WILL I STAY OR WILL I GO?

According to ‘statistics’ about 1/5th of all people in relationships can’t decide whether to stay or leave.  That’s 2 people in every 10 in a relationship are not sure whether they want to stay with their partner.  Now every relationship has it’s moments when things are pretty rocky, life, work, kids and unexpected events deal some challenging blows from time to time and many couples manage to work through these times together.  However, living every day with the internal struggle going on is not a great place to be and many people, (myself included) spend a few years sorting the why’s, the what if’s, the if only’s as well as the conflict of violating their values around family.

Let’s explore this ‘will I stay or will I leave’ dilemma in more detail.

For me it really was a case of weighing up the pros and cons at the time and attempting to make the decision based on how these balanced out for me – using logic clearly was not the right approach and never one that I would recommend anyone to use, the scales will tip from one to the other on any given day and living in a constant state of ambivalence is mentally and emotionally draining.

Ambivalence in your heart is another matter entirely and goes hand and hand with the distance you will be feeling in your relationship. From my personal experience when you get to this point you no longer want to spend much time with your partner, you talk less and less about important things, both parties end up emotionally detached and the distance between you gets wider and wider.

Here’s the thing!

Your relationship is either too good to leave or too bad to stay, it can never be both and the problem for most people in this situation is not knowing how to really figure out what to do.

Here are some questions to help you get to the heart of the matter, questions for you to ponder that may help you get more clarity and in turn help you reach a decision one way or the other. I would suggest that you write down your answers to each question and come back to them a few days later and see if there is anything you would change or add to your responses.

    1. Take yourself back to when things were at there best between you. Would you now say that things were really, really good?
    2. Has there been more than one incidence of physical violence in your relationship?
    3. Have you already thought about what a course of action that excludes your partner? (In other words have you been mentally preparing to leave?)
    4. If God or some omniscient being said it was okay to leave, would you feel tremendously relieved and have a strong sense that finally you would end your relationship?
    5. In spite of your problems do you and your partner have at least one pleasurable activity or interest (besides children) you currently share and look forward to sharing in the future, that you both like and gives a feeling of closeness?
    6. Are you in a relationship with a power person? If so, then any and all of your needs are a threat to his power. If ever you do get what you want is it such an ordeal that you don’t even feel it was worth all the effort?
    7. Do you have a basic, recurring feeling of humiliation or invisibility in your relationship?
    8. Have you gotten to the point when your partner says something that you usually feel it’s more likely that he’s lying than that he’s telling the truth?
    9. Do you feel willing to give your partner more than you’re giving already, and are you willing to do this the way things are between you now without any expectation of being paid back?
    10. Do both you and your partner want to touch each other and look forward to touching each other? Things like kissing, hugging, holding hands, cuddling. Taking into consideration that some people are just not the touchy feelie type have you or your partner moved to the point where there is no physical affection?

Ideally for couples going through a difficult time in their relationship couple therapy can be very helpful, however this will only ever be productive if both parties are fully committed to the process and in many cases one of the people involved has already made the decision internally and hasn’t been clearly articulated verbally.  Any signs of resistance to this process or other suggestions to work through problems together I would see as red flags.

If you have been struggling to come to terms with an inner discontent for some time and you have reached the threshold and ready now to step over it, if you know there is no going back, then you have reached the tipping point, when you know you are done.

Connect with me by clicking the link below to find out the next steps you need to take before you speak to a lawyer.

Visit our website: https://www.divorcedwomensclub.com.au

Schedule a time to chat with Jenny Schedule Appointment

Jenny is an advocate and champion for women rediscovering themselves through the process of divorce.

HINDSIGHT

I  was speaking to my daughter last night about the Steps To Separation Workshops we are running and she said she thought some people might be too embarrassed or ashamed to go along to a workshop either before they leave a relationship or in the early stages of separation.   And I get it!

I didn’t want anyone to know what was going on for me and I didn’t really talk to anyone about it for way too long.  Pride, shame, embarrassed, confused, lost and very, very lonely are just some of the emotions and feelings I was experiencing at that time.

When it comes to separating from someone you loved and shared a very big part of your life with many of the choices and decisions that most people make are emotionally driven, so many things said in anger, and this is like adding fuel to a fire that is already out of control.

With hindsight what would I have done differently.

With hindsight I would have reached out for help rather than keeping everything bottled up inside.

With hindsight I would have spoken to professionals before my marriage had reached that ‘tipping point.’

