Spring has finally arrived and it may be an ideal time to give your relationship a bit of an overhaul and spring clean...
We all get lazy in relationships and if you've been together a long time it's likely you have some bad habits that are creating a disconnection in the way you relate and which will directly impact the love you feel for your partner.
So today I'm going to share the 4R's that kill a relationship, I remember reading about this a long time ago in a book by Dr Barbara De'Angelis.
THE FIRST "R" IS FOR RESISTANCE:
Resistance can start early on in a relationship, due to a lack of confidence in yourself and a deep desire to be accepted. It's when you don't speak up, hide your feelings or you take what someone says's personally and start to withdraw.
Other times it can become a habit when you've been together for a long time, you might have noticed or interpreted your partner as being critical, judgemental, unkind or not interested in what you're saying and so you start to restrict your behaviour or the way you share your thoughts and feelings. The trouble with resistance is it creates distance as you start to move further away from intimacy and this in turn leads to the second R.
THE SECOND "R"IS FOR RESENTMENT
Resentment eats away at your relationship, it's like a cancer that starts to erode the love you feel for your partner and the primary reason is this; Resentment is built up anger and a sense of unfairness. The more resentful a person becomes, the more they start to focus on what's "wrong" with the other person or relationship.
Our perception of the other person becomes distorted, as we disown our own part in the relationship break down or lack of communication and in turn we become overly critical, judgemental, obtuse and difficult. We start to create even more distance as we rationalise our behaviour to ourselves and very often in collusion with our friends or family.
THE THIRD "R" = REJECTION
This naturally is the most damaging stage, as you slowly start to reject your partner. A typical way this shows up in relationships is through sex or complete lack of it. It's difficult to feel attracted to our partner when we have built up resentments.
If your partner has constantly belittled, criticised, dismisses your efforts, doesn't listen to you or your point of view etc then over time this will drive a wedge between you will either be acting out passively by having physical or emotional affairs, rejecting their efforts of sex with you. It's very likely that you're always arguing or disagreeing with each other. You may be fantasing about leaving them or what life would be without them and/or is often the case you are pretty much doing your own thing and living separate lives.
THE 4TH "R": REPRESSION
If you have ever seen Gone With The Wind with Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler, then this line sums it up completely. When you hit repression, you "simply don't give a damn" anymore, you are so emotionally disconnected with your partner, that you're no longer interested in doing anything to revive the relationship.
Depending on your partner, this will either play out in such a way that you're both living completely separate lives and in many instances, especially if you have children you will convince yourself "that the situation is okay for the sake of the children". You will be numb emotionally and sexually (unless of course you're having a relationship outside the marriage) and this will affect other areas of your life.
It's likely that you have stopped arguing and pretty much ignore each other, communicating via email or text or only when really necessary. You might be depressed, over-eating or using alcohol or drugs to numb yourself emotionally.
1. RECOGNISE THAT CHANGE STARTS WITH TAKING RESPONSIBILITY
The only way you're going to change your current situation, is by deciding to take 100% responsibility for your own happiness and how you show up in your relationship. Whichever stage you're at, you have to decide that you want to change it and that you want to take responsibility for your part in the breakdown and disconnection.
It's only when you do this, can you really begin to reclaim your emotional power and begin to use any negative feelings you have in a powerful way to instigate change. Most people don't do anything because they are fearful of the future.
2. IT'S TIME TO GET REAL
I've always said that the biggest destroyer of relationships, is our inability to be honest with our partners... and with ourselves. Emotional intimacy starts with honesty and an ability to share our truth without fear of being judged or punished.
If you want to spring clean your relationship, start by looking at your judgements. Guaranteed, you will be making judgements about your partner and yourself (we all do it). Decide to be COMPASSIONATELY kind to yourself, and write out what you're making wrong about the other person, then ask yourself, "What is this reflecting back to me? what am I here to learn from this? What is this relationship showing me about how I give my power away?"
All these questions are based on the premise that ALL RELATIONSHIPS ARE AN OPPORTUNITY FOR GROWTH... which is a spiritual law.
3. PRACTICE FORGIVENESS
What do you need to forgive in yourself and your partner. Forgiveness includes the act of letting go, seeing the good in other person and releasing resentments. This isn't always easy and I recommend using a forgiveness meditation, (click link to download). It can be something we have to do daily, weekly etc depending on where we are with the 4 R's and also on what our judgements and resentments are about and how long they have been going on.
