My first Christmas post-break-up was emotionally tough; it was 10 months after my marriage had ended and the resurgence of grief took me by surprise. Special occasions can knock you off guard just when you think you are coping, and can be particularly cruel if they happen very close to the end of your relationship. The Christmas season, weddings, summer holidays – in fact any celebration which drives home expectations of “togetherness”can make you feel like an outsider, a failure or just really sad and low.
It can feel hard to turn to other people at this time of year; who wants to feel like the killjoy bringing down everyone’s happiness? From the other side it looks like everyone else’s life is perfect; meanwhile, you are desperately trying to avoid the “what are you doing for Christmas?” conversations or trying not to cry at the thought that you may not be with your children this year. (more…)
In a crisis I become a sponge for knowledge. I love to find solutions for problems; to discover what has worked for others and see if it will work for me too. These days when I connect with recently separated people, what they most want to know is that this pain won’t last for ever and how to make it better. I was the same when my marriage ended; I was emotionally distraught and wanted so desperately to know that it was all going to be ok. My mission became to absorb as much learning as I could about how to heal from emotional pain and how to use the past to become happier and stronger in the future.
I then went on to write this blog and eventually my own “how to” divorce book, to share the processes and methods which led to turning my divorce into the best thing that could have happened for me. In Break Up and Shine, I draw on what I learned in those early days and, if you have read it, you may remember I refer to several key books which helped me. These are what I want to share with you today!
Moving on after a relationship ends can be one of the biggest emotional struggles you’ll ever face. Grief for your loss and fear of change prevent you from seeing that this break-up could possibly be a blessing in the long run.
When I began to fully accept that my marriage was over, the real work of healing began. Anger or depression can consume us in the beginning when emotions are raw and events are fresh, but further down the line there is an expectation to move on with life. This is when the hard emotional work can set in because accepting that the marriage is over doesn’t mean that you’re suddenly, magically, OK. (more…)
I’m so excited to announce that Break Up and Shine is published and available to buy! I started writing this blog in 2012 because I knew I wasn’t the only person to feel stuck and in pain after divorce. There are so many people trying to make sense of the fact that the relationship they believed was a for life, is now over. When things will never be the same again, how do you cope with the change?
During my most painful moments, I looked for support in books and online. I found that the more I managed to shift my perspective, the better I felt. I wrote a blog because I wanted to share these “aha” moments with others struggling with the same emotions.
As people shared with me that they found the blog inspiring and helpful, a divorce self-help book emerged. I wanted to let others know, in a very straightforward and accessible way, how things turned round for me . In Break Up and Shine I share what I learned about grieving, perspective, forgiveness and self-love. As well as personal insights and practical advice, there are reflective questions in each chapter to help you acknowledge where you are and challenge you to move forwards.
Make this your time to Shine!
“this book helped me see my divorce in a new way”
When I started writing Break Up and Shine I wanted to show others that a painful divorce need not be the end of everything good in your life. However horrendous it feels in the beginning, you can heal and move on. Divorce can also be the catalyst to make your life far better than it would ever have been, had you stayed in the relationship.
This week has resulted in one of the biggest testimonies to the changes my life took after my ex-husband left. My grief led to soul searching, which led to a lot of personal development work, which led to embarking on counselling training. And ultimately, (after almost 4 years) has led me to become a qualified counsellor! (more…)
I feel like 2016 has been a year of consolidation and sowing the seeds for the next fruitful chapter of my life. I have barely written on this blog all year and have considered whether, six years on from the end of my marriage, it is still relevant or necessary to do so.
I’m in a very different state to when Break Up and Shine began; my life has shifted beyond an exploration of why things happened the way they did and from my initial healing path from divorce. For six years I’ve been busy laying the foundations for a new life, and enjoying it as it unfolds. I’ve grieved for and learned from my marriage; trained in a new career; shared a loving new relationship and reclaimed my life on my terms. (more…)
As I approach the end of my counselling training this year, I have also just reached the end of more than a year of my own personal therapy. Although personal growth is a job for life, I left knowing that, for the present, I finished what I went there to do.
So what was my goal? Well, although it wasn’t articulated or planned as such at the beginning of the work, I realised that I had gone into therapy to loosen a lifetime’s grip of shame and criticism which had begun in childhood, and culminated in the car crash ending of my marriage. I finished my counselling at a point where I gained the courage to set some divorce boundaries and literally close the door on my ex-husband. (more…)
Today is my daughter’s birthday and I was feeling quite reflective this morning, as I often do when I contemplate the birth of my children. This time six years ago I felt blessed. I’d just given birth to our third child and our family was complete. It was a smooth, easy birth. She was healthy. We brought her home and introduced her to her two adoring older brothers. Of course it was hard work, but I was happy and I stayed for some time cocooned in new baby bliss, feeling thankful for my family.
But I was actually clueless about what was going on behind the scenes. My husband was cheating on me; 3 months after our baby was born I found out and he left me. The cosy bubble had been on borrowed time. Everything I believed exploded around me and left me reeling. (more…)
As humans we possess a natural curiosity to find solutions for problems, and to look for reasons why things don’t work. When dealing with emotional issues, this can have real benefit, but it isn’t always the most helpful thing we can do, particularly in the beginning.
A colleague on my counselling course recently used the term “analysis paralysis” with regards to healing; the need to analyse, intellectualise, make sense of and understand what has happened can hold us back from actually feeling what we need to. We then become stuck and unable to move forward. (more…)
Here’s an interesting revelation that only came to me through my current counselling training:
It’s not wrong to have needs in a relationship
It may sound obvious to many, but I really didn’t understand that properly during my marriage. My ex-husband used to try to convince me that it was wrong to need anything from him; he made it clear that that he thought people should have no expectations of others. I realised eventually that it was a theory which allowed him to suit his own ends; he believed that having needs was the same as being “needy”. He may or may not have been doing this with awareness, but the ultimate result was that he got to satisfy his own wishes, while I felt clingy and like a nag for asking for anything from him. (more…)