how to tell if your spouse is lying

How To Tell If Your Spouse is Lying

how to tell if your spouse is lying

 

No one likes to think their spouse isn’t telling the truth but if you’re getting divorced or your marriage is in trouble, then the chances that your spouse isn’t being totally honest increase and you need to know how to tell your spouse is lying to you.

If you’ve always believed your spouse, how to do start to detect the lies?

On the other hand, if you’re convinced now that everything out of your spouse’s mouth is a lie, how do you know what’s true?

How to Tell If Your Spouse is Lying

What are the telltale signs the experts watch for?

Accept The Possibility Of Lies

The first step to detecting untruths is to be open to the possibility that your spouse may not be telling you the truth and that is not easy.

“Everyone wants to believe that they’re hearing the truth and when you’re so in love with the person who may be lying, it gets even harder,” said body language expert, Traci Brown.

The key is to take the emotion out of the situation and ask yourself if you’re wanting to hear a particular answer. That wanting tricks you into discounting the red flags and signs that you’re being deceived. It’s self-preservation at work because deep inside you know how crushing it will be to realize your soulmate is lying to you now and may have been lying to you for a long time.

It’s Easier To Detect Lies Face To Face

Email is hard for any communication and it’s easy to misinterpret written words because what’s missing is everything that comes with in-person communication – the intonation, the pitch, the pace, the visual clues … Phone conversations are better for this purpose than emails but when you really want to know if someone is lying, you need to do it in person.

You Are Not Crazy

Once you open up to the possibility of lies, you might start to see them in many situations. You may even start to think that this can’t be, that this doesn’t make sense and maybe you’re the one who is crazy, imagining things. The possibility here is that you are a victim of gaslighting: “a malicious and hidden form of mental and emotional abuse, designed to plant seeds of self-doubt and alter your perception of reality.” (Psychology Today)

Brown says that lies happen in every relationship and they come in all shapes and sizes. Some lies are told to make you feel better. You know those. They’re the ones about your choice of what to wear or what to have for dinner. They’re harmless and perhaps well-intentioned.

According to Brown, about 15 percent of the population is between sociopaths and psychopaths. Many of them end up in the criminal justice system but a lot of them are really high functioning and totally put together. They may not show the signs and it might be really difficult for you to tell if they’re lying.

“They have no guilt, no compunction, no remorse, no regret,” said Brown. “They’re just extremely skilled at it. They’re not trying. It’s just the way they are wired.”

The lies these people tell are not the harmless ‘white lies.’ They are the most dangerous lies. To spot these you need to pay attention and you need to start trusting your gut.

A Lie Is A Lie

Brown identifies five different types of lies: exaggeration, fabrication, minimization, omission, and denial. While it doesn’t really matter what type of lie it is, some are more common than others.

“People will conceal before they will fabricate,” said Brown. “It takes less effort to conceal than to make up something new.”

That reminded me of a client situation where my client suspected that her spouse had bank accounts overseas. When asked about that he denied the existence of an account in the specific country she had asked about. Long story short, spouse was eventually required to turn over all sorts of records and it came out that he had bought a business in that country and that the business did have a couple of accounts there.

Technically, he had answered her question correctly – they did not have any personal accounts but it was not the whole truth. Brown says in this situation, an investigator would word the question differently, perhaps, “Do you have any financial interests overseas?”

Get A Baseline

A baseline is how someone normally responds and when there’s a shift from the normal response, it’s a “hotspot.”

“Husbands and wives can often tell when each other are lying because they know each other so well,” said Brown. “What you want to do is to look for the differences in their response from their typical response to a very pointed question such as ‘Hey, what’s out address?’”

The way they respond to a straightforward question is their baseline. Just to make things a little harder, Brown says everybody is going to be little bit different and that’s why you need a baseline for the person you suspect of lying.

A single hotspot is not sufficient to be sure someone is lying so Brown looks for three hotspots and she has a number of signs she watches out for.

The Body Language Doesn’t Match The Words

A very common hotspot is when someone responds to a question with ‘no’ but is nodding their head or responds with ‘yes’ and is shaking their head. You can find video clips of celebrity cases like OJ Simpson, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump at Brown’s blog for plenty of examples of this.

What gets these people into trouble is that you can rehearse a script and control the words but it’s extremely difficult to control the subconscious, involuntary body actions. There is an art to detecting these inconsistencies and it’s harder at home since it’s a bit challenging to suddenly start videotaping your spouse for analysis later.

“Other things that people do is when their lips disappear, their lips fall down over their teeth or they’ll cover their mouth,” said Brown. “Maybe they’ll cover some of the throat area with a hand. The next thing out of their mouth is somewhere between a half-truth and a lie, many, many times.

Look For Shifts

You can also detect when someone is being deceptive by shifts in their behavior. Do they go from still to speedy or speedy to still? Does their eye blink rate change all of a sudden? Do they scoot away from you? Does the volume of their voice change?

“This is why you get a baseline and then look for shifts,” said Brown.

Dupa’s Delight

This is one of my favorite signs.

“Sometimes, you ask people a very incriminating question and they’ll smile really big and they’ll shake their head,” said Brown. “There’s no reason to smile on a very incriminating question and it happens because they think they’re getting away with it, having a little bit of fun. It’s deeply subconscious, not anything they would pick to do but it’s a dead giveaway.”

See Brown’s blog for her analysis of Tom Brady and Tonya Harding for great examples of this.

Getting To The Truth

Once you feel fairly certain your spouse is lying to you, your next step might be trying to get to the truth. I say “trying” because frankly, with a pathological liar you may never know the truth.

Brown suggests one strategy is to get a copy of her book, How To Detect Lies, Fraud and Identity Theft and leave it on the kitchen counter. “A lot of times just people knowing that you have a leg up in finding the truth will cause them to admit a lot of things,” said Brown. “That’s more than half the reason that polygraph tests work.”

Police interrogations can last six to twelve hours and over time people start to break down. We’re not suggesting you should adopt that approach with your spouse but what you can do is to ask the same question several times and then notice how the answer shifts.

You can also say something like, “Seems like you’ve got more to say about that. Why don’t you let me know?”

Lies are not connected to emotion and they’re not connected to time. These details have to be fabricated. So another strategy that Brown uses is to ask the person to tell the story backwards by asking, “What happened before that?”

