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7 Signs Of Manipulation In a Relationship

7 Signs Of Manipulation In a Relationship

Have you been asked to do things you don’t want to do, things that put you in an uncomfortable situation or left you feeling unsettled?

Maybe even asked to do things that go against your values? And when they make the ask, maybe the other person made light of it (like it’s not a big deal) or they brought up your relationship with them and how if you truly cared about them you would do it for them. Often you end up doing as they wish in fear of losing the relationship with that person.

Manipulators prey on innocent people, especially individuals who have no boundaries or who have codependent patterns.

When we don’t realize we are being manipulated we have no defense.

Watch this video to learn how to spot the 7 signs of manipulation in a relationship, many of which are often overlooked.

The post 7 Signs Of Manipulation In a Relationship appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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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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How Do You Know If You

How Do You Know If You’re Ready For a New Relationship After Divorce?

How Do You Know If You're Ready For a New Relationship

 

You’ve been out of the dating scene for a long time. You’ve also just gone through the stress of divorce. You want to date and possibly build a new relationship with a member of the opposite sex.

Knowing when to date after divorce means you must know yourself and your relationship patterns. It also means being ready mentally, emotionally and physically.

Are you ready?

How do you know you are ready for a new relationship, though?

Attitude is Everything When Dating After Divorce

There are people who allow the end of their marriage to destroy them. They hold onto painful feelings, resentment, and fear of spending the rest of their lives stuck in the past. Others refuse to give in to the negative feelings by working through the process in a pro-active way.

These people find that divorce is not only an ending but also a new beginning. They don’t live life based on what was done to them in the past but, on what is possible for them in the future. They are the ones who thrive and survive and find fulfilling new relationships after divorce. So, before you consider a new relationship put on a positive attitude about what you’ve been through!

Personal Growth Precedes New Relationships After Divorce

There is no greater motivator than emotional pain when it comes to taking stock and gaining needed insights into one’s own quirks and negative behaviors.

People who are able to move on to rich, rewarding lives and healthy relationships after divorce don’t allow anger and resentment to keep them from finding a better way of living.

It takes determination and a willingness to heal old wounds before you are ready for a new relationship. Owning the role you played in the demise of your marriage, working to make needed adjustments in the way you interact in a relationship gives you a better chance at succeeding in your next relationship.

There Are Lessons to Be Learned Before Dating After Divorce

No one is blameless when it comes to divorce. Take responsibility for your mistakes. If you don’t you will carry the same mixed up perceptions and “baggage” into the next relationship.

Examine your expectations of what a relationship should be and work at identifying any skewed beliefs you have. Work on correcting negative issues you have and then get on with your life. Just remember, the pain is there for a reason. Don’t let the lesson you need to learn to get away from you.

Forgiveness is for You Not the One You Forgive

Any anger and resentment you have toward your ex will linger until you are able to forgive them. I know that is easier said than done but, forgiveness is given so that you can empty your heart of any negative emotions. Negative emotions that will affect you emotionally, spiritually, mentally and physically if you hold on to them.

Until you can let go of old resentments, you have nothing to offer in a new relationship. So, drop the “baggage” and get on with your life. Lighten your load by forgiving what was done to you. You don’t have to forget it, that would be letting your guard down and opening yourself to bad treatment in future relationships.

Forgiving is about ridding yourself of negative feelings that hold you back from being able to engage in a new relationship with a clean slate.

Your Marriage is Dead Not You

Divorce marks the end of a marriage. Mourn the loss and then lay it to rest. You are still very much alive. Your heart still beats and your soul still yearns for an attachment to another.

Your marriage may be dead but you are alive and kicking. Nurture your heart and soul by treating the ending of your marriage as a new beginning. An opportunity to grow, hold yourself responsible and practice the art of forgiveness. If you can do these things you will find that love the next time around will be better than you thought possible.

The post How Do You Know If You’re Ready For a New Relationship After Divorce? appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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financial issues ruining your relationship

Are Financial Issues Ruining Your Relationship?

financial issues ruining your relationship

 

Financial issues tend to be the number one reason behind relationship problems and divorce. Many couples want to sweep the subject under the rug rather than meeting this important subject head-on. There are fewer conflicts when it comes to budgeting, spending, and saving when couples work on understanding each other’s relationship to money.

Unfortunately, many couples think that leaving their financial baggage at the door is the answer to avoiding conflict. The reality is that couples need to be open and honest with one another regarding their financial expectations and spending habits. Putting off dealing with money issues will only create deeper wounds that lead to trust issues and ultimately breakups.

The good news is that if you discuss these issues early on, money problems don’t have to develop into a major relationship hurdle. In fact, the more you and your partner communicate about ‘difficult’ subjects like money, the closer you will become. Learning how to work together to resolve money problems and save for a promising future will only strengthen your partnership for the long haul.

Make sure to approach the subject of finances with an open mind.  Realize that both of you have different views about how money should be handled.

Try this 5 step process to effectively address financial issues ruining your relationship:

Step 1: Lay it all out in the open

It’s important to show your partner just how much money you are responsible for managing. Look at debts, loans, credit lines, investments, and accounts.  A successful relationship is one where both partners can be open with each other, so don’t be afraid to bring out your credit card and loan statements. If something happened to you, your partner would need to understand everything that you’ve been managing. Hiding things now will only lead to bigger issues down the road.

