Friday, 20 September 2019

Divorce From A Psychopath Or Narcissist Is Never Easy

Psychopath - Noun- A person suffering from chronic mental disorder with abnormal or violent social behaviors

Narcissist - Noun- A person who has an excessive interest in or admiration of themselves

These two types of ex tend to be by far the worst kind of people, you can both be married to and therefor divorce from, as their lack of empathy and obsessive need to win and inflict pain on others, seems in many cases to have no end.

Almost unanimously when I hear of people taking their exes to court over and over, or divorces that drag out for years even decades, I already in my mind have a presumption that there is a good chance that these cases involve a person with one of these disorders.

Besides the obvious facts that divorce from these people are often, more dismal, and highly contentious, they are often harder to move on and recover from, here are a few of my tips on moving on from a psychopath or narcissistic ex.

1. Realize that in most cases, you would have been targeted by your ex for your giving or passive nature, generally a psychopath or narcissist are looking for the givers of the world to feed off, as emotional vampires do. You will have often been young, naive or have the persona that you want to believe the best in people, these traits in you are on the surface great traits, but to a narcissist or psychopath they make you the perfect prey. Forgive yourself for the lack of judgment in marrying these people, they often are extremely charismatic and won’t always reveal their true motives, until after marriage and or children, when they know it’s harder for you to escape. Once you can forgive yourself and see the pattern or red flag behaviors it will be easier for you to spot this in new people and break the cycle.

2. Understand that even though for many years you were probably emotionally abused and made to feel not worthy or enough, you are and always were enough, this projection on you is nothing about your worth and always everything about your ex’s tactics to control and hurt you. Your reaction to them would have been their drug of choice for many years, and this dynamic must be broken once and for all.

3. Let go of the fact that many people around your ex will probably buy into their dramatic victim playing, you may feel anger towards, your ex’s friends, family or work colleagues who have bought into the narcissist or psychopaths award winning dramatic acts, over the course of the divorce. Let this anger go, remember those people are now no longer a part of your life as your ex shouldn’t be, don’t blame them, as they can only see the side they have been shown by your ex. Anger is always a wasted and draining emotion you owe it to yourself to let it go.

4. Spend some time analyzing the true dynamics of what your relationship and marriage were, often in these abusive relationships we are so bam boozled by the gaslighting, playing victim, and emotional abuse inflicted we can’t see the wood for the trees. Once we have divorced and exited these relationships, it will take a while for you to begin to see things exactly how they are. If you are looking for clarification, there are a lot of great articles about narcissists and psychopaths on the internet, that will explain in more detail their behaviors and relationship dynamics, once you really understand what you are dealing with things seem clearer.

5. Seek support, whether on dreamsrecycled or join our Facebook group or any one of many online support groups, understand you are not alone, when you connect with other people who have been through or have recovered from these relationships you feel a lot less isolated and making new friends after a divorce is always an important part of moving on.

6. The top 1 thing everyone after divorce from a narcissist or psychopathy needs to do is disengage. I cannot stress how important this is, disengage fully and forever. These people are not fixable, and will never change. Expect at first the antisocial behaviors to escalate, but whatever they do to get a reaction do not fall for it. Stand firm in your disengagement, three-word text response only for child coordination, no emotion, no aggression, no anything, whatever you feel good bad or otherwise, never let them see your reaction. Eventually the abusive ex will start to look and then sadly find a new target/victim to emotionally feed off.

7. Lastly and in my mind most importantly work on yourself and self-love, your psyche and ego will often be shattered by this type of ex, the stronger we make our selves the less our ex will be able to hurt us, and the stronger and happier we will be in ourselves. Daily positive action, whether, in work, health, or goals gets us to this better place quicker. Throw in a huge heap of daily positive affirmation, and you will feel much more like your old self quicker.

