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anatomy of infidelity

The Anatomy Of Infidelity: What Is The Heart Of The Matter?

anatomy of infidelity

 

How many days or nights have I sat and thought about that word; “infidelity” over the past 20 years since my divorce?

Webster’s Dictionary defines it as the action or state of being unfaithful to a spouse. You never think that word will ever be introduced into your life.

But when it is, it hits you like a ton of bricks.

The Anatomy Of Infidelity

My husband was unfaithful throughout most of my marriage to him. Though I didn’t know until after I finally caught him at year 10 upon which we sought counselling and reconciled and then again at year 13 and by then I had been through quite enough, thank you.

I had just had our second child and 4 weeks into being a mother to our baby girl, I found out that he had been having an affair with a woman for a long time.

Actually, all throughout my pregnancy apparently and earlier. But really, he was having affairs and flings throughout our entire relationship. Even when I was in college.

He drove down to San Diego to tell me that he had been unfaithful. I had been dating him for about a month, so I really didn’t care. I didn’t even really know him. I remember telling my roommates how weird I thought it was that he drove all the way down from LA to tell me this when I didn’t even know him that well.

They thought it was sweet and a sign that he really did care and respected me. I still contended that I thought it was weird, but I pretended that it mattered to me just so he wouldn’t feel completely stupid for driving all the way down on a weeknight to tell me this.

I had met him the summer before I was starting college in San Diego. San Diego State University, a mere smorgasbord of good-looking guys.

I had no intention of focusing solely on him anyway. But he was a triathlete and I was intrigued by him and his self-discipline as he fine-tuned and calibrated his body to perform in competitions throughout the year.

Over time, I did fall in love and I looked forward to our weekends when he would ride his bike down from LA to San Diego. I would pick him up in La Jolla and he would literally fall onto the couch and sleep until he felt recovered enough to go out on a date.

I stopped noticing the amazing looking guys at school and fell hard for him and I transferred back to a school in L.A. so we could see each other more. God, I look back at that and see mistake number one. I should have gone with my gut and not listened to my roommates.

Sometimes your heart needs more time to accept what your mind already knows.

Unknown

By the time I had graduated from college, we had been dating for over 4 years. My parents gave me a trip to England for graduation and when I came home, I was restless. My three best friends were all getting married, so I put a gun to his head and said that the world was at my fingertips and it was now or never if we were to ever get married.

He looked at me and said with very little energy in his voice, “okay”. That was mistake number two.

The proposal was not initiated from his heart. It was initiated by the imaginary gun I had pointed to his temple. In his obligatory way, he surrendered. I look back at that now and think I was robbed of the proposal I should have gotten from a man who really did love me.

Probably one of the good-looking guys at SDSU! After we were married for about two years, he wanted to go to Croatia with his friend to see where his father was born and meet some of his long-lost relatives.

We couldn’t afford both of us to go and I supported his visit because it was his heritage. Little did I know the trip would be the real beginning of a marriage filled with infidelity right under my nose but because we were married and I had the model of my parents’ marriage in my head, I had no idea what things he was getting into.

Or what I was getting into. The friend he was traveling with was cheating on his wife and so he, being the Yoda to my husband’s Luke Skywalker, had to introduce him to his class of “How to have your cake and eat it too all while seeing Europe in 20 days”.

It wasn’t until after my divorce that I found out that they had been cheating with random women throughout their travels. I also found out that he had a fling with this friend’s sister in law a week before my wedding. And she was an attendee of our wedding! Oh, and that friend?

Well, how ironic that he ended up being the Godfather to our son; our firstborn.

Man, you can’t make this stuff up and some people really can live with themselves after committing crimes of the heart and aiding his Godson’s father to keep on cheating. He was his biggest cheerleader and the two friends had much in common.

I’m sure this noble Godfather looked at himself as a good man through his own lens. Thank God all these years later, he has made no impression whatsoever on my son who is a better man then that guy will ever be. Oh, and his wife? Well, they are still married.

