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5 Ways to Cope With Emotional Triggers After Remarriage

5 Ways to Cope With Emotional Triggers After Remarriage

Learning to identify and cope with your emotional triggers is vital to a healthy second marriage. Recognizing the triggers that provoke extreme responses will lessen the risk of sabotaging your marriage by withdrawing or issuing ultimatums, such as threatening divorce.

The post 5 Ways to Cope With Emotional Triggers After Remarriage appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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what drives men to cheat

Emotional & Sexual Infidelity: What Drives Men To Cheat

what drives men to cheat

 

Webster’s defines infidelity as unfaithfulness to the marriage vow or contract; a violation of the marriage contract by adultery. If you have ever been the victim of a cheating husband, you know it is much more.

Infidelity is the breaking of trust that has negative consequences in every area of your life. The first step in surviving a husband’s infidelity is being able to rationalize and understand the actions that have caused so much harm.

There are two types of infidelity, sexual infidelity, and emotional infidelity:

Sexual Infidelity:

Sexual infidelity, as its name suggests, refers to sexual activities that are engaged in with someone other than one’s spouse. Activities that constitute sexual infidelity include all forms of physical intimacy, from kissing to sexual intercourse.

Emotional Infidelity:

Emotional infidelity refers to becoming emotionally involved with someone other than one’s spouse. Dr. Seth Meyers, a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, describes emotional infidelity as “behavior that one partner engages in that fosters emotional intimacy in the here-and-now and sometimes promotes the possibility of sexual intimacy in the future.”

It all sounds fairly simple, huh? Either your husband did the hanky panky with someone else or he has put someone else’s emotional needs before your emotional needs. If you’ve been on the receiving end of either, the need to understand runs a bit deeper, doesn’t it?

It has been my experience, after coaching many women who were victims of infidelity, that the roots of the infidelity can generally be traced back to one of three underlying causes.

What Drives Men To Cheat

Fear:

Men who suffer emotional injuries during childhood are more likely to cheat on a spouse. Emotional childhood injuries may cause a fear of intimacy, a fear of commitment, and a fear of being unworthy of love.

If your husband has had problems with attaching himself to you intimately, was commitment-phobic, and suffers from low self-esteem, these traits probably played a role in his infidelity.

Loneliness:

Some men cheat because of the sense of loneliness they feel in the marriage. Usually, this type of man is not able to fully engage with his wife. He doesn’t fully participate in the relationship and is a sitting duck for any woman who can give him the companionship he feels is missing in his marriage.

Anger:

Are you married to a conflict avoider — a man who thinks that any show of disappointment by you is an affront to the relationship?

According to Emily M. Brown, author of Affairs: A Guide to Working Through the Repercussions of Infidelity, the conflict avoider is “terrified to be anything but nice for fear that conflict will lead to abandonment.” They don’t have a way to stand up to their spouse where there are marital problems, so the problems go unresolved and the marriage erodes.

This guy acts as if he is happy, everything is coming up roses and all the while, he is seething with anger inside. He is angry because you poked fun at his bald spot. We all know that a woman who truly loves her husband would never poke fun or so he believes.

He is angry because you failed to pick up his dry cleaning. You will be the last to know how angry he is, though, because of his skewed belief that his marriage is perfect and perfection means putting a lid on anger.

He doesn’t even realize how angry he is until he meets a woman who would never poke fun at his bald spot and never forget to pick up his dry cleaning. Not until she got comfortable in the relationship, anyway. Once she becomes comfortable and turns into a normal human being, he can go back to repressing anger again.

Whatever drives a man to cheat, be it fear, loneliness, or anger, it is important to know that the decision to cheat was his. Infidelity has nothing to do with a shortcoming on the part of his wife.

There are many things a wife can do to improve the quality of her marriage.

There is absolutely nothing she can do that will guarantee with 100 percent certainty that her husband will never cheat.

She can know though with 100 percent certainty that if he does cheat it is about him and whatever issues he is dealing with.

The post Emotional & Sexual Infidelity: What Drives Men To Cheat appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Divorce Tip Tuesday: The Emotional Harm a Narcissistic Parent Can Cause Their Children During Divorce

Divorce Tip Tuesday: The Emotional Harm a Narcissistic Parent Can Cause Their Children During Divorce

Emotional Harm a Narcissistic Parent Can Cause

Narcissistic parents harm their children whether there is a divorce or not. Add divorce to the mix and the narcissist become vindictive, suffers a narcissistic injury and goes full-force vindictive.
It’s almost as if they are hell-bent on making their ex and children pay for the suffering they are experiencing do to the narcissistic injury.

