The First Step Domestic Violence Survivors Can Take to Learn to Love Themselves Again

Last week I described how many survivors of domestic violence and abuse get so caught up in beating themselves up that they can’t give themselves the care and compassion they need to heal.

In this post, I’ll explain how to take the first step towards fixing this problem, by building a compassionate image.

If you’ve been a violent relationship, you’ve been deprived of the things that we need the most from those we love, in order to feel psychologically sound and healthy.

Things like kindness, nurture, and a sense of physical and emotional safety.

This can make it hard to picture what a loving persona actually looks like.

We all know what words like kindness and love and compassion mean on an intellectual level – but when we’ve been hurt and betrayed, it’s hard to really feel them.

The purpose of the compassionate image exercise is to start to reconnect with these ideas on an emotional level by creating a fully-formed image of compassion. This gives us an internal reference point that we can keep coming back to.

As a starting point, your compassionate image needs to be built around four essential qualities: warmth, strength, wisdom and non-judgement. Beyond this, it is your own personal ideal and should reflect all the ways in which you want to be loved and cared for.

Find a quiet place where you can close your eyes and breathe deeply and focus without any distractions. Your mind might wander, and that’s ok – just try to guide it gently back to the image you’re creating. You want to feel as relaxed as possible, so don’t try to force anything!

Then, guide your image by asking yourself questions such as:

How would you want your ideal caring-compassionate image to look? Are they human, or is this represented by a particular animal? Or even something else entirely, like sunlight, or the sea? What colours do you associate with them? If they are human, are they male or female? Young or old? Would they look like you?

How would your ideal caring-compassionate image sound? What are their vocal qualities (if they have them)? How does this make you feel?

What other sensory qualities are attached to your ideal caring-compassionate image? Keep in mind the qualities of warmth, strength, wisdom and non-judgment here.

How would you like your ideal caring-compassionate image to relate to you? How would you relate to them?

Perhaps you connect through touch? Laughter? Vocal support? Or perhaps it’s simply an unspoken sense of security?

Try to keep in mind all the time that this image brings you complete compassion.

As you continue in your healing journey, this compassion image will be something you refer back to again and again. You can use it to remind yourself what warmth, strength and love truly look like for you – and can tap back into this ideal when you’re tempted to lash out at yourself and others, or when those around you treat you with less compassion than you need.

It gives you a benchmark for working out what kind of people you genuinely want to have in your life – and the kind of person that you want to be.

In my next post, I’ll explain how, armed with your compassionate image, you can start to use compassion to change the way your mind works, helping you to break out of self-destructive cycles and get on the right road to recovery.

Have you tried the compassionate image exercise? I’d love to hear about your experience – if you feel comfortable, please do let me know in the comments section below.

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The Wonderful Benefits of Being Miserable

MiserableBeing miserable is just great, don’t you find?

It’s an art form that’s well worth cultivating. It brings so many benefits to our lives, which is of course why so many people do their very best to excel at it.

Misery doesn’t bring you a better life in any of the shallow, flighty, surface ways people talk about like more friendship, love and lovers. Better relationships with your family, spouse or children. It doesn’t improve your career, financial situation, health, stability, fulfillment or joy of life.

It doesn’t make you happier – well of course it doesn’t; that would be defeating the point!

 

The many benefits of being miserable

 

But this fine craft does allow you to feel superior and special in a way other people just don’t understand, which is fantastic. You can become a martyr overnight with a bit of misery – the innocent victim who tries so, so hard to be happy (not too hard though, be careful) and then the world just seems to conspire against you. You poor thing.

In an age where we have relative peace and prosperity, and more opportunities than ever before, it can be quite hard to find ways to feel like the beaten-down underdog. Misery solves that problem in a jiffy!

 

You get sooo much attention

 

And this is the greatest benefit of all: being miserable gets you so much attention and compassion. Big-hearted and guilt-prone people especially will feel compelled to help you, to listen to you, to feel sorry for you. Here’s the best part: people feel vaguely guilty around you too.

You’re sure to always have company. Misery loves company, and you make people more and more miserable around you. Some will leave you, but never mind about them. They just don’t get it.

