Tuesday, 19 June 2018

The Impact of Parental Alienation on Children

Undermining loving parent-child relationships as child maltreatment

What children of divorce most want and need is to maintain healthy and strong relationships with both of their parents, and to be shielded from their parents' conflicts. Some parents, however, in an effort to bolster their parental identity, create an expectation that children choose sides. In more extreme situations, they foster the child’s rejection of the other parent. In the most extreme cases, children are manipulated by one parent to hate the other, despite children’s innate desire to love and be loved by both parents.

Parental alienation involves the “programming” of a child by one parent to denigrate the other, “targeted” parent, in an effort to undermine and interfere with the child's relationship with that parent, and is often a sign of a parent’s inability to separate from the couple conflict and focus on the needs of the child. Such denigration results in the child’s emotional rejection of the targeted parent, and the loss of a capable and loving parent from the child's life. Psychiatrist Richard Gardner developed the concept of "parental alienation syndrome" 20 years ago, defining it as:

"...a disorder that arises primarily in the context of child custody disputes. Its primary manifestation is the child's campaign of denigration against a parent, a campaign that has no justification. It results from the combination of a programming (brainwashing) parent's indoctrinations and the child's own contributions to the vilification of the target parent."

Children’s views of the targeted parent are almost exclusively negative, to the point that the parent is demonized and seen as evil.

As Amy Baker writes, parental alienation involves a set of strategies, including bad-mouthing the other parent, limiting contact with that parent, erasing the other parent from the life and mind of the child (forbidding discussion and pictures of the other parent), forcing the child to reject the other parent, creating the impression that the other parent is dangerous, forcing the child to choose between the parents by means of threats of withdrawal of affection, and belittling and limiting contact with the extended family of the targeted parent. In my own research on non-custodial parents who have become disengaged from their children’s lives (Kruk, 2011), I found that most lost contact involuntarily, many as a result of parental alienation. Constructive alternatives to adversarial methods of reconnecting with their children were rarely available to these alienated parents.

Parental alienation is more common than is often assumed: Fidler and Bala (2010) report both an increasing incidence and increased judicial findings of parental alienation; they report estimates of parental alienation in 11 to 15 percent of divorces involving children; and Bernet et al. (2010) estimate that about 1 percent of children and adolescents in North America experience parental alienation.

There is now scholarly consensus that severe alienation is abusive to children (Fidler and Bala, 2010), and is a largely overlooked form of child abuse (Bernet et al, 2010), as child welfare and divorce practitioners are often unaware of or minimize its extent. As reported by adult children of divorce, the tactics of alienating parents are tantamount to extreme psychological maltreatment, including spurning, terrorizing, isolating, corrupting or exploiting, and denying emotional responsiveness (Baker, 2010). For the child, parental alienation is a serious mental condition, based on a false belief that the alienated parent is dangerous and unworthy. The severe effects of parental alienation on children are well-documented—low self-esteem and self-hatred, lack of trust, depression, and substance abuse and other forms of addiction are widespread, as children lose the capacity to give and accept love from a parent. Self-hatred is particularly disturbing among affected children, as children internalize the hatred targeted toward the alienated parent, are led to believe that the alienated parent did not love or want them, and experience severe guilt related to betraying the alienated parent. Their depression is rooted in feelings of being unloved by one of their parents, and from separation from that parent, while being denied the opportunity to mourn the loss of the parent or to even talk about them. Alienated children typically have conflicted or distant relationships with the alienating parent also, and are at high risk of becoming alienated from their own children: Baker reports that fully half of the respondents in her study of adult children who had experienced alienation as children were alienated from their own children.

Every child has a fundamental right and need for an unthreatened and loving relationship with both parents. To be denied that right by one parent, without sufficient justification such as abuse or neglect, is itself a form of child abuse. Since it is the child who is being violated by a parent's alienating behaviors, it is the child who is being alienated from the other parent. Children who have undergone forced separation from one parent — in the absence of abuse — including cases of parental alienation, are highly subject to post-traumatic stress, and reunification efforts in these cases should proceed carefully and with sensitivity. Research has shown that many alienated children can transform quickly from refusing or staunchly resisting the rejected parent to being able to show and receive love from that parent, followed by an equally swift shift back to the alienated position when back in the orbit of the alienating parent; alienated children seem to have a secret wish for someone to call their bluff, compelling them to reconnect with the parent they claim to hate. While children’s stated wishes regarding parental contact in contested custody should be considered, they should not be determinative, especially in suspected cases of alienation.

