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not healing from your divorce

4 Reasons You’re NOT Healing From Your Divorce

not healing from your divorce

 

We all know that the pain that follows a divorce is horrible, and can probably be multiplied by a very large number if the divorce was sudden and/or unexpected. When we’re in the midst of heartache it can truly feel as though our broken parts will never heal, and that we will never feel whole or normal again.

Yet healing is a very natural process. We can all heal. Some of us may be stuck in a loop of grief, not knowing how to help ourselves move through and past the pain. We may be unknowingly committed to outdated beliefs and stories – beliefs that are holding us back from creating a new life and story for ourselves.

I’m a firm believer that TIME is one of our best friends when it comes to moving forward and healing from heartbreak. Yet all the time in the world will NOT help if you’re not giving it a bit of a helping hand. When people say that time heals nothing, I say yes and no. Time DOES heal – but not time alone.

Sitting around waiting to feel better will probably not be enough to make you feel better. If you feel that something is missing – that you’re not moving forward and healing from your divorce, it may be time for a few life and mindset adjustments.

Here are 4 reasons you may not be healing from your divorce:

1. You’re stuck in RESISTANCE mode

When ‘bad’ things happen to us, it is a very normal thing to struggle and resist against what is happening. Yet here’s the thing: hard as it may be to come to terms with, accepting the change to your circumstances, rather than resisting it, is extremely important in helping you navigate what is happening. If the decision to divorce is final – whether it was your choice or not – stop wishing it otherwise.

You will only prolong the pain, and delay your progress in moving through the grief if you spend time and energy wishing and hoping for things to be different.

I have learned that nothing is truly permanent in life – good or bad. Once you accept that situations and people naturally evolve, you’ll find that change becomes a lot less daunting. A huge obstacle for a lot of us after divorce is learning how to get over our preconceived notions of how things ‘should’ be. Yet all of us can learn to change our thought processes, and as a result, let go of outdated beliefs and stories.

It is normal and healthy to grieve. Allow the grief, and allow it to pass when it’s time. Learn about the grieving process – know where you are at in the process. And know that with allowance, it WILL pass.

2. You’re still stalking/speaking to/spending time with your EX

It is a very noble idea to want to ‘stay friends’ with the ex. Sometimes, its best left at that – an idea. Why? Because in order to move on and heal from our divorce, we simply must learn to emotionally detach from him.

Some context: when we have spent a good portion of our time with another person in an intimate relationship, emotional bonds, and ties will have formed – this is a normal and natural process. During a break-up, those bonds are ties must be severed, and this naturally hurts.

We don’t like the hurt, so we fight it. We often do everything we can to hold on – to our partner and to our memories – and this is where our troubles begin. We simply don’t know how to let go, or emotionally detach. The good news is that with a little time and a little effort, we will get through the hurt and begin to feel better.

Accepting that the relationship is over and allowing the grieving process are important first steps to getting your ex out of your headspace.

The next focus needs to be on maintaining separate lives and ending the reliance on him. RESIST the urge to know what he is up to, who he’s seeing, where he’s going. DON’T stalk him or her on social media, and don’t ask others (especially your children) what he is up to. If you do need to be in contact – focus on keeping it simple and business-like.

This is truly the best way to emotionally detach and most importantly, HEAL.

3. You’re not spending ample time LOVING yourself

Most of us lose a part of ourselves whilst in a long-term relationship or marriage. I lost a BIG part of myself during my seventeen-year marriage. I married young and over the years somehow managed to forget that I was somebody outside of the marriage at all.

Needless to say, when my husband left I had quite the task both rediscovering and learning how to love ME. I had to re-learn a lot of self-care, and a lot of self-love. And so it may be for you now.

Truth is, most of us struggle with self-love. And the struggle is never more real than in times of change and upheaval – when we are pushed WAY out of our comfort zones, dealing with a broken heart, and naturally feeling our crappiest and lowest.

Yet the time just after a divorce is the perfect time to start learning how to truly love yourself. It is the perfect time to go deep within yourself and find out what it is that makes you tick – what fires you up, what gives you comfort, what it is that you need to do to fix your broken parts for GOOD.

Do your best not to spend all of your time thinking, obsessing or worrying about your ex – or when your next relationship will be. Learn to use this time alone wisely. SPEND time alone. Learn to love being alone. Learn to love and care for yourself – TRULY love and care for yourself.

4. You’re not setting GOALS for the future

During a significant life shift such as divorce, there is a definite healing power to be found in intention or goal setting. After having just completed one chapter of your life, it makes sense to lay some plans for how you would like the next chapter to be.

Your goals may change over time as your psyche slowly adjusts to your new life and reality, but that’s OK. Even if you don’t achieve a particular goal, or it changes significantly to accommodate your changing feelings and circumstances, there is still power in letting yourself envision some concrete plans for your future, doing what you need to do to make them reality, then letting go and allowing the universe to take care of the rest.

Use your newfound knowledge of yourself – who you really are and what you really want in life – to start setting some goals – big or small. And remember at all times to have FUN with it. Good luck.

