DIVORCE IS TOUGH – EVEN TOUGHER ON TEENS!

Guest Post By Rosalind Sedacca, CCT

We all know divorce is tough on families. Everyone is affected, especially the children. In most cases, the older the children, the more complex the reaction and more difficult the adaptation. There are many reasons why.

Older children have a longer history in the former family unit, regardless of how healthy or toxic it has been. Perhaps they remember better times when Mom and Dad interacted with them and each other with more joy and harmony. Even if there were no good times to look back upon, older children were accustomed to the existing family dynamic, knew their place in the structure, and felt a sense of comfort in “what is.”

Resisting change is a natural part of being human. For teenagers that resistance is compounded by a tendency to test boundaries and rock the status quo. Divorce or separation naturally makes all children feel powerless over their circumstances. For teens, who are feeling their oats and less likely to listen to parental authority, this is especially hard to accept.

Teens are also more judgmental and opinionated than younger children. Consequently they are less likely to blame themselves for the divorce (as younger kids frequently do) and more apt to take sides and blame one of their parents. Many therapists see teens side with the parent who is more permissive, taking advantage of the weakened parental structure to try to get away with more rebellious behaviors. Some teens choose to side with the more powerful parent – often Dad – to bolster their sense of security, even if they were emotionally closer to Mom.

Anger is a common reaction from older children. If they are not given the opportunity to vent, express their feelings and be heard, this anger often manifests as physical rebellion, drug or alcohol abuse or other inappropriate behaviors. To complicate matters, communication is often more difficult with teens who are acting out because they are usually less talkative, more likely to keep their feelings held in and more moody than their younger siblings.

With this in mind, how can parents bridge this communication and credibility gap with their older children? Amy Sherman, a therapist in private practice who has dealt extensively with troubled teen populations, makes these suggestions:

1. Make your family a democracy. That means opening the door to listening to and “hearing” your older children, even if you don’t like what they are saying. Kids need to know they can express themselves without being disciplined or made wrong. At the same time, she warns against being too permissive which inevitably leads to exploitation from teens who are always testing their boundaries.

2. Whenever possible, both Mom and Dad should talk to the teen together, discussing issues as honestly as is appropriate. All children are natural manipulators. Don’t let separation or divorce give them the opportunity to divide and conquer. Mom and Dad talking to the kids together, on the same page regarding family rules and values, is your best insurance for keeping older children as allies. Co-parenting after the divorce is your optimum goal. When that is not possible, keeping both parents in their parental roles goes a long way toward maintaining stability within a transforming family structure.

3. Children need and actually appreciate structure, even teens. It creates the security they crave, especially at challenging times. Try to maintain boundaries as close to the pre-divorce reality as possible. When both parents share basic guidelines and agreements within the family structure, regardless of which house the children are in, they will feel safer and more secure. Your children will also feel more cared about and loved which is vitally important as the family moves into unknown changes and transitions.

Remember, children of all ages mirror what they see. If your children are acting out, look within the family system for the cause. Get the help you need in making internal changes, and they are more likely to follow suit. At the same time, be patient, tolerant and understanding with yourself and everyone else within your family. This too shall pass!

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Rosalind Sedacca’s acclaimed ebook, How Do I Tell the Kids about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children — with Love! 

 

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

EMBRACING SEX AND SEXINESS IN YOUR LIFE

Before I start talking about embracing sex and sexiness in your life, these are two quite distinct words with very different meanings.

There are so many words used to describe the ‘doing’ part of sex. Sexual activity, sexual intercourse, lovemaking, bonking, nooky, quickie, screwing, and I’m only scratching the surface here.

As I did a little bit of research on what the word sexiness means it became apparent that sexiness is in the eye of the beholder and by that I mean it depends on people’s different views of what ‘sexiness’ means to them, what it looks like and how people exude ‘sexiness’.

Most of the images on the internet of women who fall into the ‘sexy’ category are of buffed women in bikinis overtly strutting their ‘stuff.’

For me it is more about the qualities and traits of a person and how they care for themselves. A particular inner and outer strength, how they carry and present themselves, their smile, a twinkle in the eye, and all summed up as a quiet confidence which is a natural expression of ability and self-respect. This applies equally for both men and women for me.

For women of all ages who have felt rejected by a partner and particularly if that rejection involves another women it will feel like a death of a thousand cuts. Women have a tendency to compare themselves with this other woman and their self-worth and self-esteem takes a nosedive. For many it can become an obsession, at least initially, to find out who she is, what she looks likes, what she does and she becomes the enemy, someone they can blame for the pain they are experiencing and direct their anger towards.

Separation and divorce shatters many women’s beliefs about themselves particularly around their ability to attract another partner. I have used the word attract because I want to come back to my definition of sexiness and ask the question, ‘what can women do to redefine sexiness’ after betrayal and loss?

If you agree with my definition of sexiness being a particular inner and outer strength and a quiet confidence how do women rekindle the flame within themselves that may have waned over time, or been completed snuffed out in a previous relationship.

We all have different coping strategies under difficult circumstances and underlying these coping strategies people who have been hurt will be asking themselves ‘what can I do to feel better about myself?’ or ‘how can I withdraw from the world because I am not enough?’ Whichever path they choose will of course produce very different outcomes.

There is a distinctly different mindset with these women. The pain and the hurt is no different, the grieving and sense of loss is no different, the struggle to build a new life is no different, whether they have financial resources or not is irrelevant, the only difference is that who they are is not defined by someone else or by what ‘happened to them’.

