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adele theron | The Naked Divorce
How long to get over divorce - Adele Theron - NakedDivorce

How long does it take to get over your divorce?

Ever wondered just how long it’s going to take to heal from your divorce? I know I did when I was going through my divorce. 

I was also given this challenging and critical question live on-stage by my interviewer recently, and I wanted to share my answer here, and also go into a little more detail and a little more science than I was able to at this live event. So here goes…

First of all – I need to define what ‘Getting Over Divorce’ actually means?

Getting over divorce is like having an orgasm…

In this regard Getting Over Divorce is a bit like having an orgasm… It’s hard to define, but you know it when it happens!

My clients often describe this as feeling ‘themselves again’, ‘complete’, ‘in-control’, ‘the best version of themself’, ‘the real me’, ‘empty and free’.

There are many different expressions but there is also a similarity between them.

What I see is a real and healthy sensation of clarity and void of emotion which I shall call ‘space’ or ’emptiness’. A mental space that was previously full of sometimes rage, confusion, anger, loss, sadness and more has been vacated that provides the space for opportunity and hope.

They realise that the future IS back in their hands, that they ARE in control, and that EVERYTHING is possible, and achievable. It’s a very special moment.

3 friggin years! That’s not acceptable.

A lot has to happen to allow this kind of transformation to happen, and when it happens it is like a switch has been flicked. It is not a gradual and slow process. There is also 7 years of intensive work which goes into creating the environment for these kinds of breakthroughs and transformations. It’s no accident.

If I may return to the unlikely orgasm analogy, there may be some gradual build up before, but when the breakthrough happens it happens very powerfully and very profoundly. You will absolutely know when a breakthrough has hit you.

That said, this does not mean that you will never ever think about your ex-partner ever again. It does not necessarily mean that you think your ex-partner is your best friend BUT it does mean that you are past it. You have accepted that your divorce happened, and that it will always be a part of your history, but very critically it is NOT a part of your future.

Traditional Therapy

When I was going through my divorce I spoke to several traditional therapists. The three I spoke to all used a similar ‘calculation’ to give me an answer to this question – here’s their maths…

1 year of marriage = 6 months of therapy (min 1 session per week).

Additional connected trauma will extend the duration further.

So at 5 years of marriage, plus the additional trauma that I had as a child (I was born without fully developed hip sockets), and the infidelity (18 affairs), it would take at least 3 years of on-going therapy.

3 friggin years! That’s simply not acceptable. Given my background in corporate change management and my commitment to producing results quickly, this antiquated thinking just didn’t jel with me.

3 critical elements

I now know that there are three critical elements that dictate the duration of time it takes to heal from divorce. They are;

  1. How motivated you are to do the necessary work to transform
  2. How evolved emotionally and personally you are, this may include how exposed to personal development you have been in the past
  3. How intensive the coaching / therapy is

For the purposes of this article I will focus entirely on number three – intensity…

Another approach

Let’s take a different look at this same question using a different topic. Let’s look at fitness…

How long does it take to get ‘fit’? It’s hard to define, right? You could argue it takes years, or indeed a lifetime of regular work to get ‘fit’.

The work is in reality never ending.

This is the thinking of the traditional therapists. It’s ongoing, often a lifelong pursuit. There is no finish line, there is no agreed result, there is no end date. The work continues indefinitely – or until you run out of funds.

Now let’s ask a slightly different question – let’s ask how long does it train to run a marathon?

Because we have given the question more definition, we can better answer it. A few questions also may arise:

  1. Are their variables that effect your training?
  2. Does everyone improve their fitness at exactly same rate?
  3. Will they all achieve the same race time?
  4. Do they all start from the same position?

The answer to all these questions is of course No.

However, we can still say with some justification and a significant amount of proof that if one trains 2-3 times per week, one can get fit enough to complete a marathon with 6 months of training.

3 times the intensity can equal 5-10 times the results!

Aside from the initial fitness level the biggest influencing variable that defines how long it takes to achieve the result is one thing. “Intensity”

Intensity

It stands to reason that the person that trains once per week will not advance at the same rate as someone that trains three times per week.

It is also worth noting that at just once per week the fitness levels progress at a very slow level indeed. I would argue that anyone only training once per week will never ever ever ever be fit enough to run a marathon. Think about that…

At three times per week, the fitness level does not increase at three times the rate – it increases exponentially. SO you might even progress at 5-10 times the rate.

So very realistically 3 times the intensity can easily equal 5-10 times the results.

The Science

Scientists tell us that most of the universe is filled with nothing.

Tom Stoppard explained the emptiness of atom like this, ‘if the nucleus is like the altar of St Paul’s Cathedral, an electron is like a moth in the cathedral’. Even in something as small as an atom, it is mostly full of nothing.

If all the ‘emptiness’ was removed, the entire human race could fit into a volume less than the size of three sugar cubes (ref: http://www.physics.org/featuredetail.asp?id=41). Isn’t that amazing??

So if we could remove all the emptiness out of a the transformational healing process is it not possible to condense that down from 3 years into just a few weeks? In a word Yes!

Heal in just 21 days

The Naked Divorce’s most popular course is completed in just 21 days. We achieve this because it’s intensive. Work and exercises are completed each and every day. It’s a demanding course, it takes energy, commitment, focus and support to complete it.

To be absolutely clear, I am NOT saying that we can achieve 3 years of therapy in just 21 days. What I am saying is – you achieve much greater, much bigger results, with much more mental fitness in 21 days than can ever be achieved by 3 years of non-intensive traditional therapy. We have many participants who were stuck in therapy for over 6 years who finally healed within the Naked Divorce.