Hatred is not an emotion that comes naturally to a child; it has to be taught. A parent who would teach a child to hate or fear the other parent represents a grave and persistent danger to the mental and emotional health of that child. Alienated children are no less damaged than other child victims of extreme conflict, such as child soldiers and other abducted children, who identify with their tormentors to avoid pain and maintain a relationship with them, however abusive that relationship may be.

Baker, A. (2010). “Adult recall of parental alienation in a community sample: Prevalence and associations with psychological maltreatment.” Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, 51, 16-35.

Bernet, W. et al (2010). “Parental alienation and the DSM V.” American Journal of Family Therapy, 38, 76-187.

Fidler, B. and Bala, N. (2010). “Children resisting postseparation contact with a parent: Concepts, controversies, and conundrums.” Family Court Review, 48 (1), 10-47.

Kruk, E. (2011). Divorced Fathers: Children’s Needs and Parental Responsibilities, Halifax: Fernwood Publishing.

Monday, 18 June 2018

Rebuilding Life after Divorce

For divorced men, the reality is painful emotionally, physically, financially, and just about any angle you can look at it. It’s simply an unpleasant experience. To rebuild from it or from anything, the anger needs to subside, whatever humor to be found needs to be brought forth, and a renewed spirit developed.

At the same time as rebuilding begins, there needs to be an emphasis placed upon not regressing to less- developed former states. Many men in this situation fall back to a younger adult mentality of late night partying and ill-advised romantic involvements. Instead, focus on using the experience to emerge wiser and more prepared for what is next in life. Remaining stagnate or regressing are traps that usually lead to even more heartache.

There is hope for life after divorce. Divorced men can experience less trauma and create positive growth. There are ways to rebuild life and be a better parent. Here’s how:

Make Time to Grieve

The shattered dreams, the broken vows, and the reality of starting over all cause severe emotion. Shoving that emotion down and not releasing it will cause further damage in every case. Most do not realize the destructive paths they are going down until a lot of carnage is behind them. All the stages of grief come with divorce: shock, denial, anger, and acceptance. But for men, in particular, there can be a deep sense of personal failure. Finding trusted people to share these emotions with is highly recommended. That could be a clergy person, a counselor or just a wise and sincere friend or small group. As you move into this major life transition, being emotionally unstable is not beneficial to your cause. Address your grief.

Regain Individual Identity
Marriage is about partnership and teamwork, and now you find yourself on your own. It’s time to regain your individual identity and figure out what are the things that make life work well for you. It’s important to learn to respect yourself and feel worthy again. Hone the character traits and abilities you possess that lead to positive results in your life, and critically figure out the ones that contributed to the lack of success. Doing these things will enable us to better understand what we need and expect from the next relationship. Most of all, learn to pray with sincerity and purpose. God has not and will not leave your side.

Build a Network of Friends

Just because you’re single now, life after divorce doesn’t have to be lonely. Divorce will wreak havoc on some of your current friendships, but gracefully accept that and retain the ones that reach out to you. Moving forward, carefully work to make new friends in similar situations with similar goals. This is the area that is most vulnerable to regression. It’s certainly expected to have an active and enjoyable social life, but craft it with great care.

Prudent Financial Planning

You have enough stress from the divorce already. Accumulating mass amounts of debt will make life much more miserable as you transition. Alimony and child support are going to force serious restructuring. Doing so bitterly is going to send trauma throughout the entire family unit, especially landing right in the heart of your children. They will feel unwanted and as if they are burdens, when what they need more than anything at the moment is lots of reassurance that dad is still going to be there for them. Make the hard decisions and necessary cuts. It’s going to painful, but you’ll come out of it one day much better off.

Make a Goals Bucket List
Starting over requires deciding what are the things most important to you. Make a bucket list of goals you wish to achieve in this new direction in life. A better version of the man you already are. A better and wiser parent. Be a man that prepares himself for the best chance at happiness and success. Try and feel new things.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

7 Signs of a Healthy Post-Divorce Relationship

Relationships are fun. And now that we have our kids, and our independence, we can be more intentional and clear about what we want in our next relationship.

