HOW DO I PUT MYSELF FIRST AND FEEL GOOD ABOUT IT?

When someone asks a question like this, or makes a statement along the lines of “I can’t because” there are a whole lot of beliefs about what they must do, what they should do, how they supposed to act and how much or how little they value themselves.

It becomes a very real problem when other people expect us to always be there for them, to jump when they say jump or allow them to speak to us in ways that are unacceptable. If we don’t value ourselves, our time, our goals and our dreams how can we ever expect other people to value us? We end up becoming people pleasers and as a result lose our sense of who we are and our self-respect.

We teach people how to treat to us and if we want things to be different we have to retrain ourselves first. When we change it creates a ripple effect on the dynamics of our relationships with our loved ones, our friends and in the workplace.

For those of you reading this who think you might be a people pleaser check in and ask yourself how many times you do something out of a sense of ‘duty’ or because of what someone might think about you and then notice how that makes you feel.

Now ask yourself how you feel when you decide that you really want to do something for someone, regardless of the inconvenience and take particular notice of how that makes you feel.

Deciding to do something for someone when it is coming from a place of giving is a very different experience from those times when we agree to do something that we really don’t want to do, or we alter our plans to do something to fit in with someone else and there is resentment, anger or we experience a general feeling of being pissed off.

There is nothing wrong with putting ourselves first, in fact if we don’t know how to say NO then we are giving people the green light to walk all over us. We have let them know that their life, their goals, their wants and their desires are far more important than our own.

I remember when I first started work after being at home raising my kids for many years and one of the managers asked me to prepare a report. ‘It must be completed by the end of the day as I need it first thing the next morning” he said. To do this I had to stay back later after work and arrange for the kids to stay with a neighbour for a few hours until I got home. I placed the report on his desk as I left the office.

About 4 or 5 days later I was in his office and I noticed the report still on his desk where I had left it. When I asked about the deadline he had put on having it finished he said ‘the meeting isn’t until next week, I just wanted to get it done straight away.’ A big lesson for me, it never happened again simply because I asked better questions about deadlines and timeframes.

We all want to be liked and loved it makes us feel good right? Friendships and relationships are the perfect training ground for us to learn how and when to draw a line in the sand and when it’s OK to go along with what other’s want even if we aren’t all that keen. It’s about finding that balance between what’s important and what isn’t and when it comes to friendships and relationships it’s about being willing to walk away from the ones that are no longer aligned with who we are.

I would like to share something I read many years ago from The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey that had an impact on me at the time and still resonates deeply with me.

“A personal mission statement based on correct principles becomes a standard for an individual, the basis for making major, life-directing decisions, the basis for making daily decisions in the midst of the circumstances and emotions that affect our lives.

Once you have that sense of mission you have the essence of your own proactivity. You have the vision and the values that direct your life. You have the basic direction from which you set your long and short-term goals. You have the power of a written constitution based on correct principles, against which every decision concerning the most effective use of your time, your talents and your energies can be effectively measured.

Many of us, me included, allow other people and circumstances to have an influence on our day to day lives that takes us away from doing the things that are most important to us. Writing this blog has been a wonderful reminder for me to go back and reassess where I find myself in relation to my personal mission statement.

Which brings me to ‘self-love’ or lack thereof.

Many people give too much and love too much and then wonder why they are left feeling unappreciated, unloved and dissatisfied with life.

If you identify as someone who gives too much and you are frustrated that your goals and dreams are sitting out in some far distant future this is the perfect time to write your personal mission statement and enforce boundaries around how you use your time and your energy.

To share your thoughts or your story please email me: jenny@divorcedwomensclub.com.au
With love and gratitude
Jenny xx

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MANAGING FALSE ACCUSATIONS

When I made the decision to specialise as a divorce coach to fully utilise my skills and experience and implement access to the resources that were missing when I went through my divorce, I became exposed to many aspects of human behaviour that defy belief.

When two people are involved in conflict, one or both parties driven by a desire for revenge and control with the sole intend being to destroy their ex partners life, their careers and/or their relationship with their children.

The way they go about doing this is calculated and specifically targeted where it will cause the most damage to the individual, hit them hard where it hurts the most, that means using the children and making life extremely difficult by completely stopping all access to financial support.