Here are some of the ways my clients have taken steps to turn their lives around which also developed a newfound confidence and strength that exuded ‘sexiness.’

  • Gone through their underwear drawers and thrown out every bra, every pair of knickers and personal items and hit the shops to buy all new very sexy items to replace the old with the new. Always a massive mood lifter and awesome cleansing process
  • Joined a gym, a walking group, a pilates class or yoga any physical activities that gets the body pumping and provides so many amazing feel good benefits.
  • Decided to embrace a completely new hair style
  • Started studying a subject that has always been of interest
  • Spending time with people who inspire and uplift them just by being in their presence
  • Going deeper into aspects of themselves, including spirituality and pursuing their gifts and talents
  • Creating and ticking off a list of things they always wanted to do

These women decide to use divorce as a catalyst to transform themselves and their lives and no longer be defined by someone else’s ideal of who they are and that my friends falls into my definition of ‘sexiness.’

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 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

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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WHAT DO YOU NEED FOR EFFECTIVE SELF LEADERSHIP?

As I began to think about writing this blog I went to my bookshelves and was astounded at how many books I have that are related in some way to ‘leadership’.   Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In – Women, Work and the Will to Lead, Stephen Covey The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Ken Robinson The Element, Malcolm Gladwell Outliers to name a few and I’ll throw in The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz slightly off topic and yet fits beautifully and is one of my favourites.

What is self-leadership? What exactly does it mean?

Andrew Bryant in his book Self Leadership defines it as having a developed sense of who you are, what you can do and where you are going coupled with the ability to influence your communication, emotions and behaviour on the way to getting there.   All of this can be summed up as self-awareness and the maturity to take responsibility for your personal development, goals and outcomes.

Women come to me for help. The end of a relationship is a highly emotive time and there is not a great deal of difference in the emotional and physical responses from the stay at home mum with children, the women who have been married for 20+ years and professional women in those first 3 to 6 months. Divorce wipes people out, they can’t think straight, and many lose every inch of their self worth and confidence. Their lives have been turned upside down and they struggle to come to terms with the reality of a situation they never signed up for.

There is no way I could address all the different situations and circumstances that women come from and through because of the end of a relationship. Relationships do not fall into a common category simply because no two people involved in a relationship have the same personalities, beliefs, values or lifestyle choices as any other couple on the planet.

What role does self-leadership play in the lives of women going through divorce and conversely for those who are ready to step into a new relationship?

What’s the difference between the women who are able to get their lives back on track more quickly and those who stay stuck for years hanging onto their story?

In very simple terms the difference is this: the women who get on with their lives choose to create a different story.

This is where self-leadership falls nicely into this conversation.

Here are the three important components of effective self-leadership inspired by some brilliant writers and thinkers.

Self-leadership requires self-awareness

Women who move on with their lives more quickly after separation and divorce have a clear perception of their strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivation, and emotions.

They are willing to ask for help and they are coachable. By that I mean they use the tools and resources I teach them to take control of their emotional state on a daily basis. They want someone who will be honest with them and allow them to uncover their own answers to questions and solutions to their problems.

They are willing to let go of the things they cannot control, how other people act is always a trigger in separation and divorce situations. They are willing to accept that they have no control over what the other party might do or say knowing that they do have total control over themselves and how they respond.

Self awareness is many things including:

Listening to our internal dialogue and recognising when we are making judgements about other people, circumstances or situations based on the story we are telling ourselves, essentially making up shit!

It’s about knowing what questions to ask yourself to gain insight into the what, the why and the how of a situation.

It’s about being in control of your own mind, where you focus your attention, your emotions, your responses to situations and ultimately your behaviour.

When it comes to creating change in your life being in control of your thoughts comes first, the emotions, the language you use to describe a situation and the actions you take all follow on from your thoughts and will have a massive influence on how you view the world around you.

When it comes to facing those curved balls that life tends to throw our way from time to time self awareness is critical when it comes to managing yourself and your situation.

When it comes to wanting your life to be better or different in some way, knowing what it is you want and being absolutely clear about why you want it is essential for moving forward.

Self-leadership requires living according to your values and priorities.

Living according to your values and priorities will show up in your life on a daily basis.

Being fit and healthy is both a value and a priority and it will be evident in the choices you make about what you eat and as a priority it will influence how you plan your day.

Stephen Covey discusses our independent will as human beings that make self-leadership possible: “It is the ability to make decisions and choices and to act in accordance with these.” Successful self-leaders are those who live according to their values. They know what to say “yes” to and have clarity on what to say “no” to.

Self-leadership requires taking personal responsibility for your development.

Self-leadership requires a willingness to learn from the people around us. If creating amazing relationships is something we desire then we spend time finding out more about how we can do this, speaking to people, researching and getting very clear on what an amazing relationship looks like and feels like for us.

You can substitute any other quality or trait for the word relationship, wealth, freedom, contribution, independence, creativity, community, honesty, self-expression and so on.

We all have the ability to continually improve ourselves, our lives and in turn the lives of others. It is a journey and once to take that first step you soon discover that there is no end to this journey. As we grow into being more of who we really are without all the bullshit beliefs and lies that we have told ourselves, our dreams, goals and desires also expand.

Accept that there will be times when we fail, we fall in a heap, we struggle to continue, and yet we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and continue on the journey knowing that we have just taken one giant leap forward.

There is no taking away the heartache and pain we experience when it comes because of the challenges we face with separation and divorce, that’s a fact.

My clients know that once they have moved through the worst of the situation and out the other side, there is a whole world of new possibilities and opportunities waiting for them to discover. And that’s when we begin to create magic together.

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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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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