Emotional Entrapment – Somebody I used to KnowPosted by Stronger By The Second on Monday, January 18, 2021
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I am often asked, “How do I survive my marriage ending when I can not even focus on simple everyday tasks? How do I get through this relationship transition when the pain is so unbearable? What am I to do? How will I ever feel normal and safe and happy again?” These are all great questions! I found myself asking these very same questions when I was going through the end of my marriage.
The answer? You are right where you need to be! All of the raw emotions, the sleepless nights, and the foggy brain are all very normal feelings for a relationship ending. This is the beginning of the grief cycle. It is how your mind, body, emotions deal with a significant loss. These very same emotions are what we feel when we lose a beloved family member or pet. When a cherished relationship comes to an end, grieving begins. Some have even argued that it is worse than losing a loved one to death. I would not go so far as to compare it to a parent losing a child or a child losing a parent. I would think that would be far worse. However, the raw pain and heart-shredding emotions are genuine. Just remind yourself that the feelings you are dealing with at hand are very normal and necessary for you to return to a healthy-centered emotional state.
Have you ever heard of the Grief Cycle, also known as the 5 Stages Of Grief? Yeah, me neither, until I went through my divorce. However, I am glad that I learned about them when I did. Are you ready to learn about them?
They are as follows:
Stage 1 – Denial
Stage 2 – Anger
Stage 3 – Bargaining
Stage 4 – Depression
Stage 5 – Acceptance
D.A.B.D.A for short. DABDA is how our bodies process grief. It allows our mind, emotions, feelings, and physiology to go through its’ own healing journey. Over the next few posts and videos, I will go into each of these stages. I’ll be giving you the grand tour of what to expect as you journey through these five stages while you are on your way to healing from your loss.
For now, let me give you a brief overview of each of these grief cycle stages.
Stage One, Denial, is where a lot of people end up staying. They become numb and afraid to process the hurt, the anger, the sadness, the loss. Denial can become a synthetic reality. It is easy to deny what is happening in their lives. They would rather ignore or run away from reality, turning off all emotions. Therapists have shown that the human mind can not turn off just one emotion or feeling. It is all or nothing when it comes to shutting down your emotions. This may save you temporarily from hurt, sadness, and loss, but it also blocks joy, happiness, peace.
Stage Two, Anger, can be terrifying and disheartening if you are a very cherie and mellow person. This stage is very normal and is a part of the fight or flight limbic system at work. Your very way of life has become disrupted in a traumatic way. You now want to fight for the old way of life, if possible. Some want to run away from it. Most want to fight for it. You may find yourself saying it is not fair! This is my life too! This new anger tends to alarm those around us, which leads us into the next stage.
Stage Three, Bargaining, is when our rational side begins to see our Anger stage is alarming those around us. It may be pushing those very people we want to reconcile with into their own fight or flight. We begin to plead, beg, bargain with those that have created the trauma and are beginning their flight away from our anger. Be gentle with yourself during this time. This can seem like a very desperate and hopeless stage in your grief cycle. You may find yourself cycling back and forth between the Anger Stage and the Bargaining Stage quite frequently. Take heart. This is you fighting for your familiar way of life. Not the new normal of relational transition into a breakup, separation, or divorce.
Stage Four, Depression, sounds like a place that nobody wants to go through. Honestly, it is how our bodies, minds, emotions, and soul begins to heal. The emotional hurricane of the out of body numbness of denial, the searing pain-filled anger, and intense anxiety of bargaining, drains us to an empty shell of a person. Depression is our body telling us, okay dude! You’ve overloaded all of the circuits; it’s time to shut down for a while. It is why those going through Stage Four feel like they are walking through wet cement while dragging the weight of the world on their shoulders. It is okay. Be kind to yourself as you journey through Stage Four. Acknowledge that it is needed downtime. You will make it through it to the healing stage.
Stage Five, Acceptance, is where true healing begins. You have Denied, Fought, Bargained, and Depleted your entire being in the previous four stages. Acceptance is where you can begin to move from the emotional storms of the past into the peace of what’s ahead of you. This can be the toughest stage to get to if you fight the first four. Acceptance is the gateway to “I’m ready to move forward now!”.
