Often we tell stories from our past in a way where we continue to be the victim and feel victimized. When we do this we feel powerless to make changes in our life now and moving forward. One of the most effective ways to stop feeling like a victim of your past and of your life is to rewrite the stories of your past, and specifically your divorce story. This exercise isn't so that you can gaslight yourself into believing that things in your past didn't happen that actually did. Instead it's to help you refocus on your past in a way that serves you and makes you the hero of your story, instead of the victim. You get to use your past any way you like. So I want you to make it good for YOU. I'll teach you how in today's episode. What you'll learn in this episode:
How rewriting your past stories will help you feel more confident now and moving forward into the future life you want.
What the stories of our past actually are.
Why our memories aren't as reliable as we think.
How to choose a useful divorce story headline.
How to write out the story of your past, separate out the facts, and then rewrite the story so you're the hero.
Why this work will be the most powerful thing you can do for you in creating the future that you want.
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What would your life look like if you felt empowered about your past and confident about where you were headed moving forward? If you felt more confident on a daily basis, how would your life look different with this new found confidence? I'm here to help you create that life - the one where you feel confident after divorce and live a life that you always wanted but just weren't sure how to make a reality. Your first step is the easiest one. Schedule your complimentary consult with me and we will come up with your plan to get you started on living the life of your dreams today. Click here to schedule your complimentary discovery session with me.
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Full Episode Transcript:
Welcome back to Becoming You Again. I’m your host Karin Nelson. I’m a certified divorce confidence coach and this is the podcast where I teach you how to reconnect with yourself, create emotional resiliency and live a truly independent life, so you can have an even better life than when you were married.
Hello my beautiful friends. I’m so happy to be here recording this podcast today. I have to say it has been so hot in Utah this past week and a half – I mean we’ve actually had a very hot summer overall. It’s very hot here. It’s very dry. But for it being September now, we usually kind of will see a drop in the temperature maybe to like the mid 80s, you know 50s in the mornings, but oh my god that is not the case this past week and a half. It has literally been like 100+. 100+. Maybe you’re having a heatwave where you live as well, but I am so done with hot weather days. And I’m going to tell, I am almost 45 years old and within the past I would say probably month-ish I am I guess I’m perimenopausal now because I am having hot flashes, like if you have gone through this or if you are going through this you know exactly what I am talking about. When I used to hear people talk about having hot flashes I did not understand the literal change that overcomes your entire body where you are just like drenched in sweat within 10 seconds of this hot flash and your entire body temperature rises. It is the most insane thing I have ever experienced. So we have 100+ degree temperatures and then I have this change, this hormonal insane change going on inside my body and I am like what is even happening? I am so done with the heat. I love fall. I love the change of the colors. It’s so beautiful here in Utah in the fall. I put my fall wreath out on my door because I am trying to channel with the universe like please just bring cooler autumn whether this direction. Please, please, please. So that is what basically is happening in my life. Right. It’s too hot. My body is completely changing in a way that I have never experienced in my entire life and I am so ready for fall to be here. That is where I’m at. How are you all doing? Comment tell me. DM me @karinnelsoncoaching on Instagram and tell me. I love connecting so much with you ladies. If you’re not in my Facebook group 100% come to my face the group but if you want to just talk with me one-on-one back and forth, Instagram is the place to do it. Come DM me and will have a little chat. I would love to hear from you directly.
Alright, so now onto the topic of today which is rewriting your divorce story. I have had the pleasure several times over the last year to be a guest on many different podcasts telling my divorce story and I like to do this for a couple of reasons, but the main reason that I like to share my story of my divorce is to give other women an example of how they can tell their divorce story that is empowering and leaves them feeling confident and in charge of their life. Because very often we tell stories from our past, especially when we’ve gone through really hard, something really difficult, we tell those stories in a way where we continue to be the victim and feel victimized which in no way feels empowering and it makes it really difficult for you to feel confident about your life and the direction that you’re headed in. And I want you to feel confident. I want you to believe that you can create and live any kind of life that you want after your divorce. I truly believe this. You truly can. I 100% believe that that is the truth for you and I want you to believe that as well and it really starts with rewriting your divorce story or rewriting stories from your past.