How they go about this is often starts by setting the stage very early in the separation phase or prior to this in some cases. Changing bank account access, moving money out of accounts and making false accusations about how they treat their children or their mental state to family, friends, day-care staff or teachers often sighting abuse against the children or that they are emotionally unstable.

A word like abuse is open to interpretation by the listener. This of course triggers all sorts of alarm bells in the listener who has their own meaning of what this word suggests. Children are the sharpest weapon with which the high-conflict parent can cut their target to the core, hit them where it hurts the most and this is why it happens far too often.

If you are in a situation where you are seeing signs that you are being ‘setup’ by your partner or ex-partner, or if false accusations about you have already began then it’s time to start taking steps now to be fully prepared for what may eventuate.

  1. You have a voice recorder on your mobile phone, ensure that you use it for all conversations you have with your ex, or other relevant parties, save them with the date and time
  2. Written daily documentation of interactions with your ex, your activities, little comments that someone has said to you that has caught you by surprise, notice if day-care workers/teachers/in-laws are saying or doing things that seem out of the ordinary
  3. At the end of each day document your daily activities, where you were, the times you where there, who you were with or who you saw, why you were there, what time you were there and what time you left Steps 2 & 3 must be done every single day
  4. Prepare yourself mentally and physically for might be a long and arduous battle ahead and this means engaging professionals to help you. Nutritional needs, a personal trainer, attending the gym regularly, yoga classes, long walks along the beach or wherever you feel most at one with the nature, a divorce coach who is more than a counsellor, someone who will provide you with the tools to ensure that you can control your emotional state at will so that you can engage in those difficult conversations without reacting to comments designed to get a highly charged emotional response from you
  5. When it comes to false allegations the stakes are very high and you will need a lawyer who is experienced in this area
  6. The Divorced Women’s Club a private/secure online support group for women and access to these women, many who have been in a similar situation, will ensure that you don’t feel isolated and alone

If you find yourself in this situation or feeling uncomfortable about some things that are being said or done then it’s time to pick up the phone and speak to someone who is experienced in this area to express your fears and concerns and start making details notes in your diary today.

To share your thoughts or your story please email me: jenny@divorcedwomensclub.com.au

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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HOW TO STOP FEELING INVISIBLE

What does feeling invisible look like and in what situations might we find ourselves feeling invisible?

From a physical perspective there are both men and women who exude that air of natural confidence and charisma and is what instinctively draws people to them. Even these people will have times when they need to withdraw from the world to recharge, maybe this is what you could also refer to as needing to feel invisible, the difference here though is that for them it’s a considered choice which is very different from those people who feel that it something out of their control.

Feeling invisible can often it can be a sign that we no longer have anything in common with the people we used to spend time with, including family. If we have very different interests and other people are not interested in engaging with us, maybe that might make us feel invisible.

At some social occasions you may choose to be invisible because the conversation is heading into discussing something that you feel strongly about and it’s just not worth stirring the pot or you are simply bored to tears. We do outgrow some of our family and friends and I view this as a good thing. It means that we are expanding our view of the world and making choices based on what we think and feel and how we want to be treated.

In a divorce situation many women I work with or meet find the adjustment into life as a single woman very difficult and feel uncomfortable in social occasions where they may be the only single women and feel left out of the conversation. Or in relationships many women they feel that their needs are unheard or that ‘you never listen to me’. I could discuss the difference between men and women when it comes to ‘listening skills,’ however that is probably best left for another time.

How to stop feeling invisible raises many questions for me – let’s start with these two.

What am I doing or not doing to make myself feel invisible around people?
What is the meaning I have given to the fact that I feel invisible?

Feeling invisible in any situation is a choice, whether it’s in the workplace, with your family and friends or in social occasions and it’s never about other people. It is always about us. Often lying behind this will be a fear and lack of self-worth. Fear of not being heard, fear of not being liked, fear of speaking up and asking for what you want, fear of disagreeing with someone else’s opinion, fear of not being enough …………….. (fill in the gap!)

More questions for you to contemplate that will help bring more awareness into what might be going on for you. If this is a significant problem for you choose just one thing on the list and work towards turning that around before you move to the next one.

When you feel invisible or unseen or not heard by others do you remain silent?
Do you take on responsibility for attending to other peoples needs before your own?
Do you take on responsibility for other people’s lives in an attempt to ‘fix’ them?
Do you pretend that everything in your world is rosy when you are really feeling sad and lonely?
If you strongly disagree with someone do you speak up or do you prefer to avoid conflict?
How often do you end up feeling unappreciated, unseen or not valued?
How much of this is a reflection of how you treat yourself?

