It was late… what time was it? I pressed the button on my iPhone and the screen lit up… the time displayed that it was 11:25 p.m. Resting my tired head on the pale pink pillow, my mother perched at the end of my king size four poster bed. Naturally a night owl… it was nothing for me to stay up and begin drafting a blog at midnight… and work till 1 a.m. … tonight, the blog was drafted to be edited the next day and published… work had been particularly busy that day… I always pushed myself more than usual on the weeks I didn't have my daughter… but tonight sleep was calling and my eyes were quickly becoming bleary.
Hair pinned up in a bun and my favorite lightweight wrap around my shoulders, I listened as my mother spoke to me in the dim bedroom… mirrors and framed photos of my children across the room sparkled on the wall. "It's amazing to me… the lengths some people will go to just to make their point… to let you know that they are mad… that they are angry with you and they want you to pay… because essentially that's what this is… this is someone who is so angry, so mad that they were dumped… that now they are expending all their energies into creating havoc… them getting dumped chapped them so bad they are willing to go to any and all lengths to let you know just how mad they are. And they will stop at nothing it seems… because they have nothing else to do with their time. They don't realize that in the grand scheme of things… the other person already won. They are rid of them… they are rid of the toxic, abusive person they are… and they have moved on… it's really hilarious when you think about it… because the abuser is so angry that such a good person got away from them… because how dare they do that… it's believing the person needs to be punished and whatever means they have to do that they will utilize… whether it's emotionally, using the children or financially, they will."
Listening to her words I stared up at the tiny white twinkle lights canopied with white gauzy sheers across the ceiling over my bed… creating a romantic haven… the tiny lights cast a pretty glint on everything. I looked over at her…
"It's true… it's been how long?" I mused aloud... "I will have filed for divorce two years ago this October. It's crazy. And you're right… at the end of the day… even though there are undeniably aggravating moments here and there… I certainly still have my days, for sure… but for the most part… I've checked out of the nonsense and getting all up in arms about it. Because it's not worth my time. I have to keep going back to that. No matter what I do in his eyes it's wrong… it's all a game to some people… jump through this hoop, no, jump higher next time… it doesn't matter what he thinks because it's always met with pointed fingers of how it wasn't good enough… any good efforts made are twisted or minimized or dismissed. It's truly laughable, really." I chuckled… then paused… and quietly added with my head on my pillow clutching it… curled up like a snug bug...
"I'm ready to move on… I'm looking to the future… enjoying a career… raising my daughter… One day I want to fall in love. I want to love someone with a kind heart… I want to share a beautiful life with someone special… " I trailed off in deep thought…
At some point we are ready
to move on from our past relationship... move on from our broken marriage… even if the other person, our ex, seems to be holding on for dear life through any and all manipulation and or punishment to keep discord alive and well through their negative actions toward us. But we don't have to subscribe to their unwillingness to let go and move along… there are things we can do to begin our new life in the best way possible.
We can remind ourselves that just because a relationship has ended our life hasn't. Quite the contrary… life is just beginning. There is life after a broken marriage… and just because the marriage failed doesn't mean you can't thrive. This is another chance at creating the life you want and in that the picture you have of what makes up a family may have to be redefined. That is perfectly okay. It might be a struggle managing finances, a new career and raising children alone… but with time all things are new. We can make way for new things in our life with the mentality that this too shall pass… nothing is forever… removing any catastrophic thinking does wonders… because statements like "It will never get better…" or "This is so horrible, I can't see it improving…" and "Life sucks!" is not helpful at all… it's that type of thinking that leads to a dead end… and keeps us in a negative spin cycle.
Love: A New Beginning: 3 Tips
1. Saying No To The Wrong Qualities:
Jumping into a new relationship that is wrong for us too soon after divorcing can be catastrophic… leading us to reel backward and find ourselves hurting even more than before. One way we can avoid this is by first taking the time we need to heal from our past relationship. Once that has happened then we can slowly begin dating… but is the person were interested in have the qualities that we would value in a spouse? This is essential. If they don't have the qualities we believe to be important and that have God's blessing… then we are ultimately wasting our time and the other person's. Obviously physical attraction is important but we know a relationship can't live off that alone.
