Learn To Love Yourself And Find Inner Peace

By Tracy Clifford

“If you knew you were fully loved, if you knew that you were whole and worthy exactly as you are just for being intrinsically you, your anxiety would disappear.” – Sheryl Paul

Anxiety is often viewed as a fear based response to things you cannot control. One in five Americans suffer from some form of an anxiety disorder. Both biological and environmental factors can contribute to anxiety, and its close cousin, depression. But when I read Sheryl Paul’s thoughts on anxiety, I started to see it in an entirely new way. I always viewed anxiety, fear, and control as closely linked. But I never truly viewed anxiety as the deep fear that you are not truly loved. I’m now starting to understand the interdependent nature of high anxiety and low self-esteem.

At the root of most anxious feelings is the fear of loss. If you have relationship anxiety, you might fear that your partner will leave you. If you have health anxiety, you might imagine that you have an incurable disease that will lead you to a certain death. If you have social anxiety, you might avoid gatherings of people because you’re afraid you’ll do or say the wrong thing. Or maybe your anxiety is the more run of the mill, mundane kind. You might be worried about the security of your job. Or you might think you won’t meet a deadline for school. Or maybe your anxiety is just like a dull throb, always in the back of your mind, with a source and a presence you can’t name.

I would argue that most of our anxiety comes from a fear of being alone in this world. Some may feel this more urgently than others. Our culture seems preoccupied with finding ways to assuage anxiety. But I’d like to offer a different viewpoint. Anxiety is not something to be resisted, but rather, understood. When you acknowledge anxiety, you can diffuse it. When you call it out, it threatens you less.

How would it feel if you knew that even if you failed, you would still be loved? You would feel safe. Anxiety cannot survive in a secure heart. If you have healthy self-esteem, you are not afraid to be vulnerable. You are not afraid to make mistakes. You feel an unconditional sense of acceptance – from yourself, from your loved ones, and from your higher power (if you believe in one). While anxiety is a normal condition, it does not flourish in the life of a person who feels solidly grounded in love.

If you struggle with serious levels of anxiety, it’s likely you may have tried medication or cognitive behavioral therapy – today’s most common treatment plan. For most people it works. If it works for you, by all means continue. But if you find yourself still challenged by anxious thoughts, I’d suggest you ask yourself the following: Do you feel truly loved and accepted in this world? Do you know, even if the worst outcome befell you, that you would find the strength within yourself and in your loved ones to withstand it? Do you know that you are beautiful just the way you are?

Self-esteem means believing in yourself and trusting that you did what was best in any given situation. Keep in mind that your self-esteem is based on your belief system – which is a blend of the way you feel about yourself and the way you believe others see you. Your view of yourself influences your perception of what you can do, how you get along with others, and how you cope with problems.

If you’ve dealt with breakup and divorce, your self-esteem may be lowered for some time due to the situation. Learning to love yourself is an inner journey which involves examining your past from a fresh perspective. If you can’t believe you are good enough, how can you believe a new partner would choose you? Take the time to investigate any carry over from the past that might impact your current relationships. Make a commitment to get rid of self-sabotaging guilt and fear. You deserve to have your needs met and you are worthy of love.

People who suffer from anxiety live in a world they view to be unsafe and unpredictable. And quite frankly, they’re right. The world is unsafe and unpredictable, full of ways to break your heart. The treatment for anxiety is not to convince you that the world is wonderful and that everything will be okay. The quite terrific task, is instead, to show you that even if something bad happens, you can endure. When you believe in your own resilience, and when you know that you are fundamentally strong and worthy just because you’re you, you stop viewing the world as volatile and precarious. Instead, it seems like a place without limits.

I’d love to read your comments about your fears of finding or keeping love and how that ties into your self-worth. Thanks! Tracy

We’d love to read your comments on this page. Be sure to order our new book “Daughters of Divorce: Overcome the Legacy of Your Parents’ Breakup and Enjoy a Happy, Long-Lasting Relationship.”



5 Ways to Deal With Feelings of Guilt and Rejection Post-Divorce

By Terry Gaspard, MSW, LICSW

When a marriage dissolves, it’s a natural to experience feelings of guilt or rejection. Guilt can arise when a parent feels responsible for bringing pain to their children or for their behavior toward their ex-spouse. On the other hand, feelings of rejection probably stem from feeling left or betrayed by your ex. Whether a person is feels more guilt versus rejection is probably related to the reasons why their marriage ended.

So let’s take a closer look at both guilt and rejection and examine two common scenarios – whether someone is a dumper or a dumpee in the divorce process. These two terms were coined by divorce expert Dr. Bruce Fisher in his groundbreaking book Rebuilding When Your Relationship Ends. Fisher writes “Dumpers are the partners who leave the relationship, and they often feel considerable guilt; dumpees are the partners who want to hang on to the relationship, and they often experience strong feelings of rejection.”

Since relationship patterns are complicated, it’s important to remember that the roles of dumper and dumpee aren’t always clearly defined and that sometimes they can be reversed. For instance, a partner might be told by their spouse that their marriage is over, and then they decide to file for divorce. Surprisingly, it’s not always the dumper who files for divorce. Sometimes the dumpee simply gets tired of waiting and takes this bold step as a way to take charge of their life.

By the way, some people have a strong negative reaction to the words “dumper” and “dumpee” while others can relate to these terms and like using them. In spite of these qualifications, I firmly believe that these categories are relevant to understanding both feelings of guilt and rejection after divorce.

When you think about it, aren’t guilt and rejection two sides of the same coin when it comes to post-divorce emotions? It makes sense that a partner who decides to terminate the marriage would experience more guilt, while the person who feels left would suffer from feelings of rejection. Notice the difference in their priorities. The dumper typically focuses on personal growth and will say things like “I have to find myself.” On the other hand, dumpees usually express a desire to work on the relationship and will say things like “Just tell me what you want me to change and I’ll work on it.”

Although it’s not an exact science, we might expect about that roughly the same amount of people would identify themselves as the person who was left (dumpee) as the one who decided to leave (dumper). However, in a small percentage of divorces, people say their divorce was mutual. In these cases, it’s normal to feel both guilty and rejected at times.