 

And there’s more! You come across as so wise and worldly, because you notice all the crap in the world. You are the first to see what’s wrong with everything and every idea. And you stop people just when they were about to blindly run forwards happily into something fun, without paying due attention to what could go wrong.

You’re like a profound, tragic guru of worldly wisdom. How awesome is that!

And you never experience disappointment or disillusion, because you never expect or hope for anything in the first place. You never experience loss or deep pain because you get rid of meaningful love from your life in the first place.

“I get it! I’m sold! So how do I get good at being miserable!?” I hear you cry. Here are a few tips to set you on your way.

 

How to be miserable – your quick 10-step guide

 

  1. Make good things small and temporary

If anything good happens and you accidentally notice it, make sure you see it as being temporary and as small as possible. Like a glitch in the system.

  1. Make bad things huge and everlasting

When something bad happens, make sure you notice and express how terrible it was, and how it happened because it always happens, and the effects will last forever. Here’s a tip: the more you talk about it, the more a problem lasts and spreads.

  1. See bad intentions behind everything

Turn innocent remarks into calculated insults from horrible people who intended to cause pain. See attempted attacks and offence behind everything.

  1. Do everything for personal gain

Never just do something for someone else unless you can get something out of it. Make sure you point out how everyone else giving to others is doing it for themselves too.

  1. Be terrified of economic loss

Talk about how close you are to being broke all the time. Worry consistently about losing your job. Watch the news and find all the evidence you can that you are on the brink of bankruptcy and destruction.

  1. Cultivate a negative identity

If you have any personal problems, make them the only things that matter about you. Become a Depressed Person, an Anxious Person, etc. Oh, and of course make sure those problems last longer and get bigger.

  1. Don’t feel or express gratitude

Gratitude has no place in the life of a true misery master. There’s nothing in this world to be grateful for – make that your mantra.

  1. Blame your parents and background

Always remember, your life was set out before you even had a chance. Your parents messed you up, so that’s that. They are the cause of all your shortcomings and failures.

  1. Don’t be shallow and enjoy the little things

Take no pleasure in the beautiful, lovely things in life. Good conversation, art, wine, music, beauty. Leave that to shallow, pathetic happy people who just don’t understand.

  1. Focus on yourself and on the past

Ruminate and regret. Think and talk incessantly about every little problem you might have in your character, or something that happened to you. Don’t let anything go! All that mostly-imagined baggage is precious – and the key to a glorious life of absolute misery.

 

Here’s one extra bonus tip – always pretend you want to be happy. Pretend to yourself too. If you start admitting that deep down you’re trying to be miserable – well, you might just start thinking how absurd it all is and become happy instead.

And that would ruin everything!

AdeleSign2

Does Time Heal? They Say 18 Months – I Say 21 Days!

e08c65b4068a173f39c0f51ca1db5dd1A survey covered in this Daily Mail article interviewed 155 people and found that breakups take 11 weeks to get over on average. The article also says it takes 18 months to get over a divorce.

Actually, I’d say with no good strategy, even breakups take 18 months to heal from. It may take just 11 weeks to get over the split, but not to fully heal and get back to your joyous, strong, positive, life-loving self again. Because:

Healing requires active engagement with the topic!

Which is why it really takes 18 months to heal without any system or engagement or strategy, or without the right support.

And during that 18 month period, without the proper healing, you’re very likely to move into more unsuccessful relationships, which will end in breakup or divorce too. 56% of second marriages also end in divorce, and 72% of third marriages – the statistics don’t lie!

Time alone does not heal wounds

Many types of relationship therapy may tell you that it just takes time to heal and there’s nothing more to do about it, but it’s just not true! It makes me sad that so many people believe this nonsense and live unnecessarily with their pain or depression for months and even years.

I’ve seen time and time again that healing happens in short spurts during that time.

Healing is not a linear chronological process – it happens when you focus on healing. And with good strategy, process, attention and support you can make those short spurts of healing happen quickly, over the course of a few weeks. Not months or years.

Here’s another statistic for you – 97% of divorcees who take my Naked Divorce program are successfulin getting over AND healing from all their trauma in 21 days.