The reason I created this programme is because no one has 6 years of life to spend it suffering. Time is the one commodity you can NEVER get back. So rather than wait for time to simply pass whilst assuming it will heal the wound – just get on with the process intensively and MOVE ON. There is life to be getting back to.

When 21 days it just too long

A year ago I launched the Naked Divorce Haven Retreat. A seven day version of Naked Divorce for our elite/ executive class participants who really don’t have the luxury of time to be suffering. Where, and yes you have guessed it, the course is even more intensive.

This is for the high achievers, for those that are very committed to their better future. We have a lot of CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, country managers, business owners, judges, lawyers, doctors, etc. that join us on the Divorce Haven Retreat (I’ll reveal the most popular profession that attend a little later).

We achieve this by defining the space, the location and the environment better. All consultations are completed face-to-face, in-person, and in private. As a result the intensity is much higher.

The results are even more powerful, even more profound, and even more swift. For total disclosure I should point out that whilst the retreat is only 7 days, we do start build-up work prior to the retreat, and there is ongoing support afterwards included so it does take a little more than just 7 days to achieve the full result.

This reality of course is very confronting to traditional therapists. I’ll be open and tell you that many do not believe in this process. Not one of these doubters have actually done the course!

You also might like to know that the most popular career of all our customers are, did you guess?

Yes therapists, and physiologists. Now doesn’t that say a lot? We have had psychiatrists send their patients to us (with doctor’s notes), medical professionals who advise patients to do our programme and psychologists who do the programme quietly without ever saying anything about it.

Here are a few words from what they said about the course…

Testimonials from therapists and physiologists that have completed the Naked Divorce programme:

“Really, really cool experience. Utterly life-changing”
Cecile Fontan, Psychologist

“Naked Divorce was the answer to my prayers”
Elizabeth Q, Emotional Therapist

“You can’t go very far without dealing with your emotions rather than suppressing them”
Dr Sindiyo, Clinical Psychologist

“Incredible structure… I really did experience a complete state change by the end of the course”
Mandy, Life Coach and Financial Therapist

“I am simply blown away by the powerful transformation”
Stephanie Burton, Love Coach

“Incredible experience. I learnt more about relationships from Naked Divorce than in 22 years practicing as a psychologist”
Dr Ayse Sahin, Clinical Psychologist

“The more time you take to heal, the more self indulgent you get. Better to do something like Naked Divorce to focus on healing”
Dr Nea Clark, Clinical Psychologist London

So, the bottom line is if the award-winning Naked Divorce is their chosen programme for healing and they refuse to take the time to heal, why aren’t they telling you that healing faster is possible? Possibly because the average person going through divorce therapy spends USD 6,799 to heal from divorce…

Food for thought.

Get busy living and take positive pro-active action to get over your divorce. You can learn more about me as a divorce coach here.

 

With lots of love and lightness

Adele

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A Tale of Two Singletons: Part One – You Don’t Know What’s Good for You

We all have that amazing friend who’s perpetually single, and we just can’t work out why. 

You know the type: she’s smart, brilliant, beautiful and tons of fun. She dips her toes in the dating pool – perhaps she’s even the type who always seems to have the next date lined up. And yet, nothing seems to stick.

This wouldn’t be a problem if this was 100% her choice and she was actually very happy with the situation. But the trouble is, you’re painfully aware that she would really like to be in a serious relationship. Worse, the longer this goes on, the more she worries that there’s something fundamentally wrong with her. Something lacking. Or unlovable.

Sound familiar?

Perhaps you have a best friend like this. Or a sister. Or perhaps that perennial singleton is you.

So why on earth is this happening?

What’s the great mystery? I’m going to get to that. But first, I’d like to tell you a story.

Anna is a very good friend of mine. On paper, she’s top girlfriend material: she’s gorgeous, she’s funny, she’s warm and generous, she has a degree from a top university and a fantastic job that she excels at and which pays her very well indeed.

Everyone loves spending time with Anna. Ask her what she’s up to next week and you’ll get a packed itinerary of post-work drinks, theatre and cinema trips, weekend minibreaks, and, of course, dates. Anna’s a Tinder fiend. And she has no shortage of admirers.

But here’s the thing: Anna hasn’t been in a serious relationship since university. And even then, it wasn’t a relationship that she, or anyone she knew, could really picture ending in forever-after. Despite everything she has to offer, despite all the attention she gets, despite the fact that I know for a fact she wants to do the whole marriage-and-kids thing in the foreseeable future, she never seems to meet anyone right for her.

… Or so she says.

Reconsider your values

Because here’s the other thing. I’ve been out with Anna when guys start hitting on her. I’ve watched her scroll through potential matches on dating apps and sites. And often, it’s like watching a car crash in slow motion.

The things that Anna truly values – the things that she’d logically need to look for to have the kind of relationship she wants – are precisely the things she’s most dismissive about when she comes across them in real life.

And (Shock! Horror!) the traits that caused her the most pain in the men she’s dated before are precisely the things she finds most attractive.

Anna used to joke about this. She knew that the men she was attracted to were totally unsuitable. That they were arrogant. That they didn’t challenge her intellectually. That they exuded unreliability and would let her down.

So when she decided it was time to start looking for something more serious, she made a concerted effort to pick differently.

Identify root causes

She recognised that feckless party boys with minimal ambition are probably not a great prospect for the future. But instead of identifying the core personality traits that make these men so wrong for her, she superficially changed track. Now, for example, she’ll actively seek out someone with a decent job and academic record – who, on paper, looks like the polar opposite of her usual type.

It didn’t work.

