In this episode I'm answering three listener questions and offering my best divorce advice from a coaching perspective.
First, you'll hear from Anonymous who is struggling in her 20+ year marriage. She has been contemplating divorce and has been taking time to reflect over her marriage and feels as though she may finally be seeing things for what they are, instead of possibly ignoring red flags that have been there along way; things like the silent treatment and public shaming. Listen in as I guide this woman on how to better tap into her inner knowing so she can make the best possible decision for herself.
Second, you'll hear Jackie who wants to know if she should try to win back her ex-husband of three years or if she should continue to wade through the dating pool of misery all so she doesn't have to live a life of being alone. Listen in as I help Jackie question what she truly wants and how to think about herself in a more whole, complete way.
And lastly, you'll hear another anonymous woman who is struggling to know what she wants out of life to feel productive now that all her kids are grown and out of the house. Don't miss my advice on getting to know herself and opening up to more fun in her life.
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Grief and trauma are the two biggest struggles women deal with as they go through their divorce. It's highly likely that you are experiencing both and don't even realize what you're feeling. I'm here to tell you that it's okay for you to grieve your marriage (even if it was shitty) and it's normal to be experiencing some kind of trauma (which is essentially a disconnection from yourself - your mind, body and soul). I can help guide you through the grief in all of the forms it show up so you can heal. I can also teach you how to ground yourself in healing so you can ease through the trauma. Schedule your free consult by clicking here.
Featured on this episode:
Interested in the Divorce Betrayal Transformation? Learn more here.
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Want to work first hand with Karin so you can stop worrying about what your life will be like after divorce, and instead begin making it amazing today? Click here to schedule a consult to find out more about working 1:1 with Karin as your coach.
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Full Episode Transcript:
You're listening to episode number 126 of Becoming you Again. I'm your host, Karin Nelson. Welcome to Becoming You Again, the podcast to help you with your mental and emotional well-being during and after divorce. This is where you learn to overcome the grief and trauma of your divorce. We're going to do that by reconnecting with yourself, creating lasting emotional resilience and living a truly independent life so that your life can be even better than when you were married. I'm your host, Karin Nelson. Welcome back to the podcast. My lovely, amazing friends, this is your quick, quick reminder to please rate and review the podcast on whatever podcasting platform you listen to. Take five seconds right now, scroll to the bottom, hit those stars or hit that light and that's it. See how easy that was. Thanks so much. Hello, my friends, I am so glad that you're here Today. We are doing another Q&A podcast episode. It's been a little while since I've answered some listener questions, and so I have three really great questions that hopefully will be helpful and useful to y'all as you listen. But first, how is everything going in your life? I do have to say my life seems much quieter the last few days. My daughter is home from Germany and she has moved out of the house back into her apartment at college and is in her senior year of college now and I just dropped my son off to his freshman year of college at the dorms, and so that's where I'm at. I really feel like I had a great summer being able to connect with my son in ways that we hadn't really been able to do until now, and it was kind of fun. And I was kind of sad to be dropping him off, not only with this idea of not being able to have this buddy or companion who we hang out together quite often when he's not at his dad's, but also with the idea that, like my baby, my child, my youngest, is growing up and is going away to college. And yeah, it's kind of a scary thought, it's kind of a sad thought, it's kind of an exciting thought and I have a lot of emotions going on about this. If you can't tell I can't quite choose the right wording that fits, because I think all of those fit, and probably more that I'm not even vocalizing, but it has been much quieter around here and it's something that I am going to have to figure out how to get used to, even though I'm already used to not having my kids half the time Now not having them, you know, more than even half the time is challenging. So for all of you mom is out there who are also going through this or who are just trying to figure out in the first place, getting used to the less time with your kids, I haven't forgotten what that feels like, and being in this situation definitely is putting me back in those shoes and in those feelings and let's just say it's okay to cry, it's okay to feel. I'm giving you permission if nobody else has to feel whatever you're feeling. Okay, all right. So let's jump into today's Q&A episode. The first question is from Anonymous. She says "I've been married for over 20 years. It's been rocky, but especially so over the last two or so years. We've been discussing divorce recently and because of this I've been reflecting on my past time with my husband and it feels like for the first time I have my eyes opened to some things that may be questionable. For so much of my marriage my husband has done things that are unkind, never outright physically abusing me, but often he gives me the silent treatment For the first few years of marriage when he would do