As previously mentioned in one of my blog articles, GUILT is a terrible feeling and motivator.

YES, I said motivator. I see many of my clients trying to compensate for their guilt by buying their children. These parents really have good intentions and think that they are compensating for their children’s distress and pain over the separation or divorce. The truth however, is that they are trying to alleviate their own guilt.  I have to admit that I myself was guilty of doing so way back in the day at the early stages of the divorce. I didn’t have the understanding and clarity as to how this could impact my daughter at the time.

While these children surely enjoy the special attention, gifts and new found liberties, it only instills a sense of self-righteousness and entitlement in them, making them think and feel that rules no longer apply to them.  Yes, your children are going through a hard time, and the separation and divorce is having an impact on them, but it can and will be overcome with the right help and support. Changing rules and overcompensating will only lead to selfish, self-centered children who will get out of control and develop issues that can last a lifetime.

My advice is for you to continue parenting “AS IF” you are still married or in a committed relationship with your partner/spouse.  Children thrive and perform best when they have a routine and are disciplined. Continue to parent the same way you used to.  Same rules, routines, limits, chores, responsibilities and expectations. Don’t start giving them extra toys and favors. If you want to get them something think to yourself “is this (toy – treat) something I am getting because I want to make myself feel better about how guilty I feel over the divorce, or because my child truly deserves this treat now and I would have done this if I would be married as well”.  If you see your child upset about the divorce or separation, take the time to sit down and talk with them. Listen to them, acknowledge their pain and empathize with them. Tell them how much you both love them and that sometimes adults need to part ways, but that it doesn’t change the love you BOTH have for them.  Help them open up and express their pain and distress over the divorce. Teaching your children to express their emotions is the best gift you can give them.

Children will often pick up the cues and start taking advantage and act up during stressful times. Do not let them get away with it. Discipline them like you would if you would be married. If your ex-spouse doesn’t cooperate and becomes lenient don’t follow the same path. It’s better to have one parent that disciples that none at all. Kids need at least one parent who will teach them right from wrong, set limits, and won’t spoil them with gifts and treats.

If your child starts using the manipulation card by making you feel guilty saying “but, Daddy lets me do this?”, or “Daddy just bought me this and you never get me anything”, the last thing you want to do is fall for it. You also don’t want to attack the other parent for spoiling your child, but rather focus on yourself and utilize appropriate parenting skills.

Think back to when you were married, I am sure your children here and there tried to pit you against the other parent. It is what kids do when they want to get their way. Now that you are separated or divorced, don’t fall prey to these tricks. Remember to stand your ground. Eventually your child will learn that each parent has their own set of rules and adapt.  It is important that you remain firm so that they will learn that you cannot be swayed. In time you will see a great deal of improvement in their behavior. Over time, your child will also learn to respect the parent that implements rules, routines, limits and expectations as this provides for a more stable and predictable environment that encourages healthy development.

From time to time it is natural and normal for your child to object. Don’t let that intimidate you or make you doubt your parenting style. Just because your child protests, it doesn’t mean that their demand is right, reasonable or acceptable. Think of it this way. If it’s something you wouldn’t have allowed when your family was one unit, you shouldn’t allow it now either.  You have to accept that you can only control what you do and what goes on in your home while your child/ren is with you. You have no control over what the other parent does or doesn’t do. Focus on your parenting style and yours ONLY!

Sometimes you will feel that maybe your child is acting up and test the limits because they are hurting. Try and remind yourself how often they did it when you were still married. Children love to test their boundaries and will do so as long as you allow them to. If you can communicate with the other parent and think he/she will cooperate, then set mutually acceptable rules, routines, limits and expectations to manage misbehavior. If the other parent cannot agree, then you must treat the behavior as an issue for your house and in your house only. Remember you can only control what you do.

Please note there are exceptions and if your child is acting out in unusual ways that concern you please do reach out to a professional.

After a while your child/ren will get used to the rules and adjust. It is best you focus on your household only, and avoid questioning the child about what goes on in the other parent’s home.  Focus on enjoying your time with your children and your parenting.

