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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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getting divorced is hard

Getting Divorced is Hard: Here’s How Women Can Stay Healthy

getting divorced is hard

 

There is no denying that divorce is an incredibly painful experience. The range of emotions you might feel, from anger to depression, can be similar to the kind of grief that accompanies a physical loss. Fortunately, there are ways to find, and maintain, your emotional balance during this difficult time.

According to US News & World Report, self-care can have both immediate and long-term benefits. It can reduce your risk of chronic health problems and keep you mentally sharp. Here are four tips for staying healthy during a divorce.

Getting Divorced is Hard: 4 Ways to Stay Healthy

Get Exercise

Staying fit doesn’t need to involve anything fancy. According to the Mayo Clinic, any amount of physical exercise can have immediate benefits. You can improve your mood, maintain your weight, and help you get better sleep. All of these are important during a divorce, when things may feel really out of whack. Try taking the stairs instead of the elevator at the office or walking around the block during your lunch break. Exercise can also be a social experience.

Get your friends together to power walk at the mall or commit to a regular spin class. Getting out and staying social can help you avoid falling into a mental rut in the midst of your divorce.

Eat Healthily

Maintaining an exercise routine and eating healthy go hand-in-hand. We all respond to stress in different ways. Some of us might stress eat or avoid food entirely, which can cause our weight to fluctuate.

Take control of your diet by eliminating unhealthy foods like chips and soda. Try your best to eat three square meals per day that balance carbs, protein, and healthy fats. You might feel like eating is the last thing you want to do. Something simple like a smoothie or comforting like a grilled cheese sandwich can give you the nourishment you need when you’re hungry without the effort of making a full meal.

Stick to a Routine

Mental Health America advises against going through a divorce completely on your own. A smart smoke detector can send you alerts on your phone so you can focus on your daily routine knowing your home is protected.

Make sure to get up and go to work at the same time every day and do your best to maintain connections with the friends and family that care about you. It’s also okay to give yourself permission to grieve and be angry or frustrated. Emotional healing takes time. It’s perfectly normal to not rebound immediately.

Explore your interests away from the activities you enjoyed with your partner. Invest in yourself and the things you’ve always wanted to do. Sign up for a painting class or volunteer at a local charity. Things might not feel the same anymore but broadening your horizons can help you focus on the future as you begin to build a new life for yourself.

If you have children, take time to listen to their worries. Reassure them that the divorce is not their fault. Keep their daily and weekly routines as stable as possible. If there were activities that you all did together as a family, you can either adjust them or create new ones.

Create a Mind-Body Balance

Self-care isn’t just about tending to the physical body; our emotional bodies need love and support, too. Work either on your own or with a counselor to build a mind-body practice that makes sense for you. It might involve meditating, yoga, prayer, or deep breathing.

Most importantly, remember to value yourself. You are important and worthwhile, and nothing can change that. These tips can help guide you towards finding your equilibrium in the chaos.

The post Getting Divorced is Hard: Here’s How Women Can Stay Healthy appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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leave a narcissist

Why It’s Hard To Leave a Narcissist

leave a narcissist

 

When we fall in love, it’s natural to become attached and form a romantic bond. But once in love with a narcissist, it’s not easy to leave, despite the abuse. Although you’re unhappy, you may be ambivalent about leaving because you still love your partner, have young children, lack resources, and/or enjoy lifestyle benefits.

Outsiders often question why you stay, or urge you to, “Just leave.” Those words can feel humiliating because you also think you should. You may want to leave, but feel stuck, and don’t understand why. This is because there are deeper reasons that keep you bonded unlike in other relationships.

Why it’s Hard to Leave a Narcissist

Narcissists, especially, can be exceedingly charming, interesting, and enlivening to be around. Initially, they and other abusers may treat you with kindness and warmth, or even love bomb you. Of course, you want to be with them forever and easily become dependent on their attention and validation. Once you’re hooked and they feel secure, they aren’t motivated to be nice to you. Their charming traits fade or disappear and are replaced or intermixed with varying degrees of coldness, criticism, demands, and narcissistic abuse. (See “Narcissus and Echo:  The Heartbreak of Relationships with Narcissists.)

You’re hopeful and accommodating and keep trying to win back their loving attention. Meanwhile, your self-esteem and independence are undermined daily. You may be gaslighted and begin doubting your own perceptions due to blame and lies. When you object, you’re attacked, intimidated, or confused by manipulation. Over time, you attempt to avoid conflict and become more deferential.  As denial and cognitive dissonance grow, you do and allow things you wouldn’t have imagined when you first met. Your shame increases as your self-esteem declines. You wonder what happened to the happy, self-respecting, confident person you once were.