Guilt is a complex emotion, which probably explains why Dr. Fisher outlines two types. Appropriate guilt and free-floating guilt differ in their intensity and impact on a person’s life. Most people feel appropriate guilt when they believe they’ve done something wrong that hurts another person. Some parents feel guilty because their marriage was abusive and they didn’t take action sooner. Others may feel guilt or regret because their child may be struggling emotionally with post-divorce life. On the other hand, free-floating guilt usually exists from our childhood reservoir of unexpressed guilt feelings and it leaves us feeling anxious and fearful about many situations. Appropriate guilt can be worked through more easily than free-floating guilt. In my experience, both types of guilt can be resistant to change and can lead to depression if they aren’t dealt with. For many people, therapy is an essential tool to help process these difficult emotions.

Feelings of guilt or rejection are closely tied to feelings of self-worth and self-love. Part of the healing process after divorce is recognizing and accepting the way you feel about yourself inside affects the way you relate to people in the world. As you learn to accept and love yourself, your feelings of guilt and rejection will diminish.  When you’re connected to feelings of self-worth, you’ll have more energy to relate to others in meaningful ways.

Here are five ways to deal with feelings of guilt and rejection about your divorce:

  1. Accept the fact that it’s normal or typical to have these emotional reactions to the ending of a relationship. They’ve probably been there all along (in your marriage) and are simply intensified during and after the divorce process.

  2. Get to the root of your feelings of guilt and/or rejection. Self-awareness is the first step in recovering from painful emotions. Examine whether you consider yourself a dumper or dumpee and the impact this has on your emotions.

  3. Apologize to your ex or children if you behaved badly during or after your divorce. It’s never too late to make amends. A sincere apology can help you to forgive yourself and can promote healing for your children. Asking your ex for forgiveness, if you feel it’s warranted, can help mend the past and promote friendship post-divorce.

  4. Acknowledge that all relationships end. Just because your relationship is over, it doesn’t mean you’re inadequate or inferior – or there’s something wrong with you. Give yourself a break.

  5. Cultivate supportive relationships. Being with people who accept and support you can help ease feeling of guilt and rejection. Get energized by the possibilities ahead for you.

In closing, looking at how feelings of guilt or rejection may have impacted your behavior can facilitate healing. A parent whose marriage ended may experience guilt because they brought pain to their children. An apology can go a long way to promote forgiveness. Lastly, developing a mindset that you don’t have to be defined by your divorce experience is a crucial step to moving forward after divorce.  We’d love to hear your reactions to this blog and would appreciate your comments.

Terry Gaspard, MSW, LICSW

Follow Terry Gaspard on Twitter and Facebook.  She is pleased to announce the publication of Daughters of Divorce: Overcome the Legacy of Your Parents’ Breakup and Enjoy a Happy, Long-lasting Relationship (Sourcebooks).

Terry’s new book, The Remarriage Manual: How to Make Everything Work Better the Second Time Around, was published by Sounds True in February of 2020 and can be ordered here.



How Do I Know If My Partner Is A Narcissist?

By Terry Gaspard, MSW, LICSW

Recently, I received the following e-mail from Haley, a 32 year old woman who is in a great deal of emotional pain and turmoil in her marriage with Eric, who she fears is a narcissist (fictitious names).

Dear Terry,

I don’t know how come I always fall for the wrongs guys. Eric and I have been married for seven years and our relationship has always been like a roller coaster ride. He can be very charming and swept me off my feet when I was in my last year of college. Sometimes Eric can be affectionate and loving – but other times he can be as cold as ice, critical, and rejecting. I just can’t figure out if he really loves me.  I feel like I have to walk on eggshells and watch everything I say or he’ll go into one of his rages – which can last for hours.

Eric can be so arrogant and selfish at times. When we were at a restaurant with our daughter Elli recently, he called the waitress rude and clumsy just because she accidently dropped a spoon. The other weird thing about him is that when he is upset about something, he doesn’t express sadness. He didn’t even shed a tear when his grandmother died last year and he was supposed to be her favorite grandson. When my mother died of cancer two years ago, he couldn’t comfort me and just said, “Get over it, you have to focus on the living.” This really hurt – it cut to the core because my mom was always my rock and Eric knows how close we were.

My parents were divorced when I was six and my childhood was chaotic – dealing with a stepdad and two stepmothers – not to mention four stepsiblings and two half-siblings. But when Eric and I get into an argument, he usually blames me and says that I don’t know how to be a good wife because of my background.  His parents stayed together even though their house is like a war zone – even today! Unlike Eric, I had a good relationship with both of my parents and stepdad growing up, but I’m starting to believe he is right. My self-esteem hit rock bottom a long time ago. Eric wants my love and admiration but he is so insulting and I’m sorry to say that I don’t love him anymore.

I went to see a therapist last month because I’m starting to feel depressed and it’s affecting my job and my relationship with our five year old daughter, Elli. The therapist told me not to blame myself because Eric seems to have traits of narcissism. She told me to go on-line and do some research before our next session, but that made me even more confused and upset.

How do I know if Eric is a true narcissist and whether or not I should leave or stay?

I appreciate any help you can give me and Elli.

Haley

Dear Haley,

Over the past several years, many articles have been written about ways to recognize and break off from a narcissist. The term “narcissist” has been spreading on-line like wildfire. In reality, there are degrees of narcissism and it’s a tough condition to diagnose – even for an expert.  In fact, many narcissists appear to be “great guys or gals” but can behave very differently behind closed doors. Often their partners report feeling a genuine connection to them at times, but say that they can turn on a dime and become cold and rejecting – especially when they don’t get their way. It’s not uncommon for a person in an intimate relationship with someone who is narcissistic to begin to doubt themselves and to lose self-confidence. In fact, most narcissists are perfectionists and their partners report that they feel that nothing they do is right or appreciated.

First, I will define narcissistic personality disorder according to the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). This manual has recently been revised and is used by mental health professionals to diagnose and treat individuals who suffer from mental illness.

Keep in mind that Narcissistic traits can exist in anyone but that not everyone meets the criteria for narcissistic personality disorder – an pervasive (ongoing) pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early childhood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following traits:

  1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievement).
  2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.
  3. Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions).
  4. Requires excessive admiration.
  5. Has a sense of entitlement (i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations).
  6. Is interpersonally exploitative (i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends).
  7. Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others.
  8. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her.
  9. Show arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes.