The process of healing and moving on from any divorce won’t be easy, an abusive relationship, will be even harder, but rest assure you leaving these abusive unions, is a huge victory for you, and you should be applauded for having the courage to stand up and say enough is enough. Once you realize that in that act alone you have already won, the possibility to create a happy new life are endless. Having the strength to leave makes you unstoppable, so go out and create the best life you can, you may not feel like it at this moment but you are already halfway there.


Thursday, 19 September 2019

9 negative effects divorce reportedly has on children

Divorce is hardly an exception anymore. In fact, with the rate of marriage steadily dipping over the past decade, and the divorce rate holding steady, you are likely to know more previously married couples than those who are legally bound. Accompanying this trend are multiple studies analyzing the effects that divorce has on children. And the results aren't good, even if the stigma of divorce has faded. Here, 9 negative effects divorce reportedly has on children:

1. Smoking habits

In a study published in the March 2013 edition of Public Health, researchers at the University of Toronto found that both sons and daughters of divorced families are significantly more likely to begin smoking than peers whose parents are married. In an analysis of 19,000 Americans, men whose parents divorced before they turned 18 had 48 percent higher odds of smoking than men with intact families. Women had 39 percent higher odds of picking up the habit. Lead author Esme Fuller-Thomson called the link "very disturbing."

2. Ritalin use

Dr. Strohschein, a sociologist at the University of Alberta, wanted to know what was behind the increase in children prescriptions for Ritalin over the past two decades. And so, in 2007, she analyzed data from a survey that was conducted between 1994 and 2000. In it, 5,000 children who did not use Ritalin, and were living in two-parent households, were interviewed. Over the six years, 13.2 percent of those kids experienced divorce. Of those children, 6.6 percent used Ritalin. Of the children living in intact households, 3.3 percent used Ritalin. Strohschein suggests that stress from the divorce could have altered the children's mental health, and caused a dependence on Ritalin.

3. Poor math and social skills

A 2011 study by the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that children of divorced parents often fall behind their classmates in math and social skills, and are more likely to suffer anxiety, stress, and low self-esteem. The reason that math skills are affected is likely because learning math is cumulative. "If I do not understand that one plus one is two," lead researcher Hyun Sik Kim says, "then I cannot understand multiplication." Kim says it is unlikely that children of divorce will be able to catch up with their peers who live in more stable families.

4. Susceptibility to sickness

In 1990, Jane Mauldon of the University of California at Berkeley found that children of divorce run a 35 percent risk of developing health problems, compared with a 26 percent risk among all children. Mauldon suggests their susceptibility to illness is likely due to "very significant stress" as their lives change dramatically. Divorce can also reduce the availability of health insurance, and may lead to a loss of certain factors that contribute to good health, including constant adult supervision and a safe environment. The risk of health problems is higher than average during the first four years after a family separation, but, curiously, can actually increase in the years following.

5. An increased likelihood of dropping out of school

A 2010 study found that more than 78 percent of children in two-parent households graduated from high school by the age of 20. However, only 60 percent of those who went through a big family change — including divorce, death, or remarriage — graduated in the same amount of time. The younger a child is during the divorce, the more he or she may be affected. Also, the more change children are forced to go through, like a divorce followed by a remarriage, the more difficulty they may have finishing school.

6. A propensity for crime

In 2009, the law firm Mishcon de Reya polled 2,000 people who had experienced divorce as a child in the preceding 20 years. And the results did not paint a positive picture of their experiences. The subjects reported witnessing aggression (42 percent), were forced to comfort an upset parent (49 percent), and had to lie for one or the other (24 percent). The outcome was one in 10 turned to crime, and 8 percent considered suicide.

7. Higher risk of stroke

In 2010, researchers from the University of Toronto found a strong link between divorce and adult risk of stroke. However, the vast majority of adults whose parents divorced did not have strokes. "Let's make sure we don't have mass panic," said lead researcher Esme Fuller-Thompson. "We don't know divorce causes stroke, we just know this association exists." She says the relationship could be due to exposure to stress, which can change a child's physiology. She also noted that the time at which these children experienced divorce was in the 1950s, when it wasn't as socially accepted as it is today.