With hindsight I would not have turned to my friends, some of whom had been divorced, to seek their advice.

With hindsight I would have spoken to professionals about the divorce process.

With hindsight I would have done many things differently and perhaps with hindsight there would be fewer regrets that appear from time to time.

With hindsight the choices I made have had a massive influence on my life and those closest to me.

Ultimately there are always consequences with decisions and choices we make. Every decision and choice sets us off onto a particular path and once on this path it is rare that we can undo what we have done.

We can take detours along the way but inevitably the journey will take longer than necessary, there will be more obstacles and challenges than there need to be, more people get hurt, and the people we love the most get caught in the middle.

If you are about to head out on the separation and divorce journey, STOP, BREATHE, pick up the phone and give me a call.

If you would like to chat to Jenny about anything at all, even your favourite wine click here to schedule a time https://calendly.com/jenny-smith-1/what-s-going-on-in-your-world

HOW DOES YOUR LANGUAGE INFLUENCE HOW YOU FEEL?

I’m always interested in the metaphors people use to describe what is going on in their lives little realising that the language we use whether that is the way we talk to ourselves, about ourselves or about what is going on in our lives actually shape our experience and perceptions and hold such power over how we manage some of life’s challenges.

On a Soul.TV episode I had a viewer write in with the following, “I have experienced a run of incidents that impacted me negatively and turned my life upside down. I want to know whether these events were all ‘part of the plan,’ because I am struggling to cope with my life.

As a coach my job is to dig deeper to get to the heart of what is really going on for my clients. In this particular example we don’t know what those run of incidents were, exactly how they impacted her negatively and what her life being turned upside down looks like. There is also a whole lot of very important information missing from the question she asked and there would be a whole lot of questions I would be asking to help her gain more insight, investigate further the mysterious ‘plan’ and in the process she may realise that she has inadvertently given responsibility for taking control of her life over to some nebulous ‘plan.’

We don’t always like or want the things that happen in our lives, our partner decides to leave us, we are made redundant in our job, we are impacted by financial circumstances, someone we love dearly gets ill, all of these things are part of the human experiences and out of our control.

I do believe however that the biggest difference in people are those who take personal responsibility for their life, their decisions, good and bad, and question themselves and their actions.  ‘What is the lesson here for me?,’ “What could I have done differently?” Using language that is empowering will help find solutions to  problems and discover the steps to take to change the things that are simply not working well.

Over the next week or two take particular notice of the language you use on a daily basis. If you find yourself using metaphors to describe something, write them down and think about what they mean to you and also pay particular attention to the way your language affects the way you feel and what events and circumstances show up during the day.

Jenny xx

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If you would like to chat to Jenny about anything at all, even your favourite wine click here to schedule a time https://calendly.com/jenny-smith-1/what-s-going-on-in-your-world

 

 

Got Kids? Getting Divorced? – Guest Author Amy Bell Shares Some Insights

Our special guest Author Amy Bell shares some words of wisdom.

So, for whatever reasons, you and your partner have decided you don’t want to be together anymore and you want to know the best course of action for your kids.

Do you want to avoid having kids who are stressed, anxious, upset and conflicted?

Would you like your kids to feel as secure, supported and happy as possible during this time of transition?

Do you want to experience less stressful days, move on and settle into your new circumstances faster?

Divorce is an incredible opportunity to powerfully demonstrate particular beliefs about the world, how things work and what is possible to your children. What is it that you would like to demonstrate to your children? Do you want children who believe that when a marriage ends it is a painful experience, ? Do you want children who know that when life doesn’t go to plan you can adapt and move on to the next wonderful thing?

That human beings hurt each other and are controlled by their emotions or that human beings are supportive, flexible, adaptable, resilient and resourceful. How are you going about demonstrating that through your current behaviour and interactions with your ex, your children and your other family members and friends?

Find a way to continue to love your ex as the father of your children. This is the best thing you can do for your kids right now. He is their father and they love him. His relationship with them is just as important as yours is with them. Show respect for the bond between them. Show respect for your children and their feelings. If you diss their father it hurts them. You can go to a girlfriends place who you know you can trust to keep it between you and vent all you like. Make sure her kids are not there. You think you can get away with a few bad words about their father on the phone because your kids are watching tv? To one of the mums or teachers at school? You can’t. Kids pick up on everything. They see you. They hear you. And if it’s not your own kids it’ll be someone else’s that heard it from somewhere and when it gets back to your kids it hurts them. Besides, it won’t do you any favours either. Remember what you want to demonstrate to your children. Are you operating from this space?

