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

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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! 

 

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

HOW TO 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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STUCK IN A MONEY RUT?

Let’s talk about money!

It’s up there with topics like politics, religion and sex when it comes to having discussions about it with a partner, a colleague or a friend or your ‘friendly’ bank manager.

Far too many women really struggle financially as an outcome of separation and divorce. And yes, I know a lot of guys do too, unfortunately it’s true for both parties. When you have spent years working towards some financial goals and things fall apart, by the time credit card debt, mortgage, leases on cars and all the other many expenses that are part of everyday life are taken out of what little might be left over after the divorce often what is left is little or next to nothing. Then it’s a matter of starting all over again to create some financial security and wealth, never an easy thing particularly for those who divorce later in life.

Have you found yourself in a financial rut and have no idea how to get your self out?

Here’s the thing!
WE ALL HAVE THE ABILITY TO CHANGE THE DIRECTION OF OUR LIVES!
Including where we are headed financially.

And just like creating any change, the first place to start is by taking a good hard look at where we are. Much like going on a diet, you have to know where you are now and where you want to be and then get focused on the end goal. Make it a project you are working on, a well formed plan that includes knowing exactly what you want to achieve both short and long term.

Start doing the numbers. It can be really scary and most of us like to just bury our heads in the sand rather than deal with what makes us feel uncomfortable. Spend the time to go through all your credit cards, your bills and regular expenses so you know your outgoings. If you have kids there are always things that crop up that we haven’t budgeted for and it really does put a great deal of pressure on parents.

If you have been putting more value of the thrill of going on a shopping spree, having nice clothes and shoes or going a holiday or whatever it might be then I would suggest you spend some time really thinking about your values around money.

When my marriage ended and I became totally responsible for all the bills and other expenses I used a Collins 18 Money Column book. I divided it up into months of the year with my income for each month at the bottom, then all the regular bills in whatever column they were due. I knew at the end of every month whether I was going to be under or over. This system really helped me decide how I spent my money. There are plenty of other great tools available online these days to make it even easier.

If your outgoings are higher than your income it’s time to look at how you can pull back in some area, purchase different brands that are cheaper or take on some extra work. If we are consistently spending more than we earn, there is only ever going to an unhappy ending.

If you are finding it still too difficult to do on your own and can’t afford to speak to a professional advisor, get an accountability partner. Someone you trust to help keep you on track. Make it as much fun as you can and give yourself some little rewards for your little wins along the way.

Many of us turn a blind eye or simply justify our spending habits. Time to take your head out of the sand, look around you and decide what you really want in your life and then do whatever you have to do to make it happen.

A money map so you can see exactly where you are going and what you need to do

  • Persistance
  • Consistency
  • A burning desire to create a happier, more financially secure future
  • And an accountability buddy to make the journey more fun

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

SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO?

Sitting in no man’s land – woman’s land in this instance!

It’s the mental and emotional struggle when one partner in a relationship will spend countless hours, months and sometimes years going over and over in their minds, talking to friends trying to answer the question ‘Should I stay or should I go?’

I know for sure that I am not the only person to ask myself that very question.  And I’m pretty certain that many happy couples do as well.

I played this very same question in my mind over and over again and one day I heard Mira Kirshenbaum, the author of “Too Good To Leave, Too Bad to Stay,” being interviewed on the radio and it was as if she was speaking directly to me.

I had a good husband, a beautiful family, a great lifestyle and on the surface everything looked perfect.  When you have worked hard at keeping a relationship together over a number of years, life is pretty good, family and friends are important then why would a question like this keep bubbling to the surface.

If you are feeling like this then perhaps your partner is also feeling the same way. We all go through periods of doubt and frustration with different aspects of our relationships whether it is with a significant partner, family or friends. Relationships need to be nurtured through open, honest and clear communication and unfortunately so many of us are sadly lacking in the ability to do this.

My partner and I talked more when we were separating than we had done in years.  If we had done that through our married life things may have turned out very differently.

Over the past several years and a couple of other relationships I began to recognise a pattern.  I was the Queen of Assumptions.  I assumed that my boundaries were obvious.  That what I said was understood. That I understood the meaning behind what my partner said. That my expectations were very clear.  That my deal breakers, well clearly deal breakers they should just know what these are, right.

There are some things you can do to help yourself and a good place to start is by asking yourself some better questions.

  • What do I want?
  • What am I looking for that I don’t have now?
  • What is missing in this relationship for me?
  • What is it about me that is bringing up these feelings and thoughts?
  • What have I been avoiding?
  • When did I stop asking for what I want?
  • When did I stop listening?
  • Is it possible for me to have what I want in this relationship?
  • Where have I placed responsibility for my happiness on someone else?
  • Is there a pattern that seems to be consistently showing up in other areas of my life?
  • If I am really honest with myself what other things have I just accepted in my life?
  • What things have I taken for granted?
  • What am I prepared to do to create the relationship I want?

In many cases the decision has already been made to leave and the struggle is more about taking that next step.

Finding an independent professional coach or counsellor who you feel safe and comfortable with will also help you get clear about what is really going on.

Should I leave or should I stay, a really tough question, whatever you decide.

It’s also a great question when it highlights the things that need to change and allows you to do something about taking control of what’s not working for you and ultimately create the life you want.

If it is a situation where there is physical or emotional abuse or any other indiscretions that violate your values and trust then you already have your answer.

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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