Back on track, happy and loving life once more. Check out their personal stories here.

It’s a pity the study above didn’t ask the recipients exactly when and how they felt little bursts of improvement and how they worked to those points and through them.

When you actively embrace the healing process, and face the sometimes very difficult feelings and stages to work through, in an intelligent way, you create an environment where these flashes of improvement and healing begin to happen.

Unfortunately, there is evidence that traditional forms of therapy don’t help the recovery process at all. In fact, there are clear conflicts of interest that certainly don’t incentivize therapists to get their clients cured, healed and happy as rapidly as possible.

Clients become dependent on therapists, and therapists gain secure, long-term clients and income

Imagine if a relationship therapist had to find new clients every month because they were helping them heal so quickly. Business would become extremely tough. Far better to have a guaranteed monthly or weekly client paying for a year or more – make sure you don’t become one of these clients!

With my program, I’ve deliberately incentivized myself and my team of Divorce Angels to help people truly, properly, deeply heal faster and more effectively. Our reputation depends on it.

I want that 97% success rate in 21 days to go up to 99%, not down to 95%.

Come and try the system, we’d be delighted to prove it to you!

Or if you have any questions at all about getting over your divorce, do ask.

I’m here to help.

AdeleSign2

Today is our birthday!

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Today Nakeddivorce EmotionalFreedom is 3 years old!
The idea was born in February 2011 and by the 11th December 2011 I had my first sale. I never thought that when I developed the program that it would ever be used by anyone other than me. Since then we have a team which is slowly growing and over 740 people which have completed the 21-day program either with our homestudy kits, Divorce Angels or books. The next phase is about launching our online platform in 2015 which we are working very hard on right now. Everything happens so much slower than I wanted but we have had pre-sales on the program already and we feel very optimistic about it. Then it is onto building the other trauma recovery programs within the Naked Recovery platform which we have also been working on as well as training up the new Angels.
If anyone had ever told me how long this would take or how much work it would be, I would probably have run away but every day I feel very privileged that we get to walk with people through one of the darkest times of their lives back into possibility and lightness. I feel immensely thankful to everyone who trusted us to do the program with us. Especially the people right at the very beginning who helped us make it into what it is today.
Thank you for being who you are.
xxx
Adele

Signs your partner might be cheating on you…

blogWe all like to think it could never happen to us, but sadly, straying partners are becoming ever more common. So what are some of the tell-tale signs that your partner is cheating on you? Here are some common points I have drawn up after evaluating 78 divorces (which ended due to cheating) in the past year. NOW, this list is not intended to make you Mr or Ms Private Detective/ paranoid stalker. These pointers below should only alarm you if you notice a combination of at least 5 in your partner within the last 6 months…

Glued to the mobile phone

Often the mobile phone can give you the first clue there may be a problem. Has your partner started sleeping with it under their pillow? Keeping it close so you can’t answer it if it rings could be a sign your partner is anxious about who might call. Are they often disappearing to the other end of the garden to talk privately? Are texts suddenly arriving late at night?

Hiding the emails

Suddenly he or she is spending a lot of time on the computer and unless there is some new project or business venture happening, this may be a bad sign. A new email account could imply that your partner is intentionally hiding things from you.

Interest in their appearance

If his idea of exercise used to be moving from the fridge to the couch, and weight training involved carrying a bowl of potato chips, you are probably right to worry if he’s suddenly lost 47 pounds and is developing a six-pack by visiting the gym regularly. And catching a waft of an expensive new cologne could alert you that something is a bit fishy…

Changes in routine

Be alert to unusual changes in routine. Perhaps she’s leaving earlier in the morning, or he always seems to be late home on a Wednesday? A sudden need to be away on business trips a lot could also signal that some extra-curricular business could be going on…

Following the paper trail

If your partner is rivalling Usain Bolt in their effort to get to the mail before you, it could be because they want to hide things such as credit card statement. Unexplained purchases, or a new credit card in their name only, could signal a cheating partner. Withdrawals of cash that can’t be accounted for is also of concern – particularly if this is not in their nature to do so, and a receipt for that gold necklace you have never seen might also set alarm bells ringing.