Here’s an quick little exercise to play with: Replay either an interaction between you and someone else where you have talked about your ex or an interaction between you and your ex. Step back and see yourself there. See the interaction playing out between these two people. Notice what you are communicating both verbally and non verbally. Notice the tone in your voice, your physiology, muscle tension etc. What are you demonstrating to your kids and the world in your behaviour during these interactions?

During your initial conversations with your children set some frames for what they can expect during the days and weeks to come. Explain that there may be days when you are upset, stressed, etc and that’s ok. They’re all perfectly reasonable emotions and that even when you’re upset, you’re ok. This is temporary and it will pass. Explain that it’s ok for them to feel whatever they’re feeling too. Have some discussion around what is expected of everyone and how you can best go about supporting each other during this time.

And look, you will have your moments. It’s perfectly ok to let your kids know that you’re having a tough day, in fact I would encourage you to communicate this to your children when you do. Meaning makers that we are, the more open we can be about how we’re feeling leaves less room for other people to make up their own meanings about that. If we notice that someone is upset or angry, it is very easy to make that mean that we are to blame. Kids can make all kinds of assumptions, that it is something that they did to make you upset, or something their father did. When you explain that you are upset, they don’t need to know the details. Keep it chunked up, don’t burden them with your worries or make it about their father. “I’m adjusting to our new circumstances” , “I’m problem solving” “there are a lot of details to work out when people get divorced and I’m feeling overwhelmed” whatever it may be. And remind them that this is temporary. It won’t hurt to remind yourself of this either.

And here’s the good news, human beings ARE incredibly resilient and adaptable and each of us possess a wealth of internal resources that assist us in challenging times. How you approach this time of transition as a family is up to you.

This is some very general advice and I recognise and appreciate that every set of circumstances, every parent and every child are unique. I don’t believe in a one size fits all and my approach in my coaching work is very much tailored and customised to suit each individual client. If you would like some personalised advice or if there’s ever anything I can help you with, please feel free to get in touch with me any time.

If you would like to chat to Jenny about anything at all, even your favourite wine click here to schedule a time https://calendly.com/jenny-smith-1/what-s-going-on-in-your-world

DAMNED IF YOU DO AND DAMNED IF YOU DON’T

My clients are so open and forthcoming about the very private details of their lives, they allow themselves to be raw and vulnerable, to express their thoughts and feelings honestly.  For many of them the decision to end the relationship was not theirs to make, it had already been done and they were left to deal with the fallout, facing an uncertain and unknown future.

For the ones who are unhappy and dissatisfied with their relationship, struggling with a feeling of unrest and discontent it’s like being caught between a rock and a hard place.

Reaching that point where there are one of two choices to be made, the day you realise the pain of staying will be greater than the pain of leaving and choosing to step off the edge into an uncertain and unknown future.

Like many women who find themselves in this situation, I had unconsciously distanced myself emotionally and physically for a number of years until one day I crossed that threshold, that point of no return, I had reached my ‘tipping point.’  That one more thing when in an instant I knew I was done and I also knew it was a case of damned if I do and damned if I don’t.

The fallout of this decision spread far and wide as very close family and life long friends distanced themselves, as I watched my children hurting so much that it broke my heart, as rumors spread and as my husband did everything he could to salvage our marriage knowing that I had reached the point of no return.

If you find yourself caught between a rock and a hard place, in a position where you are struggling to make a choice between two possible alternatives, before you do anything else it is important for you to get very clear about your decision, once you choose to walk a different path there is no turning back.

Knowing what I know now and having someone in my corner to support me, someone to walk the path with me, to help me navigate through this time would have made an incredible difference to me and to my life.

To help you with whatever is going on in your life right now, some area of your life where you may be feeling some internal conflict, this exercise will help you gain more clarity and help you redirect your focus towards what you want to be different.

CLARITY THROUGH CONTRAST

  • Take a sheet of paper, draw a line down the middle and on the left hand side write the word CONTRAST, on the right hand side write the word CLARITY
  • Fold the paper in half and only work on the Contrast Column. Make a list of all the things you feel are ‘wrong’ with your partner and your relationship, the longer the list the better.  Spend the time to work through this, come back to it over a few days and keep adding more things as they come to mind.
  • Once you have run out of things to write, open the paper and as you read each item on the Contrast list one at a time, write what it is you do want and how you would like things to be different.
  • Having completed both columns, fold the paper again and now only look at the list in the Clarity column and read through each one of them, make any changes as they come up for you.
  • There are several benefits to using a simple and easy exercise like this, it will assist your decision making, it may even open up the opportunity to begin a different conversation with your partner.