It's a good idea to get help with a coach or professional if you are unable to do this on your own.
4. ASK YOUR HEART, WHAT IS THE TRUTH ABOUT THIS SITUATION
Connect with your heart, and ask for guidance, ask what truth is being revealed to you about yourself and your relationship. You are far more powerful than you think. Often we unconsciously believe we're powerless, incapable, not enough and we actually ignore the whisper of our intuition or inner wisdom. Decide to stop doing that.
Take a moment to tune in to your truth and discover the real lesson here. You will be guided.
5. COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR PARTNER
If you have done the first 4 steps, and feel that you have reached some understanding or a shift in perspective about your relationship, then set aside some time to talk with your partner. BE BRAVE, if necessary write down what you want to say or talk about, and set the intention to have a loving conversation. Obviously depending on where you are in the 4 R's will depend on how difficult this conversation will be and if you need the assistance of a coach or professional.
Decide that you deserve to have love in your life and that the old way of relating isn't working for you.
OMG!!! Divorce is not only painful but stressful too!
Today I am sharing one of the easiest tips I know for transforming divorce stress. The first thing you have to realise is that YOU ARE WAY MORE POWERFUL THAN YOU THINK, especially right now, if you're going through the mill over your breakup or divorce.
HOLD on to that thought, remember it, write it on post it notes and stick them all over your house. Because divorce will test you...
So the reason I want you to remember YOU ARE WAY MORE POWERFUL THAN YOU THINK... is so that you realise you are in control of your emotions, you are the mistress (opps maybe not the best phrase, ) you're the master of your emotional freedom and wellbeing...
So, when it feels like life or your previous partner has the better of you, CHOOSE TO DO THIS...
HEART FOCUSED BREATHING™
This is a technique which I learnt whilst training as a HeartMath Coach, and it is one of the simplest but most powerful tools I know which can transform anxiety, panic, fear, stress in the moment, WITH YOUR EYES OPEN... which I think is really helpful.
So the first part is to make the decision in the moment to change the way you're feeling.
1. Focus your attention on your heart area... (yes the left hand side of your body where your heart resides). I would even put your hand on your heart, as it will bring your attention and awareness there.
2. Start to breathe a little more slowly and deeply, breathe in for the count of 4 and out for the count of 4.
3. Do this 3 times and then think of a positive emotion that you would like to feel, such as calm, happy, love, appreciation is usually the easiest... focus on that, if it's helpful use an image, or a memory of being in nature.
4. Notice how your heart rhythm has slowed down, and how you feel more centred and grounded.
This exercise has a direct impact on your Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) and will stop the secretion of the stress hormones, cortisol and adrenalin and realise the hormone DHEA, which is the vitality hormone. The more frequently you practice this exercise, the more resilience you will build up in your body and mind. It will have a direct impact on your emotional wellbeing.
If you have any questions that you need answered, then please comment below.
60 seconds on one of the big problems in marriage (or long term relationships).
This is the first in a "What to Do Series" in readiness for my
Get DIVORCE Fit program, which is launching in October.
Divorce or break ups are bad enough without the cruel twist of the betrayal dagger in an already traumatised heart.
To break up is one thing, to be told “I’m leaving you because I’m in love with someone else” or to discover your partner cheated after you’ve separated seems to take the suffering to a whole new level.
I’ve been that woman who was betrayed, I found out about my ex-husband’s affair and confronted him one night whilst the kids were in bed asleep, to be told “It’s not what you think, it’s something else”… my ex husband had the gall to tell me he had been “doing drugs”! As an ex-drug addict that could have been believable, but I knew it was a lie. As we were arguing a text came through on his phone . It read …”Babe, the bed’s too big without you…”
I later discovered my husband had cheated on me with a number of people in our marriage and after we split up, he introduced one of the women into my new circle of friends and she kept showing up in my life. I couldn’t help but feel betrayed all over again. It was horrendous, talk about having salt rubbed into your wound.
As a relationship coach, I knew I had to peel back the layers and look within. It was my belief that if something was showing up in my life then on some level I had created it. I don’t mean I wanted my husband to cheat or betray me, I'm saying, if betrayal was showing up in my life then I knew it was a reflection of a vibrational match within me.