Divorce is hard. Dating after divorce is tricky too, and I’ve found some things I think are good indicators of how whole a person is, and how ready they are for a healthy relationship. Sure, your dating profile says something like, “Let’s be friends first and see where that takes us.” But most people I meet are really hoping that friendship takes us to the next wave of affection. I think we are mostly looking to me found and appreciated by another person, while having the opportunity to appreciate them back. We want to become the most fantastic cheerleader for their hopes and dreams and we expect that positive affirmation in return.

We don’t need a relationship. We want one. We are fine alone. We have found our own way out of the desert of depression and despair. And now, standing strong and alone again, we are ready to dip our toes into the idea of being loved and loving again. It is a huge risk. And some people can’t get over it. Their divorce is still too painful, or their relationship with their ex is still too volatile. They are really not ready for a relationship.

If, however you begin to think your shit is sufficiently together to date again, some new boundaries are in order. And here is what I’ve found to be the indicators of a healthy start.
1. The relationship with the ex is business-like and drama-free.
If your potential partner is still dramatically engaged or enraged at their ex partner, watch out. You are likely to take some of the “stand-in” damage for the anger that needs a place to dissipate. Irritation and conflict can always arise. But pay attention to how this person deals with these setbacks or conflicts. It’s likely this is how any future conflict with you might evolve, as well. Are they able to articulate what the problem is? Can they negotiate a solution and then let it go? The emotional baggage from divorce is huge. And it’s tough to get through all the processing that needs to happen before we can cut it loose and be free of the burden of our ex.

2. The other person puts their kids ahead of the relationship.
In my experience, I find a potential partner who has had kids (they can be older or younger than mine) is more likely to be accepting and accommodating of my relationship to my kids. When my kids call, they come first. Sure, it’s an interruption, and sure it puts the “special friend” in a secondary role, but it’s clear to me that my kids emotional and physical well-being is much more important than me having a girlfriend. At least at this point in my life, while they are still in school, and still very much under my influence. I have a deep respect for my role model as a dad, and as a man. I am showing both my daughter and my son how a man acts in the world. Even under duress, I am showing how I can remain calm, and make strong and positive decisions. And always, my kids come first. Especially in the early stages of a new relationship.

3. In meeting the kids, there are no major hangups or obvious attachment issues.
Divorce traumatizes all of the family members. And often this trauma causes us to revert to old and unhealthy defense mechanisms. And of course, as a divorced, and now-single parent, I am going to do everything I can to take care of my kids needs. BUT… this has to be carefully done. I have seen both men and women who were WAY to enmeshed with their children. Maybe the kid was a brat who was completely undisciplined. Or perhaps the child was overly shy and withdrawn, folding themselves into the parent. At younger ages some of this behavior is acceptable. But as the child ages, and reaches the end of elementary school they should not need to be coddled or babied, because the other parent is trying to make up for some loss. The single parent cannot make up for the divorce. But everyone survives and moves on. Both the kids and the parents need to return to healthy boundaries and healthy communication styles, so that everyone can grow up, and let go of the stigma and shame of the divorce.

4. Conversations about divorce, parenting, or relationships are not tense.
In early stages of a relationship, most of the time you want to hear, “What happened?” And this opportunity to share your story and hear the divorce story of the other person, is a great time to listen for their repose. How have they accepted their own responsibility for the divorce. Even if the divorce was the result of some infidelity, have they been able to move beyond the anger? The best approach to the ex is to live and let be. Focus on the kids. Walking away from a marriage is hard work, and the way someone tells their divorce story is important. Listen.

5. Clarity of intention and honest expression of affection and desire.
You’d think that if someone is dating again that they are ready for a relationship. But that’s often not the case. You’d even imagine, that someone who puts up a dating profile online, and who talks about what they want in their next relationship, probably has some intention of being in a relationship. BUT, you might be wrong. I have been on quite a few dates where the woman had no idea what they wanted. I had one woman, who I connected with and had just spent nearly two hours talking to, tell me in the parking lot as she was getting into her car, “I can tell you at least three reasons I’m not right for you.” She didn’t, but she said she knew she had no real idea of what she wanted in a relationship. If you’re dating, be clear on if you want to “date” or have a relationship. I’ve heard that some people are into casual dating and casual sex. That’s never worked for me, but if that’s your thing, make sure that’s what the other person is saying as well. If the person cannot give you a good idea of what they are looking for, how their next relationship might look or feel, they may not be ready to be in a relationship. And if you can’t articulate what you are looking for, if your vague, or simply lonely, you might want to keep working on yourself, and your approach to relationships before jumping right back into one.

