I’M TOO ASHAMED TO ASK FOR HELP

The past few weeks have left me feeling completely emotionally and physically drained.

Apart from my family and friends, the two most important things in my life are my work and my relationship.

Both of these two things have thrown me into turmoil and I have hit what felt like ‘rock bottom’ as I started running my usual pattern of dealing with problems and challenges.

I have virtually withdrawn from the world as I internalise and process what to do about where I find myself.

I have shed tears at night, tears of frustration, tears of sadness and tears of loss, and moments of doubt about my ability to help anyone.

This very intensely private part of Jenny Smith is opening up to you all.  I felt compelled to come clean about myself.

Some of you may know that I was married at 19, my parents were separating at the time and my dad stayed until after my wedding when he left with his ‘lady friend.’  He left my mum with no money, no job and nowhere to go other than pack up what belongings she had and leave with my bother and sister to move back to her home town to be with where her brother and sisters lived, 1000’s miles away.

This was a particularly difficult time for everyone as all of our lives had been turned upside down.

Over the next few years I had to grow up very quickly.  There were aspects of my marriage that were so far removed from my fantasy of ‘happily ever after,’ and I spent years too ashamed and embarrassed to tell anyone what was going on or ask for help.  I lived with fear and anxiety and a constant knot in my stomach.  I shut down emotionally, I built a solid brick wall all around me to keep me safe from the world around me.  I put on a different face to world and many people believed I had everything a women could possibly ever want.

I am a great mum, I love my kids and my grandkids, they were and are my world.

Over time things became a whole lot better, we both grew up and created a better relationship but there was always a part of me that had died in those early years and she never fully resurfaced.

Fast forward many years.

I created a new life for myself, I discovered my passion, my purpose and the gifts I have been given to me to share with the world – for this I am so very grateful.  I don’t have the words to describe how this makes me feel, I do however have a burning desire to help other women discover and share their gifts because together we can make this world a better place and we need women to fully step into their power now more than any other time in history.

There have been plenty of challenging times over the years, and also some wonderful experiences including – a relationship that taught me so much about love and intimacy that I will hold dear to my heart forever, a hiatus of about 5 or 6 years learning to be totally a peace with discovering more about who I am, being on my own and living in one of the most perfect places in the world to heal and grow.

Throughout all of the challenges and road bumps I have encountered there has been this underlying theme or pattern consistent with ‘how I do things’.  The underlying belief behind this has been a belief that the only person I can really ever trust is me.  I don’t reach out to the people who know me and love me to share what goes on in my world in those moments when I hit ‘rock bottom.’  And I have the most amazing friends, many who are also incredibly skilled coaches and change workers who would do anything for me, if only I asked for help.

As a result of all this self-absorption and self-reflection over the past couple of weeks I received a message loud and clear.

I woke up early yesterday morning to hear these words.   “If you don’t reach out to ask for help how do you expect all of these women, these women who are themselves emotionally and physically drained, who are trying to make sense of their world being torn apart, to come to you, to reach out to you, to ask you to share the gifts we have given you.

Your thoughts, comments, personal story or suggestions are important to me, email me: jenny@divorcedwomensclub.com.au

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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THE ADVENTURE CALLED WOMANHOOD

This one is dedicated to all the amazing women in the Divorced Women’s Club Members Lounge.

A young wife sat on a sofa on a hot humid day 
drinking iced tea as she visited with her mother. As 

they talked about life, about marriage, about the 

responsibilities of life and the obligations of

 adulthood, the mother clinked the ice cubes in her 

glass thoughtfully and turned a clear, sober glance

 upon her daughter.

Don’t forget your sisters,’ she advised, swirling 

the tea leaves to the bottom of her glass. ‘They’ll

 be more important as you get older. No matter how 

much you love your husband, no matter how much you 

love the children you may have, you are still going

 to need sisters.

Remember to go places with them now

 and then; do things with them.’



’Remember that ‘sisters’ means ALL the women, your girlfriends, your daughters, and all your other 

women relatives too. ‘You’ll need other women. Women 

always do.

‘



What a funny piece of advice!’ the young woman

 thought.

Haven’t I just gotten married?

Haven’t I just joined the couple-world?

I’m now a 

married woman, for goodness sake! A grownup! Surely 

my husband and the family we may start will be all I 

need to make my life worthwhile!’

But she listened to her mother. She kept contact

 with her sisters and made more women friends each 

year. As the years tumbled by, one after another,
 she gradually came to understand that her mother really

 knew what she was talking about.

As time and nature

 work their changes and their mysteries upon a woman, sisters are the mainstays of her life.

