How Compassion Helps You Fight Back Against the Hurtful Voices in Your Head

In the third part of this series on learning to love yourself after a violent relationship, I look at how to use compassion to actually change the way your mind works.

As I talked about here and here, abuse disrupts our ability to seek out and provide the warmth and nurture that all mammals need to function. Our response mechanisms short-circuit and we have to relearn how to treat ourselves with gentleness and care.

Plus, when you’ve experienced a trauma like domestic violence, your fight-or-flight reactors go into overdrive as you try to combat the very real external threat.

But the upshot of our traumatic experience is that we’re also under attack from internal threats: pain, despair, loss, heartbreak – intense emotions that hurt and frighten us.

From a psychological perspective, we react the same way to external threats as to internal ones. So, when these feelings rise up, we counter-attack. We self-attack.

We treat the emotions with ridicule, aggression, frustration or disappointment. We try to fight them away.

But these emotions aren’t an external threat that you can simply force into retreat. They are part of you, and fighting with them will hurt you.

When our legitimate distress is met with cruelty and rejection, it makes us feel ashamed. We tell ourselves that we’re weak, stupid, not good enough… that we brought this on ourselves.

One way to tackle this is to imagine the self-attacking voice – the voice that shames you for the way you feel – as a separate person. Try to visualise them. What do they look like? What emotions are they directing at you? What do they want from you?

Then: Do they have your best interests at heart? What would happen if they left you alone? Who gains from them treating you like this?

Why are you scared of standing up to them?

You may find that the person you hear attacking you isn’t your own voice at all. You may find that it sounds suspiciously like the partner that made your life miserable. Or a parent, authority figure or bully that made you feel small. Maybe even someone that made you feel like you weren’t strong enough to stand up to the abuse.

And, if that’s the case, ask yourself: what right, what legitimacy, does that person have to attack you like this? Why do you feel you have to submit to their opinion?

What makes you think that their criticisms are at all valid?

Working out where this voice comes from won’t make it shut up. But that doesn’t mean you have to listen.

Instead, work on developing some empathy for your negative emotions. Remember the compassionate image that you developed? How would they respond to someone feeling your pain?

This is not easy. You’re working against the fight-or-flight instincts that tell you how to handle a threat. You’re talking over the voice that has dominated your emotional defenses for far too long. It will not let you take over without a struggle.

But you have to challenge the authority of that voice. You can’t just accept it – and you certainly can’t just accept it as part of who you are.

Be patient. You may need to try out different ways of handling your negative emotions and showing kindness to yourself before you find a way that works for you. These feelings might take a long time to quiet down.

What’s more, in order to really heal, you have to go beyond self-soothing – you also need to gather positive momentum for the future, setting goals and giving your vulnerable self the motivation and encouragement it needs to succeed.

The important thing is that, however you do it, you’re approaching yourself with compassion. You’re not judging, shaming or attacking the negative emotions. You’re not giving credence to the voice that attacks you.

If you’re struggling to recover from an abusive relationship, I hope that this series has helped you develop the tools you need to be kinder to yourself. If you feel you need more support, please do get in touch. I’ve helped hundreds of people to get through their divorce trauma – if you’d like to hear more, you can book a clarity call here.

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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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Go on, give yourself permission to climb into a Porg-hole!

Porgie-300x275When I was little, I had a bull terrier named Porgie. I loved her so much so, that I would greet her on all fours, hide her in my bed so she wouldn’t be cold and even come home and climb into her dog basket with her. She was an absolutely mental dog and I loved her craziness and zaniness. Porgie however, was no ordinary dog. She harbored a secret.

Not only did she chase her tail with joy, sit in the pantry and slip in her own drool waiting for a dog biscuit and eat noisily like each meal was her last, she had an inner wisdom which far exceeded her dog years.

I truly believe that Porgie was a guru in a previous lifetime.

Every few months, Porgie would be in a bad mood. Who knows what caused it – perhaps hormones, a phantom pregnancy, or Pluto aligning incorrectly with Venus. When this happened, she would go to the bottom of the garden and go dig a hole. She would then crawl into this ‘Porg-hole’ and growl if anyone came near her. I would attempt to coax her out with food but she didn’t come out and she let me know that I was not welcome. 3-4 days later, she would come out of the hole, cover it up and come bounding back as if nothing had happened.

porghole-300x200I used to think this was more evidence that my dog was weird and unwell but actually thinking back on it today – it was sheer genius.

