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single parenting: blonde woman in blue top pouting

Single Parenting: Do We Ever Stop Feeling Guilty?

single parenting: blonde woman in blue top pouting

 

The beauty of life, while we cannot undo what is done, we can see it, understand it, learn from it and change so that every new moment is spent not in regret, guilt, fear or anger but in wisdom, understanding, and love.

Single parent or not, I don’t think there is a space that exists that guilt doesn’t somehow find its way into the psyche of your day. We never feel like we are enough on the best of days.

Single Parenting

But single parents have a unique extra shoulder that sits on them like the yoke on an Ox because they must be so many people at once. If you need to please your child, your job may suffer. If you need to please your work, your children may suffer. If you need to please yourself, well…that’s a rare occasion and one that usually doesn’t even register on the totem pole of the priorities of your life.

We check off the boxes of the laundry list of chores that need to be done each day. Chores that reflect everything from just waking up to getting breakfast in your children’s tummies, to getting dressed, to checking that their homework is in the backpacks tucked alongside their lunches.

You make sure you are out the door not a minute past 7:20 am or you will hit the swath of traffic on Western Avenue that will slow you down and get you last in line for the drop off to the first of the two schools your kids attend.

As you drive you pray, they get there on time and are not subject to being tardy.

After doing the proverbial school drop-offs, you swing by McDonald’s for your first cup of desperately needed coffee which is also part of the timing game. Get there too late and you sit-in line and then you are late for work.

As you drive to work traversing over the bridges, sipping your cup of Joe, you feel yourself getting reacquainted with a moment of control.

It is only you in the car as you say your positive affirmations to yourself …” I intend on having a calm and confident day!” … “I am successful beyond my wildest dreams!” And so, it is as the day progresses.

You literally feel like you have already lived 6 hours of your day before it has even begun.

What did my children learn from me?

Did they see the guilt I lived with every day?

Did they feel responsible for any of the guilt that I imposed on myself and yet, picked up by them?

As I look at them now at the ages of 24 and 20, I see that indeed some of it has rubbed off on them.

I had written an article earlier about the comments of my children after I had interviewed them about their experiences with divorce. I asked the following question which gave me insight. This was what my son’s answer was.

If you could have any wish now as an adult of a divorced family what would that wish be?

 “I wish I handled it better and didn’t manifest resentments or anxieties that should have been addressed earlier. I wish I could have also been more supportive. Even though I was young, there was always more I could have done.”

My son was 4 years old when our marriage ended. What was this little boy thinking he could do? He was a child. There was nothing that was his responsibility.

Yet, he is 24 now and has articulated this. And honestly, I think he still feels this way. So, the answer to my own question would be, yes, they learned that their mom did feel guilt so perhaps they should too. My absence of mind in this was not what my intention was. I just felt what I felt, and they absorbed it.

The job of two is done by one. The job of two is done by

“Mum”.

Do We Ever Stop Feeling Guilty?

So, what is this guilt that single moms in general feel?

Why do we feel so obliged to be everything to everyone?

In my case, I felt that because their father didn’t love me anymore and found someone new, it made me feel like I had failed not him… but them. I wasn’t lovable any longer and thus they felt unlovable by him too.

To this day they both will curtail their conversations with him to please him. They will avoid subjects and requests that they feel will displease him because they feel the conditions of that love.

After all, he left his two children and married another woman with two children. This action alone made them feel somewhat invalidated and thus the conditions began. I never went a day in my life that I didn’t feel loved by both my parents and most particularly my father. Because they didn’t get that everyday love that I had experienced, I have spent the greater part of the past 20 years feeling guilt that has at times undone me.

The guilt of feeling like you are a bad mom means that you are a good mom.

So, what have they learned?

What is the imprint this guilt has made on their lives now that they are young adults?

Was it good?

Or was it not so good?

Notice I didn’t say bad. I don’t want to think that anything I did as a single mother was bad for them. I don’t think anything was. I just think there are varying degrees of what a child absorbs simply because their single mom is navigating waters that are uncharted to her.

And in many cases, frightening. Perhaps the bigger question is what have I learned?

Was this guilt manufactured by my need to keep the pity party going? Or was it real and did I just feel profound sorrow? And was I just too overwhelmed? I think all the above.

What happens many times is that children of divorce see what is happening to the parent they are left to live with the most. And in almost all cases, this is with the mother.

I would frequently say out loud things like, “Good Lord, with this stress I will be surprised if I make it to my next birthday!” That was my way of letting off my steam. I never meant it for one day. But they both have commented on how my saying that had affected them. They literally worried that I was going to die. And the very thought of that was horrific to them.

They had already lost their father to another family. The next thought that raced into their young minds was what will happen to them if I die?

They only shared this with me a few months ago and I have never said it again. And if I could take it back all those years ago I would. It breaks my heart to think that I placed this kind of fear in them.

“Fear is a reaction. Courage is a decision.”

Winston Churchill

I do still feel guilty about a myriad of things. I feel guilty for not being able to give my children the kind of security I felt growing up. I also feel guilty for making them so much of a priority that I didn’t spend time looking for a possible stepdad for them. They never really saw a good relationship between a husband and wife. And for that I am sorry.

My son’s only example was perhaps in my Father with my Mother. My daughter has learned to take care of herself and be strong because as she said, love is never guaranteed. But as Winston Churchill said, it takes courage. Courage to step into the fear. Courage to find the wisdom. And courage to be your true authentic self.

And at the end of the day …yes, I still have guilt. But I also have perspective. My fears of the past created reactions that made me feel hopeless. My courage for the future is how I will navigate this next chapter of my life. And I know they will both be watching me from afar.

The post Single Parenting: Do We Ever Stop Feeling Guilty? appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Why You Can’t Stop Sleeping With The Narcissist

Why You Can’t Stop Sleeping With The Narcissist

 

You may be shocked at how you keep chasing after the narcissist even when he or she is treating you so badly.

The verbal and emotional abuse could be escalating and there may even be threats or realities of other lovers.