You’ll find that there are gaps in time and that’s where you may detect more deception because “filling in the gaps, we get into cognitive overload,” said Brown. “It’s more than the brain can handle to answer all these questions so the body language again breaks down.”

It’s also important to break your questions down in small chunks, asking one thing at a time. So rather than asking if they went to the liquor store and a friend’s house, it is better to ask two separate questions.

With the technology that is readily available, even just being friends with your spouse on an app, you may discover more than you thought possible and it may be best to not let on how much you know. “You can get them in a really deep lie and use that information when you need it, just by not telling them that you know they are lying,” said Brown.

Traci Brown is often seen on TV analyzing the likes of Lance Armstrong, Hillary Clinton, Tom Brady, and Tonya Harding. She is the author of How To Detect Lies, Fraud and Identity Theft.

This article was originally published on SinceMyDivorce.com

The post How To Tell If Your Spouse is Lying appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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stayed so long in psychologically abusive relationship

Why I Stayed So Long In a Psychologically Abusive Relationship

stayed so long in psychologically abusive relationship

 

It has been a little over 15 months since it occurred to me that I needed to escape.

That staying with a controlling, and psychologically abusive person was harming my kids more in the long run, than the effects of leaving and starting a whole new life would.

That maybe, just maybe, if I had the strength to endure this treatment for so many years, that I could find the strength to leave.

And so I left.. or started the grueling process of leaving.

Over a year later the most common question I’ve been asked, “Why did you stay?”

So for those of you that have never been in a relationship like this one, that sadly so many of us have been, I thought I would try to answer that burning question.

Why I Stayed So Long In a Psychologically Abusive Relationship

Many assume it is simply the idea of breaking up a family that keeps us in the cycle of abuse. But I am here to say .. no… that is not what made me stay.

Forgive me as my ability to express myself in writing has never been my strong suit.. but here goes.

We stay because we have been controlled and manipulated to believe that we have no other viable options. There are often elements of financial control among a lot of other seemingly simple reasons that keep us in “it”. But they are not simple…not simple at all.

I can only speak on my own behalf here but I suspect that others will be able to relate on some level.

Poor self-worth. Fear. The belief deep down, from years of damage, that we are not worthy of anything better. That we are not strong enough, on our own, to provide for ourselves and/ our kids. Our identity has been slowly taken away, piece by piece until we no longer know who we are, what we want, and most importantly, what we are capable of.

It began for me as small bits of mind control that left me dependent and uncertain.

It got so deeply ingrained into my subconscious mind that I was not good enough or strong enough. These small acts that I endured on a daily basis reaffirmed, in my damaged and vulnerable mind, exactly what my abuser wanted me to feel. Doubtful, scared, and unworthy.

But because each of these small bits of exposure are just that.. small.. especially at first… it became the norm for me. I forgot how to challenge my own thoughts. Forgot how my own beautiful intuition worked. The supposed “red flags” people warned me about. I was made to feel those were endearing ways that my abuser used to show his love. My value slowly changed .. it became based on pleasing my abuser as opposed to rocking the boat.

My own “gut” feeling was slowly reprogrammed to accept that this was love and totally normal.

Each incident, each cycle, that often ended with a “honeymoon” phase of attention, affection, and a brief break from the actual abuse, told me that I must be crazy to feel this was wrong. That he loved me, look at all he is doing to show me his love.

This is all part of the game of control.

The words of affirmation that came in those moments were used to fuck up my instincts. To make me convince myself that I must be wrong. And hence..”gut”, “intuition”, “red flags” were all my own broken thoughts. That there is no way that this could be bad when he clearly loves me soooo much. WRONG!!

Bit by bit the small bits became bigger bits. Looking in, looking back now from a safe and happy place, I can see that. But in those years and years that I endured this, when I thought I was becoming stronger I was actually becoming more and more used to this abuse. It became so normal and routine that it no longer even felt concerning. It was just how love worked.

In fact, if it was slightly muted because maybe he was distracted by a new job or business, it felt weird and uncomfortable for me. So then I would try harder to please and conform and seek the abuse and control that was slowly killing me on the inside because it was how I thought love was meant to be shown.

Abuse became my love language.

Insane right? How could that be? Well, friends, that is how it works. Manipulation and control slowly eat away at your soul until it no longer is your own soul at all.

In a strange twist of events, it finally occurred to me one day when my young child was verbally abusive and disrespectful and I thought to myself “how dare you treat another human, especially your mom, this way. Where do you get off thinking this is okay?”

OMG .. somewhere inside of me the “fight or flight” mode that humans are wired with, but abuse victims are rewired to deactivate, was switched back on. How on earth could I have been so stupid to not see what had been happening all these years until this very moment? And what the actual fuck do I do about it now that I have children, absolutely no financial control, and no self-esteem or self-worth.

I am the lucky one. The one that is surrounded by caring and loving friends and family. The one that finally found the strength to realize that the “how” and “when” didn’t matter anymore. Only the “why” mattered now.  Why I had to get the fuck out is the “why” that I mean.

Some of us are not so lucky.

Some of us may never have an “aha moment” that triggers that fight or flight mode back into action. The programming that is done day after day, year after year, is so damn hard to breakthrough. Some of us are not surrounded by loving and caring friends and family that we know will help us pick up the pieces of our broken lives and put them back together. Some of us are not so lucky, and that type of abuse turns into physical violence, and we feel even more trapped and damaged and afraid.

ALL of us need to remember that we never can tell what goes on behind closed doors. That one simple and kind gesture might be enough to show the “unlucky” one the real, kind, caring love that they deserve and be the switch flipper they need to reactivate fight or flight mode.

To this day I am struggling with uncovering more and more ways that this abuser scarred me. I am easily triggered, it is hard for me to know what real and healthy love and relationships feel like. It has been HARD AS FUCK to remember the fierce, confident, self-assured, smart, in control of her own thoughts, independent, and brave woman that used to live in this body.

So thank you to those that put up with my pushing them away year after year, and thank you to those that never gave up on that woman that was hiding away inside that scared and abused mind, and thank you to those that have pushed me to see my potential, and thank you to those that have shown me what true healthy love should feel like and look like, and thank you to those that remind me that I am worth it, and thank you to those that do not give up on me and my kids because they know we deserve to be surrounded by loving and caring and supportive people, and thank you to those that kick my ass on days that I forget all of this took so much fucking strength that getting through the rest of life should be a breeze in comparison.