One night I woke at about 3 in the morning, with the realisation that I had been betraying myself all my life and this was happening to wake me up. A movie of my life started to play in my mind of all the times I had been betrayed or I had betrayed others or myself.Every time I said "yes" when I meant "no", every time I dropped what I needed in favour of someone else’s needs, especially his needs, every time I put up with bad behaviour, every time I didn't follow through on my own words
Life will show us where we are vibrationally. We draw to us experiences that reflect our inner world, so we can do the work of healing our wounds and our disconnection to the truth of who we are.
SO WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU DISCOVER YOUR EX HAS CHEATED ON YOU?
So the best piece of advice I can offer anyone who was in a relationship with a cheater, is to reflect the mirror back at yourself, and ask:
"Where do you betray yourself?”
“What do you lie to yourself about?”
“What are you cheating yourself of?"
“Who have you betrayed?”
“What do you need to take ownership of”
Do this with COMPASSIONATE KINDNESS TO YOURSELF. Don't beat yourself up over it, use it as an opportunity to reflect and discover what you need to learn about yourself, so you can clear it within you and not repeat the patterns of the past.
We are not victims of our circumstances, we are powerful creative souls and we’re here to rise up in our personal power of love.
If you have any questions about this post, please comment below and I will happily answer them.
I get asked this a lot when I’m coaching clients, so I thought I’d do a quick blog post on this today…
If you and your partner have decided to call it a day and you’ve agreed to go your separate ways (for whatever reason) then it’s important to focus on yourself and give yourself the best opportunity to heal. So if you’re in the first 4 to 8 weeks of your break up its best to have the least amount of contact as possible.
If you’re feeling vulnerable and emotionally raw (which is natural) then communicating with your ex will likely trigger feelings of uncertainty and in turn you’ll start to feel needy, desperate, jealous and even enraged. It’s confusing you’ve gone from being best friends and lovers to someone saying they don’t want to build a life with you. It’s tough and painful.
Minimising contact is the best way to set yourself up to take care of yourself so you can heal and start the process of rebuilding your life.
Obviously not every situation is the same, if you have children or run a business together, you will need some level of communication, if you don’t then things will be different.
If you have no reason to stay friends (other than you think you should)
Okay our brain will tell us we have lots of reasons to stay friends, it’s the trick it plays to keep ourselves safe as we don’t like uncertainty or discomfort… so we say “we’ve got shared friends or a dog, or we like the same pub etc” – right now, the best thing for you is to break all contact… Especially on social media, SMS or email.
You need healthy boundaries; one’s where you’re not stalking your Ex on social media or in your car (I know, we’ve all done it). If you’re friends on social media it will keep throwing up things your Ex is doing and guaranteed they’re going to be things they didn’t do with you that you might even have begged them to try… it will set you back and will stop you from creating happy healthy love within yourself and with someone else.
Healthy boundaries start by knowing your “NO”s and the most important no when a relationship ends is no communication… You have to focus on you, there’s a reason why you’ve broken up and even if it’s your choice to break up the “don’t want them, but don’t want anyone else to have them” mindset can also kick in.
Suddenly someone seems attractive and interesting again usually because we’re scared we’ll be alone forever and no one will love us again. So we go back to what wasn’t working a few weeks ago. The going back and forth creates even more confusion when you need a clear mind in order to heal your heart.
So drop all contact until you're settled into your new life, and ONLY then, decide from a clear head and heart if it’s good to be friends… of course if you do bump into them be pleasant, but keep boundaries that support you.
If you have children or run a business together.
You have to accept that you will need to communicate, of course you might extricate yourself out of a business, but with children that’s obviously not an option… so here are some simple guidelines to help you get going… . Firstly, the above comments apply, especially the social media and stalking… close all connection on that front.
1. Set a clear intention to behave respectfully and civily with your Ex… I’m not saying this will always be easy, but the intention is a stand you make for yourself so you show up in a way that honours you and your children.
2. Do not bad mouth your Ex or discuss any of the divorce arrangements in front of your children, tempting though it may be. It’s important to allow your children to have a healthy relationship with both parents, even if you are aggrieved. Think about what’s triggering you to want to share information about your Ex with your children and work on this in private with a friend or even better a coach.
3. Make sure your divorce and custody arrangements for your children are clear and concise, so there’s no confusion around expectations and responsibilities. This helps to minimise misunderstandings and mis-communications.
4. If you have any angry ex, who is prone to emotional outbursts then it’s important to know how to respond in advance. It’s very likely that you didn’t learn to deal with this in the relationship and it may even be part of the reason you’re separated now.