You know that you should pull away and stop going back in for more, but you just can’t seem to stop yourself.

In today’s video, we look at exactly why this is happening to you. As well as how to heal from this and be released from this terrible nightmare that is ripping you to pieces.

 

 

Video Transcript

Sexual attraction and addiction are very powerful things. A narcissist knows how to trigger that within you.

It can be very hard to understand why you may be feeling the compulsion to keep having sex with a narcissist, even though he or she is treating you horribly.

How can relationships be so compelling horizontally, yet so painful vertically?

This is exactly what we are exploring in today’s TTV episode.

But before we get started, I’d just like to thank all of you for supporting the Thriver Mission by subscribing to my channel, and raising awareness that yes, we can now heal from narcissistic abuse for real.

Okay, now let’s get going on today’s episode.

 

What is Sexual Obsession?

Sexual obsession is fraught with anxiety. The easiest way to think about this is that the urges are similar to those of any addiction.

The feelings of going without the connection with this person and sex with them, may bring up feelings of loss, emptiness, anxiety and even panic.

All of these feelings are letting us know that we have emotionally entered Wrong Town, meaning that this experience is not a True Self one. Our soul communicates very effectively to us via our feelings, regarding what is healthy or not.

Healthy union brings calm, solid and serene feelings of warmth and love. These are not the emotionally charged highs and lows that come with sexual relations with a narcissist.

One minute you are feeling the hope of being worthy and adored. The next you’re feeling anxious, insecure and abandoned.

I really want you to understand that connection and sexual activity with a narcissist, if intensely compelling, is an addiction cycle. As with all addictions, this comes with the high of the emptiness and the craving being fulfilled. It’s otherwise known as “relief”.

This is akin to a person who is nicotine addicted, craving a cigarette, and then as soon as they draw in the first mouthful of smoke, there is the self-medication of escaping the anxious feelings of not having nicotine.

Yet, truly, as myself and so many other people who were able to give up smoking with NARP processes discovered, there was something much deeper going on emotionally than just nicotine addiction.

Smoking was really an act of trying to fill up and numb out an emotional trauma that wasn’t yet healed.

And it doesn’t work. If we don’t get to the bottom of why we are emotionally craving something that is not good for us, temporary fleeting relief happens when we connect to it, yet the anxiety is never truly fulfilled and healed.

It is always going to keep coming back, much worse than ever.

Sex with a narcissist is the same.

 

The Narcissist – The Representative of the Unhealed Wound

All addictions have this incredibly insidious cycle, they feel like they are granting us relief, yet they are bringing us more of the same of what we actually need the relief from.

How do you know if you are stuck in this cycle? You know when you are feeling dire emptiness and anxieties when you are going without sex with this person.

Jeannie craved Gary and his touch and lovemaking. If Gary hadn’t contacted her for a few days, professing that he was out of town, Jeannie could barely function.

She believed that this must be proof of her intense feelings of love for him.

It wasn’t until she found out that he had been having affairs all along and then confronted him, that she discovered it was as if she never existed for him.

After feeling beyond broken, Jeannie decided to give NARP healing a go.

In her new healed up Thriver life Jeannie is now with Mark enjoying safe, comfortable and healthy sex. There is zero anxiety when she is not with him.

As Jeannie said, “Until I healed I had no idea what healthy sex was!”

In Jeannie’s previous life, as it was for me and so many of us, we were connected emotionally and sexually to the people who completely and utterly represented our unhealed inner trauma programming.

Let me explain.

Let’s say that you were brought up in a family with a parent who was unavailable to love you. They were too busy and stuck in their own stuff and ignored you.

As a young child you desired connection with them. You may have tried all sorts of things to be noticed, held and loved, to little or no avail.

Your Inner Love Code, since you were a young child consisted of, “the people I love ignore me.” This then becomes, “I am not valuable or worthy of love.” This then means that you will unconsciously try to prove yourself and earn love regardless of how people love you back.

As your now programmed Love Code, this represents the people who are attractive to you. The people who you feel the most chemically bonded to fulfil the prophecy of that belief.

It’s your Love Code. It’s your literal Inner Identity in regard to love.

Sex as an adult represents that unmet and unhealed need for connection as a child. The younger part of you seeking resurrection and healing is hooked on wanting the original role models to do it better this time, and choosing the same unavailable people and program over and over again.

 

When the Sex Feels so Good

Maybe the sex isn’t that great, however you feel like this is the best sex of your life.

The more chemically charged it is, and trauma bonded, the more heightened the sexual experience can be.

Again think “relief”. The union of sex takes away the agony of separation from it, which really means the separation from being loved and feeling worthy.

Sexual connection with a narcissist is such a powerful bond, that can be incredibly confusing and painful.

It usually ends in disaster, because the cycles of devaluing and discarding inevitably get worse. To add horror to injury, often the narcissist will throw other sexual partners into the mix, leaving you feeling even more devastatingly replaced and abandoned.

Why is all of this happening? To awaken you to understand what is really going on, and why you can’t stop getting into bed with a narcissist, even when it means selling your soul out and compromising your dignity.

Penny had the horrific experience of throwing herself sexually at her narcissistic ex-lover, to try to avoid being replaced and abandoned.

Never before had she lowered her values and standards so much as to offer herself sexually on a plate to him no matter how badly he treated her.

Things got so bad for Penny that she really thought that if she didn’t stop doing this to herself that she would die – that is how serious it was.

(Please know Penny is not alone, you may know exactly what I’m talking about.)

Penny was urged by other members of this community to start doing the NARP work to get to the bottom of why she had lost all her honour, dignity and rights and was behaving in this way.

Thank goodness Penny stopped pursuing him and turned inwards to start her healing. It saved her life.

What she discovered was the young hurt parts of herself that had experienced her father emotionally abandoning her mother, herself and her siblings, and her mother’s pain, devastation and emotional absence as a result.

Penny had literal inner emotional terrors about being abandoned, which had never been healed. Unconsciously the lure of herself sexually was her tool to try to ensure this wouldn’t happen again.