this, sometimes days on end of no speaking to me and me not even really knowing what I did wrong. It would drive me into bouts of anxiety and perfectionism, to where I felt like I had to try and fix everything the way I showed up, the way I talked, the way I did things around him. I have gotten better at holding the anxiety at bay over the last few years of our marriage when he gives me the silent treatment, but I still question where I've gone wrong and what I should be doing to make it right. And then the last couple of weeks my mind has been going back to one instance in particular at the beginning of our marriage. We were eating at a family dinner with his family, and during the dinner we were all eating and I can't remember specifically what was said, but at one point he started making animal noises at me, directed toward my eating, things like winking and mooing and generally just being unkind and publicly shaming me. I was so embarrassed and so ashamed and I started to cry, and so I excused myself from the table. We left not too long after that to go home and I remember him being so upset with me in the car, telling me that I had embarrassed him by starting to cry around his family over something that was clearly a joke. That's not the only time something like this has happened. There's been things like this throughout our marriage, and I've been reflecting more and more on these things, and now I'm questioning if he's been showing red flags all along and I just missed them. I'm so confused about what to do. Please help." First off, anonymous, I want to say thank you for writing in and being really brave to share this and being very vulnerable. Doing that can be a very scary thing to do, and I just really appreciate that, and I also want to say I can relate to so much of what you are describing, of things that went on in your marriage things that are going on in your marriage. My ex acted in many of the same ways, and so I totally understand the emotional heartache that you are feeling right now. I do want to say that I hope you know I can never answer the question of whether or not you should get divorced. That is not a question I can ever answer for you. That's not a question that your mom or your sister, your family, your friends, that anyone except you can answer, because you are the only person who will know what is truly best for you. So I'm going to try and offer you some guidance, some things to think about, some ways to get into your knowing so that when you go to make decisions about what you want to do for yourself now, what you want to do for yourself in the future, you will have easier access to being able to answer those questions for yourself without insecurity in not knowing if it's the right answer for you. With that said, I think what's really great is you are already showing some ability to tap into your own knowing, and you're showing that in the fact that you have been reflecting on your marriage with your eyes wide open, with awareness around what has been happening to you and maybe this is happening for the first time. Maybe you've noticed things and you've kind of brushed them off. You've kind of maybe you've told yourself he didn't mean it, I need to try harder. He's doing this for my own good, things like that. I don't know if that's a way that you're reacting, I know for me, that is definitely something that I did when I was married, when I wasn't going into things with my eyes wide open, but it sounds to me like you're starting to have your eyes wide open, and that shows me that you are tapping into your intuition, and that is huge. So keep that intuition as you move forward to answer your own questions about where you go from here. Okay, I'm going to offer you, offer you some possible insight into the actions of your husband. However, as with everything that I say, take what you will, and if there's anything that I say that doesn't resonate, you can just leave that behind. You know you best. So the silent treatment can often be used as a way to punish someone or to control someone else's actions, and from the way you described it, it sounds as though this may be how your husband has been using it over your marriage. However, again, you need to answer that for yourself, but it especially makes me think that in the fact that you've been asking yourself how to make things right, and so that can be a way of trying to control your actions. So it's important to understand that you're never really going to be able to change your husband's actions or to change him from offering the silent treatment, especially if this is a habit that he's been employing for over 20 years, and I don't say that so that you feel like you have less options. I say that so that you can understand that, because you can't control his actions. Now we get to look at things from your point of view and you get to start asking yourself who do I want to be in this situation? How do I want to react to the way he behaves? What is self care? What is safety for me in these moments? Now, as to your other example that you gave about the public shaming, about the public embarrassment and blaming you for having natural, normal emotions and being a person of who is invalidating those emotions, I don't know how often he has been doing this type of thing where he is kind of deflecting his own responsibility and validating your emotional state, but this type of behavior in some instances can be seen as emotional abuse, as can the silent treatment. So, when you talk about being confused about what to do, again I would say the best thing that you can do for yourself to lessen that confusion and to be able to know what is going to be best for you is to tap into your inner knowing, and this can look like a lot of different things, but I would start with, first of all, validating yourself, validating that it makes sense that you're