Example: “I feel taken for granted,” in the Clarity column “I want to feel appreciated.”

Remember: You cannot unring a bell!   Once something has been said or done and the wheels are in motion it cannot be undone.

 

Jenny is an absolute advocate and champion for women rediscovering themselves through the process of divorce.

If you’d love a quick chat with Jenny about anything, even your favourite wine, click here.  Jenny will be in touch as soon as she’s finished.

Show Me The Money! The Only Way To Mediate Property Settlement.

When couples separate, there are financial issues which need to be discussed and resolved. Usually issues regarding payment of expenses, income and property. Some are urgent and need immediate attention and others are longer term decisions about how to separate the financial arrangements on a permanent and final basis. Making these decisions can be emotionally draining and complex. This is where the mediation process can prove extremely helpful and mutually beneficial. Negotiating property and financial matters can be stressful and overwhelming especially where there are short term financial pressures to pay bills and conflict about how to fairly distribute any assets. It can even be distressing if the other person has been in control of the finances and you feel in the dark.

Here are some things to think about to prepare yourself for the mediation process regarding money.

  1. Make a list of all your bills that are coming up.
  2. Even if you can’t prepare a cashflow of your family and personal expenses and when they fall due just make a list of all the expenses you know about on an annual, monthly and weekly basis. Mediation can address the urgent issues first so that everyone has peace of mind to focus on the long term division of the property.
  3. Identifying what is included in the property pool.

Property of a relationship will include:

All assets (things you own) held by you and your former partner in joint or separate names such as:

  • Family home, holiday home or rental properties
  • Investments like shares and companies
  • Cars and boats
  • Furniture and household effects from stereos to cups and saucers that you want to keep
  • Personal items like jewellery and musical instruments that you want to keep.

All assets in your own or your former partner’s control such as:

  • any business, company or trust
  • superannuation
  • a share in an extended family business or investment property.

All debts in joint or separate names such as:

  • mortgage debts
  • credit cards
  • hire purchase agreements.

It needs to include everything including any property held in your own name prior to entering into the relationship, or property you have acquired since separation.

Negotiating the division of the pool by way of a property agreement.

The best way to divide your assets is through a mutually negotiated property agreement in mediation. This allows you to be part of the decision making process and helps to minimise the cost of lawyers and avoid a negative outcome through court. It will be much quicker and less emotional for you and your children, helping you to move on quickly with less to deal with.

Think about your main concerns and wishes about your property division, consider who has contributed what to your property and life together and your personal future financial needs right now and tomorrow for you and any children. Your mediator will ask you questions about your financial circumstances and financial needs. You will need to prepare for the joint session of mediation to resolve your property agreement. You may wish to break it into separate parts or deal with everything on the one day. How that is done will be designed by you with the mediator. The preparation will involve further gathering of information, exchanging documentations and starting to weigh up your options before the joint session.

Formalising the agreement to achieve a property settlement.

Once you have agreed on how the expenses are to be paid and a property settlement it is still the law to have the financial agreement legally formalised. It is not generally possible to change your mind and seek a different property agreement once it is done and dusted. Once you are satisfied with the outcome, you can sign the financial agreement as a Deed or file the documents with the Court if you are signing Consent Orders. This is the milestone to moving forward.

Reaching a mutually agreeable property settlement should be your main aim when you attend mediation. Approaching your mediation with an open mind and an attitude of willingness to reach an agreement will assist the process of settlement to progress with as little angst or as few roadblocks as possible. No one wants the issues of a financial arrangement to be more difficult or emotional than it already is, so with preparation, co-operation and some thought concerning your part in the process it will go a long way towards reaching the agreement which is mutually beneficial and helpful in moving forward without Court.

Is it time to get creative about how you mediate your money disputes?
Contact SHAW Mediation and let’s talk about how we can help you.

Shaw Mediation Services

Level 36 Riparian Plaza
71 Eagle Street
Brisbane QLD 4000
Phone: 1300 768 496
mediate@shawmediation.com.au

Level 30/91 King William Street
Adelaide SA 5000
Phone: 1300 768 496
mediate@shawmediation.com.au

Level 26, 44 Market St
Sydney NSW 2000
Phone: 1300 768 496
mediate@shawmediation.com.au

CHASING YOUR DREAMS OR RUNNING FROM DEMONS?

