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

 

DAMNED IF YOU DO AND DAMNED IF YOU DON’T

My clients are so open and forthcoming about the very private details of their lives, they allow themselves to be raw and vulnerable, to express their thoughts and feelings honestly.  For many of them the decision to end the relationship was not theirs to make, it had already been done and they were left to deal with the fallout, facing an uncertain and unknown future.

For the ones who are unhappy and dissatisfied with their relationship, struggling with a feeling of unrest and discontent it’s like being caught between a rock and a hard place.

Reaching that point where there are one of two choices to be made, the day you realise the pain of staying will be greater than the pain of leaving and choosing to step off the edge into an uncertain and unknown future.

Like many women who find themselves in this situation, I had unconsciously distanced myself emotionally and physically for a number of years until one day I crossed that threshold, that point of no return, I had reached my ‘tipping point.’  That one more thing when in an instant I knew I was done and I also knew it was a case of damned if I do and damned if I don’t.

The fallout of this decision spread far and wide as very close family and life long friends distanced themselves, as I watched my children hurting so much that it broke my heart, as rumors spread and as my husband did everything he could to salvage our marriage knowing that I had reached the point of no return.

If you find yourself caught between a rock and a hard place, in a position where you are struggling to make a choice between two possible alternatives, before you do anything else it is important for you to get very clear about your decision, once you choose to walk a different path there is no turning back.

Knowing what I know now and having someone in my corner to support me, someone to walk the path with me, to help me navigate through this time would have made an incredible difference to me and to my life.

To help you with whatever is going on in your life right now, some area of your life where you may be feeling some internal conflict, this exercise will help you gain more clarity and help you redirect your focus towards what you want to be different.

CLARITY THROUGH CONTRAST

  • Take a sheet of paper, draw a line down the middle and on the left hand side write the word CONTRAST, on the right hand side write the word CLARITY
  • Fold the paper in half and only work on the Contrast Column. Make a list of all the things you feel are ‘wrong’ with your partner and your relationship, the longer the list the better.  Spend the time to work through this, come back to it over a few days and keep adding more things as they come to mind.
  • Once you have run out of things to write, open the paper and as you read each item on the Contrast list one at a time, write what it is you do want and how you would like things to be different.
  • Having completed both columns, fold the paper again and now only look at the list in the Clarity column and read through each one of them, make any changes as they come up for you.
  • There are several benefits to using a simple and easy exercise like this, it will assist your decision making, it may even open up the opportunity to begin a different conversation with your partner.

Example: “I feel taken for granted,” in the Clarity column “I want to feel appreciated.”

Remember: You cannot unring a bell!   Once something has been said or done and the wheels are in motion it cannot be undone.

 

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

If you’d love a quick chat with Jenny about anything, even your favourite wine, click here.  Jenny will be in touch as soon as she’s finished.

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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GIRLFRIENDS AND MISGUIDED ADVICE

If you are in the early phases of separation there will be some people you want to keep close by your side and there will be others that will no longer be a part of your life.

Everyone will have an opinion on what you should do, what they really thought of your partner and be particularly cautious of the ones who love to feed on gossip. The last thing you need to hear is someone saying things like ‘I always thought he/she was a jerk,’ ‘Did you know he tried to hit on me plenty of times?’ and the best one of all, ‘you’ll be fine, just get over it there are plenty more fish in the sea!’

If only it was that easy!

The fact is that any separation, no matter who decides to end the relationship, is a traumatic and confronting experience. It changes who you are, it changes many aspects of your life that you held dear, it causes you to question everything about yourself, your decisions, and it completely wipes out the timeline you had in your imagination of how and when all the things you had planned together would come to life. Now all you see in front of you is a blank wall with no idea of how to get over it, around it, or through it.

Most people these days know someone who has been through divorce and although family and good friends are so very important in your life now, it is time to remove the people from your life who simply have no idea of what it is like to walk in your shoes and hugely beneficial to connect with a few friends or acquaintances who do.  These are the people who will give you permission to spend the day curled up in bed, who will listen to you talk and talk about the same things over and over again without judgement, they will be the ones you can call late at night.  They will come over to spend the night and keep you company, get you laughing and smiling again. They will reassure you that there is nothing wrong with you and share the things that happened to them and encourage you to honour the grieving process and allow the body to do it’s healing in the way it has been designed to do.   Your body goes into shock and all the physical and emotional triggers that are designed to help you through any trauma will kick in to do what needs to be done to begin the grieving and healing process.

Time really does heal old wounds and life goes on, we manage to pull ourselves together, we learn more about who we are and just how strong and resilient we have become, we learn to ask for help when we need it, we learn to swallow our pride and seek financial assistance when we need it, we become experts at managing our budgets, we discover just how wonderful and supportive a select group of special people in our lives are and eventually we regroup, we begin to think about what we want to do with our lives, our work or careers or adding value to others in some way.