Bedroom problems

This is a really tricky one. If he isn’t showing any interest at all, that’s not a good sign. Alternatively, if she suddenly appears in the doorway with a new pair of pink fluffy handcuffs, she may have got that idea from someone else.

A guilty conscience?

Sometimes the first thing that alerts you is when your partner is suddenly buying you flowers or expensive gifts. Over-compensating because of guilt is not uncommon, so wild declarations of undying love, that seem out-of-the-ordinary, may have a deeper significance.

Changes in attitude

Or sometimes she may start to nag or become easily irritated. Perhaps he seems resentful, or accuses you of being a control freak? This is not that unusual, as it paves the way for shifting the blame if they get found out.

Things don’t add up

Keeping up a web of deceit is actually quite hard, and in the end the truth will out. If you catch your partner lying when this is out of character for them, increase your suspicions.

Ultimately, the acid test is probably your own gut instinct. All these things could have a perfectly innocent explanation. But if you have that feeling in your bones, and can spot some of the tell-tale signs, maybe it’s time to be brave and start facing the truth. If you have a concern, speak to one of our trained Angels who can help you assess your situation and map out a plan for what to do about it…

Till next time

Lots of hugs

AdeleSign2

Couples who don’t have sex but insist everything is hunky dorey

 

sadThere was a disturbing article in the Mail a few weeks ago. It was all about these couples who NEVER have sex but insist they are happy.

The article states that most evenings, with their little girl safely tucked up in bed, Charlotte and Chris Everiss enjoy a kiss and a cuddle on the sofa in front of the television. They have been happily married for a decade and they cannot bear to even imagine their lives without one another. Yet, astonishingly, they haven’t made love for more than two years. Both insist that their marriage, which followed a two-year courtship after meeting on a dating website, is stronger than most. It’s just that sex, they say, is not important to their happiness. The article goes on to say that ‘We still turn each other on but we don’t want to take it any further,’ says Charlotte. ‘We don’t have the time or the energy. ‘I find it hard switching off knowing that our four-year-old, Addison, is in the next bedroom. I think if Chris really missed sex he would tell me, or I’d catch him watching porn on the internet as a substitute.’

Another couple Tracey Dowler, 42, spent and her husband Julian, 55 also do not have sex. Tracey was concerned that Julian didn’t want to make love to her because he was attracted to other women. But she has now accepted that the stress of his demanding job as director of a motor mechanical and haulage company is the reason they no longer have sex. And, while she admits there have been times when she has felt like walking out of their immaculate, three-bedroom semi-detached home in Rugby, Warwickshire, over the lack of intimacy, Tracey values other aspects of their marriage too highly. ‘We talk about rekindling our love life but never seem to get around to it,’ says Julian. ‘We had a weekend away at a country hotel a couple of weeks ago and I was so exhausted I spent most of the time asleep.’

Another couple stated ‘But we’ve gone without sex for so long now, I wouldn’t want Keith to try Viagra,’ she says. ‘Our relationship has morphed into companionship, and I think to have sex now would be embarrassing.
‘We’re used to seeing one another naked, when we undress or are in the bath, but if Keith made advances now it would be like getting intimate with my brother, or best friend. Just not right, somehow.’

I think these couples are extremely courageous to come forward as this is an issue which impacts almost a quarter of all relationships. A recent survey estimated that 15 to 20 per cent of couples have sexless relationships – defined by experts as making love fewer than ten times a year – while around 5 per cent go without altogether. Most couples who find themselves at a point where sexual intimacy has died tend to confide their predicament to no one at all which make these couples all the more amazing.

However, they are fooling themselves if they think everything is hunky dorey.

Every successful marriage is built on the foundations of trust and intimacy. When a husband and wife trust each other without reservation, intimacy undoubtedly follows. A deeply trusting relationship usually rewards a virile sex life, therefore suggesting that the lack of intimacy in a marriage is all too often a symptom of a lack of trust. Since a large proportion of sexless marriages end in divorce, there is a real need to address the underlying problems, and try to come up with some remedy. That’s not to say that a flourishing sex life is the only thing required to make a marriage work, and indeed for the vast majority of couples asked about what makes their marriage special, sex won’t even make the list, but lack of sex is indeed an indicator for some deeper problems which need to be addressed. If you are in an intimate relationship and you are not having sex, you might as well be siblings or housemates.