With a lack of insight into their behavior the narcissist is either unable to see the damage they do, or, due to their lack of empathy doesn’t care about the damage they do. If you’re the other parent, I’m sharing insights into their behavior plus personal experiences from my son’s relationship with their narcissistic father.

8 Ways the Narcissistic Parent Can Cause Harm

1. Your Child Won’t Be Heard or Validated

As I’ve said in the video, the narcissist doesn’t consider consequences before acting and if he doesn’t something that hurts your child, he doesn’t consider your child’s voice or opinion. He doesn’t care or take into consideration how his actions impact his children. Only he deserves validation, everyone else will be immediately shut down by him.

2. Your Child Will Learn That Being Real Isn’t Safe

The narcissistic parent defines what is and isn’t real. If your daughter is uncomfortable meeting his new girlfriend, he will dismiss her discomfort and something she is making up because of what she has heard from her Mom. If your son writes an email that is grammatically correct with no spelling errors he will accuse the son of letting Mom write the email. The narcissistic parent deflects what is real to your child onto what is real to him.

3. The Narcissist Will Share Too Much With Your Child

No information is sacred to the narcissistic parent. No child’s emotional state is of importance to the narcissistic parent. If it’s information that can make you look back, it will be shared with their child and the child will be told it’s a secret. “Don’t tell Mom.” This puts the child in the precarious position of having to carry around harmful information and no one to soothe their emotional upheaval.

4. Your Child Won’t Be Emotionally Nourished.

Asking for or expecting emotional nourishment from a narcissist is like asking a 2-year-old to carry on a conversation about quantum physics. They don’t have the emotional IQ to offer other’s emotional nourishment. And, if it is offered, it’s only because the narcissist is in a situation of trying to look good in front of others.

5. Your Child Is Expected To Be There For The Narcissistic Parent

The narcissistic parent won’t be there for the child. My ex goes 6 and 7 years at a time without contacting or seeing his sons. Why? Because he thinks it is their place to contact him. It is their place to be there for him, not the other way around. It’s sick!

6. Your Child’s Needs Won’t Be Met

The narcissistic parent cares about no one’s needs but their own. They will plow right over their own children if it means getting their needs met. They, at no time, put any thought or effort into meeting their children’s needs. This can lead to feelings of worthlessness in your child and it’s imperative that you take up the slack when it comes to meeting their needs.

7. The Narcissistic Parent Will Shame and Humiliate Their Child

If it will make the narcissist feel better about themselves they have no qualms about shaming and humiliating their child in front of others. They will compare your child to others, disparaging the way your child dresses or even looks. This can lead to low self-esteem in your child and I, personally have no problem with you telling your child that their father is sick and twisted and unable to behave like an adult.

8. Your Child May Suffer Mental Health Issues

There is a high probability that exposure to the narcissistic parent will cause PTSD symptoms, depression, anxiety and other mental health issues in your child. My youngest was diagnosed with Bi-Polar disorder at 17-years-old. After my ex had a session with the psychiatrist, the psychiatrist told me this, “That fucking narcissist has nearly destroyed his son’s life.”

Please, at the first sign of distress, get your child into therapy.

Parenting The Child With a Narcissistic Parent

Empathetic Parenting

The narcissistic parent, parents without empathy. They have no ability to feel empathy so it only makes sense they would parent without it. You have to do the opposite and parent with empathy and love.

To maintain a close bond with your children, it is essential for you to focus on being lovingly responsive in your interactions with them. You want to relate well with them, sense what they are feeling, help them put their thoughts and feelings into words, and anticipate their reactions as well as their needs.

Validate Their Feelings

Validating a child means letting them share their thoughts and feelings without judging, criticizing, ridiculing or abandoning them. You let your child feel heard and understood. You convey that you love and accept them no matter what they’re feeling or thinking.

Coach Your Child Through Negative Emotions

Emotion coaching is the practice of talking with children about their feelings and offering kids concrete strategies for coping with emotionally difficult situations.

Get Them Into Therapy

In the video, I advise parents to get their children in therapy at the first sign of distress. If you’re 100 percent sure your are dealing with a narcissistic ex, you may not want to wait until you see signs of distress.