According to the DSM-V, narcissism exists on a continuum from mild to severe.  Author Darlene Lancer, posits that narcissism ranges from self-centeredness and other narcissistic traits to Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Lancer writes, “NPD wasn’t categorized as a disorder by the American Psychological Psychiatric Association until 1987, because it was felt that too many people shared some of the traits and it was difficult to diagnose.”

Attorney Stephen Futeral of the Charleston Lawyers Blog, notes that anyone who is married to someone suffering from a personality disorder will report that their marriage is marked by periods of high conflict. He writes, “When you add the additional struggles that come from a divorce, then you have a recipe for EXPLOSIVE conflict between spouses and significant damage for children caught in the middle.

Perhaps the most important question to ask yourself is: Do Eric’s behaviors make it impossible for you to live a happy, fulfilled life? More importantly, do you feel safe and capable of raising Elli in healthy way given your current family situation? I would recommend that you discuss these and other questions with your therapist.

Identifying and breaking up with a narcissist can be a difficult process – which in some cases may take years. The problem is that many narcissists are hard to spot because of their charm and charisma. Author and dating coach Sandy Weiner writes: “The problem is that many narcissists are cleverly cloaked in a different costume, that of the “nice guy” the one who says loving things to you. You feel a connection like never before. Sex is off the charts. It’s intoxicating to be around him. He’s fun, charming, and exciting. This feels like your true soul mate!” Keep in mind that although Ms. Weiner’s article is written with a female audience in mind, she could just as easily be describing a female.

One last word of caution, a true narcissist probably won’t take it well if you break up with him or her. You also have a tough row to hoe if you are considering trying to get full custody of Elli. In many cases, I’ve seen narcissists lash out in rage when they feel their children are being taken away from them because they view them as possessions. So be sure to get legal advice and protect yourself and Elli by being discreet and seeking help. You aren’t alone and there are many resources – which I cover in my next blog.

In my next post, I will address whether or not individuals in intimate relationships or married to narcissists should stay or leave. Stayed tuned in two weeks for this informative blog. I’d love to read your stories, questions and comments.  Please send them to me at terry@movingpastdivorce.com or simply select the Question Tab on our navigation bar on this website.

Thanks, Terry

Follow Terry Gaspard on Twitter and Facebook.  She is pleased to announce the publication of Daughters of Divorce: Overcome the Legacy of Your Parents’ Breakup and Enjoy a Happy, Long-lasting Relationship (Sourcebooks).

Terry’s new book, The Remarriage Manual: How to Make Everything Work Better the Second Time Around, will be published by Sounds True in February of 2020 and can be pre-ordered here.

 



Finding Yourself Amidst the Rubble of Your Divorce

By Karen McMahon

We can get so entrenched in being part of a ‘unit’ when married that we lose ourselves.  If our spouse is the dominant one, we may have fallen into a pattern of acquiescing to his/her desires and demands.  If there are issues of anger management, abuse, addiction or control, we may have shrunk so far into the shadows of the marriage that we got lost.

That is what happened to me. When my marriage was clearly on the rocks, I reached out for help to a therapist I had seen years earlier.  I remember her stating (ever so gently) that I was a shell of the woman she had met previously. I was lost and truly didn’t know how to find my way back to being me.

If you haven’t been in that situation, you might cock your head to the side and wonder how is that possible.  But for those who have, I hope this article is a beacon of light to help you find your way home to the uniquely beautiful, powerful person you were designed to be.

When something goes ‘wrong’, whose voice do you hear in your head?  Do you immediately wonder how your spouse is going to react or what they are going to say and then figure out how you will respond accordingly?  When you want to do something, is the voice in your head encouraging and building you up or tearing you down?  Do you know what you think and how you feel and can you stand firmly in your own opinions?  Or do you have doubt and look toward him or her for direction, guidance, and acknowledgement?

If you have lost yourself, take comfort in knowing that simply being aware of it is the first step to finding your way back.

First, put your bat away!!  You have probably been ‘beat up’ enough by the words or actions of the controlling personality in your life and you do not need to berate yourself but rather to be gentle, loving and compassionate.  I used to call myself ‘such an idiot’.  That certainly didn’t help me get back on my feet.

Second, look at how you treat yourself.  No one is going to treat you with respect until you respect and love yourself.  If you have children, when they do something ‘wrong’ would you speak to them the way you speak to yourself?  Most likely not.  Begin to parent yourself the way you parent your children.  Show love and compassion and patience with yourself.

Third, draw up an eviction notice!  That’s right, it is time to evict him or her from you head.  They are renting space in your head and it is not serving you in the least.  Their voice is loud and booming and yours has become a barely audible whisper. Send them packing.

A fun exercise (especially if you feel intimidated by this person) is to imagine a caricature of them…all their most prevalent physical features enhanced.  Now imagine them with a worn out suitcase looking timid while packing and leaving.  Each time you hear their voice instead of yours in your head, imagine the caricature of you evicting them and you will smile and shift your thoughts.

Finally, now that they have been evicted, you need to move back in!  This is sometimes the hardest step and a great place to work with a coach to help you dust off who you are and who you want to be and step back into your power.  Ask yourself a series of questions when situations arise:

What do I think about ____?

How do you feel about ____?

How would I react if I did not have to consider anyone else’s perspective?

If his or her voice comes back, consider what you would do if they were not part of the equation…if they had taken a trip to the moon…no fear, no consequences, no criticism.

It is perfectly natural to be unsure, even insecure in your own thoughts and feelings if you have been living in the shadows of another person.  No worries.  It’s like riding a bike and before you know it you are clear, confident and fully capable of not only knowing what you think but of speaking your mind and standing by your values and beliefs.

If this article rings true for you or you used to be in this situation and have found your way home to yourself, we would love to hear from you.  Tell us your story or share your tips.

Karen McMahon, Certified Relationship & Divorce Coach and the Founder of JourneyBeyondDivorce.com.  Karen has created a team of divorce coaches whose passion is to work with men and women facing relationship challenges or going through the divorce process.  Her desire is to help them navigate their difficulties while focusing on personal growth and embracing the opportunities inherent in their changing circumstances.



5 Ways to Deal with Feelings of Guilt and Rejection Post-divorce

By Terry Gaspard, MSW, LICSW

When a marriage dissolves, it’s a natural to experience feelings of guilt or rejection. Guilt can arise when a parent feels responsible for bringing pain to their children or for their behavior toward their ex-spouse. On the other hand, feelings of rejection probably stem from feeling left or betrayed by your ex. Whether a person is feels more guilt versus rejection is probably related to the reasons why their marriage ended.