THIS SAYS IT ALL:

  • Time passes
  • Life happens
  • Distance separates
  • Children grow up
  • Jobs come and go
  • Love waxes and wanes
  • Men don’t do what they’re supposed to do
  • Hearts break
  • Parents die
  • Colleagues forget favours
  • Careers end

BUT………



Sisters are there, no matter how much time and how

 many miles are

 between you. A girl friend is never farther away

 than needing her can reach.

When you have to walk that lonesome valley and you

 have to walk it by yourself, the women in your life

 will be on the valley’s rim, cheering you on, 

praying for you, pulling for you, intervening on 

your behalf, and waiting with open arms at the

 valley’s end.  Sometimes, they will even break the rules and walk

 beside you….Or come in and carry you out.

Girlfriends, daughters, granddaughters, 

daughters-in-law, sisters, sisters-in-law, Mothers,

 Grandmothers, aunties, nieces, cousins, and extended 

family all bless our life!

The world wouldn’t be the same without women, and

 neither would I. When we began this adventure called

 womanhood, we had no idea of the incredible joys or

 sorrows that lay ahead.

Nor did we know how much we

 would need each other.

Every day, we need each other still.

Your thoughts, comments, personal story or suggestions are important to me.

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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ADDICTED TO PORN

There are of course many forms of addiction that impact on relationships, this blog is about addiction to internet porn.

Over the past month or so I have had conversations with three different women about a serious problem they were experiencing in their relationships.

Their partners were addicted to internet porn, could no longer be intimate with them or get an erection.  It’s a serious problem, it’s not going to go away and I have serious concerns for the young men of today who are growing up with access to internet porn who may never be able to engage in a loving, intimate relationship.

I did some research on the subject and found this information on manupproject.com.au which describes the circumstances from a man’s perspective much better than I ever could.

In this post I wanted to take a closer look at a particular type of addiction that is gripping men and having devastating effects on their relationship and their own health.

At the click of a button men can have access to thousands and thousands of images of a pornographic nature. John Mayer, who is quite open about his porn addiction, once said that it’s not unusual for him to be able to see 300 vagina’s before he gets out of bed in the morning. Was that possible prior to high speed internet? Of course not but it is now.

So let’s paint the scene for you. A man has been using sex, masturbation and porn for most of his adult life to help himself deal with the low grade depression/anxiety that he has been feeling. He works from home which is adding to the feelings of anxiety. He begins to watch more and more porn looking for the perfect video flicking from one to another trying to get his fantasy fulfilled.

He is partial to young women so his search is usually for this. After a period of time the videos he used to watch no longer get him aroused so he searches for harder hits to try and get himself off. His partner, who isn’t 18 years old, begins to notice a downward turn in their sex life with her partner making excuses to avoid intimacy as he is no longer turned on by her and struggles to get and keep and erection during intercourse with her. Before long the relationship is in ruins with both parties blaming the other and there is a tremendous amount of pain and blame.

This is a snapshot of a very real problem that’s facing many couples. In my last blog we looked at the brain chemicals that are released during pleasurable activities and how that can end up becoming quite literally a survival response in the downward spiral to addiction. We might think of addiction as being substance abuse like alcohol and drugs but porn fits this substance list perfectly.

Once you start to flood the system with enough dopamine to take down a baby rhino your body begins to reduce the amount of receptors so you have to search for harder and harder forms of pornographic material to find it pleasurable. Only problem being that your partner isn’t likely going to want to enact what you’re viewing on the computer. The jack hammering, dominating and often violent scenes that men watch, and literally rewire their brains, are a far cry from what women want in bed leaving them feeling unmet and unloved.

The other scary part of porn addiction is the rewiring of the brain. If you expose yourself to a stimulus enough times (think 18 year old porn stars. Barely legal) then your brain starts to make these new connections permanent pathways and before long you can only get turned on by young women. I’ve seen this happen to middle aged men with porn addiction and they are no longer turned on by women of their age. The only problem is that they can’t connect emotionally to young women so they have this split and struggle to find love and lust in the same person.

This is not just a very serious problem for young boys and men, it can also impact on young women in a very negative way as they struggle with their own sexuality issues and wanting to please a man.

So what’s the answer?

Education?  Is that enough or is there more that can be done? I sure don’t have the answers!

I would however, love to hear what you have to say on this subject, open discussion brings more awareness to the seriousness of this problem.

To see more on this topic go to manupproject.com.au

Your thoughts, comments, personal story or suggestions are important to me.

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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BYRON KATIE JUST WANTS YOU TO BE HAPPY!

I found this article on the Huntington Post – a little more insight into the woman behind the name Byron Katie.