Why? Because these men are not any different.

Inevitably, these guys are simply the same arrogant, insensitive personalities, transplanted into a more respectable context. They might have made it out of their parents’ basement, but they’re essentially showy, self-involved types with over-inflated egos – they just have a bit more cash in the bank.

And, of course, they treat her just the same. And these days, this scares her.

Because when Anna used to date guys she never expected to want to stay with forever, it was easier to shrug off the situation when things when wrong. Sure, she got hurt a few times, but deep down she was never really surprised.

But now that Anna is actively looking for something long-term, she’s horrified that this is still happening. She doesn’t know how to find someone who doesn’t behave like this.

Her responses to these traits have become so ingrained that she’s instinctively attracted to the kind of men who end up hurting her – even when she thinks she’s doing the opposite.

The attraction pyramid

What Anna needs to do now is stage an intervention with her own instincts.

Many of us assume that sexual attraction is some great mystery that you have no control over. You can’t help who you fall in love with, etc. etc. That’s just not true.

Researchers at Jaunty explain attraction as a pyramid, in which different elements are weighted differently. At the base you have health and status. The next layer is emotional. At the tip is logic.

Here’s how it works.

When you meet someone in person (or on Tinder), the first things you are aware of are the health and status factors. Health is everything from decent personal hygiene through to good skin or a buff body – the obvious things that we usually associate with whether we find someone hot or hot.

Status is far more complex and affected by personal and cultural values. There are external indicators, of course, like wealth, power, a great job, etc., but it also covers things like confidence, the ability to make others laugh or to command an audience, skill sets and belief systems.

And, of course, it relates to the context you’re in right now. That means that status-based attraction could include from fancying your super-smart university lecturer to being impressed by someone’s ability to fix a shelf, nail a pub quiz question or even competitively down a pint.

Both of these things are kind of frivolous or fickle. Someone who commands status in one context might easily pass under the radar in another. And obviously, someone who has a great body now might not look so hot in 15 years’ time. As indicators of a successful, long-term relationship, health and status are shaky at best. Yet research shows again and again that they are fundamental to attraction.

Emotional connection and logic

Okay, let’s move on to the next layer, emotional connection.

There are four types of emotional connection: feeling that you trust someone, having the emotional intelligence to put someone at ease and make them feel comfortable, recognising a person’s uniqueness and spark, and a sense of uncertainty or mystery that intrigues you about this person.

Finally, at the top of the pyramid, you have logic. It is there that most of the really important questions lie. Is this person really “right” for you? Do they have the personal traits you need to feel happy and supported? Are they nuts in ways that you can cope with?

Whatever flaws this person has now are highly unlikely to change. Is this something you can live with forever? Do you want the same things? Do you share or respect each others’ beliefs and values?

Reverse the search

This is all very interesting, you might be thinking, but how does it affect who we fall for?

Most of the time, when we meet someone in a social setting (or swipe right on a dating app), we allow ourselves to start at the base of the pyramid and work up.

If we’re attracted to someone based on health and status, we might start talking to them and search around for an emotional connection. If we have an emotional connection we go on a few dates to try and establish, logically, whether we have enough in common for this relationship to work. 

The trouble is, by the time you get to the logic stage, you’re already kind of invested in this person. You fancy them for the most flimsy reasons of all – health and status – and then you’re looking for ways to make the rest fall into place.

What you need to do is to flip this on its head. 

  1. Narrow your pool based on whether there is a logical basis for a relationship
  2. Find out if you have an emotional connection
  3. Then, when everything else seems to fall into place, decide whether or not you’re also attracted to this person on the more superficial grounds we usually begin with.

Okay, it’s not always the easiest task to figure out in a first conversation or limited dating profile whether someone is perfect for you. But if you’re looking out for the right signals, you can get a pretty good picture, pretty fast.

For example, do you have similar interests? Are your jobs or life goals compatible? Do you have a broadly similar outlook on life? Find ways to sound out some of the bigger questions faster and you’ll save yourself serious heartache later.

And more generally, is this person conscientious? Do they keep to the plans and obligations they make? Can they exercise self-control? Because if they don’t do these things, they will probably cheat on you, use you, or do things to hurt you, no matter how much they love you.

External status markers

Let’s jump back to Anna for a moment. Anna used to be attracted to men who were good-looking, super-confident, a bit wild and always the life and soul of the party. In other words, it was all about health and status.

When she decided to take her dating choices more seriously, she relied on external indicators like job titles, a university background, signs they were making money – things that sound like they belong at the top of the pyramid, but are actually just external status markers.

Retrain your instincts

We want to make sure we don’t repeat our mistakes, so we go for someone who superficially seems very different.

Last boyfriend was a bit of a waster who always needed to borrow money? This time I’m going out with a lawyer who can presumably afford to pay his way. Previous girlfriend an incredibly self-absorbed model? Next time I’ll pick someone less obviously glossy and presume that means they’re more down-to-earth.

What we’re doing here is using status markers as stand-ins for real issues.

You can’t just ask what job someone does and then try to figure out if this makes them more manipulative, more generous, more sensible, more whatever.

You have to delve a little deeper. You have to ask plenty of questions. You have to pay attention to how this person actually thinks and treats you (and other people) as a predictor of future behaviour.

In other words, you have to retrain your instincts to pick up on the things that can genuinely hurt you or make you happy. The things that will get you out of your rut and into a relationship you want.

Adele

 

This is the first in a two-part series on getting out of the singledom trap. Click here for Part 2!

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6 Reasons Doomed to Marry Wrong

Six Reasons You’re Doomed to Marry the Wrong Person

“If anyone can show just cause why this couple cannot lawfully be joined together in matrimony, let them speak now, or forever hold their peace.”