8. Greater chance of getting divorced

University of Utah research Nicholas H. Wolfinger in 2005 released a study showing that children of divorce are more likely to divorce as adults. Despite aspiring to stable relationships, children of divorce are more likely to marry as teens, as well as marry someone who also comes from a divorced family. Wolfinger's research suggests that couples in which one spouse has divorced parents may be up to twice as likely to divorce. If both partners experienced divorce as children they are three times more likely to divorce themselves. Wolfinger said one of the reasons is that children from unstable families are more likely to marry young.

9. An early death

And rounding out the dreary research is an eight-decade study and book called The Longevity Project by Howard Friedman and Leslie Martin. Starting in 1921, researchers tracked some 1,500 boys and girls throughout their lives. More than one-third of the participants experienced either parental divorce or the death of a parent before the age of 21. But it was only the children of divorced families who died on average almost five years earlier than children whose parents did not divorce. The deaths were from causes both natural and unnatural, but men were more likely to die of accidents or violence. Generally, divorce lowered the standard of living for the children, which made a particular difference in the life longevity of women.


Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Sanity and single motherhood

The other day my eight-year-old son caught me dancing in the bathroom. 'Not that you’d ever want to, but if you did that in a nightclub, you’d probably catch a man.' Hilarity filled the house, as it so often does. His daily pint-sized views on life generally guarantee that.
I’m pondering on our relationship and I reckon it’s pretty close. We’re bound by a mutual love of ‘Miranda‘, ‘Friends‘, ‘Impractical Jokers’ and absurd gags, all of which guarantee fun times aplenty (he recently divulged that his book of choice on ‘Desert Island Discs‘ would be a joke book – that’s my boy).

We are, of course, glued together by blood and the searing love that springs from it; and, for better or worse, we live this out against a backdrop of being a single-parent family. In this ‘buddy-free’ system, teamwork reigns supreme. As a result, we have what I’d say is a pretty tight mother-and-son unit.

But like many parents, these times are frequently punctuated by self-doubt as to whether I’m doing it right. ‘He hasn’t lost as many teeth as his friends: am I feeding him enough to ensure he’s growing properly?’ or ‘Is he happy at school or could he be happier if he went somewhere else?’.

Of course my other friends worry too, but for me the usual parenting angst is compounded by the fact that as well as being a single mum, I have bipolar too (mixed affective state, or ‘agitated depression’).

There are times when parenting is hard for everybody, even when you’re hunting in pairs. I get that. But parenting alone can be even harder. I’ve done both and I think the single variety is infinitely more arduous than the coupled version.

Of course, single-parenting comes in many ‘flavours’ and some people are single parents and love it (and would say they’re psychologically healthier as a result of being uncoupled). And not every single parent suffers psychologically as a result of rearing their children on their own.

But when you’re not always feeling 100 per cent, mental health-wise, it can be hard to feel that single parenting is working on any level.

When I’m having a ‘wobble’ – a zinging and terrifying mix of depression and agitation – every mundane task seems gargantuan and every decision I have to make on my own seems petrifying (I rang the milkman in a panic to cancel my milk during my last episode in case it built up on my doorstep and overran my house, such was my anxiety). I start drowning in a sea of excess responsibility and lone decision-making and wonder if this’ll be the last time I come up for air.

Last year, Harry Potter author JK Rowling talked about how, when she was a single mother, she was so depressed that she considered suicide, but was saved by thoughts of her daughter. When I’m not well, I understand where she’s coming from. Although he doesn’t know it, my son locks me into life.

But perhaps the thing I miss the most is the support that would be there for my son when I’m ill. I wish someone else who cares for him as much as I do was there to scoop him up and say, ‘Come on, shall we go to the park?’ so that I can fight tears and demons for a while without feeling there’s the possibility of handing him a sad memory to look back on in the future.

