepared me for living a separation.
I went to counseling on my own, and I even became a certified mediator to learn how to navigate the situation.
I thought I was doing a good thing by keeping my family “together” – even though we were living apart…
I thought with time, we could resolve our differences and still find our way back to each other..
I was afraid of being alone, losing our financial security, dating again, and living without the man I had promised to love forever.
I stayed in limbo… not wanting to upset the situation.
I stayed in delusion… thinking that just because we were each dating other people, those relationships could end…
I stayed in denial...not wanting to admit the obvious.
But the distance continued, and we stayed separated until…
We Finally Agreed to Get Divorced.
First I filed, then he filed in a different venue, then we delayed it for years for various reasons, and stayed separated and in the divorcing process for almost a decade!
My sleep and health suffered…
My sleep diminished…
And my smile hid the deep sadness in my heart.
Eventually we started dating other people and leading separate lives.
I then went back to school to get my Masters in Counseling and I become a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor.
It was my third professional degree and the one that most resonated with my heart.
And I think during all that time, a Part of me was hoping that we could learn a better way to communicate (or wave a Magic Wand) and keep our family intact and grow old together happily.
But that didn’t happen.
He reconnected with a lovely old friend from high school with whom he started living and later became his wife.
I dated in some long term relationships, and a part of me STILL hoped for that fairy tale ending.
Finally I faced the fact that we were truly getting divorced, and I had to prepare myself as best I could.
I hired an attorney, and so did he.
He eventually hired three different attorneys … and we spent years in and out of court.
Our legal bills mounted.
Our communication deteriorated,
And the devastation of the typical adversarial divorce process was affecting our children, our families and our friends.
But the road we were on felt like it was leading to disaster – financially, emotionally, physically and spiritually.
One day, as we were sitting in the courtroom while our attorneys were back in the judge’s office discussing our futures (without us present), I knew there had to be a better way.
There HAD to be a better way to get divorced!
Shortly after that I met Dick Schwartz when he was first sharing Internal Family Systems
…. and what it meant to be “in SELF.”
And my process of Compassionate Mediation® was created.
Compassionate Mediation was merging all my degrees – as a therapist, mediator and attorney,… and later a Chopra -certifide teacher of meditation, yoga and Ayurveda…
and helping my individual and couples clients to add passion to their marriage or compassion to their divorce.
And for the next 30 years, I helped thousands of individuals and couples to heal and transform their relationships – no matter what form it took in the future.
I offered them the emotional and spiritual healing and legal and financial information and support that I had wished someone could have given me.
However, just because I created the process, it didn’t mean my estranged husband believed in it.
So I had to practice it alone….and it still helped our situation to eventually resolve in the highest good for all concerned…
I wrote a Prayer the night before the date of our final dissolution, and I gave it to my soon-to-be ex-husband and our lawyers..
And even though our marriage finally ended with as much SELF-leadership as possible…
It was still ten years later…
Hundreds of thousands of fees…
And deep wounds on both sides.
I Want to Help You Avoid the Pain My Family Suffered
The night before I was to be in court to finalize my divorce after a very long separation, I was moved to convert my sadness, hurt and anger into hope for a new beginning.
I wrote a prayer.
When I arrived at the courtroom, I gave a copy to my formerly beloved (and soon to be ex) husband and to his attorney. I hoped to end our marriage in a way that would set the tone for a peaceful and respectful co-creation of our future restructured family.
I wanted us to always be able to Compassionately Communicate — to connect our highest and best SELF, let go of all the limiting (and judgmental) beliefs we held, unburden pain from the past, and relate from our hearts.
I hoped we could protect our children from the shrapnel of any more animosity or conflict.
I offered it as my prayer, and for some, it can be an intention. It was my heartfelt request for a future of respectful co-parenting, genuine friendship and Compassionate Communication.
I hope others can set the same intention or recite the same prayer.
My Prayer for a Peaceful Parting
I pray for a peaceful and respectful settlement meeting, in which all parties come together from their Highest Selves and their truest connection to Your guidance, wisdom and love.