Here is a bonus gift for you, don’t forget to download your free guide on how to avoid the top 10 mistakes you want to avoid during your divorce. http://Divorcehelp1.gr8.com

If you’re looking for support, sign up for a PRIVATE (and free) consultation to talk about your journey and we’ll discuss if coaching is the right step for you

GUILT. What a pain filled word and horrible feeling!

As someone who was born and raised with guilt, I can tell you from experience how devastating guilt can be. Guilt is the like black magic. It puts a spell on you making you feel worthless and small. It robs you from any power you think you may have and leaves you feeling defeated. But just what is this one simple emotion that has such incredible power?

“Guilt” has been defined as “a bad feeling caused by knowing or thinking that you have done something bad or wrong.” The two key words in that definition are “bad” and “wrong.”

The psychological definition of guilt is: Guilt is a cognitive or an emotional experience that occurs when a person believes or realizes—accurately or not—that he or she has compromised his or her own standards of conduct or has violated a moral standard and bears significant responsibility for that violation. It is closely related to the concept of remorse.

When you are feeling guilty about something (like your decision to get divorced), what you are really saying to yourself is that you are “bad” and “wrong” and that you have compromised your moral standards for having made the decision to end your marriage.

Society has put a lot of pressure on us making us believe that we are responsible for the success of our marriage without emphasizing that it takes two people to make a marriage work. So when a marriage unravels we automatically blame ourselves.

These feelings of guilt are understandable, but I want to encourage you to try and forgive yourself and move past your guilt. Guilt is a powerful emotion and it can overtake your better reasoning skills and undermine your parenting, especially if you feel your divorce is negatively affecting your child. The truth is, a divorce can sometimes be a good thing for a child and it can give him or her a more stable life.

If you feel guilty about your divorce, it is hard to parent. You already know that successful parenting involves setting limits and enforcing consequences. When you let guilt control your life, your children can easily get out of hand due to a constant guilt-trip.

So how do you get rid of your guilt and move on to your next chapter?

In Order to Overcome Guilt, You Must Forgive Yourself.

Forgiveness is a beautiful thing. We are usually capable of forgiving other’s easily yet, for some reason, we don’t afford ourselves the same luxury. When it comes to divorce especially, we feel that our actions are shameful and like we are the worst people in the world for having let everyone down. The reality however is that you have only let yourself down by not being more forgiving and kinder to yourself. Don’t you deserve a happy future? Don’t you deserve to smile again? Walk away from judgement and embrace yourself. The only time criticism is productive is when you channel it to work on your shortcomings in order to build a better future. That does not include blaming yourself!

Right now you are looking at your divorce with 20/20 hindsight vision, trying to think of all possible ways you could have done things differently.

Here is the truth. Hindsight glasses don’t exist! Neither should your guilt when you did the best with what you had at the time.

Reflections and Exercise

When you allow your Guilt to take over you are virtually keeping yourself a prisoner to your past. I know you want to move on and build your future, so you must let go and stop self-sabotaging your happiness. The next time you are feeling guilty and are unsure of how to forgive yourself, ask yourself this one question:

“How will this guilt serve me in the future?”

Think long and hard about this question…. I think you are drawing a blank just about now. I know that you can’t find an answer for this, because there is no answer.

I suggest you write down why you are feeling guilty. Write down some thoughts that are running through your head when this overwhelming feeling takes over. If you tune into your thoughts carefully you will realize that Guilt speaks the language of “maybe, could have, should have”. None of these words are concrete action words – they are passive useless words induced by the guilty voice in your head that is trying to make you believe that you can create picture perfect false realities that do NOT exist. Even if you could have done things differently the reality is your present state, and all you can do now is accept and believe that you were destined to make those mistakes in order to learn valuable lessons for your future.

Now that you know that these thoughts are just self-destructive let’s focus on a game plan on how to re-write your guild script. Here are some examples of some thoughts you may have and how to counter them:

Self-sabotage mindset: I should have really started to go to marriage counselling much sooner… why did I wait so long?

Forgiveness mindset: We went to couples therapy when we thought we needed it, and did everything in our power at the time to fix it. You were brave to try it, and should not feel bad about any of that.

