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Am I Being Trauma Bonded? 4 Ways To Know

Am I Being Trauma Bonded? 4 Ways To Know

 

Trauma bonding feels like love, it feels like you will die without someone and that you won’t get over the fact that you can’t have a happy and healthy relationship with this person.

I promise none of this is true.

I don’t think anyone could possibly have prepared themselves for the intense, inexplicable and deadly bonding experience that happens with a narcissist.

Today, I want to share with you the four ways to know that you are trauma bonded, as well as how to free yourself from the deadly grip of being trauma bonded to someone who is destroying you.

 

 

Video Transcript

Trauma bonding is terrifying for people.

If you are trauma bonded you will experience the feelings of wanting to stay connected and fix a relationship, regardless of how much this person is hurting you.

And, this may shock you and stun you.

You may be tormented beyond measure thinking – ‘Why do I love you so much when you abuse me like this?’

It feels like love – yet I promise you it is not.

In today’s TTV episode I am going to explain to you the four ways that you can know you are trauma bonded and how to get out of this terrible powerless state.

Okay, so before we look at these, I’d just like to thank everyone who has subscribed to my channel and for supporting the Thriver Mission. And if you haven’t yet subscribed, I want to remind you to please do so. And if you like this video, please make sure you hit the like button.

So, now, let’s look at how you know that you are trauma bonded.

Sign #1: Making Excuses for Abusive Behaviour

Truly, when you are making excuses and justifications for someone’s terrible behaviour then you are trauma bonded.

This could include focusing on the small things that are very basic common baseline requirements in any relationship, such as:

‘She tells me at times that she loves me.’

‘No matter how many times he leaves, he always comes back to me.’

‘We can sometimes laugh and have fun together.’

However, there could be things going on like horrific verbal and mental abuse, affairs, physical threats and violence – or whatever it is that means that you are being abused.

Cognitive dissonance is common amongst abuse victims, and can include excusing someone’s poor behaviour because of feeling sorry about their childhood, or believing that it is your duty to help them or fix them.

The roots of trauma bonding may make you feel terrified to let a person go. You could feel dependent on them, and that losing them would be too excruciatingly difficult to bear. This could be because you feel like you may not be able to survive alone.

Maybe you feel like you will never again meet someone who you feel so connected and attracted to and you simply have to try to make this work.

Or maybe you don’t want to ever let go of the possibility of the relationship that you always wanted with this person, even though they don’t have the resources and you continue to be abused by them.

Whichever way it goes, if your emotional self is telling you one truth ‘I am anxious, depressed, sad, angry, hurt and traumatised’ and yet you keep making the excuses mentally to stay in the relationship, then this is a sure sign that you are trauma bonded.

Sign #2: As the Abuse Intensifies You Move Toward That Person Instead of Away From Them

You may be horrified to discover that when this person lashes out and does horrific things to you that you try to fix things.

Rather than have the ability to pull away and look after yourself, you may take responsibility and apologise, or even beg and promise that you will never again do whatever the supposed crime was that you committed.

You may throw all your rights and boundaries out the window to give this person exactly what they want from you so that they won’t leave you.

Or maybe you find yourself agreeing to any condition that is demanded in the hopes that they will stop hurting you and love you instead.

Or possibly, you can pull away at times yet when the situation is out of control, you are the one who is trying to keep the peace, hold things together, find solutions and salvage things – despite inwardly knowing that things don’t and won’t get better.

Despite your efforts, any reprieve is temporary and the issues happen again, usually with more intensity and increased frequency.

Sign #3: When Disconnected From This Person You Feel Like You Are Dying

If things do get so bad that you have to leave, and you are trying to stay away to save your life, or you are discarded and this person refuses to reply to your efforts at contact and you feel like you are dying – this is a sure sign that you are trauma bonded.

Being trauma bonded creates a hugely powerful peptide addiction to this person. Heroin addicts have stated that getting off a narcissist is ten times harder than getting off heroin. Once you read and understand my publication on peptide addiction, you will understand why this is the case.

When we feel like we are dying without a person, naturally we believe it is because we love this person so much. Or we feel indebted to them and guilty or responsible for their wellbeing. But any of these bonding emotions to abusers are not true.

Rather, it is because of the chemical addiction to the trauma we have received that is now hardwired through our system.

We realise these emotions don’t make logical sense. It doesn’t make sense because these obsessional feelings are happening deep within our cellular being, beneath the level of cognitive understanding.

This is why we exclaim in complete distress, ‘How can I love someone like this, when I hate what he/she has done to me?’

‘Why can’t I stop obsessing and feeling responsible for him/her?’

‘Why can’t I just let go and get on with my life?’

It is because of the peptide addiction that has infiltrated your being – which is a serious side effect of being trauma bonded.

Sign #4: When This Person Does Something ‘Nice’ You Experience Hope and Relief

There is an incredible phenomenon that happens with trauma bonding. It’s a chemical endorphin that is experienced as ‘the high of relief’.