I pray that the parts of ourselves that are angry, fearful, defensive, revengeful, retributive, punitive, unloving, unforgiving, sad, young, abandoned, resentful, negative, hurting and hurtful – that all these parts be quelled with the leadership of the Self, coming from a place of trust in Your presence and light.
I pray for compassion, forgiveness, gratitude and appreciation. Although our marriage has come down to a business closing of money and asset division, I ask that we remember the love that brought us together, and the wonderful children, which our union has borne. For their sakes as well as our own, we wish to put an end to this process in as respectful and loving a way as possible.
Although we each carry our sadness and pain and mutual regrets, I pray that we can look beyond this difficult period to a time when we can be friends and coexist peacefully. I pray that our once intact family can be rearranged to two intact and loving homes, where our children feel connected and comfortable. I pray that we can hold in a different light the love that once joined us forever; that on the deepest level we wish each other well as we let go and let G-d direct our lives.
For the sake of all we once had, and for all we had planned to share together, let us now finalize the terms of our marital dissolution so that we are both free to get on with our lives.
Let us complete this last painful task with a sense of trust in the love we once shared and hopefully can remember after this part is over.
Let us not work from purely simple and self-serving motives, but keep in mind the general welfare of each of us, and our children.
Let us request our attorneys to contribute what is needed for the mutual benefit of all concerned.
In the end, let us know that we behaved civilly, that we can look back with a clear conscience, and that as much as we could, we came from our hearts. G-d bless us and direct us all. Amen.
His lawyer looked it over, and jokingly asked him, “Are there any changes you want to make in this document?”
We all laughed —sometimes through our tears – which is kind of like life
Even in the heartache, there can come healing and hope.
I am happy to announce that I am starting a certification program for therapists and coaches, and also mediators, attorneys, clergy, counselors, to help people communicate better and to resolve their differences.
Over 30 years ago, I combined my degrees in therapy, mediation and law.
I've taken courses at the Chopra center. I'm a meditation teacher, yoga teacher and Aryuveda teacher.
I combine the psychological and spiritual, the legal and financial information that I want to give to you so that you can give it to your clients.
Together we can help change the face of divorce and conflict in general, one heart at a time.
I'd love to give you the benefit of my 35 years of degrees and experience to let you take this process of Compassionate Mediation, wherever you are in the world and use it to help your clients.
So please, you can check out that page, Linda kroll.com/certify and get all the details.
And if you're a therapist or a coach, you can get up to 40 hours of continuing education credits.
My course is approved by the National Board of Certified Counselors and by the International Coach Federation.
Please let me share all I've attained over the last 35 years and give it to you and let me firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any questions, if you want to talk to me personally and find out if it's a fit
I have the benefit of all of my scripts, templates, outlines, handouts contracts, and I'd like to share it with you. So please join me in the certification process.
Wouldn't it be nice if families could be peacefully and respectfully restructured,
I want to offer you the skill set that I've developed based on ifs therapy, based on higher consciousness, which includes the psychological and spiritual healing along with emotional and financial and legal support.
Do you ever wish you had tools for your couples in conflict?
I know there've been times when I was starting out. I used to watch my counseling sessions get hijacked by an angry participant. And until I learned how to practice the skills I want to share with you, I would often not know how to handle that angry participant, but with Compassionate Mediation, you help people connect with empathy and get to the pain and sadness underneath so that the anger dissipates.
Compassionate Mediation also helps you serve more clients because you become an expert in the field of conflict resolution. You offer a deeper healing and transformation and you have a unique skillset.
If your clients are considering a divorce, you know the information to share with them.
It doesn't mean you have to be a lawyer or a mediator. It means you have to know enough to talk about the issues that they need to resolve to move forward.
There are many times when people are in individual counseling or couples counseling and one, or both have thought about what would a divorce look like.
But they don't even want to talk about it because they're scared if they do it makes it too real.