If you can do the 4 things above you have a very good chance of countering the harm the narcissistic parent will do. You have the opportunity to counterbalance and fill up the gaping holes the narcissistic parent will leave in your child’s heart.

The post Divorce Tip Tuesday: The Emotional Harm a Narcissistic Parent Can Cause Their Children During Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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build emotional intimacy

8 Questions That Help Build Emotional Intimacy In Relationships

build emotional intimacy

 

Part of being human means having emotional needs.

We want to be loved and to give love.

We want to feel we belong and have a sense of purpose. We want to feel self-esteem and respect from others.

These are some of the most common needs, but individuals have emotional needs unique to them. In a healthy relationship, both of you understand the other’s primary emotional needs, and you both work to respond to them because you love and respect your partner.

In order to get your emotional needs met in a relationship, you should discuss those needs with your relationship partner. It’s imperative that you each know the other’s emotional needs in order to meet those needs.

Below are questions that you and your partner can use to open up a line of communication about emotional needs. What they are, whether they are being met and, if not, what needs to change.

Questions That Help Build Emotional Intimacy In Relationships

1. Am I responsive enough to your emotional needs?

We can’t expect anyone person to meet all our emotional needs, even our love partners. Sometimes we have needs that are beyond the scope of any one person to handle.

But we can ask our partners to be responsive to our needs and to honor them. There are some emotional needs your partner might be happy and willing to meet, but he or she is simply not aware of them. It’s your job to enlighten your partner.

There might be needs that they aren’t able to meet. Discuss the emotional needs you have where you’d like more from your partner. Speak honestly and specifically about what you are each willing to offer the other, and discuss alternatives for getting your needs met without your partner if necessary.

2. What should I say to you when I need more from you emotionally?

It’s hard to hear the words, “I need more from you. I need more love, more affection, more respect, and more intimacy.” We all want to feel like we’re enough, that we are appreciated and accepted for all that we do and give to our partners.

But you can’t intuit all your partner’s needs, and you might not be able to understand or relate to some of them. Even so, your partner should feel comfortable expressing those needs and asking you to respond to them. How can you make that request safe and easy for your partner?

3. Do I give you enough emotional space?

One of your emotional needs might be autonomy and freedom. Perhaps you need less emotionally than your spouse does. Needing emotional space doesn’t mean you don’t want to be intimate or close with your partner.

You can balance the need for closeness with the desire for space. Ask each other if you have enough emotional space. If not, exactly what kind of space do you need, and how can your partner support you in this need?

4. What could I do to make you feel more understood?

Even if we can’t meet all of our partner’s emotional needs, we can strive to empathize with him or her. We can listen and show we care. We can acknowledge the efforts at meeting his or her own needs (for self-esteem or independence, for example) or in reaching out to another support person to help.

We can let our partners know they aren’t in this alone, and that we acknowledge and understand their feelings and desires.

5. Do you feel free to express your emotions with me?

Some of us are more expressive with our feelings than others. We laugh and cry easily and have little difficulty saying what we feel. Others don’t feel so free to express emotion, especially painful emotions.

Or we might express our feelings in unhealthy ways, such as anger or withdrawal. In a love relationship, we need to feel safe expressing our deepest emotions, especially those that are painful or shameful.

We need to know that our loved one will treat our feelings tenderly, without judgment or criticism. Find out from your partner whether or not he or she is completely at ease with you in expressing emotions. If not, what is holding him or her back?

6. Do you have any negative emotions about our relationship you need to express?

We might hold back when expressing our emotions because we fear the reaction of our partners. Maybe they will be hurt or angry. Maybe they won’t understand. Maybe they’ll diminish how we feel.

If either of you are harboring negative emotions about the relationship, you need to discuss these and get to the root cause. When communicating negative emotions, speak kindly and constructively. When listening, set aside defensiveness. If negativity exists for one of you, it is an issue you both need to resolve.

7. What from your past has shaped your emotional needs and reactions?

So many of our emotional reactions and triggers are shaped by our childhood experiences. How you were parented and the environment in which you grew up can have a profound effect on your emotional well-being as an adult.

Your significant other can’t fully understand you and your needs until he or she knows something about how the past has shaped your outlook and behaviors. Share with each other the positive and negative events that have contributed to your particular emotional needs.

Would you consider yourself a highly sensitive person, and if so, how can I support you?

A highly sensitive person (HSP) is one who feels things more keenly than the average person. You notice more subtleties in the environment, feel overwhelmed by too much sensory input, and are easily affected by other people’s moods.