This happens when he stops being abusive for a moment and cuddles you and tells you everything is going to be okay.

It can happen after being caught out cheating and he breaks down, tells you he has a problem that he wants your help with and promises never to do it again.

It can happen when rather than criticise and yell at you she stops and asks, ‘What can I do to help you today?’

Or maybe, rather than tell you all the things she doesn’t like about what you have or haven’t done, she comes home and has a normal conversation with you.

It is at these times you heave a sigh of relief. If the abuse has been horrific, these moments of reprieve may be in such stark contrast that you feel like you have won the jackpot.

You may feel there is hope.

You may feel blissy on chemicals that feel like love.

The feelings of heightened relief are exactly the trauma bonding feelings people have to any addiction – the relief from the pain of the actual thing or person that IS the addiction.

For example…

Poker machines – the payout grants relief from the lost money.

Cigarettes – the puffing on a cigarette stops the terrible pangs of nicotine withdrawal.

A narcissist – being ‘nice’ or even just stopping the behaviour grants relief from abuse.

The ‘high’ is an addictive endorphin.

What Is Trauma Bonding Really and How Do You Heal From It?

Trauma bonding is being connected to someone through your internal wounds.

When we have unhealed unconscious inner parts, they play out by us becoming attached to the exact people who play out these parts with us.

For example, my primary unhealed terrors were about abandonment and not being able to survive as a woman on my own.

The abusive people I picked seemed to be men that would never abandon me (engulfers) and also they appeared powerful, protective and capable (seemingly capable in the world).

What I faced again and again was being abandoned by these men (emotionally or literally), or me having to separate from them because the trauma of staying became bigger than that of leaving.

When I was unhealed, the trauma bonding was so extreme that I did feel like I was dying and would often return.

I also lost a great deal of resources and suffered terrible financial abuse in these relationships – bringing to life all of my terrible fears of survival and security.

I clung on and tried to force these men to fix these terrors for me, but they were never the saviours of these wounds – they were the messengers of them.

Until I let go of these men and turned inwards to heal my inner traumatised parts, I was powerless to stop the terrible addictions and traumatising I experienced through trauma bonding.

Today, after healing these parts with NARP, I experience healthy happy relationships that are kind, supportive and healthy, and I have absolutely no trouble in walking away from anyone who represents abuse because I feel whole, safe and powerful within.

I want the same for you too – and know what a huge difference in your life and relationships it will create once you get there.

I so hope this video has helped.

Okay, if you want to start getting aligned with these truths to boost and actualise your recovery out of the pain and into truly healthy, wholesome and fulfilling connections, then I’d love to help you.

You can start this journey today by clicking this link.

And if you want to see more of my videos, please subscribe so that you will be notified as soon as each new one is released. And if you liked this – click like. Also, please share with your communities so that we can help people awaken to these truths.

As always I am greatly looking forward to answering your comments and questions below.

 

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5 Ways to Cope With Divorce and Finally Move On

5 Ways to Cope With Divorce and Finally Move On

When you are newly divorced it feels as if your world has been ripped apart. Friends say things will get better; but how? Here are five things you can do to help yourself heal from the divorce.

The post 5 Ways to Cope With Divorce and Finally Move On appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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4 Ways to Build Your Single Mom Community of Support

4 Ways to Build Your Single Mom Community of Support

single mom community of support

 

None of us can do everything by ourselves. We need friends, family, and community. But how many of these people can you reach out to who have an understanding of your life as a single mom?

How do you create a community of support when you’re juggling your children’s lives and all their activities, working, running your household and all that goes along with being a single mom, right?

You need a tribe, a group of friends and even some family members who’ll be there if you need a shoulder to cry on, someone to bitch about your kids to or help with childcare.

And, don’t forget that person to share a glass of wine or cup of coffee with. Someone you can talk about your latest relationship with, the new jeans you purchased or how damn broke you are. It all helps but when it comes to being a single mom and building that kind of community, it’s beyond difficult.

Ways to Build Your Single Mom Community of Support

Babysitting

Create a babysitting network with other single parent friends, offering to supervise someone else’s kids for an evening on a rotating schedule with all people offering same. Not only do you gain time away from the kids you build relationships with other single moms.

Facebook Page for Local Single Moms

Use social networking wisely. Join or create a Facebook page for local single parents. You can swap ideas, services, potluck dinners, meetups, the list is endless and can provide connections if you don’t have built-in ones through family or your kids’ friends.

My local single mom’s Facebook group has 63 members. We go hiking, kayaking, out to lunch, to movies, museums and have a book club that meets once a month. Since we’re all single moms’ effort is made to schedule activities based on member’s availability. If there is an activity that can’t be scheduled to suit everyone, we’ll do that activity twice to make sure everyone is included.

Church

Join a church. Even if you don’t consider yourself religious or the church-going type. Churches often have mother’s groups and provide daycare. Then you’re meeting people who are in the same phase of life as you and your kids get to have fun and make friends in the process too.