Compassionate Mediation lets you talk about everything, including what a possible ending would look like so that they can create a new beginning.
I share how to come from your best SELF, how to acknowledge the “Parts” of you that are ambivalent about what you want to do, and how to create a new relationship with compassionate communication.
We all get “grumpy” from time to time, but learning how to speak from our highest and best SELF is what will allow us to truly show up and not have to hide our feelings and carry around the baggage of our resentments.
Whatever your situation — whether you are:
Hoping to make your relationship better
Feel “stuck” or want to separate
Going through a divorce
Past your divorce
A professional who wants to learn how to use this process
There is a lot to learn in the Introduction and First Chapter.
I look forward to staying connected and giving you the benefit of my 35 years as an internal family systems therapist, as a Chopra- certified teacher of meditation, yoga and Ayurveda.
This book and the introduction and first chapter blends the emotional, spiritual, legal, and financial information and support that I offer you so that you can take it into your relationship.
You can also take it into your professional capacity, and we truly can add more compassionate communication to the world.
When a marriage is in crisis, both people are often suffering from unmet expectations, dashed hopes, stored resentments, impenetrable walls, quiet desperation, and even overt war.
At such an intense emotional impasse—couples will fall into a mode of either fight-or-flight or frozen purgatory—and neither is the place from which to make life-altering decisions.
I have worked with thousands of men and women who come to me for a divorce because they had been living in pain for years without making any changes.
Compassionate Mediation® gives you the tools to make changes before divorce is the ONLY option, and if it becomes the final option, Compassionate Mediation® offers you a way to create a Compassionate SELF-led Divorce®.
For over 35 years, as a therapist, mediator and attorney, I have worked with thousands of individuals and couples who want to improve (or leave) their relationships.
My heart goes out to each one of them. Often, I wish I had been able to help them years before our first visit, because they could have avoided the pain, anger or sadness that had affected their lives.
I can only see a limited number of clients in person each week, and my hope is to reach people everywhere with a message of self love, hope, possibility and happiness.
My goal in creating my book and online course is to share what I have been doing for decades so that people all over the world could learn the skills of Compassionate Communication. You can learn how to heal the pain from your past, let go of limiting beliefs, connect to your spiritual source and relate from your highest and best SELF.
It’s no secret that half of all first marriages end in divorce. But it may be surprising to learn that the failure rates for second and third failed marriages get even worse: 67 and 73 percent, respectively, according to a 2012 article in Psychology Today, “The High Failure Rate of Second and Third Marriages.”
But what about the statistics on married people who are “thinking” about divorce?
Researchers estimate that 1 in 3 divorced couples try to reconcile later, according to a paper written by a noted marriage scholar and therapist. Also, a significant number of divorced individuals—about half—say they wished they or their spouse had tried harder to save the marriage.
In other words, divorce is all too common, and there’s a lot of regret out there. It’s these people whom I want to help —the ones at a crossroads of their marriage— as well as those struggling with challenges in their marriage and seeking to make their union healthier, richer, deeper.
Compassionate Mediation®for Relationships at a Crossroadswill show you how to become more conscious of your own behaviors as you better understand yourself and your partner, and create something new, together.
I’ll share with you the secrets to becoming more empathetic and considerate.
You’ll finally be able to talk about every subject with clarity and courage, including finances, parenting, responsibilities, extended family, and sex.
You’ll learn how to ask for and get your needs met as you lower your “walls,” change the “filters” through which you see yourself and your partner, and forgive yourself and each other.
You’ll remember how to be grateful again for what you do have, and learn how to reflect the attention, affection, appreciation, and acceptance you both desire.
The world needs to be a safer place for marriage and divorce.
Children should be shielded from the shrapnel of their parents’ animosity. This book will offer a new paradigm for couples at a crossroads.
I believe that families need not be “broken,” but can be peacefully, and respectfully, restructured.
My book and program will give you the roadmap you need—whether you choose to put passion into saving your marriage, or compassion into getting a divorce.