I will tell you that it takes more courage and strength to leave and to find that woman again than it did to endure that abuse year after year.  I will also tell you that if any tiny part of this feels like your life, you are fucking worth it, and if I can do it, you can too.

The post Why I Stayed So Long In a Psychologically Abusive Relationship appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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why we can love someone abusive

Why We Can Love Someone Abusive And Why We Stay

why we can love someone abusive

 

Falling in love happens to us; usually, before we really know our partner; It happens to us because we’re at the mercy of unconscious forces, commonly referred to as “chemistry.”

Don’t judge yourself for loving someone who doesn’t treat you with care and respect, because by the time the relationship turns abusive, you’re attached and want to maintain your connection and love. There may have been hints of abuse at the beginning that were overlooked because abusers are good at seduction and wait until they know we’re hooked before showing their true colors.

By then, our love is cemented and doesn’t die easily. It’s possible and even probable to know we’re unsafe and still love an abuser. Research shows that even victims of violence on average experience seven incidents before permanently leaving their abusive partner.

It can feel humiliating to stay in an abusive relationship. Those who don’t understand ask why we love someone abusive and why we stay. We don’t have good answers. But there are valid reasons. Our motivations are outside our awareness and control because we’re wired to attach for survival. These instincts control our feelings and behavior.

Why We Love Someone Abusive

Denial of Abuse to Survive

If we weren’t treated with respect in our family and have low self-esteem, we will tend to deny the abuse. We won’t expect to be treated better than how were controlled, demeaned, or punished by a parent. Denial doesn’t mean we don’t know what’s happening. Instead, we minimize or rationalize it and/or its impact.

We may not realize it’s actually abuse. Research shows we deny for survival to stay attached and procreate for survival of the species. Facts and feelings that would normally undermine love are minimized or twisted so that we overlook them or blame ourselves in order to keep loving. By appeasing our partner and connecting to love, we stop hurting. Love is rekindled and we feel safe again.

Projection, Idealization, and Repetition Compulsion

When we fall in love, if we haven’t worked through trauma from our childhood, we’re more susceptible to idealizing our partner when dating. It’s likely that we will seek out someone who reminds us of a parent with whom we have unfinished business, not necessary of our opposite-sex parent.

We might be attracted to someone who has aspects of both parents. Our unconscious is trying to mend our past by reliving it in the hopes that we’ll master the situation and receive the love we didn’t get as a child. This helps us overlook signs that would be predictive of trouble.

The Cycle of Abuse

After an abusive episode, often there’s a honeymoon period. This is part of the Cycle of Abuse. The abuser may seek connection and act romantic, apologetic, or remorseful. Regardless, we’re relieved that there’s peace for now. We believe promises that it will never happen again, because we want to and because we’re wired to attach. The breach of the emotional bond feels worse than the abuse. We yearn to feel connected again.

Often the abuser professes to love us. We want to believe it and feel reassured about the relationship, hopeful, and lovable. Our denial provides an illusion of safety. This is called the “Merry-Go-Round” of denial that happens in alcoholic relationships after a bout of drinking followed by promises of sobriety.

Low Self-Esteem

Due to low self-esteem, we believe the abuser’s belittling, blame, and criticisms, which further lessen our self-esteem and confidence in our own perceptions. They intentionally do this for power and control. We’re brainwashed into thinking we have to change in order to make the relationship work.

We blame ourselves and try harder to meet the abuser’s demands. We may interpret sexual overtures, crumbs of kindness, or just absence of abuse as signs of love or hope that the relationship will improve. Thus, as trust in ourselves declines, our idealization and love for an abuser remain intact. We may even doubt that we could find anything better.

Empathy for the Abuser

Many of us have empathy for the abuser, but not for ourselves. We are unaware of our needs and would feel ashamed asking for them. This makes us susceptible to manipulation if an abuser plays the victim, exaggerates guilt, shows remorse, blames us, or talks about a troubled past (they usually have one). Our empathy feeds our denial system by supplying justification, rationalization, and minimization of the pain we endure.

Most victims hide the abuse from friends and relatives to protect the abuser, both out of empathy and shame about being abused. Secrecy is a mistake and gives the abuser more power.

Positive Aspects

Undoubtedly the abuser and the relationship have positive aspects that we enjoy or miss, especially the early romance and good times. We recall or look forward to their recurrence if we stay. We imagine if only he or she would control his or her anger, or agree to get help, or just change one thing, everything would be better. This is our denial.

Often abusers are also good providers, offer a social life, or have special talents. Narcissists can be exceedingly interesting and charming.  Many spouses claim that they enjoy the narcissist’s company and lifestyle despite the abuse. People with a borderline personality can light up your life with excitement . . . when they’re in a good mood. Sociopaths can pretend to be whatever you want . . . for their own purposes. You won’t realize what they’re up to for some time.

Intermittent Reinforcement and Trauma Bonding

When we receive occasional and unpredictable positive and negative intermittent reinforcement, we keep looking for the positive. It keeps us addictively hooked. Partners may be emotionally unavailable or have an avoidant attachment style. They may periodically want closeness. After a wonderful, intimate evening, they pull away, shut down, or are abusive. When we don’t hear from the person, we become anxious and keep seeking closeness. We mislabel our pain and longing as love.

Especially people with a personality disorder might intentionally do this to manipulate and control us with rejection or withholding. Then they randomly fulfill our needs. We become addicted to seeking a positive response.

Over time, periods of withdrawal are longer, but we’re trained to stay, walk on eggshells, and wait and hope for connection. This is called “trauma bonding” due to repeated cycles of abuse in which the intermittent reinforcement of reward and punishment creates emotional bonds that resist change.

It explains why abusive relationships are the most difficult to leave, and we become codependent on the abuser. We may completely lose ourselves trying to please and not displease the abuser. Bits of kindness or closeness feel all the more poignant (like make-up sex) because we’re been starved and are relieved to feel loved. This feeds the Cycle of Abuse.

Abusers will turn on the charm if you threaten to leave, but it’s just another temporary ploy to reassert control. Expect to go through withdrawal after you leave. You may still miss and love the abuser.

When we feel completely under the control of the abuser and can’t escape from physical injury, we can develop “Stockholm Syndrome,” a term applied to captives. Any act of kindness or even absence of violence feels like a sign of friendship and being cared for. The abuser seems less threatening. We imagine we’re friends and can love the abuser, believing we’re in this together.