As it goes, he is amazingly compassionate, especially when I’m not well. Despite me insisting that I’m not his responsibility, that I can look after myself and that this ill phase will pass, he tells me it’s OK, that he wants to be there for me (‘because I love you’) and that there’s nothing that his solution of a hug, a box of tissues and a glass of milk poured out into a Lego tumbler can’t solve.

But of course, I still worry about him. I worry about the fine line between his compassion and adaptive behaviour – having to learn how to be that way because, let’s face it, he has no choice.

Statistically, it’s been shown that there’s a strong association between single parenting and poor mental health:

Single parenting is associated with poor mental health

Before you even take into account any pre-existing mental health issues, single parenting is associated with poor mental health. A 2007 study by Crozier, Butterworth and Rogers found that single mums like me are significantly more likely to have a moderate to severe mental disability, like me.

In fact, the study shows that prevalence of mental health issues in single mums is almost 30 per cent (i.e. one-third of us) compared to partnered mothers (around 15 per cent).

The study cites the main reasons for single mums having an increased risk of poor mental health as decreased household income, increased financial hardship and a perceived lack of social support.

Dr Ian Drever, consultant psychiatrist at The Priory Woking, says, 'I’m struck by what a lonely place single parenting can be, and relentlessly hard work. I had a single mum tell me very recently, "I’m tired of being strong… I just want someone to look after me".'

Poor mental health is associated with an increased likelihood of divorce

Not only that, but if you have a mental health condition, you are far more likely to divorce than if you don’t. A multi-national meta-study of mental disorders, marriage and divorce, published in 2011, looked at 18 mental disorders and found an increased likelihood of divorce, ranging from a 20 per cent increase to a staggering 80 per cent increase in the divorce rate.

Major depression and addictions were the highest factors, while post-traumatic stress disorder was also significant.

Single-parenting can increase rates of child mental health issues

It seems we all worry about our children’s mental health – research carried out by Action for Children in 2015 found that UK parents are more likely to worry about their children’s mental health than any other health issue – some 40 per cent said their children’s emotional wellbeing was a primary concern (47 per cent for mothers). But single mums like me may have more reason to be concerned than others.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have found that children from single-parent families are twice as likely to suffer from mental health problems as those living with married parents – and it is boys whose parents had split up that had the highest rate of childhood mental illness.

The figures showed that one-fifth of those living with a divorced, separated or widowed parent suffered from at least one mental disorder compared to just eight per cent of boys living with married parents.

I also worry about bipolar in relation to my son – on my bad days I focus on his one in 10 chance of developing it, on my better days I figure he’s 90 per cent likely to be OK.

Catch 22

So it seems like it’s a case of catch 22. I had depression, which I know contributed to my divorce, and, now I’m a single mum, the risk of me becoming mentally unwell has risen. I’m not surprised – raising my son pretty much single-handedly, certainly making around 95 per cent of the decisions about his life on my own, hoping he’s OK whilst wondering how I’m going to be financially OK, does little to garner positive mental health.

It is utterly emotionally and physically exhausting, especially when I’m unwell (I’m just recovering from a two-week episode). Some people may find it a breeze, but for me, being a single mum can at times feel like swimming in my pyjamas with rocks in the pockets, drowning not waving and with no-one around to fish me out.

There isn’t enough help out there for single parents

The fact is, I don’t feel there’s enough help out there for single parents, and especially not single parents who have mental health issues.

Even though estimates suggest that around 50 per cent of parents with a severe and enduring mental illness live with one or more children under 18 (around 17,000 UK children and young people), the support for single parents like me just isn’t around. My local mental health trust doesn’t have anything. When I asked if there was a parenting group, all my psychiatrist could offer me was a gardening course.

Even mental health charities don’t seem to have anythin
g I can tap into. I very much rely on other single-mum friends, who don’t have mental health problems, but understand the pressures of raising a child alone – that goes some way to helping. I’ve been trying to put feelers out in a bid to start my own group locally (with some help for those times when I’m sinking), but I’ve not got very far.

Gingerbread recently launched its Single Parents Decide campaign to shine a light on the issues that matter most to single parents as the May general election comes closer. And these include making childcare affordable and helping single parents take home a decent income.