The post 4 Reasons You’re NOT Healing From Your Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Why Do Friends Abandon Us During Divorce? Here Are 3 Reasons Why

Why Do Friends Abandon Us During Divorce? Here Are 3 Reasons Why

A while back, I attended a “Divorced Members Only” party. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from a DMO party, but the invite came from a charming friend of a friend and I was thrilled to be included.

I entered the hip and modern backyard where I was greeted by the lovely hostess who is happily married to the lovely host who had each gone through a divorce prior to meeting, They guided me to the bar where I was handed the signature drink aptly named the 50/50 split and I made my way into the crowd.

Despite my vision of walking in to see 50 women feverishly nodding and smiling to compete for the attention of 5 single men, my 50/50 split and I walked into a welcoming, judgment-free zone to discuss the battle scars and silver linings of divorce. I met beautiful, successful women and men who asked the usual questions divorced people ask when we meet each other.

“Who is your attorney”?

“What is your custody schedule”?

“Do you get along with your ex”?

Did he (or she) cheat”?

From my more lengthy conversations that evening the subject of married friends came up repeatedly from this divorced contingent – both the ones who abandoned them and the ones who stuck by them. Many spoke of the anguish caused by the first group, and the sometimes lack of understanding from the latter.

We discussed many other fabulous non-divorce topics as well, but I left with an overwhelming sense of comfort in knowing that I am not the only one who pondered and struggled with one of the fallouts of divorce that causes more pain and confusion than expected.

So I did a little online research to get more perspective. I didn’t gain much, but I did find a few of the theories entertaining.

After reading self-help articles, and perusing group chats there were three scenarios that kept popping up about the “deserters”.

Why Do Friends Abandon Us During Divorce?

They side with your ex.

They may have a business relationship, or a longer history, or they just like him better. OK. Fine, I suppose he is allowed to have friends too.

They are worried divorce may be transmittable.

The thought here is that friends with marriages on shaky ground are afraid that socializing with divorced women may be infectious and lead their marriage down the same path. There are many great things about being divorced but I doubt 4 out of 5 divorcees recommend it, nor should we be considered contagious for going through one of the most stressful and depilating life events.

They feel threatened.

As in, threatened that their divorced friends are now eligible and may take their husbands!? I hardly ever use’ LOL’, but it applies so well. Do these same friends remember all the stories they shared about said husbands when we were friends? Drunken behavior, idiosyncrasies, intimate details? I may have been friendly with their husbands for many years, enjoyed family dinners and vacations, but wanted them for myself? Thank you, but no. I jest a bit here because I have friends with some pretty fantastic husbands. I root for their marriages. They are setting great examples for their kids, and mine too.

If you haven’t been divorcing or divorced long enough to know this yet, I can promise you that the “deserters” aren’t the married friends you need. The married friends you need are still HERE – in your ‘Favorites’ list on your iPhone, and on the emergency contact forms for your kids. And in a society where married people are considered “the norm” and divorced people are not, they have kept you in their ‘Favorites’ list as well.

The best news I can share with you after being 5 years divorced is that you will stop caring about the friends who deserted you in your greatest time of need. You will stop wondering why you didn’t get an invite to their Christmas party, or their 40th, or their kids’ birthdays. You will eventually get to a point where you run into them on the street, or are seated right next to them at a restaurant, have a brief, friendly exchange and then barely give it another thought.

Now as we love our married friends who have remained in our lives, things can get a little tense at times. DMOs have been married. We understand the constant state of acquiescence and negotiation in which married people live. We can remember that the way a spouse chews a meal or leaves dental floss on the counter can ruin an otherwise perfectly good day. If not from divorced parents what do our married friends know about being divorced?

Have the DMOs taken the time to look up from sobbing about their trip to family court, or a rant about their ex to explain how everything actually feels? I have not. I have been a bit selfish in expecting them to instinctively understand why I get so prickly about staying home with my boys in lieu of attending a GNO because I only see them 50% of the time. Or how sending them to another home can feel like losing a limb.

Or the isolation we feel when friends are out for a couple’s dinner and we are forgotten. It stings. And it stinks, but have we eloquently communicated that? Have we gracefully told them that we are ok with being the 3rd or 5th or 7th wheel?

It could relieve some tension to acknowledge these differences with the friends who have remained present. Reinforce that you love LOVE and that you want the best for their marriage. Embrace their spouses and their families. Bring your kids over to their homes so they can see married couples living in unison. Lean on them regardless of if they will understand your battles and let them lean on you as well – it will undoubtedly reinforce the fact that they made the right decision in keeping you on their “Favorites’ list.

The post Why Do Friends Abandon Us During Divorce? Here Are 3 Reasons Why appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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wife fell out of love with you

9 Reasons Your Wife Fell Out Of Love With You

wife fell out of love with you

 

Your wife fell out of love and left, pulled the rug out from under your world and, in your stunned disbelief you can’t, for the life of you, figure what went wrong.

Many men are blinded sided by divorce, slapped in the emotions by a wife who says, “I’m not in love with you anymore.” Most, I’m afraid, fail to look inward and own the role they played in the lack of love now being shown them.

Happy marriages are difficult to maintain and, it is possible for a woman to fall out of love with her husband. It’s difficult for a couple to maintain the level of excitement felt when they first met once they are sharing their lives day in and day out.

