Tag Archives: loss

Divorce For Grown-Ups

Divorce for Grown-Ups: 5 Tips on Achieving Your Best New Normal

None of us is immune to divorce and I’m here to prove it.  Though I was trained and practiced as a marriage and family therapist, I have had my fair share of moments where it didn’t matter.  It didn’t save me from the ick.  And I’m grateful, because those experiences have taught me the most.

My ex-husband and I met in a doctoral program in Social Work. We waited to marry (we were 30).  We planned long enough to have a child that I was labeled a geriatric mother (I was 35).   And yet today, I am still the divorced mother of a twelve year old child.  What-are-ya-gonna-do?

Alas, there are no guarantees in life. And although divorce is difficult and challenges will always remain, I personally discovered you can make your journey to the new normal easier on you and your kids, with no Ph.D. required:

 

  • Respect Survival Mode. A friend introduced the idea of “Survival Mode” to me during my separation when I was (yet, again) revisiting the facts, feelings and current state of our marital dissolution…I was deep in my feelings and in my head. She stopped me and said, “You know, you don’t have to do this to yourself.  You’re in Survival Mode.  Let’s save the therapeutic analysis for when you are not trying to just put one foot in front of the other and be a good mom.”  Wait? What? I don’t have to do this to myself?

When someone is trying to survive in the desert, they don’t spend a lot of energy and brainpower on how they ended up there and how unfair it is.  Instead, they focus on getting out – on surviving.  It was a very freeing for an over-analytical person like me to give myself the gift of giving myself a freaking break—and just get through now, this moment, today. There will be time for the post-mortem—later.  And I did it, when I had the bandwidth to do it.

 

  • Take off your spouse hat. Stop viewing the world (including your ex’s actions) through the perspective of being that person’s spouse. You’re not anymore, so stop. When your ex does anything – the more view that action as their spouse, the more likely it will do a number on you.

The only hat you are allowed to wear is your parent hat. Period.  You will be amazed by how much you can take off your plate once you make this one adjustment to your perspective.  It is not your job to make your ex a better person, or at least not a jerk, in your eyes.  You’re done.  Not your problem.  Off the hook.  You only ask: How does this directly impact my kid and their relationship? And don’t try to warp the issue into being about your kid, when it’s really just about the spouse hat you’re still sporting. Hat off.  And see how much better you breathe.

And bonus: the moment you stop acting like something bothers you is the moment it may stop happening, so stop taking the bait. A little secret I discovered…

 

  • Don’t wait for the karma train. You feel wronged.  Treated badly. Undeservedly so. Yep. That sucks.  Not fair.  Stop screaming at the sky and demanding the karma train to hurry up and get’em.  Because each day that you focus on thinking your ex is “getting away with it” or has “won” is another day you have wasted not getting your best life.  Focus on you, your life. Things have a way of working out, but you are not in charge of the timeline.  So deal.  Go back to figuring out your new normal and living well.

 

  • Social media lives forever. Don’t Vaguebook about your ex. Don’t outright hash it out publicly on social media.  Your kids and lawyer will thank you.  Stop.  It’s a bad look and your friends are cringing for you.

 

  • You are a teaching tool. Remember, your kids are watching and learning important life lessons from you at this moment about how to be resilient, face disappointment (and reality), and conquer challenge—all needed life skills. It’s ok to show vulnerability though—they should also know perfection isn’t a realistic goal. Just be human with superhuman tendencies.

~Dr.L~

 

Dr. L is divorced mom with a global consultancy based out of North Carolina. 

The Fixer Of Broken Boys Part 12: I’m Not The Marrying Kind

I am not the marrying kind…

After the debacle of the one that should have never happened, I didn’t date for almost two years. On purpose. If I did date I broke up with the guy very quickly, walls were very high.

Out of respect for my daughter I’m going to go about this a bit differently…

I was introduced to my ex husband by a friend. He was the complete opposite of anyone I had ever dated and I thought that was a good idea.

Since I referred to him as ex I think you already know.

Here’s the thing you have a type for a reason. I believe that. I relish differences and believe strongly successful relationships are about caring and compromise.

But you have a type because it works. He was not my type. Not even close.

If you love someone you go to True Value even if you’d rather be at Target.

My ex believed the only person who should compromise was me.

A year after my daughter was born I just couldn’t anymore.

My leaving was not well received. I was accused of things that weren’t happening. My family was not nearby. It was incredibly hard and went against everything I believed in. It rained the day I moved. My Mom, me and G…

I was a wreck. I was lost. I will be honest it is nine years later and I am still at a loss when my daughter is not home.

It is is beyond true what they say when you hit bottom you find out who your people are. Fast.

Sadly they aren’t the ones you’d hope they would be.

Do me a solid please don’t ever tell anyone to get over it. When your world is falling apart and you are making $8.50/hr paying rent, child care, with a husband who won’t divorce you so you can’t get help and you’re trying to figure out how you can pay a lawyer … please don’t tell that person to get over it.

That’s helpful. Not at all.

Thanks

How about sit with me

How about let me cry

 

~~Caprise

Single Mom of the amazing Dbl G
Teacher
Sometime DJ
T-shirt collector
Henry Rollins Middle Aged Punk Prom Date

Making Friends…You Had Me at Mah.

Making friends is hard. Keeping friends can be even harder. I didn’t put much though into it, or my own struggles, until the last few weeks. My daughter starts middle school next year. While she has had some tried and true friends, I don’t always hear her refer to them as best friends. She has had one bestie since her kindergarten days, and her parents are fantastic. Shout out to you guys – you know who you are and I’m so thankful for you. So thankful. Last month at Gabrielle’s orchestra concert I witnessed a monumental event in my daughter’s life.