This is the first in a series of posts by K.M Harris who is an aspiring Writer from New Zealand with connections to the Ngapuhi tribe, and tribes in the Bay of Plenty and East Coast regions. ‘Real experiences from real people’ is the kind of writing she enjoys producing and ‘reality reads’ is what she calls it.  I am delighted to have her on board as a guest blogger.

Before the start line.
‘Chasing your dreams or running from demons?’ is a quote I read off the back of an old man’s t-shirt at the start line of the 2013 Sydney Blackmores Half Marathon. Hundreds of people gathered at Milsons Point that crisp, early September spring morning for the start of what would be another leg-killing race, but nothing could’ve frozen me more than the words scribbled on that mans t-shirt.

‘Chasing your dreams or running from demons?’
The words spoke to me.
The words spoke to me loud and clear.
The words spoke to me loud and clear as if the Devil wanted to screw with my head right before the race like he’d kinda already done in the previous 3 years – and didn’t want me to forget it. To have a reality confront me in such a strong but subtle way, made me think how I’d not prepared myself for such a mental curveball, because the truth was, in that very moment, I was doing both; chasing my dreams in Sydney to pursue my creative writing, whilst secretly running from the demons that plagued me from my DIVORCE.

And #divorce and #running is why you – the reader – and I – the writer are here today. I’m here to share my journey of divorce paralleling my running adventures, in the hope that my story reaches out to HELP women (and men if it resonates with them) going through a separation or divorce, or even a major relationship break up. I can’t say my posts will have all the answers, but through my own lived experience, they will provide an insight to hopefully encourage and uplift you through your situation.

Doing a time-jump from 2013 to 2011 will take us both to the outdoor dining area of a home in Titrangi, New Zealand owned by a very good Army Sister of mine and her (now ex) husband. In mine and Julzi’s company was another dear Army Sister of ours who I hadn’t seen since I left the New Zealand Army in 2007.

Side note: yes, I am ex military. I joined the New Zealand Army in 2002 and after serving and working for them as a soldier and civilian at Linton Military Camp, decided to leave and move to Australia with my ex-husband to pursue the riches of the MINES.

Back to Titirangi to the glowing fire that flickered before Julzi, Aroha and I and our glasses of Muscato wine that we sipped….

I’m not sure if it were ‘liquid courage’ that prompted us to talk deeply about mine and Aroha’s separations, or if the depth of our hearts crying out was why we opened up, but we touched on our heartache situations that night and it really hit me hard. Months beforehand, I had searched the internet tirelessly for stories on women who had been through divorce because I wanted to HELP myself going through the lead up to mine…but found nothing!
Nothing.
Anywhere.

So the conversation I had with Julzi and Aroha that night provoked me to say ‘I want to write stories on women going through divorce to help other women going through it too’ because I knew I wasn’t the only woman in the world searching for such stories.

Fast forward to May 2012 where in the dining room of the place I was living at the time in Henderson, Auckland, I stood opening an envelope containing my divorce papers. My marriage was officially dissolved as per the court document in my hand from Western Australia where it was filed, and at 28 years old, one other thing became official too; I was BROKEN.

Yes, I broke down and wept on the spot almost as perfectly as what Hollywood would portray in a drama movie and yes, I didn’t go to work for a few days afterwards because I physically, mentally and emotionally couldn’t. The onset of depression at 28 years old was on its way to becoming RIFE in my LIFE.

But as much as I held the papers to the end of my life in my hands (at that point in time) little did I know that I actually cradled a golden ticket that in time, would show it’s real beauty to me. A week after I received my divorce papers, I began applying for work overseas so I could help myself through it away from my family and friends and everything that reminded me of my marriage. To be honest, I didn’t know what else to do because I’d tried counselling and had done the whole ‘apologising and owning my wrongs’ thing, but nothing seemed to help. On top of that, I really did want to write the stories I had mentioned to Julzi and Aroha, but knew New Zealand wasn’t the place to make that happen.

So in June 2012, after 3 weeks of doing medical tests and successfully gaining my maritime ticket to work on cruise ships, I left New Zealand permanently to work out of Sydney on P&O Cruises as Youth Security and eventually, a Ship Security Specialist. This incredible journey of connecting with international people whilst concurrently gaining some healing from the security team I became close to, eventually led me to setting up residence in Sydney, Australia where I have been since.