She just still looks the other way as he travels around with other women. I don’t want to make a judgment on her. She has the right to do what she feels is right for her.

I am not of her culture or thinking. When I discovered that my husband had been having a long-term affair at year 13, you could bet that his pal was front and center right there with him. Cheering him on as he conspired to help him deceive his wife and two children. One of which was his Godson.

We’d forgive most things if we knew the facts.”
Graham Greene

As you can see infidelity became a way of life for my husband. And slowly but surely it became a way of life for me as well. Only for me, it was by way of ignorance and naivete.

I always hoped to convince myself that he would be faithful to his family. I always hoped that no woman would ever steal him from me; from us. But on both counts, I was dead wrong.

So, what is at the heart of the matter with infidelity?

Why do people cheat on their spouses?

Their children?

Why are these people filled with such discontent and dis-ease and insecurities?

And who on earth are “the other” people who accept these frauds into their lives and sometimes, their families?

I have spent time thinking about this because I am wired to want to know the answers. I am wired to seek to know what is behind this.

I want to know the real heart of this issue.

What is at the heart of infidelity?

Does it start in childhood? Does it start at adolescence?

Is it at the beginning of a bad relationship that just had no chance but kept on going all in the name of, “oh well”?

In my ex-husband’s case I think the heart of his matter had been an overbearing mother that developed into disrespect for women. A disdain that was manifested in infidelity.

His mother was a good woman in her own way. The culture my ex-husband was raised in was one that men are exalted, and women are an annoyance. But when he left his family which included his 4-week-old daughter, another telltale sign of disrespect for women, it was his mother that welcomed him home with open arms.

It was almost as if she was celebrating his arrival back to her womb. He returned to the woman who had no expectations on him. She didn’t expect him to be a man and deal with being a grown-up.

She was just happy to have her little boy home again.

So, did this feeling of dis-ease start with the mother? If so, did she know of her aiding and abetting? I know she never meant to hurt me.

I believed she always loved me, but her obligations to her son outweighed her sense of decency and compassion towards me. Thus, infidelity was introduced as an unwelcome word in her life too.

Maybe the genesis of a person committing infidelity is just due to living a life of want. Always wanting what someone else has. Maybe he saw freedom outside the picket fence of our home and that was a pull far stronger than any 4-week-old baby and 4-year-old boy inside the fence.

Or maybe his hatred for me was what drove him to this.

Maybe he didn’t like that I was a woman with a career that demanded periodic travel throughout the year. I was seeing the world as he was going to the same job every day that didn’t offer him any variety. The lure of a woman who didn’t work and who was a homemaker is what he knew. His mother never worked. My mother was dedicated to her career, a career my father supported totally, so my model was much different than his.

So maybe one, all, or none of these reasons is at the nucleus of the offense. It is fascinating to be outside of the eye of the hurricane 20 years later and breathe through the possible reasons why this word was so prominent in my life and remains prominent in our society with such a high divorce rate.

The national divorce rate is 40%. The divorce rate in California is 60%, so basically, as residents of California, we are a roll of the dice here in these parts!

Grace means that all of your mistakes now serve a purpose instead of serving shame.

Brene Brown

Since my divorce 20 years ago, I have wondered if the cheaters who introduce infidelity into our lives live with any shame? Or do the victims of the infidelity take it and carry it on only to now fully reside into their lives.

Those of us who have been a victim to spousal cheating find ourselves living with an intensely painful feeling that we are now unworthy of love and commitment from someone and we are left to contend with the deeper meanings of it all. The result is the shame you feel by being unlovable and your husband being “steal-able”.

I think it’s funny that the people who are unfaithful by committing the acts of infidelity on their spouses and children are proficient in living their daily lives with a huge secret. But on the day that the secret finally sees the light the day, they are emancipated in their openness only for the secret to now be quietly handed to the victims of the infidelity to carry.

The remaining family members are now consumed with shame and embarrassment that our husband and father betrayed us. As the wronged wife, you don’t want anyone to know this has happened, so they don’t judge you by thinking you were blind or ignorant.