The church I go to has a once a month meeting of single parents. On the third Thursday of each month, we have a pot-luck dinner. We share a meal and have a gathering where no topic is off the table. We’ve talked about dating, sex, networking for careers and childcare amongst many other things. We even gave ourselves a name and had T-shirts printed up…Cornerstone Singles. Next month we’re all running a half marathon!

MeetUp.com

You can create your own single mom group on meetup.com. Or, explore groups in your community and join one that has already been created. The great thing about meetup.com is that you’ll find groups for all kinds of activities. If you’re into quilting, wine tasting, or just hanging out with singles in your age group, you’ll find it on meetup.com.

2-1-1

If you’re in a bind, and it’s not a traditional emergency, try dialing 2-1-1. Many states help through 2-1-1, which operates much like 9-1-1, but provides free referrals to local social service agencies, groups and organizations. Simply dial 2-1-1 from any phone and tell the operator what kind of help you’re looking for, and they might be able to connect you to community programs for single parents.

Building your supportive community as a single mom is critical. No one can do it all, and as single moms, we feel like we are expected to do everything.

A friend told me that this generation of parents is really the first generation that believes that we have to do everything. We work, take care of the home, take our kids to activities, review and help with homework, and everything in between without asking for help.

As a matter of fact, another friend posted on social media about how her mom was coming over to help her with her laundry and another woman with children scolded her for being a burden. We are conditioned to do everything alone and refuse to ask for help because asking for help shows weakness.

If you haven’t heard this yet, let me tell you that this is a lie! Don’t buy into the idea that you need to be strong, need to be able to do it on your own! Don’t miss out on critical rest or peace of mind because you are trying to be Supermom.

The post 4 Ways to Build Your Single Mom Community of Support appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Paralyzed By Divorce Documents

Paralyzed By Divorce Documents? 5 Ways to Handle it Like a Boss

Paralyzed By Divorce Documents

Are you flooded with documents that have verbiage such as litigation, custody, child support, alimony, mediation, petitioner, respondent, hearing date, rulings, request for order, etc.? Just reading these words is enough to kick your anxiety into overdrive.

I remember a time when I did anything and everything to avoid reading court documents and attorney letters. The site of them would literally be enough to suffocate me.

It’s hard enough coming to the realization that your marriage is over. The proverbial body isn’t even cold yet and already you are getting slapped with way more than you can chew. More than likely one of you didn’t even want the divorce, but suddenly it becomes a race to get to the finish line. Whether you wanted the divorce or not, it’s time to get to work and handle your business like a boss.

Paralyzed By Divorce Documents?

Here’s what’s on your to-do list:

1.  Remove yourself from the victim mindset.  You can’t handle business if you are giving your emotions away, and you are stuck in blame mode. See this with different eyes. See it as if it were a business, and you and your business partner need to part ways because the partnership is no longer serving your vision.

I know this may sound cold and disconnected, but right now you need to practice detachment, at least until you find your power again. You have invested your energy in this marriage and now you need to energetically detach from it and take back control. If you want to know how to cut energetic cords check out my blog post right here

2.  Enlist a new ‘business partner.’ Someone you can trust that will help you see things without all the emotional baggage. It could be a friend, family member, coach, mentor, etc. Anyone who can be a pillar of strength for you and help you handle your business. I can’t say enough for the people who helped me through that difficult time.

I remember letting documents and emails sit for days with knots in my stomach, thinking, “I’m not cut out for this.” This was something I couldn’t avoid, but until I was able to find my power again, I needed support.

Be careful not to let just anyone on your team. Whomever you decide to enlist should not throw fuel on an already burning flame. They should be able to leave their own emotions at the door and detach from the outcome. This is how lawyers do their job. They really have no personal investment in your divorce. They are there to help you move through the process. This is exactly what you need, someone who will help you move through this process and not stay stuck in it.

You certainly can have your lawyer help you with this process, but in my experience, it is very costly, and you will just be one of their many cases they have sitting on their desk. Ultimately, this is your livelihood and your family, so you need to make sure you go over everything with a fine-tooth comb. There were many moments in my attorney’s office where they were talking at me, going over all the documents, and I left their office with my head spinning not knowing what just happened.

There were times I just needed someone to sit by my side and let me know everything was going to be ok.  Or, just sit with me as I read through the emails.

3.  Give yourself permission to practice self-love and self-care.  You may see things on those documents that are emotionally heavy. There may even be lies or elaborate versions of situations that make you out to be this terrible person. All of a sudden, this person you once shared a life with becomes a person you need to “protect” yourself from.

It’s a shame people feel they need to protect themselves instead of healing themselves, but the courts in my experience are not designed for healing. Healing is a personal journey that is yours and yours alone.

Self-love can happen when you switch intentions from defending to healing. Defending is a distraction. Defending is an external job, it’s on the outside of yourself. Healing, on the other hand, is internal.  My healing started with asking, “What do I need at this moment? What have I neglected? How did I get here? What still needs to be looked at? How can I give more love and compassion to myself?”