And that is why I say the quote I saw that September morning back in 2013, confronted me and resonated with me hugely, because after all I had been through, I truly was chasing my dreams and running from my demons.

Running and divorce (or long-term relationship break ups) are – in my opinion – very similar; both are painful, but depending on how you deal with them, both are extremely rewarding too. Like anything, it’s up to you as to how YOU look at it, and how you go through the process of getting through it.

A run – whether it be a few kilometres or an ultra marathon race – takes effort when trying to get to something as simple as the start line. The mind has to be in #starplayer mode, and you have to know that as much as it’s not going to be easy to run the distance, it’s going to be ‘ok’. The same is with a permanent relationship disconnection, it takes effort to get up everyday knowing your new journey is going to be WITHOUT that significant other person. Life won’t be the same anymore, and you will go through hills of heartache, plateaus of monotony, and slopes of the soul and spirit tumbling downhill. But you must know in your heart and mind, that everything will be ‘ok’ and the journey has it’s purpose and higher reason in your life.

So over the next few months, I want to share how my divorce parallels my actual love for running, and the physical, nutritional and recovery training I’ve already done, and am yet to do. As of this morning, I have a goal time of 1 hour, 45 minutes and 12 seconds to beat in a half marathon, and with every ounce of MANA I have in me, I am determined to CRUSH it. In the process, I hope my posts encourage you the reader, to work through your relationship break-up and hopefully get yourself outside in the fresh air to help find yourself in that way too. Put your technology on pause for an hour or two and GIVE yourself some selfish goodness by getting your heart rate up with a bit of exercise.

Lastly, please watch Simon Sineick’s TED talk on ‘How great leaders inspire action.’ He touches on doing things from a ‘WHY’ purpose instead of a ‘WHAT’ reason which when you watch it, will make total sense. I constantly go back to my ‘WHY’ all the time to make sure I’m doing right by me first and foremost, so with writing these posts for you, please know my ‘why’ purpose for doing so, is to genuinely help you through your situation.

On my business card, a quote by Norman B. Rice reads:Dare to reach out your hand into the Darkness, to pull another hand into the Light’ which I found on the internet in 2011 when I was searching for ‘reality reads’ on divorce. As I mentioned earlier, I didn’t find any stories, but I did find that quote that’s resonated with me ever since.

So having pulled myself out of my Darkness into the Light, I hope to genuinely help you through yours. Now that I’ve overcome my demons, I think it’s fair to say 100%, that I’m on my way to chasing my DREAMS, so join me on my ‘race’ if you will…

As they say in the NZSAS – who dares, WINS!

With love and kindness always,

K.M Harris.

FAMILY PHOTOS ESSENTIAL FOR CHILDREN OF DIVORCE

My parents separated when I was 19, Dad moved on with his new lady, I saw him twice over the next 20 years.  He passed away unexpectedly and when we asked his ‘wife’ if we could have his photos she declined.  I have two photos of my dad, no family photos including photos of my childhood.

Divorced or divorcing parents take a moment to read this.

Guest post by Rosalind Sedacca 
I read a poignant comment on a blog recently written by a married mother of three. She was a child of divorce whose father moved out of the home when she was four. She talks about having very few pictures of herself as a child and only one of her mother and father together. Her grandfather found and gave her the photo just a few years ago. She framed it and has proudly displayed it in her home for her own children to see.

She explains how special that one photo of her with Mom and Dad is to her. It shows a little girl sitting happily on a lawn with her “real” family – before the divorce.

This woman grieves that she has no other photographs of her father and so few pictures of her childhood. She assumes that her mother hid or destroyed all other photos, “possibly to protect my stepparents’ feelings” as she moved on into other chapters in her life.

She goes on to send a message to all divorced parents who are transitioning into blended families. She stresses the importance of keeping previous family photographs to give to your children at the appropriate time – and not throwing them away. She implores people who are marrying men or women with children to “be the grownup” and acknowledge that children of divorce have other relationships that are meaningful and important to them.

Having pictures, gifts and other reminders of the non-custodial parent is very important to your children. We must never forget the connection and allegiance children innately feel toward both of their parents. When one parent is dismissed, put down or disrespected by the other parent, a part of your child is hurt as a result. They also feel that a part of themselves is flawed which creates much internal confusion.