6. Alcohol or tv are not constant sources of entertainment or escape.
Drinking together can be fun, but it shouldn’t be a lifestyle choice, unless you are both into it. If the person doesn’t really open up until a glass of wine or two, you might be rubbing up against someone who has a hard time expressing themselves. In moderation, as a celebration lifter, a few drinks on the weekend are no problem. But if it’s every single night, and the glass of whatever becomes like the cup of coffee in the morning, a necessary lubricant, there is probably an issue there. And I’ve seen TV become the same sort of numbing or escaping addiction. I went on a few dates with a woman who professed an addiction to reality TV shows. She also turned around and fought with me about the virtues of TV overall, and how TV was no less interactive than reading a book or playing a game with someone. Um…. Yeah. Escapism should not be a common theme. You want clear and present as the normal relating condition between you and another consenting adult.

7. Affection that moves into sexual relations doesn’t change the overall tone of the friendship.
Of course, you’d like to be friends first. And if the chemistry is working, there may be a pull towards the bedroom. But of course you need to know that if you are looking for a relationship, sex, while important, is not the most important aspect of a relationship. You are going to be spending a lot of time with this person, out of the bedroom doing other things, and you’d be better of seeing if your “out of the sack” experience is good too. Don’t get me wrong, a good sexual chemistry is a powerful motivator. But don’t let the sex cloud your understanding of who the person is, and what other things you like to do together. You can’t screw all the time.

And initiation of sex shouldn’t cause major shifts in the relationship. You’re friendship should still remain a focus in all of the stages of a relationship. Perhaps that’s part of what led us to divorce, we stopped dating our partners and began to take them for granted. We stopped cheerleading and became more of a negotiator, or even antagonist.

Listen to yourself as you talk about the relationship as well. When you are describing your relationship to a friend, notice the words you use. How do you describe this new interest? What are the highlights that you are proud to share about this person?

And listen as you talk to this person as well. Are you open and free with your expressions of affection or desire? Can you say what you need? Are you holding back, or withholding some information for fear of upsetting the other person? All of these are clues that the relating part of the relationship might still need some exploration.

Relationships are fun. And now that we have our kids, and our independence, we can be more intentional and clear about what we want in our next relationship. It doesn’t have to be about marriage, but can be more about learning to love and feel loved again. Take your time. Be intentional with your time, attention, and actions. And if things don’t feel right, move along. If you’re not in a hurry, there are plenty of fish in the sea, and plenty of time to find one that’s just right. Or at least better than what you’ve done before.


The Off Parent

Source: https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/seven-signs-healthy-post-divorce-relationship-jmac/

Friday, 15 June 2018

Dealing with Ex-wife Drama

Each person has their own way of dealing with their emotions and overall changes that appear after a divorce. Many men complain that their ex-wives behave in ways that not only trouble them, but also greatly affects the ones around them. And when it comes to ex-wife drama, it comes in various forms. Whether it’s the ex-wife causing the drama or you are causing it in relation to her.

Whether the source is her or you, there are certain aspects that everyone who has gone through a divorce should deal with. Here are some tips:

Clarify that the relationship is over

That does not mean only in words. Be it an explanation you are required to give your ex-wife or yourself and others in order for your previous partner not to be an issue in the present, it has to be definite and it has to be reinforced by action.

It is not enough to say that a relationship has ended. Your behavior has to emphasize the same thing. How you allow your ex wife to behave is partially also within the limit of your behavior. For instance, you might stop calling her, but always answering her calls and allowing her to do something that negatively influences your life will not help at all. As with marriage, divorce has to come from both sides. And sometimes it takes more than changing the way you think and behave.