I remember being in a constant fight and flight mode. There was no resting period because my mind was racing at all the possibilities. I was in protection mode. I was surviving and trying to navigate in a world I didn’t feel safe in. When we don’t feel safe everything gets turned inside out.

At this time what you need is tender loving care. Try and find things to do that will fill up your gas tank when you are on empty. Believe me, I know this is hard, but you have to find moments of joy between all the chaos. Find things to do that will take your focus off the heaviness, even just for a moment.

4.  Use this time to reflect.  I love the saying how you do anything is how you do everything. Those papers, documents, and orders made me feel powerless. This powerlessness didn’t just show up during the divorce process. It was there my entire life, and I was forced to face it when I had no other option.

So, what else are you running from, and why? What else do you avoid? Do you avoid conflict at all costs? Are there other situations that you felt took your power away? It’s time to go deeper and see where else this is showing up in your life.

5.  Change your language! Your words carry so much power. Whatever you speak will become your reality. I want you to be very mindful about the words you are using that are describing your experience.  If you are using language such as;  this is exhausting, I feel paralyzed, I don’t think I can do this, this is draining me, I don’t have it in me…this will become your reality.

I get it, we aren’t all cut out to be lawyers. And yes, this process does change you. But, you are so much stronger than you think. Even if you don’t believe it right now in your body, start saying affirmations that empower you to change your mindset.

Say affirmations daily! I AM STRONG. I CAN DO THIS. I AM BOLD.  NOTHING WILL TAKE MY POWER AWAY.  I AM LOVED.  I AM FREE.  I AM GUIDED. 

You may not see it now, but divorce when handled with self-love, has the capacity to grow you like nothing else, but only when you are able to point the finger inward. You have an opportunity to look at where your triggers are and heal them. I am a firm believer that there are no winners or losers in divorce, only opportunities to heal and grow. 

The post Paralyzed By Divorce Documents? 5 Ways to Handle it Like a Boss appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Is Your Friend A Narcissist? 5 Ways To Know

Is Your Friend A Narcissist? 5 Ways To Know

 

Do you have a friend who leaves you feeling drained, uncared for and even EXPLOITED?

Is the relationship one-sided, with you holding the SHORT end of the stick?

Maybe this person is just selfish and needs a talking to – where you are honest about what is going on for you, and what you really need to have a healthy and happy friendship with them.

Maybe you are too scared to do this or you don’t know how to start the conversation (or even want to have it).

Maybe you know deep inside that talking with them will never work, and would only make matters worse – because this friend is a NARCISSIST.

How can you know? In today’s Thriver TV episode, I’ll help you know and HOW to deal with them.

 

 

Video Transcript

Over the years many of you have asked me, ‘Do you think my friend is a narcissist?’

Or maybe you wonder if some of your peers, or even your bestie, might be just a tad (or a lot) narcissistic.

I haven’t done this Thriver TV episode before, but I really think that it is now time to deeply investigate how to know whether or not your friend is a narcissist and what to do if he or she is.

Okay, before we get started, thank you everyone who has subscribed to my channel for supporting the Thriver Mission. And if you haven’t yet subscribed, I want to remind you to please do. And if you like this video, please make sure you hit the like button.

Okay, let’s dive in.

#1 Puts Other People Down

One of the sure-fire ways to know that your friend is a narcissist is when he or she trashes other people behind their backs.

We all know that talking about people, especially for us women, is usual. But there is a big difference between discussing people with empathy and awareness and simply being derogatory, accusatory and nasty.

Does your friend seldom have nice things to say about people? Are they lovely to people’s faces and really happy to get what they can from them, but then pull apart their character, relationships, work-life, or anything else they can dig their teeth into, as soon as these people are not there?

If you are really honest with yourself, do you sometimes think, ‘I wonder what you say about ME when my back is turned’?

Be aware that this person might gush all over people at times, but this is during the idolising stage – the period when the narcissist’s ‘subject’ is granting them copious amounts of narcissistic supply and is the next best thing since sliced bread. It only lasts for a short length of time.

And, yes, this could be you if the friendship is new. But give it time, sooner or later you will become the person who is no longer ‘wonderful’ and is, therefore ‘terrible’.

#2 Is Entitled and Exploitative

Narcissists push boundaries – period. They feel they are entitled and they like to take. This can be very confusing with a narcissistic friend, who makes out that they are super-generous.

It could be with their replies on Facebook, their offers of support and their supposed generosity, love and care for others. Yet, if this person is narcissistic, they will expect renumeration for their efforts. At the very least attention and recognition.

Yet usually there is more…

If the narcissistic friend is parasitical, then in return for their efforts they may wish favours for free. Your time and resources or lunches, coffee and drinks, at your expense.

How do we know when a narcissistic friend is playing this game? They sit back. They let you pay. They don’t initiate picking up a bill themselves. In their head, they believe they are entitled to whatever they can get because they have earned it from you.

They don’t thank you – they just expect. And they don’t discuss reciprocating.

