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self-care tips

5 Efficient Self-Care Tips: Pamper Yourself In All The Right Ways

self-care tips

 

I’ve seen myself fall into an existential trap that my own mother wallowed in for the most of her life. She was a kind and industrious woman, but she could also be unbearably clingy. Above all else – she demanded attention. While I was a youngster, I used to tell myself that I will never turn into that person, but you know how your parent’s own pattern of behavior tends to creep up when you least expect it.

I used to be crushed by sadness when my own children forgot to, for the lack of a better expression, shower me with attention on birthdays and anniversaries, and I had to jump through serious hoops until I really accepted that happiness comes from within.

Here are 5 efficient self-care tips for all of you moms out there.

1. Adopt the right mindset by asking the right question

As it has already been established in the introduction, happiness comes from within, which means that you should rely on yourself to find the most opportune and enjoyable ways to celebrate a particular holiday that pertains to you. Remember, it is not about date or tradition. The date is merely an excuse for self-pampering, and it should be treated as such. The question you should be asking is NOT: ‘What sort of surprises do my kids have in store for me?’ but ‘What can I do on this day to make my week more enjoyable?’ By asking the right questions, I learned how to self-indulge in ways I previously unimaginable. Mindset is everything.

2. Organize a day of hearty meals

Good nutrition is the foundation of health. Therefore, you can exploit the holiday to organize a day of hearty meals for yourself (the presence of other family members is optional) and relish in banquets in restaurants that you always yearn to visit yet rarely have time for it. Instead of kicking the day off with a toast and a cup of coffee, have a fruit-laden breakfast with vegan-carrot cake and top it off with an espresso. Why not?! Embark on a culinary adventure and try out dishes that you never tasted before. It is all about you, at least for the day.

3. You’ll never regret investing in your hobby

The entire goal of a hobby is the combination of enjoyment and self-improvement. Therefore, any investment into a hobby is a form of self-care, and there is hardly a better way to treat yourself than to purchase something that will encourage you to continue that pursuit. The hobby might be something creative – like painting, and you can ‘arm yourself’ with a new set of brushes or color palettes. If it is a hobby that entails exercise, like running or swimming, a cool water-resistant triathlon watch is a quality investment. A useful gift is always better than a mere trinket, and it can represent an important part of your self-care lifestyle.

4. Rejuvenate your self-care style

Open the browser and begin the selection of local spa centers until you’ve narrowed it down to top-3 for services such as beauty treatment, massage, and sauna. A full day of rejuvenating treatments may just be the best sort of reward you can get, and you can encourage your family members to chip-in. Here, we get to another positive mindset you need to adopt – you have a full right to ‘shamelessly’ remind your kids and your partner that a Mother’s Day or your birthday is upon them and that they might as well do something about it. If they have forgotten about it, it doesn’t mean that they don’t care, and most of them will gladly contribute.

5. Alone in the outdoors

Finally, one of the greatest self-care habits you can embrace is the stroll through the closest natural reserve. Savor the scents of opulent nature and have a meditative walk alone to replenish your energy wells. Did you know that 30 minutes a day in nature does wonder for your immunity? Going wild in the outdoors is an amazing way to add a dash of adventure to your life.

The post 5 Efficient Self-Care Tips: Pamper Yourself In All The Right Ways appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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survive financially as a single mom

3 Ways Single Moms Can Survive Financially

survive financially as a single mom

In the end, there are really only two things to focus on if you want to survive financially as a single mom: decreasing expenses and increasing income. The more you do both of those things, the better off you’ll be.

 

Whether you’ve always managed the household checkbook or this is your first time, the financial struggles of being a single mom can feel overwhelming. Stop, breath, and start with these simple steps to getting your finances under control.

3 Tips For Surviving Financially As a Single Mom

1. Stop incurring new debt.  If you’re in the red hole, the first step is to simply stop digging deeper. It’s just not possible to get out of debt if you keep creating more. It might be easier for a while to just stop using credit cards in order to not incur any new debt. Every day that you don’t add to your debt is another day closer to seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. If you find that you can’t get to the end of the month without incurring debt, Step 2 below will help.

2. Budget every dollar. I know, it’s a dirty word to many, but I turned my financial life around when I got serious about budgeting. One of the reasons we find ourselves out of control financially is because we don’t have clarity on what goes in and what goes out. Even if you think you know, you never really do until you track your income and expenses and account for every dollar. Mint is a free app that can help, but I find YNAB to be worth every penny (plus, you get a free month trial to then budget how to pay for the app).