This occurs in intimate relationships that are less perilous due to the power of chemistry, physical attraction, and sexual bonding. We’re loyal to a fault. We want to protect the abuser whom we’re attached to rather than ourselves. We feel guilty talking to outsiders, leaving the relationship, or calling the police. Outsiders who try to help feel threatening.

For example, counselors and Twelve-Step Programs may be viewed as interlopers who “want to brainwash and separate us.” This reinforces the toxic bond and isolates us from help . . . what the abuser wants!

Steps You Can Take

If you feel trapped in a relationship or can’t get over your ex:

  • Seek support and professional help. Attend CoDA meetings.
  • Get information and challenge your denial.
  • Report violence and take steps to protect yourself from violence and emotional abuse.
  • When you miss the abuser or are longing for attention, in your mind substitute the parent whom you’re projecting on your partner. Write about and grieve that relationship.
  • Be more loving to yourself. Meet your needs.
  • Learn to set boundaries.

©Darlene Lancer 2019

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productive co-parenting communication

Developing Productive Co-Parenting Communication

productive co-parenting communication

 

Parenting can be difficult even in an in-tact household wherein even residing together the time spent together as parents, uninterrupted in thought and time for discussion, results in many discussions occurring through text, email and in passing.

Of course, the hustle and bustle of the world we live in as parents leave much room for errors in schedules, forgotten appointments, and confusion as to who is where. This is even more difficult for two parents who do not reside together yet share in one mutual goal- raising and being involved in their children’s schedules and lives on an equal basis.

Productive Co-Parenting Communication

Married or not, raising children takes a lot of communication. Unfortunately, communication in relationships that have broken down for one reason or the other is made even more difficult and can create a host of issues for couples attempting to co-parent absent a close relationship or any at all for that matter. As family law attorneys, we are often faced with questions, concerns and issues from our client stemming from the lack of communication, i.e. the other side not providing information or not being responsive.

Other times, the absence of communication is used to assert control and intentionally keep the other parent out of the loop. On the other hand, some parents utilize communication in a manner which is harassing such as incessantly texting, calling, or making things difficult. Either way, the reality is that communication in strained relationships can be incredibly difficult and as a result, children suffer by missing activities, homework assignments, family outings, etc.

Therefore, focusing on simple ways to communicate, absent the need to involve lawyers and judges, is the most productive and cost-effective way to co-parent when the relationship with the other parent is less than ideal. The reality is that the involvement of lawyers and the court’s not only costs thousands of dollars, but there is also a delay in resolution by virtue of the time needed for everyone to respond.

Therefore, it is simply not practical on any level to require the use of your lawyer to communicate about everyday issues regarding your children.

It is significant to note that communication is one of the primary statutory factors the courts consider in determining custody and parenting time arrangements. Moreover, just not getting along is not enough to prove that two adults cannot communicate in a manner which would cause a court to minimize either parent’s role.

In fact, the New Jersey Supreme Court has long held that joint legal custody is the “preferred” custody arrangement and that this requires sharing the responsibility for jointly making “major” decisions regarding the child’s welfare, developing a productive way of communication is key to the success of not only the co-parenting relationship but the children’s success overall.

That being said, family law attorneys, as well as Judge’s, are mindful of the difficulties parent’s may have communicating during less than ideal times. Therefore, the focus and trend have been to encourage the use of apps that parties can utilize to limit and focus the communication to just the issues versus the text message and/or email chains that seemingly increase in hostility with the back and forth involved.

For example, one method of communication often utilized by co-parents, either by way of agreement or more frequently now being Court Ordered, is Our Family Wizard.  Our Family Wizard obviously cannot circumvent the use of communication as a weapon in contested or tension ridden co-parenting relationships, however, it is designed to assist parents by having categories that limit and narrow the issues and minimize the probability of misinterpretation of miscommunication.

Parents can download the children’s schedules, they can monitor parenting time changes in their schedules, and even scan in the children’s expenses, none of which can be altered if needed for use in Court. In other words, it is a protected forum which allows communication between parents about the issues relating to their children and provides clearer documentation in the event that communication (or lack of same) is the overriding issue.

In sum, learning and finding a way to communicate is essential to raising children regardless of the status of your relationship. Utilizing applications such as Cozi, Our Family Wizard, Truece, and other applications which permit scanning, scheduling and limit the opportunity for emotions to supersede the issues is beneficial to everyone’s quality of life, especially and most importantly the children involved.

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Best Thing My Husband Ever Did For Me

The Best Thing My Husband Ever Did For Me Was Divorce Me

Best Thing My Husband Ever Did For Me

 

I was in an abusive relationship with an alcoholic for 8 years. We have a child together and I thought he was the love of my life. We were married after 7 years together but that made the drinking and resentment he had toward me worse. He was cruel and distant when he drank which was all the time. Like most women, I kept this part of our life a secret.

I enabled him because I wanted him to be happy but what I was really doing was helping him become a monster.  The abuse was mainly when he was drunk and we were arguing but I always reasoned it away. “He loves me so he must not mean it.”

It was when he started drinking while on his medication and actually scaring me that I ramped up my complaints about drinking. I was babysitting him wherever we went or we would leave early so he didn’t have the opportunity to be drunk. He then started refusing to go to functions because I wouldn’t allow him to get drunk. I became enemy number one and he had decided he was the victim.

I was often called crazy or psycho for yelling at him for his drunken episodes but there was no rationalizing that.

As it began to escalate, I wasn’t aware of the woman he was seeing who was helping to validate his supposed persecution. My husband had been telling me he was taking my daughter to this woman’s house so my daughter could play with the little girl she babysat.  Little did I know, that was not why he was going there. When I finally caught them together and confronted him, he lied initially but then admitted they were together. That same night he packed a bag, left and asked for a divorce that week.

The Best Thing My Husband Ever Did For Me

I felt betrayed and devastated that the man I loved and the father of my child could treat me like nothing. He had treated me so poorly for so many years but he wanted to get away from me? I felt like my heart was ripped from my chest and someone was punching me in the throat. I remember one day taking out the garbage and on my way back to the house just lying down on the patio outside because I felt utterly broken. I laid there for a while until I began to cry this child-like sob that I am sure all my neighbors heard and assumed it was a dying animal or something.