Add to the monotony of daily life, marriage stressors and a lack of skills for dealing with the stress and it is possible for a wife to lose those “loving feelings” toward her husband.

Wondering why it happened to you?

Below are 9 Reasons Your Wife Fell Out Of Love With You

1. You Missed the Mark When It Came to Communication

Not only is communication important in maintaining a bond with each other, how you communicate will determine how strong of a bond. The way a couple communicates is as important as the ability to communicate.

Below are four negative communication traits that may have killed her love for you.

Giving her the silent treatment 

When you refuse to talk and discuss problems you slowly destroy the love that is the foundation of a marriage.

Refusing to communicate is a disrespectful manner of communicating how you are feeling. Did you give her the silent treatment when she pissed you off? If so, all you managed to do was push her away and build a wall that restricted intimacy.

Being on the defensive 

If you viewed statements made by your wife as accusations, you probably responded in a defensive manner. Being defensive is not communication, it’s a game of who is right and who is wrong. When you start keeping score, love eventually pays the price.

Being overly critical 

Constantly expressing how you feel about your wife’s negative traits isn’t communication, it is tearing down. Nothing kills feelings of love for a husband quicker than feeling like you can do no right. If your communication style causes your wife to feel worthless and depletes their self-esteem, don’t be surprised when you find the love has died.

Name calling 

This is a no-brainer! If you tell someone who loves you they are an idiot, stupid, can’t do anything right, that person will eventually fall out of love with you. Name calling is a form of emotional abuse!

2. You Were a Clingy Husband

My 8th grade home economics teacher taught us that once couples marry they “became one.” She was wrong! Couples do not become one and believing so is a death sentence to autonomy and love.

For love to thrive a wife and husband should remain autonomous, fully individualized outside the relationship and marriage.

Wanting your wife to spend all her time with you because you believe it is an expression of how much she loves you is a sign of immaturity in you, not proof that she loves you.

If love is to grow, a husband and wife must continue to bring your own individuality to the relationship.

If you were clingy, insecure, jealous and possessive you weren’t feeding love, you were smothering it. Want to choke the love out of someone quickly, man or woman, keep a tight noose around their neck!

3. Your Marriage had a Bad Beginning

In order for a couple to weather the storms…the ups and downs of marital life, they need a strong, healthy beginning. Below are a few examples of poor relationship foundations. Beginnings that could cause either spouse to eventually lose loving feelings for the other.

A rush to marriage 

You fell in love and had her standing at the alter two months later. True love takes time to grow, two months, isn’t enough time. If you rushed her toward the alter before she was ready to go there, your marriage was doomed from the beginning.

Long-term relationships riddled with problems 

We all know that couple. They dated for six years, broke up and got back together on a regular basis and were always in the middle of conflict. If you can’t hold a relationship together before you marry, you aren’t going to be able to after you marry.

4. You Didn’t Meet Her Needs

Forgive me for going all “Venus and Mars” on you but, as individuals, we have needs in romantic relationships. If those needs aren’t met, love dies.

If you were consumed by work, came home late, ate dinner and watched television that means you had very little leftover for her. Was golf or football your weekend go toes? How often did you help her with the laundry, clean the house or do a sink full of dishes? Rarely? I’m sure she felt drained AND unappreciated!

If, as her husband you weren’t tuned into her emotional and physical needs and putting effort into meeting them, she may have gotten to the point of finding someone who would.

And let’s talk about sex! If you expected sex after weekends of football or golf and no effort to help with the kid or around the house, you EXPECTED WAY TOO MUCH from a wife who, more than likely, felt belittled, dismissed and cringed at your touch.

5. You Didn’t Put Enough Effort into Resolving Marital Conflict

Problems are common in all marriages. Both spouses need to have the ability to constructively work through those problems. When a husband avoids finding solutions to marital problems, leaving his wife holding the bag, love eventually dies.

Putting the onus on her to solve problems by refusing counseling or communicating about the problems causes resentment to grow toward you and the relationship.

Unresolved marital conflict, especially when a husband tries to sweep them under the rug, negatively impacts feelings of love her husband has for her.

6. You Stopped Caring About Your Appearance

You let yourself go. You gained 50 pounds and never lost it, you started wearing nothing but sweatpants and just generally became someone no one would find attractive.

Physical attraction between spouses is important. If your wife looks at you and her motor doesn’t start humming love is doomed. Part of being in love with someone is feeling passionate and drawn to their physical appearance.

Just because a woman has said, “I do” doesn’t mean her love will always be there regardless of how you look and how well you take care of yourself.

7. You Rejected Her Sexually

Sex in marriage is important because it brings a couple closer together. If a couple has a great sexual bond they can weather almost any storm. In a sexless marriage, there is no bond, storms are not weathered!

Sex is also an expression of love between two people. Few men understand that women bond with their partner via the act of sex. It’s true! Marital sex, for women, is a way to feel closer to their spouse.

It isn’t just sex for the sake of sex.

For love to continue and grow it’s important that a husband understands and respects his wife’s normal sexual needs. And, at times, give a spouse what they need (within reason) because you care about her needs being met.

