This piece, about what happens to the people that leave relationships abruptly and/or with deception, caused quite a stir on Facebook recently. The comments fell into two camps: “Thank you for validating my experience” and “I’m the one who left my marriage and I’m tired of being painted as the bad guy.” The reaction got me […]
When you devote much of your day in fear of your ex, or thinking about what your ex is doing, you are allowing them to live rent free in your head. It is completely understandable that if you have had many negative experiences with your ex and experienced a prolonged, bitter custody battle, you would become afraid of having to deal with them in the future. Still, the best thing to do is to get them out of your head and out of your life as much as possible.
I do not want to make light of the situation. I hope to help people move forward and stop giving their ex more attention than they deserve. If you have become overwhelmed with thoughts and fears about your ex, you have to work on changing your thinking. It is not going to happen over night, but it can be done. You will have to work hard at it and things may get worse before they get better. What I mean by that is the controlling, abusive, meddling ex will do their best to make you fail in your quest for freedom. That is reason enough why you must do it. When you start paying less and less attention to them and no longer cower in fear of them, they are going to get in your face a little more before they slither away and the fact remains, they may never slither away completely. You see, the problem is not with you. It is with them.
Your ex has been masterful at turning the tables on you and keeping you off balance. Because their behavior is not normal, you may be confused about why they are behaving the way they are. Worse, you may also be confused that in the real world, people view your ex as very nice, smart, thoughtful, etc. They may have a new relationship that seems just peachy and you may be questioning if you really are the problem. Trust me, you are not the problem.
Keep in mind that most people in the real world only get a glimpse of who your ex really is and when your ex wants to, he or she can really turn on the charm. The same goes for the new relationship. They must make their new partner see you as a crazy person. It helps them ensure that you will never go near their new partner and that they will steer clear of you as well. No one can talk to each other that way. The angry ex’s secrets do not get divulged. This keeps their new love in the dark about who they really are and it helps keep you wondering what the heck is going on…and they LOVE that. Remember how they treated you early on and how wonderful you thought they were. The new partner will also be charmed.
They LOVE having you fear them. They LOVE living in your head rent free. They do not even have to do anything because you fear them so much and try to anticipate what they will do next. It feeds their ego to know that they are always on your mind.
So how do you go about changing things?
First things first, you have to put your fear behind you. You may even need to get angry. You also need to retrain your brain to stop any and all thoughts of your ex whenever they crop up.
Second, have a diversion. If you are overwhelmed thinking about what your ex may or may not do about any given issue, have a friend or a hobby or even look for a new love interest and whenever you just cannot shake the evil ex thoughts, call on that person or take some time to work on it. If you choose a hobby, make sure that it is something that will keep you busy. Reading sometimes will not work because if your mind keeps wandering, you will not really be reading. Try exercise, too, and some stress reduction techniques, such as deep breathing, mediation or swinging your arms back and forth for 10 minutes. Trust me, it works.
Third, carve out “ex free” time. When you have the luxury of your child spending time at the other parent’s house or with grandma and grandpa or their friends, carve it out. Announce to yourself that you will not give your ex anymore time than they have already taken from you.
This can be done, trust me, I have done it. It takes some time and some practice, but once you master retraining your brain, the less you will think about your ex or care about your ex. It will become habit to you and you will be well on your way to a new and happier life. One last thing, it is natural to want to put your life on hold for fear that your ex will ruin anything that makes you happy, but that is just giving them more control over your life. You do NOT want to do that. Write down on a piece of paper in big letters the following:
NOT ONE MORE DAY. MY EX WILL NOT GET ONE MORE DAY OF MY LIFE. MY EX HAS BEEN LIVING RENT FREE IN MY HEAD FOR YEARS AND TODAY IS HIS EVICTION NOTICE. HE/SHE NEEDS TO GET OUT OF MY HEAD AND OUT OF MY THOUGHTS AND OUT OF MY LIFE STARTING RIGHT NOW. I DO NOT DESERVE TO BE TREATED THE WAY I AM BEING TREATED. I DESERVE TO BE HAPPY.
And then go live it. If you want to find a new love, seek them out. Your ex may try to meddle and he/she may try to make things difficult for you in unimaginable ways, but you are stronger than he or she is. Much stronger. They have a sickness that they probably cannot escape, but you will choose to get healthier. You will take steps to ensure that you never choose the same kind of psychopath as a partner again, and you won’t. Your new love will love you and because they love you so much, they will see what your ex is doing and they will stand by you no matter what.
When you see it, you will believe it and achieve it!
Image courtesy of Nattavut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
*The following is a report from 11-5-2011
How important is sex? Sex should not be the entire basis of a relationship, but it is important for the survival of a relationship. A healthy sex life helps couples feel connected.
