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finding yourself after divorce

Suffering An Identity Crisis? How To Find Yourself After Divorce

finding yourself after divorce

With a little imagination and some self-love as a foundation, divorce can be the gateway to living your best life and find your self after divorce.

 

When I had my children all those years ago, I was shocked to learn some hard truths about pregnancy, birth, and motherhood.

Some of the surprising facts no-one thought to tell me about include: there are consequences to natural vaginal deliveries, you can still look five months pregnant after giving birth, having children can lead to marital discontent, and the biggest shock of them all, many women lose themselves in motherhood.

Although it’s not widely discussed, identity loss is a real and devastating side effect of raising children.

I for one was secretly harboring a depressed state of low self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-worth, behind a calm and collected façade. It took a divorce for me to recognize this truth and eventually restore my sense of self. And now, as a Life Coach to moms, and a friend to many women with children, “motherhood, as an identity theft”, is an issue I see emerging again, and again.

Most recently I came across an interview featuring actress, Jada Pinkett-Smith, who bravely revealed that motherhood had caused her to “lose her groove”. Even as a star, in the throes of raising her children, she too found herself asking “Oh my gosh, where did I go?”.

It does seem to happen that way. You throw everything into raising your children, helping them build their own identities that you lose sight of your own. You wake up one day and realize you’re a distant shadow of the person you once were.

So, here I share my personal story about how I was able to piece together my identity and how you can do the same. 

Art has always been my passion. I’ve loved art since I was a kid.

The most memorable picture I created was that of a bird. An Eastern Rosella, with its fluorescent yellows, bright greens, and deep hues of red and blue. This drawing, at the age of 10, ignited my love for creating beautiful things.

As I got older, I continued to dabble in small pieces of art, mostly paintings I gave to family and friends. But as life got busier with the need to work and the arrival of children, art became something that I only did with my kids. Whilst I focused on helping my children build their creative muscles, my own desire for personal expression was put on hold.

It wasn’t until more than a decade later, during the early stages of my separation, that I reconnected with this part of me.

In the quest to “find myself”, I decided to take up painting lessons under the guise of an accomplished artist. I created artwork that I was proud of and felt myself come alive. As I left the studio each day with paint on my hands and clothes, I also wore a permanent smile on my face that I just couldn’t wash off.

But sadly, financial constraints and altered childcare arrangements meant that I could no longer continue the classes. What started as the equivalent of writer’s block for an aspiring painter.

I lost my inspiration and flow.

Everything I did outside of those classes, felt below par.

Frustration started to build as I was no longer enjoying the process. I bought into the ideals of our productivity-obsessed culture. The guilt of wasting time and money on fruitless activity weighed heavily on me. I felt a need to make my works of art “saleable”.

To that end, I continued with my mission to create big pieces of art. I was stuck on the notion that “large paintings made a bigger impact”. Consequently, I started focusing too much on the end result. I lost sight of why I was painting in the first place – for the love of creating beautiful things.

One after another, half-finished paintings piled up into the corner of a room. Nothing was good enough. It was only a matter of time before I gave up.

Several seasons passed by before I found myself contemplating art again. I moved into a new house and came across my old, boxed up, paints and brushes. So, I decided to give it another go. This time I would ease myself back into painting and only paint for leisure.

Like reacquainting with an old friend, I started to relive the joys of painting again. I chose to do something for myself and it felt great.

From there I started finding more opportunities to do more of what I loved. With each act of self-love, I continued to discover other parts of me that I had left behind or long forgotten.

A beautiful quote by a soulful writer, Beau Taplin, comes to mind, which I believe rings true: “Self-love is an ocean and your heart a vessel. Make it full and any excess will spill over into the lives of the people you hold dear. But you must come first.”

As self-indulgent as it may seem, doing things that bring joy to your heart during divorce is not a self-fish act.

When you do things to look after and love yourself, you become the best version of yourself. Only then, can you give your children all of you and more.

So, what is it that you love or would love to do?

Were there things you wanted to do while married, but couldn’t for some reason (e.g. learn a new hobby, spend more time with family and friends, volunteer, bungee jump, etc.)?

Instead of making excuses about why you can’t do those things, research, make time, plan, find support to care for the kids, and do those things.

If money is a factor then that’s an opportunity to be creative. Brainstorm ways you in which you can engage in similar activities that will bring you joy.

In my case, I traded in big expensive canvases for small sheets of watercolor paper. I also swapped acrylics and oils to watercolor paint. Not only did this make painting more affordable, but less messy too.

Another example is my substitute for a trip to a Day Spa. A full afternoon of professional pampering may be out of reach, but soaking in a hot bath (uninterrupted), donning a face mask, with added bath salts, a good book, and a cup of tea, can make a world of difference to the hamster wheel of life.

There’s also plenty of resources and ideas online that show you how to make pampering products with ingredients straight from the pantry. Who knows, you could enjoy the DIY process more than the pampering session itself.

The possibilities are endless!