I have found that high-character friends not only speak up, but usually will also fight you in their offering to grab a bill! They also insist on delivering what is gracious and fair in the future. They don’t EXPECT!

A narcissistic friend’s entitlement could extend to many aspects of your life, whereby they will help themselves without the filter of checking in and seeing if it is okay or not.

Asking permission, or returning favours, especially when there is no audience or narcissistic supply to achieve, is not a narcissistic friend’s deal.

Also, they generally want to make plans with you on their time and will not put themselves out when it’s not convenient for you. Yet they expect you to drop everything for them.

But where is this person when you really need their assistance?

#3 Drains the Hell Out of You

At first, when this friend came into your life, there was their ‘I’m so nice’-bombing or some sort of exciting mutual shenanigans (narcissists love drama!), as a reciprocation of energy.

But now things have settled in beyond that initial period, you have possibly discovered that spending time with this person exhausts you. You may even feel ‘slimed’ after being with or listening to them.

Meaning that they dump a whole heap of toxic energy on you and suck your good energy dry.

Does this person, every time you get together, tell you another story about their victimisation?

Is this a person who has no respect for, and may not even ask about what is going on in your life, making everything absolutely about them?

Every time you try to talk, do they interrupt, take over and leave you feeling like you have to fight for air-time?

Narcissism is an energetic physic phenomenon. Truly, these people are soul vampires. If you are hanging out with someone like this, then it is unhealthy for you.

#4 Doesn’t Want Your Advice

Naturally, when someone you care about is always having dramas, issues and battles with people and life, you want to help them. And just as much as you don’t want to see them going through this stuff, which is soooo self-imposed, you also don’t want to have to keep listening to the same ‘crapola’ over and over!

Therefore, it would be normal for you to intercept with some good, old-fashion solutions to the issues at hand.

Maybe, if you have already Gone Quantum, and you know that life works from the inside out, you are trying to get this person to go within and heal the part of themselves that keeps playing out the same painful beliefs and victimisations, again and again.

But your words go through one ear and out the other.

This person doesn’t listen, butts in, doesn’t get it, or simply tells you what you need to hear so you think they may do something about it – to shut you up, so that they can keep banging on about themselves.

Yet each time you talk with them, nothing has changed. It’s the same drama; you are being dumped on all over again; and this person has not given one ounce of credence to your advice, let alone their own personal development and growth.

So repeatedly you get the same stories, complete with the same toxic, in-repeat, energy sliming you.

#5 Gets Nasty When You Have Had Enough

This last bit is how you TRULY know if this friend in your life is a narcissist or not.

What do narcissists do when they are presented with a boundary?

They do EVERYTHING they can to get under it, around it or to blow it up, and if they can’t they attack the person laying it.

The following is how to set a REAL boundary with a narcissistic friend:

‘(Friends name), I now love me enough to desire healthy relationships. I haven’t been honest with you about some things in our friendship that haven’t been working for me. It affects me when you do (what they do), and I know that for our friendship to continue I need to receive (what it is that you need) from you. Are you willing to look at this and work in with me, so that we can have a healthier friendship together? Because I know I can’t continue unless we can.’

I promise you if this person is decent, cares about you and has the resources to be conscious – they will own it, be apologetic and work in with you. They will want to change.

They may even thank you for helping them see something that they didn’t realise they were doing.

If this person is a narcissist, however, stand back and watch the three-ring-circus come to town.

Excuses. Justifications. Denial. Accusations. Even ATTACKS on your character and person. This is all about trying to get you to take the boundary down, eat it and choke on it, apologise and spin back to being a compliant, workable energy supply again.

And when you refuse to…

He or she may just be so ‘called out’ that they will do the famous ‘Poof, I’m gone’ narcissistic dump-and-run act. Which means, ‘I’ll block you on social media before you get to do it to me, and I’ll start smearing the heck out of you to anyone who will listen!’

Which is all to do with saving their precious ego.

Or maybe for a while you will be hoovered with attempted guilting, threats, appealing to your compassion – whatever it is that the narcissist thinks could get you re-hooked.

NONE of it will be about taking 100 percent responsibility and lifting his or her game.

I nearly cried laughing with an ex-narcissist friend, who a year after the showdown messaged me with ‘I have decided to forgive you!’

Typical (and hilarious!) non-existent narcissistic ownership!

Up-Levelling Friendships

We truly are WHO we connect with.

And what and who we tolerate is the level that our life will run at.

I know for many of you it is really painful to have to say goodbye to a person, or maybe even lots of people because you know they are narcissistic.

Try setting the boundary, and really mean it when you do.

You will have to be prepared to lose it all to get it all – there is no other way.

And, whenever you do this, you will have to be healed enough inside to truly move beyond victimisation to know that you ARE creating your life by setting the values and the limits that you desire as your life.

Then, I promise you, for every door that closes, ten more beautiful ones will open – when you truly get and actualise this.