2. Refining Our Communication Skills:
There are some who claim "there are two sides to every story"… and in fact sometimes that's true... sometimes relationships can be undeniably messy with a lot of gray area. Yet that statement can't be applied to every relationship. Other times there is more "blame" for the failure of a relationship on one person's shoulders… but with that… even the one who is possibly the more innocent of the two… it's crucial that they can communicate effectively in their next relationship. It's so easy for us to say in the aftermath of divorce about our ex... "He has been such a jerk… he makes me so mad!" when in reality the root of anger is always hurt. When we acknowledge our hurts instead and voice "It hurts me when he behaves that way" ... that is a much more effective way to communicate our thoughts and removing the attack on the person.
3. Willing To Trust:
Being a member of online support groups since my divorce has helped tremendously with my healing… I have witnessed the absolute most endearing actions of so many men… men who were married to women that were of a narcissistic sociopathic nature… these men who were faithful and loving yet were cheated on, even abused in some way. It's been amazing seeing what dedicated fathers these men are to their children as they try to co-parent with less than amicable ex's. These men may struggle with trusting again… and as women we may as well. Yet in time after we've healed we can all take that chance… be willing to bare our souls, to be vulnerable… to dive in and allow a man to pursue us… and let our care for him shine as well. Not all men are like your ex… they cannot be lumped into one single pile… the next person you date, possibly become exclusive with and even go on to marry is an individual…
He is a person with a past and he quite possibly could be part of your future…
We just have to be brave enough despite our past to say "yes" to him.
© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2014
When we grow up with an emotionally, verbally, perhaps even physically abusive parent we naturally have ambivalent feelings toward them. As children we may understandably have difficulty grappling with the fact that this person… the one who is to care for and keep us safe is actually inflicting great damage and hurt. In that we may waffle back and forth… one minute being frightened of their potential wrath and yet still obviously desiring their approval. As with all children we want our parents approval, affection and love… and daughter's very much want their dad's. This is why if a woman had a father who was less than involved or loving as a child she may then later turn to a man to fill that void she feels within. This unfortunately potentially leads to her becoming involved with a man who treats her as terribly as her father or even worse… hence the cycle continues and another generation suffers.
And yet in all this… as little girls we want our dad to show his love, care and affection for us. We want to know he hears us, he values us, that we have his loyalty and he has our back. I struggled for years with trying to make sense of the fact that my dad was not the healthiest person for me to be around… being strong willed and vocal about how his ways weren't the norm, him resisting my truth, yet my fearing his wrath… and deep down wanting his approval… it messes with a child emotionally. We grow up naturally wanting someone to feel safe with… and the value we place on emotional safety is huge. As a child we want to believe the best in the male role model in our life. It stands to reason while residing under the same roof we may not only scatter like scared kittens when we hear him on the angry prowl but yet yearn for him to know us. It's not really black and white… there is actually much gray area to muddle through and as kids we dissect it all… we analyze it to death… trying to figure out how we can appease our parent without getting annihilated in the process. It is without a doubt walking a fine line and one that causes much internal distress in a child.
Here's the truth….
A child who is truly wary of his or her parent still wants to please them on some level. They won't claim to "not feel safe"… but instead they struggle in an internal battle within… they see the horrible actions by this person yet they want them to be the parent they so desperately need them to be. Eventually… years down the road they may make that decision as an adult to cut ties with their abusive parent… but not without pain and a feeling of loss.
Whereas a child who makes statements of "I don't feel safe with you" is being coached by an adult in their life… to be"the messenger"… a child who views one parent in a limited black and white perspective is not struggling with ambivalence but in reality alienation.