Penny got to the inner work and down to the business of doing NARP Module One over and over again to clear out all of that old trauma.

She experienced profound relief. She stopped thinking about her ex-lover and all urges dissolved away. Because she had resurrected her Inner Being to be a mature healthy woman, instead of a traumatised little girl, Penny felt repulsed by the thought of contacting him again.

The spell was broken.

I really urge you, if you are suffering from sexual compulsion with a narcissist, to feel into your life in the past.

Does this person invalidate you and abuse you in ways that are familiar to you? Is this person distrusting of you in ways that remind you of how you were distrusted, and your boundaries were violated in the past?

Do you again feel like you’re having to prove your worth and value in order to be loved?

If you don’t know what exactly it is that you need to heal, please rest assured that if you do become a NARP member, that NARP bypasses your logical mind and takes you deeply inside yourself to find, release and reprogram the exact trauma that you need to heal.

You don’t have to work it out!

 

Your Sexual True Self and True Life

I have no doubt that great sex, otherwise known as ‘making love’, is the highest expression of Heaven on Earth. This is when two people can melt into each other in total surrender, becoming an explosion of joy and bliss infinite times greater than the individual parts of themselves.

There is an opportunity – within orgasmic conjoining – to know the true meaning of ‘Oneness’.

This Oneness is true “in-to-me-see”, the ability to completely be ourselves and “naked” with another.

This takes inner healing and development. It requires the willingness to face our unhealed previous business and heal it.

Maybe we have been trying to get love and connection in all the wrong ways.

Maybe we are trying to be the “incredible lover” so we can keep this person from really knowing our fears, our inadequacies, and the parts of ourselves we feel they will reject if they did find them out.

I know that this is really confronting stuff. I also know the glory of breaking through from all of the illusions and obsessions regarding narcissistic love, to get to the other side.

Namely, real, calm, loving and supported lovemaking with somebody who you can be truly naked with.

As well as a durably sustainable relationship with somebody who you can trust and build a life with.

The narcissist is never going to be this person.

If you are ready to embrace the healing and development necessary to get to this level then I’d love to help you.

You can start this journey today by clicking this link.

And please know, with what’s going on in the world right now, with coronavirus, with all of my programs and healing, you don’t need to leave your house.

You don’t need to go to any physical groups and you don’t need to travel to therapists.

You can do profound and revolutionary healing in the comfort and safety of your own home. And you are also connected to an incredible Thriver Healing global support network that has your back at any time when you need help.

Okay, so I hope that this episode has really helped you, and I can’t wait to answer your comments and your questions below.

 

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How To Stop Trying To Please Everyone And Getting Walked All Over

How To Stop Trying To Please Everyone And Getting Walked All Over

 

There are many beautiful people in this community who give and give. Often, until it hurts.

They believed that this was the right way to treat people. Yet, other people (especially narcissists) took advantage of this to suck dry and abuse them, because they have so much to offer!

Find out how you can still be a giving, loving person and be loved, respected and supported by others yet retain yourself in this Thriver TV episode.

 

 

Video Transcript

The most beautiful people in the world consistently try to please others.

We believed that this was the way to go, “treat others how you would like to be treated”.

But why did this end up in so much disaster, especially with narcissists?

Why was our good nature thrown back in our faces, and treated with so much contempt and abuse?

Today, I want to go on a deep Quantum dive with this topic, peel it back and help you understand the truth about it.

Let’s get going on this!

 

If You Don’t Piss Off Others, You Will Piss Yourself Off

I shared a post on Instagram not long ago, about the story of a man, woman, child and donkey.

To simplify the story, the four of them were in a marketplace and no matter who changed places on the donkey, to try to keep people happy, they kept expressing their displeasure.

Comments such as, “Why is this man not letting his wife ride on the donkey?”, “Why is this woman not putting her small child on the donkey?” And, “What a selfish child to be riding the donkey while his parents have to walk!”

In the end they all got on the donkey, and then of course people started shrieking, “Animal abuse!”

The moral to this story is there is always going to be somebody who doesn’t agree with you. If you try to be everything to everyone, then you are going to be doing this at a cost to your own soul and truth.

This even goes for close intimates. No one knows the truth of your journey, life and soul any more than you do, when you are committed to being a Thriver and self-partnered.

An incredible phenomenon starts to happen when you are.

You will say to the people in your life, “You don’t need to agree with me and join me. Either we allow each other to be ourselves and accept that, or if we can’t, then we need to move on with our own lives because we just simply are not a match.”

This isn’t right or wrong, it just is. Life is not about getting it right for everybody, it’s about being true to yourself in order to generate a life that is truthful to everybody.

If you agree with other people just so that they will love and accept you, you are not being truthful. You are not giving them the essential feedback about who you are and what does or doesn’t make you happy.

Inevitably you are going to be miserable, and then not be a whole and happy person around them anyway!

There has been so much distortion and confusion regarding trying to keep others happy, thinking that it can make us happy. But, it never works like that!

 

The Deeper Quantum Truths

I hope now at this stage Dear Thrivers that you are starting to understand so many of my philosophies and healings are about so within, so without.

This means as the generative force of your own experience, your life is not up to other people or even circumstances outside of yourself.

It is about who you decide to be. What are your limits and truth? What is important to you? What is your soul calling you to do and experience?

There is only one you and your soul knows how to unfold exactly and accordingly with what is your True Self and True Life. Your soul and your emotions don’t get it wrong.

People and situations that are not your truth are never going to deliver your True Self and True Life. They will simply give you the pain, delays, blocks and frustrations that are telling you that you are not on track.

There is only one place that your life is being generated, and that is from the authenticity and truth within yourself. When you are true to you and your Inner Being, then you are true to life in the most honourable and the highest of ways.

What and who is your truth will gravitate towards you. You will stop being inauthentic to others by trying to be everything that they want you to be, for you to be happy, and discovering that never makes other people happy anyway! It’s a bottomless pit!

Rather, it just trains them to overlook, disrespect and take advantage of you.