You have a rich inner life and enjoy creative pursuits. You also need time alone to recharge and get relief from too much stimulation. Highly sensitive people are extremely conscientious and try hard to please others.

If one or both of you are highly sensitive, you will need to have a special understanding of the traits of HSPs and what they need in order to feel comfortable and thrive. This is particularly true for the non-sensitive, as many of the HSP traits might seem overly sensitive or needy. However, this trait is perfectly normal and has many positive qualities. Find out how your highly sensitive partner needs your understanding and support.

8. What other ways do you have for dealing with your emotions if I feel overwhelmed by them?

When emotions run high during conflict or during times of difficulty or pain, both partners might be flooded with emotion and have little reserve to offer each other. If you are accustomed to turning to your spouse or partner for emotional support, then you need an alternative plan when you are both feeling overwhelmed.

If one of you loses a job, there’s a death in the family, or you have financial difficulties, you both might need outside support to see you through. What is your emotional back-up plan if your partner can’t handle your emotions in a particular situation?

The post 8 Questions That Help Build Emotional Intimacy In Relationships appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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unpack your emotional baggage

3 Tips For Unpacking Your Emotional Baggage

unpack your emotional baggage

 

Most of us have been there at some point. Standing at the airline ticketing desk and crossing our fingers for a hopeful outcome as we place our bags on the scale.

But alas, our luggage has exceeded the allowance we’re able to check for free and we’re slapped with a hefty overage fee.

Our frustration, however, overshadows the reason for this limitation – to keep the weight of the aircraft less than a certain amount. If the plane is overloaded, it may not make it off the ground.

And even if it does take off, it will likely have trouble maintaining level flight. If we equate these concepts with relationships, romantic or otherwise, and simply use the term “excess emotional baggage,” we can often draw the same conclusion. If both parties are entering into a relationship with overloaded with baggage from the past, it is bound to have problems.

And if it manages to get off the ground safely, it still may have trouble maintaining level flight.

What is Emotional Baggage?

Emotional baggage can be many things, including:

  1. The misinformation we received about coping with grief and loss
  2. The poor habits we developed in past relationships
  3. The accumulation of well-intended communications gone wrong

Emotional baggage feels like emotionally stepping back in time. Rather than reacting to a situation like a mature adult, we may react like a younger version of ourselves. And much like lugging a massive suitcase through a busy airport, carrying excess emotional baggage can be exhausting or even crippling, and demands a high price. Physical side effects (high blood pressure, headaches, insomnia, depression, etc.) aside, excess emotional baggage is detrimental to our behavior and attitudes and can harm our relationships.

Unpacking Your Baggage

Digging up the past isn’t easy, but it is a critical step in moving forward.

Here are a few tips to help you lose that emotional baggage.

  1. The first step to unpacking that excess baggage is to identify it. First, try and jot down some of the problems and conflicts that have surfaced in your life. How much of your time and energy is spent in dealing with these issues? How has your emotional, physical, and spiritual health been affected by the weight of these issues?
  1. Next, stop blaming others for your problems. You have to take responsibility for your life, your actions, and your emotions. The blame game won’t change anything. And this includes blaming yourself! Break the blame chain and you’re bound to escape this vicious cycle.
  1. Finally, extend forgiveness to yourself and others so you can truly let go of the hurt that you have experienced. It won’t be easy and a person may not be deserving or even ask for your grace, but it is crucial to paving a positive path forward.

Unlike luggage, we don’t have the option to pack up our emotions and ship them off to a faraway destination. We do, however, have the option to take charge of them and choose how they will affect us from this point forward. Choosing to drop our baggage can lead to a much stronger, more balanced life.

The post 3 Tips For Unpacking Your Emotional Baggage appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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hiring an effective attorney

The Secret to Hiring an Effective Attorney:  Emotional Intelligence

hiring an effective attorney

 

My parents divorced right after I was born and I was raised by my mother. She was a social worker for the New York State Division for Youth. She worked there for decades and I can remember going into her government office, in Syracuse, New York, and raiding the office’s supply closet. Money was always tight.

Being raised by a single mother was challenging, for sure, but I was very fortunate that my mother was emotionally intelligent. In fact, had I been raised by my father I suspect my life would have been far less purpose-driven and more focused on self-centered endeavors. I am a very lucky man in that respect.

I am now a divorce and family attorney with a family of my own. I speak with people every day about divorce, custody modifications, relocation, decision-making and everything else one would expect of someone managing a large family law firm. I watch competitors everyday market to their “target audience.”