If apps don’t appeal, there’s always pen and paper, an Excel spreadsheet, or even a Word doc to get you started. You can round up to the nearest dollar, but you may be surprised on just where those dollars have been going! It will help you figure out where you really can cut back, and where you can’t. YNAB uses the zero-based budgeting method (this method can be used with or without the program) and the concept is, you can only budget the dollars you have. If you’ve been budgeting by assuming your income and expenses, it will take some adjustment to get used to this new method, but it will be well worth it to get you on a more solid financial footing.

3. Beware the Single Mom Guilt.  I have been there. I have felt so guilty about my marital status that I’ve spent more than I could afford, trying to overcompensate. But after using my tax refund to pay off credit card debt, and then building up debt, and then paying it off, and then doing it again, I finally had enough. And I realized that throwing money at the problem wasn’t really helping.

The more financially stable we became, the less stressed I was. The less stressed I was, the happier my girls were. The happier my girls were, the more we could simply enjoy being together and not have to spend so much money on cable, on outings, on activities they weren’t really enjoying. Instead, my oldest daughter helped out at the dance studio to get a break on tuition.

My youngest daughter shops at Goodwill when she needs new leggings. We come up with solutions together when we hit financial blocks. And if you feel bad for saying, I can’t afford it, try saying, “sorry, that’s not in our budget right now” instead. A small difference, sure, but it takes the focus off the negative part, and reminds both you and your child that you have financial goals.

Of course, personal finance is always personal, and you will have to make some difficult decisions, but try to remember, that’s true for most of us! Divorced or not, kids or not, we all can only work with what we actually have. And you may find that there simply isn’t enough. If things are that tight, you may need to look into increasing your income.

I ended up going back to school once it became clear to me that I was never going to make it on my salary as an Assistant. So I went back to school, got my Paralegal certificate, and got promoted. I took out some student loans and was able to get reimbursed through my employer’s educational assistance program for some of it. Thankfully, my interest rate on my student loan is low, but I am currently throwing any and all “extra” money into paying that off. So far, I’m paid a year ahead.

If going back to school is not an option, consider freelancing. Please do NOT pay for any “work from home” opportunities. But there are things like ride-sharing services, babysitting, and e-commerce sites. I have a friend who has done very well with her Etsy shop!

In the end, there are really only two things to focus on when it comes to managing your money: decreasing expenses and increasing income. The more you do both of those things, the better off you’ll be.

Our family has gone from surviving to thriving, and I can trace it back almost to the day that I was absolutely done with the paycheck-to-paycheck struggle. I am now a month ahead financially, and having that breathing room definitely, helps when we get hit with a new financial problem.

I am out of credit card debt completely, and we even went to New York this spring to see Hamilton, all completely paid for in cash. (I do use credit cards again, but only for the rewards, and I have auto pay set up to pay the balance in full every month so that I don’t pay any interest.)

It’s true that money doesn’t buy happiness. It’s also true that money can’t buy the previous, married, 2-parent household, either.

It’s also our job to teach our children about personal finance. As with everything else, they will learn these lessons by our actions, and not our words. If you want your children to have a healthy relationship with money, it’s time to have your own healthy relationship with it, too.

You’ve totally got this!

The post 3 Ways Single Moms Can Survive Financially appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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kids pet divorce

4 Ways In Which Pets Can Help Children Deal With Their Parents’ Divorce

kids pet divorce

 

Divorce is always hard on those involved. A marriage falling apart is something no-one likes to see. Often though, the party most affected by it are the children. The sudden loss of stability, perception of weakness in their parents who otherwise previously appeared so strong to them and the general confusion at what the future holds can leave children with serious emotional consequences, some of which could last their whole lives.

In those difficult times, children will often look for things to cling on to for comfort. One such comforting presence is a pet. Pets have proven themselves incredibly helpful to children going through any sort of trauma, including divorce.

When everything else around them is stressful and seems to be collapsing, pets can have a massive positive impact on a child as they try and deal with all of the problems that come with a parent’s divorce. Let’s take a look at the ways in which pets can positively influence your child’s experience of divorce.

Pets Can Help Children Deal with Their Parents’ Divorce

1. Consistent Love

Though the large majority of parents feel unconditional love for their child, in the stress and turmoil of divorce, children can feel ignored. There’ll be a lot of moments where it will be difficult for an adult going through this tough time to give their child what he or she needs.

“Having a pet, particularly a dog, gives a child a companion who, no matter what is going on around them, will be a constant source of love or at the very least the semblance of love that can imbue their lives with a needed sense of consistency”, says Ira Byrd, lifestyle blogger at LastMinuteWriting and Writinity. Having a pet there will allow a child to feel loved when they are uncertain about the concept itself as they witness their parents’ relationship fall apart.