Having the awareness that you feel invisible is the first step. The next step is to take responsibility for your own feelings, for what you want and how you choose to be treated. It all has to start with you loving and caring about yourself more than you care about anyone else.   It’s a work in progress however the rewards that come along with every little step will encourage you to keep going.

Sometimes we need a little push to get started and to help you take that first step imagine in 10 years time what your life looks like, how you feel and what you are saying to yourself if you choose to do nothing.

Now imagine in 10 years time what your life looks like, how you feel and what you are saying to yourself when your whole world has changed because you had the courage to take that very first step.

To share your thoughts or your story please email me: jenny@divorcedwomensclub.com.au

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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WHAT DO YOU DO IF YOUR PARTNER IS NAMED ON ASHLEY MADISON

Before I address the question, what do you do if your partner is named on Ashley Madison, or any other website hack for that matter, I have to say that once again the media has shown it’s very ugly side. Completely disrespecting peoples privacy with little or absolutely no regard for the hundreds if not thousands of men, women and children who will have their lives turned upside down because of the way this whole situation has been managed.

As part of my research for writing this blog I did listen to the radio interview of the woman who volunteered to find out if her husband was on the list as he was acting ‘funny’ about the news of the hack. My guess is that her own intuition had been alerting her to ‘something’ beforehand as well and she willingly volunteered her husbands’ details to these radio jocks. They searched for his name and told her ‘yes’ he was on this site. She left herself wide open to hear the worst thing that any women would ever want to hear, let alone so publicly. Private information that was stolen by criminals used to contribute to destroying the lives and relationships of so many people by thoughtless, ignorant pieces of shit! And yes, people willing gave their personal information to an obviously risqué site with obviously no thought of the possible consequences.

I’m not going to be all ‘fluffly’ about how you might be able to work through this, or everyone makes mistakes and deserves another chance and some such crap because as I try to imagine myself in this situation I see it as a very different experience from someone’s husband who becomes infatuated with a younger woman in the office or at the gym or number of other reasons that infidelity results in the end of a relationship.

If anyone reading this blog has found themselves caught up in this whole nightmare, or knows someone who has, here are a few of my thoughts on how to handle this as best you can.

  • Only speak to the people closest to you who you know you can trust.
  • Don’t take any calls from other family and friends for several weeks and never from the media. The gossipmongers will be out in force and happily feed you more and more drama.
  • Call a ‘timeout’ with your partner, perhaps a week or two, for you to recover from the shock and anger that will be raging through your veins.
  • You will be asking yourself all sorts of questions that start with ‘Why,’ and you will be feeling ashamed and embarrassed to seen in public by your friends and family.
  • Then it comes time to sit down with your partner and get the facts on exactly what has and has not taken place, leaving no room for further lies or deceit from them. The game is up anyway so they have nothing to lose and potentially everything to gain by being honest and forthcoming by providing you with as much information as you need.

Your particular situation and what happens next will of course be decided by one or both or you and no-one else, only you can ever know what is right for you and for your family.

This is going to be one hell of a journey so please ensure that you have only the very best people around you. People who will help you maintain your equilibrium and will always have your best interests a heart.

Share your comments or personal story I would love to hear from you.

The best way to reach me is via email: jenny@divorcedwomensclub.com.au

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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WHEN DO YOU DATE AGAIN AFTER SEPARATION & DIVORCE?

First, let’s get clear about what dating is!

There seems to be a whole new meaning given to this word these days and I think it’s important that women really get what this word means because unrealistic expectations may lead to feelings of inadequacy and battered and bruised feelings around their self-worth.

Here is one definition of ‘dating.’

Dating is a form of human courtship consisting of social activities done by two persons with the aim of each assessing the other’s suitability as a partner in an intimate relationship or as a spouse.

However, not everyone will agree with this definition and there are many variations of what dating means to each individual, online dating has added another level of complexity to the whole dating scene and ‘how to do dating.’

Back to the question, when do you date again after separation and divorce?

Certainly never within in first three to six months even up to a year after separation! Many women feel the need to seek validation that they are attractive, desirable and lovable to other men particularly if they have the view that their previous partner rejected them. They wanted out of the relationship without being able to explain why or perhaps they left for someone younger, older, smarter, more interesting, more attractive or even less attractive.