Self-sabotage mindset: I feel guilty because maybe I should have brought up the fact that we weren’t communicating anymore.

Forgiveness mindset: It takes two people for a marriage to work and you were not responsible for both you and your husband. You did what you could with the strength you had at the time. Be proud of yourself for that.

Now it’s your turn! Write down the specific things that are making you feel guilty, then counteract them with the compassion you deserve. Do this whenever the guilt sneaks up on you, and as long as you are mindful and consistent with this practice, you can keep the Guilt Monster at bay.

I encourage you to let go of the guilt that comes with divorce. Remember why you made the difficult decision you did and be empathetic with yourself during your struggles. When you can operate from a solid sense of self, you will be able to get back to the hard and rewarding work of parenting so that everyone benefits. Best of luck!

Here is a bonus gift for you, don’t forget to download your free guide on how to avoid the top 10 mistakes you want to avoid during your divorce. http://Divorcehelp1.gr8.com

If you’re looking for support, sign up for a PRIVATE (and free) consultation to talk about your journey and we’ll discuss if coaching is the right step for you

This is a topic that is very close and dear to my heart.

Why do children feel guilty when parents’ divorce? I asked myself this question a million times while I was going through my divorce and kept or reassuring my daughter that it is not her fault, or anything she ever did, and that we both love her dearly.

So why is it that children take on this role of responsibility and guilt? Children are born into this world not knowing any rules about life at all. They learn everything about life from the adults that surround them and from the feedback, or consequences that follow their actions or inactions.

Early on in childhood children learned that if they did something wrong it was their fault, that is why they automatically assume that when their parents are having issues or are getting divorced it must be due to something they did wrong. For many children it is very difficult to change their feeling of guilt because it has become their default position when problems occur in their family. It is difficult for the child to blame their parents because the parent is their source of correct behavior. After all, wasn’t it the parent who taught the child how to follow the correct rules? The child reasons at their developmental level, “How can my parent be at fault? I must have done something to cause this.”

So what can you as divorcing parents do to help your children cope with their misinterpreted guilt?

The first objective I have with my clients is to get both parents to understand that the welfare and emotional wellbeing of their child is paramount. Parents are adults and they have to work through their feelings of anger, hurt and resentment without expressing it or letting it out in front of the kids. If they can’t handle it alone they should reach out to someone for help, so they can be the role models they have always dreamed of being to their children.

The next step is for both parents to have an age appropriate talk with their child/children to help them make sense of the divorce. It doesn’t have to be complicated or detailed. The simpler the better. For example : “Mom and Dad cannot live together anymore, but we both love you very much, always will and will continue to take care of you.”

The framework statement of course will be much different for a 6-year-old than a 16-year-old child. Be sure to explain to your child/children that it is your choice and NOT their fault. As with my daughter you will need to have this conversation many times over and over, to assure that they actually process and hear it.

After having explained the situation to the child/children make sure to ask them to tell you in their own words why they think their parents are getting divorced. This will allow you to see how well your explanation has been absorbed. The 5-year-old child will understand divorce and responsibility with the mind of a 5-year-old. However, when they are 6 and their understanding of the world and causality has changed some, they will need to hear again why their parents are divorced and that they had no part to play and therefore no room for guilt. This process may have to be repeated and modified for the child well into high school.

Guilt over something you have no control over is a tremendously heavy burden. If they have a framework that makes sense to them and if they are told in different ways over the years, “It was not your fault, it had nothing to do with you, we both loved you then and we love you now”, their natural guilt will usually diminish.

I wanted to share this emotional video from Tony Robbins with you to give you a better understanding of how children process martial issues.

Here is a bonus gift for you, don’t forget to download your free guide on how to avoid the top 10 mistakes you want to avoid during your divorce. http://Divorcehelp1.gr8.com

If you’re looking for support, sign up for a PRIVATE (and free) consultation to talk about your journey and we’ll discuss if coaching is the right step for you

CREDITS TO TONY ROBBINS

 

 

 

CREDIT TO VERILY MAGAZINE  JAN 16, 2017

http://verilymag.com/2017/01/the-number-one-question-therapists-get-asked-about-love

From time to time, we all seek advice about love from someone. Most often our chosen confidant is probably one of our close friends or a relative. But, for some, that person is a professional—a therapist.