Ever heard that at a friend’s wedding and secretly listed all the reasons in your head why this union is so obviously a bad idea? When half of marriages end in divorce, it’s clear that an awful lot of us are messing up somewhere along the line.

Here are 6 of the biggest reasons why.

1) You Don’t Know Yourself Well Enough

Each of us is bonkers in our own unique way. You inevitably have habits and neuroses and personality traits that drive other people – even the people who love you most – round the bend. Perhaps there are things you’re deeply sensitive about, that make you fly off the handle irrationally. Ways of handling stress or challenges to your beliefs that don’t paint you in the best light.

The point is, like everyone else on the planet, you have ways of being difficult, or frustrating, or unreasonable, or annoying, or for want of a better word, a bit nuts. If you don’t know what they are, and you don’t consciously seek out someone who a) seems well equipped to handle your particular variety of quirks and flaws and b) who is nuts in ways that you can cope with, you’re in trouble.

2) You Invent Too Much of Your Partner

It takes a long, long time to work out how another person really thinks. In the early stages, that mystery is part of the thrill. All you have to go on is how that person looks and moves, their body language, their voice, and those scattered tidbits of their views and personality that they consciously curate, or accidentally let slip, when you’re together. Pushing someone – especially a man – too hard, too soon to open up is frowned upon or dismissed as needy or overbearing.

But what you don’t know, your imagination will invent, and if you find yourself walking up the aisle with someone whose beliefs, motivations, boundaries and internal life you’ve never really teased out, but have rather filled in from your own assumptions or romantic ideals, the reality of who they are may well prove to be a shock.

3) You Give Your Gut Feeling Too Much Credit

Sometimes it’s good to listen to your intuition. When you have a creeping feeling that someone is lying, for example. When you get the feeling they might hurt or endanger you. When something just doesn’t feel right. So much language between humans is unspoken, and these interactions are as meaningful as what we choose to put into words.

But our instincts aren’t sacred. They’re imperfect. They’re shaped by habit, by unconscious bias, by the false comfort of repeating behavioural patterns, even when this is bad for us. Instincts are, also, driven by things like lust and desire, or a craving for companionship, or learned behaviours from our parents and peers.

Your gut feeling tells you what feels most appealing right now, but it doesn’t tell you why. It doesn’t tell you whether this course of action is truly conductive to your emotional health, your security or your happiness in the long run.

4) You’re Petrified of Being Single

Loneliness is a terrible matchmaker. Fear of solitude nudges us towards all kinds of unfortunate decisions. It encourages us to mentally gloss over all the good reasons that someone isn’t right for us. It leads us into situations where we’re more miserable stuck with someone else than we would be if we’d just stayed on our own.

Plus, it puts unbearable pressure on the early stages of a potential relationship.

Rather than sounding out a friendship, rather than really listening to what that other person has to say, to learning how they think, and forming a healthy connection, you’re fretting over whether this will be the person who finally saves you from your shitty singledom. You’re making the situation all about you even as you lose touch with what you actually need.

It’s not a healthy place to be in at all. There isn’t an easy fix to this. It’s understandable to want a family, to want companionship, to want intimacy and sex. To want to grow old with someone.

But if you conflate your attraction to one person in particular with these needs as a whole – if you avoid asking whether the person you’re marrying is the right person to share these things with – it’s easy to see how you can end up making the wrong choice.

The important thing is to be honest with yourself about who you are, who your partner is, and how you fit together, rather than trying to shoehorn another person into your ready-made dream for the future.

5) You’re Not Sure How to be Happy

Here’s the great irony. So many of us expect to be blissfully happy in our marriage at all times, but we have no idea how that actually works. In fact, most of the time, we seek out relationships that mimic the type of bonds we experienced as children, because our minds equate familiarity with safety.

Rather than selecting potential spouses based on their potential to bring us genuine happiness, we find ourselves recreating relationships we recognise, even when these involve dynamics of control, humiliation, cruelty or emotional neglect that have made us miserable in the past.

After all, when in your life has a relationship (of any kind, with anyone), made you feel 100% happy – safe, secure, and content, with no fear, pain, frustration or resentment creeping in? If you’re answer is “never”, how will your brain recognise the signals it should follow to build a relationship like that?

It can’t do what it’s never been shown how to do before. You’re going to have to intervene, consciously stopping yourself from going down the same painful paths – choosing a partner wisely, even when your instincts protest.

6) No One Teaches Us This Stuff

Where did you get your relationship advice growing up? Unless, or even if, your parents were a perfect model of domestic diplomacy, no doubt you’ll have drawn your ideas from elsewhere. Maybe even from magazine advice columns? From novels, music or art? From (whisper it) Disney movies?

The thing is, these fantasy versions of idealised relationships were dreamed up by people who, in most cases, were no closer to figuring out the secrets to a happy marriage than you were, at 13, poring over their tropes about “finding the one” or “not settling for less than you deserve” or how “true love conquers all”.

There’s a reason fairy tales and romantic comedies end at the couple’s wedding: marriage isn’t the end of the story, a joyful vignette that’s perfectly preserved for the rest of your life. It’s the beginning of a long, hard slog of tough decisions, sacrifices, negotiations, disappointments, real and perceived betrayals.

There will be dull moments. There will be miscommunications. There will be fights. Being happy together and staying in love takes concerted effort, empathy and patience on both sides.

If you’re unwilling to accept a relationship that needs work, that occasionally leaves you feeling let down or frustrated, or in which either of you lacks absolute, eternal, unwavering certainty in your love for one another, don’t get married: get a dog.