There are so many parts of who we are and for many women it’s not until we are no longer someones wife or partner that we have the opportunity to make these discoveries, our self-awareness becomes deeper, we begin to question our beliefs about relationships and other things we thought to be true, many begin a deeper spiritual practice, question why they are here, they realise the benefits of maintaining their health and fitness, giving back to their families and communities and begin to explore experiences that are new, challenging, fun and allowing the growth and expansion of themselves and their lives.

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

DIVORCED WOMEN’S CLUB MEMBERS LOUNGE

 

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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IT’S TIME TO CUT THE TIES WITH YOUR EX?

You know the relationship is done and dusted and yet you find yourself in a state of constant struggle with your heart telling you one thing and your head saying something else?

If this sounds like you then you are not on your own.  We can know that we are much better off without them and yet we still really struggle to just cut the ties completely and get on with our lives.

Let’s explore just a few of the reasons why is it that some people keep going back to their ex and of course there is never just one simple answer to a question like this.

At very basic level it can be a raw and calculated decision to survive, have a roof over your head and food on the table for your kids. As a mother I get this! The facts are it is tough starting again on your own. It’s freaking scary and it’s a long and lonely ride and if you are a woman who hasn’t learned how to be on your own or have a strong support network around you it can often be so much harder.

When one or both parties call an end to a relationship for whatever reason, it is rarely a simple matter of packing your bags and exiting forever from their lives. Your lives are already so deeply intertwined on so many different levels, more so if you have been together for a number of years, have kids and a great social network.  All of these things make it much harder and it can and does takes time.

It’s pretty normal for a lot of people who have reached the point in a relationship whether it’s the constant fighting and arguing, the lying and cheating, or perhaps emotionally and physically disconnected, whatever the reason, your dreams and hopes for a life together have been shattered.

Once you have moved out and you are free from all the tension and drama it’s pretty normal to start thinking about all the good times you had together, how much you loved you each other, how good it felt to wake up in the morning together, the long deep conversations you enjoyed so much, the places you went together, the friends you hung out with. And the more time you spend focusing on on these the more your body will give you all those lovely warm feelings that go with it and before you know it you have mentally wiped the slate clean.

And so the cycle begins and often repeats over and over again so that you find yourself ‘stuck’ in the middle of nowhere with your well meaning friends and family telling you get over it and get on with your life. Easier said then done!

Plenty of women fall out of love on their own. It is something that happens over time and they simply reach that threshold, as Stephen Covey puts it, ‘when the emotional bank account is empty’.

And sometimes there are some people who need a little help to learn how to fall out of love. 

There are several things you can do to help yourself and most of it requires discipline and self control to stop picking up the phone, or sending a message but if you are ready to get on with your life and regain your personal freedom these simple steps will help you train your brain to do the work for you.

As you think about this person, just notice the image that comes to mind and as you do remember all times they treated you badly, cheated on you, lied to you, ignored you, the fights and arguments everything little thing about this person that absolutely irritated you and hurt you so very deeply and imagine yourself standing there beside them looking at them and notice how you feel. Then run this movie in your mind, over and over and over.

Now think about something else that is really disgusting to you, notice how you are feeling and then as you think about your ex associate all of these feelings with them. Again just keep running this movie over and over in your mind.

Then take yourself on a little journey into your new wonderful future that you have created for yourself.  Perhaps you have a wonderful man by your side, or you are surrounded by friends laughing and having a great time, out sailing on a yacht perhaps, allow your imagination to run wild as you create this new life, this new future in your imagination and notice how amazing you feel, how light, happy and joyful you feel now.

We all have the ability to redirect our thoughts and decide what memories to associate with different situations. Most of us don’t realise that manipulating our thoughts deliberately, is what is called thinking

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

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

LETTING GO!

Letting Go!

‘After 15 years I still think about him all the time’.

‘I still wear my wedding ring, I never take it off.’

‘I just can’t get over that fact that he left me for a much younger woman.’

I could go on and create a very long list of statements I have heard from some of my clients or in general conversation with someone who knows what work I do.

So many women and men are caught up in the past and unable to move on with their lives?  Unable to accept that the relationship has ended and life as they once knew it is over.

Many still living with blame, anger, resentment and regret for far too many years.

Who are they trying to punish?  And who are they really hurting?

I absolutely love my work and this is something that both frustrates and saddens me.

None of us know how long we have on this earth.  And yet we go about our day-to day lives as if we will live forever.  We talk about all the things we will do, one day!

Each one of us will, one day look back and wish we had done more, played more, risked more, danced more, laughed more and loved more.  We will all have those moments of regret for something we did or didn’t do but to put your whole like on hold, to hit the pause button so you can hang onto your story for years and years about how you were treated, or how much you suffered seems to me such a waste.

Letting go is a choice. Never letting go is also a choice.

If you enjoy reading, than I suggest that you  grab a copy of ‘The Language of Letting Go” by Melody Beattie.  A great book to help you with any number of issues that are all a natural part of being human.

I know many of you struggle with this so keep your eye out for more on this topic in upcoming blog posts.

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

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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