Byron Katie just wants you to be happy. She doesn’t know you, but she believes she can help you find your happiness, and countless of her fans and followers would agree. She also thinks that helping you find happiness goes a long way in solving the myriad problems in the world. She’s been on Oprah. Tony Robbins is a fan and incorporates her work into his own teachings. Her methods are remarkably simple; she only asks that you question your own thoughts and that you accept reality for what it really is. You will wonder why you never thought of it.

An unusual woman with an unusual name, Byron Katie is leading a revolution of the mind. Although she might never identify it as such, she is espousing a form of meta-cognition, a way of thinking about thinking. Are your thoughts a true reflection of the reality around you, or do they come unbidden from your unconscious? Can you trust what your own mind tells you? Byron Katie would say no. She would ask you to question each thought as it comes, to mull it over and put it to the test. And then she would ask you to take that further, to ponder the opposite of that thought, and whether that “turnaround,” in fact, might be a truer version of reality. This processes she calls THE WORK’.

I had the opportunity to see Byron Katie speak in person at the Omega Institute NYC Conference, and I have also been reading her book I Need Your Love — Is That True?

Both were eye-opening, I might even say life-changing, experiences for me. The Work is a series of four questions that you apply to each stressful, unhappy, or counterproductive thought that comes into your mind. Take, for example, the thought “I am such a pushover,” which you might have after being taken advantage of by someone you love or trust.

Is it true?
This is only a simple yes or no question, either I am a pushover or I am not ­– in objective reality without adding my own filters and biases.

Can you absolutely know that it is true?
This is also a yes or no question but requires more thinking. Who is to say what constitutes being “a pushover”? Perhaps being a pushover to one person is seeking or receiving just the right amount of guidance to another. If I cannot definitively say that it is true, then the answer is no.

How do you react — what happens — when you believe that thought?
How does this thought make me feel and behave? If I worry that I am easily manipulated, I may beat myself up in my relationships and unnecessarily put walls up. I criticize myself. And I begin to resent the other person because I can’t put my guard down around them.

Who would you be without the thought? If that thought never existed, how would I feel and behave? If I never had to worry about being a pushover, I could live more freely. I wouldn’t put my guard up in my relationships, and I would allow myself to be vulnerable and who I really am. I would feel better about myself.

The Turnaround:
Now comes the point where Byron Katie asks you to take the opposite of your thought and mull it over. One turnaround might be: “I am not at all a pushover.” Is this any truer than the original statement? Can I think of any examples in which this is true? Another turnaround might be that my spouse/partner/parent/coworker is the one who is a pushover. In this way, I could come to see that everyone can be manipulated at times, and that this is normal. I can see that I am not “such” a pushover at all, and that I am letting the fear of being controlled actually control me. I can begin to let these thoughts go and no longer criticize myself or others. And so the stress associated with the thought of being such a pushover would no longer exist.

What Bryon Katie is offering is a method of self-inquiry that allows us to free ourselves from the anger and negativity we feel when we accept our thoughts, unquestioned, as true. We cause much of our own suffering by believing what our minds tell us. If we can see that certain thoughts are the cause of our own unhappiness, we can begin to let go and be free of them.

Questioning these thoughts, putting them to the test of The Work, is a form of enlightenment.

If the unexamined life is not worth living, perhaps the unexamined thought is not worth thinking.

Test this out for yourself – I have! It is always interesting when I examine the things that come up for me and the resistance I have to letting some things go.

 

Your thoughts, comments, personal story or suggestions are important to me.

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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LETTING GO!

Letting Go!

‘After 15 years I still think about him all the time’.

‘I still wear my wedding ring, I never take it off.’

‘I just can’t get over that fact that he left me for a much younger woman.’

I could go on and create a very long list of statements I have heard from some of my clients or in general conversation with someone who knows what work I do.

So many women and men are caught up in the past and unable to move on with their lives?  Unable to accept that the relationship has ended and life as they once knew it is over.

Many still living with blame, anger, resentment and regret for far too many years.

Who are they trying to punish?  And who are they really hurting?

I absolutely love my work and this is something that both frustrates and saddens me.

None of us know how long we have on this earth.  And yet we go about our day-to day lives as if we will live forever.  We talk about all the things we will do, one day!

Each one of us will, one day look back and wish we had done more, played more, risked more, danced more, laughed more and loved more.  We will all have those moments of regret for something we did or didn’t do but to put your whole like on hold, to hit the pause button so you can hang onto your story for years and years about how you were treated, or how much you suffered seems to me such a waste.

Letting go is a choice. Never letting go is also a choice.

If you enjoy reading, than I suggest that you  grab a copy of ‘The Language of Letting Go” by Melody Beattie.  A great book to help you with any number of issues that are all a natural part of being human.

I know many of you struggle with this so keep your eye out for more on this topic in upcoming blog posts.

Your thoughts, comments, personal story or suggestions are important to me.

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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