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.

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

A DIVORCE COACH’S GUIDE TO EASING THE PAIN

  • Divorce is a tough time for everyone, but pain can be mitigated by avoiding these pitfalls 
Divorce is devastating for everyone involved, but lessening that pain may be possible if we avoid the most common pitfalls along the way.  By Jo Hartley
Divorce is one of the most stressful things anyone can go through, and it’s not hard to see why. With assets to split, child custody arrangements to be made if you have kids and an emotional rollercoaster to ride, it’s not for the faint-hearted.

Yet, divorce in society is unlikely to change anytime soon.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in 2015 there were 48,517 divorces granted in Australia, marking an increase of 2,019 (4.3 per cent) from the 46,498 divorces granted in 2014.

Similarly, divorces involving children represented 47.5 per cent of all divorces granted compared with 47 per cent  in 2014.

Regardless of this increase in numbers, one thing remains the same: the mistakes that people make when it comes to working through their divorce.

It’s something that Jenny Smith is all too familiar with.

As a separation and divorce coach, Smith helps guide people through their divorce, equipping them with tools and strategies to navigate through even the worst of days.

Smith offers her clients coaching throughout their journey, as well as access to skilled professionals such as financial advisors, legal experts and meditation staff.

Through her service she aims to mitigate the mistakes that divorcing couples most commonly make.

Using kids as ammunition 

Unfortunately, when children are powerless victims, it’s common for parents to use them as tools to manipulate and control situations,” says Smith.  “It causes the most heartfelt grief and pain, not just to the children, but also to the other parent.”

Smith advises that parents need to remember that the consequences of their choices will have a direct influence on their children when it comes to issues of trust, life choices and beliefs about relationships and marriage.

Unfortunately, when children are powerless victims, it’s common for parents to use them as tools to manipulate and control situations”

“Children are not equipped to handle these sorts of confrontations and many will feel they are to blame,” she says.

Smith acknowledges that it takes a certain level of maturity and personal responsibility for couples to put their own issues and pain to one side, but notes that it’s important to work together.

“Keep in mind that children will have a long list of milestones coming up that you’ll both want to be part of,” she says. “Also, thinking longer term, there’ll likely be engagements, weddings and their own children one day.”

Poor communication

While there are many couples that manage to communicate well through divorce, Smith notes that it’s not the norm.

“When communication blocks are put up, it’s a no-win situation for everyone.  Most people have no idea of the long-term implications and, subsequently, the risk of emotional and financial costs spiralling.”

In any communicative situation, Smith recommends asking yourself ‘what is the outcome I want from this?’, or ‘what is it that triggers my emotions in our communications’?

“Being self-aware is critical,” says Smith.  “I call it taking a helicopter view so you can observe yourself in the situation and learn from it.

“Creating change always has to start with us and, even though we can’t control others, we can control ourselves and who we choose to be in any relationship.”

The end of a relationship is the perfect time to assess what you really want next time around from both a personal and partner perspective

Rushing into a rebound relationship

There are many reasons why people may rush into a rebound relationship during divorce. The most common reasons relate to a sense of self-worth or loneliness.

While it’s normal to want to feel loved or needed, Smith says it’s important to remember that it’s unlikely you’ve met the love of your life.

“The end of a relationship is the perfect time to assess what you really want next time around from both a personal and partner perspective,” she says.

Before leaping into a relationship, Smith suggests really getting to know yourself, as well as recognising and acknowledging your own contribution to the failure of your prior relationship.

Consider if you failed to express your needs, enforce your boundaries, or put your own dreams and goals on the back burner to support your partner.

“We have to know ourselves really well and divorce provides plenty of opportunities to see ourselves in a whole different light and not always in a good way.”

Seeking the right kind of professional advice 

Education and information is key in helping you make decisions about your divorce, however, seeking the advice of a lawyer immediately is not always recommended.

“We have to know ourselves really well and divorce provides plenty of opportunities to see ourselves in a whole different light and not always in a good way.”

“Once couples start the separation journey at this point there’s a higher risk of ongoing litigation and conflict, along with higher legal fees that may escalate,” explains Smith.  “Children in the relationship can become a negotiation tool, too.”

Smith says it’s essential to have a great team of professionals on your side who can help you to take steps prior to you seeing a lawyer. Subsequently, this will also prepare you more for the journey ahead.

“You need people who are experts in their field, not your mum and dad, sister, brother or your mate or girlfriend who has been through divorce. No divorce journey is the same and the experience is different for everyone.”

http://www.sbs.com.au/topics/life/relationships/article/2017/04/20/divorce-coachs-guide-easing-pain

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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.

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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!

* * *

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! 

 

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FIRST THINGS FIRST!

A break up can become a real crisis for most people, the pain is very intense and when I think about myself at that time I knew I was ‘out of control.’

I have heard it described as a death and I think that can be how it feels for many of us, whether you had the rug pulled out from under you or you were the one who decided you wanted out, it is the end of life as you once knew it.

Everyone has different coping strategies, some useful ones and some bordering on self-destruction, depending on how you feel about yourself. The tough part of this phase is that there are so many things being forced upon us. Decisions that have to be made – some really big decisions that have a very strong emotional charge and we are often not in the best state to be making these decisions.

Things like selling the family home, trying to put on a brave face for our kids and immediate families who are feeling their own sense of loss, realizing that from here on in we are financially on our own, and often seeing your partner moving on happily to create a new life with ‘someone’ else.

It is very important to spend time with people who will support you and be there for you.  If you feel like having a good cry, let it come, this is all part of the grieving process and the sooner you accept your feelings, the anger, the hatred, the fear, the regret, the sadness, the guilt and the loss, the sooner you go through this,the faster you will be able to move on.

  • Find help from a professional, a divorce coach is a very good place to start, someone you feel totally at ease with and comfortable to talk to about everything that is going on for you.
  • This is your journey – there will be lots of people giving you ‘good’ advice on what you SHOULD do.  From your mother and girlfriends to everyone else you come into contact with – they may mean well but they are not you, they are not feeling what you are feeling or thinking what you are thinking.  Trust yourself to do what is right for you.
  • Conversely, spend as much time as possible with the people you like to hang out with, positive confident people who will encourage you to try new activities, take good care of yourself, getting out walking or running, going to yoga or whatever feels right for you.  Moving the body is one of the best things you can do to clear your thinking and reduce the stress levels.
  • Be mindful of your internal dialogue – the gremlin that can take over our thoughts, send us into a spin and lead us down the rabbit hole – as soon as you notice it taking control of you and your thinking, put the tip of your tongue behind the back of the top of your teeth and this will instantly quieten everything down for you.

Over time you will notice that the end of your relationship has opened up the opportunity to learn so much about yourself, you will be stronger and more resourceful.  You will have the opportunity to really think about your future, what you want to create and get back in touch with who you are, and remember those dreams you once had about how you wanted your life to be.  You will also discover just how strong you really are, and with the right mindset you really can be, do and have whatever you want.

For now, take one day at a time.  Each day may bring up new and different emotions, questions and decisions, just taking one step forward at a time doing the best you can.

For every tough experience, life sends our way there are always good times to follow.  I will always remember this little phrase that I used, sometimes every single day, whenever life was really testing me.  “This too will pass,” and it always did.

When the dust has settled, life will return to some sort of ‘new normal’ and you may find yourself starting to think about your new life. Wondering what it will be like and perhaps, ready to do things you have only ever dreamed about in your previous life.

With love,

Jenny xx

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