The most important thing here, is that you have to take care of your emotional wellbeing, and it is not acceptable for someone to communicate in this way with you. You have a right to ask someone to stop communicating in this way, and this requires you to be in your own authority and to speak up. The first thing I remind my clients is;
"It's not personal" - even when it feels like it is...
Someone’s behaviour tells you more about them then you. It’s usually because they are communicating from their wounded child, and they’ve learned to respond in this way in childhood… It doesn’t make it right, it’s just helpful to know this and to say this in your head when they behave in this way.
One of the best techniques for stabilising yourself and dealing with the emotional stress is the Heart Focused Breathing™ I teach in my HeartMath™ coaching, this is easy to learn and if you would like to know more click here.
5. Don't use your children to send messages or relay information. It’s unfair on the children and they get confused. Children often favour the underdog in any situation (as do most people) and it’s very likely that your children will end up feeling more compassion for your Ex than understanding why you’re behaving like you are.
If you have any questions about this post, please comment below and I will happily answer them.
You might be asking;
“Is it possible to positively flush out my Ex in 5 steps?”
In the spirit of keeping it real, it’s definitely possible, but not always easy. To be honest it takes a genuine desire to honour yourself and the relationship you had, a brave heart and a large dose of generosity. The rewards though, are immeasurable, especially if you have children.
Six months into my separation, I was at my lowest. It was the week between Christmas and New year and I was having panic attacks about the future. I was full of despair and at the same time I didn’t want to start the new year feeling this way. Inherently I knew I had to take charge of my healing. It was a pivotal moment, choosing not to be a victim of my circumstances helped me turn everything around and it can for you too.
The popular myth “time heals” is full of BS, time passes but it doesn’t automatically heal.
I’m sure like me, you’ve had a friend who got divorced and never got over it, even after 5 or 10 years. In my experience, it’s the choices you make and specifically the choice to heal, that will give you the emotional freedom you crave. The moment I decided to take charge of my own healing was the moment that everything changed for me.
As a coach, I know relationships are an inside-out job, and by that, I mean we are co-creating with life through our thoughts and feelings, our external world is a reflection of our inner world.
At some level I knew I had unconsciously co-created these circumstances for some inner healing of a childhood wound. Where had I given my power away in my relationship and what did I need to take responsibility for?
This is such a powerful questions as we’re used to blaming others, especially when we’ve been hurt. However, there’s a huge gift in taking responsibility, as you get to reclaim your power and you discover life doesn’t happen to you, it happens through you. (As my mentor Katherine Woodward Thomas likes to say).
We’re so used to clinging onto things, people, relationships, (stuff) and I desperately wanted to cling on to my marriage for safety. I was madly in love when I found out about his affair and I didn’t want a divorce as I believed our love was way bigger than our problems. Yet you can’t make someone work at a relationship if they don’t want to. I had to choose to accept his decision and let him go.
The thing that so often stops us is the fear of the unknown, the fear of being alone forever (will I ever be loved again), fear of stepping out into the world as a single person. Our pain and suffering can be a trusty companion compared to the uncertainty of the future.
Yet it’s through acceptance and letting go that we get to move forward.
“We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned,
so as to have the life that is waiting for us” – Joseph Campbell
Forgiveness is ONE of the keys to healing, the others are love, compassion and appreciation. Often what blocks forgiveness is the fear that if we forgive we are condoning the other person’s behaviour or invalidating our suffering. This is far from the truth. I like to see forgiveness as a “selfish blessing” because when we practice it, we receive the benefits. If you don’t forgive its very likely you’ll end up bitter, angry or resentful. This impacts your ability to have happy healthy love going forward and is hugely detrimental to your health and wellbeing.
After making the choice to let the marriage go I had to practice forgiveness hourly, and on some days when my buttons were pushed it was every ten minutes !!! (I’m a person, not a saint)!!
This really is the fun bit! You have to create a new vision for your life, just like the Joseph Campbell quote, there is a life waiting for you. One that can be even greater than the one you previously had and that’s because you get to take the gold from your heartache and the richness soften your heart some, making you a wiser, more generous and compassionate person.
I do believe everything in my life has made me the person I am today, and my greatest heartaches have also given me great gifts. I re-discovered my creativity and intuition after my breakup, wrote a children’s book and created the Divorce Detox, an online transformational course for women.
So, in this last step give yourself the gifts your divorce and heartache brings you… trust me, there’s always gifts if you choose to find them.
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