Adele

 

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How to Tell if You’re an Emotional Abuser

Do you often feel let down or undermined by your partner, or that they’re deliberately trying to wind you up or push your buttons?

Do you find yourself lashing out? Shouting? Swearing at them? Treating them in ways you never could have imagined you would when you first fell in love? If so, it sounds like you have a build-up of resentment that you urgently need to address.

What’s more, it sounds like that resentment is crushing your capacity for compassion, turning you into someone I’m sure you don’t want to be: someone who is emotionally abusive. 

Who’s to blame?

Part of the problem is expectations. We live in a culture of entitlement: one that tells you over and over again that you deserve to be happy, to feel good about yourself, to feel attractive and valued and successful and loved. All of which is great. But what happens when we don’t feel happy, or good, or attractive, or successful, or lovable?

We turn to the people around us – those that we feel are supposed to be making us feel all these things – and we chastise them for their failure. But other people aren’t perfect. They don’t know exactly how to manage you to help you be your best self. How can they, when you don’t know either, half the time?

Your emotional state isn’t always rational or readable. There isn’t always a direct, obvious reason why you’re stressed or upset. And if there is, it isn’t always your partner’s fault – for creating it, for misreading it, or for failing to change it. And why should they, necessarily?

It’s important to be emotionally supportive when someone really needs you, but do you really need someone to hold your hand through every dip in your mood? Is it always someone else’s responsibility to “fix” you when you’re feeling irritable?

Sometimes – if you’re really honest with yourself – could you be making a mountain out of a molehill? Do you always need to drag everyone else into the mess? After all, you and your partner both have your own crap to deal with. You don’t spend every waking hour trying to figure out how they’re feeling and how you can best be of service to them, so expecting that back seems a tad unreasonable.

(Again, this is not an excuse for letting people down on the emotional front. Everyone needs to and should be willing to provide their partner with emotional support. But that doesn’t mean someone else needs to be your crutch for every single step you take. You do need to learn to walk by yourself, too.)

But I digress.

Break the cycle

Let’s get back to why, exactly, we become so quick to lose our temper with our partners and where this resentment really comes from. At its root, it’s about compassion. Not just for your partner, but for yourself. That’s the great irony of lashing out at people we love — so much of it boils down to something we deeply dislike in ourselves.

In essence, you overreact because you’re over-sensitive about some perceived fault or weakness in your own personality.

Rather than treating yourself with compassion, rather than being gentle with yourself about this thing you’re so ashamed of, you jump to the opposite end of the scale: anger.

You’re furious that you feel wounded – and you reflect that back at the person who (often inadvertently) caused the sting. The worst thing is, because you’re constantly telling yourself that you’re the victim, once you start on the path of emotional abuse, it becomes a vicious cycle.

Picture this: your partner says or does something that hits a nerve and you explode at them. You feel kind of guilty for speaking to them like that, but rather than admit it, you tell yourself that they were deliberately getting at you, and that they are in the wrong.

With every passing comment, every perceived slight, every failure to do something the way you’ve asked, you take as proof that they’re trying to undermine you – everything becomes about you.

And the more nervous or evasive or shut down they become, the more you tell yourself they are trying to punish or hurt you more, the more cruel you become in return. And, of course, the more torn you are between being adamantly self-righteous, and getting that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach that you should be very, very ashamed of your behaviour.

Sound familiar? If so, it’s time to stop the cycle.

First, take a deep breath. That response on the tip of your tongue? Ask yourself: what’s motivating it? Do you want to escalate the situation, or diffuse it? The way you respond is everything. Express yourself calmly.

If your express purpose is to humiliate, demean or silence the other person (particularly in front of someone else – and especially in front of your children), you will hate yourself for it later. Physically stop yourself and reword your reply.

Ask yourself, “Do they have a point? Am I reacting angrily out of habit? What’s to be lost by biting my tongue and listening to what they have to say? If these words were coming from my mouth, how would I want my partner to react?”

Don’t try to crush your emotional response, but don’t automatically attribute it to your partner. If this gave you a stab of anger, hurt, tearfulness, stress, jealousy – categorise the response and ask yourself why?

Don’t berate yourself for your response, just try to understand it. Question, too, whether your partner could reasonably have known how this would make you feel. Are they really trying to hurt or annoy you, or are blaming them for a feeling you already have locked away?

If you think they are being deliberately insensitive, or if they keep making the same blunder, explain why. Screaming, swearing or name-calling won’t help.

Finally, apologise. Even if you felt your partner was out of order, if you’ve responded in a way that way cruel, abusive or derogatory, that’s going to create a whole new layer of resentment in your relationship. It’s not worth it.

You’re perfectly entitled to stand by your feelings – to reiterate, again, why their words had such an impact – but if you crossed the line, you must say sorry for the way you expressed yourself. Without this, you’ll go on repeating the cycle again and again.

Adele

 

Know someone who you think might be stuck in a cold war of emotional abuse? Please share this article with them.

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Life’s Too Precious to Waste Wallowing in the Past

How many times this week have you mentally replayed a fight that you had with your ex?

I want you to answer honestly. Maybe not an actual fight – maybe you pictured what you would or should have said to them. Maybe you picture a confrontation you never had, or the killer blow you wish you’d delivered at the time.

Now how much of your life do you think you spend like this trawling through negative memories and reliving the things that make you feel angry and bitter? Dissecting, analysing, obsessing — does any of it make you feel happy or put you at peace? Of course not.

Resentment is destructive. Resentment is the thing that keeps us rooted in a broken, ugly past.