In today’s society, we don’t ever allow ourselves to dwell in a bad mood. We are told to ‘snap out of it’, ‘cheer up’ and be happy. The dawn of Emotional Intelligence has created an international outbreak of suppressed human beings who don’t allow themselves to just be grumpy and to just be with their grumpiness, unhappiness or depression until is passes. Instead we must apply an emotional avoidance trigger or tranquilize ourselves with alcohol, drugs or antidepressants until ‘rational intelligence returns’.

GROWL. What Daniel Goleman didn’t realize when he wrote his NY Times bestseller ‘Emotional Intelligence’, was that he helped contribute to the mass suppression of emotions which is commonplace in today’s society. Instead of expressing raw emotions, feeling them authentically, crying, screaming and just being grumpy when we feel grumpy, we are expected to be cool, calm, collected robots who smile politely, play political ping pong with the sales guy we hate and certainly don’t flinch in the boardroom when someone missed a deadline and messed up our project.

Your EQ is now more important than your IQ as this man managed to convince and advise nations that suppression is healthy, balanced and somehow good for us.

In describing the importance of acknowledging our emotional states, American psychologist Dr Maurice Elias says, “Emotions are human beings, i.e. warning systems as to what is really going on around them. Emotions are our most reliable indicators of how things are going in our lives. Emotions help keep us on the right track by making sure that we are led by more than the mental/intellectual faculties of thought, perception, reason, and memory.”

In her article titled ‘How to Understand, Express and Release your Emotions’, author Mary Kurus, a renowned psychologist based in New York, writes that emotions control our thinking, behavior and actions. If you ignore, dismiss or repress your feelings, you’re setting yourself up for physical illness.

The understanding is that emotions that are not felt and released can spawn a host of ailments: cancers, arthritis, and many types of chronic illnesses. The explanation is that negative emotions such as fear, anxiety, negativity, frustration and depression cause chemical reactions in our bodies that are very different from the chemicals released when we feel positive emotions such as happiness and contentment and also when we’re feeling loved and accepted.

Signs that you are repressing your emotions

When we have an experience that is painful or difficult we often dismiss the emotions or bury them under busyness, exercise, comfort eating or drinking. The problem is that our suppressed emotions don’t like being hidden. Our negative feelings stay with us; in the muscles, ligaments, stomach and midriff. These emotions remain buried within us until we allow ourselves to feel them and deal with them, thereby releasing them.

Short Term Emotion Avoidance Triggers (STEATs) and other ‘methods’ we use to suppress or avoid our emotions:

  • Ignoring feelings.
  • Pretending something hasn’t happened.
  • Overeating.
  • Eating foods loaded with sugar and fat (‘comfort eating’).
  • Excessive drinking of alcohol.
  • Excessive use of recreational drugs.
  • Using prescription drugs such as tranquilizers or antidepressants.
  • Exercising compulsively.
  • Behaving compulsively.
  • Excessive sex with or without a partner.
  • Excessive busyness.
  • Constantly intellectualizing and analyzing situations.
  • Excessive reading or TV viewing.
  • Spending hours watching romantic movies or fantasizing about ‘the one’.
  • Working excessively.
  • Keeping conversations superficial.
  • Burying angry emotions under the mask of peace and love.

You cannot control your emotions BUT truly acknowledging them and feeling them, allows them to move on

You cannot change or control your emotions. Think of the people who trundle along day after day, seeming to function normally. And then one day they’ll suddenly explode over something seemingly trivial or harmless. This behavior is a result of a pressure-cooker syndrome; apply a little heat in the form of a tense situation and repressed emotions boil over. The more you try to control your emotions the more your emotions resist. Eventually you lose emotional control. It’s a vicious cycle.

It’s not popular in today’s society to express negative emotions in public. Seeming out of control is interpreted as a sign of weakness. We’re often uncomfortable around people who express strong emotions. As a society we’re taught to hide our emotions, to be ashamed of them and to be afraid of them.

We spend a great deal of time talking ‘about’ our feelings and emotions and very little time actually processing and feeling them. We attend workshops, visit therapists, and they describe how we feel.