One of the best things to know about the Five Stages of Grief is that this journey is not sequential You will find yourself cycling from Stage One to Stage Two to Stage Three only to be triggered by an ex-spouse or ex-family member to send you back to Stage Two. Recycling through previous stages is normal and to be expected. When you go back through a stage, the time spent there is allowing you to refine your healing. When you hear about those people that “really put in the work” or “they have really worked on themselves,” these people have cycled back through these stages many time. I know for a fact, I when through all of these stages for my marriage, my family, my children, my ex-friends, etc…
All of these stages are not to be feared or avoided. They serve a great purpose in our healing journeys![sc name=”pinsave” ]
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Hi friends! Welcome to my Brand New YouTube Channel – Stronger By The Second! We are your online support community for one of life’s more traumatic seasons.
That would include:
1. A relational separation
2. A relational breakup
3. A relational divorce.
My name is Adam! I am a relationship transition coach specializing in divorce survival. I was married for almost 20 years. However, over the last five years, I’ve gone from married, to separated, to
divorced, to what am I going to do next?!
If you find yourself watching this video and inside your head you’re nodding and thinking, “That’s me!” “I’ve just gone from having a relationship. To coming out of a relationship. To feeling that isolation and that loneliness. I really could use somebody to talk to and somebody to actually help me through this transition.”
If this sounds like something that you would like to be a part of
we’re building our online community. It is not quite ready yet. I do have early sign ups! I’ll be posting a link down in the below. Go ahead and sign up so you’ll get notifications of when it is ready.
NOTE! It will be a Facebook group! You will need a Facebook account. It will be a private hidden group. You won’t be able to search for it on Facebook. I will not be posting links to it.
I also have this blog if you’d like to read about my divorce journey and survival. I’m going to leave a link down below as well in the description of this video. The blog is called strongerbythesecond.com. It talks exclusively about my divorce journey so you can read about what exactly I’ve been through and see if it relates to what you’re going through.
I hope this has been helpful if. If you’re excited about this opportunity subscribe to this channel so we can all grow stronger by the second.
Early Sign Up for my Facebook Group.
My Divorce Survival Journey.
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Being married one day and then divorced the next should not be taken lightly. You have probably heard the rule of thumb to wait 1 year for every 5 -10 years of marriage. These rules and guidelines are not an exact science. Here are 12 tips to help you gauge if you are ready to begin dating.
1. Needs vs Wants. If you feel you need to date, you are not in a good space to make good dating decisions. If you want to date, that is a good place to be, however, continue reading our list to confirm you are truly ready. Rushing into a new relationship comes with risks.
2. Time. First of all, you should wait until your divorce is finalized. Even if your previous partner did not or will not wait, there are benefits to holding off. Some states have it in the family law code that you must wait or face penalties. Some of the penalties can include jail time if found cohabitating with a new partner while still married. Yikes! Take your time. Allow for the legal system to legally end your marriage and then take time to disengage from your previous partner.
3. Disengage. If you can feel happy for your previous partner and can acknowledge that you no longer have any hurt feelings towards them, you are in a great centered state of being. You do not want to bring unprocessed feelings for your former spouse or partner in a new relationship. This can derail a great relationship before it even gets started.
4. Ready For Rejection. Going through a divorce is hard to endure. You will want to be recovered and prepared to have another relationship stop or not even start. Rejection can be doubly hard if you have not disengaged and healed from your divorce. Many have told me that jumping into a new relationship shortly after their divorce and being rejected is twice as painful as the divorce itself. Take your time!
5. Homework. Make sure your home life is secure and intact. You do not want to begin dating if you are still struggling with hurting children and/or you are struggling to keep your day to day home life afloat. A new relationship will only complicate your schedules and time allocation for your home needs.
6. Know your No’s! You will want to evaluate your boundaries. Healthy boundaries are a must! If you have felt like a doormat to your previous partners, then you need to learn to say no and mean it! I love this quote from Dr. Henry Cloud “You get what you tolerate!” Seeming desperate, needy, or codependent is a recipe for misery.