Let me add a qualifier here, she isn’t going to be the least bit interested in sex with you if you’re an abusive, lazy, slob, who never lifts a hand around the house. Don’t take what I’ve written here and used it against a wife who has every reason in the world to not desire sex with you.

8. You Were Impossible to Please

It didn’t matter what she did, you were never grateful. She gave you that extra baby and you bitched because it was another girl. She bought you a riding lawnmower for your birthday and you whined because it didn’t have enough horsepower.

Whatever she did, you took her efforts for granted and failed to show appreciation.

9. You Changed After Marrying Her

Before marriage, you were up for anything. You enjoyed going out with her, doing things she was interested in. You were invested in your career, had a full and rewarding life. You were the total package!

After marriage, you turned into a boring, grumpy, uninteresting person who was in bed asleep by 8 in the evening and spent your weekends on Facebook or binge-watching football on the couch. That interesting man she fell in love with became a snooze fest she had no respect for and very little feelings of love toward.

From a Reader

Here’s a list from the perspective of a reader who fell out of love with her husband.  I’m sure there are many women who can identify with what she has to say. And, I suggest you take it to heart if you’ve still got the opportunity to save your marriage.

  1. He couldn’t keep his thing in his pants.
  2. He was lazy and uninvolved when it came to helping around the house.
  3. He was lazy and uninvolved when it came to helping with our daughters.
  4. He was obsessed with money and how he was perceived by others.
  5. He was a bad lover and expected that while he did nothing to help with the kids/house I should want to have sex with him….which became a chore and left me often times feeling sick.
  6. He is a narc….and blames women for all his failures–something friends warned me about at the start but I was too blind to see.
  7. He resented any friends I made and after while I stopped making them.
  8. He resented any time I spent with my family even though I had just spent almost 20 years overseas away from them.
  9. He snored; I never got a full night’s sleep in 15 years.
  10. He never wanted to do anything and when asked he would act like he was doing us a great favor.

The post 9 Reasons Your Wife Fell Out Of Love With You appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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work after divorce

15 Very Important Reasons You Will And Want Need To Work After Divorce

work after divorce

 

This is a subject that has been on my mind lately…why do some women not feel the need to work after divorce? The vast majority of us understand the need to become self-sufficient and able to provide financially for ourselves and our children.

Some, however, feel their ex-husband should continue to bear all the responsibility post-divorce or, they have the skewed belief that alimony and child support frees them up from having to worry about their future financial security.

I see this belief played out in my Facebook timeline constantly. Women divorce, spend years living off child support and alimony and then BAM, those funds run out and they pay the consequences of not planning ahead.

And, they justify this behavior by saying, “I was a stay-at-home mom and I’m going to continue to be a stay-at-home mom. That is all fine and dandy until your children are no longer at home, the child support comes to an end and alimony runs out.

What then?

Why aren’t these women wondering about who will send them monthly checks when the ex no longer has to or, starts refusing to?

I understand the fear associated with lifestyle changes that can come along with divorce. I was a stay-at-home mom for 16 years before my ex left and if all really were “fair in love and war” he should have been made to take care of the woman he abandoned. It isn’t fair though, and it does none of us any favors to hold onto the way things should be, instead of face the reality of how things now are.

Thanks to no-fault divorce laws women who are left behind can no longer depend on the man who left them to continue to take care of them. And there is no excuse for not taking care of ourselves.

And, women who leave a marriage certainly should not expect a man they no longer want to be married to, to support them after divorce. Seriously, no!

Women, whether you have children or not, need to return to work after divorce. If they want to survive financially, there is no other way to conduct their lives post-divorce.

15 Very Important Reasons You Will Want To Work After Divorce

1. You Earn 

Financial independence and freedom can be one of the most important variables that influence the quality and quantity of a woman and her children’s lives. It means better food on the table, a better roof over their heads, and a bit of money in the bank after the bills are paid.

It can also be one of the most liberating aspects for a decent quality of life and respect.

2. You Learn 

Learning is one of the foundational pillars of personal and professional growth and life, and the sky (rather your view of the sky) is the limit to what you can learn when you work. The most important thing you’ll learn is that you can be self-sufficient.

3. You Become Independent

You have an identity of your own – independent of your personal relationships and associations. There’s no telling how important it is in your own self-confidence and self-worth.

4. You Improve

Your general knowledge improves – just by being part of a world outside of the 4-walls you observe, listen and comprehend a lot lot more. You become more than a mother!

5. You Appreciate Equality

You appreciate the differences and nuances of the world within the 4-walls and outside the 4-walls. Trust me, this bursts your bubbles in terms of what it takes to be a working woman!

6. Your View Changes

You get to see how fair/unfair life is beyond the 4-walls. And that changes the way you view your own life and the way you live your life

6. Your Self-Esteem Increases

Your own self-esteem increases significantly – you just feel so much surer of yourself.

8. You Get Recognition

Your family and society view you in a new light – many times, this translates into more respect and value they associate with you.

9. You Get Empowered

You are better enabled, equipped and empowered to make decisions – simply because you know that you have a choice.

10. You Can Shop

You can “buy” things for yourself – yes! You’re a good prospect for (m)any businesses. You pump money into the economy and boost money circulation. You don’t have to do without things you need if you’re part of the workforce.