Not only is sex a key ingredient to a lasting relationship, according to this article from Web MD, there are many health benefits from a healthy sex life, also.
Web MD lists among the health benefits: stress relief, an immunity boost, burning off calories, improved heart health, greater self-esteem, increased intimacy, less pain, reduced risk of prostate cancer, stronger pelvic floor muscles, and better sleep. Read the article for more details, but you cannot argue with those great benefits to your health.
Why is sex important for men? Men need a physical release, especially when they are feeling stressed. Sex is a wonderful physical activity that they can share with their partner. Men can participate in sports or other physical activity, but sex is a lot more fun. They don’t often get to share those other activities with their partner so sex is a way for men to spend time with the women they love. Men use sex to show the woman in their life that they love them. Sometimes men cannot communicate feelings with words. Since being close physically is one of the ways men signal to a woman they love her, they can feel rejected if their partner loses interest in sex. Ladies, if you have lost interest in sex, talk to your man about why. He needs to know if you are not having your needs met or if there is another reason that sex no longer interests you. If you tell a man what he can do to make sex enjoyable for you, he will want to do it. Men want to know what makes you feel good. They don’t always know what that is. Never criticize, but tell them honestly what drives you wild. You’ll be surprised at how great sex can be when a man no longer has to guess.
Why do women lose interest in sex? Women need to have their emotional needs met in order to feel good about having sex. If a woman doesn’t feel respected, she will lose desire. If she is really stressed out or just plain too tired from chasing kids around all day, she won’t have the energy. Women sometimes feel self-conscious about sex. As their bodies change from pregnancy and childbirth to menopause, they may feel unattractive. Men, you can help by reassuring her that you love her body. Tell her she is sexy and the only woman you want to be with. Also, if you have young children and she feels run ragged, try to plan a day off for her. Allow her time to work out, get a massage, or have a night out with friends. If you can take care of the kids, by all means, do that. If that is not the best option, get a babysitter. Schedule certain days whenever possible that are Mom’s days off. Even if it can only be once a month, it helps.
Ladies, you don’t have to be a size 6 to be desirable. Great sex is about confidence. If you love your body, so will your man! Relax and enjoy the physical time together. Immerse yourself completely into the moment. Try not to think about the kids or work or anything else. A woman who is distracted will not get the most pleasure out of sex that she could.
If you have become stuck in a rut and sex has become non-existent, you can change that. Ask your partner if they are willing to talk about it. Tell them that you would like to rekindle your sex life. If it’s been a while since you’ve shared that physical closeness, spend some time reconnecting as a couple. Spend time together relaxing and having fun. Touch each other, not just as foreplay. Touch each other throughout the day. A simple kiss or hug, maybe just lightly touching a shoulder or back can restart that physical connection needed to bring back desire. If necessary, see a therapist or a physician. There could be a medical reason why desire has been lost. You can always see a relationship coach, too. If your partner wants to talk about your sex life, take it to heart. If sex is important to your partner, they are not going to wait around forever. Don’t help them decide to look for someone else, help them love and desire you.
Relationship problems suck. They really do. When you are married, relationship problems suck even more. When you have children, the stakes are extremely high.
As a coach, I talk to people who are looking for help. They may want to try communication coaching. Sometimes, one or both partners have anger issues, and they might want to look into Anger Management. They may even be contemplating divorce.
Divorce will scare the crap out of you. Sometimes, it is sprung on you. Your spouse has determined, without talking to you about it, that they want a divorce. They have thought it over for a long time, and come to the decision. You can’t change their mind. It is done.
Other times, you talk together about how the relationship is not working. This is a great time to act. Even if you think this is not a great time because you are on the brink of divorce, it really is an opportunity. There is something positive in the fact that you have been able to talk about this together. That shows promise!
For parents of small children, you really need to see the opportunity in this situation. While some couples will choose to divorce, others may find that they don’t have to. If no one has come to the divorce decision yet, there is still time, and there is certainly a lot of wisdom in waiting to make that decision while you spend time working on your issues.
Relationship problems are a two-way street. It is rarely about the actions of just one person in a couple. The relationship didn’t start out sour. If it had, why would you have gotten married? Why would you have had a child together? There was potential there and most likely still is.
The question you have to ask yourself is this: If I need to make some changes to improve my relationship, should I do it now, in an effort to save my marriage, or should I do it later, to work on the co-parenting relationship? If you and your spouse have a child together, you are going to have to continue to build that relationship, aren’t you? If you have trust or anger issues in your marriage, won’t you still have them in the co-parenting relationship, too?
