ARE YOU A NUMB SPECTATOR TO THIS GAME CALLED ‘LIFE’?

This is a subject that is so very close to my heart!

I lived my life as a numb spectator for many years. On the surface it appeared to everyone that all was right in my world, I had the house, great kids, a good husband, and all the while I was slowly dying inside and I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW IT!

Sadly this is not an experience that was unique to me. I know that far, far too many women continue to simply exist from day to day, going through the motions of the ‘daily grind.’ Housework, meals on the table, raising kids, holding down a job, physical and emotional distance between themselves and their partner, completely numb to their feelings and crawling into bed at night exhausted, only to wake the next morning and begin the daily cycle all over again and silently hearing a inner voice asking “is this it, is this really what life is all about?”

Living like this is of course a recipe for physical and emotional disaster and no matter how hard, or for how long we continue to bury and ignore the internal messages that our body is sending us there will be a point when there will be an eruption and much like a volcano once it starts there is no turning back.  All the anger, resentment, grief, guilt and hurt will begin to spew out with a force that scares the most hardened of us.

Everyone will move through this period in their own way and in their own time as reaching this turning point begins the struggle to unleash the real ‘us’ that has been buried deep inside for far too long and as much it creates fear and confusion at the time everyone who has already been through this period of transition will acknowledge that it was also the beginning of their journey of personal discovery and self-awareness.

It is not however a journey without its challenges.

Creating any significant change in our lives will mean that there will be opposition and resistance from the people around us.

As we begin to make the conscious decision to discard all the beliefs that we have created or those that have been past on to us as we allowed the influence of our family and society to shape us into a clone of other peoples expectations those closest to us will feel threatened and fearful.

But …….

  • What if reaching the point of no return was exactly what needed to happen?
  • What if we were doing the very best we could with the resources we currently had available to us?
  • What if all the heartache and pain we had buried for so long was actually helping us to survive?
  • What if the eruption of the volcano meant the complete destruction of the road we were currently travelling?
  • What if it meant that for the very first time we could see a new road ahead, new horizons with a sign post that read ‘The real you, 100 miles in this direction?’
  • What if we discovered that with every single step we took we began to explore and discover our deep inner wisdom and new found belief in ourselves
  • What if we discovered our voice, our passion for life and began to live with a sense of peace, contentment and joy?

I firmly believe that this is our birthright.

In the words of Nora Ephron “Above all, be the heroine of your own life, not the victim.”

What are you waiting for?
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 TO MANAGE YOUR ANTAGONISTIC RELATIONSHIP WITH AN EX?

Ugly divorces have a tendency to create ugly ex spouses for a variety of reasons and everyone involved ends up suffering. Sadly the ones who suffer the most are the kids who become the pawns in the battle to inflict pain where it really hurts the most.

When you have lived with someone for a number of years you get a pretty good idea of how to push each others buttons, add to the mix the anger and resentment that builds throughout the divorce process and you have the perfect mix to create hell in each others lives. At the time it sure feels like you just want to rip their heart out but perhaps its’ time for you to consider a much sweeter revenge.

This involves doing what might seem to be completely counter intuitive, and not necessarily easy, however if what you are doing now isn’t working then it’s time to do something different to avoid arousing more animosity or hostility.

We often fall in a pattern in the way we interact with our ex partners which often leads to things just going around and around in circles and consistently ending up with both parties feeling angry and resentful.

Here are a few strategies for you to consider implementing to interrupt the pattern you have been running and keep in mind that the only person you have any control over is yourself. If you need to kick the cat, yell and scream, call him every name in the book you can think of then go for it when you get home, slam doors or whatever it is you need to do and then let it go.