I had many people say to me. “How did you not know!?” My response was, “It happens when you’re a full-time working mother who just had a baby. I was a little busy.”

But the saddest thing is that our children are also asked to carry their secret too. Because the last thing they want to face is that their dad left their mom and thus, left them too and they do not want their friends to know this truth about him.

So, they just don’t talk about it. And when someone asks them, they play it down as much as possible. My children are now 20 and 24 and I notice they still do this.

Compulsive Desire + Excuses and Rationalization + Willingness to Deceive + Opportunity = AFFAIR!

You may have noticed that I didn’t title this article, “Anatomy of an Adulterer”. I hate that word. It is a cop-out me. It also is an oxymoron in my opinion.

“Adult”- ery. Think about it. A real adult person who can decipher between right and wrong, good and bad, faithful and unfaithful is not given a permission slip to be an adulterer.

And the usual suspect is someone who can’t grow up, face responsibly and wants to run away from home! And the usual co-conspirator in the equation is a woman who wants to save him and be the mother they always wanted.

Good grief! They are meant for each other! But they are far from acting like adults! Enough said on that.

When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.

Maya Angelou

So, what is the last lesson in all of this for me?

What do I know now that I didn’t know while I was in the storm, married to a man capable of deep infidelities?

Did I subconsciously deny what was happening all along?

Did I miss a million clues that presented themselves to me in the 14 years I was married to him and the 19 years I knew him?

Probably.

After all, he did show me who he was when he showed up at my apartment door in college to tell me he had cheated on me well before we had even started our relationship.

How long had I been sleeping?

And as I asked earlier, what kind of woman accepts a man who leaves an infant?

Well, here is what I have concluded. The last lesson is that it was never about me. It was always him and his demons. And I would assume it was about her and her demons as well. I look at them now as two lost souls who came together under the shroud of secrecy and at the expense of three people that did love him unconditionally.

But I am not burdened with that task any longer. Our children are his most valuable parting gift from me because they do continue to love him unconditionally. I don’t know if that kind of love is inside of the second marriage, he now finds himself in.

He married the woman and they have been together longer than he was with me now. Maybe he grew or just grew up. Maybe he sees the value of family and the sacredness of a wife now.

Or maybe he has never rehabilitated himself and she is his new easy target. I somewhat doubt it because she went into that relationship with a lot of information. I only hope that he has indeed improved his situation of “dis-ease” or “discontent” because we three were a high price to pay and he still has two young adults watching him and his actions still make impressions on them.

So, I suppose the closing arguments for the case of infidelity is that two people who had differing ways of approaching commitment had two very different relationships with each other. And he will never know what I loved in him and I will never know what he loved in me. And that will have to be the last piece on the definition of Infidelity as far as I am concerned.

The post The Anatomy Of Infidelity: What Is The Heart Of The Matter? appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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How To Rebuild Your Life After Narcissistic Abuse (No Matter How Much You’ve Lost)

How To Rebuild Your Life After Narcissistic Abuse (No Matter How Much You’ve Lost)

 

There are so many losses after narcissistic abuse.  It can be daunting to lose yourself, your health, family and friends as well as resources and finances.

Today, I share how to rebuild your self, health, important relationships and financial prosperity after narcissistic abuse.

Regardless of how old you are, how damaged you feel, how much you have lost and even if you believe that recovery and rebuild is impossible.

I promise you it is possible when you know how.

 

 

Video Transcript

Losses are extreme with narcissistic abuse.

Loss of health, life force, resources, prosperity, and the energy, inspiration and hope to go forward and generate a new future.

I know how devastating this is, and I promise you I’ve been there on all these levels.

However, I want you to know there is a way to rebuild your life after narcissistic abuse. Myself, and so many others in this Thriver Community have achieved this spectacularly, against all odds and even despite so-called unhealable medical diagnoses.