If you’ve ever thought about seeing a therapist but hesitated for fear that they might think you’re crazy or won’t understand your situation, the sources we heard from for this article assured us: They’ve heard it all—and most of it at least twice.

Want to know if some of their most-heard questions are the same as the one keeping you up at night and complicating your love life? Look no further. As told to Verily, here are the No. 1 questions these therapists say their patients ask about love.

‘How do I know if I can trust him/her? I get this question three to four times a day.” —Michael J. Salamon, Ph.D., FICPP

“I don’t like the way my relationship is going. Should I wait for him/her to change?” —Paula H. Cookson, LCSW, relationship expert for Cupid.com

“It’s so hard for people to stay; what makes me unlovable?” —Erin Asquith, LCSW

How can I tell if he/she is cheating on me?” —Cynthia McKay, JD, MA, LAC

‘What are his/her intentions?’ People always worry about the other person having other motives (sex, money, etc.), and that makes them afraid of being vulnerable.” —Dion Metzger, M.D.

Will I ever find it?” —Donna Corbett, LCSW

‘When should I fight for a relationship (and how)?’ In the close to two decades I have been a relationship therapist, I have never once had someone regret that they fought too hard for love.” —Caroline Madden, MFT, author of five relationship books

“‘How do I have a strong relationship?’ or ‘How do I improve my unhappy relationship?’” —William Schroeder, MA, LPC, Gottman-certified relationship expert

“He was different when we first met; why is he not the same?” —Lisa Bahar, LMFT, LPCC

‘What does he/this mean?’ Women, especially in the context of a romantic relationship, spend inordinate amounts of time trying to figure out whether their spouse/boyfriend ‘likes them’ and analyzing every message/email/action to understand what it means.” —Anjhula Mya Singh Bais, Ph.D.

“If he loves me, why doesn’t he understand what I need, think, and feel?” –Pearl Flax, CDC and life coach

“If the client is single and looking for love, I inevitably get asked, ‘Will I ever find love with the right person?’ If the client is in a relationship, I most often get asked, ‘Why is it so hard to communicate and really understand each other?’” —Yvonne Thomas, Ph.D.

Here is a bonus gift for you, don’t forget to download your free guide on how to avoid the top 10 mistakes you want to avoid during your divorce. http://Divorcehelp1.gr8.com

If you’re looking for support, sign up for a PRIVATE (and free) consultation to talk about your journey and we’ll discuss if coaching is the right step for you

Women are traditionally care-givers. I don’t know where the idea came from, but somehow women have this need, or shall I say self-imposed pressure that their mission in life is to be martyrs, do everything for everyone, anytime and to perfection. Unfortunately, we are sometimes so busy taking care of everyone else, that we forget to take care of ourselves. Some people think self-care is selfish. In reality however caring for ourselves enables us to better care for others. It is the airplane oxygen mask analogy: “Put your oxygen mask on before you assist others, because you can’t help anyone if you pass out.”

As a divorce coach and mediator I see this all the time. My clients start talking about everyone around them, complain and vent and really feel like they can’t go on and when I ask, “What about you?” The response I receive is typically a startled surprise. “Me”, it’s not even a thought that crosses their mind. In some cases, I see women who have embraced this traditional role and focused their lives completely on their husband and children. I can tell you both from my own experience and from my client’s stories, men don’t want that. They married YOU, not some idea of what a wife and mother should be. I also see women who hide behind their role as care-givers. They lose themselves in the process and eventually identify themselves with the roles they have taken on, rather than the women they are. The saddest and most shocking part is how these women are often blindsided when it comes to their divorce.
You believed that all your hard work would be appreciated without realizing that there was crucial piece missing from the equation – YOU. So, it’s time to silence those saboteurs and focus on yourself for a change.

So how do you change that? How do you go from being a selfless martyr to a healthy balanced woman who is able to give to yourself?

The answer is self-care. When I see women who are generally happy in their lives I know they take the time to care of themselves, giving them the balance as well as the energy they need to care for others.
Self-care is more than just getting a manicure or a new haircut from time to time. It is really about nourishing your whole inner self, in order to restore balance in your life during this emotionally traumatic time.