  • For your kids sake and for your own well-being more than anything else it’s important to learn to keep the emotion out of the conversation and focus only the outcome
  • Treat this relationship as you would with a business associate or the bank manager
  • Email to make an appointment to discuss a particular issue.
  • Always keep in mind the bigger picture, set an intention before you go so you know exactly what you want to achieve and stick to the agenda
  • Meet in a neutral location where other people are around to better help manage thing getting out of control
  • If things look like getting ugly, quietly get up and leave.
  • Phone calls and text messages need to be managed. The meaning behind text messages has the potential to be completely misconstrued.
  • If your kids come home with stories about something that is causing you or them some concern, once again detail the information in an email and ask for verification without making accusations. And ask your ex for help to resolve the situation stating that you want an outcome that is in the best interest of the kids – (remember too that kids can be very manipulative and play both sides so getting the facts around a situation is important)
  • There are going to be social occasions involving your children where both parents will be required to attend and being polite and friendly at all times is important – THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU!
  • Coming to some agreement around sharing holidays is not always easy given work schedules and other commitments – do your best to make them as workable as possible and if you are going to be   on your own make some arrangements so you make the most of the break rather than feeling lost and lonely without the kids around especially at times like Christmas.

If you are reading this and thinking what the hell, there is no way my ex would agree to this.  I get that, stand your ground, give it a go and see what happens. Taking the emotion out of any interaction that might involve conflict keeps things on a very level playing field and with an agenda and an outcome that needs to be reached you are training yourself and your ex on what to expect with all future communications.

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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STUCK IN A MONEY RUT?

Let’s talk about money!

It’s up there with topics like politics, religion and sex when it comes to having discussions about it with a partner, a colleague or a friend or your ‘friendly’ bank manager.

Far too many women really struggle financially as an outcome of separation and divorce. And yes, I know a lot of guys do too, unfortunately it’s true for both parties. When you have spent years working towards some financial goals and things fall apart, by the time credit card debt, mortgage, leases on cars and all the other many expenses that are part of everyday life are taken out of what little might be left over after the divorce often what is left is little or next to nothing. Then it’s a matter of starting all over again to create some financial security and wealth, never an easy thing particularly for those who divorce later in life.

Have you found yourself in a financial rut and have no idea how to get your self out?

Here’s the thing!
WE ALL HAVE THE ABILITY TO CHANGE THE DIRECTION OF OUR LIVES!
Including where we are headed financially.

And just like creating any change, the first place to start is by taking a good hard look at where we are. Much like going on a diet, you have to know where you are now and where you want to be and then get focused on the end goal. Make it a project you are working on, a well formed plan that includes knowing exactly what you want to achieve both short and long term.

Start doing the numbers. It can be really scary and most of us like to just bury our heads in the sand rather than deal with what makes us feel uncomfortable. Spend the time to go through all your credit cards, your bills and regular expenses so you know your outgoings. If you have kids there are always things that crop up that we haven’t budgeted for and it really does put a great deal of pressure on parents.

If you have been putting more value of the thrill of going on a shopping spree, having nice clothes and shoes or going a holiday or whatever it might be then I would suggest you spend some time really thinking about your values around money.

When my marriage ended and I became totally responsible for all the bills and other expenses I used a Collins 18 Money Column book. I divided it up into months of the year with my income for each month at the bottom, then all the regular bills in whatever column they were due. I knew at the end of every month whether I was going to be under or over. This system really helped me decide how I spent my money. There are plenty of other great tools available online these days to make it even easier.

If your outgoings are higher than your income it’s time to look at how you can pull back in some area, purchase different brands that are cheaper or take on some extra work. If we are consistently spending more than we earn, there is only ever going to an unhappy ending.

If you are finding it still too difficult to do on your own and can’t afford to speak to a professional advisor, get an accountability partner. Someone you trust to help keep you on track. Make it as much fun as you can and give yourself some little rewards for your little wins along the way.

Many of us turn a blind eye or simply justify our spending habits. Time to take your head out of the sand, look around you and decide what you really want in your life and then do whatever you have to do to make it happen.

