Identity is something that you are constantly earning. It is a process that you must be active in.
— Joss Whedon
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Posted in Children and Divorce, Divorce, Emotions, Moving on, Uncategorized, tagged Divorce, Legal separation, Marriage, Parent, Relationship counseling, Relationships on December 16, 2013| 1 Comment »
You know, you hear people talking about how important it is to not only have a vision of what you want, but to also see yourself doing whatever it is you want to do. We think (and others say) that it’s because when you imagine yourself having your vision, it becomes real and you really believe that you can have it, or achieve it, or whatever it is that your vision encompasses.
This is important for you as you go through the period of uncertainty and transition that separation and divorce entail.
And if you have children, it is even more important.
Because who do (or should) children look up to more than their parents? If they see lost parents, what do you think their reality is going to be, both now and in the future when they face setbacks?
If, however, they see their parents moving forward beyond their fear to a positive place, just think how good it will be for them.
So even if you’re having problems finding that positive vision for you, find it for your children. Everyone will benefit.
How has having positive visions helped you cope with change?
Posted in Divorce, Emotions, Moving on, Uncategorized, tagged Advice, Divorce, Ex (relationship), Happiness, Health, Home, Home Improvement, Interior design, Legal separation, Marriage, Recently Separated, Relationship, Relationships, Xorin Balbes on May 6, 2013| Leave a Comment »
“…our homes are our greatest possibility of support.”
— Xorin Balbes, Designer
John did it by moving the furniture around.
Elsa did it by giving her ex his stuff.
How have you done it? OR How are you going to do it?
“It” is making the home that you shared with your former partner yours. You may haven’t gotten around to thinking about it, but it is a necessary “moving on” step.
“…When you are completely in love with where you live, you can go out into the world knowing that you get to come back home and be taken care of.”
— Xorin Balbes
This is definitely true when you are going through a divorce. And you won’t feel that way until you’ve gotten rid of old memories and ghosts.
Over the weekend, we read an article titled, “Home, Sweet! Home” by Susan Casey with Xorin Balbes’ suggestions about how to make your home an expression of you. The eight steps mentioned are a perfect way to turn your previously shared space to your place.
Take a look at your home as an outside observer. Don’t do anything yet, just observe. Are there things in your house that just aren’t you? Do you envision furniture being arranged differently? What in your home inspires you? What makes you feel comfortable?
Now decide what you want to keep and what you want to toss. Keep things that you really love. We mean that things that bring about positive emotions, that lift you up. Toss items that arouse bad memories, make you feel uncomfortable, don’t work anymore, or are collecting dust. I once inherited a beautiful chest from a friend of mine who got rid of it because it reminded her of her ex.
During this step, you’ll be literally getting rid of the emotional cobwebs. Make repairs, dust, open the windows. Add a different scent to rooms that evoke bad memories. Balbes calls this “spring cleaning for the soul.”
Now that you’ve gotten rid of the past, it’s time to dream about the future. A new phase of your life has opened up. You can be whoever you want to be. Who is that? Don’t go shopping yet. Just look around for inspiration. You can find it anywhere. Take pictures, tear out pictures, make a vision board.
Get out there and find what you are looking for. If the temptation arises to get stuck in the old rut, resist it. Remember you are creating a refuge — a place that you will be happy to be in. You don’t want to replace the past with new representations of it.
Paint the walls, remodel, plant a garden, make your house a reflection of you. You don’t have to do it all at once. It’s the process that matters.
Add music, flowers, scent. Balbes calls these things the “grace notes.” Even the smallest touches can uplift your spirit.
Let people see who you are by inviting them over to YOUR place. And you know what? You may end up inspiring them as well.
What have you done to make your place yours?
Valentine’s day has come and gone, but what happened on that day may have led you to this blog.
If so, you’re not alone.
According to Avvo.com, a site that offers free ratings of practicing lawyers and MDs in the US, searches for divorce-realated information spikes around Valentine’s day.