11. You Become Role Model

You can be a role model to someone, especially your daughters! I know many of my role models are everyday working women who balance life and work every single day.

12. You Learn Life Skills

You learn a lot of key “life skills”. Top among them are time management, communication, negotiation, saying NO.

13. Learn To Let Go

You tend to let go of a lot of excess baggage. Many times it is simply because you don’t have time to delve into the past or worry about the future.

14. You Inspire

You can inspire someone somewhere. Just by being a live example of “It is possible, you can do it

15. Your Family Prospers

Your work will directly / indirectly play a significant part in your children’s standard of living. There is no better reason to work after divorce than that!

The post 15 Very Important Reasons You Will And Want Need To Work After Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Celebrate Your Divorce

7 Reasons to Celebrate Your Divorce AND New Year’s Eve!

Celebrate Your Divorce

 

There are silver linings to divorce. As a matter of fact, for some, divorce is the icing on the cake of their lives.

In many cases, there are a range of reasons why divorce is good and many times when divorce is best.

And even if divorce left you heartbroken, there is still reason to be thankful, regardless of whether it was what you wanted or not.

And that’s why I’ve put together a list of reasons to not only celebrate divorce but, New Year’s Eve also. I hope to see you out and about!

7 Reasons to Celebrate Your Divorce AND New Year’s Eve!

1. Marriage may give you a sense of security but divorce gives you a new lease on life.

Staying in a bad marriage can provide security because at least you know how your life will go. But getting a divorce gives you hope ― the hope to be who you want to be, the hope to be happy and the hope to find someone else to love.

2. Being a single parent is better than modeling an unhealthy relationship.

If you’re a parent with young kids, getting a divorce is better than staying in a bad marriage because these are formative years for them. They will likely seek out and emulate the types of relationships they see modeled. I want my relationships to be happy, healthy and mutually respectful so that my children never settle for anything else in their own lives.

3. Divorce clears the way for you to meet the right partner.

Divorce is painful but it’s kind of like pulling off a Band-Aid: The anticipation is horrible but once it’s over, it’s pure relief. Bonus: It allows you the freedom to meet the person you were meant to be with!

4. You get to focus on you for once.

After divorce, you find yourself again and fall in love with the wonderful attributes that make you, you. As a mother especially, you can parent with just your own mama instincts and all your love and energy can flow into your little one(s). You find genuine peace and happiness and an appreciation for life that may have been sucked out of you during your bad marriage.

5. A happier parent is a better parent.

Learning to let go and step into the unknown may be the single most important thing you can do for your own sanity and the sanity of those around you. Divorce proves that you have the courage to live a life of happiness. And if you’re happier, you’ll be a far more effective parent.

6. You can devote your energy to other important areas of your life.

If you have done all the work of trying to make the marriage better and nothing is changing, finding the courage to leave and move forward pays off in the long run. The payoff? You stop putting all your energy into a relationship that no longer works and put more energy into yourself and your kids.

7. You lose a spouse but you gain happiness.

Divorce brought me happiness. Life is far too short to spend it immersed in an unhealthy relationship.

The post 7 Reasons to Celebrate Your Divorce AND New Year’s Eve! appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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gatekeeper mom

4 Reasons To Avoid Being a Gatekeeper Mom Trap During Divorce

gatekeeper mom

 

Do you find yourself having difficulty letting go and relaxing about what your children do while they are with their other parent? Focusing too much on your children’s time or activities at your ex’s house can potentially damage your relationship with them and undermine their connection with both parents. When a parent communicates anxiety and becomes too vigilant about custody exchanges (or parenting time) they may be taking on the role of a gatekeeper.

What is a gatekeeper mom?

According to child custody expert Robert Beilin, P.h.D., a gatekeeper is a term  often used in a negative way to describe how parents (usually a mother) attempts to control their children’s time with the other parent. Since traditionally mothers tend to be gatekeepers, this article will focus on mothers but the term could apply to fathers as well.

According to author Kerri Kettle, the term “gatekeeper” is generally brought up in child custody cases. Kettle, an attorney, advises mothers to beware of being a gatekeeper and to avoid adversarial interactions with their ex. After all, it could lead to additional legal costs and have a negative impact on children. She writes, “If you think you might be acting a little like a gatekeeper, try saying “yes” more often than saying “no” for a while. Start with something small, like giving up a few hours of your custodial time for a special occasion or simply not asking questions about what happened at their dad’s house.” She also advises parents that they will save legal fees by being a cooperative co-parent.

Let’s face it, it’s easy to see how a parent could slip into the gatekeeper role. After my divorce, I had trouble adjusting to our co-parenting schedule and I found myself overly concerned about what my children did when they were with their father and the amount of time they spent with him. It took several years for me to realize that this was my way of trying to gain control over the situation. While I never did anything consciously to sabotage my children’s relationship with their dad, my questions, and concerns about their activities with him didn’t demonstrate confidence in our parenting plan.

Further, children have a way of sensing tension and worry and so a mother’s fear or concerns about time spent away from her may be a red flag that heightens their anxiety. Without awareness, a parent could be bringing undue stress on your children without intending to. My research shows that the two variables that had the most negative impact on children of divorce into adulthood were limiting their access to both parents and experiencing high conflict between their parents post-divorce.