We talk and talk about our emotions, intellectualizing and analyzing them, but how much time do we actually spend feeling them?

We are emotional creations and we must learn how to know our emotions, be with them, and release them in healthy ways.

Although I disagree with Daniel Goleman and his thoughts on intellectualizing our emotions before we give ourself permission to feel them – taking out our frustrations on others is also not particularly evolved. I know he wrote his book to prevent irrational rants in the workplace but the problem is we have become deader and more resigned than ever. Depression rates have never been so high as they are today and some psychologists believe that depression is simply long term suppression of emotion.

So Porgie had it right after all.

pawFeeling crabby? Go dig a hole away from others and go BE crabby and do not stop being crabby until you feel pruney with your crabbiness. Growl. Its really fun actually. Surrender to the emotions, feel them and be them until they naturally pass and peel away like layers of an onion. The crabiness is concealing a deep sadness, fear or anger so get to the root cause of your emotion so you can release the tension in your body and prevent long term illness from happening.

So, to hell with your EQ, smiling when you don’t mean it and fake bubbliness- its plastic and weird. Let people know how you feel in life. Give yourself permission to be a glorious crabby depressed mess until you are sick to death of it. Give yourself permission to climb into a Porg hole today – you will feel a hellava lots happier tomorrow and guarantee longer healthier life too.

Thanks be to Guru Porgie…

Till next time

AdeleSign2

 

7 Reasons Your Bad Divorce Etiquette is Stopping Your Recovery

AngryFour days into my divorce I hadn’t eaten for three days, I’d been in my tracksuit for 36 hours straight and had chain-smoked 40 cigarettes – and I’m not even a smoker.

A huge pile of laundry lay on the couch waiting to be ironed, and used tissues were everywhere. The house was in absolute chaos, I didn’t feel like doing anything.

I was so uncomfortable in my own skin. The pain felt unbearable, I just wanted to feel normal again.

I’d read 27 books on breaking up in two weeks. I’d spoken to two therapists. I had spoken to a counselor. I’d listened to music. I listened to a personal development CD. I spoke to friends. Nothing helped. I was going crazy!

Are You Feeling the Same Way?

The truth is, without the faintest understanding of divorce etiquette, I had no idea how to deal with myself and my emotions, my ex-husband and others around me.

I had no idea even where to begin, and my lack of knowledge was taking me on a steep downward spiral away from recovery.

Finally, my deep pain and trauma served as a catalyst to taking action. And I created my own structured system for recovery using my skills as a corporate change specialist – now of course the 21-Day Divorce Angel system.

Key to this was learning and understanding good divorce etiquette, which gave me the strength, belief and strategy to follow the recovery steps with power and decorum, and get back to a happy, normal life.

 

Seven Reasons You Need Good Divorce Etiquette

 

1. You’re unable to follow a strategy for recovery

Without adopting the right etiquette and code of conduct, you can’t separate yourself from the bitter and twisted version of yourself you could become if you allowed yourself to descend into self pity or loathing of your ex.

And even when you find and believe in a real strategy for recovery, your anger, panic or eratic emotions will short-circuit and sabotage your best efforts to walk out of this with your head held high.

2. Your judgment is poor, and you can’t see nonsense advice for what it is

Without strong, proven divorce etiquette to make you feel anchored in reality, you won’t trust your own judgment, and you’ll believe all types of contradictory advice thrown at you by well-meaning friends and authors.

Like ‘don’t cry, there are plenty more fish in the sea, time heals all wounds, you must stay active, don’t mope about, be strong for your children / mother / brother.’ All of which are unhelpful and even damaging myths.

3. You’ll check out, instead of feeling and facing your emotions

Without knowing how, facing your emotions can seem terrifying. And if you check out instead, as many do, you won’t be able to recover at all.

Correct divorce etiquette allows you to face your emotions with some certainty, strategy and decorum. Knowing there’s freedom and recovery on the other side.

4. You’ll deal with your ex in an unhealthy way

It’s so important how you deal with your ex. The right plan and code of conduct will give you a structure to minimize contact without going cold turkey, and work towards understanding, forgiveness and even one day friendship – for your true peace of mind and recovery.

Without the right etiquette many also get drawn back to having sex with their ex, which doesn’t help you in any way to get a clean break and closure.