What if a mother requests her son to please brush his teeth before bed? That would be a reasonable… even an expected request of any parent who is looking after their child's well-being… namely dental health. But instead the child reacts defiantly toward his mother… he refuses to brush his teeth and what's more… he retorts he "doesn't have to do anything she tells him to!" Now she's met with him lashing out… slamming his door, throwing things… attacking her upon her attempts to calm him down. Nothing works, his anger escalates and he injures her… bruises speckle her arms and legs along with hateful language spewed at her by him.
He retreats to dad's…. to cool down and yes, his mother is perfectly fine with him doing so… at least for an interim of time because she's exhausted… mentally and physically spent from his tirade toward her. But as time passes the son realizes he wants to stay at dad's house… after all, dad's house doesn't have rules… he doesn't have to brush his teeth if he doesn't want to.
Now mom is feeling rejected by her son… even if she can no longer physically handle his abuse toward her… understandably so, she feels hurt…. and her son's father is enjoying the satisfaction of having their son to himself… he's basking in the glow of being the "super dad"… the "rescuing dad"… the one who is happy to provide that safe place for their son to flee to… it's an ego stroke… because mom is so "unreasonable" and any other myriad of excuses he can possibly come up with.
Mom has done nothing wrong. She simply set healthy boundaries, as we can see. She told her son he wasn't allowed to hurt others… to not inflict harm and pose as a threat to himself or family members. She set reasonable expectations of any child… brush your teeth and don't hurt people. And despite all that… she's the one who is being pegged at the "bad guy"… the "problem"… etc.
So as a parent what do you do if your child is now viewing you with contempt? If they have been alienated from you? How do you handle coping with the fact your otherwise delightful and sweet child… perhaps at times your "challenging child"… erroneously perceives you to be some type of monster? As a parent we have to tread carefully here. We can certainly continue to call our child out on his or her rude, (and should) perhaps even downright nasty and contemptible behavior toward us. But we can do that with firm love. We can do that without anger, without yelling, without freaking out on them. We can very simply state "That's disrespectful"… "Please use a nicer tone when you're speaking to me"… "It hurts my feelings when your tone is rude toward me"…
This way we are addressing the specific actions of the child… we are stating that his or her words hurt… that yes, even as adults we have feelings as well… and in that we can tell our child… "It sounds like you're angry with me. Do you want to talk about it?" … or "Your tone seems irritated toward me… I'd love to hear how you feel… but I need you to use a respectful tone please." It takes a strong parent to step in and teach character building skills of gentleness with their child who is treating them like yesterday's discarded newspaper when they may very well feel anything but charitable toward their child… there is deep rooted hurt within and no one blames you for being angry and hurt over it. But harboring those hurts doesn't help our child come back to us… instead it ultimately pushes them further away… right into the arms of the alienating parent with a personal agenda.
Instead we can acknowledge that when our child is using hurtful words to wound us… it's not really our child who is using them. He or she is merely the messenger. We often want to "shoot the messenger"… but reminding ourselves that it's actually the words of our ex coming out of our child's mouth… it's our ex's manipulative ways and he's handed our baby the gun… our child is in a very real internal battle within… a battle of loyalty… we can keep this in mind… and when we do… we can view our child with love not frustration.
We may not have taken the steps we need to… we may have had difficulty seeing the situation for what it is… it may be difficult when entrenched in a situation emotionally for so long that we aren't able to see the bigger picture… but fret not… no need to wring your hands. You have today… you have tomorrow… we have a new day to begin again. And one day your child will look back and see your love for them… and they will know that you loved them enough to keep trying no matter what.
© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2014
“Ask not what your country
can do for you;
ask what you can
do for your country.”
- John F. Kennedy
That quote by John F. Kennedy is one that still rings true today… and even applies to other facets of our lives. In our marriages we may often ask what exactly our spouse is going to do for us? And yet the truth is… both sexes should be asking what specifically can they do to please their spouse?