A money map so you can see exactly where you are going and what you need to do

  • Persistance
  • Consistency
  • A burning desire to create a happier, more financially secure future
  • And an accountability buddy to make the journey more fun

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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YOU HAVE ALWAYS KNOWN

As humans we are so very good at naming and blaming people and circumstances for the things that we have continually showing up in our lives that are not what we want.

Whether it’s the guy that used and abused us, the reasons why we are broke, or why we are overweight and unhealthy are usually statements that begin with words like “It’s not my fault…..”  “I can’t” or “its because” closely followed by ‘reasons why’.

The truth can always be found in that one place you haven’t looked to find the answers to these and other questions. The same things that you have showing up in your life time after time all comes down to one common denominator.  YOU!

The one place where we all must look to find the answers is the one place that we will avoid at all costs.  It is always so much easier to place the blame outside of ourselves and to make excuses rather than face the truth about the choices and decisions we have made.

If you sat down and mapped out a timeline of people, situations, and circumstances that have been significant in your life over the past 5 – 7 years and then looked at the role you played it can be quite confronting and challenging.

Be totally honest with yourself and begin to ask yourself a few tough questions.

Here are few to get you started.

As you walked down the aisle what thoughts were running through your head?

When your girlfriends told you what a jerk he was and that he was already cheating on you did you chose to marry him anyway?

Did you choose to believe your partner when he staying at working later than usual and/or text messages coming in at strange hours of the morning and night.

WHATEVER COMES UP FOR YOU – IT’S ALL OK!   IN FACT IT IS FANTASTIC!

If you can muster up enough courage to look at the uncomfortable stuff you did (or failed to do) that got you where you are, you are in a great place.

IF WHAT YOU HAVE SHOWING UP IN YOUR LIFE IS NOT WHAT YOU WANT, DECIDE NOW WHAT IT IS YOU DO WANT.

You are not who you have been. You are not defined by what you have done or what has happened to you. The more responsibility you are willing to take for where you’ve been, the more you regain the ability to decide where you go next!

IF WHAT YOU ARE DOING IS NOT WORKING, IT’S TIME TO DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT!

You Know. You’ve Always Known

 

To share your thoughts, comments, personal story email jenny@divorcedwomensclub.com.au

Jenny xx

 

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TIPS FROM STEPHEN COVEY

Following on from the previous post Stephen Covey today we are talking all about the Six Major Deposits.

Understanding the Individual
Really seeking to understand another person is probably one of the most important deposits you can make, and it is the key to every other deposit.  What might be a deposit for you – going for a walk to talk things over might not be perceived by someone else as a deposit at all.   U
nderstand them deeply as individuals, the way you would want to be understood and then to treat them in terms of that understanding.

Attending to the Little Things
The little kindnesses and courtesies are so important.  Small discourtesies, little unkindnesses, little forms of disrespect make large withdrawals.  In relationships, the big things are the little things.

Keeping Commitments
Keeping commitments or a promise is a major deposit; breaking one is a major withdrawal.  In fact, there’s probably not a more massive withdrawal than to make a promise that’s important to someone and then not to come through.

Clarifying Expectations
Unclear expectations in the area of goals also undermine communication and trust.  The cause of almost all relationship difficulties is rooted in conflicting or ambiguous expectations around roles and goals.  Clarifying expectations sometimes takes a great deal of courage.  It seems easier to act as though differences don’t exist and to hope things work out than it is to face the differences and work together to arrive at a mutually agreeable set of expectations.

Showing Personal Integrity
Integrity includes but goes beyond honesty.
Honesty is telling the truth – in other words, conforming our words to reality.  Integrity is conforming reality to our words – in other words, keeping promises and fulfilling expectations.  This requires an integrated character, a oneness, primarily with self but also with life.  If you treat everyone by the same set of principles people will come to trust you.  However they may not at first appreciate the honest confrontational experiences such integrity might generate.  It is said that to be trusted is greater than to be loved.  In the long run, I am convinced, to be trusted will be also to be loved.

