Get me off this roller coaster

Get me off this roller coaster, I’m dizzy

Dizzy – not from the exhilaration you feel when you’re on the ride of your life – the kind where you feel like life is spinning out of control. No one ever prepares you for the emotional rollercoaster that you need to navigate when you’re going through a separation or divorce.

I want to put your mind at ease by explaining what goes on emotionally to humans when we experience a life-changing event. It’s very normal human behaviour to feel the “ups and the downs” as some people explain it. Feelings of anger, despair, depression, elation, denial, guilt, and anxiety are all a part of any change and transition process.

When a marriage is over, there is often a great sense of loss and grief that can surface – grief for the life you had no longer existing and a great deal of uncertainty about the future. In times of panic or intense stress, the fight or flight mechanisms in the brain kick in.

We find ourselves deeply entrenched in negative thought patterns: How will I survive on my own? I hate you for what you have done to me. I’m worried about the kids and the impact on them. I’m scared of being alone. I feel so depressed. I despise you.

Any of those thoughts sound familiar to you?

The graphic below shines a light on the emotions we feel when we are in the mist of turmoil. The first series of emotions are usually fear-based, trepidation and uncertainty. Then, as reality sets in, we can often feel threatened or depressed anticipating the future.

These middle emotions are usually the place that people get stuck in and don’t know how to get themselves out. The aim is to move yourself out of the negative thought patterns and learn to gradually accept what is. From there, you have the freedom to redesign how you would like to feel.

rollercoaster

The point of the graphic is this: there is an emotional process you need to navigate that is perfectly normal. You just don’t want to get stuck in the middle for too long. Your entire focus will be negative and you’ll find it harder for you to transition into a more positive place.

Have you identified where you are at? Drop me a line and tell me. If you need some tips on how to get unstuck grab a copy of my thriving separation tips by signing up here www.shefoundaway.com

 

 

Not Never Alone. Guest Post – by Rebecca Seager

Not Never Alone.

I married young. I’m not saying that’s necessarily a bad thing, but it didn’t help my situation. My naïve 21 year old self believed in the fairytale, saw only flowers and rainbows where really there were demons and monsters. Dramatic? Maybe a little, but it’s not necessarily untrue. I knew there were problems in my marriage – big ones. I just didn’t want to see them. A favourite saying of mine is “it’s not what you look at that matters, but what you see.” I saw what I wanted to see.

I spent 10 years married to a narcissist. An only child and whilst not spoilt, definitely sheltered, I moved out of my childhood home into my marital home.   I hadn’t lived yet and I’d never been alone. The short version of what followed is that I spent 10 years of my life with a narcissist, too afraid to confront the reality of my existence and terrified of being alone. This culminated in him cheating on me, and eventually throwing me over for the other woman. That story, however, is not for today.

What followed was an amazing journey, a journey filled with many lessons and adventures, twists and turns, tears and triumphs. One I want to share is a lesson I learned which has become my focus, the point from which I hope to go on and help others. It’s a play on words, terrible English, but means everything that’s important to me – Not never alone.

People told me in the beginning that I would be fine because I would never be alone. They meant well but it wasn’t true, I found myself alone many many times and that meant a lot of time to think. I realised that I had never been alone, and had never gotten to know myself. In time I learned what a gift I had been handed.

Being alone can give you time to reflect on things. It’s scary, sometimes terrifying, and empowering. I would spend a lot of time floored by the things I was realising, both about what I had been through and about myself. The very thing I was terrified of, being alone, became my greatest gift because it gave me time to stop, think, breathe and heal. It became as simple as that.

In the beginning it hurt, because having that separation from my situation allowed me to start to see it for what it really was. It helped too though because I saw that I really was better off. More than that though I began to be introduced to my own self. All the things I had been made to believe about myself I was able to face and confront. Was I really unsociable? Moody? Difficult? Unpleasant? Did I really hate going out? Was I really incapable of towing my horse float by myself? Of doing manual tasks like fixing fences and the like? What did I really want for myself? Who did I want in my life? What did I really enjoy doing? For the first time in my entire life I got to answer those questions for myself and a picture started to take shape – I rediscovered who I was and I was stunned.

I learned the things that mattered to me, that I value loyalty, love and honesty above everything else. That I am outgoing and friendly but I do also value my quiet time. That I’ll take on any challenge and usually find a way through it and thrive in the process. Being alone gave me the opportunity to focus on me.

I think my most defining “alone” moment was the most simple. I was feeding my horses, I’d just finished with the last of them and was walking down the hill back towards the sheds. I was looking out over the paddocks at the other horses and suddenly I was struck by how beautiful that outlook was, and even more that I had not noticed the simple beauty in the world for longer than I could remember. I cried like a baby, but happy tears when I realised that yeah, ok, I was alone, but I was free. I was free to make my own decisions, to be myself and be the best version of myself that I could possibly be in time that evolved into something even better.

Even on my darkest days, when alone went from being my freedom to feeling like my own personal cell, a dark echoing room, something with no way out I realised I still had someone to lean on – myself. I had gone through the worst thing in my world and I was still breathing. Better than that, I was alive, I had my health and cliché as it all is, I still had things to be thankful for. I had the opportunity to start again. I had lost so much, some days it felt like too much, but I was still breathing and I had the chance to start over. And so, on my dark days I would tell myself to get out of bed, I would lecture myself into the shower and I would force myself out the door. In the beginning that was hard but the more I did it the easier it got. I learned my best and most trusted ally was myself, and in that knowledge came the phrase “not never alone” because you’re not NEVER alone, you will always have time where you are your own and only company. However, even then, you’re not alone in the negative connotation of the word, because you will always have yourself, your qualities, your strengths, even the ones you don’t yet know you have.