Allow your children to keep their connection with their other parent – and with their past, unless they choose otherwise. If you’re a step-parent, don’t try to replace the birth Mom or Dad. There is room in a child’s heart to embrace and love you, as well, if you earn their trust and respect. You can’t demand or force it.

The woman’s blog post ends by asking us to imagine how we would feel if someone came into our family and discarded all the photos of Mom and Dad together. If we could just put ourselves into our children’s shoes on a regular basis we would avoid so many errors in parenting, and so many psychological scars.

This woman speaks for millions of children of divorce and her message needs to be heard. It’s also another validation for the concept of creating a family storybook when telling your children about the divorce. Showing the kids photos of the family together, during happier times in the past, reminds them that life moves in cycles and there will be good times ahead. It also shows them that they came from love and that love still exists for them – even if Mom and Dad are no longer living together.

Even if you’re long past the actual divorce, looking through family photo albums can spark conversation and sincere communication between you and your children.

Yes, it might bring up some tears and sadness, but talking about those feelings can be healing for everyone. You can also start new photo albums sharing happy times in the present so you can look back upon this chapter in your lives with smiles in the months and years to come. Isn’t this what you want for your family?

Rosalind Sedacca, CCT is a Divorce & Parenting Coach and founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network for parents. For Rosalind’s free ebook on Post-Divorce Parenting and other valuable resources on divorce and parenting issues, visit http://www.childcentereddivorce.com
© Rosalind Sedacca  All Rights Reserved

If you would like to chat to Jenny about anything at all, even your favourite wine click here to schedule a time https://calendly.com/jenny-smith-1/what-s-going-on-in-your-world

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GIRLFRIENDS AND MISGUIDED ADVICE

If you are in the early phases of separation there will be some people you want to keep close by your side and there will be others that will no longer be a part of your life.

Everyone will have an opinion on what you should do, what they really thought of your partner and be particularly cautious of the ones who love to feed on gossip. The last thing you need to hear is someone saying things like ‘I always thought he/she was a jerk,’ ‘Did you know he tried to hit on me plenty of times?’ and the best one of all, ‘you’ll be fine, just get over it there are plenty more fish in the sea!’

If only it was that easy!

The fact is that any separation, no matter who decides to end the relationship, is a traumatic and confronting experience. It changes who you are, it changes many aspects of your life that you held dear, it causes you to question everything about yourself, your decisions, and it completely wipes out the timeline you had in your imagination of how and when all the things you had planned together would come to life. Now all you see in front of you is a blank wall with no idea of how to get over it, around it, or through it.

Most people these days know someone who has been through divorce and although family and good friends are so very important in your life now, it is time to remove the people from your life who simply have no idea of what it is like to walk in your shoes and hugely beneficial to connect with a few friends or acquaintances who do.  These are the people who will give you permission to spend the day curled up in bed, who will listen to you talk and talk about the same things over and over again without judgement, they will be the ones you can call late at night.  They will come over to spend the night and keep you company, get you laughing and smiling again. They will reassure you that there is nothing wrong with you and share the things that happened to them and encourage you to honour the grieving process and allow the body to do it’s healing in the way it has been designed to do.   Your body goes into shock and all the physical and emotional triggers that are designed to help you through any trauma will kick in to do what needs to be done to begin the grieving and healing process.

Time really does heal old wounds and life goes on, we manage to pull ourselves together, we learn more about who we are and just how strong and resilient we have become, we learn to ask for help when we need it, we learn to swallow our pride and seek financial assistance when we need it, we become experts at managing our budgets, we discover just how wonderful and supportive a select group of special people in our lives are and eventually we regroup, we begin to think about what we want to do with our lives, our work or careers or adding value to others in some way.

There are so many parts of who we are and for many women it’s not until we are no longer someones wife or partner that we have the opportunity to make these discoveries, our self-awareness becomes deeper, we begin to question our beliefs about relationships and other things we thought to be true, many begin a deeper spiritual practice, question why they are here, they realise the benefits of maintaining their health and fitness, giving back to their families and communities and begin to explore experiences that are new, challenging, fun and allowing the growth and expansion of themselves and their lives.

If you would like to chat to Jenny about anything at all, even your favourite wine click here to schedule a time https://calendly.com/jenny-smith-1/what-s-going-on-in-your-world

DIVORCED WOMEN’S CLUB MEMBERS LOUNGE

 

HOW TO CREATE CONSCIOUS RELATIONSHIPS IN YOUR LIFE

With the divorce rate rising at a rapid rate, families and relationships struggling and so many people hurting and finding it so difficult to get over what has happened and move on with their lives it always triggers these questions in my mind.