2. Mental Health Monitor

It’s been proven that animals have the power to reduce stress in human beings. This phenomenon is what has bred the growth and embrace of therapy pets, animals that travel with humans who suffer from PTSD, anxiety, depression and other psychological problems.

Even if your child isn’t explicitly affected to that degree, the presence of a pet is therapeutic and can provide positive, soothing emotions for them as they try and cope with the divorce. It’s also a good motivator for exercise, as a lot of pets encourage children to run around. The proven benefits on stress and mood of exercise make this a bonus reason why pets are good for your child’s mental health in this difficult time.

3. Someone They Can Talk To

Even adults will catch themselves talking to their animals, it’s a common part of the owner-pet dynamic. For children, the sense that their pet is actually listening to them is elevated and so it can have an extremely strong effect on them. Children need to talk through things during a divorce and it’s often the case that they will feel unable to discuss anything with either of their parents. On the other hand, a pet will listen to everything in a non-judgemental way. “In a sense, a pet can be a bit like a therapist for a child.

They can absorb everything that the child is thinking about a situation in a non-judgemental, quiet way and not expect anything out of the child in terms of behavior or mood”, writes Myra Mcguire, psychology writer at DraftBeyond and ResearchPapersUK.

4. For Security

One thing that can be really frightening about divorce for children is feeling like they have been abandoned by their parents. Parents might change in their children’s eyes as they go through the divorce process and, with all of the stressful complications that can arise in divorce, parents might find themselves very busy, without much time to attend to their child. Pets help children feel defended and secure, temporarily making up for the lack of security from the parents.

Conclusion

Divorce is never going to be easy on a child and it will always leave a lasting impression. However, having a pet by their side during the process really can help to mitigate some of the hardest parts of enduring this traumatic family event and can help them recover faster after the fact.

The post 4 Ways In Which Pets Can Help Children Deal With Their Parents’ Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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happiness in marriage if you

3 Ways To Find Happiness In Marriage If You’re a Woman

happiness in marriage if you're a woman

 

I don’t have studies to back up what I’m about to say but, I’m going to say it anyway. I do a lot of reading and research about divorce and why people divorce. The number one complaint I hear from women about why they chose divorce is, inevitably, “I was no longer happy.” Their marriage wasn’t making them happy, their husband wasn’t making them happy, the way they viewed that moment in time in their lives didn’t make them feel happy.

The running theme is, for some reason, women expect their happiness to come from without, not within. When they settle into marriage and the daily humdrum of raising children, making a living and holding a marriage together women become disenchanted because it turns out, marriage isn’t a fairytale and no one will live “happily” ever after.

According to Martin Seligman, the father of Positive Psychology, “Happiness is at least 50% genetic. Positive psychologists tend to acknowledge a much weaker version of the happiness set-point view and often point out that even if genetics determines about half of our happiness, the rest is caused by factors that we can control to some extent; our circumstances (about 10%) and our intentional activities, such as the way we choose to think about things (about 40%).”

Let’s break that down, genetics is 50% responsible for how happy a person feels. Circumstance is 10% responsible and how one chooses to think about their circumstance is 40% responsible. It isn’t my intent to diminish anyone’s feelings BUT unless you are married to an abuser, alcoholic or slacker it is possible that these women aren’t happy because of genetics or the way they choose to think about their circumstance and, not as a result of a bad marriage.

As my grandmother used to say, women who divorce because they are no longer happy could be “throwing the baby out with the bathwater.” Getting rid of the thing that could bring them the most happiness by divorcing, in pursuit of some skewed idea of what it means to be happy or, what happiness actually is.

How to Find Happiness in Marriage If You’re a Woman

Happiness is a state of mind, not of circumstance. If you want a happy marriage, you have to make it a happy marriage. Happiness doesn’t magically occur when he stops working 50 hours a week and spends more time with you and the children. It won’t magically occur when the children are grown or there is enough money to cover all the bills. It won’t be found in regular date nights or, snuggling on the couch every night watching romantic comedies.

Your life, inside your marriage, is now, today, dealing with what comes your way and how you choose to think about what it takes to get you through the day. Happiness comes from determining to feel good about whatever life dishes out on any given day. It’s about attitude.

If a woman is blessed with a loving husband who works hard to provide and children who work hard at driving her crazy she is going to find happiness in those blessings because she chooses to view them as such. To be happy one has to allow that 40% positive attitude to hold more authority than the 10% negative attitude about her situation.

Get over thinking someone owes you happiness. Or, that some outside force can “make” you happy. Husbands and children can impact how happy you feel but, ultimately you are responsible for your own happiness. If the drudgery of working, being a wife and mothering is sapping your energy and ability to feel happy it is your job to introduce activities into your life that balance those obligations with activities you enjoy.