So let’s take a closer look at both guilt and rejection and examine two common scenarios – whether someone is a dumper or a dumpee in the divorce process. These two terms were coined by divorce expert Dr. Bruce Fisher in his groundbreaking book Rebuilding When Your Relationship Ends. Fisher writes “Dumpers are the partners who leave the relationship, and they often feel considerable guilt; dumpees are the partners who want to hang on to the relationship, and they often experience strong feelings of rejection.”

Since relationship patterns are complicated, it’s important to remember that the roles of dumper and dumpee aren’t always clearly defined and that sometimes they can be reversed. For instance, a partner might be told by their spouse that their marriage is over, and then they decide to file for divorce. Surprisingly, it’s not always the dumper who files for divorce. Sometimes the dumpee simply gets tired of waiting and takes this bold step as a way to take charge of their life.

By the way, some people have a strong negative reaction to the words “dumper” and “dumpee” while others can relate to these terms and like using them. In spite of these qualifications, I firmly believe that these categories are relevant to understanding both feelings of guilt and rejection after divorce.

When you think about it, aren’t guilt and rejection two sides of the same coin when it comes to post-divorce emotions? It makes sense that a partner who decides to terminate the marriage would experience more guilt, while the person who feels left would suffer from feelings of rejection. Notice the difference in their priorities. The dumper typically focuses on personal growth and will say things like “I have to find myself.” On the other hand, dumpees usually express a desire to work on the relationship and will say things like “Just tell me what you want me to change and I’ll work on it.”

Although it’s not an exact science, we might expect about that roughly the same amount of people would identify themselves as the person who was left (dumpee) as the one who decided to leave (dumper). However, in a small percentage of divorces, people say their divorce was mutual. In these cases, it’s normal to feel both guilty and rejected at times.

Guilt is a complex emotion, which probably explains why Dr. Fisher outlines two types. Appropriate guilt and free-floating guilt differ in their intensity and impact on a person’s life. Most people feel appropriate guilt when they believe they’ve done something wrong that hurts another person. Some parents feel guilty because their marriage was abusive and they didn’t take action sooner. Others may feel guilt or regret because their child may be struggling emotionally with post-divorce life. On the other hand, free-floating guilt usually exists from our childhood reservoir of unexpressed guilt feelings and it leaves us feeling anxious and fearful about many situations. Appropriate guilt can be worked through more easily than free-floating guilt. In my experience, both types of guilt can be resistant to change and can lead to depression if they aren’t dealt with. For many people, therapy is an essential tool to help process these difficult emotions.

Feelings of guilt or rejection are closely tied to feelings of self-worth and self-love. Part of the healing process after divorce is recognizing and accepting the way you feel about yourself inside affects the way you relate to people in the world. As you learn to accept and love yourself, your feelings of guilt and rejection will diminish.  When you’re connected to feelings of self-worth, you’ll have more energy to relate to others in meaningful ways.

Here are five ways to deal with feelings of guilt and rejection about your divorce:

  1. Accept the fact that it’s normal or typical to have these emotional reactions to the ending of a relationship. They’ve probably been there all along (in your marriage) and are simply intensified during and after the divorce process.

  2. Get to the root of your feelings of guilt and/or rejection. Self-awareness is the first step in recovering from painful emotions. Examine whether you consider yourself a dumper or dumpee and the impact this has on your emotions.

  3. Apologize to your ex or children if you behaved badly during or after your divorce. It’s never too late to make amends. A sincere apology can help you to forgive yourself and can promote healing for your children. Asking your ex for forgiveness, if you feel it’s warranted, can help mend the past and promote friendship post-divorce.

  4. Acknowledge that all relationships end. Just because your relationship is over, it doesn’t mean you’re inadequate or inferior – or there’s something wrong with you. Give yourself a break.

  5. Cultivate supportive relationships. Being with people who accept and support you can help ease feeling of guilt and rejection. Get energized by the possibilities ahead for you.

In closing, looking at how feelings of guilt or rejection may have impacted your behavior can facilitate healing. A parent whose marriage ended may experience guilt because they brought pain to their children. An apology can go a long way to promote forgiveness. Lastly, developing a mindset that you don’t have to be defined by your divorce experience is a crucial step to moving forward after divorce.  We’d love to hear your reactions to this blog and would appreciate your comments.

Terry Gaspard, MSW, LICSW

Follow Terry Gaspard on Twitter and Facebook.  She is pleased to announce the publication of Daughters of Divorce: Overcome the Legacy of Your Parents’ Breakup and Enjoy a Happy, Long-lasting Relationship (Sourcebooks).

Terry’s new book, The Remarriage Manual: How to Make Everything Work Better the Second Time Around, will be published by Sounds True in February of 2020 and can be pre-ordered here.

 



How Can I Improve My Self-Esteem?

By Terry Gaspard, MSW, LICSW

Before a woman can begin to build successful relationships, she must have healthy self-esteem. The way you feel about yourself today is directly related to how you felt about yourself as a child. If your parents’ divorce left you with a limited ability to see yourself as loveable and valued, you must build a positive sense of self on your own. Although your childhood experiences have helped create the woman you have become, it is up to you to carve out a new story for your life. Take the time to examine how your relationships have played themselves out, and what role your self-esteem took.

Sarah, for instance, has struggled with self-esteem issues since adolescence. At times, she blamed herself for her parents’ breakup because she was a strong willed child. At age twenty-one, Sarah is a tall, attractive, and athletic college basketball player. Her parents divorced when she was sixteen, and she describes her father as emotionally unavailable. During our interview, Sarah spoke with passion in her voice, saying: “I feel uncomfortable with men,” she says, “My relationship with my dad caused me to seek approval in the wrong way. I don’t know how to keep a guy without sleeping with him.” In Sarah’s case, her feelings of diminished self-worth caused her to settle for less than she deserved – to believe that she wasn’t worthy of being respected or being number one in anyone’s life.

Negative experiences in childhood forever change a woman; and can change how she feels about relationships and her expectations from her partner. Divorce can alter a girl’s self-worth and make her feel damaged, even if her parents tell her that it is not her fault. Studies show that from an early age, girls are socialized to seek approval from others and to look for connection for a sense of self-worth. For the most part, females tend to focus more on relationships than males so they may be more vulnerable to the loss of an intact family.