Marketing Based on Fear:

We have a lot of “Men’s Rights Firms” here in our state, and they get many clients calling every day. We have law firms locally that market “aggressive representation” (admittedly I did as well in the beginning) and messaging similar to “We Win Family Law cases.”  Nobody wins these cases. I see no value in advertising expertise or specialty related to the sex of a client. It’s marketing based on fear, and it’s natural for parents to be fearful as they contemplate major life changes.

I disagree with the idea that you need to have any plan in place other than being very deliberate and thoughtful about choosing an attorney.

He cheated on you.

He lied to you.

He isn’t a good dad.

He used marital money to buy his mid-life-crisis answer.

If someone told you, when you are raw and emotional, to get aggressive and hire Lawyer X to fight for you, I suspect you would think that is a good idea. I suspect I would feel the same way. But that is really, really bad advice.

The Secret to Hiring an Effective Attorney:  Emotional Intelligence

Fighting and being aggressive has its place in every family law case, but how you fight and how you are aggressive is the key. Understand that you are extracting yourself from a dysfunctional relationship. There is pain, fear, anger and every other emotion open and available for you to experience.The feeling you do not want is regret with your choice in representation.

I strongly suggest that you seek representation that does not mirror you, your emotions, or your anger…at least at the outset. Do not hire an attorney who gets you motivated to destroy him. If your case warrants a parenting time restriction, or a protection order, a private investigator or a Child and Family Investigator then the right attorney will guide you only after he or she understands your case, your relationship with your husband and children, and your goals.

Choose an emotionally intelligent lawyer. 

What exactly is that?

Emotionally intelligent people are…aware. That’s all. But that’s huge! An emotionally intelligent attorney uses all her tools in her toolbox. She doesn’t react to opposing counsel who thinks being a jerk is in the job description.

An emotionally intelligent attorney uses data, strategy and thought in accordance with a communicated plan of action geared towards a successful outcome. They think about their actions and advice, understanding the raw nature of the situation, and they don’t exploit the client’s fears. Emotionally intelligent attorneys can inspire and protect clients, oftentimes, from themselves.

Think about it. Your husband cheated on you with someone you know. He is clearly a piece of trash and shouldn’t have parenting time because he can’t be trusted. Right? Or, even more cutting, he introduces your children to her as he and your babies “accidentally” run into her while grocery shopping. You want it to stop. You want him to pay dearly. That mindset will have many lawyers licking their chops to follow your strategy and blow it all up…and bill you for it all.

Emotional intelligence is not a weakness. It is the epitome of strength and most lawyers don’t have it. Emotional intelligence is seeing the case from both the 30,000-foot view, anticipating behaviors based on the data, and having the legal and factual knowledge to make strategic decisions that benefit the client in the short term and long term.

Emotional intelligence is not ripping off scathing emails to opposing counsel, at your behest, because you are hurt. Emotional intelligence is using your narcissist husband’s abusive texts to your advantage by waiting until he portrays himself the way he sees himself and opposite to what the facts, collateral witnesses and written or recorded communications conclusively portray him to be.

If your “aggressive lawyer” did what you asked, or on her own, acted, by emailing opposing counsel and threatened your husband you will feel better…and you likely lost the benefit of all the data because you allowed the lawyer to tip off your husband that he has bad facts to overcome.

Emotionally intelligent lawyers see the forest through the trees and effectively save you from your emotions, while at the same time advancing your effectively strategized case towards a successful resolution. Sophisticated, emotionally intelligent representation can be lulling your husband to sleep with false confidence, only to trap him in his lies at mediation or trial.

That is effective, and even aggressive, representation and is done at the highest level by very few attorneys.

There is nothing worse than lining up a narcissist with his own words/actions/behaviors only to see this leverage disappear because a lawyer was lazy, greedy or both.

The post The Secret to Hiring an Effective Attorney:  Emotional Intelligence appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Divorce’s Emotional Impact on Family

Divorce’s Emotional Impact on Family Roles

Divorce’s Emotional Impact on Family

 

Roles within a family and the early relationships we craft will impact us emotionally through the rest of our lives. Unfortunately, the relationship between two parents and divorce specifically can negatively affect the people that you both care about most, your children.

Divorce’s Emotional Impact on Family Roles

Typical family roles are changing, even without considering divorce as a primary factor in most relationships. The American Community Survey found in a 2009 study that only about 45.8% of children would make it to 17-years-old with their biological parents still married. That means that about half of children will live through the divorce of their parents.