Step 2: Determine who manages money best

Often times, there is one person in every relationship that is better at dealing with money.  That person is often the one who regularly tracks their spending, has the best credit rating, and doesn’t hesitate to open bills and make sure things get paid on time. This person should be designated the relationship “money manager”.

Step 3: Define spending boundaries

Decide together on an amount of money that each of you can spend without consulting the other. Let’s say the amount is $500. If a purchase is over $500, then you agree to make a joint decision about that item. You may also feel more comfortable having one joint account that you both contribute to for household bills and two individual accounts for personal spending.

Decide what makes the most sense to you based on the number of accounts you want to manage and how you tend to spend money. For example, if one of you spends down whatever is in the account each month, and the other always leaves extra, your spending and saving styles may benefit from having individual personal accounts.

Step 4: Create a backup fund

Decide how much you’ll set aside from each of your paychecks to be used as an emergency savings account. Discuss what kind of emergencies you might expect to draw from the account for. Determine if you would like to consult each other first before using any emergency funds.

Step 5: Discuss future financial situations

Consider the birth of a child, job changes, parents who need care, and retirement expectations. For example, it’s important to discuss whether one partner will stay home after the birth of a child. Or what will happen should someone lose their job?  Would you consider taking in a sick parent and providing a caretaking role? What ages do you expect to retire? Always communicate about possibilities so you are ready for whatever setback or life change may come your way.

The post Are Financial Issues Ruining Your Relationship? appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Improve Your Relationship With Your Stepchildren

4 Ways To Improve Your Relationship With Your Stepchildren

Improve Your Relationship With Your Stepchildren

 

Are you struggling in your relationship with your stepchildren?

Do you wish you could forge stronger ties in your stepfamily?

It is possible! Often, we as stepmoms focus on the negative behaviors in the home and how they are disrupting our family stability and building process. But what if we changed our tune and encouraged positive behaviors instead?

How to Improve your Relationship with your Stepchildren

1. Encourage dad to spend time with his kids independent of you

As children experience the divorce and remarriage of a parent, their most oft-repeated concern regards how it will affect them. Perhaps their custody situation will change, maybe a new school is on the agenda, or even a long-term change of address is in the future. Despite these changes, it’s important that the child’s relationship with their biological parent stay intact and does not suffer through the inevitable changes associated with the changing family dynamic.

One of the most definitive ways to ensure continuing strong bonds between the child and the parent is to establish time for them to bond alone. While you as stepmom are part of the newly created family, it is not necessary for you to take part in every child-related activity just to show your interest. Giving your partner time alone with his child acknowledges that you see the importance of that relationship and support it fully.

Encourage your partner to plan activities that he and the kids enjoy together. It may involve a sporting activity or simply a trip out for ice cream. Make it clear to the kids that you are in on the planning and look forward to hearing about it when they return.

2. Don’t overstep your boundaries

It’s important to work with your partner on establishing boundaries in your home. Early on you must determine what your role will be even if that role changes over time. However, keep in mind that whether you are a custodial or non-custodial stepmom will decidedly point you in the direction of the essentiality of your involvement. The demands placed upon a custodial stepmom are far different than those placed upon a non-custodial mom. Children that live with you full-time will naturally gravitate towards you for more of their daily needs.

Do you help create the rules? Do you dole out punishments? Do you attend parent/teacher meetings? Knowing where your input is needed and in fact, necessary, is a first step in accessing your involvement in the lives of your stepchildren. Have this discussion with your spouse, early and often, no matter whether the kids live with you full time or not.

3. Support their activities

I think one of the most powerful bonding experiences in the stepfamily that I created was my attendance at my stepchildren’s activities. I sat on the bleacher’s for umpteen volleyball matches, including those when daughter number two was part of a traveling team. I trekked the roads with both boys’ and girls’ basketball teams. I experienced the agony of sunburn from sitting outside at four-hour golf matches. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. Those activities created great memories for our family.

What’s more is that the kids are proud of the beginnings of our stepfamily. When our younger daughter met her now husband a few years back, she recounted how kid activities were how her dad and I spent our early dates. However, I didn’t realize then how important those early dates were not just to my relationship building with their dad but with all three of my stepchildren.

In other words, just do it.

4. Be willing to be their friend

“I have no intention of being my kids’ friend. I’m their parent.” Well-said. However…

Kids know what remarriage brings….another parent. Not necessarily what they may see as a real need in their lives, especially if there are already two involved parents in the picture. But no one can ever have too many friends.

And that is where a stepmom can step up to the plate.

Merriam-Webster.com defines friend as “one attached to another by affection or esteem.” Seems simple enough. I think you build the aforementioned attachment by listening to one another, doing things together and learning about one another’s way of life. This is the perfect role for a stepmom who wants to support and protect her stepchildren while creating a new family structure. It’s also an enduring connection that can grow and take other forms as you work to create deeper understandings of each other.

The post 4 Ways To Improve Your Relationship With Your Stepchildren appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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