To finish, I want to do a big shout out to this Community that it is soooo NOT true that my Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program (NARP) is just for people healing from Intimate Partner relationships.

The healing in NARP is for any and every narcissistic person in our life, because it is all about us healing within us, and becoming what we need to be as the Creators of a clean, empowered and truly interpersonal healthy life.

Many NARP members are working the Program to heal ALL SORTS of narcissistic abuse. In fact any type of narcissist or toxic or difficult individual. They do not have to be diagnosed as narcissistic.

If you are ready to get your happy, healthy, loving life, then I’d love you to check out my Introductory Healing Offer which you can do by clicking this link.

And if you want to see more of my videos, please subscribe so that you will be notified as soon as each new one is released. And if you liked this – click like. Also, please share with your communities so that we can help people awaken to these truths.

As always, I am greatly looking forward to answering your comments and questions below.

 

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5 Ways Mobile Apps Can Help You Cope With Divorce

5 Ways Mobile Apps Can Help You Cope With Divorce

Divorce is really hard, and it’s taxing on your emotions. If you find a way to cope, and there’s an app to help, there’s no shame in using them so you can find peace through your divorce.

The post 5 Ways Mobile Apps Can Help You Cope With Divorce appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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10 Ways to Connect With Your Stepchild

10 Ways to Connect With Your Stepchild

Different from a biological parent, a major thrust of being a stepparent is to be an adult friend to your stepchildren on some level.

The post 10 Ways to Connect With Your Stepchild appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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heal from your break-up

7 Ways to Heal from Your Break-up and Regain Your Self-Concept

heal from your break-up

 

When your marriage ends, it’s natural to experience feelings of rejection, anger, sadness, guilt, regret, or even relief. Self-defeating thoughts can seize you because you’re vulnerable and trying to come to terms with the changes that are occurring in your life. However, it’s important to realize that these feelings are a normal part of grieving and letting go after a break-up.

Marissa put it like this: “It was a long time coming and a mutual decision to divorce, but it was still a struggle to end our fifteen-year marriage and have to explain it to our two sons. The reality of living apart from Trevor was tough. We no longer love each other but the finality of our break-up is painful.

While it’s normal to go through a period of self-reflection when your relationship ends, it’s crucial that you keep things in perspective. Losing a partner, even if you made a decision to end the relationship, can disrupt your life on so many levels because your ex-partner was undoubtedly a part of your daily existence. As a result, breakups can weaken your ability to sleep, eat well, and function at work and in social spheres.

To complicate matters, studies have discovered that experiencing the end of a relationship can leave you with a diminished self-concept (those things that make you unique). This makes perfect sense because your identity probably became incorporated with your partner’s sense of self and now, you’re left with the task of redefining who you are as a separate person.

According to author Linda Carroll, the anguish of heartache also registers in your body. She writes: “There is a change in blood flow in the brain, and the anterior cingulate cortex (responsible for the regulation of distress) becomes active. Recent MRI studies of subjects in the midst of a breakup revealed that the part of their brains that registered emotional rejection was the same part that reacted to severe pain.”

The reality is that breakups are hard.

We’ve all faced them and been challenged by letting go of the why and how things could have gone differently. Goodbyes are never easy but it’s better to let someone go than staying with them out of insecurity or fear of being alone.

Ask yourself this: Do your fears of being alone prevent you from looking at your breakup honestly? For instance, it’s likely that there have been problems in the relationship for some time and that one or both of you have been unhappy. A recent study at the University of Toronto confirmed that a fear of being single can lead people to stay in unfulfilling relationships.

In terms of adjusting to the end of a relationship, the late Dr. Bruce Fisher coined two terms that shed light on how individuals experience different emotions depending on their role in the breakup. In Dr. Fisher’s groundbreaking book Rebuilding: When Your Relationship Ends, he writes “Dumpers are the partners who leave the relationship, and they often feel considerable guilt; dumpees are the partners who want to hang on to the relationship, and they often experience strong feelings of rejection.”

For instance, Janette made a decision to end her twenty-year marriage after six months of counseling. She initiated the process, filed divorce papers, and expressed some relief but also guilt during our last counseling session. On the other hand, her husband Kirk expressed feelings of sadness and rejection about Janette moving out. Janette stated: “The hardest part of moving out was coming to the realization that even though I made the best decision, I felt bad that Kirk didn’t want the divorce, even though we argued constantly and led separate lives.”

Further, if you were the person who was left (or the dumpee) feelings of rejection and loss may cause you to feel lowered self-worth and self-love. Be patient with yourself! As you learn to let go of self-blame and to love yourself again, your feelings of rejection will lessen and you’ll have more energy to relate to others in healthy ways.

If you find yourself ruminating about what went wrong, this is normal. Part of the grieving process at the end of a relationship is accepting that the marriage you thought you had no longer exists. While these feelings are more common for dumpee than dumpers, both people typically experience a grief process.