Psychologist Leila Collins says it’s all too common for mothers to ‘shut up shop’ and stop having sex with their partners once their family is complete. I agree with her wholeheartedly. BUT I see many people going through divorce and I can unreservedly say that what often follows is that their men then start affairs, or seek out the services of prostitutes.

SO what is the source of sexless marriage?

When something occurs that causes a couple to lose trust in each other, it can take some time to recover fully. Maybe there was a traumatic childbirth OR a life-threatening illness OR perhaps the couple simply got out of the habit of having sex. If those issues are not addressed immediately and in the correct way, the intimacy in the marriage may dissolve, and the relationship revert to a simple exchange of pleasantries and platitudes, without any real intimacy or closeness. In an intimate relationship, sex is the glue which binds a couple on a very deep level beyond simple friendship. It doesn’t mean that couples within a sexless relationship are not ‘close’ BUT they are close as friends can be but this is not a true marriage as the relationship lacks passion and intimacy. It’s not a risk I would be willing to make as so many divorces are as a direct result of a sexless marriage at the core. It’s important to recognise the symptoms of a failing marriage, and deal with them in the appropriate way. Small frustrations can build up over time and, much like the formation of scar tissue upon healing of an incorrectly treated wound, handling this marital frustration inappropriately can lead to irreparable damage to the marriage, and loss of any sexual heat from the relationship.

The key to avoiding the loss of intimacy in a marriage is to discuss any and all problems fully and without delay. It’s a good idea to set a time each day in which you and your other half can discuss exactly what is troubling you about the marriage, and about each other. Take turns to divulge fully the source of your frustrations. Most of the time your other half will be completely oblivious to their fault until it’s pointed out, so don’t be afraid to vent your frustrations in a constructive way during your time alone together. There’s no need to be spiteful or resentful; just tell your partner exactly how you feel. Afterwards, it’s their turn to air some of their frustrations. Keep going until everything is out in the open, and both of you have voiced all of your problems. It’s sometimes a good idea to come up with constructive solutions to the problems, and making suggestions about how these can be resolved, though be careful not to cause an argument by doing so, as some of the issues may be rather sensitive and unpleasant to discuss, even with your partner. After discussing your frustrations, change topic and begin to discuss some of the things that you are thankful for regarding the marriage. Pick around five things you love about your partner, and share them as reasons why it’s worth working hard to make your marriage work.

As well as becoming frustrated by your partner’s actions, when raising your children it can be all too easy to fall into the trap of viewing your partner as less of the person you’re attracted to, and more in the role of a parent or carer. While it’s important to view your partner as a carer, and to see in them the characteristics that make them suited for this role, it’s also crucial to maintain your attraction to them and keep the fire going even while raising a family. Letting the passion die out in favour of raising a family or realising career aspirations is all too common these days. Some think it’s a necessary sacrifice, believing that an active sex life and a vibrant family life or a satisfying career are mutually exclusive circumstances, but this is not the case. It is possible to have both of these things, but only by working hard to maintain your relationship, venting your frustrations, and working to keep the passion burning strong.

Some people have dug themselves into a dangerous rut by assuming that if the marriage was ‘right’, it would be easy to make things work. Some think that it isn’t necessary to work hard on a marriage if you’re really in love, but this is in fact completely untrue. Even couples who are deeply in love will disagree from time to time, and find reasons to become agitated or annoyed with their partner. It’s important to work hard with the one you love, to make sure that the passion and fire can continue long into your life together. If you have experienced any of the issues outlined in the article above, but have not been able to resolve them even with some hard work, get in touch with Naked Divorce. We are experts in supporting you through getting your marriage back on track OR if you are facing a breakdown, we can support you through your divorce or bad break up. All of our Divorce Angels are well trained in how best to deal with a relationship breakdown, so come to us today…

Till next time

Lots of hugs