Apologising Sincerely When You Make A Withdrawal
It takes a great deal of character strength to apologise quickly out of one’s heart rather than out of pity.
A person must possess himself and have a deep sense of security in fundamental principles and values in order to genuinely apologise.

Leo Roskin taught, “It is the weak who are cruel. Softness can only be expected from the strong.”

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

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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THE EMOTIONAL BANK ACCOUNT

I have previously mentioned the passing of Stephen Covey and one of his books ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’

This book had a big impact on me the first time I read it and still continues to teach me something new every time I read it.

Many of you have indicated that you would love to have the man of your dreams in your life and rightly so, this is in my opinion what we all deserve so I would like to share with you what he has written on what he calls ‘The Emotional Bank Account’.

Particularly for those of you who are spending time thinking deeply about the qualities and traits you would love to have in a man. What he writes is applicable to all our relationships, with our children, our family, our friends and our work colleagues.

It begins like this..

As we look back and survey the terrain to determine where we’ve been and where we are in relationship to where we are going we clearly see that we could not have gotten where we are without coming the way we came.  The landscape is covered with the fragments of broken relationships of people who have tried.  They have tried to jump into effective relationships without the maturity, the strength of character, to maintain them.  But you just can’t ‘do it’, you simply have to travel the road.  You can’t be successful with other people if you haven’t paid the price of success with yourself.

He shares a conversation with a man who was at one of his seminars, “You know Stephen I really don’t enjoy coming to these seminars.”  “Look at this beautiful coastline and the sea out there and all I can do is sit and worry about the grilling I’m going to get from my wife tonight on the phone.  She gives me the third degree every time I’m away.  “Was I in meeting all morning? What did I do in the evening?  Who was I with? and so on..  Then he said rather timidly,  “I guess she knows all the questions to ask, it was at a seminar like this that I met her…when I was married to someone else.”

Stephen said, “My friend, you can’t talk your way out of problems you behave yourself into.”
” You can’t have the fruits without the roots.”
“It’s the principle of sequencing, Private Victory precedes Public Victory.”
“Self-mastery and self-discipline are the foundation of good relationships with others.”
“If you don’t know yourself you can’t control yourself, it’s very hard to like yourself except in some short-term, psych-up, superficial way.”

The most important ingredient we put into any relationship is not what we say or what we do, but who we are.

If our words and our actions come from superficial human relations techniques rather than from our own inner core others will sense the duplicity.

The place to begin building any relationship is inside ourselves, inside our own circle of influence, our own character.

He then uses ‘The Emotional Bank Account’ as a metaphor that describes the amount of trust that’s been built up in a relationship.  It’s the feeling of safeness you have with another human being.  If I make deposits into an Emotional Bank Account  through courtesy, kindness, honesty and keeping my commitments to you I build up a reserve.  Your trust towards me becomes higher and others can call upon that trust many times if they need to.  When the trust account is high, communication is easy, instant and effective.

However if I have a habit of showing disrespect, cutting you off, overreacting, ignoring you, threatening you or playing little tin god in your life, eventually my Emotional Bank Account is overdrawn.  Now it’s tension city.  It’s protecting my backside.

Many organisations are filled with it.
Many families are filled with it and
Many marriages are filled with it.

If a large reserve of trust is not sustained by continuing deposits, a marriage will deteriorate.  Instead of rich, spontaneous understanding and communication, the situation becomes one of accommodation, where two people simply attempt to live independent life-styles in a fairly respectful and tolerant way.  The relationship may further deteriorate to one of hostility, fight or flight, verbal battles in a cold war at home sustained only by children, sex, social pressure or image protection. Or it may end up in open warfare in the courts where bitter legal battles can be carried on for years .

We are talking here about the most intimate, the most potentially rich, joyful and satisfying and productive relationship possible between two people on this earth.  Our most constant relationships, like marriage, require our most constant deposits.

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

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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