I had stopped eating and sleeping, partially because I was so emotionally and physically drained but partially because every bite made me feel ill. All my emotions smashed together to create one super emotion, divorce. I thought I would never feel ok again or myself again. The funniest part of all of it is that I wasn’t myself at all when I was with him either. What I thought was happiness was really just, getting by. I was craving to have my life back when it wasn’t a life anyone should have or want.

Taking it one day at a time.

My friends and family told me to take one day at a time which I rolled my eyes at but that was the best thing I ever did. I gave myself a reset everyday thinking, “if I screw it up today I will be better tomorrow”. I made a lot of mistakes during the divorce letting my emotions control me at times but just like another cliché we know, “time heals all wounds”, well that’s because it does. The more time went by the less angry and hurt I was and I began to feel this strange overwhelming feeling where I was genuinely HAPPY!

At first, it would happen here and there and then I would have whole days of being annoyingly happy. I was starting to be that person that other people roll their eyes at because I was just so happy. Like a drug though, when I wasn’t happy, the lows were pretty rough. I had to tell myself that however I was feeling when I wake up tomorrow the anger or anxiety will dissipate and it did. I began to be happy most of the time. I would laugh and get excited about life. My daughter could sense it too.

After so much time living for someone else’s needs, I started to live for me.

It has been a year since we separated and three months since the divorce was final but I can honestly say that I am happier now than I can ever remember. I forgot how funny and smart I am, not to brag. The people around me love me and most of all I love me. It was horrible knowing that my daughter watched me broken and lifeless. I never wanted her to see me like that.

I was always a fighter. I am not ashamed of it all because it was the fight in me that made me get up off that patio and push forward where I made it through a better version of myself. I still have bad days like anyone else but they are better than my best days with him. The best thing my husband ever did for me was divorce me. He gave me my life back.

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Paralyzed By Divorce Documents

Paralyzed By Divorce Documents? 5 Ways to Handle it Like a Boss

Paralyzed By Divorce Documents

Are you flooded with documents that have verbiage such as litigation, custody, child support, alimony, mediation, petitioner, respondent, hearing date, rulings, request for order, etc.? Just reading these words is enough to kick your anxiety into overdrive.

I remember a time when I did anything and everything to avoid reading court documents and attorney letters. The site of them would literally be enough to suffocate me.

It’s hard enough coming to the realization that your marriage is over. The proverbial body isn’t even cold yet and already you are getting slapped with way more than you can chew. More than likely one of you didn’t even want the divorce, but suddenly it becomes a race to get to the finish line. Whether you wanted the divorce or not, it’s time to get to work and handle your business like a boss.

Paralyzed By Divorce Documents?

Here’s what’s on your to-do list:

1.  Remove yourself from the victim mindset.  You can’t handle business if you are giving your emotions away, and you are stuck in blame mode. See this with different eyes. See it as if it were a business, and you and your business partner need to part ways because the partnership is no longer serving your vision.

I know this may sound cold and disconnected, but right now you need to practice detachment, at least until you find your power again. You have invested your energy in this marriage and now you need to energetically detach from it and take back control. If you want to know how to cut energetic cords check out my blog post right here

2.  Enlist a new ‘business partner.’ Someone you can trust that will help you see things without all the emotional baggage. It could be a friend, family member, coach, mentor, etc. Anyone who can be a pillar of strength for you and help you handle your business. I can’t say enough for the people who helped me through that difficult time.

I remember letting documents and emails sit for days with knots in my stomach, thinking, “I’m not cut out for this.” This was something I couldn’t avoid, but until I was able to find my power again, I needed support.

Be careful not to let just anyone on your team. Whomever you decide to enlist should not throw fuel on an already burning flame. They should be able to leave their own emotions at the door and detach from the outcome. This is how lawyers do their job. They really have no personal investment in your divorce. They are there to help you move through the process. This is exactly what you need, someone who will help you move through this process and not stay stuck in it.

You certainly can have your lawyer help you with this process, but in my experience, it is very costly, and you will just be one of their many cases they have sitting on their desk. Ultimately, this is your livelihood and your family, so you need to make sure you go over everything with a fine-tooth comb. There were many moments in my attorney’s office where they were talking at me, going over all the documents, and I left their office with my head spinning not knowing what just happened.

There were times I just needed someone to sit by my side and let me know everything was going to be ok.  Or, just sit with me as I read through the emails.

3.  Give yourself permission to practice self-love and self-care.  You may see things on those documents that are emotionally heavy. There may even be lies or elaborate versions of situations that make you out to be this terrible person. All of a sudden, this person you once shared a life with becomes a person you need to “protect” yourself from.

It’s a shame people feel they need to protect themselves instead of healing themselves, but the courts in my experience are not designed for healing. Healing is a personal journey that is yours and yours alone.

Self-love can happen when you switch intentions from defending to healing. Defending is a distraction. Defending is an external job, it’s on the outside of yourself. Healing, on the other hand, is internal.  My healing started with asking, “What do I need at this moment? What have I neglected? How did I get here? What still needs to be looked at? How can I give more love and compassion to myself?”

I remember being in a constant fight and flight mode. There was no resting period because my mind was racing at all the possibilities. I was in protection mode. I was surviving and trying to navigate in a world I didn’t feel safe in. When we don’t feel safe everything gets turned inside out.

At this time what you need is tender loving care. Try and find things to do that will fill up your gas tank when you are on empty. Believe me, I know this is hard, but you have to find moments of joy between all the chaos. Find things to do that will take your focus off the heaviness, even just for a moment.

4.  Use this time to reflect.  I love the saying how you do anything is how you do everything. Those papers, documents, and orders made me feel powerless. This powerlessness didn’t just show up during the divorce process. It was there my entire life, and I was forced to face it when I had no other option.

So, what else are you running from, and why? What else do you avoid? Do you avoid conflict at all costs? Are there other situations that you felt took your power away? It’s time to go deeper and see where else this is showing up in your life.

5.  Change your language! Your words carry so much power. Whatever you speak will become your reality. I want you to be very mindful about the words you are using that are describing your experience.  If you are using language such as;  this is exhausting, I feel paralyzed, I don’t think I can do this, this is draining me, I don’t have it in me…this will become your reality.