Be consistent

One of the most common reasons for ex-wife drama is that men do not end things properly or leave things in the grey zone. While it is good and preferable for a person to accept that there is always place for middle ground situations in life, there are certain instances where things come only in black or white. If you do not want to give reason for unwanted behavior from your ex-wife, you have to also behave in a manner which does not leave room for interpretation.

Be reasonable, but practical

This is important in your dealings with your ex-wife. If the divorce was something that you’ve wanted, but not your wife, it is obvious that the level of detachment will differ. The same things apply to resentment or regret or any other emotion. However, you should not be permissive to the point where being understanding and being taken advantage of no longer is differentiated.

Assuming that the amount of over-exaggerated behavior from your wife does not stem from something you’ve done wrong by her, it is important for you to decide on a system to deal with her. Drastic measures are sometimes required, but they are generally not taken well by others and might not have the favourable outcome you are looking for.

Think of it this way: You don’t want to be uncivilized as to not maintain basic human interaction, especially if you share a child together, but that does not mean you want her feeling comfortable enough to impose on you whenever or wherever she likes. You should have a clear idea of what you want and can do in relation to her before anything else gets out of hand.

Look for the reason behind it all. Every scandal and every event has a reason behind it. Unless you are dealing with an emotionally unstable person, it is correct to assume that there must be something that is causing all this that you might fix. And while this might sound like having to interact with your previous spouse more than you would like to, it actually requires very little actual interaction as it requires thinking and being sincere.

Whether it’s money, the sentiment of feeling wronged or the need to blame someone else for being unhappy, in most cases men are not ignorant of the “whys” that stand behind all the fuss and drama. And choosing to ignore it or to consider themselves absolved of any guilt in it does not really solve the situation. Sometimes, calmly talking to each other and trying to solve the problems and to answer the questions that were left unanswered can bring a lot more benefits than one could believe. As long as the other person feels you are being sincere, it will be hard for them to continue on the same note as before.

There are many ways of dealing with the issues that a man has to face in relation with his previous spouse and what is most important is to remember that each person has its own peculiarities and grievances and they should be addressed for the good of all.

Source: https://www.marriage.com/advice/divorce/dealing-with-ex-wife-drama/

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Seven Ways to Thrive After Divorce

How to Enjoy Life After Divorce

Just went through a divorce? Well, the period after divorce can be challenging as well. Guest blogger, Joan Winberg has some great pointers to help you thrive after your divorce. She has a program to offer as well.

After divorce is a very challenging and overwhelming time in a person’s life.

It’s an emotional roller coaster ride that no one wants to ride alone. It is also hard to adjust to being single again, as well as living “out of the habit” of being married, especially if you have been married for many, many years.

To move your life forward, it has to start by focusing on yourself. Use this precious opportunity to rediscover who you are. Think of this time in your life as an adventure to explore the real you.

Take a deep breath and let’s get started and say… Will the Real Me Please Stand Up!

1) Treasure Your Magnificence
Realizing you are born with “gold nuggets” is a hard concept for many people to believe about themselves. Think about how magnificent you really are! Over time, you might have forgotten your unique gifts and are only thinking of what you don’t like about yourself or your life. Set a new intention, starting today, to list all of your great qualities and read that list every day. Keep reading it until you believe it. Examples: beautiful smile, kindness, generosity, loving, caring, intelligent… keep going. Your list is endless, when you start focusing on your great qualities. Allow yourself to see the shining gold within. It’s already there!

2) Ten minutes a day can make a difference
During and after a divorce it is common to have the feeling of grieving, similar to that of the loss of someone. Many people feel the need to stay busy to keep their minds off of this stressful time. To be the best you can be for yourself and your children, it’s important to remember that you deserve to do something special for yourself every day, even if only for 10 minutes. It can be as simple as taking a walk or reading a book with your favorite cup of tea. Give yourself permission. The happier you are, the happier your family will be!

3) Learn to let go
Holding onto regrets and bitterness will only keep your life from moving forward. Is your inner voice working overtime with all the “what ifs” and “if onlys”? This is normal for a period of time, but ask yourself… are these thoughts serving me or helping me feel better? Will thinking about them over and over again change anything? To move your life forward, it is important to acknowledge your feelings and to learn from your past experiences to prepare yourself for the next exciting chapter of your life. Yes, there is life after divorce. Learn to let it go! Just, let it go!