Our ultimate role in marriage… for men and women (and goal) is to reflect Christ. Each day if we wake up asking ourselves the question of… What can I do today?… whether it's this morning before I head to work, at mid-day... or this evening what can I do that will show my spouse love? … and then once we follow through… we will be on the path of loving the one we married oh so much better and our marriage will shine outward from within.
Today in the modern world we may believe nurturing, caring for a man is seen as silly, perhaps even outdated or antiquated. But when did showing our love for someone…. anyone… especially the one person we vowed to love, care for and stay true to become passé? It could be argued that some folks would have been better suited to be born in a different time, maybe a different era… but at the end of the day is there truly anything wrong with showing our affection for someone we care for with a homemade meal? A batch of fresh cookies? A cup of hot coffee brought to them as a surprise? A sweet note left on their windshield? Their favorite book inscribed with a love note and left on their bedside table waiting for them? It's the little things like these in life that are meaningful and finding out what makes our spouse tick, what they enjoy… what they hold dear to them is always worth the extra effort.
2. Create A Haven:
Home should be a place where you come together with the one you love… where walls keep out the world and together you nest in comfort. Wives don't have to spend a fortune to make a house a home. Husbands want to come home and see the woman they love… he wants to breath a sigh of relief that he's in the haven he's provided and you've created. Together… you make a great team… home is a place of warm inviting scents like lasagna or cinnamon bread baking… a Yankee candle in your favorite scent burning… blankets to cuddle under... houseplants that bring life to a room… photos hanging of the both of you on your last vacation together… and you wearing his shirt when he comes in the door… (sigh)… it's these little things that matter and make up the beautiful place he refers to as "home."
3. Date Night:
When were married it's essential we take the time to have date nights. As women we can't deny that occasionally we want to dress up and feel extra special for a night. We want to look nice and spend time with our guy. A few years ago when my ex-husband and I went to see Phantom of the Opera I wore a long gown… it was the one formal gown in a sea of short dresses but I didn't care. I loved that gown… I still do… one day I'll wear it again to something special with someone I love. And yet we can also spend quality time with our spouse just grabbing dinner in jeans or sweats on a patio after an afternoon of gardening, going to the local botanical gardens or a car show. Spending time together doesn't have to cost a fortune… it doesn't have to be over the top… but taking the time to plan something means everything.
4. He Wants You:
Men have a desire in their marriage to show their love and affection for their spouse... they want to make love to their wife. Someone who truly loves you won't make you feel indebted... as if sex is to be a trading of food, shelter, etc. We know this. But sex can lead to problems even in the healthiest of couples. If a wife or husband is over extending themselves too often... if work or child care is becoming all consuming and the energy simply isn't there for making love... then the marriage screams of imbalance. Raising the bar will simply add more stress and undoubtedly frustration for both people. It's time to look at where more time as a couple can be added in small increments. Maybe that project can wait. Can the dishes be put off another night? Perhaps small amounts of time can be blocked out each week as a start and build from there. What can be removed from the schedule? Does little Johnny really need to play soccer again this season? Maybe couple-time has been put on the back burner due to an overload of activities planned. Another aspect to consider is when was the last vacation? Especially without children? It's essential that couples have plenty of uninterrupted time away so they can connect and re-charge.
5. Speak Love:
After we marry we often get so caught up in the day to day. Yet we don't want to forget the little things we said and did when we were in the courtship stage of our relationship. Whether we take him a hot coffee to his office with a sweet note written on it because we know he's freezing, or we tell him "You make my heart smile"... "I'm so blessed"... or he says "I can't wait to see you tonight"... it's important that we share how we feel. It's essential that we pause and ask ourselves how much life have we spoken over and to our spouse that day? Were we patient? Difficult? Short? Critical? When were humble, when we step forward and speak up where we weren't so lovely... whether we sincerely apologize or just make an effort to speak love into our relationship… when we pray for our spouse... we know we are watering the roots for our bond to grow stronger and undoubtedly our love will bloom even more oh so beautifully.
© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2014