Now, 2 years on from my separation I am blessed to be a stronger, more confident person. It took a lot of hard work to get here, it was never easy and it may sound vain to be saying that about myself, but I owe it to myself to be proud of what I have achieved. I am lucky enough to have someone in my life now who loves and values me. That said though, I am no longer afraid to be alone. There are worse things than being by yourself, and I know if ever I find myself “alone” I will always have the things that make me who I am, I will always have the tools to survive, and while ever you survive, you have something to work with, you always have those things with you… always.

My Facebook page is:  https://www.facebook.com/notneveralone

I was on the wrong track. Guest Post – by Soozi Baggs

I was on the wrong tack

The need for us to separate didn’t hit me hard one day after an affair or other unforgivable offence. It crept up on me slowly, bit by bit, every day sinking me that bit further into a feeling that I was on the wrong track.

It probably started before we got married, and definitely before we had children, but for some reason I didn’t notice it then. I started to feel it after our twins were born. He was a doting father and cared fiercely about the boys. But like most things in our partnership, our approach to parenting was just different – sometimes wildly so – and we ended up disagreeing about everything from room temperature, to food consistency, to what clothing was suitable for the weather. Nothing major, but just a constant battle every day of disagreements and snipes at each other. We were both great parents in our own way, but somehow couldn’t see it in each other at all.

As the boys got older I developed the realisation, and strength, that I needed to leave him. It nearly happened just after the boys’ 2nd birthday, but that ended up being a false start. With hindsight I can see that what I thought would work, in terms of my job and how it fitted in with childcare and commuting, really wouldn’t have worked at all. I feel that the Universe stepped in to bring us briefly back together to warn me I didn’t have things worked out quite right.

We talked, we got back together, and we tried again. It was fine for a few months but the cracks didn’t take long to resurface. This time when we talked about it, it was almost like a joint surrender. We’d tried, we’d failed. We didn’t hate each other, but we weren’t really sure we loved each other any more either, and we certainly weren’t making each other happy.

For practical and financial reasons we lived together for 4 months after the decision was made. Those were the hardest 4 months of our whole separation. Harder than trying to make it work. Harder than going our separate ways.

Decision made, but in limbo. Living together, parenting together, but not being together.

I already knew that I wanted to move back to my hometown in Cornwall – 250 miles away from our life in London. It meant that we would be close to my mum, and I was hoping it would feel like home in a way that London never had in the 9 years I’d been there. It was the missing piece of the puzzle that I needed to make sure I actually left him this time.

The main downside was that jobs are harder to find down in Cornwall. I’d been working freelance for a year anyway, but the kind of short term contract jobs I’d been doing, although flexible and part time, only existed in central London.

But then, things suddenly started shifting. My work contract finished and wasn’t renewed. Before I even finished my final week I was invited to work on a freelance project which could be done from home and paid more than my previous jobs. It wouldn’t last forever – in fact it lasted just until the end of those 4 months of house sharing – but it made me realise I could do this. I could make a life for myself away from the city.

I made the break in September 2013 and moved to Cornwall. I remember sitting on my bed on the phone to a friend a few days after I moved in, looking out the windows at my new beautiful garden, and just knowing I had made the right decision. It was the first time in years that I felt I was on exactly the right track. The feeling of wrongness had lifted.

Of course it wasn’t all plain sailing. I found, and still find, lone parenting my twin boys (now 4 years old) a lot harder than I expected to. But one of the great things to come out of this is that their dad is very involved. He has to travel 250 miles to see them, but he does that every few weeks. He stays at our house for a couple of nights, and I go and stay at my mum’s while he’s there. It works really well. They even stayed with him in London for a few weeks in the summer holidays, and have been abroad with him too. It’s sometimes hard to let go and not worry constantly while they’re away, but I have to trust him. And a big positive is that it gives me a break to recharge after the full on-ness of 24/7 single parenting. And it allows them to spend quality time with their dad and his parents and family.

As for work, I’m still self employed and I’ve spent the last year adapting and experimenting with my business. I’ve gradually moved away from consulting with big businesses and now work more online. For a long while I wanted to help other mums in business, but struggled with exactly what I had to offer them. And then the obvious hit me – a dream I’d had since childhood to ‘be a writer’. So I now use my writing skills as a freelance copywriter for small businesses and entrepreneurs. I have big plans to build my little business into a creative communications agency in the future, but I’ll work on that when the boys start school in September.

For now, being paid to write for other people is a dream come true – a dream I’d actually forgotten about at some point in my early 20s. But one that has now become real in my 30s – thanks to the unexpected course my life took through separation and single parenthood.

Professional BIO –

Soozi Baggs offers copywriting and communications consulting through her business, Zing Word Studio. The essence of the Zing brand is energy and freshness, which are concepts she’s also cultivating in her personal life from now on. One of her favourite things about her work at Zing is talking to clients and learning about them, their business, their ideal client, and their dreams for the future. And the actual writing part is fun too. Soozi is a Pisces who relies far too heavily on astrology predictions and her word for 2015 is HAPPY.

You can find out more about Soozi’s services, read her blog, and sign up for the Zing Gang over at www.zingwordstudio.com. She’s also on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.