I strongly believe that if you head straight into another relationship before you spend time learning to be by yourself, exploring who you really are and what you want outside of a relationship how can you ever expect to confidently get to know someone else in just a few months of dating when your emotions will be overriding logic and common sense.

Some men can pick a desperate woman a mile off and see them as easy prey and this can include the husbands of your best friends. Just saying! That’s not meant to be a slur at all men, it’s the way they are wired! One of the biggest drivers for many of them will be SEX, for others it is companionship that does not include living together or marriage and for some it is about finding someone they would want to spend the rest of their lives with.

Before venturing into the world of dating be very clear about where you stand on this and assess the importance you place on being in a relationship. Only you can truly know yourself.

When you feel ready don’t look at every date as, is this the one? Relax and enjoy it for what it is, an opportunity to meet someone who you will click with or never want to see again.

If it works it works, if not then move on.

“It’s a helluva start, being able to recognize what makes you happy.” – Lucille Ball

Rather then focus on some dating tips in this article here instead are some powerful questions I share with my clients to help them begin to answer the question ‘who am I?’ Answer these over a few days or a few weeks. The important thing is that you spend time delving a little deeper with each question.

Buy yourself a journal and call it My Best Life!

Write each question on a piece of paper and hang it on the wall in front of you. Relax, breathe deeply and allow extended exhalations.   Sit with your question and when your mind starts to wander, bring it back by reading the question again, out loud.

Start writing quickly, don’t worry about grammar, spelling or censoring what you have written.  Just go with the flow!

  • When am most naturally myself?
  • What people, places and activities allow me to feel most fully myself?
  • What is one thing I could stop doing, or start doing, or do differently, starting today that would most improve my quality of life?
  • What is the #1 biggest change I could make, or goal I could achieve or problem I could solve that would have the biggest positive influence in my life. (As you think about the answer to this question, is this where you should be putting most of your energy, focus and intention?)
  • What have been my greatest moments of joy and fulfillment in life?
  • What are the greatest sources of joy in my career?
  • What activities do I absolutely love in my personal life?
  • Who are my most inspiring role models?
  • How can I best be of service to others?
  • What is my hearts deepest desire?
  • How am I perceived, by my closest friend, my worst enemy, my children, or my ex?
  • What are the blessings of my life?
  • What are my greatest talents and natural abilities?
  • What’s the single most important thing I would like to accomplish in my career?
  • What’s the ONE most important thing I’d like to achieve in my life?
  • What legacy would I like to leave?
  • What is the relationship between all of the answers to these questions?

Keep these questions and your answers in your journal and come back to review them over the next few months. You might feel inclined to update some of your answers as you begin to gain deeper awareness about who you are!

Share your comments or personal story I would love to hear from you.

The best way to reach me is to via email: jenny@divorcedwomensclub.com.au

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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BETRAYAL

Cheating, betrayal of a relationship and the betrayal of the promise of love. It was a promise made in the past that was a commitment to the future. A commitment that was made to another person, whether it be standing at the altar in a church, on the beach with family and friends or completely in private, from my perspective it makes no difference.

It is also a personal betrayal. Of values, self worth and self-respect. Many people who cheat on their wives, husbands or partners will find themselves doing things and acting in ways they would never have believed possible.

The word ‘cheating,’ will also mean different things to different people and much of this is where conflict in relationships arise. For some women, their husbands or boyfriends even admiring a beautiful woman will bring up feelings of insecurity and self-worth issues, however they often forget about what goes on when they are out with the girlfriends and eyeing off the good looking guys.

For some women, their partners having a special friend who they were previously in a relationship with and now reassure you that they are just friends, only to find out that they meet up occasionally, text each other regularly and it’s all done covertly. Finding out will ring some alarm bells, even if it’s not a sexual relationship it’s a violation of trust, respect and not being completely honest with themselves or their partner, some people would call this cheating.

I regularly see women who have been cheated on. It has come as a complete shock with no immediate signs that there was ever any indication that the relationship was in trouble and these are the women who hurt the most. A happy marriage, happy family and in an instant their lives and the lives of their families are torn apart.