A crucial aspect of healing after divorce is realizing that you can’t control what goes on with your ex and so need to respect the decisions that he makes regarding his time with your children.  You can’t change him and are wise to let go of unrealistic expectations. For instance, you might not approve of him taking your eight-year-old to a movie rated PG 13 – but in the end, it’s not going to make or break their emotional development. So it wouldn’t hurt to simply let it slide sometimes.

On the other hand, if you have legitimate concerns about activities that your kids participate in with their father, it’s a good idea to send him a friendly, business-like e-mail expressing your concerns. Divorce expert Rosalind Seddacca CCT writes, “If you’re intent on creating a child-centered divorce that strives for harmony between you and your ex, you need to initiate the conversation and model win-win solutions. If your ex doesn’t want to cooperate, that’s when your patience will certainly be tested. Look for opportunities to clarify why working together as co-parents as often as possible will create far better outcomes for your children.”

Eileen Coen, an attorney, and trained mediator states that one reason mothers tend to be gatekeepers is that trust is often lost in a marriage. Other reasons cited by Coen are economic and a lack of confidence in their ex’s parenting skills. However, she cautions us that on-going conflict between parents is the primary reason why mothers are gatekeepers – making it virtually impossible to have adequate, healthy parenting time with their children.

Studies show that kids benefit from access to both parents. There is evidence that cooperative co-parenting actually reduces conflict between divorced parents – which has a beneficial impact on children into adulthood. Scheduling appropriate parenting time for both parent’s post-divorce and keeping lines of communication positive can be a challenge but it’s paramount to building resiliency in your children. When a parent takes on the role of gatekeeper, they communicate discomfort and anxiety to their children and diminish their sense of belongingness with both parents.

Joan Kelly, a renowned researcher who has conducted decades-long studies on divorce, found that the more involved fathers are post-split, the better off the outcomes for children. Children benefit from strong relationships with both parents post-divorce. According to Linda Nielsen, author of Between Fathers and Daughters, the child’s relationship with their father is often the one that changes the most after marital dissolution. Sadly, Dr. Nielsen notes that only 15% of fathers and daughters enjoy the benefits of shared parenting.

There are many compelling reasons why mothers are wise to encourage their children to have strong bonds with their father post-divorce. Studies show that these reasons include: Better grades and social skills, healthy emotional development, higher self-esteem, and fewer trust issues. Lowered self-esteem and trust wounds are especially a concern for girls who may be more vulnerable to the breakup of the family home because they are socialized to be nurturers and caretakers. Your kids may also have better access to extended family members and therefore intergenerational support if they spend close to equal time with both parents.

Here are 4 Reasons to avoid the gatekeeper trap:

1. Your children will gain trust in both parents and feel more confident about their relationships with both of you.

2. You will build trust in your ex’s ability to effectively parent your children.

3. There’s a possibility you’ll have the added benefit of more leisure time – when you can relax and worry less about your children’s well-being.

4. You’ll create a new story for your life built on reclaiming your personal power rather than letting your divorce define who you are or the choices you make.

Focusing your energy on what’s going on in your home and encouraging your children to have a healthy connection with their father will pay off in the long run. Another important reason to avoid being a gatekeeper is to respect your child’s and ex-spouse’s boundaries. When your children are with your ex, honor their time together and try not to plan activities or partake in excessive communication with the other parent (phone, text, etc.). Since parental conflict is a factor that contributes greatly to negative outcomes for children after divorce, keeping disagreements to a minimum is a key aspect of helping your child become resilient. You owe it to yourself and your children to avoid playing the role of a gatekeeper.

More From Terry:

Follow Terry Gaspard on Twitter,  Facebook, and movingpastdivorce.com

The post 4 Reasons To Avoid Being a Gatekeeper Mom Trap During Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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reasons a narcissist ruins the holidays

5 Reasons a Narcissist Ruins the Holidays

reasons a narcissist ruins the holidays

 

If you’re divorced from a narcissist, you know that a narcissist can be a bit glitchy, or more glitchy around the holidays. Why? Because they’re entitled to all the attention. How dare Santa or Jesus or gift giving or their own children take the spotlight off them.

MY ex was the glue that held our family together. Especially during the holidays. He LOVED the holidays because he could string lights on the house, bake cookies with the kids, chop down the tallest tree on the Christmas tree farm and receive all the kudos.

He went out of his way to make our holidays exceptional. It wasn’t about wanting us to have a great holiday, though, it was about him looking good during the holidays. And man, alive could he make himself look loving, caring, empathetic and full of the holiday spirit.

It was all an act that came to a stop once we divorced. Divorce forced him into having to embrace the needs of others. His children and their needs and my needs.

We needed him to follow holiday visitation schedules, behave himself at school holiday pageants and act as if he cared about the feelings of others. That didn’t go over well.

The first Christmas after we divorced, he figured out a way to dodge the “giving” spirit and remain the center of attention. He flew to his parent’s home. A home he hadn’t visited in years or expressed an interest in visiting.