I think there also ought to be a political commitment to help single parents with mental illness, whether it’s depression, OCD, eating disorders, bipolar, schizophrenia or anything else that makes single parenting even more arduous than it already is. I can’t help feeling that we are a whole subclass whose status of single-parenting whilst battling chronic ill health is like a societal powder keg waiting to explode.

The trouble is, I don’t think many politicians want to touch the topic of single-parenting, at least not in a positive way. For the most part, we aren’t economically powerful (and many think we are even an economic drain – a survey by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research once found that one-third of ex-wives end up in poverty after divorce. We are a group that often needs help).

So why bother trying to court our votes? Add mental health into the mix and we are, arguably, so niche as to be arcane. Mental health is, for politicians, marginally more fashionable than it used to be, single-parenting most definitely isn’t.

But the consequences of leaving single parents with mental health issues unsupported may be catastrophic, both for parents and children alike. As we approach May 7, I’ll be interested to see how mental health issues feature in the manifestos of the main political parties.
In the meantime – like many single parents with mental illness – I live in the hope that I’m doing it right, that my son will be fortified rather than felled by living with me and that, sooner or later, we’ll get the extra support that, as a family unit, we really need.


Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Mum shares intimate post about ex-husband's new wife

A US mother has shared a post to Facebook saying that her daughter calls her step-mother mummy and she's good with that.

Hayley Booth, 26, of Oklahoma, shared the post in which she thanked her ex-husband's new wife for caring for her daughter so beautifully and revealing that her daughter also calls her Mummy. She went on to say that this was just fine with her.

"My daughter calls her bonus mommy 'Mommy'.. and you know what? That's okay, because that's what she is to her, she IS her mommy," wrote Hayley.

"She is there for her always, she takes care of her, she plays with her, she teaches her life lessons and how she should behave, she gives her hugs and kisses goodnight, she does everything any mother would do.. But most of all she loves her like she is her own. It takes a very special woman to take a child that they didn't give birth to, under their wing and become their mother."

The post immediately went viral and was shared more than 20,000 times. It attracted dozens of comments, the vast majority applauding Hayley's stance. Many also suggested that if more separated parents adopted her attitude the world would be a better place. And I have to agree.

But Hayley also said that other women who don't feel the same way are being selfish. And that's where she lost me.

"I see so many women say 'I would never let my child call another woman mom or mommy, because she's NOT her mom I AM!'," she wrote.


Monday, 16 September 2019

12 Inspiring Quotes From Celebrity Moms And Dads About Co-Parenting

“Our daughter is growing up seeing two people who care about each other.”

After separating or divorcing from their partners, many celebrity moms and dads keep in mind one important thing: the happiness of their kids.

In magazine interviews and television appearances, the co-parents of Hollywood have made it clear that the experience isn’t always simple and easy, but have also stressed that it is possible to remain a loving family after a separation or divorce.

Here are 12 quotes from celebrity moms and dads about co-parenting.

1 Drew Barrymore on co-parenting with Will Kopelman

“It really is about the tone you set. And you can talk until you’re blue in the face, but kids watch what you do every single day of your life, all day long, and that behavior and that example and that love and community and honesty is just, I think, what’s making everything feel safe for my kids and that’s really the intention I had as a parent.”

During a 2017 appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”

2 Kate Hudson on co-parenting with Matt Bellamy

“If Matt and I had a great relationship, we would still be together, but we chose to move on because we had different visions of how we wanted to live our lives. That doesn’t mean, though, that we can’t rebuild something that would be the best thing for the kids.”

In a 2015 interview with Allure

3 Jennifer Lopez on co-parenting with Marc Anthony

“Marc and I are very good friends, we’re very supportive. I feel it’s my responsibility as a mom when their dad is not there to let them know that their dad loves them very much because that’s the doubt that they have when he’s not around or they haven’t seen him. That’s my job to do that the same way it’s his job when he’s with them to say, ‘Mommy is working and she loves you.’”