By watching this video hopefully, I can inspire you to know that there is a wonderful life available for you after narcissistic abuse, no matter how much you have lost.

Today, we are going to look deeply at the different losses and how you can rebuild from them.

But before we do, I’d like to thank all of you who have supported the Thriver mission by subscribing to my channel. If you haven’t yet, please do. Also make sure that you hit the like button, and if you enjoy this video, share with others who you know it can help.

Okay so on to this episode!

 

Loss Of Self

After narcissistic abuse it is usual to feel like you’ve lost your life-force and your well-being.
You may even believe your life is over, and can’t imagine what it would feel like to be normal or healthy again.

Of course, initially we want things to change in our circumstances, such as the narcissist to be held accountable, or for some good fortune to turn everything around, or even for a wonderful person to come into our life to pick us up and save us from all of this trauma and devastation.

Maybe you just want to wake up from the nightmare that has become your life.

But the truth is no one is coming, and your Inner Being, which is the foundational basis of your entire life, is waiting for you to turn inwards and be your own rescuer.

And of course, initially you feel like you don’t have the health, sanity or inner resources to save yourself.

Yet, the total irony is we can’t recover and rebuild ourselves until we do turn inwards with the intention to be our own saviour.

Self-partnering is vital.

In fact, it’s crucial.

And the reason it is, is because it puts you back inside your body.

You may think that the anxiety, depression and trauma is a result of what has happened to you. Yes it is, however, it is continuing and not being resolved, if you don’t turn inwards to meet these conditions and heal yourself back to wholeness.

That is exactly what self-partnering is about, and it is the very first essential step of Thriver Recovery. In fact, it’s what the Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program (NARP) is all about – learning how to turn inwards to find, load up, and release all of the trauma that is generating your trauma and abuse symptoms, and replacing this with your Highest Source, which creates the shift to heal you.

This process can’t happen without self-partnering.

As a result of self-partnering, you will organically start shifting into the knowing that you are lovable and worthy, and as an adult capable of generating your own security and survival.

This is when the prior abuse trauma from the narcissist and the narcissist’s attempts to derail and terrorise you will all melt away.

I promise you that these capacities don’t come from outside of you, they need to be healed up from inside of you.

By doing so you will evolve beyond the fractures, trauma, and anxiety of having handed your power away to abusive people who did not have your best interests at heart.

 

Loss Of People

Inevitably, as a result of narcissistic abuse, relationships in your life may get smashed to pieces.

It is horrifying how narcissists have the ability to smear you, discredit you and turn people in your life against you. You may have lost family members, friends, associates and maybe even been alienated from your own children.

I know that this is beyond cruel, and my heart goes out to you if you have experienced these dreadful things.

And I really want to inspire you to know that staying stuck in the terrible trauma and victimisation will only mean that these circumstances can’t shift in your life.

It is completely understandable why you would be stuck in these feelings, and I totally validate you in that place, but there is a much more effective solution and way to deal with this.

With myself, and so many other people that I have helped achieve true healing with NARP, we discovered that when we released the trauma of these terrible injustices, smearing and alienation that we suffered, our Inner Being shifted, and then the outer started to shift to match this.

This is how powerful we are – we are Quantum Creators from the inside out.

People come back. The narcissist gets caught out. Loved ones return.

All sorts of miracles happen. I promise you this with all my heart.

There are numerous people in this community who have been reunited with people and their children who they were alienating from (some for decades), as a result of letting go of all the pain, resentment and heartbreak with NARP modules.

The complete and utter irony is, when you are at peace and only feel love in your heart without pain regardless of the outer circumstances, that’s when the outer circumstances powerfully shift.

This is the secret to changing our life, including our most important relationships. When we use Quantum Tools to achieve this, it becomes powerfully possible.

 

Health Losses

So many of us have been devastated by terrible health conditions as a result of narcissistic abuse. Trauma creates this. Eventually, not just your emotions break down, but also your physical being.