“I was steeped in denial, but my body knew” Suzanne Finnamore

Some people can’t live up to the commitment they made. Some people betray themselves, they have affairs, things start to get out of control, it is all too easy to underestimate the forces of attraction, be it lust or love, until it’s too late. It is also too easy to take what we have for granted or let ourselves be taken for granted and then to lose what we treasured the most in our lives.

The thing that is rarely considered when a relationship ends because of infidelity is the price that must be paid. Hurting deeply the very people in their lives that often mean the most to them and the damage these actions do to their souls.

Many people continue to live with regret for their indiscretions, when we betray ourselves, our values, our beliefs about who we as a person, we become like lost souls searching for something externally to fill the empty space within us that can only be healed by asking for forgiveness from those we have hurt and forgiving ourselves.

For those who have been cheated on it is an incredibly painful experience that will often take people to the depths of despair.

I wanted to share with you a very personal story by Elli Boland and how she helped herself heal the damage betrayal caused to her soul. This betrayal had transpired, unknown to her, over a period of 10 years, with a number of different women, including one of her dearest friends. I can only imagine how it would feel to be betrayed by two people you loved.

Elli

I spent most of my time alone. The pain was so intense that occasionally I felt as though I had left my body and my legs would give out. All I could do was surrender, to get really vulnerable, and to let spirit guide me through.

Then, suddenly, I got present once again. I found an aliveness and ocean of joy and peace. Clarity and freedom coexisted with sorrow, terror, panic, and deep sadness. But I was not afraid of feeling the pain anymore. I no longer cared about the good opinion of other people. I had to make choices.

  • How can I handle this in a way that is in alignment with what I believe to be true?
  • What would make me proud?
  • How do I want this story to end?
  • How can I show up for myself fully?
  • What good is coming from this?
  • What is my lesson?

I am falling out of love with my husband. I forgive him. I forgive myself. I know there is nothing wrong with me and that his choices had nothing to do with me. I know this happened for me, so I could let my soul dangle. It broke me open. I feel more alive and connected than ever.

You will find Elli’s story in more detail here:

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-14021/how-i-found-peace-after-being-cheated-on-ending-my-marriage.html

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

Jenny Smith is a highly skilled coach and facilitator with a passion for helping women gain control of all aspects of the separation and divorce journey. She has created a bespoke program for her clients and works closely with them each step of the way, including providing 24/7 access to her phone to address issues in the moment rather than allowing them to build into something bigger than they need to be.

This ensures her clients feel positive and remain focused on achieving the best possible outcomes so they can begin to create their new future in the shortest period of time. It is key to every decision and every choice her clients make that they are aligned mind, body and spirit, resolving any emotional issues that may be affecting them, alleviate stress, ensuring they know how to feel calm and resourceful in all situations.  Change can be easy, if you know how.

After four years of extensive training in Australia with some of the most highly acclaimed trainers in the field of NLP, including James Tsakalos, 5 years online training with Michael Breen, Britain’s foremost business and NLP Trainer, Jenny has earned certification as an NLP Master Practitioner a powerful and versatile set of tools both for communicating effectively and for facilitating behavioural and psychological change.

www.divorcedwomensclub.com.au

THE TOP TEN PARENTING CONSIDERATIONS FOR A LESS STRESSFUL DIVORCE

Most separating parents are very concerned about how divorce affects their kids whoever far too many underestimate the real impact of divorce on children, teenagers and adult children as well.

In Australia nearly half of divorces involve children under the age of 18 years of age and these are the ones who suffer the most into adulthood.

Anyone who believes that their children will be unaffected by their divorce may be surprised to know that ALL children of divorce suffer emotional wounds. The question is never whether they will be hurt the question is how badly will they be hurt?

The responsibility for how badly they will be hurt comes back to the people who love and care for them the most – their parents! Are they prepared to put their differences to one side, avoid having heated discussions within earshot of their kids, talk openly about the divorce giving their kids reassurances that they haven’t done anything wrong, that it’s not their fault and speaking respectfully about the other parent in front of the children.

In an ideal world separating parents would finalise the divorce quickly and amicably to avoid dragging their children through an emotional battleground and have plans in place to keep any major upheavals, like living arrangements, school routines and social activities to a minimum. Of course we don’t live in an ideal world and the reality is that many kids are involved, not just in the separation and divorce phase but the ongoing disputes, arguments and conflicts that many parents engage in as co-parents giving very little thought to how this is impacting on their children. They get blinded by anger, resentment, hatred and revenge and are hell bent on hurting, harming or demeaning their former spouse.