I get it, we aren’t all cut out to be lawyers. And yes, this process does change you. But, you are so much stronger than you think. Even if you don’t believe it right now in your body, start saying affirmations that empower you to change your mindset.

Say affirmations daily! I AM STRONG. I CAN DO THIS. I AM BOLD.  NOTHING WILL TAKE MY POWER AWAY.  I AM LOVED.  I AM FREE.  I AM GUIDED. 

You may not see it now, but divorce when handled with self-love, has the capacity to grow you like nothing else, but only when you are able to point the finger inward. You have an opportunity to look at where your triggers are and heal them. I am a firm believer that there are no winners or losers in divorce, only opportunities to heal and grow. 

The post Paralyzed By Divorce Documents? 5 Ways to Handle it Like a Boss appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Why You Were Ghosted And What To Do

why you were ghosted

 

Rejection and breakups are hard enough but being ghosted can be traumatic. It can leave you with unanswered questions that make it hard to move on. Although ghosting also occurs in friendships, it’s usually associated with dating. More devastating, but less common, is when a spouse disappears after years of marriage.

It’s like a sudden death of the person and the marriage. But even the unexplained, unexpected end to a brief romantic relationship can feel like a betrayal and shatter your trust in yourself, in love, and in other people.

It’s a shock to the heart whenever you care about someone who suddenly cuts you off without any explanation.

If you insist on knowing and get a response like, “I just don’t feel it anymore,” it isn’t satisfying. You still want to know “WHY?” We are information-seeking animals. Our brain is wired to wonder and search for solutions. Once we pose a question, it looks for answers.

This is compounded by the fact that we’re also wired to attach and to experience rejection as painful. We try to reconnect―why babies cry fiercely when they need their mother. Rejection can cause obsessive thinking and compulsive behavior, like stalking your ex’s social media, which fuels more pain and more questions.

Why You Were Ghosted and What to Do

Ghosted in a Romance

In a romantic relationship, breakups are always harder during the early stage. It’s devastating to be ghosted during the romantic phase, but that’s usually when it occurs. You don’t know your partner that well and are still in a blissful haze of idealization. Your hopes for the future may be abruptly and inexplicably dashed.

Normally, a relationship progresses from the romantic “ideal” stage into the “ordeal” period when couples struggle with ambivalence and conflicts. If that ends the relationship, at least you have an understanding of why it didn’t work and perhaps agree.

If couples can communicate and accommodate each other’s’ needs and personalities, they get to the “real deal”―a real relationship based on mutual understanding and acceptance. This takes two people compatible and committed to making the relationship work. They must also have enough self-esteem and autonomy to give without feeling unappreciated or robbed and receive without feeling unworthy or smothered.

Ghosted While Dating

In dating, often there is less accountability, depending upon various factors: The way you met (a chat room or hookup app), the individual’s maturity and values, length of the relationship, and frequency of face-to-face contact. Technology promotes less emotional involvement. If instead, you met through mutual friends, there’s more incentive to be on good behavior or other friends will hear about.

Ghosting might start with an unanswered text or call, or long silences between replies until there are none.

Here are 8 Reasons a Person Might Ghost You:

1. They’re chicken: People who don’t handle conflict well fear confrontation. They expect drama and criticism and want to avoid a breakup conversation. They may rationalize to themselves that they’re sparing your feelings by not admitting that they no longer want to continue the relationship. However, leaving without a word, let alone closure, is more cruel and painful.

2. They’re avoidant: Ghosts are more likely to have intimacy problems, which explain why they leave a relationship that’s getting close. They’re emotionally unavailable and may have an avoidant attachment style.

3. They’re ashamed: People with low self-esteem want to avoid criticism and the shame they anticipate if you get to know them better―one reason for avoiding intimacy. They also expect to feel shame for hurting you. Their lack of boundaries makes them feel responsible for your feelings, though the reverse is true.

They’re responsible for how they communicate, but not for your reaction. If they want to end a relationship, you’re entitled to an honest explanation. Thus, in trying to avoid false responsibility, they err by not taking responsibility for their own behavior, causing you the unnecessary pain they were trying to avoid.

4. They’re busy: When you’re not exclusive and acknowledge that dating someone else is okay, your partner may assume the relationship is casual. While dating other people, you and/or your messages might have been overlooked or forgotten. Your date may have already moved on or just not made time to respond. When later realizing this, he or she is too embarrassed to reply and rationalizes that your “thing” wasn’t serious in the first place.

5. They’re game-players: To some daters, particularly narcissists, relationships are solely a means to satisfy their egos and sexual needs. They’re not interested in a commitment or concerned with your feelings, though they may feign that when they’re seducing you. They’re players, and to them relationships are a game. They’re not emotionally involved and can act callously once they’re no longer interested, especially if you express needs or expectations.

6. They’re depressed or overwhelmed: Some people can hide depression for a while. The ghost might be too depressed to continue and not want to reveal what’s really going on in his or her life. There may be other life events you don’t know about that take precedence, like a job loss or personal or family illness or emergency.

7. They’re seeking safety: If you’ve raged in the past or are violent or verbally abusive, you may be ghosted in self-protection.

8. They’re setting a boundary: If you’ve annoyed and smothered your friend with frequent texts or calls, especially if they’ve asked you not to, then their silence is sending a message, because you’ve ignored their boundaries. You likely have an anxious attachment style and are attracted to people with avoidant styles.

What to Do if You’ve Been Ghosted

If you’ve been ghosted, the main thing to realize is that in the vast majority of cases, ghosting behavior reflects on the other person not you. It’s time to let go. Here are some do’s and don’t’s to follow.

Face reality

The other person has decided to move on for whatever reason. Accepting that is more important than knowing why. The ghost is also demonstrating that he or she doesn’t respect your feelings and lacks essential communication and conflict resolution skills that make relationships work. Your feelings aside, consider whether you really want a relationship with them.

Allow your feelings

Realize that you can’t figure out the ghost’s motives in your head. Let go of obsessive thoughts, and allow yourself to feel both sadness and anger, without falling into shame. Give yourself time to grieve. Open your heart to yourself with extra doses of self-loveall you wanted from the other person.

Avoid self-blame

Deal with ghosting in a healthy way. Rejection can be painful, but you don’t have to pile on unnecessary suffering. Don’t blame yourself or allow someone else’s bad behavior to diminish your self-esteem. Even if the ghost believes you weren’t what he or she was looking for, that doesn’t mean you’re undesirable to someone else. You cannot make anyone love you. You simply might not have been a good match. He or she is not your last hope for a partner!