5. Your kids, and others in your life, will suffer

You need a game plan and a great deal of personal strength to deal with your kids in a way that leaves them unharmed by the experience.

Also, dealing with your friends and family – especially with the clumsy and strange ways they speak and act around you – is so important to saving your relationships while you recover.

6. Your career will suffer

Keeping your career on track while coping with a divorce is like juggling eggs; you have to remain focused to continue performing, and falling apart is not an option.

With work, knowing the right etiquette is all-important. Without it, your life will be so much worse when you finally do recover.

7. Your next relationship will fail too

A shocking 56% of second marriages end in divorce, and 72% of third marriages fail too. But if you follow the right steps, code of conduct, and process your divorce properly, you’ll be able to move onto a fulfilling, loving, happy relationship that lasts.

It’s easy to get trapped in a never-ending cycle of self-help break up books, therapists and counselors. But when you feel the power and hope that comes with knowing the right strategy and etiquette, and having the right support, then you’ll be focused on real recovery as quickly as possible. No more messing or moping around.

Contrary to what most therapists will tell you, recovering from your divorce should take weeks, not months and years.

Take your first step to a happy, fresh new life today.

Download my free eBook, with in-depth step-by-step guidance on The Etiquette of Divorce from https://www.facebook.com/Divorce.Club/app_190322544333196

Hugs

AdeleSign2

The danger of suppression: Don’t bottle up your emotions

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Any serious scientist will be familiar with the assertion that stress causes immune-compromise. A recent study by researchers at Harvard School of Public Health has finally put this long-held knowledge into perspective, deciphering that those who bottle up their feelings have a cardiovascular disease risk of 140 per cent and a risk of cancer of 170 per cent when compared to individuals who share how they feel. Overall, the risk of premature death for those who keep their negative feelings to themselves is around 135 per cent that of individuals unafraid to speak their minds. When framed in this way, the dangers of suppressing emotions are hard to ignore, but how exactly does bottling up your emotions lead to real and tangible damage to the body? The article below will explore the molecular and physiological mechanisms behind this startling array of statistics, and provide some helpful tips to managing your rage, and keeping your body healthy!

Although the concrete mechanism linking bottled-up emotions and premature death has yet to be established, several sound scientific principles may be applied in order to elucidate some facts about the forces at work. Firstly, it is conceivable that those who feel that they must hide their emotions from others are more susceptible to seeking comfort in substance abuse such as alcohol addiction, cigarette smoking, or the use of other harmful drugs in order to relieve their stress. The use of these substances has several obvious and detrimental effects to health and so needs no explanation here. The second suspected mechanism is slightly less direct in nature.

When the body is coping with a stress response, such as un-vented anger or pent-up rage, a hormone known as Cortisol is released. Cortisol is a hormone of critical importance to humans, but it also has some unwanted effects in individuals experiencing high levels of stress. Cortisol is a steroid hormone, specifically a glucocorticoid, meaning that it is capable of suppressing the immune system’s response to damage or invading pathogens. This unfortunate effect means that individuals who have a higher than normal stress level, and thus a raised Cortisol level, will have under-effective immune systems, not only opening the floodgates to any nasty bugs that may wish to make your body their home, but also preventing a complete response from being carried out towards invaders from within – cancer cells. Every day, the immune system destroys a cell that would otherwise have become cancerous, so it’s easy to see how quickly things can go wrong when this response is working below optimum levels.All is not lost, though. Studies have shown that releasing anger actually increases blood flow to those parts of the brain responsible for pleasure and reward, thus making taking out your frustration a ‘feel good’ experience. However, there are those of us for whom releasing anger at every turn can very quickly end both friendships and careers.

Perhaps a change in outlook is the answer? Conditioning your brain to be more optimistic about everyday situations and into overlooking the minor foibles of others can quite literally be a lifesaver. The statistics speak for themselves, and lend credence to the thought that optimistic people really do live longer than their pessimistic, stressed out counterparts.

Speaking of which, we are about to launch www.tantrumworld.com – a whole new approach to releasing your anger whilst becoming healthier. So, why not try to LET RIP whilst GETTING FIT?