When couples are really struggling with their own issues and concerns about the future, how they will divide property, possessions and finances it becomes all consuming and emotionally charged.

As the adults in this situation you do have the power to put your differences to one side and focus on giving your children the reassurances they need so desperately need. They are loved, this is not their fault and that they will still be a family but doing it differently from how it used to be.

Before I share my tips to help parents make the separation and divorce process less stressful please don’t assume that your kids will OK with the whole thing because they just want you to be happy! I have heard that said so many times and if thinking that makes you feel better and that your kids won’t have any problems with the family splitting then think again. Yes our kids want us to be happy, but what they really what is for their parents to be happy together and the family unit to stay the same. I’m not suggesting for one minute that couples stay together just for the kids, what I am saying is look at this massive change in their lives through the eyes of a child, teenager or adult it doesn’t matter how old they are.

Here are my top ten parenting considerations for a less stressful divorce

    1. At least one parent, preferably both, is prepared to put aside personal issues and focus on discussing and agreeing on the wellbeing of their children in the short and long term
    2. Seek help from professionals to get advice and guidance when there is conflict around decisions or arrangements that will affect your children. An independent third party will provide a different perspective and allow you to find solutions you hadn’t previously considered
    3. Sit down with your children together on a regular basis to reassure them that although there are going to be changes in their lives you will always be there for them. They will want details of what is happening and how it will affect them
    4. Be honest with them about any changes as they arise so they have time to talk about them with you both and express any fears and concerns they might have
    5. Accept that you will not always agree with how your ex parents ‘your’ kids or like the fact that a new partner now has a role in parenting you kids. This is one of the most difficult challenges for many separated parents
    6. If possible both parents attend special events like birthdays, school and social activities, and other events together. Your kids will love that you are both there ‘for them.’ There will come a time when they will be getting married and having children themselves and it is what you do now that will ensure it’s a very special part of their lives that you can both share
    7. Just because you and your partner are divorcing from each other does not mean that your children are too. They have a right to love and spend time equally with both parents, their grandparents and extended families as well
    8. Be careful how you speak about your former partner in front of your children. Take some time to think about how you would like your ex to speak about you in front of your kids and even if that is not happening, then remember that you are role models for your kids, and your behaviour and actions will always speak louder than anything else you will ever do
    9. Never use your kids as a means to get revenge for hurts inflicted on you by your former partner. All too often kids are used as bargaining tools in situations where there is absolutely no winner
    10. Life is constantly changing, often challenging and rarely goes according to plan but when we remember the good times we shared as a family and cherish these memories it might just make a difference in how we write the next chapter in our lives

Share your comments or personal story I would love to hear from you.

The best way to reach me is to via email: jenny@divorcedwomensclub.com.au

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR PAST STOPS YOUR PRESENT

As we move through our lives there are occasions when we recall the good times we had, remember the people who were influential in the creation of beautiful memories, the funny things we did as kids, sleepovers with the cousins, camping trips, grandparents and the very special memories of the times spent with them.   Throughout all of our lives right up until now we all have stories to tell.

On the flip side there will also be for many people very different memories that bring up a different range of emotions and memories. Feelings of guilt, shame, remorse or regret will come bubbling to the surface and the story of what they did or didn’t do will be replayed over and over in their minds.

I don’t believe I have ever met anyone who hasn’t at some time wished that they had made better choices and decisions about some circumstances or events in their lives. From mistakes made as teenagers, marrying the wrong guy, cheating on a romantic partner, stealing from an employer, investing all of their savings in a dodgy get rich scheme, failing to take better care of their health, allowing a heated discussion with a family member to completely fracture the relationship and decisions that perhaps even caused great damage to our reputation and pain to people we love.

For the people who have spent years carrying the burden of past mistakes it can impact on their health, their jobs, and their relationships, dictate where they live in constant fear of being found out.  It seems to be a less than ideal way to live so all I can assume is that they see this as being easier than facing the unknown consequences of their actions.

For those people who carry past hurts from betrayal it’s not that much different. The story they tell about what someone ‘did’ to them, how much they hurt them and declare that they will never ever forgive them are also chained to the past. These people have allowed themselves to become ‘victims’ and people who stay stuck in the past there is usually a payoff, using the story about what happened to relive injustices or past hurts and they get to play the blame game. Essentially they are victims of their circumstances and have handed over the control of their lives to someone or something else.