No contact

If you’re tempted to write or call, think about how the conversation will go, how you will feel, and whether you would even get a truthful answer from the person. Often times, the person ending a relationship won’t be honest about the reasons or may not even be able to articulate them, because they’re just going with their gut feelings. Men tend to do this more than women, who analyze and ruminate more. In addition, the odds are you’ll be rejected a second time. Would that hurt more? To heal faster experts advise no contact after a breakup, including all social media.

If you find it hard to let go of your ghost and pursue a conversation, resist any temptation to lure him or her back. You may later regret it. Instead, communicate that his or her behavior was hurtful and unacceptable. In other words, be resolved that you’re now rejecting them. Then, move on. Beware that if you’re still hurting and vulnerable, contact may prolong your grief. If you don’t feel strong, such a conversation may not help you let go, Also, remember that anger isn’t always a strength. It may be a temporary stage of grief, followed by more missing the person.

Don’t isolate

Get back into life, and plan activities with friends. You may need a break from dating for a while, but socialize and do other things that you enjoy. Don’t allow yourself to fall into depression, which is distinct from mourning.

Get Breakup Recovery and free “14 Tips for Letting Go” at www.whatiscodependency.com

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8 Things You Need To Do Before You File for Divorce

things to do before you file for divorce

 

Filing for divorce is a big decision, to say the least. There are several issues that may need to be resolved before you can officially end your marriage, including the division of your marital assets, spousal support, child custody, and whether you will pay or receive your child support.

With so much on the line, it’s extremely important that you fully evaluate your options and goals before you file for divorce.

Here Are 8 Things You Need To Do Before You File for Divorce

1. Have Certainty

It’s critical that you are sure that you want to get a divorce before you file for one. Filing for divorce can irrevocably change your relationship and may start a cascade of events from which there is no coming back. You should never file for divorce as a bluff or in response to a particularly bad fight.

While there are certainly cases in which it’s justifiable to file for divorce without letting your spouse know, in most cases, it’s a good idea to discuss the matter before you file any paperwork with the court.

2. Gather Important Documentation

As soon as divorce is even a consideration for the future, you should take the time to gather important documentation and information. This way, you will have everything organized when the time comes to file for divorce, and you will not have to worry about your spouse attempting to conceal critical information – such as financial accounts – from you. Some documentation you should organize in a file includes:

  • Social security numbers for you, your spouse, and your children
  • Insurance policies
  • Account numbers for all bank, investment, and retirement accounts
  • Deeds to real property
  • Titles to vehicles
  • Appraisals of valuables, including art, musical instruments, or jewelry
  • An inventory of your personal property
  • Usernames and passwords for all online accounts

With all of this information upfront, your lawyer will have the full picture of your situation, and you will not need to delay your divorce while you search for documentation. Keep in mind that if you plan to move out, you should be sure to get these documents before you actually leave – many divorcing spouses who leave the marital home find it very difficult to get back in once they are out.

3. Have A Plan for Custody

If you and your spouse have children, and one of you is planning on moving out, it’s a good idea to discuss how you want to handle child custody while your divorce is pending. You can always hammer out a final custody order at a later date or have the court decide the issue for you, and it’s a good idea for your children’s sake to figure out how you will handle parenting time and decisions until your divorce is finalized.

If you’re having trouble coming to an agreement with your spouse, keep in mind that a judge can impose a temporary custody order during this period.

4. Have A Support Network

Divorce can take a toll on your finances, but it is also a highly emotional time. No matter who is seeking the divorce, ending a marriage and breaking up your family can be a draining task. You should avoid taking out your emotions on your children, but it is important to have a separate emotional support network.

Dedicated friends or family members can lend an ear when needed, and they can also help with your kids or other tasks that can be difficult to complete on your own.

5. Have A Clear Understanding of How Your Actions Could Affect the Outcome of Your Divorce

The period between filing for divorce and the date your divorce is final can be a complicated one. Many people are anxious to get on with the next chapter in their lives and do things that may be out of character or start dating immediately. It’s important to understand that the things you do while your divorce is pending may have an effect on the outcome of issues like child custody, the division of marital assets, or spousal support (maintenance).

For this reason, you should refrain from engaging in any activities that could call into question your judgment or emotional stability. In addition, since you are still married in the eyes of the law, it’s a good idea to refrain from dating or starting a new relationship while your divorce is pending.

6. Have A Financial Plan

There is no doubt that divorce can affect your financial situation. For many people, losing the financial support of a spouse can be difficult, and there are ways to plan ahead to ensure you are in the best financial position possible post-marriage. Some aspects of a strong financial divorce plan include:

  • Do not accrue any unnecessary debt before or during a divorce
  • Watch any joint accounts for over-spending on your spouse’s part
  • Stick to a strict budget and minimize your spending
  • Determine how much income you will need to cover your bills and expenses on your own

7. Have A Place to Live

Many people wonder whether they should move out prior to filing for divorce. Sometimes, moving out can make it more difficult to retain any ownership in the family home after the divorce, so you might consider staying until the divorce is final. However, if the situation at home is untenable or unsafe, you should secure a place to live that is affordable and appropriate for your children to visit.

8. Hire An Experienced Divorce Attorney

Finally, if you are considering filing for divorce, it’s in your best interest to at least consult with a family lawyer in your jurisdiction. Divorce is a complicated legal matter that can affect the most important aspects of your life, including your finances, your ability to spend time with your children and make important decisions about their lives, and whether you can stay in your current home.

Consequently, it’s highly advisable that you consult with an attorney before you decide to take any steps that can affect your legal rights.

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Discernment Counseling: When You Aren’t Completely Sure You Want a Divorce

you want a divorce

Have you heard of Discernment Counseling?

Do you want to divorce? Be sure you’re sure!

If you have landed here you are likely divorced. Or perhaps considering it and you are here to explore what life might look like should you take that crucial step. In the case that you are teetering, here is some information you might find useful.

Not every individual who lands in the office of a family lawyer is ready to dissolve their marital union. Of course, that notion is irrelevant if, in fact, the other spouse is. A healthy relationship or the like can only exist when both parties are committed to the dance.