4) Lighten-up
Life after divorce usually means added responsibilities. If you are a single parent or are now the one responsible for the once shared to-do list, how do you handle it all without being totally stressed out? To start, learn to laugh more, especially at yourself. Learn to let things go and not take life so seriously. Lighten-up!

Learn to live in the present moment. Living in the present is where all the “good stuff” in life happens. Yesterday’s worries are gone forever and tomorrow’s to-do list can wait. Think of it this way, when one is missing this moment in time, one is missing out on one’s life.
So how do we live in the present?

If you are feeling stressed, immediately leave your thoughts in your head and take off your blinders. (Blinders similar to what a horse would wear, not allowing it to see from side to side). Start to look around you. I mean really look around you. Look closely at everything. Really focus. Use all your senses! For example, if you are with your children observe them. Cherish their smiles. Give them a hug. See the true beauty of who they are and appreciate them for being a part of your life. You will start to feel your stress subside and a feeling of peace sweep over you.

To be present, no matter where you are, use all your senses to pull yourself back into the moment. Take time to appreciate all the beauty that already exists around you. You only have to be present to see it!

5) What Makes You Truly Happy?
What really matters to you? What do you feel is your true purpose in life? If someone asked you that question, how would you answer them?

Why is it so important to be clear on what your life’s purpose is? Knowing your purpose, will give you a true sense of who you are and how you are supposed to make a difference in the world. It gives your life direction and helps you make clear and easy decisions concerning that direction. It’s your compass!

Without a purpose, can your life be compared to a piece of driftwood floating endlessly in whichever direction the tide decides to take it and ending up on any beach with no will of its’ own.

When you live your life based on your purpose you are living in integrity with yourself and are in alignment of who you really are in all aspects of your life - body, mind and spirit. Take this time to focus on what really matters to you. Feel the true passions that exist in your heart and write them down.

6) What Are Your Vibes Saying About You?
Are you familiar with the Law of Attraction? Maybe you have heard the expressions, “What you think about, you bring about” or “The more attention you give to something, the more attention it will give to you.” As mentioned, when going through a divorce, your emotions can be compared to a roller coaster ride. Use this time to become reconnected to your inner awareness of who you are. Learn to be still to understand the emotions you are feeling.

To get started, check in with yourself to recognize if your feelings are of low (negative) energy or of high (positive) energy.

A few examples of low energy that will keep you stuck are stress, fear, resentment, and a sense of lack (lack of time or money). Examples of high energy that will move your life forward are joy, abundance, happy, love and compassion.

If you are having feelings of low energy, how can you help yourself shift to feel more of the high energy?

One way to help yourself shift is to be thankful for what IS working in your life right now. By focusing on the positive, you will start to feel yourself shift to the higher energy instantly.

7) Be True To Yourself
During and even after a divorce, we are often filled with doubts. We question ourselves about what is right, what to do or how we feel. Should I or shouldn’t I?

It seems difficult to make a decision. Listen to your heart. What feels right? What doesn’t feel quite right? If a situation does not feel right, honor your resistance by pausing or waiting. Sometimes waiting is the best thing to do. By waiting you may have allowed the situation to unfold more easily without having to worry!

If a decision feels right, usually that means you are heading in the right direction. When we listen to our hearts, we are in integrity with ourselves. When we are in integrity with ourselves, we learn to say NO more easily.

Has this ever happened to you? You are asked to be on a committee or to volunteer for something and you say “yes”, even though you know it will make your schedule even tighter or you really don’t want to?

How do you stop this from happening? Next time you are in this situation and you are ready to say yes … STOP! Take a breath or even take a step back (this action will prevent you from saying yes). Pause! Thank the person for thinking of you, but let them know you will have to check your calendar and get back to them. When you do have time to think about it, focus on how you are feeling. Are you excited to participate or do you feel some resistance? If in a day or two you are still feeling doubtful, realize the timing may not be right. If you are feeling excited, say “yes” and have fun!

In summary:
Divorce is not easy or fun, but realizing you can and will make it through this time of your life is the first step.

To survive and thrive after divorce requires support and tools. It is a major transition in your life. Why do it alone?

Are any of the following concerns keeping you awake at night or distracting from your everyday routine?