He had a GREAT Christmas. His parents fawned over him, his siblings came from far and wide to spend time with him, he went out with old high school friends and even went to Christmas Eve church services with his Mom so she could show him off.

He had promised the kids he’d call them Christmas day, but the call never came. He was so enthralled in all the attention he was getting that he forgot his kids of Christmas day.

His mother was so thrilled about, “Johnny” putting lights on her house for the first time in decades. Good Lord!

Since that first post-divorce Christmas things haven’t gone well for him. Since he can no longer be the center of attention in a positive way, he works overtime trying to be the center of attention in a negative way.

If he isn’t arguing with me about holiday visitation, he doesn’t show up at all for holiday visitation. If he isn’t making demands of how our kids should accept and embrace his mistress (the woman he left us for) during the holidays, he’s berating them for putting ornaments in the wrong spot on his magnificent Christmas tree.

The Grinch has nothing on my ex during the holidays!

Why does he have such a hard time and work overtime trying to ruin our holiday? See below.

5 Reasons a Narcissist Ruins the Holidays

1. They Lack Empathy:

One of my favorite things about Christmas is watching the faces of my kids as they open their gifts. I also like giving things to people that I know they wouldn’t dare splurge on for themselves. It brings me a great deal of joy to make other people happy.

When you lack the empathy chip, there is no joy in giving or making others happy. It’s not a behavior narcissist attach any significance to. To them, it seems like a monumental waste of time and money and they feel incredibly put out to have to suffer through such an occasion with people they have no investment in.

The disappearing narcissist doesn’t care that it’s the holidays and that they have hurt their children deeply. These thoughts don’t resonate with them.

When an activity is all about someone else, like a birthday, a promotion, or a graduation, a narcissist will find no value in celebrating another’s achievements or joy (unless of course, they could obtain supply through proxy).

Instead, it will activate feelings of jealousy and envy. Because someone else is being put on that proverbial pedestal and getting the attention that should be theirs, a narcissist will find those encounters intolerable and will seek to avoid them at all costs or ruin them for others.

2. Good Attention, Bad Attention, It’s All Good:

If it can’t be all about them, where they and everyone else gets to bask in their glorious essence, then they will get attention another way and that’s by being an ornery cuss.

If they can get you to feel responsible for their moods, so that you are jumping through hoops they set up to keep their foul mood from infecting your holiday, they’ll like that even more. If it’s not all about them in a good way, they’ll make it all about them in a bad way. Either/Or it makes no difference.

3. They Don’t Do Intimacy, Responsibility or Obligation:

Sharing special occasions breeds the kind of intimacy that a narcissist just can’t handle. It creates expectations that a narcissist doesn’t want you or anyone else to have. With those expectations, comes a responsibility to behave as if they care about what’s best for others.

It means getting closer, which they cannot allow. Their anxiety always gets the better of them, so they’d just as well leave their kids hanging, or start a fight with you, so they don’t have to deal with the anxiety they feel over not being center of attention.

This anxiety makes them incredibly unreliable. When it’s upon them, their primary goal is to alleviate it, which usually means shutting people out or making them miserable. Their anxiety paired with their lack of empathy is a holiday recipe for disaster.

4. They’ve Found Alternate Narcissistic Supply:

I’ve had many clients tell me they’ve had solid plans for the holidays with their narcissists and then find themselves stood up, or on the receiving end of a text, canceling at the last minute. The next thing they know, they see pictures on social media of the narcissist spending the holidays with someone else. They’re devastated and asking – “WTH?”

A good rule of thumb is to always remember that new supply always trumps old supply. A new lover trumps their kids and their kid’s (old supply) needs regardless of what time of the year it is.

New supply turns on the narcissist’s laser focus and obsessive attention. There is no way old supply can compete. It doesn’t mean they’re better – it means they’re newer/unconquered.

So, if your kids get that text on Christmas day, after they’ve made plans and are excited about spending the day with their Dad, this is likely what’s happened.

5. Misery is Their Default Setting:

Miserable people create miserable energy and environments everywhere they go. They are dark people, who project their feelings onto other people. Ruining another’s joy is like a trophy for them. It makes them feel important and powerful.

If they believe the holidays are foolish and irrelevant, they don’t care that they mean something to you. Your opinions are usually irrelevant unless of course, you carry the same opinion as they do.

Only seriously disturbed and twisted people ruin events for other people and suck the joy out of life.

Hoping or expecting a narcissist to go against their nature causes suffering. Know what you’re dealing with, understand the behavior and NEVER expect them to play a role in making the holidays a time of joy and giving.

Love your children, make their holiday experience wonderful and don’t let your narcissistic ex and his behavior dim your spirit.

The post 5 Reasons a Narcissist Ruins the Holidays appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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3 Reasons You Want to Avoid Family Court During Divorce

3 Reasons You Want to Avoid Family Court During Divorce

It is better for clients to make their own decisions about what’s best for their children rather than “the stranger in the black robe.”

The post 3 Reasons You Want to Avoid Family Court During Divorce appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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5 Reasons a Passive Aggressive Man’s Love Comes With a Big Price Tag

5 Reasons a Passive Aggressive Man’s Love Comes With a Big Price Tag

Passive Aggressive Man Mask.jpg

If you were married to him, you know what I’m talking about. If you have divorced a passive aggressive you SURELY know what I’m talking about. If you weren’t, be on the look-out because chances are you will cross paths with a passive aggressive man.