Don’t let your parents’ breakup, or your own, define who you are today. Like Sarah, you must examine your past and shed toxic self-defeating messages before you can heal and feel good about yourself.  It is important to realize that self-esteem exists on a continuum, and is often a matter of degree. Some women have suffered more than others due to a father-daughter wound, successive losses, or the breakup of their own marriage. Nonetheless, you don’t have to let the pain you’ve suffered in the past carry over to current relationships. Penny, for instance, has learned not to take on other people’s pain and she refuses to let anyone take advantage of her. Her real-life story illustrates the importance of exploring your past and taking charge of your life.

Let’s examine Penny’s view of herself and relationships. Competent-and-caring, Penny, age thirty-six, was raised to please others, and struggled to be on the good side of both parents. As a child, she was pushed and pulled in many directions in a frenzied search for approval after her parents’ split. As an adult, Penny’s self-esteem doesn’t match her accomplishments. A human service professional, she is raising a ten year-old daughter on her own. The truth is that Penny is successful at work, extremely self-reliant, and yet suffers from low self-esteem. But once she began to view her parents’ divorce and its aftermath from an adult perspective, she began feeling differently about herself and relationships. With the help of a therapist, Penny has reclaimed her life and is learning to love herself as she is today.

The following are steps to gaining self-worth and shedding self-defeating messages:

  • Examine your divorce experience and self-defeating messages derived from it.

  • Make choices that impact the way you live in a positive way. Don’t allow yourself to play the role of victim and begin to make decisions that reflect your strength as a woman.

  • Surround yourself with people who support your journey and can allow you to build self-worth. This may mean shedding toxic relationships and developing new ones. Don’t settle for less than you deserve.

  • Build relationships based on mutual respect, integrity, and honesty. You can’t alter your past, but you can make better choices today.

Learning to love yourself is an inner journey which involves examining your past from a fresh perspective. Take the time to investigate any carry over from the past that might impact your current relationships.  At times, people may resent you as you start to set boundaries and take care of your needs. But rather than giving in, it’s important to embrace loving relationships without giving up part of yourself. Make a commitment to get rid of sabotaging guilt and fear. Like Penny, you can learn to assert yourself in relationships because you are worth it.  You deserve to have your needs met and you are worthy of love. 

 Terry Gaspard, MSW, LICSW

We’d love to hear more about your struggle with self-esteem. Share your story with us so that we can support your journey. Be sure to order my new book “Daughters of Divorce: Overcome the Legacy of Your Parents’ Breakup and Enjoy a Happy, Long-Lasting Relationship.”

 



How To Be Happy Again After Divorce

Whenever you go through a difficult life situation like divorce it’s tempting to seek out short-term pleasure as a way to dull the pain. As emotions run high, quick-fix answers like drinking or one night stands can lead to a temporary amelioration of the hurt you’re experiencing, but they’ll ultimately leave you feeling empty and unhappy.

As you pick yourself up in the wake of a divorce, it’s important to channel your recovery efforts towards wise, healthy goals that will cultivate a sincere appreciation for life and help you feel genuinely happy once again.

From Seeking Pleasure to Seeking Happiness

The first step in finding true happiness post-divorce is to begin identifying the difference between pleasure and happiness. This can be found in both your activities and your thoughts.

You can start this process by studying cognitive distortions. This can make it easier to identify negative thought patterns (including seeking after pleasure to temporary dull pain). Things like mental filters, disqualifying the positive, and jumping to conclusions can all color your thoughts in a negative light — and by extension push you towards those “quick fixes” more readily.

Instead, look for the areas where you’ve found genuine goodness and happiness in the past. What have your healthy relationships looked like? What has your condition consisted of when you were at your peak of physical fitness? How did your emotional reactions come across when you were in a good place?

In addition, look for areas where you’ve been hiding from the truth. What real-life things have you been avoiding? Here are a few challenges to give yourself as you sort through your thoughts and emotions:

● You can accept that it’s okay to fail.
● Don’t give in to a victim mentality — be strong.
● Identify your key values and don’t compromise on them going forward.
● Leave the past in the past whenever possible.
● Avoid toxic relationships and aim to develop positive, healthy ones.

As you identify these items, begin to set clear goals and objectives as benchmarks for you to work towards in the future.

Cultivating the Good

As you sift through the negative and the positive in your life and set up healthy goals, you can begin to invest in finding your “most ideal self.” These efforts should focus on authentic, sustainable elements of your life that are aimed at cultivating genuine results.

Eating Healthy

One area that is important to cultivate is how you eat. Comfort food is never more comforting (or alluring) than when you’re drowning in the immense, overwhelming feelings of separating from someone. However, it’s important to resist this temptation to eat junk food that is temporarily comforting.

Instead, strive to study and learn about how to maintain a healthy diet. While all diets are different, there are some general tenets of healthy eating that always hold true. For instance, overly processed food; excessive fats, salt, and sugars; and unbalanced meals can all have negative effects on your health. Instead, strive to:

● Eat well-balanced meals.
● Stock up on healthy snacks.
● Cook your own food.

These habits will help you stay focused on the good — and you’ll feel physically better in the process, too.

Properly Use Social Media

Another area that’s easy to abuse is social media. Like food, social media can be a two-edged sword, with real pros and cons depending on how you’re using it.

For instance, on the one hand, it’s been shown that social media can alleviate feelings of isolation when it’s used to connect with others and bolster support systems.

On the other hand, when social media is used to avoid face-to-face interactions or to develop unrealistic opinions and other’s happiness and success, it can have profoundly negative effects on your recovery.

Whether you’re talking about food, social media, or any other facet of your life, it’s important to look for ways to weed out the bad and cultivate the good in each and every activity.

Moving Forward

As you avoid pleasure and focus on real happiness, you’ll begin to regain a measure of control over your thoughts and emotions. Once that happens, you can begin to look for ways to create positive, forward momentum as you re-enter normal life. A few suggestions include:

Exploring love languages: Learning about how to understand both your own and other’s love languages can help improve your relationships with others around you.
● Meditate and/or pray: You may be afraid to let your brain rest in the moment, but it is one of the best ways to address your pain and truly find inner peace and happiness again.
● Study your enneagram: Consider taking a test to discover your enneagram number. This can help you better understand how you function, how to address your hurt, and how to truly pursue what you value.