During a 2014 appearance on “HuffPost Live”

4 Sienna Miller on co-parenting with Tom Sturridge

“[We] do bedtime every day. We felt like as much togetherness as possible would be ideal, and fortunately we really love each other and are best friends, and so that works.”

In a 2017 interview with Allure

5 Taye Diggs on co-parenting with Idina Menzel

“As people can imagine, it gets rough at times just because we’re not in the same city, but we still love each other and what’s most important is we love our son. That stabilizes us. I’m thankful for him.”

In a 2015 interview with “Entertainment Tonight”

6 Idina Menzel on co-parenting with Taye Diggs

“[Our son] comes first and you have to get past your own egos and you never talk bad about each other.”

In a 2016 interview with People

7 Angela Kinsey on co-parenting with Warren Lieberstein

“I’m really fortunate because my ex and I are very good friends and I talk to him every day. Our daughter is growing up seeing two people who care about each other. We may not be a traditional family on paper but we are a family and I tell her that families come in all shapes and sizes, but [a family is] love and I see her really flourishing because she sees two people treating each other with respect.”

During a 2013 appearance on “HuffPost Live”

8 Amber Rose on co-parenting with Wiz Khalifa

“I have pictures up of me and Wiz in [our son’s] room so he can always come in and see us being happy together. We try to have family days with him, even though we’re not together. Kids want to see their parents together and if you can’t be together in a relationship, you’ve got to come together as friends for your baby.”

In a 2017 interview with People

9 Miranda Kerr on co-parenting with Orlando Bloom

“We decided as a family it was the right decision for Flynn, so Orlando and I both relocated and we live five minutes from each other ... Everything revolves around my son and his welfare.”

In a 2015 interview with HELLO! Fashion Monthly

10 Nick Cannon on co-parenting with Mariah Carey

“We make the kids the number one priority, for them to see their parents together and for everybody to get along and have a great time.”

During a 2015 appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”

11 Gwyneth Paltrow on co-parenting with Chris Martin

“I think, unfortunately, even though we couldn’t stay in a romantic relationship, our values are very much around the importance of family and the importance of those relationships and I’m lucky that we’re aligned in that way. And it’s been hard, and you know, we’ve gone through really difficult times with it, but we’ve always said these children are our priority.”

During a 2015 appearance at the BlogHer15: Experts Among Us conference

12 Ryan Phillippe on co-parenting with Reese Witherspoon

“You have to get to that point as a divorced parent, as any parent, where you’re not putting yourself first. You want the kids’ experience to be its own and not like, ‘Well, I need to have my time!’ We have been very good about that.”

In a 2016 interview with “Entertainment Tonight”


Saturday, 14 September 2019

The First Step To Empowering Yourself After Divorce From A Narcissist

Divorce from a narcissist will keep you miserable, sleepless, panic-stricken, and crazy until you develop this crucial mindset:

Radical Acceptance

Radical Acceptance is a mindfulness principle. It means you accept reality, as painful as reality is at this moment. Your reality is that the narcissist in your life is fundamentally incapable of giving you what you need. Expecting otherwise will just cause you more suffering: not only is the narcissist psychically beating you up, but you are also beating your head against the wall.

If you’re divorcing or divorced from a narcissist, you may be unpleasantly surprised that your life feels more unmanageable than it did when you were married. Your ex has turned into a terrorist: he (or she) alleges that you’re an unfit parent; threatens litigation to get you to back down; tries to turn your kids against you; tries to get full custody (he may not even want it, but getting it would be the ultimate revenge); and creates all kinds of drama in an attempt to prevent you from getting what you thought divorce would bring you: the ability to move on with your life.

Does Radical Acceptance Mean I Give Up?