So let’s talk about that. First of all, what does it even mean to rewrite the story? Because you might be thinking well yeah but everything that I’m telling is the truth. Everything that I’m remembering about my past story actually happened to me, so what, you just want me to lie about my past or pretend that I wasn’t abused or pretend he didn’t cheated on or I wasn’t rejected? And the answer of course is no. Of course I don’t want you to do that. I will never ask you to pretend that something didn’t happen to you when it did. I will never ask you to gaslight yourself into thinking that something didn’t actually happen when it did actually happen. That’s not at all what I am talking about when I am sitting rewriting your story. What I am teaching you to do with this concept of rewriting your past is to tell the story in a way that makes you the hero, that makes you the focus of the story. Because being the hero of the story is always, always, always going to feel so much better than you continuing to be the victim in your story.
So when we think about the past what comes up for you? One of my mentors talks about the past in this way. She says, “You might be under the impression that your past is just a collection of factual memories that make up your history and identity, but really your past is your story about your past. It’s much more about the optional thoughts you have than about the “reality” that happened.” And this whole idea of our memories being completely factual and 100% reliable has totally been debunked through many psychological studies over the years. And it’s so fascinating to me.
So one example of this is there’s a psychological study where the days after 9/11 researchers asked thousands of people how they learned of the terrorist attacks, how they reacted to the news and they asked them some other questions having to do with specifics of the event itself, like how many airplanes and what was hit and different things like that, like actual facts of the experience. So these same researchers then went back and asked the same people a year later and then three years later and then 10 years later. The researcher’s goal was to track the consistency of those memories of this day over time. Their findings are so fascinating. Can I just tell you. Within the time span of the 10 years, and this even happened at like the one year mark which is even more fascinating, but of course over 10 years our memories change. They really do. And most people in this study had significant inconsistencies in their memories and the details of how they learned of the attacks. Some people were telling very different stories of where they were and how they heard about it, only to be told what they had originally said and then they were like, no, no, no, you must be mistaken, I definitely remember being in this place and finding out this way when they had originally told the people days after it happened a different story. It’s very fascinating to me learning about these studies on our memory and how our memory shifts and changes over time.
And I’m pointing this out to you because I want you to understand that your past exists in your mind and it is influenced directly by how you choose to think about it. And how you choose to think about your past and the story you tell yourself about it is going to directly influence your feelings and your actions right now. Right now in the present which is what you’re creating your future life and your future experience with. We don’t create our future from how we felt in the past, because we don’t feel things from the past. We create our future experience and our future life from where we are right now and what we’re feeling right now and how we’re acting right now.
And I want to tell you a secret about your past. You get to use your past any way you like. So I want you to make it good for YOU. And of course you can and should do this with all the stories of your past where every time you think of them you feel an emotional response that doesn’t feel good, but today I’m going to be talking specifically about your divorce story and how rewriting that story will change how you feel and act today which of course as I just said influences what your life is going to look like moving forward.
So if you could sum up your divorce story in one sentence or if you could give your divorce story a headline, what would it be?
Mine would be “My divorce is the best thing that has happened to me.” But when I was first going through my divorce that definitely was not my story. My story was more something like, “My ex cheated and I have no idea where I am going from here.” Those are very different stories, right? One is I have no control over where I am going and the other is this is the most amazing thing that could have possibly happened.
So what would yours be? As I’ve worked with clients and we’ve done this work and I literally do this with almost every single one of my clients. I can think of one person who we didn’t rewrite their story but it was because we were coaching on different things but every other client that I’ve worked with, we have worked on different aspects of their divorce story to rewrite it to where they feel empowered. But this is not how they started out. So here are some of my past client’s headlines of how they would describe their divorce story and yours might sound something like these:
“My divorce ruined mine and my kids’ lives.”
“I’m not worthy of being loved and I can never do anything right.”
“I gave up my life to support him and now I have nothing to show for it.”
“My narcissistic ex screwed me up and screwed me over.”
So what does your headline sound like right now and when you tell yourself these stories more than likely you’re staying the victim in your own life and it’s really hard to be strong, or confident and empowered when you are a victim to someone else or to your own life. What would change for you right now if you stopped blaming your past? How would you be affected now if you could change your story of the past so you were the hero of the story, instead of the victim?