I know so many people, myself included, who were given shocking diagnoses as a result of the breakdowns of narcissistic abuse. So many of us were told that our emotional, adrenal, or mental breakdowns as well as PTSD, fibromyalgia, adrenal malfunctions and nervous system disorders, such as agoraphobia, could never be truly healed and at best, we could only hope to manage them with medication and strategies.

This is not true recovery; this is simply trying to exist with the trauma generated symptoms of abuse still active within you.

Now myself, and so many others, know that there is a true recovery solution for our abuse symptoms. Namely, releasing the trauma from within your Inner Being that is generating these symptoms.

When you do this, you allow well being to enter the space where the dis-ease once was, and you have the ultimate potential to get well.

Maybe, even more well than you have been in your entire life, even before abuse.

This is the resurrection that is totally possible for you … truly.

Myself and so many others have achieved this, fully. We no longer suffer any narcissistic abuse trauma symptoms.

 

Financial Losses

A big part of narcissistic abuse is financial abuse. It is a widespread devastation in this Community.

So many people ask, “How DO I get over the financial abuse?”, “How can I leave when I am financially dependent on the narcissist?” and “How will I ever rebuild my life again?”

Financial abuse can be a dreadful injury in our life, and I promise you it was initially a massive challenge for me. Originally, I just wanted to somehow get up off the ground and rebuild what I lost. But the more I tried to do that, without facing my inner healing, the more powerless I felt.

I just didn’t have what it took to get up and get going again, and I wasn’t meant to. Because the time had come where I needed to deeply investigate and heal the reasons why I had suffered such financial devastation at the hands of abusers.

Something incredible happened when I started to clean that up. I felt relief, I felt wholeness inside that was no longer reliant on me having to have a certain thing or be a certain way.

It was just an organic peace. And from that place, with newly formed and anchored-in belief systems regarding my ability to be a generator of prosperity, with all of the healthy components of life, I started to blossom.

I was able to start actualising a rebuild from complete and total financial devastation. Solutions and assistance came. Support came. Opportunities and synchronicity and even miracles started entering my life granting me the abundance that I was already feeling in regard to loving and accepting myself unconditionally, regardless of what I did or didn’t have in my life.

I have seen so many Thrivers in this community rebuild their lives financially after narcissistic abuse, as a result of releasing and healing their internal financial traumas with NARP.

Many of these people were in midlife and beyond. Some of them had not worked for decades, and were even left with zero finances or shocking debt as a result of the abuse.

Yet, they were able to come back in ways and timeframes that were astounding, once the trauma was released and Life Force, in abundance, was able to flow through them as them.

And I know, as a result of deeply working on your Inner Being with my Quantum Tools in NARP, that you will have exactly the same opportunity to turn it all around.

 

How Our Losses Are Deeply Interconnected

I completely and utterly believe that a relationship with self, health, others, and finances is all deeply interconnected.

To holistically become healthy, whole, self-generative and flourished and nourished by Life Force itself, as well as being able to abundantly expand and express our mission and purpose on this planet, all of these areas of our life require our inner attention.

These are the four areas that we commonly experience grave loss in as a result of narcissistic abuse, and the good news is that we can directly address them to heal them beyond description.

You see, there is an incredible radical compensation that occurs after narcissistic abuse, when we turn inwards, to claim and activate the healing of Self. What wasn’t right, resets to becoming healthier than we could ever imagine in our wildest dreams.

That is the Thriver Way!

And I can’t wait for this to be your Thriver reality as well.

If this is what you want for you, take the stand with me by pausing this video and writing below “It is my time to reclaim my self, soul and life!”

Okay, so now, you can check out my NARP program, that will activate deep healing for you, by clicking this link.

If you haven’t yet subscribed, I’d love you to please do it, so that you will be notified about each new episode when it is released.

Please also share this video with the people who you know have experienced terrible loss as a result of narcissistic abuse. The people who you know need hope and a solution.

And as always I look forward to answering your comments and your questions below.

 

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Does it matter who files first in a divorce?

Does it matter who files first in a divorce?