Most women become unhappy in marriage because they lose their identity to the marriage and they put their needs second to the needs of their husband and children. That is a rule book written by women and it is full of rules that need to be broken. One way to do that, to stir the pot and not fall victim to the antiquated idea that your needs aren’t important is to simply, get out and do things you like to do.

Your children, marriage, husband, and home will not fall apart if you spend a few hours at an art class or, go to the gym daily to work out and keep your body and mind in shape. Women who are happily married have a life outside the marriage, husband, and children.

I have a friend who takes a yearly, weeklong vacation away from her role as wife and Mom. She also maintains a popular blog about women’s issues and writes daily. That is her life and passion, something she does for herself that in no way is related to her role as someone’s wife and mother. Do something, on a daily basis that brings you a sense of joy, is an escape from the whining children and constantly working husband. If you do, you will have a deeper appreciation for your own sense of autonomy AND the daily drudgery that is marriage and raising a family.

Be your authentic self. Did you go into marriage with a set of rules about the kind of wife and mother you want to be? Are the rules realistic? Can you eat off the floors, are the beds made daily, your children dressed and spat shined? Do you have a routine you follow from the moment your feet hit the floor in the morning until your head hits the pillow at night?

That image you have in your mind about the perfect wife and mother may play a role in unhappiness you feel. Why not give yourself a break and be yourself, not who you think you should be for your children and husband but, yourself. If that means not making the beds daily, so be it. If it means sitting your children in front of cartoons in the morning while you journal or meditate, go for it.

Let go of the need to keep up with your own false image of who a good wife and mother is and allow your own personality to drive the kind of wife and mother you are. Your husband and your children will benefit by getting to know the real you. You will benefit by being able to relax and let go of some silly preconceived notion and living your own reality.

Adjusting your attitude, taking responsibility for your own happiness and living authentically may lead to things like, a husband who comes home early from work because he enjoys the company of a wife who is upbeat and happy.

A lot of research has been done on attraction and it all points to the fact that people are attracted to others who are friendly, happy and self-confident. If you have a full life, interests of your own and don’t need anyone or any institution to “make” you happy, guess what, you will be happy. You don’t need to leave your marriage to find happiness, you only need to make a few adjustments.

And, those adjustments will promote and change in the way your husband and children react to and engage with you. It’s a simple way of taking away the need to divorce because you are, “no longer happy.”

Disclaimer: This article does not apply to women living in abusive marriages where they are in danger of physical harm or death.

The post 3 Ways To Find Happiness In Marriage If You’re a Woman appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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3 ways to get over your ex

Still Love Him? Here Are 3 Ways To Get Over Your Ex

3 ways to get over your ex

 

As an intimacy and relationship expert, the one main question I receive is “How do you get over an ex?” Oh, I could go on. I could probably do a whole workshop on this. I mean maybe I ought to because the chance of us having one lover for our entire life is very, very slim. At some point, we’re going to have our heart broken.

If we let our heart stay closed and never open it again, we will never be open to the love that is waiting for us.

Below are 3 Ways to Get Over Your Ex

1. Let yourself feel, cry, emote, let it be okay for emotion to have its way with you. Don’t try and stop it, squish it, control it, or make it mean anything. Just let energy be in motion and emotion. Just let it go through you. Make it easy…put on a sad movie, get in the bathtub, go be in nature whatever you need to do to make feeling emotions as safe and as easy as possible for you. That’s number one.

2. I don’t know why you broke up. There could’ve been a whole number of situations that caused it. I can’t say because I’m not you. A really great process to run no matter what the reason is about forgiveness. It’s this statement: “Thank you for giving me this experience because now I’m stronger. Now I’m wiser. Now I have healthier boundaries. Now I speak the truth. Now I’ve learned compassion.”

Repeat that 10 times and then really go oh my god look at how much more elevated my consciousness is. Look at what a more amazing human being I am. Look at how I’ve grown. At the end of those ten thank yous for giving me this experience, I guarantee you’re going to feel a lot better. A lot of not getting over an ex is that we have not gotten the lesson. As soon as we get the lesson, you’ll be amazed how you can integrate that and move on with a more open, strong yet still soft heart.

3. This is a really great way I had forgotten. Then, my ex-lover reminded me about it. When I am with my lover from before, the energy is literally palpable. If I think right now I’m going to tap into the energy that we share. It’s like I get this big inhale of all this yummy energy. I smile. I soften. I thought that “he was the source of that and that I shall never have that again.” No, remember when we’re together and this is the response this is the mirror of me. So it’s really your yummy mojo energy going out being reflected back by him so what your feeling is you.

Let’s look even deeper, what does it mean? Why is the universe having its way with me?