You, resilient mom, can now make your own decisions, try new things, make new friends, and eventually find someone to love you the way you deserve to be loved.

With a little imagination and some self-love as a foundation, divorce can be the gateway to living your best life and finding your best self.

The post Suffering An Identity Crisis? How To Find Yourself After Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Spouse Is Suffering a Midlife Crisis

7 Signs Your Spouse Is Suffering a Midlife Crisis

Spouse Is Suffering a Midlife Crisis

 

Midlife crisis is an emotionally uncomfortable period that some men and women go through between the age of 35 and 65. For most, it is a time of question priorities and adjusting their lifestyle to fit better with their emotional needs.

For others, midlife can bring about a true “crisis,” one that causes them to stray outside the marriage for the affections and attention of a member of the opposite sex. They can question every choice they’ve made during the first half of their life. It is these folks who usually destroy their families and seem to completely change their character and belief system.

Signs Your Spouse Is Suffering a Midlife Crisis

Feeling a Need for Adventure and Change

He goes out and buys a new sports car or Harley. She becomes a bar-fly who comes in at 3:00 am every morning. It’s all about having fun and re-capturing their youth. If your spouse is neglecting things that were once important to him/her in favor of skydiving…something they have never expressed an interest in, they are probably experiencing a midlife crisis.

You have choices in such a situation. Skydiving and hanging out in biker bars is better than sitting home alone wondering what your spouse is up to. Participating a bit in their new found need for adventure can bring you closer together instead of creating the distance that can cause the midlife crisis spouse to start questioning whether or not to stay in the marriage.

Feelings of Depression

Some who go through a midlife crisis will experience depression that affects their mood and to the point that activities and relationships are negatively affected. Friends, family, and work may all be neglected. If you think your spouse is suffering from depression watch for the following symptoms:

  • Sadness, hopelessness, helplessness, pessimism
  • Loss of interest in once enjoyable activities
  • Lack of energy
  • Inability to focus or make decisions
  • Unusual sleep patterns
  • Unusual appetite, weight loss or gain

A Loss of Interest in Things That Used to be Important

I received a letter from Jason who was concerned about changes he was seeing in his wife. After 23 years in a career as a nurse, she quit her job. According to Jason, she wanted to go back to school full-time and major in philosophy. His wife had gone for a “straight-laced   Christian” to a woman who questioned whether or not there was a God.

Jason said he no longer knew the woman he had been married to for 18 years and was concerned she might be going through a midlife crisis. One thing is sure, she is questioning her values and beliefs and no one knows where these questions will lead her.

Anger and Blame of The Spouse

You are the problem! If it weren’t for you, life would be grand for the midlife crisis spouse. If he trips on a banana peel at work, you will get blamed. The spouse who is in a midlife crisis never looks internally and examines why he/she is feeling discontent.

They look outward and blame others and since you are the main relationship in their life it makes sense that you will bare most of the blame for their bad feelings. Expect your spouse to be short tempered and angry. Do not respond when your buttons are pushed. A response is what they want and you don’t want to play into their need for conflict.

Unable to Make Decisions About Their Future

Joan’s husband found a new woman and wanted a divorce. He refused to file for divorce, though. He left Joan telling her that he had never been in love with her, that marrying her had been a mistake. Joan was devastated!

Over a period of eighteen months, Joan’s husband changed his mind about his feelings for Joan on a regular basis. He would pack his bags and leave out the door spewing verbal abuse. A month later he would call in tears wanting to come home. Before long he was out the door again and moving back in with the other woman.

Joan eventually filed for a divorce and helped him make the decision he seemed unable to make. They are both now living with the painful consequences of his indecision.

Doubt Over The Choice to Marry

You may have just celebrated your 29th anniversary. You may have lived with a spouse who, from all outward appearances, seemed to have been happy in the marriage. It isn’t uncommon for a husband or wife who has never complained about being married to suddenly tell you that they have “lived in hell” from the very beginning.

The spouse in midlife crisis will question whether the marriage was ever legitimate. They will demonize you, accuse you of forcing them into marriage all in an attempt to make the marriage illegitimate. You will be painted as the evil spouse who never met their emotional or physical needs so the midlife crisis spouse can justify their feelings of discomfort with the marriage. If this is the case in your situation you should believe nothing you are told and very little of what you see.

A Desire For a New and More Passionate Intimate Relationship

The husband/wife who is going through a midlife crisis may become tired of the “same old, same old” in the bedroom. It isn’t uncommon for someone married to a spouse who is going through a midlife crisis to suffer the negative consequences of their infidelity.

If your spouse is spending more time in chat lines on the computer, working strange hours or on his/her cell phone more than usual you are seeing signs of a cheating spouse. These are only signs but coupled with the other symptoms of midlife crisis you should consider the possibility that your spouse has found someone to fulfill the need for a more passionate, intimate relationship.

The post 7 Signs Your Spouse Is Suffering a Midlife Crisis appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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