Here are 7 ways to heal from a breakup:

1. Accept your feelings about the breakup and don’t judge yourself. This includes your emotional reactions such as sadness, anger, fear, rejection, and guilt. Crying can release tension and help the healing process. Don’t be surprised if you shed tears at unexpected times and feel intensely sad and perhaps a sense of relief afterward.

2. Gain awareness of the reasons your relationship ended. This includes some examination of your part in the relationship ending. Don’t get stuck in these thoughts but it’s helpful to gain insight so that you don’t repeat the same patterns in the next relationship.

3. Work towards a routine for exercise and eating healthy meals. Are you taking care of yourself physically and emotionally? If not, devise a plan to nurture yourself and get your well-being restored (regular exercise, eating a balanced diet, etc.).

4. Forgive Yourself. Focus on those things that you can control. You can’t control the past but you can begin to let go of hurt feelings. Attempt to forgive yourself and your former partner – or at least accept his or her behavior. This doesn’t mean you condone hurtful actions, but they simply have less power over you! Consulting a counselor, support group, or divorce coach may help to facilitate forgiveness and healing.

5. Attempt to see relationships as teachers. We learn a lot about ourselves from loss and can approach a new relationship with our eyes wide open. Just because your relationship is over, it doesn’t mean you’re inadequate or inferior – or there’s something wrong with you. Give yourself a break.

6. Nurture supportive relationships. It may be a challenge to be around other people but sometimes you might just have to force yourself to accept an invitation to a party or something simple like going to a movie with a friend.

7. Try out new interests. Get energized by a new hobby and invite a friend to join you. Consider something that causes you to go outside your comfort zone such as an exercise class or glass blowing.

Taking an inventory of how your feelings may be impacting your behavior can help you gain a healthier viewpoint. Are you neglecting your health, interests, family, or friends due to grieving the loss of your relationship? It’s important not to fall prey to a victim mentality and to make self-care a priority. Keep in mind that you don’t have to be defined by your relationship ending and that dealing effectively with loss can cause you to better define who you are as a person!

 

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. Her new book, The Remarried Manual: How to Make Everything Work Better the Second Time Around,  will be published by Sounds True in February of 2020 and can be pre-ordered here.

More from Terry

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8 Effective Ways to Find Yourself Again After a Hard Divorce

8 Effective Ways to Find Yourself Again After a Hard Divorce

How do you find yourself again after divorce? If you have signed your divorce papers and have officially dissolved your marriage, chances are that you need some time to absorb it all.

The post 8 Effective Ways to Find Yourself Again After a Hard Divorce appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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divorce when you still love him

4 Ways To Deal With The Divorce Process When You Still Love Him

divorce when you still love him

 

In my divorce mediation practice, I often work with couples where one party is still, deeply in love with the spouse who wants a divorce. In this article, we’ll focus on advice for wives who find themselves in this painful situation. To be honest, I’ve found it’s just as often true that it’s the wife who wants to end the marriage and the husband who is still in love.

In any event, these are heart-wrenching divorce cases and over the years I have given this topic a lot of thought. Here are my thoughts.

4 tips for dealing with divorce when you still love him.

1. Do not retaliate or act out

The momentary urge to “get even” or act on hurt feelings can be difficult to resist. Taking action in the midst of hurt or anger may be satisfying and feel good in the moment, but be aware that acting on this urge will have consequences.  In one of my early cases, I observed the consequences of a young wife and mother who acted on those feelings when she was angry at her husband whom she deeply loved. During a marital argument, he moved out and demanded a divorce.

In the midst of their argument, he had made a caustic comment about her haggard appearance and post-pregnancy weight retention. The comment was understandably deeply hurtful to her. Reacting to the pain of his callous remark and his decision to move out, she retaliated. She had a short fling with one of her husband’s close friends.

A few weeks later the couple patched things up and he moved back home with his wife and their two young children.  A few weeks later she discovered that she was pregnant (…the pregnancy was not the result of make-up sex with her husband).

They stayed together for a few more years rationalizing that since he was the one who had left, he really shouldn’t complain about her behavior during the breakup. Meanwhile, the husband’s former good friend was paying child support every month and had visitation with the baby. As you can guess, this arrangement just kept reminding the husband of his wife’s retaliation; eventually, the marriage failed.

So my best advice is to avoid taking any action which will harm the man you love or the marriage you say you want. Examples of what NOT to do may seem to fit a stereotype. Even so, I’ve found them to be very common in cases where the husband seeks divorce and the wife is still in love, but hurt and angry. (Could this same advice be given to husbands who still love their wife who’s asking for a divorce? You bet.)

 Here is a partial list:

  • Don’t bad-mouth him to your girlfriends or your parents. If you need to process your feelings, find a therapist or support group.
  • Don’t buy things for yourself which you have wanted but cannot readily afford. Divorce often centers on money issues. Racking up credit card debt or draining a bank account on an impulse purchase usually brings more grief than joy in the long run.
  • Don’t act out by damaging his car, destroying his tools or lashing out in any way. If you want to physically express your anger, take a brisk walk or enroll in a martial arts class. (Don’t even think about anything which would end up as a YouTube video!).