Learning to Believe in Love Again

It may sound cliche, but one of the most important goals in your shift from pleasure to happiness should be the ultimate pursuit to restore your faith in love. You may have felt betrayed, bruised, and battered by past experiences, and you’re not alone in those feelings.

However, past pain should never be an impenetrable barrier to future happiness. Instead, strive to identify that pain, avoid the meaningless pleasures, and hone in on both discovering true happiness and developing your most ideal self in the process.

Sam Bowman has a passion for healthy living and positivity. As a seasoned digital writer, he covers just about every subject that’s out there while diving a little deeper into divorce and mental health topics. In his spare time he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.


How to Detach and Let Go with Love

Although it’s painful to see our loved ones be self-destructive, detaching allows us to enjoy our life despite another person’s problems and behavior. Attachment and caring are normal. It’s healthy to get attached to someone we love and care about, but codependent attachment causes us pain and problems in relationships. We become overly attached—not because we love so much but because we need so much.  We need someone to be and act a certain way so that you can feel okay. Managing and controlling, reacting and worrying, and obsessing are counterproductive codependent patterns.  We can become over-involved. The antidote is to detach and let go.

What is Detaching?

Detachment implies neutrality. Detaching is a way of separating the unhealthy emotional glue that keeps us fused in a codependent relationship.

What detaching isn’t

It doesn’t mean physical withdrawal. Nor is detaching emotional withdrawal, such as being aloof, disinterested, emotionally shut down, or ignoring someone.

Detaching doesn’t mean neglecting family responsibilities or leaving someone. Although physical space or separation may be useful as a means of setting boundaries and centering ourselves, this is not what detaching means. For example, some people decide to not have contact with someone, because the relationship is too painful.

Physical proximity is irrelevant. In fact, some divorced couples are more emotionally attached and reactive to one another than most married couples. Someone living far away can push our buttons in a phone call so that we dwell on the conversation for days – or even if there wasn’t one! Detaching is about refocusing and taking charge of ourselves.

Key ingredients of detaching

It involves letting go of our expectations and entanglements with other peoples’ problems and affairs. We stop reacting to things they say and do and obsessing and worrying about things. We take control of our feelings and thoughts, and mind our own business. It doesn’t take away our feelings and concern, but channels them in a healthy manner. In practice, it’s more compassionate and loving than codependent attachment.

Detaching involves four key concepts:

  1. Having appropriate boundaries
  2. Accepting reality
  3. Being in the present, not the past or future
  4. Taking responsibility for our feelings and needs

Detaching is letting go with love

When first learning to detach, people often turn off their feelings or use walls of silence to refrain from codependent behavior, but with persistence, understanding, and compassion, they’re able to let go with love.  Gradually, rather than be invested in changing or controlling others, we can be compassionate and encourage them. We have no need to argue or persuade others, but instead are curious of differing points of view. This shows respect and honors boundaries and separateness. Rather than manipulate people to be like us, we risk being authentic. For example, we can say, “I feel sad when I see you depressed.” Instead of trying to change someone’s need for space or silence, we enjoy our time alone or with someone else. This may sound impossible, but the pay-off is rewarding.

Are You Over-Involved?

When we worry, it’s a sign that we’re attached to a certain outcome. When we’re frustrated with someone, it’s because we’re attached to them being different from who they are and accepting their flaws. When we’re giving unsolicited advice, we’re crossing a boundary and assuming a superior position. We all do this sometimes, but codependents do it excessively. Instead of two people with separate minds and independent feelings, the boundaries are blurred. Does this apply to you?

  1. Do your moods and happiness depend on someone else?
  2. Do you have strong emotional reactions to someone’s opinions, thoughts, feelings, and judgments?
  3. Do you spend time worrying and thinking about someone else’s problems?
  4. Do you analyze someone’s motives or feelings?
  5. Do you think about what someone else is doing, not doing, thinking, or feeling?
  6. Do you neglect your career, hobbies, activities, or friends due to a relationship?
  7. Do you drop other activities if someone else won’t join you or disapproves?
  8. Do you please someone because you’re afraid of rejection?
  9. Do you become anxious doing things alone?

When we’re over-involved, we’re myopic. Others become extensions of us. We try to control their opinions, feelings, and actions to get what we need and feel okay. We try to manage them to avoid witnessing their suffering. We try to impress and please them. We try to persuade them to agree with us or do what we want. Then, we react with hurt or anger when they want won’t. If you relate, learn why detaching is helpful.

Benefits of Detaching

Letting go reaps us profound benefits, not only in the relationship, but in personal growth, inner peace, and all areas of our life.

  • We learn to love
  • We gain peace, freedom, and power
  • We gain time for ourselves
  • We become more resilient to loss
  • We learn independence and responsibility.
  • We encourage that in others

We’re responsible for our thoughts, feelings, actions, and the consequences of those actions. Other people are responsible for theirs. Cheering someone up occasionally or giving him or her more attention is not codependent. A benefit of a good marriage is that spouses nurture one another when one is troubled, but not codependent caretaking, and it’s reciprocal.

In contrast, when we consistently try to change others’ moods or solve their problems, we’re becoming their caretaker based upon the erroneous belief that we can control what’s causing their pain. We’re assuming responsibilities that are theirs, not ours. Sometimes codependent couples unconsciously agree that one spouse has the obligation to make the other happy. That is an impossible task and leads to mutual unhappiness, anger and resentment. The cheerleader is always failing and frustrated, and the recipient feels shame and resentment. Whatever we try won’t be quite right or enough.

How to Detach

Detaching starts with understanding, but it takes time for the heart to really accept that ultimately we’re powerless over others and that our efforts to change someone are unhelpful and possibly detrimental to us, the other person, and the relationship. Take these steps to practice detaching:

  1. Ask yourself if you’re in reality or in denial.
  2. Examine whether your expectations of the other person reasonable.
  3. Honestly examine your motivations. Are they self-serving?
  4. Practice allowing and accepting reality in all aspects of your life.
  5. Allow your feelings.
  6. Practice meditation to be more attached and less reactive.
  7. Practice compassion for the other person.
  8. Be authentic. Make “I” statements about your genuine feelings rather than offer advice.
  9. Practice the tools for detaching in the “14 Tips for Letting Go” on my website.
  10. Attend Al-Anon or CoDA meetings. Read and do the exercises in Codependency for Dummies.