Impacts of Divorce on Children

The driving concern for everyone involved in a divorce is the impact on the children. But, there’s more at play than who spends more time with whom. The emotional impact of children can vary wildly based on three aspects.

First, the relationship with each of the parents. If one child was always closer with their mother, then they may immediately, and completely of their own accord, see the other partner as the “bad guy.”

Second is the extent of the conflict. Have you and your partner reached a consensus that the marriage isn’t worth salvaging or that the damage is irreparable? Or, have you gone through months of screaming matches, cursing, throwing objects across the home and worse? The extent of the conflict can either show children that through emotional intelligence, you can end a bad relationship civilly or that a relationship must go through levels of toxicity before anyone can leave.

Third, the parent’s ability to focus on the child. Emotional intelligence goes through waves of development, but younger children are much more self-centered than grown adults. Without someone addressing their needs regularly, they’ll carry resentment for undelivered attention through their lives.

Considering the Situation

Emotional impact may vary based on the specifics of the divorce and the parent’s situation, but the need for emotional development doesn’t differ.

Major emotional milestones include:

  • Experiencing embarrassment between ages 5 and 6.
  • Awareness of others’ perceptions between ages 7 and 8.
  • Identity development starting at age 9.
  • Become introspective at age 11.

It’s easy to see how a generally uncomfortable or strained environment can impact all of these milestones. Emotionally, there are two consistent behaviors that children of divorce exhibit.

Both boys and girls express anger non-verbally and internalize distress. Usually, a child with parents going through a divorce will choose one of these patterns and stick with it. Children that regress to the non-verbal expression of anger will vandalize, fight, or start generally destructive habits. Children who internalize distress will often experience depression, poor gut health (from worry) and have severe changes to their eating and sleeping habits.

There are instances when a child removed from an emotionally neglectful or harmful situation will do better after the divorce.

The best way to reduce emotional distress is to help the child develop security in their relationship with any involved parent. That means the parents must uphold preset duties, make good on promises, and act civilly with the other parent.

Impacts of Divorce on Mothers

When evaluating family roles, much attention goes to the mother. However, it’s worth noting that women instigate the divorce more than twice as often as men do.  When it comes to divorce handling, the role of the mother often changes.

Times have significantly impacted what people expect to deliver as the mother-role in a partnership. But, as the person likely to have started the divorce, and likely to be seeking full custody, they are often taking on a new and more authoritative role. Often when a divorce starts, they no longer seek approval of their spouse or discuss major decisions with them.

Mothers may realize that they now have to rely on the social system, child care, or child support and will have less anxiety over asking for help. Emotionally, mothers may thrive after a divorce finding relief from marital problems they may have lived with for years.

Impacts of Divorce on Fathers

In 2016 a study found that about 55% of divorce instigators blamed the other person, and if women are twice as likely to file for divorce that means that men are almost always stuck with the blame.

There are many negative physical effects that divorced dads are more likely to experience, but they also have emotional setbacks to face as well. Men are more likely to experience depression and anxiety after a divorce as their roles are often essentially removed. Their role as a father is most often confined to weekends where a father will often lose both respect and authority.

Time Spent Between Family Members

When you look at the typical family roles, of the parents and children, there’s a balance between child independent time, child time individually with parents and child time with both parents. These are all essential for a child’s development and can help define your role within the family unit. When a divorce happens, the time spent between family members skews. Often the child’s time spent independently and with an individual parent will increase significantly.

If a parent withdraws from a child’s life either intentionally or through court-ordered child custody, there is an emotional loss. However, it’s critical to consider that child custody cases often evaluate the whole of the child’s best interest and staving off harmful interactions can create the opportunity for better emotional and physical help.

Standard visitation may not provide the interaction that your child needs to maintain a quality relationship with the parent. It’s important to seek the help of a lawyer if you have concerns regarding the time that you’ll spend with your child.

As part of a custody arrangement, a judge will often consider the emotional ties between the parent and child during the decision making. A just will, of course, determine custody and visitation if the parents cannot reach an amicable resolution with a mediator.

The time spent between family members even as roles may change and ties may dissolve is vital for each person in this equation. Divorced parents can co-parent civilly in some situations; in others, it is best to involve an attorney rather than continuing any struggle at home.