The decision to divorce is one that is on the table in households daily. Numbers of unsatisfied married people make a decision to dissolve their relationship on a regular basis. According to research, however, divorce does not necessarily make unhappy adults happier. Survey data reveals that approximately 50% of both men and women expressed regret over having divorced.

Unhappily divorced men and women were no happier five years post-divorce than those who remain married; two-thirds of those who remained married reported being happy five years later. It seems then marriage may indeed be good for some, but, pausing and bettering yourself may be advisable more often than not.

When You Aren’t Completely Sure You Want a Divorce

When you and/or your partner are actively considering what life brings on the other side yet share ambivalence, fear and/or trepidation, Discernment Counseling might be for you. It is the therapeutic equivalent of a “pause”.

Discernment, according to the dictionary, refers to the ability to judge well and to be astute about topics often ignored or overlooked by others.

In the area of marital therapy, with its widespread theoretical variations, there may be a lot of wisdom to impart on the couples who walk in our doors but they themselves often have little discernment.

Discernment Counseling was developed by psychologist William Doherty of Minnesota (see the Minnesota Couples on the Brink Project) to help “mixed-agenda” couples herd some momentum and draw a conclusion with ‘clarity and confidence’.

An estimated 30% of couples enter couple’s therapy with a “mixed agenda”, that is, where one is leaning-out and one is leaning-in. Traditional couples’ therapy is unsuccessful for these couples; effective therapy is impossible unless both partners are in the game, albeit with some hesitation.

With Discernment Counseling, couples leave having made one of three decisions—

  1. Keep the status-quo
  2. Pursue divorce
  3. Commit to a six-month period of couple’s therapy

As you are aware, having heard countless narratives on how and when the decision to divorce occurred, there is no best time to make that final decision.

That decision becomes even that much more complicated when there are others in the picture who are being affected, most typically children, young or old, and sometimes aging parents.

This process is intended to move things along, for better, regardless of the choice.

Approximately 48% commit to therapy, 42% divorce and 12% render a non-decision to stay the same.

Some couples who are terminal and at death’s door rebound and with couples therapy reconcile and get back their mojo. And, with those who engage in the process of DC (vs those who do not), they navigate the divorce process in a healthier manner, should that be their end game.

Discernment Counseling is not therapy. It is not couples counseling nor is it divorce therapy. Couples will not see a change in the dynamics of the relationships, although there may be revelations and observations both they and their therapist may have that can help. Couples will be able to determine if, in fact, their problems are solvable.

Since we tend to show up again in our next relationship, it is important to know how you got here prior to making a decision, with that process more critical when it involves more than just the couple.

With Discernment Counseling couples will gain:

  1. the clarity and confidence to make a decision
  2. awareness and understanding of each person’s contributions and dynamics in the relationship and
  3. a deeper knowledge of how the marriage has progressed through its stages and how they came to the brink of divorce

There are times when neither Discernment Counseling nor couple’s therapy is the most relevant choice for a couple on the brink and other options are preferred. It is not appropriate when:

  1. There is the presence or danger of domestic violence or sexual abuse
  2. When one spouse is coercing the other to participate
  3. When at least one partner has made the decision to divorce

At the end of the day, many relationships can be saved. If we fail to pause, we invariably take ourselves into our next relationship often with a repetition of the pattern that we have in our current relationship.  Discernment Counseling is an available option for these couples that are uncertain and on the brink and they typically leave better, regardless of their decision.

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15 Rights You’ll Give Up In a Relationship With a Narcissist

relationship with a narcissist

 

The following is a list of basic rights that should always be present in any relationship, but are missing in a relationship with a narcissist.

What you will get in a relationship with a narcissist, however, is emotional abuse. That’s what narcissists do; they emotionally abuse others to get their needs met.

Victims of emotional abuse are unsure if their experience can be justifiably defined as emotional abuse. Simply put, emotional abuse can be defined as any kind of behavior that is meant to subjugate or control another person by using humiliation, fear, and verbal assaults.

It can be as obvious as constant criticism and verbal abuse or as subtle as manipulation, intimidations, and consistently being impossible to please. It works as a form of brainwashing, tearing away at a person’s levels of self-confidence, self-worth, their trust in their perceptions, and their general sense of self. It can be done through belittling, constant berating, or intimidation. Sometimes, it can be hidden and disguised as advice, teaching, or guidance.

If you have experienced emotional abuse from a narcissist, it is okay for you to feel like you deserve better. It’s also okay to not know what better is, or what you deserve.

The following list is not only rights you give up in a relationship with a narcissist, but they are also rights you’ll have when in a healthy relationship.

15 Rights You’ll Give Up in a Relationship With a Narcissist

1. The right to receive emotional support.

2. The right to make your own choices without fear of judgment or criticism.

3. The right to feel as though your partner has nothing but good intentions towards you.

4. The right to receive encouragement from your partner.

5. The right to not fear rage or any other form of angry outburst from your partner.

6. The right to not fear your partner blaming you or accusing you of things.

7. The right to be called only names that you approve of.

8. The right to have your own views and opinions, even if they differ from your partner’s.

9. The right to be asked to do things instead of ordered by your partner.

10. The right to not fear physical threats or emotional harm from your partner.

11. The right to receive concise answers that deliver clear information on any matter that is of any legitimate concern of yours.

12. The right to feel as though your personal experiences and the things that you feel are real and valid.

13. The right to feel heard by your partner and communicated with on a polite and equal level.

14. The right to resolve any conflicts and receive a genuine apology for jokes that hurt or offend you.

15. The right to feel as though your hobbies, interests, and work are respected.

It is common for those who’ve been in a relationship with a narcissist to have a warped view of what they deserve from a relationship. If you believe you deserve negative treatment, you’re more likely to find yourself in a position where you’ll end up in another emotionally abusive relationship.

The list above should cement, in your mind and heart what you are deserving of in a relationship. Your road to recovery from narcissistic abuse begins with how you feel about yourself.

Do you believe you are worthy of better treatment?

Do you believe you are worthy of value and respect?

Do you treat yourself kindly and desire the same from others?

If you answered yes to those questions, with the list above and the knowledge that you deserve better, you’re well on your road to recovery.

If those questions tripped you up, if you aren’t in a healthy place as far as self-esteem, I’ve gifted you a list of what you deserve, not only from yourself but a relationship partner. Now, take that list and go get to work on healing your damaged self-esteem.

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