But it’s not like “You didn’t get me roses, so I’m going to get a divorce.” Divorce lawyer Kelly Chang says that those filing for divorce around Valentine’s Day tend to fall into one of two categories:
- People who made a New Year’s Resolution to get a divorce and are finally following through; or
- People who already felt that their marriage was on the rocks and waited to see how their spouse acted on Valentine’s Day before making the decision to get a divorce.
According ro another divorce lawyer, Carrie Cheifetz, people may choose this day because by now they have a better feeling for the partner’s financial status for the upcoming year. Sounds cold, but it’s true.
If you find yourself on the receiving end of the divorce decision, realize that you didn’t get to this point overnight. Many people that we know whose spouse announced that they wanted a divorce said that, looking back, they saw it coming. And while the news that their spouse wanted to end their union wasn’t something they wanted to hear, in the end, it turned out to be the best thing for everyone involved.
It may take some time for you to get to this point, but if you are constructive with your time, your wounds will heal.
Daredevil is a superhero who lost his sight only to have his other senses heightened.
When it comes to the relationship with their parents, divorce can have the same outcome for children. They lose having both parents under the same roof, but gain stronger relationships with their father.
Tom Matlack does a great job of explaining his transformation in his article “When a Divorce Makes a Better Dad.”
We’ve witnessed this situation over and over again — fathers who now have their children for extended periods of time either due to custody arrangements or because the child’s mother outright left them (this does happen). In each case the father has stepped up to the role and their responsibilities, resulting in better father-child relationships.
Here’s the article:
Divorce stinks. Don’t get me wrong. The excruciating pain of leaving your child on Mom’s doorstep, of missing holidays and first steps, of having to schedule visitation are nothing to sign up for unless there is no other choice. My divorce involved the kind of pain that makes you think walking in front of a train would be a piece of cake if not for your responsibilities. But buried deep within that pain is a silver lining — a motivation, an aspiration, a hands-on learning — that “normal” dads don’t get.
My son was 6 months old and my daughter was 2 when I moved into a furnished rental with shag rugs, the permanent smell of Chinese food and a commanding view, through cracked Plexiglas, of Route 95 in Providence, R.I. My time with Kerry and Seamus was limited to trips to McDonald’s and a walk across the highway to Federal Hill for pizza a couple of times a week. But even that was progress. I had been an absent dad up until that point, working nonstop. And when I wasn’t working, I was drinking and getting into trouble. I was 31 going on about 14.
Six months into our divorce, the children’s mom moved back to Boston and I followed to be near my kids. I found a cocoon of an apartment, set way up high on the interior of a block away from noise and people, to transform myself. On the seventh floor, I looked through a bay window at the brownstones below and the gold dome of the Statehouse in the distance and tried to figure out what I had done to deserve so much suffering. In the morning I would meditate while the sun shined in my face. At night I would watch the orange sunset reflect off the Hancock tower.
It was in that apartment, on the corner of Massachusetts and Commonwealth Avenues, that I learned how to be a dad. Or I unlearned how not to be a dad. I believe that we all instinctively know how to love our children as fathers. But we just have to forget everything we have been told and allow intuition to take over.
The first time my kids spent the night with me was a pivotal moment in my life. I had bought bunk beds and a matching toy chest for them. But Seamus was still too small to sleep outside his crib, so I set up a Pack ‘n Play in my room. That night I rocked my boy to sleep feeding him a bottle. The smell of him stuck in my nostrils. His soft skin soothed my soul as he made his little gulps. Slowly his body went limp. I looked down and realized that everything I had ever wanted was right there in my arms.
For two years I didn’t have a job. I went from corporate titan to sitting on the floor with Seamus on my lap surrounded by mothers and toddlers singing silly songs. The S.A.H.D. (Stay at Home Dad) had yet to become commonplace, so the mothers on the playground initially looked at me with some skepticism. But when they saw how passionately I chased my kids around the play structures, they grudgingly accepted me as just another diaper-changing parent.