Start living today

Life is too short to start each day with the broken pieces of yesterday. Your breakup was miserable enough the first time, right? If you could somehow go back and spare yourself all of that pain, wouldn’t you? Then why do you inflict it on yourself time after time?

Why are you voluntarily repeating those experiences every day of your life? It doesn’t matter how many times you conduct that fight with the imagined version of your ex. The outcome will never be different.

It doesn’t matter how much time you devote to dwelling in the past, the present is still the present. And if you don’t stop wallowing and start living, you won’t just have lost out on yesterday – you’ll lose today, too.

Do you really want to give that to your ex? After all, as the saying goes, resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die. It’s time to stop drinking the poison. It’s time to stop letting resentment rule your life.

Time to let go

Easier said than done? Of course it is. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t practical things you can do. Here are 6 powerful steps to take today.

Declare an amnesty

Make the decision to stop waging a mental war with this person and with yourself. Recognise that enough is enough before you start to tackle your feelings.

Admit to yourself that you’re an addict

Resentment gives you a rush. That intoxicating sense of letting your rage run wild, if only in your head. The buzz of taking the moral high ground, feeling yourself wronged – and righteous. It’s chemical. It’s a hit. That’s why you keep coming back. And you need to stop before your addiction gets out of hand.

Accept that your resentment is futile

No matter what happens in the confines of your mind, it will not change the past. Neither will it influence other people, past or present. It can’t stop them rejecting you or force them to give you the things you crave. The only person it controls is you.

Get to the bottom of it

Time to get it all out. In one column, list all the reasons that you resent your ex. Every tiny thing they did, or that irritates you about them. Don’t censor yourself: it doesn’t matter how small or stupid or irrational, write it down.

In the next column, write down exactly why you resent this thing. How does it make you feel? Why does it upset you? Why does it make you feel threatened?

Is it possible you’re confusing the way this person makes you feel with how someone else made you feel in the past?

Finally, in the last column, be brutally honest. Did you tell them how this was affecting you? Did you stick up for yourself? Could you have managed the problem better? Is there any way in which you contributed to this problem? Were there ways in which you misread the slight or blew it out of proportion?

Forgive where you can

First, forgive yourselffor ways you may have let your past self down and ways in which you secretly believe you were weak. Next, forgive the object of your resentment for the things you can bear for things they might not really have done out of malice, or things they simply messed up on.

Forgive the things that upset you because they dragged up old feelings and insecurities, rather than because they were intrinsically cruel; forgive him or her for those things that, ultimately, no longer matter.

Make an action plan

Resentment doesn’t make you stronger, but decisiveness does. Plan what you are going to do to stop yourself from getting hurt like this again. How will you respond assertively to nip things in the bud? This is where you will really take control. It’s where you’ll really start healing.

Getting over resentment won’t happen overnight. It’s a process. But it’s a journey you need to begin, and soon, if you want to avoid your past swallowing up your future, too.

Adele

 

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This Is What Happens When You Stop Making An Effort

How did you picture relationships when you were a kid?

Did you imagine the fairy tale of falling in love, making a commitment and living happily ever after? If so, join the club. Disney has a lot to answer for when it comes to preparing kids for real life.

Stories about falling in love always end with “I do” – but we all know that’s where the hard work begins.

Relationships need nurture and care; not just in the first flush of romance, when you’re falling in love, or on your honeymoon. Forever. Relationships are hard work, even the happy ones — especially the happy ones.

Here are 5 practical ways to keep things fresh.

  1. Don’t Treat Your Partner Like Part of the Furniture

    Picture this: when you and your partner are at home by yourself, how do you behave?

    Do you act as if you were on your own, reading your phone as you slump in front of the TV without talking? We all want to feel comfortable, but there’s a difference between “relaxed” and “lazy and indifferent.”

    Your partner is not an extension of yourself. They are not a fixture of your home. They’re the person you found interesting and exciting enough to share your life with. Don’t ignore them.

    Put down your phone, turn off the TV, and do the things you can only do with another person – have a chat, play a game, or make something together – whatever floats your mutual boat.

  2. Keep Trying to Impress Them

    There’s no point in cooking a nice meal, being witty and interesting, dressing well or bothering to make yourself sociable and agreeable when it’s “just” for your partner, right? Wrong.

    If there’s one person you should be trying to make happy, make laugh, and make proud of you, it’s the person you’re planning to spend the rest of your life with.

    When you’re willing to make more of an effort for just about anyone else in the world than for the person you love, you’ve got a long, miserable future of resentment, jealousy and hurt feelings ahead of you. Plus, you risk your partner forgetting what it was they liked so much about you in the first place.

  3. Have fun

    Go on dates. Travel. Keep an eye out for shows or exhibitions that you know your partner would love. Pop open a bottle of wine and talk, laugh, debate, make up – whatever keeps the sparks flying for you.

    Make sure your free time together is spent creating shared memories, not just ticking off mundane tasks. You didn’t fall in love by spending your Saturdays bickering over which bedsheets to buy in Ikea, and you won’t sustain your love that way, either.

  4. Make Your Thoughtful Gestures Little and Often

    One of the biggest mistakes that people (especially men) make is this: they let things slide until their partners get upset and say they take them for granted, are never spontaneous, or that they don’t made them feel special.

    Then they panic and try to make amends with some grand, expensive and totally unnecessary gesture – a gift, a holiday, even (true story) a marriage proposal – before reverting to exactly the way they were before.

    Here’s the thing: “thoughtful” doesn’t mean extravagant. It means that, once in a while, you bring your partner a cup of tea in bed, or you do their share of the housework before they get home, or you surprise them by popping by their office to take them for lunch.