confused If you have been told over and over again that your emotions are wrong or bad. So validate that it makes sense. Validate that you get to feel whatever you're feeling and that that's okay. There's nothing wrong with that. There's not anything wrong with you for feeling what you're feeling in any given moment. Your feelings are real, they are true and they're yours. The next thing I would recommend is, if feelings come up for you, if emotions come up for you, open yourself up to them, whatever they are, allow them to be present within you, and then I would also recommend grounding yourself in the present moment. I actually like to use my five senses. I think it's a really easy way to ground yourself in exactly what is happening right now in your life. The present is where you heal. The present is where you have knowledge. The present is where you can tap into what it is that you truly want, because once you feel more regulated and calm in your body, that's when the decision-making part of your brain comes back online. When you're very emotional and very confused and very upset or whatever you're feeling, our brain kind of goes offline for a little while and it's much harder to make decisions that are for our best interest. So ground yourself, get your brain back online, and that's when you can start asking yourself some questions about what is going to be best for you. All right, anonymous, I hope that helps. The next question is from Jackie. Jackie says "my ex and I had energies that didn't match. He was pretty lazy and didn't wanna work that hard at anything, and I basically felt like a single mom doing everything under the sun. I asked for the divorce and it was a pretty easy process, since he agreed to everything that I asked for and we mostly split kids and finances 50-50. It's now been three years since our divorce and, after going out on many, many dates with complete losers, I feel like I made the wrong decision. I think that I should have tried harder and ignored his laziness more. I don't wanna be alone for the rest of my life. Should I try and make it work again with him he isn't dating anyone and he hasn't since the divorce or should I keep up with this dating game? Jackie, thanks so much for writing in. The first thing I would ask you is what do you wanna do? Have you asked yourself that and really let yourself answer what it is that you want? Do you wanna go back and be married to your ex again or date your ex again? Do you want to continue dating and try and make it as fun as possible? Do you want to just give up on all of it for a while and just kinda do you or something else? We, as women, we don't often ask ourselves what we want and we definitely don't pay attention to the answer because we have been taught that our wants don't matter and they are not as important as other people in our lives wants, and so eventually we just stop asking, we just stop listening, we just discount all of those little whispers that we hear. Ask yourself those questions and really open yourself up to the true, real answers. Only you will know. But one thing that I would recommend paying attention to is the statement that you said that you don't wanna be alone for the rest of your life. Why does that feel so terrible to you? Why not? What would be so wrong with being alone for the rest of your life? Why is that so scary? Because I've had women who I've coached, who feel the exact same way that you're feeling when they answer this question, and the common theme that comes up when I ask them, that is they don't feel like they are complete or whole as a single person. They feel like they need a partner to prove to themselves that they are worthy of being here and that they are worthy to be happy or they are able to create happiness. And you didn't say so. I don't know if this is what's going on for you, but if it is, I just want you to know that is a complete lie. That is a lie that society has been feeding you your whole entire life, and not just you. Every woman in the Western world, every woman, has been told that they are not worthy, they are not whole, they are not complete, they are not good enough unless they have a partner by their side, and they will never be happy unless they have a partner by their side. But I want you to know you are worthy and you are whole and you are complete just by being here, just by inhabiting a human body. Having a partner does not define your worth and it does not define your ability to be happy in any way. And I'm telling you this not because I think that you just need to go live your life without a partner that is not at all what I'm saying, but the reason why I'm telling you this is to hopefully take some of the pressure that you're putting on yourself off when you tell yourself that you don't want to be alone for the rest of your life, because now, when you think about your life and moving forward, it's possible for you to know that if that were to become the outcome of your life, it may not be the most terrible thing, because now you know that it's possible for you to be happy and it's possible for you to see yourself as worthy and whole, even without needing a partner. Often what happens when we relieve the pressure that we've been carrying around to try and create some kind of outcome, some kind of result in our life magical, amazing things happen. It's kind of like. I don't know if you've ever heard stories about this, but I've heard many, many stories of couples who are trying to get pregnant and they've tried and tried for years and they've done all the things IVF, all of it and none of it works. And so at some point they just stop. They just decide we're not trying this anymore, we're going to just live our lives and this is not a problem any longer. And magically, within months, many couples that have gone through this, have become pregnant. So it's something to think