I had a client that I’m going to use as my example today but I had a client who continued to feel like the victim after her divorce was finalized because she was holding onto this story so tightly. This was her story. They were moving to a new place for her husband’s job but she had to move with the kids first while he finished up his old job in the other city. She kept retelling the story of how it was so hard to move by herself with the kids. She had to set up the house and had to be all alone, and she had to get the kids in school and she had to figure out doctors and navigate the city and do all of these things all by herself. She felt very alone. She felt very small and she didn’t feel appreciated at all by her husband. He didn’t recognize how hard it was for her. He didn’t recognize how hard she works to make it a home in this new place and to have everything ready by the time he got there a month later. And all he did when he called or visited for a weekend during that month was that he complained about how hard it was for him and how difficult and how stressed out he was and she just felt so alone. She felt so unseen. She felt very isolated and very weak because she felt like all she was doing was doing all of this work and was going unappreciated and then she was walking on egg shells trying to placate his mood so that he wouldn’t get upset when they were together for moments here and there during this time. She kept retelling this story and she kept feeling miserable about her life and about who she was because she kept telling her story in this way.
So how do we rewrite for divorce story so that instead of feeling miserable and instead of feeling victimized we feel confident and empowered? How do we rewrite the story so that we become the hero? This is how.
You first need to write out your story and then separate out the facts. You’re going to look at your story. You’re going to write it all out and then you’re just going to break it down into the facts, and that means you’re going to look at the story without adding any meaning, no adjectives, no adverbs. Just tell the story in facts. This is what we did with my client with the example that I just used. So the facts were, husband got a new job. She and the kids moved first and were there for a month and then husband came.
That’s the facts. Alright? So can you see how there’s no emotional involvement. There’s no attachment. There’s no meaning yet that we’ve given it. Right? This is one of the most important steps when it comes to rewriting your story because when you can see it as more of a neutral scenario you will immediately begin to change how you feel about it and that is going to open you up to being able to retell in a way that serves you moving forward.
Now you’re going to take those same facts and rewrite your story so that you are the hero. So that you can let go of being the victim. And for my client, she was able to rewrite her story that sounded like this. My husband got a job and I moved with the kids first. I was brave and strong and moved to a new place all by myself with all of my kids for an entire month. I set up the house. I got the kids in school. I learned the city. I learned the neighborhood. I got the doctors without needing to lean on anyone else to do it. I did it strength. I did it with awe. I can now see how freaking amazing I am that I did that. That I was there for me in those moments when I needed that strength.
We kept the facts the same in this retelling. We kept the focus on her. We actually took her husband completely out of that story, did you notice? We didn’t mention him at all other than she moved without him. We kept the focus on her and how strong and brilliant she was in that situation. We made her the hero of the story so that she could let go of being the victim, so that she could let go of that misery that she was continuing to put herself through. And I want you to do this with your stories as well.
And let me add that you can even do this if you have been a victim in your past, a victim of abuse or violence. First if this is part of your story I would suggest that you go to therapy and work through that trauma if you haven’t yet, but if you have done that work on yourself and you have worked through that trauma, you can take this opportunity to identify yourself in these stories in a completely new way so you can grow beyond these parts of your life. Beyond these stories. Beyond this part of your past. You can give back the abuse and the violence to that person who caused it and just remember that they were the problem, not you. They are the one who has the work to do on the thoughts, feelings, and actions and they are the ones that have to be accountable for in their own life, not you. Because none of that abuse was your fault. You are not dirty, you are not wrong and you are not bad for being in proximity to that abuser. That abuse is theirs to carry and it’s theirs to account for. You truly can retell your story in a way that helps to move you forward.
I do this work, as I said, with the majority of my clients because it is such important work and it is an amazing exercise to help you take the focus off of your ex and how he showed up and how you felt so terrible and instead it helps you refocus on you and your amazing strength and your amazing power that you have in your own life. And when you think about you and your life in this way, in the present like right now when you think about your past in this new powerful way, will create feelings of confidence and empowerment that you are going to have as you take actions today that are going to move you forward into this future that you want where you are creating an amazing life of your choice, rather than moving toward a future where you continue to be the victim of life happening to you and instead you are creating a life that is happening for you.
Alright my friends, that is what I have for you today. I hope that this helps. I have done this work in my own life. I do it with my clients and it completely changes everything so please do this work for you. I love you all. Thank you for being here. I will talk to you next week.
If you like what you heard on today’s podcast and you want to know more about working 1:1 with me, you can go to www.karinnelsoncoaching.com and schedule your free consult to find out more. That’s www dot Karin nelson coaching dot com.
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