Who is the passive aggressive man? He is that guy who avoids responsibility and conflict through passivity and withdrawal. He is the “Nice Guy” who reels you in with his adoration and once you are in the game he turns the tables so quickly your head will swim until you decide to take a hike.

But what is passive aggressive behavior and how do you recognize passive aggressive men?

5 Reasons the Passive Aggressive Man’s Love Comes With a Big Price Tag

He…

Withholds to Punish: He says one thing but means another. Sure, he wants to go to a movie. He even appears to enjoy himself until later that night when he rejects you sexually. You see, he didn’t want to go to a movie but, his passivity would not allow him to own it. His fear of conflict means punishing you in covert ways for something you “made” him do. What better way to punish than withholding something he knows you want?

Fears Conflict: He will do anything to keep from arguing with you. He has been taught that anger is unacceptable. Well, expressing anger in an open, honest way is unacceptable and is not something you will get from this guy. What you will get is a relationship with a man who avoids solving relationship problems, avoids taking responsibility for problems in the relationship and most importantly avoids making an intimate connection with you.

Why? A passive aggressive man will always choose to avoid conflict because he has come to experience conflict or disagreement as terrifying. He may have a great desire to connect with you emotionally but they don’t have the tools required for them to do so. For this reason, the retreat from those they love because of their fear that something will go wrong or they will be rejected.

In other words, they forfeit a relationship they long for, out of fear and, basically cause their worst fear to come true. Not only do they break your heart, they break their own heart by constantly giving up on relationships. When your passive aggressive husband starts avoiding conflict, it’s the beginning of the end of his emotional attachment to you and the relationship.

Plays The Victim: This poor guy can’t win for losing; not in his mind anyway. He will not show for a dinner date but find it unreasonable that you are upset. It is, after all, his bosses fault for making him work late. He could have picked his cell phone up and called but calling isn’t nearly as pleasurable as letting you sit and wait. You waiting on him gets his angries out at you.

He gets to punish you and blame his boss…he is off the hook, a “good guy” who is the victim of an unreasonable woman AND boss who both expect too much from him.

How does the passive aggressive benefit by playing the victim? When they play the “poor me” card it elicits other’s sympathy and offers of help. He enjoys being noticed and validated in such a way. Being a victim is also a great excuse for not confronting difficult life issues…avoiding conflict, again.

If he is viewing himself as a victim he can remain passive and not be held responsible for his bad behavior. This enables him to shift responsibility for his own misery off onto you.

As long as he is holding onto the victim role he puts himself in a low-risk, take no chances position. It’s all your fault since it’s your fault you should be the one to fix the problem! He is off the hook.

Is Forgetful: He forgets birthdays, anniversaries, anything important to you will be forgotten by him. My ex used to forget he needed something from me until the last minute.  If there was a social event related to his work, I would get notice the day before. I spent a lot of time running around trying to prepare for something in a few hours that would normally take days.

Is Afraid of You: They want you but they don’t want to become attached to you. He is in a constant battle with himself to pursue you then distance himself from you.  According to Scott Wetlzer, author of Living with the Passive-Aggressive Man: Coping with Hidden Aggression – From the Bedroom to the Boardroom.

The passive aggressive man is “unsure of his autonomy and afraid of being alone, he fights his dependency needs, usually by trying to control you. He wants you to think he doesn’t depend on you, but he binds himself closer than he cares to admit. Relationships can become battlegrounds, where he can only claim victory if he denies his need for your support.”

You have a lot of anger toward the passive aggressive man you are involved with. You just can’t figure out exactly what you are angry about. He is sweet, kind and loving. He never argues, does exactly what you wish. There must be something wrong with you or such a good man would want to have sex with you, remember your birthday, put effort into solving the problems in the relationship or just show up on time every once in a while.

And that is the trap women who are involved with passive aggressive men fall into, they become responsible for all that is wrong in the relationship. He keeps you hanging in by doing for you when he doesn’t want to, by never arguing, by being such a nice guy. All those puzzling behaviors that send the opposite message that the other negative behaviors send.

That is why they call it “crazy-making” behavior. The passive aggressive man is very good at appearing to be calm, cool and collected while you are going off the deep end. It isn’t his intent to frustrate, offend or cause you to feel guilty. He truly does only want to help.

The only issue, the kind of help he has to offer comes with a price. He has expectations he is unable to openly express and when you don’t meet those expectations you get resentment and covert punishment. And, you should never expect your expectations to be met, not even when you’ve expressed them in a clear, easy to understand fashion.

Want a relationship with a passive aggressive man to last? Become a mind reader and keep your expectations low.

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6 Possible Reasons the Narcissist Emotionally and Psychologically Abuses Others

6 Possible Reasons the Narcissist Emotionally and Psychologically Abuses Others

Narcissists emotionally and psychologically abuse because they are bullies. They destroy women, families, and children and cause grave harm because they are bullies.

The post 6 Possible Reasons the Narcissist Emotionally and Psychologically Abuses Others appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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