Yes and no. Yes, it means you give up the struggle to make reality different. No, it means you take back your power, which is the opposite of giving up. You may feel that your narcissist ex has you trapped, but you have much more freedom than you think. When you adopt a Radical Acceptance mindset, you will learn to:

1. Stop defending yourself.

2. Stop trying to get your ex to see your point-of-view.

3. Stop expecting your ex to compromise or mediate (mediation generally fails because narcissists lack empathy, reciprocity, and flexibility, all traits required for a successful mediation).

4. Stop expecting your ex to respect your boundaries, the court order, and your children’s right to have a healthy relationship with you.

5. Stop expecting your ex to act in the best interest of your children.

6. Stop expecting your ex to take even a smidgen of accountability for anything other than what goes right with the children.

7. Stop expecting your ex to “get over it.”

Once you stop expecting your narcissist ex to suddenly morph into a reasonable person, you will probably feel relieved. You will no longer waste energy trying to will reality to be different. You can then shift your intention to the positive things you can do.

1. Continue to set boundaries (even if your ex ignores them). Your ex doesn’t get to run your house. You don’t even need to let him in your house (this may require revising your court order, but it’s worth it). Explain to your ex that your kids will not be taking his calls during dinner time (hide the phones if you need to). Wait a day before responding to incendiary texts and emails. Parent your children the way you think is best, despite what your ex tells you to do.

2. Develop a policy for electronic communication. Counter cyber-bullying by limiting your ex’s access to you. Unless it’s an emergency, there is no need to respond to every histrionic email and text. Once a day should be sufficient. When you do reply, don’t hit “send” right away. Wait for your blood pressure to return to normal and then draft a brief response that focuses on facts and logistics. When you feel the urge to defend yourself or lash out in retaliation, disengage. Why are you getting riled up by someone who is, at least in relation to you, crazy?

3. Take regular divorce vacations. Implement a no-divorce zone in your life. Don’t do anything divorce-related — including texting or emailing your ex — after a certain time, say, 9 p.m. This will help you get a good night’s sleep. Don’t talk about your divorce 24/7 with your friends, especially if you want to keep them. When you catch yourself arguing with your ex in your head, first acknowledge that you’re ruminating, and then shift your focus to something that has nothing to do with him (or her).

4. Nurture your healthy relationships. It’s common to feel depressed and anxious when divorcing a narcissist. But don’t let these feelings consume you and cause you to isolate. The best antidote to depression is to stay connected to people who care about you. Good friends make you feel good about yourself, which will help put your ex’s opinion of you in perspective.

5. Practice self-care. Take whatever healthy steps you can to sleep and eat. Go to therapy. Take medication if you need to. Exercise. Eat small meals. If you get paid vacation and sick time at work, use it. Do something creative, which will shift your focus from Divorce Gloom to things that are life-affirming.

6. Have a sense of humor. It’s hard to get through life without a sense of humor. Read or watch something that makes you laugh. Hang out with friends who crack you up. Having a sense of humor won’t change your ex, but it will help you disengage from his antics.

7. Focus on what’s going well. No matter how bad things seem, there are people out there who have it worse. Keep a gratitude journal and write down one thing everyday that you’re grateful for. Writing down little things — a hot shower, ten fingers and ten toes, a comfortable bed — can be surprisingly powerful because you will begin to realize how much you have going for you, and how much you’ve been taking for granted.

Few of us, if any, dwell in Radical Acceptance 100% of the time. Cultivating that mindset is a daily practice. But over time, this mindset will give you what your ex never can: serenity, personal power, and the ability to enjoy life as it is today.

Friday, 13 September 2019

The Hardest Part of My Divorce Has Nothing to Do With My Marriage

Divorce isn’t for the weak. Hell, it isn’t even for the strong. You can think you’re prepared and ready, but it still won’t ready you for what’s to come. My own divorce has thrown me completely for a loop.

Before we decided on divorce, my ex-husband and I had always been extremely close, and that closeness extended into our relationships with our two children. Our weekends and evenings were usually always spent together. We loved being together as much as possible. 
We did everything as a family. But of all of the things that have been hard to navigate, spending the less time together with my kids has been the hardest part of my divorce.