Out of a crowd of jubilant juveniles, a young lady (who looked to be taller than my half-pint 5’2” build), walked straight up to my daughter. They stood facetoface in the gymnasium. Without any hesitation, this fellow odd duckling simply said, “mah”. Gabrielle replied with the same “mah”. The warmth from their hug melted away my angst over G having her own tribe. Not only does G have her own tribe, but the tween-Queens like each other too.

There is something truly empowering about having your own tribe. The enabling freedom you get from having a random person get your situation, because they have lived through similar experiences.

Many moons ago I had a solid tribe. Memories of our elicit adventures still bring giggles and a smirk of days long past. We were not a quiet tribe. We were wild. Not wild in the way that you can’t share with some people. But, CERTAIN people don’t need to know all the details.

That, and I signed a form. Kinda. A marriage license. My ex-husband didn’t like anything about my tribe. He let me know it. His friends let me know it. His family let me know it. One the most asshole things you can do is ditch your friends for a man. No matter how nice he seems. But I ditched my tribe.

But after a drug dealing boyfriend with warrants out for his arrest, I thought I would be happier with a nerdy husband than with my tribe. Nope.

After my divorce, I found that my tribe had changed in my absence. This is a 100% on me.

You can only keep asking to spend time with someone so many times, and after a while; my friends gave up. I was ashamed. I had conflicted feelings about who I had become. I don’t regret much, but I regret leaving my tribe.

After my divorce, someone would always spend the weekend at my apartment with me. I was never alone. These are people who saw me at my most awkward, most crazy, and at the most broken point in my life. They are MY tribe. Rather than walk away, they held my hand. Tight. They still do.

Through every broken heart, bad haircut, and job change: I can call them at any time and they show up. They encourage my hobbies (even though they may change on a dime). They clapped when I went blonde. They were lovingly bossy when I kept canceling on first dates (that means they made me go). They texted me when people I love were no longer in my life. They bought me a stiff drink when my job got eliminated, and they admire each new tattoo I get.

We can go months without talking. Thanks to social media, we are never out of touch for too long. It does my heart good to know I have these people who tell me about sales on leggings, encourage me to go see music, eat the tacos, and buy more shoes.

I’m still working on building a bridge back to my tribe. It will take work, and I’m hopeful that we can re-connect as a new tribe. Some of my tribe members I’ve know my whole life: I love you Chicken!

There are new members who knew me from college and even junior high that have come back into my life. Some I’ve only known a few years: Hey Birthday bestie!

It makes me smile to know that Gabrielle has her own tribe. Maybe someday her tribe will call a bar late at night and order wings, send her music, or share lip gloss. Who knows if that will happen. But what I do know is that they will love her for just being herand that isn’t anything to say “mah” about.

~Caprise~

Be Complete In Every Moment…

A dear friend of mine had an unexpected loss recently…a family member had died unexpectedly in the middle of the night from a heart attack…She called to tell me and I just kept saying over and over “Oh my God” and then I started to cry.  My friend said she loved me for that…she has a hard time with emotions and it is difficult for her to ask for help or support…my greatest gift to her has always been to express whatever is there…I have always supported her to be complete in every moment.

I talked with her for a long time and I told her that people would say a lot of different things to her over the next days and weeks…most of it kind but meaningless as the majority of folks can’t handle death and they will do whatever they can to avoid it…those are the people that say things like, “she is in a better place now”.  Those of us that have experienced death and not run away from it will tell her the truth…it is horrible, there is nothing more awful, you will have some very dark days and then the shock will fade some and the tears will come less frequently and you will get up and move through your days…you will laugh again and you will be less sad, however there will not be one day that you don’t miss the person you have lost and there will be some days where it seems again unbearable.

In the midst of it all if you are a fully functioning person there will be laughter mixed with your tears, there will be some anger at the loss, some “this isn’t fair” conversations in your head, some doubt of God’s plan…however those of us that have faith in something bigger than ourselves trust that life has a natural order to it and that things happen as they should even if we don’t agree.

Mostly people suffer greatly from a death when they are incomplete with the person that died…when they are still holding a grudge or the last words they had were in anger or they didn’t say that “I love you”…or they didn’t call enough or visit enough…or take time enough to tell people what a gift they are.  Those are the undelivered communications that bring you to your knees when someone leaves in an untimely and unexpected fashion.  Undelivered communications are what guilt and remorse are made of, I don’t recommend them.  I was taught at an early age to be complete in every moment…for some people close to me that means an “I love you” almost every time we speak…I think they tire of that, but I don’t care much because I know that if anything out of the ordinary happens I have delivered my message.

Walking my friend through her initial shock jerked me back to when my grandfather died…that is another reason people don’t deal well with the news of death because it causes them to momentarily relive whatever loss they have experienced and for some folks that is an unbearable thought.  People do strange things with death…which is funny because we are all going to leave this planet one day, one way or another…so it seems like there should be less fear and more acceptance.

People might leave this place, however the people that we love are never, ever gone…they are as alive as we make them.  My grandfather’s pictures are on my bedroom wall, in my hallway and on my desk…I think of him every day and often I can hear his voice in my head still advising me…and I am confident that he has sent certain people into my life to keep his watch…there are pieces of advice that he gave me that continue to shape my life…so for me he is still very much present.

Granted there are several people that I feel like I couldn’t live without, yet I don’t live in fear of them dying…life has a way of taking care of us if we let it…however we have to let it, which means a certain amount of trust in the process must be present…for many of us this isn’t the case.

You Always Have A Choice

Fear comes from thinking thoughts that scare you…you always have a choice…you can choose to think about things that keep you moving forward or you can choose to think about things that stop you.

I highly encourage you to choose to deliver your undelivered communications—unfinished business is bad mojo especially when people die unexpectedly…