Till next time

Lots of hugs,

AdeleSign

A rant about having sex with an ex whilst healing

sex-with-exThere is an article in the Daily Mail today entitled “Why ‘ex-sex’ CAN be a good idea: Sleeping with an old lover lessens psychological distress of break-up… if you’re not over him” (You can read all about it here: LINK)

Apparently research from the University of Arizona (published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology) found that divorced partners who slip back into the marital bed find sex can actually lessen the pain of the break-up.

No kidding… 

We even have the UK sex expert Tracey Cox agreeing with this idea that sex with an ex can provide closure.

Seriously?

“She said: ‘Sometimes we need to go back to move forward, and revisiting the sexual side of the relationship can sometimes make us see very clearly that we’ve idealised the relationship or feel much less pain than we thought. So there’s a sense of closure that can be helpful.’

I know she is an expert, but I definitely don’t agree with this concept at all. I have worked with hundreds of people and I can tell you one thing: If you are hung up on your ex and you sleep with him or her – it’s not called CLOSURE. There is another 7-letter word which is more appropriate and that is called TORTURE.

Sleeping with your ex whilst in the pain of processing your divorce will open a can of worms/spiders/scorpians and all types of critters. Those Z-listers from I AM A CELEBRITY GET ME OUTTA HERE would not even be able to stand 30 seconds with the critters unleashed from that can of worms. Confusion will reign. Time will pass. Future dating partners will disappear. Your children will be confused. They will lose respect for you. You will lose respect for yourself.

Read these hashtags as if my lips were mouthing it: #sexwithexleadstodisaster #sexwithexarmageddon #sexwithexnotworthit #sexwithexcausespain

I think Tracey recommending that we revisit our sexual partners from the past to get closure must be talking about people who want to roll in the hay with someone they feel nothing for where one last shot in the dark concludes the whole relationship swiftly. But life is NEVER that simple. Both parties rarely ever feel nothing for each other so sex rarely leads to closure. Entire seminars have been dedicated to how human beings confuse sex with intimacy and use sex to get closer to people so why think that sex can lead to a severing with the ties?

In many break ups and divorces where kids/houses/betrayals and issues are involved, it can be very complex and not as simple as saying that “partners who had not accepted the break up actually found their divorce less painful whilst they were having sex with their ex.”

OF COURSE THEY FOUND IT LESS PAINFUL.

By sleeping with their ex, they “re-set” the roller-coaster of pain. They delayed the inevitable and important process of grieving and healing by artificially creating HOPE. Maybe one party discovered that they no longer felt anything but rarely will both parties sleep together, high five each other and declare that they are over each other. This study concluded that by sleeping together and delaying the inevitable pain, the pain was lessened overall??? Totally illogical. Whoever came up with the hypothesis and this study did so in a fishtank as there are so many errors of reasoning and co-morbidity factors at play. I think someone needs a hypothesis-testing lesson. I have 3 years of university stats behind me and I have never seen a study like this one. Those journal dudes must have been sleeping when they let this puppy in.

Without being any more Facetious, I must state categorically that this study is ludicrous.

Anyone advocating that you sleeping with an ex whilst healing can actually help you to heal is doing the study in isolation and within a period of days if not weeks. They are not doing their due diligence on the worst-case scenarios which come months or years after or looking at the long-term impact or at how long it takes the individuals to heal whilst bonking their ghosts from Christmas past. By delaying the inevitable pain in severing ties with your ex, retail therapy, alcoholic or drug benders, dinners with mates, dates, working long hours or anything which is about being ‘busy’ whilst dying inside and avoiding being alone — you have fallen foul of the classic SHORT TERM EMOTION AVOIDANCE TACTICS. In other words, you are valuing short term satisfaction over moving on and over your values like pride, self respect and honouring yourself.

Basically, find another way to double click your mouse. Your ex does not need to be the one to do it.

 Sex with an ex can be psychologically very confusing and damaging!

I do know that sometimes partners will continue to sleep with each other after a break up. The break up brings up really sad and awful feelings and sometimes the sex is a way to break the loneliness and maintain closeness with someone. Because you are less familiar with each other, the sex can feel more passionate but it’s born out of a neediness rather than a genuine commitment between two people to stay together. Sometimes couples will ‘use’ each other in this way whilst they are breaking up. This prolongs the inevitable, because the moment either party meets someone new, the sexual relationship will end or fizzle out and the pain will be too great to bare. I know some instances where women continue to sleep with their ex even long after he has got married to someone else and had new children.