When a relationship has problems, most people seem to know where their own personal weakness lies. They often know, or are willing to learn about their faults. If the two people are willing to make changes to improve their lives, it would be better to do it now, before more damage is done, than to have to do it later. Just something to consider.
Divorce was a good thing for me. I am not sure my children would agree that it was a good thing for them. Divorce might be a good thing for you but it might be worth really making sure that you cannot salvage that relationship, especially if you have children who end up being part of that relationship forever, no matter what it becomes.
As you may have read previously, back in June, my ex filed for custody of my youngest son. My son and I had had an argument over the fact that his room was a pig stye and I wanted it cleaned. That was my only crime, demanding that my son clean his room. I had let my guard down, expecting that my ex would not go backwards and would actually tell my son that his behavior was not acceptable anywhere and would not be acceptable at his home either, instead he filed for sole custody, told the same lies to the judge that he always had told way back when and pulled his poor, poor pitiful me act yet again. I expected the judge to review the case and why I won sole custody, but the judge was lazy and did not want to do his job. The judge did not allow me the opportunity to speak to my son or to allow me to set up mediation. Mr. Judge Supreme wanted to show how powerful he was an after telling me that court orders cannot be enforced, he can uphold laws, such as law 609.26, ignoring the past physical abuse that my ex perpetrated against my son, the same child as was in the middle again, and not follow laws or court orders or even the proper procedure, and granted my ex sole custody.
As I strongly suspected, my ex was only interested in ending child support early. Had he told me so, I could have accommodated him, but he could not admit to that. I did know that my ex has been extremely jealous of me having my own business and being a mediator and divorce coach. This has been driving him nuts and his attack was solely an effort to get back his money that he did not feel I deserved or needed. You know what? He can have it. He is an alcoholic and it will not bother me if I see him drink himself to death with it.
You may think that this is a horror story and that I am upset about it. I am not. I have my son back. I want to give you all some hope for those of you living in fear that your ex will turn your child against you. I always tell people that the children will be the ultimate judge of you and your actions had better be in their best interests if you want to win not just the battle, but ultimately win the war.
I let my son go with his dad. I sent him a few emails about my love for him and my expectations of what it would mean for him to be a man. At the time he was 6 months away from turning 18. I also let him know what truths I knew about him and explained to him that I would always be there for him, but that I would not allow anyone to treat me with disrespect or to lie to me. Then I left him think about things and I completely left the choice of visiting me up to him.
After a period of adjustment, he did get past the fear of making his dad mad at him and started coming to stay with me with great frequency. He learned that his dad is not there for him and he had been used. You see, his dad got to keep his child support money but made my son pay for all of his expenses, including food, and medical supplies and medications for what is a chronic medical condition. He would not help my son get his drivers license or any of the things one would do if they really wanted their child. When he got sole custody, he left me listed as my son’s education coach at school and lead the school staff to believe that my son still lives at my house. Why would anyone who wanted custody and claimed child endangerment (because I told my son to clean his room) not take over these issues for their child? Because even in my case, the coparent’s issue is not about the child. It is solely about control. My son is even afraid to tell his dad that he lost his glasses because his dad is a horrible person when he is angry, even after 2 stints in anger management.
Anyway, it was a difficult period of time and since then my son has turned 18. He is making plans to move closer to where I live. The only reason he hasn’t done so is because he has a job out near his dad’s house. The best part is that he now spends a great deal of time at my house, pretty much whenever he is not working. His brother took him to get his drivers license last week when he was at our house and he passed. Even though his physical address is his dad’s house, his dad spends very little time with him.
I guess the point I am trying to make is that you can win in the end, even if you have lost some major battles during the process. In the end your child will know who is the one who is there for them. The other point I am trying to make is this: you know who your ex is. He or she may perform in front of court authorities or other professionals that are involved with your child and draw people into their pity party or manipulate them into aligning with them, but ultimately there comes a time when the kids are grown. You will find that you were right all along. Your ex is who they are and they can pretend all day long to be what they are not, but where it matters, for example, with their children, they cannot hide the truth.
Another bonus is that I think my son learned some important lessons as well.
The book is in the editing stages right now, which is taking a little longer than I had hoped, but I do expect that it will be available for purchase within 2 weeks or so. Stay tuned.
“The Parenting Consultant Nightmare” is a simple explanation of the parenting consultant process, the pitfalls, how to avoid it if you can, and if you can’t, offers some communication strategies and coping techniques. I think maybe even a parenting consultant could gain some insight into why parents often react the way they do, but it may be too much to expect for any of them to read it. Time will tell.
Anyway, it was hard for me not to announce it months ago, but I wanted to wait until the time was right and I think it is close enough to fruition that it is time to make the announcement!