In order to be in an emotionally healthy and balanced place, your mind, body and spirit need be aligned, and one can’t achieve that without dedicating time to self-care.
Daily practice in self-care, especially during divorce, is essential to helping you find a calm, more centered you, so that you can meet these challenges head-on. Here are some great tips to start implementing in your life TODAY!

1. YOUR SPACE: Set up your own space. If you are still in the process of figuring out where you will move to, or can’t afford to move out of the marital residence, create a separate space for yourself that makes you feel at peace. Decorate the room with some new pillows or linen. Brighten it up with some paintings or flowers, or anything that you enjoy to look at. Make it YOURS AND COZY!
2. YOUR DIET: Eat healthy foods. Divorce is a stress marathon – use extreme measures in your exercise and nutrition plans to remain healthy, or become healthy. If you don’t take care of your health, you risk entering a cycle of fatigue and illness.
3. GET OUT – WORK OUT: Get outside, walk, walk, walk or run or whatever. I happen to hate walking, so I used to take drives to de-stress. Walking is definitely the healthier alternative. Start a workout program, whatever it is you like. Join a gym or yoga class. Everyone knows that regular exercise is good for the body. But exercise is also one of the most effective ways to improve your mental health. Regular exercise can have a profoundly positive impact on depression, anxiety, ADHD, and more. It also relieves stress, improves memory, helps you sleep better, and boosts your overall mood.
4. MOURN & HEAL: Cry and mourn the death of your marriage. Cry and talk about your story for as long as you feel you need to, and reach out to someone that can help you heal. Many women make the mistake to move on before they have healed and bring in the hurt, damage and baggage of their previous relationships into their next one.
5. SUPPORT: Join a support group of likeminded women, who want to move forward and grow. The objective in this journey is to find the “BEST YOU” that you can be. Surround yourself with positive people and/or a positive life or divorce coach.
6. SOMETHING NEW: Start a new career, course, or hobby. It is a great way to meet new people, boost your creative mind and have a new outlet.
7. FORGIVE: When we are in the moment of something traumatic and painful, the pain feels so intense that it is hard to imagine that it could ever end or change. I am here to tell you that this experience will have an end and a NEW beginning. Prepare to forgive yourself and your new ex and be willing to move on. If you get stuck reach out to someone that can help propel you forward.
8. FRIENDSHIPS: With the divorce comes the loss or death of other relationships, and for the first time in your lives you might be faced with the cold reality of who your friends really are. Some of your previous friends may become toxic relationships, may take sides or just simply change. Evaluate your friendships, look deep within you and make the necessary adjustments to create a healthy network of supporting and loving friends.
9. BE OBJECTIVE & EDUCATE YOURSELF: Get reliable, legal information and guidance. Many of my clients fall apart because they have either been misinformed, or thought that the process would be faster and simpler. ALWAYS be prepared for the process to take longer than you thought. Save your energy. Don’t stop living and focusing all your energy on the divorce process. It will take a while and by stressing you are not likely to speed up the process.
10. OPPORTUNITY FOR GROWTH: Understand that this experience may be an opportunity for growth and insight. Be gentle with yourself, be prepared to make changes in your life and outlook. Tap into your spiritual essence for guidance. Get ready for the adventure of discovering yourself.

LAST BUT NOT LEAST……

A NEW FUTURE: Think of the future you envision, write it in a journal, daydream about your next partner and relationship. The energy we put out into the universe is what we attract to ourselves. In order to be ready for a new and improved relationship, you need to know what you want and believe that you can attain it. Last but not least see what parts of you need healing and nurturing and invest time in YOU!!
Self-care is a key ingredient to happy and healthy life, but when you’re going through stressful times, such as a divorce it is imperative and crucial to implement into your life.

Here is a bonus gift for you, don’t forget to download your free guide on how to avoid the top 10 mistakes you want to avoid during your divorce. http://Divorcehelp1.gr8.com

If you’re looking for support, sign up for a PRIVATE (and free) consultation to talk about your journey and we’ll discuss if coaching is the right step for you