If you answered “yes” to several of the above questions, consider learning more about detaching and get support. Detaching can be very difficult to do on your own.

©Darlene Lancer 2020

Adapted from Codependency for Dummies, 2nd Ed. (2015) by John Wiley & Sons. Darlene is the author of: Conquering Shame and Codependency: 8 Steps to Freeing the True You

Ebooks:

10 Steps to Self-Esteem

Dealing with a Narcissist: 8 Steps to Raise Self-Esteem and Set Boundaries with Difficult People

How To Speak Your Mind – Become Assertive and Set Limits and webinar How to Be Assertive

Breakup Recovery

“I’m Not Perfect – I’m Only Human” – How to Beat Perfectionism

Spiritual Transformation in the Twelve Steps

Freedom from Guilt and Blame – Finding Self-Forgiveness

Codependency’s Recovery Daily Reflections

How to Raise Your Self-Esteem

Self-Love Meditation

Follow me on Facebook

www.whatiscodependency.com

310.458.0016

 



7 Ways to Cultivate Love in Your Life

Most of us seek someone to love or to love us. We don’t think about cultivating self-love or realize that love originates within. You may be seeking a relationship, but research suggests that singles are actually happier than married people, with the exception of happily married people. But even that dwindles over time. A new study shows that on average, after the first year, spouses return to their baseline state of happiness prior to the marriage. Thus, similar to the conclusions reached in the studies done on lottery winners, after marriage and after winning, we eventually return to how happy we are as individuals.

Thus, our self-esteem matters. Research has well-established that it’s a big factor in the health and happiness in marriage. In fact the level of our self-esteem before the relationship can predict its longevity. Low self-esteem can prevent us from reaping the rewards of love in a relationship.

We think about ourselves based on things we were told, incorrect inferences, and false beliefs informed by trauma and the parenting we received. These learned beliefs, defenses, and habits are not who we are, not our natural, true self. How can we reclaim it?

Cultivating Love

Cultivating self-love is a worthwhile endeavor for ourselves and to have happier relationships. Science has shown these remarkable benefits associated with love:
• Better stress management
• Better sleep
• Better heart health
• Longer lives
• Improved self-esteem
• Greater happiness
• Lowered risk of depression

We are all born innocent and worthy of love. Our flaws, mistakes, and things that happened to us affect us, but are not who we are inherently. Once we understand this, we can begin changing our self-concept and nurturing our real self.

Your mind is a garden, your thoughts are the seeds.
You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.

Love is like a garden we need to fertilize and cultivate. To fully give and receive love, we must first pull the weeds that sabotage it. We ward off invading pests in the form of toxic relationships, and welcome animals that protect and help our garden grow.

Self-acceptance

What we resist persists. When we don’t accept ourselves, we strengthen a negative self-concept. Low self-esteem is self-reinforcing, making change and self-acceptance difficult. Paradoxically, when we accept our shortcomings, it’s easier to let them go.
Self-acceptance is greater than self-esteem, and self-acceptance paves the way for self-love. It means honoring and accepting all of ourselves, including our shortcomings, appearance, our mistakes, and feelings. Learn to stop self-criticism and Raise Your Self-Esteem.

Self-forgiveness

What we did is not who we are. Staying in self-blame and self-condemnation is harmful. On the other hand, guilt can motivate us to change and reach out to others. Great healing is possible with confession, self-forgiveness, and amends. Overcoming guilt releases us from the past and the person we once were. It paves the way for transformation, wholeness, self-respect, and self-love

Love is indivisible. It’s difficult to love ourselves when we harbor hatred toward someone else. Moreover, resentment toward ourselves or others keeps us stuck. When we forgive others, we feel freer and better about ourselves. Similarly, as we develop self-compassion and forgive ourselves, we’re more accepting and compassionate toward others. There are specific steps and stages in forgiveness. Follow them in Freedom from Guilt and Blame: Finding Self-Forgiveness.

Self-appreciation

After pulling the weeds, we must nourish our garden with self-appreciation. Our mind does not distinguish between praise coming from others or our own words and thoughts. Do you focus on your shortcomings and deny or take for granted your positive attributes? Inventory your strengths, accomplishments, loving qualities, acts of courage, and your desire to give, love, and grow. Practice appreciating yourself and others. Each day write three things you did well and qualities about yourself that you or other people appreciate. Focus on the positive, rather than the negative. It takes time and consistency to replace bad habits with life-affirming ones.

Self-expression

Whether due to growing up in a dysfunctional family system or trauma later in life, when we deny painful emotions, we actually block positive ones as well. When we block pain, we can’t feel joy. We close our hearts and numb ourselves. Repressing feelings is a form of rejecting ourselves that can lead to depression and can cause poor health and disease. We grow self-love when we express our feelings, needs, and wants. Negative feelings dissolve, and positive ones multiply. We’re liberated and have more energy to move forward.

Loving actions

When we ignore, hide, or discount our needs and wants, we become irritable, resentful, and unhappy. But fulfilling our needs and wants is an act of self-love that lifts our spirits. It’s a key to happiness that calms and revitalizes us. Conversely, when we act in ways contrary to our values, such as lying or stealing, we undermine our self-worth. Doing esteemable acts raises our self-esteem. We’re able to hold our head up and feel deserving of respect and love. Do random acts of kindness you can add to your “did well” list.

Practice gratitude

Gratitude is a high vibration that opens our hearts. It’s been scientifically proven to be healing. Practice gratitude by looking for things in your life and in the world to be grateful for – even when you don’t feel it. Write a daily grateful list, and read it to someone.

Self-love visualizations

You can enhance love with visualization. Breathe in and out of the center of your chest. Imagine it opening like a door or flower. Picture pink or green light flowing in and out as you breathe. Focus on beauty and things you’re grateful for. Say loving affirmations. (Listen to my Self-Love Mediation.) Send this love to those you care about, to yourself, to those in need, and to the planet.

The above steps open your heart. Practice expressing love and compassion in all aspects of your life to experience greater peace and joy. Learn more self-nurturing tips.