You can choose to feel into the energy of your next soulmate or your next beloved. What is it going to feel like to be with them and just feel their energy? It’s a way of connecting with them. It’s right there. The energy is right there. We just need to be aware of it and welcome it.

It’s a way of connecting with them. We need to play in it and dance in it. So do that as a way to remind yourself that you’re never alone, never have been and never will be. Remember that this energy of yumminess and support and deliciousness is mirrored back with wonderful partners. It’s also mirrored back 24/7 from the universe and earth.

The post Still Love Him? Here Are 3 Ways To Get Over Your Ex appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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passive-aggressive

8 Constructive Ways To Confront Your Passive-Aggressive Abuser

passive-aggressive

 

What do passive aggressive behavior and domestic abuse have in common? Physical and verbal abuse are easy to identify, but psychological and emotional abuse may lurk for awhile before the victim realizes it. These types of covert abuse are subtle or disguised by actions that appear to be normal, even loving and caring. In certain circumstances, passive-aggression could be considered covert abuse; if you are in a relationship with someone you think is an abuser, you can find resources available at the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

According to Dr. Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, “Passive-aggressive behavior is a pattern of indirectly expressing negative feelings instead of openly addressing them.” Their feelings may be so repressed that the person doesn’t realize they are angry or feeling resentment.

When confronted with their behavior, they may appear surprised or disappointed that anyone would think that about them, as if they are misunderstood or held to unreasonable standards. They have a real desire to connect with others emotionally, but their fear of such a connection causes them to engage in self-destructive habits.

Common Passive-Aggressive Behaviors

  • Ambiguity/Lies: Take the proverb: “Actions speak louder than words.” A passive-aggressive person is known for being deceptive in their word. The best way to judge how they feel about an issue is to watch their actions.
  • Blaming/Victimization: They have difficulty taking responsibility for their actions and will find many excuses to avoid doing so. This includes when they shirk deadlines and ignore agreed-upon itineraries and timelines. Victimization is a related symptom of passive aggression; since nothing is their fault, they are always the victim.
  • Lack of Anger: Passive aggression is marked by misplaced anger. The passive aggressive person may have been taught, as a child, that anger is unacceptable. They may appear indecisive or “down for whatever”; however, by not expressing their personal ideas and preferences, a passive-aggressive person may build resentment for others through their own repression.
  • Fear of Dependency/Intimacy: According to Scott Wetlzer, author of Living With The Passive Aggressive Man, “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.” With that, it would be difficult to create an enduring, intimate connection with them.
  • Obstructionism/Power Grab: Passive-aggressive behavior shifts power in a relationship to make the perpetrator feel bigger and more entitled to affection or other gestures, while the victim will feel undeserving of their partner’s love. Similar to their willful deception mentioned above, a passive-aggressive person is also prone to emotional manipulation.

Below are 8 constructive ways to confront someone with passive-aggressive behavior.

1. Focus on one issue at a time. Don’t bring up everything at once. You may have a laundry list of grievances but it won’t be very helpful to go through everything in one sitting. Remember, they avoid conflict so take it one grievance at a time to help them feel comfortable.

2. Have a time limit. Confrontation should not stretch on indefinitely.

3. Make sure you have privacy. A public display will only exacerbate both sides of the issue. Shaming someone never gets positive results.

4. Don’t attack their character. You may feel angry and want to strike out but, doing so will only cause the passive aggressive to withdraw and refuse to engage in communication.

5. Focus on your feelings. Make your feelings the subject of the conversation and not their bad behaviors. Use “I” statements, not “you” statements. It will lead to more productive communication if you make the conversation about the marriage and how you are feeling.

6. Stay on topic. Someone who avoids conflict may also be inclined to deflect or go on tangents during the conversation. You do not have to defend yourself for wanting to discuss your feelings, and doing so would derail the conversation.

7. Respect their space. If they need to retreat from the conversation allow them to do it with dignity. Tell them you understand their need to leave the conversation but, before they do you’d like to agree on another date and time to continue discussing the topic.

8. Remind them that you care. Be sure they understand that you care about what happens to them, that you love them and that you are not trying to control them. You are only trying to get to the bottom of your disagreements and make the relationship better. Nothing is more important than helping the passive aggressive to feel safe in engaging in what they will view as a conflict.

The Passive-Aggressive Person and You

A passive-aggressive person attracts and is attracted to co-dependents or anyone who is quick to make excuses for other people’s bad behaviors. This may not be intentional, and rather is a natural mesh of personalities—psychological abuse is never the fault of the victim.