    It means picking up some flowers or a bottle of bubbly to celebrate an achievement, or remembering to text them before a big presentation to wish them luck. These are the things that make a relationship richer and stronger in the years to come.

  5. Don’t Make Your Relationship Your Emotional Dumping Ground

    Your partner is not your psychiatrist, neither are they your parent. They don’t have to listen to you rage or moan indefinitely, and chances are they won’t choose to.

    This doesn’t mean you should hide your feelings when you’re hurt or unhappy, nor does it mean you shouldn’t tell your partner when they’ve done something to upset you.

    But a lot of the time when we’re in a bad mood we’re not emotionally vulnerable nor have we been wounded by our partners; we’re just in a grump. And if you drag that toxic waste into the sacred space of a relationship, you poison the thing that should be your sanctuary from all this day-to-day crap.

    Rather than launching into a rant, imagine when you walk into your house that you’re at a friend’s birthday party. Take a deep breath, shrug off the mood and focus on being the warmest, kindest, most fun and generous-hearted version of yourself.

    By the time you get around to talking about that shitty thing your boss did (if you still care), you’ll find you have far more of a sense of humour about it, anyway.

Adele

 

What are your top tips for keeping the relationship flame burning bright? Let me know in the comments below!

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You Are Not Your Emotions

People tend to define themselves (and others) by their emotions.

He’s an angry man. She’s such a happy child. She’s a jealous girlfriend. What a cry-baby. But your emotions aren’t your identity, or even your personality. They’re chemicals that our body releases in response to physical stimuli, thoughts and memories.

Knowing that emotions are chemicals doesn’t negate their potency. Chemicals can cause explosions; they have to be handled with care. Trouble is, people often don’t see their emotions as separate from themselves. Because of this, they give in and let them take over.

Once you let emotions tell you who you are, you trap yourself in a horrible, self-fulling cycle.

Feeling labeled?

Picture this. Alice finds her partner, Chris, distant and dismissive. He pursues his own path without seeming to care about how this affects her. She’s hurt and frustrated, and finds herself feeling tearful and angry. But every time she thinks about confronting him about his behaviour, she feels a wave of terror rise up.

Alice is ashamed of feeling so frightened. She’s ashamed of feeling hopeless and angry. She’s ashamed that she’s such a fearful, emotional person. She turns all her anger back on herself, telling herself she’s pathetic.

Because she now believes she’s pathetic, the sadness and anger she feels aren’t valid responses to selfish behaviour, but are an extension of her own flawed personality.

So Alice never confronts Chris. She wallows in her misery, resenting him for failing to change and hating herself for being pathetic and unlovable.

When the relationship breaks down, this reaffirms her view. She then carries that feeling right through to her next relationship, refusing to address problems as they arise because, she believes, it’s not in her nature.

Such is the power of letting our emotions tell us who we are.

As rational creatures, we do get to choose how we handle our emotions. We don’t have to be in their thrall.

Imagine that Alice had realised her emotions are chemical responses, not an expression of her personality.

Imagine she’d been able to say: “I have these feelings of sadness and anger and they’re telling me that something is very wrong. I’m scared because I’m facing a potentially stressful and unpleasant encounter — and that’s normal and expected. But it shows that I need to do something about the problems that are sparking these emotions in the first place.”

Create a catalyst for change

Imagine if, instead of being overwhelmed by her feelings, Alice had used them as a catalyst for change. Owning your emotions and responding to them productively isn’t always easy, but it’s a skill you can learn.

Here are some steps you can take.

  • Start by reminding yourself that you have control. You are not the victim of your emotions. You can’t stop them from appearing, but you can decide how to react.
  • Don’t ignore the emotion. Notice it. Identify it. Tell yourself that it’s ok that you have it.
  • No matter how hard it is, commit to accepting the emotion, rather than denying its existence.
  • Imagine that the emotion is a person. Tell it that you see it and recognise it, but right now, you need to get on with your day.
  • Now that the emotion has been “contained”, carefully and deliberately take action – or just tackle your normal tasks – while it’s still there. Don’t let it take over, but don’t suppress it or wait for it to leave. You’re in charge of how this goes. Don’t let the emotion dictate or delay what you need to do.
  • When you’re finished your tasks for the day, sit down with that emotion and have a serious chat. Make some tea. Ask it why it’s here and what it wants to tell you. Make notes about what it actually wants you to do.
  • Sometimes, you’ll need to plan concrete, practical steps to address the problem that triggered the emotion. But often, once it’s been allowed to have its say, you’ll find it leaves of its own accord.
Adele

 

Have negative emotions from your breakup got you trapped in a downward spiral? Book a Clarity Call with one of our Divorce Angels today.

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Things To Never, Ever Say To Someone Going Through A Divorce

It happens to us all

At some point in our lives, most of us will go through a divorce, or at least a very painful breakup. Most of us will also experience being a shoulder to cry on when it happens to someone we love.

So when someone close to you tells you they are getting divorced, what is your first impulse?

Is it to give them a pep talk and focus on the bright future they’ll have without the ex you’ve always secretly hated? Is it to take them out on the town to forget their pain through the miracle of alcohol?

Perhaps you take a tough love approach, telling them to drop the drama and snap out of it. If any of these sound familiar, this post is for you.

No matter how kind you think you are being, in the long run, these responses will make things worse. They push the divorcee to displace the legitimate emotions that they are feeling and prolong the pain far longer than it needs to be.

It’s not them, it’s you

What’s more, these responses are really about you, not the person you care about. When we ask someone to stop feeling what they are feeling, it’s because we are uncomfortable with how that makes us feel.