I pushed a big double stroller all over town. On some rainy days we would go to the top of the Prudential tower just to have something to do, even though we couldn’t see a darn thing. The kids would run laps and jump off the bright colored furniture while I kept clear of the windows, where my severe fear of heights would have kicked in. Gradually I learned to be a dad, and a good one at that.
For six years I was on my own with two little children for long stretches of time: wrestling, crying, laughing, cooking, cleaning, traveling to visit family, throwing up (a lot), and cuddling them into bed only to come back later and look in wonder at the angels who had transformed me.
Kerry is now a freshman in college and Seamus a junior in high school. I’ve been remarried for 10 years and have a 7-year-old, Cole, to fill out our brood. Divorce was the worst thing that ever happened to me. But it was also the best thing for me as a father.
Fresno Divorce Attorney, Erin Childs states that the holidays are challenging for those recently or in the midst of a divorce. Following the advice of past clients who have weathered their own first holiday season may help.
Fresno, CA (PRWEB) November 14, 2012
Let’s face it, the holidays are upon us and for those who are recently divorced, or in the midst of one, the holidays can be horribly depressing and stressful. Dealing with a broken home, time away from one’s kids during what is supposed to be a happy occasion and the financial strain is daunting at best. This could be a sad and disappointing time for divorcing parents and their children, or it can be a manageable, even fun, time for all. It all depends on how they approach the challenge.
“I’m divorced with children myself and I have been a family law attorney for almost ten years. I’ve asked my clients, and taken from my own experience to make a short list of ways to make the holidays more manageable.”
Here is what survivors of divorce propose for the holidays:
1. Give children the gift of good memories. Money will be tight. Emotions will be at the surface for the entire family. There may be times when parents want to break down and cry, curse the ex, or break something. These times may come during important moments such as family dinners, Christmas morning, or at an exchange. Parents must remember that the holidays only last about six weeks. They won’t last forever and they will get through them. Divorcing parents must tell themselves that a moment of control or refrain could mean the difference between a good memory and a horrible one for their children.
2. Create new traditions. This is a good distraction from “what was” and a way to replace it with fun, meaningful and even happy new memories. A divorcing parent’s life may have changed due to circumstances out of his or her control. They are urged to take control back and create new traditions that are theirs alone to enjoy with their children. Start the journey to a new future with new traditions.
3. Focus on immediate family. This is definitely not the time when one should worry about pleasing everyone. Parents are advised to hunker down, and focus on their kids and themselves. Avoid worrying so much about being everything to everyone this holiday season. This is a time in their life when they should focus on what they and their children need to be ok. If they try to please everyone, they’ll end up empty when it comes to what they and their little ones need.
4. Strategically schedule therapy sessions with your therapist. Anticipate the difficulty. Don’t underestimate how hard an exchange on Thanksgiving, or Christmas Eve will be. “It will be difficult, I can promise that…” says Erin Childs. “…So make sure to have strategically planned sessions with therapist to get them through those highly emotional moments when things could get out of control.”
5. Focus on the future. There will be a temptation to live in the past during the holidays. Instead of living in the past that now doesn’t exist, focus on the future. Avoid dwelling on what was and that is no more. Luckily, Christmas comes at the end of the year. A natural renewal occurs just days after Christmas and a new year begins. Divorcing parents must focus on the clean slate that is their future and the opportunity to build the life they have always wanted, with the benefit of lessons learned.
The holidays are difficult in the best of circumstances. But, going through a divorce, or being a recent divorcee can be extremely depressing and difficult in a time where one is expected to be festive. Divorcing parents are reminded that they are not alone. In fact, they are in very good company and just about everyone makes it through the challenge of these times. Hopefully, we have provided useful insight into this situation, and one day divorcing parents will be able to lend advice to another person in their shoes as they will have survived it too.