HOW TO STOP FEELING INVISIBLE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR PAST STOPS YOUR PRESENT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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HOW MEN AND WOMEN MISUNDERSTAND SEX

Here’s the scenario!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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