We panic because we don’t know how to process the pain that the other person is experiencing. It’s easier to shut it down than to deal with it.

Even when we think we’re trying our very best to help that person, we’re actually making things worse for them – in order to make ourselves feel better.

Even if you truly believe that everything happens for a reason and that this will all work out for the best, is that really going to stop a person experiencing the initial shock and trauma of divorce from feeling rejected, anxious, frightened, hurt, or overcome with grief? Absolutely not.

All it does is stop that person from believing that these feelings are legitimate. It makes them press those feelings down inside of them, where they’ll continue to fester.

If they aren’t allowed to feel these emotions, they will not heal and they will not be able to halt any cycles of self-destructive behaviour in their tracks. On top of the pain of the divorce, they now have the shame of feeling that their pain is unreasonable!

What should I do?

So what should you do if you really want to help someone going through a divorce? Hear them. Hug them. Reassure them that you’ll be there for them whatever happens, that they are amazing and loved, and that there will be an end to the pain that they are feeling.

Listening without judgment or interruption is a surprisingly difficult thing to do, especially when the natural urge is to try and “fix” anything which is hurting those we care about.

If you’re not sure how to go about this, one really useful tool is the “bucketing your frustrations” exercise that I talk about in detail here. This shows you how to encourage your loved one to “pour” their emotions into a physical bucket by talking through all the things that are upsetting, frustrating or scaring them, then throwing it away.

Once you’ve dealt with all the negative emotions, focus on the positives without undermining the way that they are feeling. Name five things each that you feel glad or grateful for in your lives.

End with one (manageable) thing each that you will achieve tomorrow. This will help them to counter their destructive emotions with a sense of creating and being in control.

Whether you decide to try the bucket exercise or just really, genuinely listen, the key is to remember that the person going through the divorce needs to feel the things they describe. If they avoid them, they will hurt for longer.

While it might be hard for you to hear, letting them do that is the best way to be a friend right now.

Adele

 

Not sure where your loved one is in their healing process? Ask them to take this quiz to work out what support they need the most: www.nakeddivorce.com/test

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Are You Trapping Yourself In A Divorce Disaster?

Brutal breakups

Every breakup is hard. Every breakup hurts. But there are some times when a breakup is so all-consumingly awful that it’s hard to do anything but wallow in the agony of it.

A vindictive, vengeful partner can add tyranny to a situation that is already fraught.

These are the people that use threats, ultimatums and other weapons against you to try and control your behaviour or simply make life seem intolerable.

Take Sarah. Sarah finally built up the courage to kick out her bullying husband, but the strain is taking its toll – she’s a nervous wreck. Now, he’s capitalising on her low point by trying to have her declared too incompetent to care for the children, so that he can gain full custody.

Meanwhile Melanie, who put her career on hold to become the main caregiver for her two young children, has just found that her vindictive ex has frozen their joint assets and is refusing to transfer any money, leaving her with no access to funds.

Or take Edward, who has walked away from his control freak wife after years of misery, terrified because she’s made it clear she’ll do everything in her power to stop him seeing his kids.

Betrayal is another major factor.

Brent’s relationship ended when he found out that his wife was cheating on him with his best friend – the best man at their wedding – and now he’s trapped in a cycle of self-torture, dissecting and distrusting every aspect of both his marriage and his friendship for the past 15 years.

If any of these sound familiar, waiting and hoping that time will heal your wounds is a luxury you can ill afford.

Take control now

You must empower yourself to take control of the situation. You need to stop feeling trapped and destroyed fast, so that other parts of your life – your career, your friendships, your relationships with your kids – don’t become collateral damage of your trauma.

When my marriage ended, I went to a therapist who told me that it would take 18 months of (expensive) weekly sessions until I started to feel better. Then we talked about abandonment issues stemming from an extended hospital visit when I was two.

It’s not that I don’t believe that this experience made me feel abandoned: I do. It may even have had a bearing on the way I’ve handled breakups since.

The problem was that, for me, talking about events that I barely remember didn’t help. I walked away feeling no more able to cope with my divorce, but laden with additional confusion and anger over long-forgotten events.

Rather than feeling in control of my healing, I felt dependent on my therapist – a figure I could only see once a week at a pre-arranged time, rather than at short notice, when I needed them.

This is not a proactive way to heal.

It’s a drawn-out, painful way for your wounds to fester. It’s a way of becoming resigned to your pain, repressing rather than redressing it. Resignation is a strategy that exhausts and ages your body and destroys your lust for life.

Sometimes what we tell ourselves is resignation to our situation is really a case of deliberately holding on to suffering.

The validation that comes with sympathy or righteous anger can feel like payoff for the pain we’ve been put through – and holding on to that suffering can seem more tempting than feeling that the other person is “getting away with it” through our forgiveness.

The trouble is, we end up more hurt than they do.

We sacrifice our chance to feel joyful, vital and alive, because we think we should feel martyred and bitter.

At Naked Divorce, we focus on guiding you out of this resignation and letting go of suffering. We help you to confront your feelings and work out what’s really at stake if you let them rule you.

We work through a carefully constructed “healing formula”, taking a sustained, proactive approach to build momentum and make breakthroughs along the way. We don’t sit around waiting for time to pass while we hope for the best.

Time passes whether you’re healing or not. Time passes whether you’re hurting or not. It’s what we do with our lives while time is passing that helps us, heals us, or locks us in the past.

Hugs,

Adele
Adele

 

Are you feeling trapped in your divorce disaster? Book a complimentary clarity call with one of our divorce angels today to talk through your issues and find out how we can help.

 

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