The post Divorce’s Emotional Impact on Family Roles appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Emotional abuse

Emotional Abuse: The Truth

Emotional abuse is the primary tactic used by a narcissist.  There may be instances of physical, sexual and verbal abuse but emotional abuse is often the reason victims stay attached for so long.

 

So what is emotional abuse?

 

One definition of emotional abuse is: “any act including confinement, isolation, verbal assault, humiliation, intimidation, infantilization, or any other treatment which may diminish the sense of identity, dignity, and self-worth.”1

Emotional abuse is also known as psychological abuse or as “chronic verbal aggression” by researchers. People who suffer from emotional abuse tend to have very low self-esteem, show personality changes (such as becoming withdrawn) and may even become depressed, anxious or suicidal.

 

(From: Healthy Place)

 

In relationships it can present as any of the following behaviours:

  • Neglect (emotional and physical)
  • Harassment or malicious tricks
  • Being screamed at or shouted at
  • Unfair punishment
  • Cruel or degrading tasks
  • Cruel confinement
  • Abandonment
  • Touch deprivation
  • No privacy
  • Having to hide injuries or wounds from others
  • Forced to keep secrets
  • Having to take on adult responsibilities as a child
  • Having to watch family members being hurt
  • Being caught in the middle of parent’s fights
  • Being blamed for family problems
  • Other forms of emotional abuse

 

(From: Betrayal Bonds)

 

These experiences are traumatic and have a lasting impact upon our mind, body and soul.

 

Body

 

Although emotional abuse is not physical, the connection between the mind and the body has long been established. Our bodies respond physically to abuse. The old adage “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” is sadly false. Words hurt. In fact there is substantial evidence that the long term impact of chronic emotional abuse is significantly worse than physical abuse. I am not by any means dismissing physical abuse, I am just stating that it is important not to underestimate the impact of emotional abuse.

Emotional abuse

 

When we are verbally attacked or feel threatened or scared, our body goes into a stress response. This triggers adrenaline and our fight/flight/freeze response. The above graphic shows how this impacts our bodies. Long term exposure to this is trauma and can cause PTSD and Complex PTSD.

 

Mind

 

Our emotions are our innate guidance system. They tell us whether we are in a good place or a bad one. Safe or not. They also connect us to other people and form the basis of relationships. When they are abused they impact both our cognitive and emotional processing skills.

 

This brain scan shows the impact it has on the brain and the areas most affected by abuse.

 

Brain scan

 

Victims of emotional abuse often describe the “fog” they live in. This is due to the damage abuse does to the frontal lobe. It numbs the emotions and slows responses. It is why trauma bonds occur. The victim seeks extremes to feel anything. Boundaries get pushed to achieve that emotional high. It is why victims can become co-narcissistic or unrecognisable to themselves and others. They are addicted to the abuser and behave out of character to keep that bond. Also known as Stockholm Syndrome.

 

Breaking that bond is like giving up heroin

 

Soul

 

Your emotions are your indicator of your connection to your true self. When you feel good, excited, happy, loving, flowing you are living your soul purpose. When you feel angry, sad, frustrated, hateful you are ego and fear based. Not only does emotional abuse separate you from your soul, it ruptures your navigation system. Victims struggle with knowing who they are and what they want. They can get stuck in those negative emotional states.

 

But it us do important to know that your true self never separates from you. Your alignment is available to you at all times. You just need to learn to listen and feel again. Take a moment to connect to your body. What are you feeling? Where are you feeling it? How can you move up that scale? So if you’re angry, what is a slightly better emotion? Determined? Focused? Keep going until you feel more positive. Don’t try to jump from anger to happiness. It’s too much of a leap. Small steps.

 

If you want to reconnect to your soul, book your Moving Forward session today.

 

 

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emotional abandonment

Emotional Abandonment: When Your Needs Are Being Met In a Relationship

emotional abandonment

 

We may not realize that we’re feeling emotionally abandoned or that we did as a child. We may be unhappy, but can’t put our finger on what it is. People tend to think of abandonment as something physical, like neglect. They also may not realize that loss of physical closeness due to death, divorce, and illness is often felt as an emotional abandonment. However, emotional abandonment has nothing to do with proximity. It can happen when the other person is lying right beside us – when we can’t connect, and our emotional needs aren’t being met in the relationship.