If you have a particular view of the world you are able to see that in every situation that is challenging there is always a silver lining even if it takes several years to see it. It doesn’t take away what happened or the roles we played in what happened but we can spend some time and look back at who we were then and recognise that we are no longer that person. When we can see in hindsight how if given that time all over again the different choices we would have made and thinking about it no longer stirs up unpleasant memories it becomes more about the information than the emotions or meanings we may have attached to the circumstance.

Some ‘well meaning’ friends (usually the ones who love a bit of drama) love to tell their divorced friend what their ex-husband is up to, and what the new girlfriend is like. This can be quite painful if there hasn’t been sufficient time for someone to put distance between themselves and their ex and it is something than many women find themselves conflicted with want to know more about it all and wanting not to talk about it at the same time. If you find yourself in this type of situation you have to stand your ground and tell people what you will and will not accept and ask that they respect your right to move on with your life.

The brain also has it’s own way of keeping us trapped by means of associations that we have made to certain events. Although we may not be consciously aware of what is happening these associations use our senses, sight, sound, feelings, taste and smell to become triggers that fire emotions attached to circumstances from the past.

Not all of these are necessarily problematic! One of my favourite triggers for example, is when I smell freshly mown grass I always think about my dad who pasted away many years ago. If I ask you to remember a particular song from your teenage years, when you recall the song there is every chance you will also remember the people who you were with, what you were doing and perhaps even what you were wearing. This song is a trigger for you to pop back to a different time in your life.

Not all triggers are particularly pleasant. If your father was an angry man and always used a particular tone of voice when he was angry with you and you became very frightened all it will take is for you to hear someone else using that same tone of voice and you will also get those same feelings of fear in your body and wondering what the hell just happened.

If you find that there are aspects of your past stopping you moving forward with your life and you really want to turn this around seek out the services of professionals who are skilled healers, coaches and change facilitators – there is help available for you.

To share your comments or personal story – send me an email: jenny@divorcedwomensclub.com.au

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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HOW DO YOU COPE WHEN YOU LOSE YOUR BEST FRIEND?

GIRLFRIENDS ARE THE BEST FRIENDS EVER, UNTIL THEY’RE NOT!

Relationships can be tricky to maintain and I’m not talking about romantic relationships here, I’m talking about relationships with our girlfriends. Those very special people in our lives who are always there to listen to us prattle on about a new boyfriend, help us decide what to wear on a date, a shoulder to cry on when we have a fight with a husband or boyfriend, jump in without question at a minutes notice to help us out, talk on the phone for hours about ‘everything,’ share the bottle of wine and take our phones of us when we break up with a boyfriend to avoid making a complete idiot of ourselves, in other words they are there for us no matter what!

Hangovers after a friend break-up: eating the whole post-drinking pizza by yourself and holding your own hair back while you’re sick

They are our confidants, our soul sisters, our very best friends! They are also the ones who will tell us some harsh truths about ourselves when that is what we need to hear. That is really what a true friend is!

But what do we do when we fall out with a girlfriend, when this very special relationship comes to an end.

There can be hundreds of different reasons why a friendship comes to an end, from changes in our own values and beliefs, violation of our trust, or the fact that the relationship has simply run it’s natural course.

Welcome to the brutal reality of friendship breakups.

Women can be real bitches, I think that little trait is in most of us and when we are hurt we really want to hurt back. How do we cope with the loss, with the empty hollow feeling inside us when all we want to do is pick up the phone and talk like we used to.

As humans we are constantly evolving, growing and changing, people come and go throughout our lives and the friends that remain close right to the end are very few by comparison.

Coping with this loss is no different to coping with any loss and to put it simply.

Tears and time!

  • It is incredibly painful to break up with a bestie, it’s much harder to explain the loss you feel and how hurt you feel
  • Give yourself time to grieve, the heart and soul need time to heal
  • Avoid checking up on what they are doing and who they are hanging out with, it only adds to the pain and will keep you stuck
  • Keep a journal, writing can be therapy in it’s own way
  • If the breakup was because of something that you contributed to, send a card and apologise
  • Accept the fact that things will never be the same as they were
  • Stalking on social media or interrogating your friends will prolong the healing, stop you moving forward and more than likely annoy your friends

Rebounding after a friend break-up: drinking the whole bottle of shit wine you used to share and watching your favourite Sex and The City episodes all alone.