I do not mean to promise that he will come back to you, but I can attest that you make it a lot harder if you retaliate or act out when he delivers the news that he wants to leave.

2. Try not to escalate

If while still married you and your husband are fighting and he threatens divorce it is imperative that you remain as calm as you can. Yes, he may truly want a divorce and be committed to that path. However, it’s also possible that while he may have said that what he wants is a divorce, what he may truly want is to stop fighting with you.

Divorce may seem like the way to get the fighting to stop. He may also be yearning for the dynamic that existed in the early years of your relationship but not know how to reclaim it. When arguments escalate it’s common for one or both parties to say things in anger they later regret.

Of course, when the prospect of an unwanted divorce raises its head, it is wise to protect yourself and look out for your own interests, even if you still love him and would prefer to stay married. Depending on the circumstances, hiring an attorney at this stage may seem to be the best course of action.

Just keep in mind that hiring an overly aggressive lawyer may preclude a smaller step like one-on-one mediation. Being a divorce mediator, I may be biased, but I’ve seen mediation work wonders in these situations.

Remember that divorce attorneys make their money by litigating divorces. Mediators thrive by creating harmony through mutual effort to resolve conflict. Many men have told me they find divorce mediation far more satisfying than marriage counseling because it is focused on problem-solving, (often their strong suit) rather than therapy which is focused on exploring feelings (often their weak suit).

If you need legal perspective, talk with a mediator with legal experience or call a lawyer from a town far away just to get some general advice. If you still love your husband and the marriage still has a chance of survival, jumping into litigation is highly unlikely to yield the results you seek.

3. Consider whether addiction is a factor and if so, get help.

One of the frequent coping mechanisms of couples going through the hard times prior to a divorce is to escape the pain of their lost romantic feelings using addictive behaviors. If your husband has shown any signs of addiction, then it is likely that you have reacted with your own countermeasures. Sometimes they are co-dependent behaviors like nagging, trying to shame him into good behavior, lying to cover up problems and so forth.

Whatever the details, when a couple is in this addictive cycle the marriage has almost no chance to thrive unless the addictions are addressed. If you have addiction anywhere in your marriage, then start with an honest assessment of your own reactions. If he has a problem behavior, and you still love him, there are proven ways to maintain your dignity and sanity in the relationship. Try Alanon or another 12–step program geared to support the friends and family of someone with an addiction problem.

4. Explore Your Deepest Truth

The hard truth is that I have seen cases where there are wives who love their husbands and there are other cases where the wives are attached to being married but seem to be indifferent toward their husband as a person. These might seem the same, but there is a world of difference.

Explore your deepest motivations about your relationship and your marriage because at some level your husband can probably tell how you really feel about him. If you are clinging to the idea that you love him but actually, deep down, you are insecure about not being married, that will tend to energetically push him away.

On the other hand, if you truly love him and that is the priority in your heart and soul, then living in accord with those emotions may have the effect of drawing him toward you.

What might this look like? Every relationship has its own qualities and dynamics; there are as many ways to put this advice into motion as there are couples. It takes some self-examination and wisdom to know what is a kindness you can genuinely offer without feeling like you are being taken advantage of or becoming a doormat. Healthy boundaries vary from individual to individual and relationship to relationship. This is definitely not a case of one-size-fits-all.

Here are a few approaches I’ve seen succeed in drawing a couple back toward each other rather than driving them further apart:

  • If you have children, and abuse is not a concern, consider allowing as much access as possible during the first phase of your separation. Show him that you value his role in their lives as a father even if he wasn’t the greatest dad before the divorce started. Invite him to visit with the kids in the home and be gracious when he shows up. Preparing extra food for dinner so he can eat with the kids is an act of kindness which he will notice and may appreciate. If the children are engaged in after-school sports, be sure to give him notice of all the games and ask him to sit next to you when he attends. Make an extra effort to include him in family gatherings and celebrations.
  • If he has moved out, you might provide him with a generous share of the linens and silverware, maybe even spare furniture so that he does not need to go buy replacements. Consider letting him store his big-ticket items in the garage rather than force him to move them to a storage locker.

It may be counter-intuitive but sometimes making it easy for him to leave, makes it easier for him to come back.  At the same time, only you can determine what crosses the line into unhealthy co-dependence and being overly generous for the situation.

Conclusion

Every case is different because every couple is different. If you still love your husband and he says he wants a divorce, you will have many opportunities to choose how you show up when whatever happens next unfolds. Over the course of my mediation practice, I’ve witnessed couples move toward reconciliation after one or the other, or both, initially thought divorce was inevitable. Of course, many couples do complete the divorce process, even when one of them really wants to stay married.

Either way, these four principles help provide the best chance of moving forward with a positive outcome. 1) Don’t retaliate, 2) try not to escalate, 3) if addiction is a factor, get help and 4) explore your deepest truth.

The post 4 Ways To Deal With The Divorce Process When You Still Love Him appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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