The most important factor in saving a relationship is both parties willingness to change. A person who expresses passive-aggression likely has deeper issues that a therapist or counselor would help them to work through. Victims of such behavior may also choose to seek therapy to heal from the wounds of the relationship.

The passive-aggressive will say one thing, do another, and then deny ever saying the first thing. They don’t communicate their needs and wishes in a clear manner, expecting their spouse to read their mind and meet their needs. After all, if their spouse truly loved them he/she would just naturally know what they needed or wanted. The passive aggressive withholds information about how he/she feels, their ego is fragile and can’t take the slightest criticism so why let you know what they are thinking or feeling?

God forbid they disclose that information and you criticize them.

Confronting the Passive-Aggressive

Beware, if you confront the passive aggressive they will most likely sulk, give you the silent treatment or completely walk away leaving you standing there to deal with the problem alone.

There are two reasons for confronting the passive-aggressive. One, if done correctly you may be able to help them gain insight into the negative consequences of their behaviors. Two, even if that doesn’t happen, it will at least give you the opportunity to talk to him/her in a frank way about how his/her behavior affects you. If nothing else you can get a few things “off your chest.”

Below are 8 constructive ways to confront someone with passive-aggressive behavior.

1. Make your feelings the subject of the conversation and not their bad behaviors. Use “I” statements and not “you” statements. More than likely you will get a more productive response from the passive aggressive spouse if you make the communication about the marriage and how you are feeling.

2. Don’t attack their character. You may feel angry and want to strike out but, doing so will only cause the passive aggressive to withdraw and refuse to engage in communication.

3. Make sure you have privacy. This is only common sense. Do not call out your passive aggressive spouse in front of others.

Shaming someone never gets positive results.

4. Confront them about one behavior at a time, don’t bring up everything at once. You may have a laundry list of grievances but that doesn’t mean you have to communicate the entire list in one sitting. Remember, the passive aggressive fears conflict so, take it one grievance at a time to help them feel comfortable.

5. If they need to retreat from the conversation allow them to do it with dignity. Tell them you understand their need to leave the conversation but, before they do you’d like to agree on another date and time to continue discussing the topic.

6. Have a time limit, confrontation should not stretch on indefinitely.

7. If they try to turn the table on you, do not defend your need to have an adult conversation about your feelings. Having dealt with the passive aggressive you know that one of their main tactics is to try and turn the tables. Be on the lookout for that to happen and instead of becoming defensive insist that they stay on topic.

8. Be sure they understand that you care about what happens to them, that you love them and that you are not trying to control them. You are only trying to get to the bottom of your disagreements and make the relationship better.

Nothing is more important than helping the passive aggressive to feel safe in engaging in what they will view as a conflict.

Inside the Passive Aggressive’s Head

The passive aggressive has a real desire to connect with you emotionally but their fear of such a connection causes them to be obstructive and engage in self-destructive habits. They will be covert in their actions and it will only move them further from their desired relationship with you.

The passive aggressive never looks internally and examines their role in a relationship problem. They have to externalize it and blame others for having shortcomings. To accept that they have flaws would be tantamount to emotional self-destruction. They live in denial of their self-destructive behaviors, the consequences of those behaviors and the choices they make that causes others so much pain.

The passive aggressive objectifies the object of their desire. You are to be used as a means to an end. Your only value is to feed the passive aggressive’s emotional needs. You are not seen as a person with feelings and needs but as an extension of them. They care for you the way they care for a favorite chair. You are there for their comfort and pleasure and are of use as long as you fill their needs.

The passive aggressive wants the attention and attachment that comes with loving someone but fear of losing their independence and sense of self to their spouse. They want love and attention but avoid it out of fear of it destroying them. You have to be kept at arm’s length and if there is an emotional attachment it is tenuous at best.

The passive aggressive has a real desire to connect with you emotionally but their fear of such a connection causes them to be obstructive and engage in self-destructive habits. They will be covert in their actions and it will only move them further from their desired relationship with you.

The only hope for change in the way they deal with relationship issues is if they are able to acknowledge their shortcomings and contributions to the marital problems. Facing childhood wounds, looking internally instead of externally to find the cause of problems in their life will help them form deeper emotional attachments with a higher sense of emotional safety.

The post 8 Constructive Ways To Confront Your Passive-Aggressive Abuser appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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3 Ways to Diffuse High-Conflict Co-Parenting

3 Ways to Diffuse High-Conflict Co-Parenting

High-conflict co-parenting takes a toll on the children and co-parents involved, but reaching a fair parenting plan can help improve these relationships.