Emotional Needs

Often we aren’t aware of our emotional needs and just feel that something’s missing. But we have many emotional needs in intimate relationships. They include the following needs:

  • To be listened to and understood.
  • To be nurtured
  • To be appreciated
  • To be valued
  • To be accepted
  • For affection
  • For love
  • For companionship

Consequently, if there is high conflictabuse, addiction, or infidelity, these emotional needs go unmet. Sometimes, infidelity is a symptom of emotional abandonment in the relationship – by one or both partners. Additionally, addiction may be used to avoid closeness. If one partner is addicted, the other may feel neglected, because the addiction comes first and consumes the addict’s attention, preventing him or her from being present.

Causes of Emotional Abandonment

Yet even in a healthy relationship, there are periods, days, and even moments of emotional abandonment that may be caused by:

  • Intentionally withholding communication or affection
  • External stressors, including the demands of parenting
  • Illness
  • Conflicting work schedules
  • Lack of mutual interests and time spent together
  • Preoccupation and self-centeredness
  • Lack of healthy communication
  • Unresolved resentment
  • Fear of intimacy

When couples don’t share common interests or work/sleep schedules, one or both may feel abandoned. They have to make an extra effort to spend time talking about their experiences and intimate feelings with each other to keep the relationship fresh and alive.

More harmful are unhealthy communication patterns that may have developed, where one or both partners doesn’t share openly, listen with respect, and respond with interest to the other. When we feel ignored or that our partner doesn’t understand or care about what we’re communicating, then there’s a chance that eventually we stop talking to him or her.

Walls begin to build and we can begin living separate lives emotionally. Signs are if we talk more to our friends or a relative than to our partner or are disinterested in sex or spending time together.

Resentments easily develop in relationships especially when hurt or anger isn’t expressed. As a result, we may either pull away emotionally, put up walls, or push our partner away with criticism or undermining comments. Unexpressed hurt and needs lead to more disappointment and resentment.

Denial or shame about our feelings and needs usually stems from emotional abandonment in childhood and can cause communication and intimacy problems. Usually, this fear isn’t conscious. In counseling, couples are able to talk about their ambivalence, which allows them to grow closer. Sometimes, abandoning behavior occurs after a period of closeness or sex. One partner may physically withdraw or create distance by not talking or even by talking too much. Either way, it may leave the other person feeling alone and abandoned.

Emotional Abandonment In Childhood

Good parenting provides children security that they’re loved and accepted for their unique self by both parents and that both parents want a relationship with them. Parental failure to validate their feelings and needs is a trauma of emotional abandonment. Often clients tell me that they felt that their family didn’t understand them, that they felt different from the rest of the family or like an outsider. What is being described is the trauma of invisibility.

This can also happen when parent-child interactions revolve around the parent, the child is serving the parent’s needs, instead of the other way around, which is a form of abandonment. Even if a parent says, “I love you,” the child may still not feel close and accepted for who he or she is as a separate individual, apart from the parent.

Emotional abandonment in childhood can happen in infancy if the primary caretaker, usually the mother, is unable to be present emotionally for her baby. It’s often because she’s replicating her own childhood experience, but it may also be due to stress or depression. It’s important for a baby’s emotional development that the mother attunes to her child’s feelings and needs and reflects them back.

She may be preoccupied, cold, or unable to empathize with her baby’s success or upsetting emotions. He or she then ends up feeling alone, rejected, or deflated. The reverse is also true – where a parent gives a child a lot of attention but isn’t attuned to what the child actually needs.

In addition to situations where a parent is physically absent or doesn’t share in parenting, abandonment happens later, too, when children are criticized, controlled, unfairly treated, or otherwise given a message that they or their experience is unimportant or wrong. Children are vulnerable, and it doesn’t take much for a child to feel hurt and “abandoned.” Abandonment can also occur when a parent confides in a child or expects him or her to take on age-inappropriate responsibilities. At those moments, the children must suppress their feelings and needs in order to meet the needs of the adult.

A few incidents of emotional abandonment don’t harm children’s healthy development, but when they’re common occurrences, they affect children’s sense of self and security and can cause internalized shame that leads to intimacy issues and codependency in adult relationships.

As adults, we may be emotionally unavailable or attracted to someone who is. We risk continuing a cycle of abandonment that replicates our abandoning relationships and be easily triggered to feel abandoned. For an in-depth examination of this process and how to heal, see Conquering Shame and Codependency: 8 Steps to Freeing the True You.

Couples counseling can bring couples together to enjoy more closeness, heal from abandonment, and change their behavior.

The post Emotional Abandonment: When Your Needs Are Being Met In a Relationship appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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