WILL I STAY OR WILL I GO?

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

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

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

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

Here’s the thing!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ARE YOU SURRENDERING YOURSELF IN YOUR RELATIONSHIPS?

In most relationships, whether they be with a spouse, family and friends or work colleagues we compromise ourselves in some way, to either keep the peace, avoid confrontation or to be accepted, liked and even loved.

Most relationships involve a great degree of compromise simply to allow the other person to maintain their individuality, pursue their own interests and have a different circle of friends. All of which I believe contribute to making the relationship not only more interesting but more importantly allowing both people to grow as individuals within the relationship.

For separated families to put their children’s very best interests ahead of personal feelings or opinions also involves compromise and when the relationship is strained this can be incredibly challenging.

And of course, some things are just not worth making a big deal about much of the time but at what point does ‘biting your tongue’ become something much more?

At what point does compromising become problematic?

Where does it start and where does it end?

Generally when the stakes are high! And they are if our usual response is to avoid any sort of confrontation or voice our opinion on a particular topic, or stating to someone that what they did really pissed us off and when our voice is no longer heard.

This can happen in relationships in very subtle ways. For example if you are telling your friend, partner or work colleague about something that happen during the day and not only are they not listening, they will cut you off mid sentence to tell you something about themselves.

When this becomes a common pattern real communication will cease to exist and the relationship itself will be compromised.

Or conversely

  • When you are too afraid to express your true feelings
  • When your opinion no longer counts
  • When you have been put down so many times that you just keep everything to yourself
  • When you are ridiculed for your opinion
  • When you no longer even know how to express your needs
  • When you no longer feel that you deserve to have an opinion
  • When you no longer even care because you feel worthless
  • When you no longer even know what you think

What most of us don’t realize until we’ve allowed our own sense of self-worth and self-respect to reach rock bottom is that in every moment, situation, and relationship that we do not honor and value ourselves, we are compromising who we really are and thus abandoning, betraying, and ultimately hurting ourselves far more deeply than we know.

I thought I would share with you some tips on Finding Your Voice Again, from my “6 Steps To Getting Your Life Back On Track” ebook.

I remember quite some time ago seeing the movie ‘Runaway Bride’ with Richard Gere and Julia Roberts. There was one particular scene in the movie that really stood out for me and it relates well to this step, finding your voice again.

In this scene Richard Gere asks Julia Roberts ‘how do you like your eggs?’ and she replies ‘how do you like yours?’

This also reminds me of a client who broke down in tears and said to me, ‘I don’t even know what my favourite colour is!’

In the role Julia Roberts played in this movie she had absolutely no idea how she liked her eggs, she had never allowed herself to realize that she could choose to have them anyway she liked and asked for them just the way she liked them.

“How do you like your eggs?”

Exercise

Time to make your voice heard.

Over the next few weeks I would like you to begin to pay particular attention to the times, when for the sake of keeping the peace, or perhaps thinking it’s not that important, you stay silent rather than speaking up or voice your opinion on some topic.

I’m not saying that all of a sudden you become someone who challenges everyone or everything. The purpose of this exercise is simply one of creating more self-awareness. It can often be some of the little things that we let go without comment that eventually lead to becoming our natural way of responding in most situations. Your voice is important and your voice deserves to be heard. It’s time now to find YOUR voice again.

Next time you go to a restaurant with friends or family, take particular notice of how you read the menu. How do you choose what you are going to order? Do you wait to find out what everyone else is having?

Or as you read the menu do you imagine what the food will look like and taste like? Perhaps you may find it really difficult to make a decision at all. This is just one example of any number of different situations that you may begin to notice how you make decisions and when you choose not to say something even though you disagree.

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FAMILY PHOTOS ESSENTIAL FOR CHILDREN OF DIVORCE

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

Divorced or divorcing parents take a moment to read this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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

SHARING THE JOY THAT IS CHRISTMAS MORNING

Todays’ blog is written by Lorrie Brook, a friend and colleague and the creator of Our Children Australia. With a background in Family Law Lorries’ passion and her reason for creating Our Children Australia is to provide a resource that protects children from the conflict that can arise between separated parents.  Our Children Australia is Australia’s first website offering software which helps parents manage shared custody peacefully and protects their kids from being used as messengers.  You can find out more about Our Children Australia by visiting the website www.ourchildren.com.au.

It is that time of year for separated parents to remind themselves to act with empathy and sharpen their compromise skills to protect their children during the lead-up to the Christmas break.

It goes without saying that the Christmas season is often the most stressful time of year for separated parents navigating through shared custody. It can be an emotional holiday break, as each parent does their best to make the most of arrangements that are usually not their ideal preference.

Making the transition to being respectful co-parents who are no longer a couple can be extremely challenging.  The impact these changes can have on family dynamics at Christmas can be significant.  As hard as it may be, parents should consider the flow on effect conflict can have on their children, and to remember that their kids look to them as their role model.

With this in mind, what are the common issues of conflict arising at this time of year?

  1. Sharing the joy that is Christmas morning

Waking up on Christmas morning and seeing the joy on your children’s faces is so precious that each and everyone of us want to be there to experience this.   This is normal.  Unfortunately though, the obstacles of life mean that when you separate chances are this can’t occur.  So in these scenarios parents need to be flexible when planning the schedule for Christmas.  For most of us it is unrealistic to expect that you will be able to do this every year.  Chances are that this will occur every other year. It is the children that suffer the most when parents kick their heels in over schedules. It is always best to take a longer-term view on what will be best for both family units.

  1. What gifts are you giving your children?

Sadly, it isn’t uncommon for their to be a silent competition between you and your ex when it comes to buying Christmas gifts for the kids. This can be easily avoided – all you need to do is ask.  Make an effort to speak about your plans in advance; showing sensitivity where there is a difference in income levels.

  1. What plans do you have for the day?

Complicated schedules and long drives between locations can result in grumpy parents and grumpy children. It is best to keep arrangements as simple as possible and avoid late night drop offs which can be particularly exhausting.   Always think of your children when you are planning your day.  Don’t forget that they will want to be able to play with their presents!

  1. Have they eaten anything but sugar?

It is best to establish dietary and household ground rules for the Christmas season with your co-parent early to avoid any conflict over the holidays. Complaints around excessive sugar consumption and late bedtimes are common, which can result in exhausted, grumpy and cranky children. Acting with common sense and sensitivity towards your co-parent as well as honouring the agreements made should help prevent any of these issues arising.

  1. Have you left on time?

Christmas day is such a special day for everyone.  People are celebrating this wonderful time of year and our children are usually the main focus.  The joy they bring to us at this time of year is priceless.  Time has a way of moving too fast when we are having fun but it can be very distressing for the other parent if time gets away and you are late for changeover.

Always remember that you would be upset if you were missing out as well. Keeping to agreed timelines where possible should be a priority to nurture goodwill between co-parents.

Lorrie HighResColour_038

 

Share your thoughts, comments or personal story via email jenny@divorcedwomensclub.com.au

With love and gratitude
Jenny xx

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