© 2020 Darlene Lancer All Rights Reserved

Darlene Lancer, JD, MFT

Author of Codependency for Dummies and Conquering Shame and Codependency: 8 Steps to Freeing the True You

Ebooks:

10 Steps to Self-Esteem

Dealing with a Narcissist: 8 Steps to Raise Self-Esteem and Set Boundaries with Difficult People

How To Speak Your Mind – Become Assertive and Set Limits and webinar How to Be Assertive

Breakup Recovery

“I’m Not Perfect – I’m Only Human” – How to Beat Perfectionism

Spiritual Transformation in the Twelve Steps

Freedom from Guilt and Blame – Finding Self-Forgiveness

Codependency’s Recovery Daily Reflections

How to Raise Your Self-Esteem

Self-Love Meditation

Follow me on Facebook

www.whatiscodependency.com

310.458.0016

 



7 Ways To Let Go of Someone Who Treats You Badly

By Terry Gaspard, MSW, LICSW

Letting go of toxic relationships is never easy. Yet with self-awareness and tools, you can begin to value yourself enough to set better boundaries with a partner. It is possible to end a romantic relationship that is self-defeating, abusive, or self-destructive.

You may be at risk for a destructive relationship if you become so absorbed in your partner’s problems you don’t often have time to identify, or solve, your own. Or, you care so deeply about your partner that you’ve lost track of your own needs.

People Pleasing is a Common Pattern

Are you a people pleaser who feels that you have to be in a good mood or always positive when you are with your friends, family, or an intimate partner? If you have this tendency, you may find setting limits hard and have trouble asking for what you need from your partner. The good news is that this pattern, which often begins in childhood, can be reversed.

Before you can begin to build successful relationships, you must have healthy self-esteem – which means believing in yourself. One of the key things to consider is: how do you treat yourself? No one will treat you with respect if you devalue yourself. You must rid yourself of self-defeating thoughts such as “I’m stupid” or “No one will ever love me” if you want to build relationships based on love, trust, and intimacy.

If your romantic relationship or marriage brings out your insecurities and causes you to mistrust your own judgment this relationship may not be the best one for you. Many people become involved or even obsessed with the wrong partner – someone who is emotionally unavailable, romantically involved with other partners, addicted to substances – or who cannot love them back.

7 Ways to Let Go of Toxic Relationships:

  1. Gain self-awareness about your former partner’s personalities and willingness to meet your emotional and personal needs. Counseling, blogging, and/or coaching can help you with this.
  2. Seek a partner you can be authentic and vulnerable with. In other words, you don’t have to walk on eggshells with him or her. You feel safe in the relationship and free to express your thoughts, feelings, and desires openly without fear of rejection.
  3. Set an expectation of mutual respect. You can accept, admire, and respect each other for who you are. If you don’t have respect for your partner, it will eat away at chemistry until you have nothing left.  But if he or she values you, gives you compliments, and encourages you to do things that are in your best interest, your partner will be a boost to your self-esteem.
  4. Don’t compromise your values. Figure out your core beliefs and stand by them. Ask for what you need and speak up when something bothers you.
  5. Be more assertive (not aggressive) in romantic relationships. If you want to form a new relationship based on trust you need to speak up when you have a concern or a request. Dating can help you learn what your non-negotiable or deal breakers are.
  6. Extend trust to a partner who is trustworthy.  Does your partner call when they say they’re going to?  Do they take you out when they say they’re going to do so? When someone is interested in a relationship, they keep their agreements. Look for consistency between someone’s words and actions.
  7. Select a partner who is interested in planning a future with you. If he or she says they’re not ready for a commitment, take them seriously – they’re just not the right person for you.  Don’t waste your time on a relationship that doesn’t have a future.

People who are attracted to partners who hurt them often confuse chemistry and compatibility. In fact, they are both essential to a long-lasting healthy intimate relationship. Whereas chemistry (how interesting and stimulating you find the person) is essential to keeping couples interested, compatibility (sharing common values, goals, and having fun together) will help a couple get through tough times.

According to author Jill P. Weber, many girls learn to tune out their own inner voice due to their family experiences, and this prepares them for one-sided relationships in adulthood. Weber writes, “As a woman develops a strong core sense of self, fulfilling relationships will follow.”

Jill P. Weber posits that many women consistently put other’s needs first and end up in one-sided relationships. The consequence for girls can be profound, with girls and women dismissing their own needs and ending up with a depleted sense of self.

For instance, Ericka, an outgoing twenty-six year old, provided Brian with unconditional love and did her best to make up for his dysfunctional upbringing by trying to meet his every need. After they moved in together, she devoted herself to meeting Brian’s needs – even helped take care of his six-year old twins on weekends.

Ericka puts it like this: “It took a breakup for me to realize that I was not responsible for Brian’s happiness and can only truly make myself happy. He never gave much of his time or energy to me. Ericka realized that she didn’t have any energy left for herself when she was so focused on Brad’s well-being.  Since their split, she has been able to put more energy into her college classes, other relationships, and hobbies.

Are You Settling for Less than You Deserve from Your Partner?

Both men and women stay in relationships that are destructive due to fears about being alone. Our culture promotes the idea that you have to be part of a couple and there is a lot of stigma about being single.

If you are currently in a romantic relationship, ask yourself: Am I settling for less than I deserve in the relationship? Research shows that one of the main reasons why people stay in bad relationships is the fear of being single.  If this is the case, gently remind yourself that you are a worthwhile person regardless of whether or not you are in a romantic relationship.

Keep in mind that emotional intimacy is not emotional dependency. If your relationship causes you to be anxious or causes you to question your sense of self, it may not be the best relationship for you.

Many people stay in destructive relationships because they consistently put their partner’s needs before their own. Often women are raised to focus on others and defer their own needs. Too often they are left with a depleted sense of self and they look for their partner to validate them.

Unless you have self-acceptance and self-love, you cannot believe you are worth loving just as you are. You might try to prove your worth through giving too much to others and being overly tolerant and patient.  Author Jill P. Weber writes: “The more you view others’ mistreatment of you as something you have the ability to fix, tweak, or amend, the harder it is to develop a positive sense of yourself. Seeing yourself exclusively from the eyes of others disconnects you from the day-to-day, moment-to-moment experience of your life.”

Follow Terry Gaspard on Twitter, Facebook, and movingpastdivorce.com. Her book Daughters of Divorce: Overcome the Legacy of Your Parents’ Breakup and Enjoy a Happy, Long-Lasting Relationship is available on her website.

Terry’s new book, The Remarriage Manual: How to Make Everything Work Better the Second Time Around, will be published by Sounds True in February of 2020 and can be pre-ordered here.