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10 Easy Ways to Save Money After Divorce

10 Easy Ways to Save Money After Divorce

Let’s Make Your Life Financially Easier

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Protect Yourself From An Unreasonable Ex

4 Ways To Protect Yourself From An Unreasonable Ex

Protect Yourself From An Unreasonable Ex

 

You’ve been through the divorce process, the paperwork is signed and it’s final. Time to move forward and put all that behind you, right? Not always! If your ex hasn’t been able to navigate the divorce in an emotionally healthy manner you may see a continuation of conflict long after the divorce is final.

An unreasonable ex-spouse, if intent, can cause life for you and your children to be miserable. Child visitation, child support, and following divorce decree orders are just a few tools at your ex’s disposal when it comes to prolonging conflict after divorce.

You may be unable to control their behavior but you can control your response to the behavior. Taking a proactive stance when dealing with an unreasonable ex will lessen the stress brought on by any irrational manipulations.

How to Protect Yourself From an Unreasonable Ex:

  1. Don’t engage in the conflict.

Engaging in the conflict only feeds the conflict. If demands are made and you defend yourself, you are playing the game and should expect an escalation of the conflict. If you receive nasty emails, threats of “taking the children away,” or anything that causes you concern and stress, don’t respond.

No response from you will stop your ex in their tracks. If they have no one to play with, the game is over.

  1. Don’t give in out of fear.

No one knows you better than your ex. That gives them ammunition to use against you. They know your weaknesses and fears and will push those buttons in an attempt to get what they want. There is no more powerful tool at their disposal when it comes to controlling you than your own fears.

Here is one way to view the situation when they do something that causes you fear. Their manipulations and attempts to control you by causing anxiety in you are a reflection of just how afraid they are of you.

Don’t allow THEIR fear to get the best of you and derail your ability to rebuild your life after divorce.

  1. Don’t concern yourself with what is said.

Words can wound and you can expect an unreasonable ex to use their words. They will tell anyone who will listen negative things about your character and behaviors. It is only human to want to defend yourself when lies are being spread but, it won’t put a stop to the lies. And, lashing out certainly won’t make you look like the reasonable of the two of you.

The most effective response you can give to an ex who vilifies and maligns you to others is compassion. Mean people are hurting people. The anger your ex displays toward you is an indication of how much pain they are in. Showing compassion instead of striking back enables you to rise above THEIR pain and regain power in your life.

  1. Don’t give into guilt.

If the divorce was your idea you may feel quite a bit of guilt and angst over your decision. If, however, your decision to divorce was in your best interest you don’t want to allow those feelings of guilt to hold you back from moving forward.

It isn’t easy to hear how a decision you made hurt another person. Your ex can easily draw you into their pain by expressing the negative impact your decision had on them, how “nothing will ever be OK again.” An ex who brings their pain to you isn’t attempting to gain sympathy, they are attempting to cause you to feel the same pain they feel. You hurt them, they want you to hurt!

Guilt is the result of not doing something instead of doing something wrong. If you put a full-faith attempt in saving your marriage before deciding to divorce, you’ve done nothing wrong. You have nothing to feel guilty about!

Show your ex compassion, once again, but don’t give in to feelings of guilt or shame because you aren’t responsible for their pain.

The main focus of an unreasonable ex is to keep you engaged in a relationship that has legally ended. To disengage and move on with your life you will need to recognize certain behaviors for what they are, attempts to pull you back into a relationship you’ve already decided was not right for you.

The post 4 Ways To Protect Yourself From An Unreasonable Ex appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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the key to success in second marriages

Positive Ways Of Relating: The Key To Success in Second Marriages

the key to success in second marriages

 

Most likely, when you remarry you’ll feel excited about having a second chance at happiness. However, both partners might hold unrealistic expectations that things will run on automatic and love will conquer all problems. Being aware of potential communication differences and barriers to positive ways of relating can help you stay strong and resilient as you navigate the challenges of remarried life.

For instance, we all have a unique style of communicating based on our upbringing, culture, personality, gender, and past relationships. Maybe one of you is extroverted and the other is more reserved. These differences in personalities can cause significant misunderstandings and become potent filters or lenses for how you see and interpret your partner’s behavior.

It’s also true that in a second marriage, couples bring styles of communicating based on their first (or second marriage), and their way of relating to their ex-spouse, that may become deeply ingrained and thus more difficult to alter. Over time, the challenges of living in a remarried or blended family may accentuate conversational differences – especially if one or both partners have unresolved trust issues.

The Key To Success in Second Marriages

For instance, Pam and Dave, both in their late fifties, remarried for fifteen years, and living in a stepfamily, grew up in vastly different cultures. Pam describes her family as loud and expressive, while Dave’s family is reserved and stoic. During our in-depth interview, Pam said she found these differences interesting in the early stages of their marriage, but they began to irritate her after several years of living together.