7. Financially Fit. Dating can be costly. You will want to make sure you can afford to date. If you are looking for your date to always pick up the check you are going to be sorely disappointed with the quality and variety of your dates. If you find you are ready to date but on a tight budget, find something to do that does not require a lot of money. I enjoy going to a local coffee shop and talking with my date. Look for a budget dating guide post soon!
8. Research. If you haven’t dated in a long time, you will want to become familiar with the new dating terminology, communication expectations, and social norms. This will keep you from being caught off-guard by terms and text you may not understand. Getting to know how to date in this decade can help level-set your expectations/boundaries.
9. You enjoy dating YOU. When you become content with taking yourself out to dinner, or a movie, or a solo vacation. You will have the clarity of mind to begin to think about adding a plus one to your schedule. Self dating is a great healing exercise and shows self-love and compassion. Our minds and bodies need us to take care of them too!
10. No Pressure. If you find yourself caving into friends or family that are pushing you into a new relationship, you need to practice Tip 5 Above and tell them NO! If you can withstand the pressures of family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, etc.. all wanting you to get over it and move on with your life, then you are in a great mental space. You can relax in knowing you know what’s best for you. You can reassure those well-meaning friends and families to trust that you will know when you are ready to explore new relationship opportunities.
11. Take it or Leave it. If you can think of dating as a fun addition to your life and not the primary need, then you are in a good space to approach dating. Many find the partners they really enjoy being with when they were not even looking for a partner at all. Call me old fashion, but I do not friend zone people. I actually prefer to start off as friends. This friendship approach, for me, tends to lead to my most enjoyable dates.
12-Disengage! I know that I put this in twice, but it is vital. The way I explain it to my clients is this. “If you can take a good hard look at your past with your previous partner and not FEEL the past, you are well on your way from disengaging from them.” You do not want to bring the feelings, trauma, hurts and hang-ups of the past into your present relationship![sc name=”pinsave” ]
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Do you find yourself separated on Valentine’s Day? In February of 2015, I was on the phone with “our” counselor. We were going into the 4th month of our separation with no real reason to think that we were going to reconcile. I remember asking our counselor if I should buy my then spouse a valentines gift or card?
As the great counselor that he was, he gave me the typical counselor response. “What do you think you should do?” I laughed and told him, “Well, what I would like to do is get her a Cactus, A half-inflated balloon, and a Get Well Card!”. He laughed as well. He and I had a lot in common. He really helped me prepare to be single again from day one.
You’ll be happy to know that I did NOT get her a cactus, balloon, and get well card. But, I really REALLY wanted too. I, instead, gave her a lovely card and sent a card on our kid’s behalf as well. She, in turn, did her typical separation passive-aggressive sociopathic nature and bought me nothing for Valentine’s day. I should have sent her the Get Well Card instead! LOL I can be bit passive-aggressive as well!
So what is one to do if they find themselves separated on Valentine’s day? Here are 5-tip I ask my clients to help them gauge what is best to do for them.
1.Do you still care? If you genuinely want to show you still care for them, by all means, send them a card or gift to show your affection for them. I would put a disclaimer that they may not feel the same or even refuse to send anything to you to show you how they think of you. This act of ignoring you or worse refusing to send you a card can sting a bit, but it’s actually a blessing. You would rather them be real with you then to patronize or lie to you.
2. Do you hope to reconcile? If you are still working on reconciling or hoping to reconcile, it is a nice gesture to send them a card to gift to make it clear you are still working on growing towards each other and not apart.
3. Are you not sure what you feel or where you are? If you are unsure where the relationship stands and you do not want to confuse the situation further, it may be best to hold off sending cards or gifts for Valentine’s day.
4. Is it over? If you know the relationship is over and there is no point in sending gifts or card, please do not send anything. You will want to send a clear message that you have not romantic connections left and that they should prepare to move forward without you.
5. Is this your nature? If it is just your nature to send gifts and cards, then do so cautiously. If this is merely a “nice” gesture that you are used to doing year to year, then make sure to keep the message you are sending to them at a platonic, friendly level and do not send a message of hurting, loss, missing, or wanting them back. This will allow them to receive your yearly gesture without “hidden” messages of hope.