I understand that this is confronting.

But, when we take the radical personal responsibility to understand that our life is not up to anybody else, it is up to our own alignment with our Inner Being, which means being truthful to our own desires and life.

By trying to keep everybody else happy, we are not even in the park, let alone near the goals.

 

People Don’t Treat Us As We Treat Them

Think about your life. The times when you gave and gave and gave were probably the times when you were disrespected and taken for granted the most.

Why is this?

If we want to remain victims, we would say it is because other people are terrible!

But there is a much deeper truth to this, and that is when we understand Quantum Law of so within, so without, we can accept and be empowered to realise that people are going to treat us in the identical ways that we treat ourselves.

If we are saying “yes” when we really want to say “no” and bending over backwards to assist others so that we might be able to get some scraps of their love and loyalty, we are not being truthful to ourselves.

And we are not coming from a place of fullness. Rather we are coming from a place of emptiness and inner lack.

Then these people are going to supply the evidence of what is already going on inside of us – more emptiness and lack.

Are you starting to understand?

It took me a while to understand this deeply.

I used to think that if I honoured myself, and I filled up first, before looking after others this was somehow selfish.

I had to do a lot of deep inner work on myself to get out of the guilt that if I did look after myself that I was somehow wrong, and that other people would not love me and approve of me.

Yet, when I cleared these awful traumas about guilt, responsibility and obligation I truly became free. I also discovered that love, respect and support flooded into my life genuinely. Completely matching the love, respect, and support I now had from myself.

I cannot recommend enough doing this essential inner work.

NARP Module 6 is powerful to heal these traumas and programming. I spent a lot of time hanging out in Module 6 work to get this right, and the results have been astounding,

As they will be for you!

If this deeply resonates with you, I cannot recommend enough that you check out the Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program (NARP) to release yourself from giving until it hurts.

If this feels right and exciting to you, I would love for you to click this link and sign up for NARP today.

It will change your life beyond recognition!

Thank you for watching this to the end, and please remember to like and share this video with other people you know it can help, and as always I am thrilled about being able to answer your comments and questions below.

 

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Same Sex Marriage: Can a judge stop you from getting a divorce in Texas?

Same Sex Marriage: Can a judge stop you from getting a divorce in Texas?

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

Despite the decision out of our federal Supreme Court a few years ago that legalized same sex marriage across our country there are still some misunderstandings and questions regarding that subject. This is understandable to a degree. The change in laws dramatically altered the landscape of family law in terms of who is and is not able to participate in the family law courts. In addition, some folks I have spoken with in my capacity as a consultative attorney with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan still have questions if marriage and divorce work the same for opposite sex and same sex persons. Today’s blog post will discuss marriage and divorce for same sex couples.

Expected length of time for a same sex divorce in Texas?

There are two roads that your divorce could go down. The first is the path of least resistance- an uncontested divorce. To be considered truly uncontested you and your spouse would need to be in agreement on getting a divorce, have a plan in place for diving up any marital property and if you have children would need to have every aspect of a parenting plan agreed upon as well. This means conservatorship, visitation, support, etc. all need to be decided prior to hiring an attorney. If even one piece of this pie is missing, then your divorce is not uncontested and will therefore require some degree of negotiation.

The second path is unfortunately the more common road that most divorces go down- a contested divorce. All of the above issues that I laid out are in play in a contested divorce. The more substantial your martial property or the more detailed your parenting objectives and plans are the more complicated and longer your divorce will likely take. There is not anything wrong with this as a general rule, but it can get tedious and tiresome for most people who are eager to complete their divorce and move on with the rest of their lives.

Generally speaking, a divorce in Texas must take at least sixty days from the date on which the Original Petition for Divorce is filed with the court. Ostensibly the sixty first date is the earliest date on which you and your spouse can have a judge sign a final decree of divorce. A final decree could be signed and ready the day after your petition is filed but absent extreme circumstances (like family violence being an issue) it is unlikely that a judge would waive the sixty-day waiting period. For those of you wondering, the waiting period exists in order for you and your spouse to make absolutely sure that you want to get a divorce rather than remain married and try to work it out together.

How can you avoid a long and protracted divorce?

The key to a fast-moving divorce is to understand early on that you are not going to get 100% of what you want. I wish there were some way to ensure that all of our clients always got just what they wanted out of a divorce but to this point I have not been able to do the math on how to get there. If any attorney ever does get to that point, then the rest of us may as well give it up and start looking for work elsewhere.

The reason that divorces end up being situations where you and your spouse both give up (and therefore gain) things in order to settle the case is that most family courts in Texas require that you attend mediation at least once throughout your case’s life. Typically, you will attend mediation once before any temporary orders hearings and then again before your trial.

Temporary Orders hearings have everything to do with how you and your spouse will be situated during your divorce from the perspective of making sure bills are paid, the kids are cared for and one another are treated with respect. Mediation involves attending a formal negotiation session with your attorneys in the office of a third-party mediator. The mediator is also very likely a practicing family law attorney him or herself so you will be able to gauge the relative strength or weakness of your arguments with the mediator as well.

In mediating for final orders you will likely be extending much of the temporary orders out into your post-divorce life as well as deciding what will happen with any marital property accumulated by you and your spouse. Texas is a community property state. This means that any property that you acquired during the course of your marriage is considered to be jointly owned by both of you and is therefore subject to being divided up in your divorce case. If it is your contention that something acquired during your marriage is your property separate from your spouse- like a gift of some sort- then the burden is on your to prove by clear and convincing evidence that this is the case.

Tips for preparing for mediation in your same sex divorce case

Attending mediation will be the same for you as it would be for persons going through any other divorce. You and your attorney should come prepared with settlement offers, a list of property that may be in play as far as negotiation is concerned as well as plans and ideas on how to divide up parenting time with your children. The more prepared you are and the more variations you have available to you of the different parenting plans the more likely you will be to reach a relatively pain free settlement.