Where are we going wrong in our relationships?
What preparations need to happen and what deeper understanding of what marriage or any committed relationship actually is, what it means and what has to be there for couples to create a conscious relationship.

It is time for change, massive change. The huge costs incurred, broken families, strained and dysfunctional relationships, physical and emotional damage and the ripple effect that flows out into our communities and society is overwhelming.

I remember a time when I would walk past a young couple on their wedding day and see how happy they were, how beautiful everyone looked, I felt the love and excitement in the air and quietly wished them a long and happy life together.

These days, not so much! Now I look and wonder how well prepared they are for the reality of marriage and committed relationships. I question whether they have talked at length about what plans they have in place to cope with babies, or not cope with babies, money and finances, different sexual drives and desires, periods of ‘not coping with life,’ feeling resentful and unfulfilled in their work, work and life commitments that demand so much time that there is little left for anything else.

My work of course brings me in daily contact with women who were just like the young couples I mentioned, once upon a time. Now they are struggling to come to terms with a life that is falling apart all around them, they no longer recognise the person they married or aspects of themselves as their daily reality is spent dealing with access to money being cut off, meetings with lawyers, working out custody arrangements, selling the family home, finding somewhere to live, getting emotional and practical support and guidance from professionals like me, kids off to counsellors and in many cases finding out that there is already another woman waiting in the wings ready to step into their shoes.

I recently shared a post on my Divorced Women’s Club Facebook Page about Conscious Relationships. A new concept with the presupposition that if what we are currently doing isn’t working it’s time to do something differently.  This is the edited version of what a conscious relationship is, to read the full post click this link.

Welcome to the path of the conscious relationship. This is next-level love …
1. The conscious couple is not attached to the outcome of the relationship – growth comes first. Not being attached to the outcome of the relationship does not mean you don’t care what happens! It also doesn’t mean that you don’t have fantasies about how the relationship will turn out.

The conscious couple values growth more than anything else because they know this is the secret to keeping the relationship alive. Even though growth is scary (because it takes us into the unknown), the couple is willing to strive towards expansion, even at the risk of out-growing the relationship. Because of this, the relationship maintains a natural feeling of aliveness, and love between the couple does, too.

2. Each person in the relationship is committed to owning their s#*t.
Conscious couples know that we all have wounds from the past, and they understand that these wounds will inevitably be triggered, especially in a relationship. In other words, they expect to feel abandoned, trapped, rejected, overlooked and any other shitty feeling that arises when we bond closely with another person.

3. All feelings are welcome and no internal process is condemned.
In a conscious relationship, there’s room to feel anything. Not only that, there’s room to express those feelings and fantasies to your partner. This is edgy territory… it’s not easy to do. But it’s also one of the most healing things we can experience in a partnership

It’s rare to be completely honest about who you are, and to stretch yourself to let your partner do the same. You may not like what you hear; in fact, it may trigger the hell out of you. But you’re willing to be triggered if it means your partner can be authentic.

4. The relationship is a place to practice love. Love, ultimately, is a practice. A practice of acceptance, being present, forgiveness, and stretching your heart into vulnerable territories.

Sometimes we treat love like it’s a destination. We want that peak feeling all the time, and when it’s not there, we’re not satisfied with what the relationship has become. In my mind, this is missing the whole point of love.

The conscious couple is fiercely committed to being the embodiment of love. And through their devotion and practice, love shows up in their lives and relationship in ways they would’ve never imagined before.

~ Shelly Bullard, with Maria Mesa, Huda Musa, Stuart Jeffries and Lolita Concepcion

I’m absolutely in agreement that our current paradigm is not working and something needs to change, I also believe our younger generations coming through, perhaps children of divorce, will be looking for better ways to relate with each other in all of their relationships.

The example I have used of what Conscious Relationships are is perhaps a somewhat extreme example, in which case I’d like to spend more time sourcing information and get some real world feedback of how this works in the real world for couples.

I deal with the reality of many relationships everyday, perhaps that is clouding my view, I do know though that I’m not quite ready to jump onto the conscious relationship bandwagon just yet.

If you would like to chat to Jenny about anything at all, even your favourite wine click here to schedule a time https://calendly.com/jenny-smith-1/what-s-going-on-in-your-world