Where to from here?

  • Get out and about and make the effort to meet new people.
  • Think about some new interests you might like to explore
  • Go to dance classes, art classes or other creative activity
  • Exercise! It’s a natural way to heal and have you feeling alive

Tears and time!

To share your comments or personal story – send me an email: jenny@divorcedwomensclub.com.au

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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HOW MEN AND WOMEN MISUNDERSTAND SEX

Here’s the scenario!

It’s early morning, the guy rolls over, kisses his partner. She gets the message and starts to cuddle into him. Next thing he is on top of her and 3-5 minutes later it’s all over. As he gets up and starts walking out of the bedroom she says, ‘Where are you going?” He replies, “To make a cup of tea!”

Which leads me to ask the question. Is there a link between many couples separating and what I would call the basic human needs of sex and intimacy, either through ignorance, selfishness or lack of interest not being met in a relationship or does it go much deeper than this?

What part does ‘sex,’ and the difference between how men and women view and feel about sex, play out in the number of couples who started out together in loving and caring relationships and end up becoming yet another statistic in the divorce courts? Or is this just another piece of the relationship puzzle that was left unattended and pushed away rather than being dealt with head on.

We all know that there are significant differences between the male and female brains which I think is just another part of ‘the grand design’ – when you put the two together it really should make for a very powerful combination from my perspective.

In most cases, men and women do not behave, feel, think, or respond in the same ways, either on the inside or on the outside.

What if a major difference with men, unlike women, was their inability to express their emotions, worries, sexual issues, and problems to their friends, family or colleagues and never to their partners?

What if some men stopped seeking sex from their partners because they felt furious, criticised and insignificant in their marriage but would not or could not talk about it with their partners?

M. Gary Neuman found that 48% of the men he interviewed reported emotional dissatisfaction as the primary reason for cheating. They reported feeling unappreciated and wished that their partners could recognise when they were trying. They did not talk to their partners about this.

  • They fear talking will only cause more anger and rejection
  • They anticipate that if they start talking about issues in the marriage, their wives won’t stop talking–a reality that may simply reflect the clash of gender differences in handling stress
  • They fear hurting their partner with their honest feelings.
  • They feel self-conscious about performance issues and unwittingly send a message of avoidance, disinterest or rejection.
  • They silently blame their partner for boring sex but don’t consider verbalizing ways of enlivening the love life.
  • They don’t read the non-verbal cues or consider the cues they are sending.
  • They see the defensive posture their partner takes—not as a cover for her feelings of rejection; but as anger and accusation.
  • Paradoxically, they see themselves as protecting themselves, their partner, and their marriage with silence.

As such, many married men are emotionally alone. Unlike women who turn to other women to vent, garner support, and hear other perspectives and feelings— men too often “ suck it up”, remain locked in their perspective and can’t find a way to speak about what they need. This leaves them vulnerable to the attention, affirmation and complication of an affair.

Based on interviews with 200 cheating and non-cheating husbands, M. Gary Neuman, author of The Truth About Cheating, reports that only 8% identify sexual dissatisfaction as the reason for their infidelity.

A Rutgers study reports 56% of men who have affairs claim to be happy in their marriages, are largely satisfied and are not looking for a way out.

  • Sometimes affairs result in divorce. Statistics from 2004 suggest that 27% of divorces are due to extramarital affairs.
  • If both partners want their marriage, however, a marriage can survive an affair. Many partners have journeyed through the guilt and pain to mutually repair and renew their marriage.

If a man can find the feelings and words to engage with his partner in a process of apology and forgiveness, if he can speak and listen, reconsider the mutual rejection and anger, clarify the sexual needs and trust the love —he may well have a marriage he can speak about.

I have often been asked if I have a Divorced Men’s Club – and I see that like the Members Lounge I have for women, something like this for men would also be an incredibly valuable resource.

RECOMMENDED READING:  Married Men Don’t Talk by Tony Hawkins

RESOURCE:  An Unrecognized Reason That Married Men Have Affairs By Suzanne Phillips, Psy.D.ABPP
To share your comments or personal story – send me an email: jenny@divorcedwomensclub.com.au

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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