Pam explains: “Because I was raised in an Italian family that had poor boundaries, my tendency is to say what’s on my mind. Dave, on the other hand, usually weighs out what he is going to say and has a good internal filter. It’s also hard to know what he’s thinking because he shuts down a lot. The problem is that we can both be judgmental and we have misunderstandings and disagreements because we don’t trust each other.”

During our interview, Pam and Dave both acknowledged they had trust issues from their first marriages that were filters for how they interpreted each other’s comments and behavior. For instance, Pam’s ex-husband left suddenly to move in with a co-worker. After Dave’s divorce, he discovered that his ex-wife cleaned out their savings and had been hiding credit card debt that he was unaware of.

Dave: “Honestly, Pam can be a bit harsh and blunt at times. I grew up in New England and my family is private – we believe that it’s best not to disclose much about yourself. But I learned from my first marriage that communication is important so I’m trying to open up. I have some trouble with Pam’s intrusive communication style but I love her and I think loving someone is what matters in a marriage.”

Pam responds: “We have similar interests and taste in entertainment, movies, and music. We also have similar occupations and love to travel.  I’m learning to deal with unrealistic expectations and accepting Dave for who he is. When Dave shuts me out, it sounds like an echo from my first marriage (when my ex pushed me away) but Dave is not him.

Common Misunderstandings

Many remarried couples have established an unfortunate pattern of disagreeing over trivial matters because of the high level of stress in their lives. Seasoned remarried couples will tell you that even the happiest partners will have problems. In remarried families, there are many issues that first time married couples don’t face, such as adding children to the mix – yours, mine and ours. Couples also argue about finances, housework, in-laws, and disciplining children.

Take for example this conversation between Pam and Dave after a long workday. Their dialogue illustrates the inconsequential nature of most arguments between remarried couples. Couples often fight about nothing. Most of their disagreements arise out of differences of opinion about unimportant matters such as making dinner or chores. They both admit that their raw spots from their first marriage set the stage for feelings of vulnerability, defensiveness, and fear of rejection.

Dave: “What kind of pasta should I make tonight?”

Pam: “Tortellini, what else?”

Dave: “What do you mean, “What else”?”

Pam: “Well, we usually have tortellini but I guess I could make something else.”

Dave: “Does that mean you don’t like the way I make it?”

Pam: “No. I like it but go ahead and make something else.”

Dave: “Not if you want tortellini to go with the red sauce.”

Pam: “I don’t. Make ravioli tonight.”

By this dialogue, you can see how Pam and Dave’s difficulty being clear and misreading each other’s intentions set the stage for a disagreement. When Pam added the tag onto her response “What else?” the meta-message (or underlying meaning) was “You’re a jerk for asking, you should have known.” Understandably, Dave could interpret Pam’s comment as critical and demanding (she wanted him to read her mind) and lacking in directness and clarity.

In That’s Not What I Meant! author, Deborah Tannen, Ph.D. explains, “Things seem to get worse in close relationships that continue over time because we don’t realize that communication is inherently ambiguous and that conversational styles differ, so we expect to be understood if there is love. When misunderstandings inevitably arise, we attribute difficulties to failure: our own, or the others, or a failure of love.”

The story of Pam and Dave illustrates how unresolved differences can drive a wedge between remarried couples if they’re not repaired.

The following are three tips to use to improve your communication.

  • Decide together to make a face-to-face twenty to thirty-minute stress-reducing conversation happen daily. In The Seven Principles that Make Marriage Work, Dr. John Gottman explains that this conversation can help you feel more attuned with each other.
  • During this conversation (and at other times) acknowledge and show affection and appreciation for each other. A three-second kiss, holding hands, or cuddling on the couch will help you stay physically and emotionally connected. Be sure to show appreciation by pointing out something your partner does that you love. For example: “I love it when you make me a fresh cup of coffee every morning!”
  • Practice active listening and validation. Put your own agenda aside and suspend your worries and concerns about your own life while you focus on what your partner has to say. Giving your partner feedback will validate that you’re listening and that you understand and want to be close. For instance, you might say “It sounds like you had a tough conversation with your boss, that must have been disappointing since you worked so hard on that project.”

Keep in mind that active listening isn’t the same as advice and that it may take you a while to get used to this way of communicating. Most people rush in to offering solutions and solving problems and skip over listening and validation. You can strengthen your remarriage by improving your communication and making a commitment to learning more about each other every day!

 

Follow Terry Gaspard on TwitterFacebook, and movingpastdivorce.com. Terry’s book Daughters of Divorce: Overcome the Legacy of Your Parents’ Breakup and Enjoy a Happy, Long-lasting Relationship was published by Sourcebooks in 2016.
More from Terry

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