- Will I always feel this lonely?
- I can't seem to get out of my own way. I feel stuck. I need help setting goals for my new life.
- I need to find a new career or go back to work, but what do I really want to do? I've lost my purpose in life!
- How do I deal with stress and the feeling of being overwhelmed as a single parent on a daily basis?
- Dating again? How do I get start? How do I attract the "love of my life" into my life?
If you have any of these concerns, don’t wait or rely on chance that your life will get back on track or that will you feel happy again after divorce. A good plan for action can make a big difference. And, it’s tough to do it alone.

Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/the-intelligent-divorce/201309/seven-ways-thrive-after-divorce

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

7 Ways to Rebuild Your Financial Life Post-Divorce

For most people, nothing in their life will be as expensive as their divorce.

Divorce is one of the most life-altering experiences to go through. It not only changes our relationship dynamics, but in most cases, it completely alters our lifestyle.

No matter how hard we've worked to live the life we've dreamed of, more often than not, divorces are financially devastating. Many people lose half or more of everything they've saved over the course of their life. This includes their home, their savings, their retirement, business and other investments.

If that isn't painful enough, divorcing people often see their income wither and their expenses explode. We cannot forget to factor in the outrageous expenses for attorney fees on both sides, with the higher earning partner often having to pay for half or more of the lower earning partner's fees. No doubt about it, divorce is usually bad news financially. 
Having said this, all is not lost. There is much we can to do improve our financial situation significantly post-divorce.

1. Try not to waste energy panicking.

Obviously, this is much easier said than done. Nonetheless, we must be diligent in making sure every ounce of our available energy is focused toward saving and rebuilding our finances wherever we can.

Worry wastes the valuable time and energy we need, and it keeps our minds too jumbled to find reasonable solutions. As powerless as we may feel, we are never powerless. Where there is the will, and a little creativity, there is a way. After a divorce, we have a multitude of choices to explore, so as bad as things may seem, we will certainly not end up on the streets. We must do all we can to shift our focus onto solutions and away from problems. 
This mental shift puts us into a proactive mindset, which has the immediate impact of changing our mood to hopeful.

2. Take inventory.

Because divorces are so twisting and confusing, it may be difficult to understand how or what is going to happen with our finances and investments. Remember that knowledge is power. We must do our research and gather the information necessary to know how to rebuild.

It is helpful to create spreadsheets, making a separate sheet for our varying incomes, another for our expenses and another for assets and liabilities. On each sheet enter the type of account, who owns it, what the rate is and the contact information for each institution. As we gain more information through the divorce process, we become clear on where and how things are going to land. This gives us a better idea on the areas where we need to stay conservative, and the areas where we can afford to take some calculated risks to start rebuilding. It's astonishing how empowering it is to have one place to go when we feel stressed and need an overview of our finances. Our spreadsheets provide us exactly that.

3. Balance your budget.

After a divorce it will undoubtedly take some time to adjust to the income/expense story of our new life. This isn't fun, but feeling resentful doesn't bring any less stress and nor does it bring us more freedom.

We must accept what is and work with what we have. If we feel unclear on the average amount we can spend, we should be more conservative and start keeping track until things become clear. This is the most important piece of financial information we have. With it, we'll know if we need to cut back and take on a heavier load at work to increase our income, or if our situation is stable enough where we can live within the means of what we currently have and still rebuild.

If we figure out that our spending exceeds our income, this situation is dire and must change immediately. We are better off knowing this information than pretending it doesn't exist and driving ourselves into an even deeper level of financial ruin.

4. Set up accounts correctly.

Resetting our lives in an organized and simple way can be confusing while we're traversing a divorce. It is important to count on our legal representatives to advise us on how to take over the title of our accounts, and also who the beneficiaries on our accounts should be.

This topic is especially important when it comes to dealing with retirement accounts. We must learn and familiarize ourselves with the rules on this, but we must also be mindful not to act as our own attorney. Good legal advice is key when it comes to the proper vesting and naming our beneficiaries. All these steps are what help to bring us back to a sense of normalcy, security and balance in our life.