Research confirms that it’s common for victims to attach to their abuser, particularly when there’s intermittent positive reinforcement. You may be trauma-bonded, meaning that after being subjected to prolonged belittling and control, you’ve become childlike and addicted to any sign of approval from your abuser. This is referred to as Stockholm Syndrome, named for hostages who developed positive feelings for their captors.

You’re especially susceptible to this if the relationship dynamics are repeating a pattern you experienced with a distant, abusive, absent, or withholding parent. The trauma bond with your partner outweighs the negative aspects of the relationship. Studies show that victims of physical abuse on average don’t leave until after the seventh incident of violence. They not only fear retaliation, but also the loss of the emotional connection with their partner, which can feel worse than the abuse.

Additionally, codependents, who are usually preyed upon by narcissists and abusers, often feel trapped and find it hard to leave any relationship. They can be loyal to a fault due to their codependency.

After You Leave a Narcissist

Narcissists and abusers are basically codependent. (See “Narcissists are Codependent, too.”) If you distance yourself from them, they do what it takes to pull you back in, because they don’t want to be abandoned. Narcissists want to keep you interested to feed their ego and supply their needs (“narcissistic supply”). Being left is a major humiliation and blow to their fragile self. They will attempt to stop you with kindness and charm, blame and guilt-trips, threats and punishment, or neediness, promises, or pleas―whatever it takes to control you so that they “win.”

If you succeed in leaving a narcissist, they usually continue their games to exert power over you that compensates for their hidden insecurities. They may gossip and slander you to family and friends, hoover you to suck you back into the relationship (like a vacuum cleaner). They show up on your social media, try to make you jealous with photos of them having fun with someone else, talk to your friends and relatives, text or call you, promise to reform, express guilt and love, ask for help, or “accidentally” appear in your neighborhood or usual haunts.

They don’t want to be forgotten but keep you waiting and hoping. Just when you think you’ve moved on, you’re reeled back in. This may reflect their intentional spacing of contacts. Even if they don’t want to be with you, they may not want you to let go or be with anyone else. The fact that you respond to them may give them enough satisfaction. When they contact you, remember that they’re incapable of giving you what you need.

You might feel guilty or tell yourself that your ex really still loves you and that you’re special to him or her. Who wouldn’t want to think that? You’re vulnerable to forgetting all the pain you had and why you left. (See “Why and How Narcissists Play Games.”) If you resist their attention, it fuels their ambition. But once you fall into their trap and they feel in control, they’ll return to their old cold and abusive ways. Only consistent, firm boundaries will protect you and disincentivize them.

How to Leave a Narcissist

As long as you’re under their spell an abuser has control over you. In order to become empowered, you need to educate yourself. Come out of denial to see reality for what it is. Information is power. Read up on narcissism and abuse on my website. If you’re unsure whether you want to leave, take the steps in Dealing with a Narcissist to improve your relationship and evaluate whether it’s salvageable. Regardless of your decision, it’s important for your own mental health to redeem your autonomy and self-esteem. Take these steps:

  1. Find a support group, including a therapist, 12-Step group, like Codependents Anonymous (CoDA), and sympathetic friends―not ones who bash your spouse or judge you for staying.
  2. Become more autonomous. Create a life aside from your relationship that includes friends, hobbies, work, and other interests. Whether you stay or leave, you need a fulfilling life to supplement or replace your relationship.
  3. Build your Self-Esteem. Learn to value yourself and honor your needs and feelings. Develop trust in your perceptions and overcome self-doubt and guilt.
  4. Learn How to be Assertive and set boundaries.
  5. Learn how to nurture yourself. This is a life skill and also insulates you from abuse. See “12 Tips to Self-Love and Compassion.” Get the Self-Love Meditation.
  6. Identify the abuser’s defenses and your triggers. Detach from them. On my website, get “14 Tips for Letting Go.”
  7. If you’re physically threatened or harmed, immediately seek shelter. Physical abuse repeats itself. Read about the cycle of violence and actions to take.
  8. Don’t make empty threats. When you decide to leave, be certain you’re ready to end the relationship and not be lured back.
  9. If you decide to leave, find an experienced lawyer who is a family law specialist. Mediation is not a good option when there is a history of abuse. See “Do’s and Don’t’s of Divorce.”
  10. Whether you leave or are left, allow yourself time to grieve, build resilience, and recover from the breakup.
  11. Maintain strict no contact, or only minimally necessary, impersonal contact that’s required for co-parenting in accordance with a formal custody-visitation agreement.

The post Why It’s Hard To Leave a Narcissist appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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