Originally published by The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC Blog.

Many people are under the impression that filing first in a divorce will put you at an advantage over your spouse. This is generally not true but there are some reasons a person should consider when pushing to be the first to file in a divorce.

The first person to file a divorce in the state of Texas is known as the petitioner. The opposing party is known as the respondent. This petitioner’s name will be stated first in the case style on all pleadings that are filed in the case and will be the first party to present their arguments at any hearings or at trial.

Being the party to file the initial suit means the petitioner can have an option at deciding what county to file in. If both parties are residents of different counties, it may matter to a person that they file in the county where they currently reside. This can be for many reasons, a big one being convenience. Especially for parties that are domiciled out-of-state, it can be urgent that you file your suit first. This would ease you from having the inconvenience of having to travel, and instead require the other party travel to the county where you have filed the suit.

Of course, this does not give the petitioner any county as an option as they must meet the residency requirements to be able to file in any county. For example, in order to file within Harris County a person must be (1) domiciled in the State of Texas for at least six months, and more specifically, (2) have resided in Harris County for at least 90 days prior to filing a petition for divorce. Only one party needs to meet these requirements, meaning that even if you do not meet these requirements you can still file within that county if your spouse does.

However, a court would still need to be able to exercise personal jurisdiction over a respondent if the petitioner meets the residency requirements. This means they will need to have the authority to require the out-of-state party to subject themselves to the laws of the state and court. Simply stated, personal jurisdiction is the court’s power over the parties to a lawsuit. Personal jurisdiction is typically granted to a court over an out-of-state respondent through a long arm statute. The two main types of long arm statutes that pertain to a divorce would be divorce jurisdiction and parent-child jurisdiction if there are children involved in the marriage. All statutes in relation can be found within the Texas Family Code, Section 6.305.

Another thing to consider when filing first, is that the Petitioner is responsible for paying the initial filing fee. This fee can range anywhere from $300 to $400 depending on what county the lawsuit is filed, and if there are children involved. As a respondent, the only pleading required would be an answer which is mainly free, but at most can cost a few dollars. If you are wanting to countersue the petitioner for divorce, the respondent would need to file a counterpetition which can range from $50 to $100. In short, the initial filing will incur more costs. This as well does not include the fees a petitioner will have to bear by requesting a citation and hiring a process server to serve the respondent. This too can be costly, especially if the respondent’s whereabouts are unknown. These fees are something a person should keep in mind if they are insisting on filing first in a divorce.

A petitioner can have the upper hand in a divorce because they are able to set the tone of the divorce. This means they will have to decide whether they want to plead fault or no fault in the original petition. However, pleadings can be amended and changed by either party after the initial filing. Most people however will aim for an amicable divorce where no-fault has been plead, but they can always amend later if they want to include any at fault grounds for the divorce.

Along with the original petition for divorce, it is not uncommon for a petitioner to file a request for temporary orders along with the petition. They are often requested in the initial pleading, and their purpose is to put restrictions on how the parties should behave during the divorce proceeding. These can include visitation rights, conservatorship of the children, child support, who will have access to the marital home, bills, etc. A petitioner can have the advantage here because they will have more time to prepare for the hearing versus the respondent. A petitioner can also ask for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) which can help prevent the other party from hiding assets. A TRO is binding on your spouse and can help deter these behaviors. A petitioner has the advantage to prepare for both a temporary order hearing and a temporary restraining order.

Most family and divorce law cases will not make it to trial, this is because most cases will settle in mediation before the case goes to trial. While it is the most cost-efficient method to settle outside of court, there are a small percentage of cases that do end up in a trial. If you are a petitioner in a case this can have a significant impact on what trial strategy is used. A petitioner gets to present their case before the judge first, to which a respondent will have to counter-argue and put on their case second.

If you are unable to file first in a divorce proceeding, a person should not worry too much because you will still be able to fully present your case in the divorce process. You have the right to counterpetition and present your arguments before the court. However, if you are persistent in filing first you should keep in mind the advantages you will be entitled to in preparing your case against the respondent. Also, you should be aware of the cost you will incur with the initial process of filing and service of process.