Personally and in my experience I recommend the clean break option. It is truly the best for both parties and brings clear closure to the relationship. It hurts and feels awful for a few weeks but you don’t waste your life or your time hanging onto the old relationship.

Also, I believe that women and men are more susceptible to have sex with their ex during the ‘Panic/ Negotiation’ phase within The Naked Divorce Grief Cycle as a way to get back together with their ex. The major drawback is that one partner can have sex and it doesn’t need to mean anything to them, whereas the wounded partner will make sex mean all kinds of things and could wound up getting really hurt.

Understand the phases you will go through after your divorce. Understand your hormones and those angst-ridden feelings and where they are coming from. The next time you feel compelled to contact your ex, ask yourself a few questions:

¤ Do you miss being with your ex or do you simply miss being in a couple?

¤ What if your ex says yes and says ‘let’s give it another go’ – will you be able to change what didn’t work with the relationship?
¤ If you are leaving the outcome of your relationship with your ex and very much in their hands – what do YOU want? Is this the person you want to be with for the rest of your life? EVEN IF absolutely nothing changed?
¤ How does being single make you feel?

If you are Struggling to get over your Ex or in Letting the relationship go, find something like the Naked Divorce Program. Our program has been designed to support you in getting over your relationship and there are loads of exercises each day to support you in making the break between yourself and your ex.

 Some Communication Guidelines For the 1st Year

These guidelines are in place to support you in your healing within the first year and in you developing your own interests and your own life. If you feel you can have a friendship with your ex where you still maintain your own life, then you choose which of these points below support you in your new life.

There is no right or wrong answer, you need to find the path that works for you. Here are some principles behind the CLEAN BREAK approach which is useful to adopt in the initial stages of healing. Once you have healed, friendship can certainly be on the table…

¤ Do not call your ex, e-mail your ex or visit unnecessarily to brag about how great your life is, to tell them about a promotion, the death of a relative, or a terrific trip you just took. Don’t try to make your ex jealous or find excuses to engage with your ex because you are lonely or curious or needy. Allow your ex to move on with his or her life, and you do the same. It will be easier for your new partner to get involved in an unencumbered relationship. Be graceful and accept it’s over and focus your energy in new relationships or existing relationships with relatives or friends

¤ If you have a new partner, and you and your ex are friendly, you may have dinner with your ex and your children. If your partner is along, too, and your ex’s partner, if he or she has one, is included. Never disparage your ex in front of your children. It is damaging to the children

¤ I recommend not inviting your ex to your wedding – There is no reason for your ex to be there and many reasons for your ex not to be there. Your attention should ALL be on your new spouse and his or her family and friends. If your ex invites you to his or her wedding, kindly decline and send a modest gift that doesn’t imply anything

¤ Remove your ex from Facebook, Test Messaging and Social Media – at least for a while. If you were hoping to keep tabs on your ex by tracking his every online move or possible new dating adventures then remove him from your social media networks. It’ll just make you wonder who he/she is talking to (or obsess about those girls who keep posting messages to him), and you don’t need that. Remove your ex’s page from your favorites and look for a new friend or two to take his MySpace place. If you have established your new life and feel there is a clear boundary between the two of you which is healthy, feel free to re-establish this contact

¤ If you know that you might call or email your ex when you are drunk, then write their contact details down safely in a book and delete his/her number, email address and IM address from your mobile phone. That way when you’re having a fragile moment at three A.M., you’re not tempted to contact your ex as the repercussions the following day can be both embarrassing and costly to your recovery. Again, once you are over the relationship and have established your new life, feel free to add his number back onto your phone

¤ Limit in-person contact for a while – as there are just too many emotions swirling around in your post-divorce head, I recommend not seeing your ex in person for a while. If you see your ex too soon, you run the risk of suffering potentially bad consequences, including waking up beside him the next morning and realizing you just had sex with your ex or even worse, getting arrested for assault and battery

If you are torturing yourself and not moving on, you need help. TIME IS PRECIOUS and rather than prolonging the pain, do stuff.

If you want to know more about what we do, call us. We are here to serve.

Till next time

Lots of hugs,

AdeleSign