In the beginning my ex-husband and I tried to still do family dinners and outings after our separation, but our differing schedules have made it difficult. Without a co-parent in the house, and living 20-30 minutes apart, we don’t get to spend time together as much anymore. This broke my heart. And then, when my kids would beg for more family time together with both their mom and their dad, it shattered what little was left of my heart into dozens of little pieces. I couldn’t give them what they were asking for, and neither could their dad.

In the months since our divorce, we’ve all adjusted to our new realities, but it doesn’t stop me from missing them on the days and nights I don’t have them. I find myself in their room cleaning it for them, making their beds, trying not to cry, overwhelmed by the sheer sum of my love for them. I can’t wait until I can pick them up from their dad’s or when he drops them off.

Some say it gets easier, others swear it never does. I cry every time they leave me. The fact that I am full-time working mom already made it so that I see my kids a very limited amount, but now, because of my divorce, there are days when I feel like I don’t see them at all.

I complain about how loud my children are — because they are so loud — but then the minute they’re out of my house, I miss the nonstop noise. I crave their little laughs and screeching high-pitched voices. When they’re with me, I look forward to bedtime, because I’m worn out and I just need a break, but the nights without them I just wish so badly I could tuck them in and have them ask me for more kisses.

This past week, my ex was on a trip, so every morning I woke up to them asking for breakfast. I complained, but secretly, I loved it so much. Every night we read together, cuddling in my bed, and on the last night before he came home, my son fell asleep next to me. I wanted that to last for the rest of the week, maybe even for the month. When their dad came, they were happy, but sad to leave me. It ripped me apart.

I often feel like a selfish parent. I left their dad, which means that their family unit operates in two different pieces because of me. On the night my partner came to pick them up after his trip, my son screamed for me as his dad buckled him in. I was gutted. This happens almost every time we do drop offs and pick ups. I watched my son’s face fall as he reached for me, only to be carried away by his dad.

What could I do but stand by and watch, blowing kisses and promising to see him soon? There’s nothing I can do to fix it, except make promises I might not be able to keep about going places and doing special things together when we’re back together. Reminding them that “I love you always” doesn’t make their pain go away. To be honest, it doesn’t make mine, either.

Before I got divorced, I had friends who asked me to promise that I wouldn’t “be one of those divorced parents who spoils their kids to make up for it.” I promised up and down that I wouldn’t, but I get it now. I understand the guilt. The sadness. Things don’t replace a parent, but I think it numbs pain. So we buy them things. We are trying so hard not to “spoil” them, not to give into their every demand, but it’s so difficult.

My parents fought constantly when I was growing up, but my world stayed in tact. I never needed things to replace a parent, nor did I know the searing hole a seat at the table might leave on me. I didn’t know what it was like to have my world flipped upside down. My children do. It’s not an excuse to give them whatever they demand, but I have a newfound compassion for children of divorce. The weight they have to carry, the adjusting they’re forced into, the pain of knowing one thing one day, and then having to live a whole new life the next. If my world feels out of orbit, I can only imagine what it’s like for my babies.

My daughter tries so hard to be brave when she says goodbye to me, but I see her drop her head as she drives away with her dad. The night we told them we were separating, she curled herself up in a corner of the bathroom, crying softly. We asked her if she was OK, to which she responded, “Yes, I’m just sad. I didn’t want to be that family that lived in two different houses. You both were supposed to stay together. I didn’t want Beck and I to be those kids who didn’t have both their mom and dad at home.” I think about that night often.

I don’t believe that parents should stay together for their children, because I believe that creates a very unhealthy living situation, and creates an idea that love looks like abuse and pain. Yet, divorce comes with its own challenges and growing pains — adjustments I’m still trying to adjust to.

Yes, on days without them I get my work done much faster, things stay clean longer, and I can sleep in. But the overwhelming sadness covers me the minute they leave and is my unwelcome and unwanted company until they return again. My heart really was never given the time to heal and mend itself; it breaks again and again with every goodbye.