As a therapist, mediator, attorney, and Chopra-certified Master Teacher of Meditation, Yoga and Ayurveda, I’ve successfully applied this approach to thousands of couples in my thirty-five years of private practice.
Couples no longer have to spend years “on the fence” in an unhappy, dysfunctional relationship.
Through my book and program, you will learn how to set healthy boundaries, as well as how to ask for what you truly want and need — even if it means you can only give it to yourself!
Compassionate Mediation is about helping individuals and couples get “unstuck” and clear so they can move forward—whether that means reviving their marriage and starting anew—or ending the relationship with compassion for both their sakes.
In-between the weeping, beauty abounds: my story
I once was where you are now, and it’s a painful, lonely place.
I discussed my situation with friends, family members, and loved ones, but in the end, no one could make the decision for me.
There were moments when I was clear and determined, but more often, I was trapped in a state of limbo, unable to leave but unhappy in the marriage.
Because I’ve experienced divorce firsthand, I have much to share about what to do—and what NOT to do.
For years, I asked myself, “Should I stay or should I go?”
In the decade it took me to finally decide, I took the pain of my own failings and missteps, and turned them into lessons learned and methods developed that are now helping others succeed.
As I struggled with my own marriage and emotions, I returned to school to study psychotherapy, earning my second graduate degree and becoming a licensed clinical professional counselor, as well as a mediator and attorney.
Surely, I thought, as a lawyer, mediator, and therapist, I could get us through our divorce as smoothly and painlessly as possible. But trying to mediate your own divorce is like trying to deliver your own baby. Sure, it may be remotely possible, but ultimately, it’s way too difficult.
I tried to make our divorce “picture perfect,” until I realized: codependence isn’t the same thing as compassion, and that yes, LOVE is the answer, but it starts with loving your SELF.
During my journey of self-discovery and healing, I became the oldest Vedic Master trained by Deepak Chopra, David Simon, and Davidji at the Chopra Center University (the trifecta of certifications). I used to say I got my Medicare card in May and my Vedic Master card in June.
I’ve always believed that our struggles are part of our dharma or purpose.
We can only offer wisdom to others by healing ourselves.
I’ve learned through the years that being open and vulnerable with others, that sharing from the heart is more powerful medicine than ten degrees or theories. Hard-earned wisdom has finally surpassed my education, and I want to share it all.
It’s the mistakes I made along the way that may help you the most.
This book and program will lead you through the steps you need to take so you can resolve your issues for the highest good of all concerned.
Love is the answer, and it starts with loving your SELF.
Through the art of Compassionate Mediation, you’ll learn how to heal burdens from your past, let go of limiting beliefs, connect to your Spiritual Source, and relate from your highest and best SELF.
So instead of asking the question “Should I stay or should I go?” you’ll now consider, “How can I bring my best SELF to this relationship and transform it from the inside out?”
I just offered a workshop at the IFS (Internal Family Systems) conference in Denver, and here is what some of the workshop participants had to say:
“Thanks so much. This gives me a roadmap and framework for helping couples navigate their decision making in a way that honors and empowers both parties.”
“Great material/program. I’m buying the book, Thank you for your generosity in sharing.”
“I especially enjoyed and found useful the role plays.”
“So much good stuff! Thank you.”
“Should I stay or should I go?” is a question clients ask themselves and may also ask you. As a therapist or coach, it can be challenging to know what subjects to cover and how to help them make SELF-led decisions in the highest good for all concerned.
You can tools offer information, guidance and support. Looking at an ending can often lead to a new beginning.
Families need not be broken, but can peacefully and respectfully restructured.
Clients can be offered emotional and spiritual healing (along with financial and legal information) to help them add passion to their marriage or compassion to their divorce.
I look forward to connecting soon.
All my best,
P.S. I’ve been sharing this process for many years, and I’ll soon be 73! I’m looking for other therapists, mediators, attorneys, coaches and clergy to take this process to your clients so that together we can change the face of divorce – one heart at a time!