about. If we're leaving this pressure and letting go of this expectation of needing to find a partner to live a happy, fulfilled, expansive life, what magical things could happen instead. Happiness and being whole and worthy are things that are definitely independent of partnership. Knowing that and answering the question of what it is that you truly want those things should give you some good direction on where you should go next. All right, jackie, thanks so much for your question. All right, and our last question is by another anonymous. She says "I'm newly divorced, about six months now, and my last child has just left for college. I feel you, all of my other kids are grown and living out of the house. I don't know what to do with myself. I have my degree from years ago, but haven't worked or needed to work for many years. I still don't need to, but feel like I should do something more productive with my time now that all my kids are out of the house. Any advice? Oh, yes, okay, first of all, you all know, because at the beginning of this podcast episode I just told you I'm going through a lot of the same stuff. So sending big hugs and love to you with your kids all living out of the home. But for a minute I just want to look at this from a different, new perspective, most likely for the last. However many years, however many kids you have and however old they are right, 18, at least, but you said you had older kids than that so however many years you've kind of had on your mom glasses and those are important glasses but right now is your opportunity to take off those glasses and you are going to now put on curiosity glasses or exploratory glasses, if that's a better fitting word for you. But this is because you now have the opportunity to do you to do whatever it is that sounds exciting, fun, crazy, exploratory, adventurous, silly or whatever other adjective you want to throw in there to you. Now, from what you wrote, it doesn't sound to me like you particularly want to get a job. It kind of sounds like you feel like you should, to feel like you've been productive, and that is not true. You don't need to produce anything in your life to be worthy of living. If you want to get a job, then I say go for it. But if that is not a desire of your heart, it's not something. It doesn't sound like it's something that you need to do to live, then I would say what is it that you want to do? Again, this goes back to this idea of wanting and allowing yourself to answer that question fully and stepping into giving yourself permission to do what it is that you want. So here are some great ways to kind of guide you as you are deciding what your next move is going to be. What are your values? You can use your values to kind of guide you into doing something that sounds fun or something that fits the kind of person that you are or the kind of person that you want to be. Knowing your values is a really great way of making decisions for where you are now and the direction that you want to be moving in the future. You could also tap into asking yourself what you've always wanted to do but have been too afraid to do, or what you've secretly always wanted to try, or where you've secretly always wanted to travel to. There are so many options here. I watch this comedy show every week and very often people will get called up to do an open mic that are older and they get asked the question after they do their open mic why are you up here? And very often, the answer is this is something that I always wanted to try, and so I'm doing it now. I think that is such an amazing, courageous, beautiful thing to step into giving yourself permission to do something that you've always wanted to try, even if it doesn't become something that you continue to follow, even if it's something that you only do one time and you decide, yeah, I'm glad that I tried, that I never want to do that again. Give yourself permission to be curious about yourself and about things that are exciting and ticing, tantalizing, scary fun to you. And you could even get a little deeper with this and kind of look at your life and look at the people around you and question if there's anyone around you who you are kind of jealous of, because jealousy is usually always going to give us a clue of a deeper want. And so, if there's someone that you're jealous of or something that they have that you're jealous of, something else is going on and that can give you some guidance about what it is that you want to be doing or creating in your life. So my best advice for you is to make this as fun and as relaxed and as without pressure as possible, because the easier you make it on yourself, the more fun and enticing it will be. All right, anonymous. Thank you so much for writing in. Those are the questions that I have for you today, and if you have a question that you want answered, you can send them to Karin at KarinNelsonCoachingcom and maybe your question will be featured on an upcoming Q&A episode. Thanks so much for listening. I will be back next week. Hi, friend, I'm so glad you're here and thanks for listening. I wanted to let you know that if you're wanting more, a way to make deeper, more lasting change, then working one-on-one with me as your coach may be exactly what you need. Together, we'll take everything you're learning in the podcast and implement it in your life, with weekly coaching, real life practice and practical guidance. To learn more about how to work with me one-on-one, go to KarinNelsonCoaching dot com. That's www karinnelsoncoaching dot com. Thanks for listening. If this podcast agreed with you in any way, please take a minute to follow and give me a rating wherever you listen to podcasts and for more details about how I can help you live an even better life than when you were married. Make sure and check out the full show notes by clicking the link in the description.