For instance, it is commonly thought in opposite sex divorces that mothers have the advantage when it comes to being named the primary conservator of your child. Primary conservator means the parent who has the right to determine the primary residence of your child- among other rights. This allows your child to live with you throughout the school year and provides visitation time (mostly on weekends) to your spouse once the divorce has been completed.

In same sex divorces there would not be an apples to apples comparison due to there not being a male and female parent from which to choose from. You and your spouse should have had discussions heading into mediation regarding which of you is better suited to be named as the primary conservator of your children. Having an honest conversation with your attorney about which parent has been more active, more involved, and better acquainted with your children’s day to day needs is a good place to start. My admitting to yourself that your spouse has taken the lead in these areas throughout your marriage or has a work schedule that is more conducive to providing the level of care that is needed to raise a child on a daily basis is not admitting that you are not a good parent. It can, however, help you to eliminate contentious delays in your case and lead to a more developed settlement agreement.

Another aspect of divorce mediation that you need to be prepared for is determining how to divide up your bigger financial assets. Retirement plans, bank accounts, home equity and the like are probably the type of assets that you will have in play for your case. If you have not considered these subjects prior to entering into mediation you will find out that you will need to work through them in mediation. Seeing as how most mediation sessions are only four hours long you will not be optimizing your time by spending an undue amount of time on these sort of brain storming sessions while in mediation. Rather, spend a few weeks prior to mediation using your attorney as a go-between to communicate settlement offers to your spouse.

Finally, it is important to note that what you settle upon in mediation cannot (in most circumstances) be changed. That means that you cannot wake up the morning after mediation and call your attorney in a panic because you think you made a huge mistake in deciding to agree to a geographic restriction for your child when you really want to move back home to Colorado to be closer to family once the divorce is over with.

You can avoid problems like this by asking questions of your attorney about anything that you are agreeing or not agreeing to. If any settlements are reached (either in part or in full) then the mediator will present rough draft copies of what is known as a mediated settlement agreement to you and your spouse. You can and should go over them with your attorney to make sure that you understand everything that is being agreed to. If something doesn’t make sense, or if the wording of what the mediator included does not comport to the agreement as you understood it please raise that issue before mediation is over with.

Will you ever have to go to court in your divorce?

Thankfully you will likely only have one court date that you will have to attend during your divorce. That court appearance will be an uncontested appearance in what is known as a Prove Up hearing. The petitioner (party who filed the Petition for Divorce) will attend a quick hearing with their attorney in court. At the prove up hearing your attorney will be presenting you and your Final Decree of Divorce to the judge for his or her approval. The attorney will ask you questions regarding the divorce decree as a means to show the judge that you and your spouse have come to an agreement and are ready to move forward to close out your case.

In all likelihood your judge will not ask any questions and will send you off on your way. The divorce decree will be signed by the judge later that day and will likely be posted online in the day following. You can pay for certified copies at the clerk’s office shortly thereafter.

One question that I am sometimes asked by clients is how much of your prove up hearing will be heard by the public. It is true that anyone can walk into your courtroom during your prove up hearing and hear some details about your case. If you are at all trying to keep the divorce from becoming an “event” or something like that I understand why you may not be too excited to set foot in court and put your life on display in front of a handful of people.

I cannot emphasize, however, that it is unlikely that anyone in court other than the court report, judge, your attorney and you will be paying attention to a word of what is said. In Harris County, for example, you and your attorney will approach the bench and speak to the judge in a conversational tone. Therefore, a person in the first row of courtroom seats will have problems hearing what is happening in your case. The bottom line is that if you are worried about airing your business for all the world to hear then you should be at ease because a Prove Up hearing is not that kind of court appearance.

Closing thoughts on same sex divorce cases

It could be that you never imagined that you would ever get married in your life. Now you are having to contend with the thought of getting a divorce. This cannot be an easy time for you and your family. However, the attorneys and staff with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan are here to tell you that our office will stand with you throughout your case until your process is complete.

If you have any questions about the material that we have covered please consider contacting the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. We offer free of charge consultations six days a week with our licensed family law attorneys. It would be our pleasure to talk with you and to answer your questions and concerns in a comfortable, pressure-free environment.

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



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Want To Feel Better? Then Stop Hanging Around Toxic People

toxic people

 

When you’re working to get your confidence back and build boundaries after divorce, there is one “hiding in plain sight” barrier that will keep you from reaching your goals.

And that’s surrounding yourself with toxic people.

You know *exactly* who these toxic people are…

  • The pushy one with unsolicited advice that makes you doubt your decisions
  • The catty one with snide comments and back-handed compliments
  • The one who blames you and makes herself the victim when you call her out on her BS.

Sound like anyone you know? 

Is this a sister? Your mother? Your adult daughter? That “friend” who says she’s “only trying to help you?”

Literally every woman deals with these jerks on the daily. And his/her comments are so hurtful because they know which button of yours to push. They’ve known you for a long-ass time, and know your sore spots, triggers, and vulnerabilities.

That’s why one of their comments can leave you devastated for days.

The secret about toxic people in your life…

100% of that criticism has nothing to do with you. She is projecting her own insecurities onto you she’s not taking responsibility for her own issues.

Remember the time your sister said, “that dress looks a little snug on you, don’t you think?” although she knew you were counting calories and going to yoga three times a week?

She’s guaranteed stepped on the scale that morning and was 12 pounds heavier after that cruise.

Remember that time you got that promotion at work and instead of congratulating you, your mother said, “Oh, so I guess that means you’ll be spending even less time with your kids.”

Like, WTF?!

She guaranteed is feeling resentful that she stepped down from her job to stay full-time with her children and didn’t go back into the workplace.

What to do About Toxic People

So, what do you want to do about her? 

Continue to let them walk all over you, saying “that’s just her.” This option is risky because you put yourself at risk of continued frustration and hurt feelings.

Stand up for yourself. This doesn’t have to look like a Jerry Springer fight. But it takes courage.

“Hey (insert person’s name), it really hurts my feelings when you do/say (insert harmful action here). I would ask that you keep those comments to yourself.

