Groundhog Day and Divorce: Do’s and Don’ts
Groundhog Day is a bigger deal in my family than it is most — that is to say if it any kind of deal at all in most. My Dad was born on February 2, so checking in on Punxsutawney Phil and winter prediction is part of the birthday ritual.
By the way, hot off the presses, Phil saw his shadow (as he always seems to) around sunrise at this morning. If you’re a believer, that means six more weeks of winter. Heck, even if you are a non-believer, there are six more weeks of winter.
What Groundhog’s Day Can Teach Us About Divorce
For our “Do’s and Dont’s,” we turn to Groundhog Day, the 1993 Bill Murray comedy where Bill finds himself repeating the same day, over and over again.
1. Don’t Be a Crank Like Bill Murray, Hire a Professional
Bill Murray was actually undergoing a divorce while Groundhog Day was being filmed. Like many people going through the divorce process, it took an emotional toll on Bill. This showed in his behavior — he was “crankier than usual, and prone to disappearing for hours at a time.” He also obsessed about the film and would call the director constantly, “often in the early hours of the morning.” The Director, Harold Ramis, eventually couldn’t take it anymore and had one of the writers try to handle Bill.
It can be difficult to manage your emotions, and the manifestation of those emotions, during divorce. Remember that emotions will (and should!) come out — the trick is to pick the correct environment. Rather than lay it all on your (wonderful but untrained) friends, family, and coworkers, find a mental health professional. You will get the emotional release you need, guidance on how to negotiate a trying time, and — perhaps best of all — won’t jeopardize your personal relationships in the process.
2. Do Be Like Bill Murray, Make a Shift
Many people have a Groundhound Day like experience as they are contemplating divorce. Their relationship repeats the same pattern, over and over. They experience the same pain and frustration, over and over.
In the end of the movie, Bill examined his life and priorities and made a shift to what he decided mattered most to him. Be like Bill, think carefully and decide whether to make a shift. Move on, and build the foundation for a fulfilling life.
Oh, and happy birthday, Dad!
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