5. Organize priorities.

The realities that come with divorce include huge doses of emotional shock and disbelief. When we're divorcing it can feel as if everything is coming at us all at once, which causes us tremendous anxiety. When we are full of anxiety we start thinking in terms of dooms day. This type of thinking is highly dangerous because it leads us into emotional shutdown.

If we determine that we don't have enough money to survive month to month, then first priority will need to be our budget. If need be, we must seek a financial advisor who will help us to save and grow our income. If money isn't our issue, we must turn our focus on increasing our finances, moving and creating our new life.

6. Pick your supports.

Divorce separates our friends and family just as it divides the marriage. It is vital to pick the people who support us unconditionally, and who we know will have our back no matter what.
Part of the pain of divorce is that we not only lose a marriage, but we also lose many of the friends that were made during the course of the marriage. If our ex is talking poorly about us to everyone we love and care for, we must do all we can to stay quiet and not fuel that fire. 
Those who are true to us will not believe everything they hear, and nor will they put us in a position to have to defend ourselves or our decision- making.

It can also be important to get into some form of therapy, or a divorce support group, especially if we have children who have been placed in the middle. Our community of support is what keeps us resilient.

7. Learn

By taking inventory, balancing our finances, organizing our priorities and establishing our supports, it helps to keep us moving forward even when we feel as if we don't have the energy.

It is hard not to let the stress of a divorce kill our motivation and faith in people. However, the more proactive we are, the more we learn, reflect and take care of ourselves the healthier we are when going through the divorce and the more easily we move on after the divorce. We must put all of our energy into not letting our divorce cause us to lose direction. 
We must force ourselves to focus on staying on task and moving in a new and positive direction. Our happiness and continued success, at the end of the day, becomes our greatest retribution.

Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/307592

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

How to Rebuild Your Life After a Divorce

Regardless of whose decision it was to divorce, the end of a marriage can bring about a rollercoaster of unexpected feelings of shame, self-doubt, fear, and insecurity. You might worry that you’ll never be happy again. You might wonder whether you’ll ever find “The One” – if that’s something you believe in. This blog will help you with some ideas of how to rebuild your life after divorce.

To say that divorce can be stressful is an understatement. Between dividing up belongings, agreeing how you will co-parent your children (and pets), dealing with financial issues, and navigating the emotions, it’s no wonder so many people experience unexplained weight loss following their divorce.

One way to cope with the ending of your marriage is by turning it into a new beginning. As one chapter closes, another begins. Many people use a divorce as a chance to let go of bad habits and embrace new ones.

For instance, postmenopausal women who go through a divorce or separation have reported experiencing weight loss, increased physical activity, and positive changes in their health. Best of all, researchers found that the women’s weight loss was not tied to negative emotions. On the contrary, they were using their divorce as an excuse to “consciously engage in healthier behaviours.”

A newfound appreciation for self-care is just one way many recent divorcees of all ages are using divorce as a reason to focus their attention inwards to self-improvement. With the understandable levels of stress that divorce brings, make stress reduction a daily priority.

There are a number of ways you can improve your physical, mental and emotional well-being after a divorce. Physical fitness is a great way to boost your mood and relieve stress while coping with negative emotions. Your divorce also naturally causes you to gravitate towards supportive friends, family, co-workers, and other people in your life who are there for you throughout this difficult time in your life.

Of course, if you’re not used to focusing on your own self-care, it can feel unnatural at first. If you’re not sure where to begin, here are a few ideas:

  • Take a book (or audiobook) with you everywhere you go. Getting lost in the pages of a book world provides you with an “escape” whenever big emotions or troubling thoughts come to mind.
  • Visit your favorite local beach or park. Walking, jogging or running encourages you to be physically active, while reconnecting with nature soothes the mind.
  • Spend time with animals. From playing with your dog to spending time at a cat cafe, spending quality time with animals has been shown to lower blood pressure while boosting self-esteem.
  • Do good deeds for others. Compassionate acts help others while also improving your self-confidence, providing a sense of accomplishment and perspective, and introducing you to supportive, empathetic people.

If you’re currently in the throes of a divorce, hang in there. Even if it feels like your world is crumbling around you, you’ll eventually get through this moment in time. With some resilience and perseverance, you can even use it as a fresh start. Good luck on taking your first brave steps towards living a healthier, happier life.

Source: https://amicable.io/rebuild-life-divorce/