“Hey (insert person’s name). I notice that you’re always commenting or giving me unsolicited advice on my divorce/looks/weight/recovery/insert whatever they’re always commenting on. I would ask that you don’t do that anymore, at least until I specifically ask for your advice.”

So, a quick heads-up when you stand up for yourself. If the person has any amount of emotional intelligence, they may take a step back and say, “Oh, wow.. Sorry. I didn’t mean to make you feel bad,” or something along the lines of that. 

Or…they may get defensive and turn it on you. They may say, “I’m only trying to help you. If you don’t want my honest opinion, then fine.” And then they might stomp away or hang up the phone or stonewall you or some other 5-year-old-at-the-playground nonsense.

If that reaction occurs, that is a HUGE RED FLAG that maybe this relationship is unhealthy. This ain’t the end of the world–it’s just an opportunity to set up healthy boundaries.

Oh, and I get you may not just be able to walk away from that person so easily. She might be a relative or close friend.

But remember–being related to someone DOES NOT give them carte blanche to treat you like poorly.

It takes a herculean effort to be confident enough to speak up and stand your ground when they push back. But until then, remember:

  1. Be aware that some of the most toxic people may be the ones closest to you
  2. Their smack-talking has nothing to do with you, but everything to do with their own insecurities
  3. You have the power to speak up for yourself
  4. Family members and close friends *do not* get to throw shade just because they’re in your life.

The post Want To Feel Better? Then Stop Hanging Around Toxic People appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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stalking your ex on facebook

Stop Stalking Your Ex On Facebook With These 4 Tips

stalking your ex on facebook

 

You know it’s terrible for you. You know you should stop doing it, yet somehow, you find yourself going back to that search tab on Facebook, and typing in his name. What utterly unsurprising exhibit will you find this time?

Ah, stalking exes on social media. We’ve all done it. Heck, I’ve even had my share of keeping tabs on some old friends I’ve cut ties with. But in terms of toxicity and harmful behavior, social media stalking that guy you dated for six months or the friend you’ve had a falling-out with comes nowhere near the ex-husband, the father of your child. Looking back, I can see precisely how my casual tendency to hop on over to my ex’s Instagram had spiraled into a dangerous habit that brought out the worst in me.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re freshly divorced or it’s been a while. The truth remains that social media surveillance only impedes the natural process that unravels after a serious relationship has failed. That’s a process of healing, coming to terms with what happened, and becoming whole again.

So what do you do when you know it’s not right, but still can’t help yourself?

Stalking Your Ex On Facebook? Here’s How to Stop

Get to know your habit

How often do you stalk your ex on social?

Which feelings does this practice usually evoke?

Pay attention and try to note in which situations you most often search his profile. You’ll notice you hardly ever do it when you’re busy, focused on your wellbeing, or generally content. No, we’ll stalk our exes on social when we’re mind-numbingly bored, feeling petty, or in a self-destructive state where we’re intent on making our anguish worse.

What does that tell you? Yup, nothing good can ever come out of this.

Lastly, whenever the idea of checking out their profile pops up, ask yourself: “What am I looking for?”

The answer to this is seemingly obvious, yet completely vague: well, you “just want to see what he’s up to”. But here’s the thing: you won’t stop until you find something to despise, or something that makes you feel hurt and jealous, or something that proves you’re better off without them.

But this is social media, not real life. And trust me, you don’t need a curated digital presence to prove to you that you’re better off without him. Whether it was you who filed for divorce or him, that decision has been made, and I hardly doubt Facebook/Instagram/Twitter had anything to do with it. Move on and stop looking for confirmation when you have it already.

The thing with this habit of social media surveillance is that you won’t discover anything that you don’t know, think, or feel already. It’s about finding ways to confirm your biases, and that’s exactly what you will do every time. You’ll prove to yourself that you were right. But it won’t feel as good as it should. Am I right?

Keep busy

The reason it won’t feel good is largely owed to that pesky voice that inevitably accompanies all stalking sessions. “Okay, he is still pathetic, but what the hell am I doing with my life, sitting here and scrolling through his profile.”

The best way to cure harmful social media habits is by staying busy and focused on other things. Spend quality time with your kids, go for drinks with friends, find a new hobby. Maybe you want to finally take up hiking and make a new family tradition of enjoying the outdoors with your kids. Whatever activity you’re going for, be mindful and present. You’ll have plenty of tangible proof in your life that you are, indeed, better off without him.

Another good idea is to choose a replacement habit for every time you feel the itch to check on his profile. For example, that could be going for a walk, doing a short meditation exercise, or working on an art project (you can even get your kids on board). And don’t leave this to chance. Plan for this scenario and make sure you have an idea for what you’ll do instead of diving into his social media accounts.

Now, we’ll talk about blocking him from your social media in a moment, but even with those brakes in place, you’ll likely still find yourself craving a social media toxicity hit, at least in the beginning. Like with all bad habits and addictions, a good habit that substitutes the initial behavior will help redirect your focus and ultimately break the cycle.

Go cold turkey

Just. Block. Him.

This is the obvious solution and the one that’s most widely recommended. And if you’re guilty of “hiding” his posts, only to come back and actively search his profile, this is definitely the “parental control” you need to set for yourself.

By blocking his profiles, his online presence becomes invisible to you and vice-versa, which, in all honesty, is really what you need at this stage. Further down the line, maybe a time will come when you’ll be okay with seeing him pop up on your feed, and you really won’t care at all; but if everything is still fresh and you’re struggling with trying not to stalk him, that time has clearly not come yet. So use that block button to avoid temptation and give yourself the much-needed space.

The fact that he won’t be able to see you is equally important, as you won’t be tempted to curate your social media presence to show him that you’re better off. You don’t want to be posting stuff just to get a reaction from him. Trust me; it’s not healthy for you. And remember: his close friends and family come with the package, too. If there’s anyone close to him whose posts will remind you of him and rub salt into the wound, block them also.