If you find yourself separated on Valentine’s day, are you going to buy your spouse a Valentine’s day gift? Do you expect one in return?[sc name=”pinsave” ]
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When going through a divorce or breakup, the last thing you think about is changing the locks on your life. What are these locks I’m speaking of here? They are those passwords, pins, access codes, keys, account information that you may have shared with your significant other for the past years. Take these 15 steps below to make your life safe and secure for your future ahead.
1. Change your email passwords. Personal email is the key to all of your other online secure accounts. We use our personal email for password resets, authentication for financial accounts, notifications of online account activity, etc. It is the one thing you do not want to share with someone that has just left your life. Make sure to reset all of your personal email account password and turn on 2-factor authentication if available!
2. Change your Bank Account passwords. – This step and step one are vital! You do not want your bank account to have money one day and then it’s gone with your Ex! Banks make it easy to change passwords on either a smartphone or through a web browser. If 2-factor authentication is available use it! If you do not use online banking then you should still make sure your Ex is not on your bank accounts. Shared bank accounts should be unchanged until after the divorce is final, but you have your own bank accounts, make sure to change those passwords as soon as you can.
3. Change all pin numbers and passwords on Credit Cards and Debit Cards. Most Credit and Debit cards these days have both a pin number and a password associated with it. Make sure to change your pin to one you have not used or shared with your previous partner. If you had shared credit cards and debit cards, you will want to apply for your own cards.
4. Set fraud alert on your credit. This one may not seem necessary, and you may be right, However, if your ex knows your social security number and you have reasons to be concerned take 10 minutes to place a fraud alert on your credit reports. Equifax, Trans-Union, Experian make it very easy to put a fraud alert on your credit and take it off after you feel confident your credit is safe.
5. Change your Cell Phone password. This one is just as important as your personal email. Text messages, emails, financial data are all accessed and stored on our smartphones these days. Lock them down with good passwords or even better, if you have a newer model smartphone, consider using Facial Recognition or Biometric passwords such as a fingerprint.
6. Change your home alarm system access codes. This one can be a hassle if you have children that use the same code or if you have family or neighbors that know it. Trust me, you do not want your home alarm left as it is should your ex know the access codes. It only takes a few minutes and you can easily find the instructions online if you do not have them.
7. Change your Garage door keypad and remote codes. This one is often overlooked. Do not forget all the ways a person can access your property. You will want to look up your garage door model and reset both the Garage Door unit itself and your Garage Door Remotes.
8. Change the locks on all your doors to your property. This one is very straight forward. Find a locksmith in your area to change all the locks on your personal property. Have a few extra copies of keys made and leave them with trusted friends or family.
9. Change any codes and or passwords for Security Cameras. These days, it is not uncommon to see a Ring Doorbell or two on most homes. These security cameras have online access and can be used to view your whereabouts if someone were to have the password. Make sure to changes these as well.
10. Change your passwords on Computers, Tablets, and Smart Appliances. If these things are kept in your home or apartment, it is not as crucial as your smartphone, but if your ex has access to any of these things without you knowing it, it is always best to change those passwords as well. If you are wondering what might qualify as a smart appliance, this would be a smart tv, an amazon alexa, or any home automation gadgets.
11. Change your passwords on any other online accounts. These accounts would be like Netflix or Amazon Prime, etc. Do a quick audit of all your other online accounts that you may have shared with your ex-significant other. If you can not seem to recall any, check your credit card statements for any charges from these accounts. It will help jog your memory should you need it.
12. Social media accounts. Social media is how most of us stay connected with friends, relatives, and too much my chagrin complete strangers, like a future employer. If you shared a Facebook or Instagram account password with your previous partner, you will want to change it before they get a chance to “post on your behalf”. Yikes!
13. Return all Keys to shard cars. If you and your ex shared more than one vehicle, chances are you had keys to all the shared cars. Make sure to get the complete set to your car that you are keeping or that you own. If they do not return the shared key, ask your dealership or mechanic to rekey your car.
14. Consider having your car checked for tracking devices. These devices can be used by insurance companies or used by parent wanting to keep tabs on their driver kids. They are not hard to install on cars and are not easily found. A good dealership or mechanic can find them quickly.
15. Do these previous steps for your children. If you are primary or share kids with a previous partner, make sure to change the locks, passwords, pins, etc. on their possessions as well.
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