Curated by Texas Bar Today. Follow us on Twitter @texasbartoday.



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Divorce Narrative: What is yours and why does it matter?

Divorce Narrative: What is yours and why does it matter?

All of our narratives play an important role in shaping our behaviors and relationships moving forward.

The post Divorce Narrative: What is yours and why does it matter? appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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approval seeker

Approval Seeker? “No Matter What You Do, Not Everyone is Going to Like You”

approval seeker

 

Hello, my name is April and I’m an “approval, addict,” recovering with the occasional relapse.

Approval addiction — or the intense desire to obtain approval or avoid rejection from other people leads to certain habitual behaviors.

I am, for example, a recovering “performer.” In other words, I chased “gold stars” to get people to like me. A lot of women are “helpers.” They swoop in to save the day, never saying no to a request for help. “Chameleons” are shapeshifters. They change what they say, how they dress, even the inflection of their voice depending on the company. In my work I’ve actually identified eight different “approval seeking” personality types.

Constantly on The Hamster Wheel

As a performer, my life was a hamster wheel of constant striving — seeking one accomplishment after another. There was always another ten pounds to lose, another person to impress, another task on my to-do list.

I was living in a self-imposed prison. Even though I wanted desperately to belong, to be loved, to feel safe in the world…I was trying to be someone I wasn’t, so anxiety was my only real companion.

The gold stars I was chasing were leading me away from the life I really wanted. I was trying to win over people I didn’t like. I was in a prestigious job for the prestige, nothing else. I was letting the bathroom scale dictate my self worth and I was racking up more credit card debt trying to look perfect.

I had created a life that didn’t fit me, just to fit in. I was maintaining a persona that wasn’t me, so I could feel good about myself. But it wasn’t working and I couldn’t figure out why. I thought the solution was to achieve more, lose more weight, do better, be better.

It’s Normal to Want Approval

The thing is, it’s normal to want approval. In fact, it’s a biological drive. But “fitting in” is not true belonging. A lot of women don’t feel safe being themselves, so they settle. They settle by hiding parts of themselves they don’t want other people to know about — their quirks, bad decisions, things other people did to them…

What’s the Solution?

In the old days, an ambiguous comment by my boss, a sour look from a neighbor, the wrong birthday present from a friend, would send me into a state of anxiety.

My reaction was always the same. First, I’d replay the situation again and again in my mind thinking of all the ways I could have done something or said something differently. Eventually, I would conclude that I just needed to work harder — to be better, do better and look better.

But the real trick with approval addiction is to stop trying so hard.

The One-Third Rule of Tribes

When my mom passed away six years ago she left me with some very good advice. “April,” she said, “no matter what you do, not everyone is going to like you.” I found it oddly comforting. So I took her advice and turned it into a coaching tool called the “One-Thirds Rule of Tribes:”

If you divide the universe into thirds…

There will always be a third who I call The Haters. No matter what you do, they’ll always hate. They won’t like your shoes. They’ll unsubscribe to your newsletter. They’ll roll their eyes at you behind your back.

There’s another third of the Entire Known Universe I call The Neutrals. No matter what you do, they’ll always be neutral. There’s just no way to dazzle them.

Now, here’s the important part. There’s another third I call Your Tribe. This is your fan base. The more you show up as YOU, uncensored, the more they’ll love on you.

The solution isn’t to continue trying to “be all things to all people.” As you can see, this strategy is a complete waste of time. You just can’t. When you do try to win over the haters and the neutrals, it just leaves you invisible to your tribe. They just won’t be able to recognize you.

My Final Words of Advice

Let the haters, hate. Let the neutrals be neutral. Drop the pressure to do better, look better, be better. Stop settling for a false sense of belonging. Just be YOU so your tribe can finally find you. Once they do, you’ll understand what it really feels like to belong.

Isn’t that what you wanted all along?

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