But although this is the simple answer, it’s not the ultimate one. To release the demons from within and eliminate the need to stalk him on social, you’ll need all these other steps too.

The bottom line: Commit to letting go

To let go, you’ll need to commit. Set your intentions and muster the willpower to eliminate the habits that are standing in the way. Stalking your ex on social is undoubtedly one of the most harmful, and it’s too darn easy.

These steps have helped me, but if you’re still having a tough time after a few weeks, maybe you want to take a break from social media entirely, even if it’s just temporarily. You’ll find you have a lot more time for all the good things in life.

The post Stop Stalking Your Ex On Facebook With These 4 Tips appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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closure after divorce

Closure After Divorce: Why It Comes When We Stop Looking For It

closure after divorce

 

Four and a half years ago I had no idea how to be divorced. I had been married for seventeen years, since the age of 22, and my husband had blindsided me with the news that he was leaving.

He was my first real love and this was my first real breakup. All I could think of in those early days was that I didn’t want to be divorced, or single.

I wanted ANSWERS.

I became almost obsessed with the idea of closure. I was a wreck. In my tightly controlled world, things like this just didn’t happen. Major events were planned – detailed thought went into any significant happenings, and I usually had the final say in whether or not the happening would go ahead. But not this time.

On top of being completely and utterly heartbroken, I thought that the uncertainty and injustice of it all would damn near kill me. I wondered what thought my husband had put into this rash decision of his and found myself searching desperately for closure and answers. I told myself that I couldn’t rest until I found both.

And on the torment went.

One day, a well-meaning girlfriend suggested that I use the time to focus on myself – to stop worrying about what he was doing and why he was doing it, and to focus instead on ME. I thought she was nuts. How could I rest when THIS had just happened for god’s sake?

Still, not having much else better to do, I tentatively gave it a go.

Slowly – VERY slowly at first, I started giving MYSELF the time and love and attention that I so desperately craved. I slowly taught myself how to spend time alone. How to be single, and how not to hate it. How to look inside for answers to my grief, and how to self-soothe. I read a lot of books, took a lot of candlelit baths, drank a lot of tea, and cried a lot of tears.

I began to grieve – PROPERLY grieve – the life that I had lost. And little by little, I began to heal.

Today, four years on, I understand just how wise this woman’s words were. I realized that sometimes, we don’t know why things happen as they do. We ESPECIALLY don’t know when we are in the thick of it all, grieving and dealing with emotions that we’ve perhaps never had to deal with before.

The truth is this: Answers and closure come to us when we stop looking for them. They come when we stop obsessing and begging, and instead start to accept life as it is. Of course, this is not easy. It was in fact one of the hardest things I – a former control freak – have EVER had to do. But, I did it.

And I now have the answers and closure I once so desperately craved.

So, what were the answers? Looking back at my marriage now, I can see that there were certain cracks. I can see that more than anything, we had grown apart. We were evolving and moving at different rates and in different directions. I couldn’t accept (or even see) this when I was in the midst of grieving. I could see and accept it once I’d healed.

The beautiful irony in all of this is that once the answers came to me, I was no longer desperate for them. I got my closure and I did it by myself, for myself – and this was a truly empowering thing. And yet another reminder that in life we really have very little control over other people’s actions. Our true power always lies in our re-actions.

Here are some things you can do instead of looking for closure after divorce:

Focus on HEALING

Understand that you ARE going to feel crappy for a while after a breakup or divorce – there is no avoiding this. And hard as it is to understand – much less accept – this at the time, closure and answers will not be forthcoming when you are in this grieving state.

Acceptance and closure come with healing. So, do what you need to do to heal. Give yourself COPIOUS amounts of self-love and care. Spend time alone. Spend time with friends. Eat well, sleep well, don’t abuse your body. Healing is one of the most natural processes known to man – it WILL happen if you allow it to.

STOP obsessing, questioning and begging

Do your best not to do what I did – desperate texts and phone calls to the ex, begging for information and answers. Even if they are able to give you answers (mine struggled) they will likely not make you feel any better. They may actually make you feel worse.

Therefore leave it, and focus on healing.

Trust that in time the answers WILL come

Accept that grieving and healing are processes. TRUST in the process. Trust that you will one day feel a whole lot better than you do now, and trust that you will one day understand why it happened. Be open to receiving guidance and answers as they come to you.

Finally, understand that closure that comes from within is infinitely more valuable than ANYTHING external. As I eventually realized, you do NOT need to wait for answers or permission from ANYBODY. You can make the choice to let it go and move forward. What a liberating choice to make!

The post Closure After Divorce: Why It Comes When We Stop Looking For It appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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be more confident

Want To Be More Confident? Then Stop Being Afraid To Piss People Off

be more confident

 

This is the #1 thing you must do to stick up for yourself.

Here’s the uncomfortable truth, friends.

In your journey to be confident and feel better about yourself, you cannot be afraid to step on toes. In other words…

Want to be more confident? Don’t be afraid to piss people off.

Strong women will end up pissing people off. And that’s okay.

Now, to be clear, I’m not talking about pissing folks off in the wanton, sociopathic, “Fatal Attraction” bunny rabbit kind of way.

What I do mean, however, is that from now on, you need to start internalizing that you matter. What you want matters. Your worth matters.

Because here’s the thing. As you recover from your divorce, rebuild your self-esteem, and learn how to set healthy boundaries, there will be many people around you—some may even be close friends or family members–who may not like that you’re voicing your opinion.

If the people who don’t like it, let this year be the year you stick up for yourself. And if they get angry or offended that you’re sticking up for yourself, forget them. Because you don’t need their toxicity anyway.

Let this be the summer you learn to stick up for yourself.

So many of us have been raised to not raise our voice. To just play nicely. To not cause a ruckus. And yeah, when you’re at a funeral or in a theater, those are great guidelines.

However, that social conditioning means that during your marriage, you probably let your spouse always have their way so there wouldn’t be a conflict. Maybe you went along with decisions–even when they didn’t serve you—because you didn’t want a fight or to make him upset.

But doing that for years probably made you resentful, or stole your self-confidence and ability to find your own voice. And this silence may have buried that part of you–the part that had dreams and hopes and goals that were every bit as valid as your partner’s and your children’s.

While it may not seem like it, that part of you is still alive. That part of you deserves to be heard, acknowledge,  and validated.

But you have to do it yourself. It may seem intimidating, but you must speak up for yourself this year. And let people in your life know what you want.

Because, what other choice do you have?

It won’t be easy though, but at the end of the day, at the end of this transition to being divorced and independent in your life, there is one thing that will always be true.

No one will stand up for you but you. But you are all you need.

You’ve mattered all along, although people in your life probably weren’t reminding you of that. Hell, you probably forgot to remind yourself that you mattered. But you must start internalizing this. You must not be afraid to tell the people in your life–the ones who drain you and take advantage of you and don’t appreciate you–to back up, to shape up, or to get the hell out of your face.

You must be your own advocate.

You must be the person in the mirror who tell yourself that you got this.

You must know that it’s time to put yourself first for a change.

And if you need help, for the love of all things holey, ask for help.

Because at the end of the day, you have yourself. And if you do it right, that is all you need.

So, what steps will you take this year to stand up for yourself?

What does finding your voice again look like for you?

The post Want To Be More Confident? Then Stop Being Afraid To Piss People Off appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Want To Feel More Confident? Stop Apologizing!

feel more confident

 

Ever been in a situation like this before?

You don’t pick up the phone in time and when you call the person back, the first words out of your mouth are “I’m sorry.”

You bring store-bought cupcakes to your friend’s party and you utter “I’m sorry.”

You vent to a good friend about something going on, and you say, “Sorry for rambling.”

Notice the pattern going on?

You’re apologizing. Way too much. And it’s those apologies that are impeding your divorce recovery.

Want To Feel More Confident? Stop Apologizing!

Uncomfortable Truth #1: We’re raised to be people-pleasers.

We are natural caregivers. From an early age, you were most likely following your mother around, hoping to help her out, or taking care of your younger siblings. Or, you may have had a parent say to you at one time, “I need you to watch your brother/sister and make sure they don’t get into trouble.”

And what did you do? Well, in order to make your mom “proud” of you, you most likely did everything you could to please her. And that mentality probably stuck. You probably worked hard to get good grades to get your parents’ and your teachers’ approval. Because you didn’t want to disappoint them.

That mentality carried over into adulthood. You did everything to be a good partner and a good mother because you didn’t want to disappoint anybody. Society put unrealistic expectations on you to be a Stepford Wife. You were given a choice to either give up your career to be a stay-at-home mom, never getting paid or recognized for all the work you were doing, or to have a career, where you were still expected to do most of the household and child-rearing work.

And the only way to avoid disappointing others, and to shield yourself from conflict, was to say “I’m sorry.”

Even when it wasn’t your fault. Or didn’t warrant an apology.

Uncomfortable Truth #2: We were never taught to put ourselves first

Can you think of any time when you were growing up that your mom, or dad, or teacher, or some other adult close to you sat you down, and said, “Your dreams and goals matter just as much as anybody else’s. Let your voice be heard.

Instead, you were probably raised to be obedient and to not make a scene. Which is why, when we get divorced, we feel this crazy unnecessary guilt.

Oh, what a shame! You two have been married for so long!

Can’t you find a way to work it out? Your retirement will be so much harder now!

Ever find yourself saying “I’m sorry” as a response? To keep the peace?

Well, what about your feelings? And your happiness?

If you’re not sure where to even begin with being happy and not paralyzed by guilt, there’s one thing you must do.

Put yourself first for a change.

Here’s what you need to know.

There are dangers to saying “I’m Sorry.”

Danger 1: Frivolous apologizing = a signal that people can take advantage of you.

The reflexive apology you say sends the signal to that other person that you’re:

  • Willing to accept the blame for something you didn’t do
  • Sending them an invitation to wrong your or disrespect you again, because they don’t have to be held accountable to their actions.

Danger 2: Constantly apologizing makes it harder to stand up for yourself.

Even when you’re in a benign situation where you think you’re expressing regret, and you’re not saying “sorry” to keep the peace, there’s still an underlying danger.

Danger 3: Apologizing puts somebody else’s pain on you.

A simple “I’m sorry” may make you feel like you’re making a situation better, but what you’re actually doing is taking that person’s pain and shouldering it for them. That’s not helpful for anyone in that situation, and there are other ways to express support than just apologizing.

Alternatives to “I’m sorry.”

These alternative phrases do double duty in the best way possible. First, they convey empathy for another person without shouldering their pain. And second, they reinforce your boundaries without giving them up in the name of diffusing conflict or placating someone.

If your ex, your current partner, or a friend says they’re angry at something.

Instead of: I’m sorry.

Say: Are you upset at something? Let’s discuss it.

When someone is having a hard time.

Instead of: I’m sorry.

Say: This sucks that you’re going through this hard time. Please know that I’m here if you need anything.

You’re 15 minutes late to a meeting.

Instead of: Sorry I’m so late.

Say Instead: Thanks for your patience.

If there is a miscommunication between you and someone.

Instead of: I’m sorry for bothering you.

Say: There seems to be a communication issue here. What can we do to get this back on track?

If you bump into someone or are trying to get through a crowd.

Instead of: I’m sorry.

Say: Excuse me. I need to get through.

See how that works? You’re acknowledging empathy, but not at the expense of your well-being. Plus, you’re asserting your own needs and internalizing that you matter.

It can be challenging to shake off years of social conditioning. But at the end of the day, remember that you are not responsible for pleasing everybody, especially when it comes at the expense of them disrespecting you and taking advantage of you.

As you recover from divorce, remember that you matter and that you can express sympathy in ways that are authentic that continue to build you up, not tear you down.

So, how about you?

Do you apologize too much, especially when you don’t need to?

What can you say instead of “I’m sorry” next time?

The post Want To Feel More Confident? Stop Apologizing! appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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