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Going Against the Mastermind

Tuesday, 27th May 2014

wise owls

My entire mastermind group told me what I was about to do was a big mistake. Not quietly, but with adamant lectures about how I was throwing away everything that I had built up, and that if I continued down the path I had chosen, that all I would end up with at the end of it was a piece of paper and lots of wasted time and money.

I had recently been filed with divorce papers, and as I thought about that experience and what I wanted to create in the future, I declared to myself that I wasn’t going to settle in the romantic relationship department. As I looked around at the men in my life, the thought occurred to me that I might be single for a while. The next thought immediately popped into my head, “Then I am going back for my MFA in Writing.” A few hours later I started the application process.

I had wanted to get an MFA in Writing for years. It was one of my dreams, so I was completely surprised at the reaction of my mastermind group. They told me that I was selling myself short. My business was about ready to take off in a big way, and this decision was a way for me to sabotage or to hide from success.

Their reaction caused me to pause and to think. What determines sabotage? What defines following one’s dreams? What is the action of hiding versus an act of following one’s passion? Could it just be a matter of perception? How does one determine if a sacrifice is worth it?

I mumbled to my mastermind group that I was going to be a single mother now and needed a steadier job. I also needed health insurance. There just so happened to be the dean of a university in my mastermind group, and he shook his head. “You make more now and you know it. You will never be able to make as much as a teacher as you would doing coaching. If you do this you are leaving a lot of money on the table.” He let that settle before he added, “Do you have any idea how much time a master’s requires? I see so many people work around the clock, and what they end up with in the end is a piece of paper. You don’t need that paper. You could teach at colleges right now, unless you want to become a professor.”

The sad truth was that he was right. The group was right. So what did I decide to do? I am now currently in the MFA for Writing program. Why? Because it is my dream. When it boiled down to it, one question helped me to decide on whether to continue to work for the MFA or to build my business. The question wasn’t how much money I’d make because coaching fulltime would be a better choice money-wise. It wasn’t about spending the past years building a business and if I walked away how much time I would I lose. No, instead, the question that cleared my head was: When I die will it matter to me if I made it as an extremely successful business person? The answer was “No.” Then the next question: Would I regret not learning as much as I could about the craft of writing and giving that love of my mine one more chance? “YES!”

Bottom line, there are a lot of ways to look at your big decisions and where you are going in your life. If you want to make the right decisions for you, it is time to get really honest and to sort through what you value most and go for it!

Successful Remarriage: Mental Health

Wednesday, 20th May 2009

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 In most circumstances, divorce lowers a person’s mental health. Depression and anxiety are often associated. Due to divorce, some individuals become so angry that they cannot let go of the pain their ex-spouse caused them. This places a lot of pressure on the human mind. The mind becomes agitated. Unfortunately, the brain can lock onto the anger, fear, or anxiety and can become addicted to the chemicals released into the system every time a negative memory or image runs through their thoughts. If this pattern remains uninterrupted, the body can form a physical addiction to anger, fear, and/or anxiety.  There are also people who become so anxious about relationship failure that they sabotage new relationships. Anxiety and fear make them incapable of letting others into their life. These individuals may have relationships, but they never deepen because they don’t dare let someone fully know them. It’s as though they have a tight grip on a cat that is trying to twist free of the stranglehold. In the case of people, the more the other person tries to be free, the tighter the grip becomes. Eventually the cat or person will flee. This only adds fuel to the fire of the already anxiety-ridden person, reinforcing the belief that everyone will leave them.  

Successful Remarriage: Restructuring Power and Hierarchy

Tuesday, 21st April 2009

chores

 When a divorce occurs, there is a restructuring of the power in a family. In many instances, children will be given extra responsibility simply because a single parent cannot accomplish all the ordinary tasks alone. In other instances, one parent will attempt to take away any power or influence his or her ex-spouse has on the children. This parent will tell the children that they don’t have to obey their other parent, or the parent will undermine any authority the other parent tries to use in discipline.  Even if this doesn’t happen, there’s the challenge of a new person coming into the family. Everyone has to figure out and accept the role of this new person. The struggle, power, and reconstruction of the operation of the family can lead to many conflicts.

Common Behavior of Children After Divorce Part 1

Monday, 1st September 2008

sister and brother

Common Behavior 1: Most children want a relationship with both parents after a divorce. 

In fact, researchers have found that children who maintain close and regular contact with both parents after a divorce do better academically and socially and are less likely to get involved in delinquent activity. Therefore, if you criticize your ex-spouse, you will be hurting your child. If you succeed at alienating your child from your ex-spouse, you are not helping your cause. As your children mature they will struggle in their own relationships. What have they learned—to be negative, critical, and unforgiving. 

Common Behavior 2: Each child will experience the divorce in his or her unique way.   Children of the same family will often interpret the divorce and how it impacts them in completely separate ways. One reason is that each child is at a different developmental stage. A young toddler doesn’t understand what a teenager does. Furthermore, toddlers, unlike teenagers, have not been exposed to all of the problems their parents have had over the years. The more stress children encounter or challenges they face during the divorce, the more difficult it will be for them to progress developmentally.  For example, a teenager who is just starting to date and develop social relations may pull back from dating for fear that relationship failure is inevitable. An alternate possibility is that the teenager will turn to more delinquent behavior, such as sexual promiscuity or drugs and alcohol, to avoid the tension and frustration of their home life. In a young child, you may see regressive behavior. A child who has been potty trained may start having more accidents. A ten-year-old may act more aggressively at home or school. In many instances, although appropriate behavior has been taught, inappropriate behaviors are common to children who are experiencing stress. My youngest was at the age to be potty trained when the divorce occurred. I held back from trying to train him, knowing he might regress. I did not think the increased pressure to learn this task would have been good for him as we were going through the transition. Even though some people think that the divorce doesn’t affect the toddler, it does. Babies are sensitive to the stress that goes on around them. Often times they also have to adjust to going from one home to another. My toddler decided that he wanted to return to being a baby. That was okay. It was his way of coping.  I got out a baby cup and filled it with milk. I had him climb in my lap and I hugged him and fed him like a baby. I also put out a blanket and said, “If you’re going to be a baby then you need to stay on a blanket like a baby.” Every time he tried to get off the blanket I’d pick him up and put him back. “No. No. You’re a baby. Babies stay on their blankets.” I continued to treat him like a baby, including putting him to bed early.  To my surprise he immediately got into the role, crawling around and saying, “Mama. Mama.” This lasted for two days before he decided he wanted to be a big boy again. We had no more regression after that.   From all the change that the divorce brought, he felt afraid and vulnerable and wanted to return to the time when he felt safe. Since I allowed him to do that and let him stay there as long as necessary, he eventually worked the fear out of his system and felt secure enough to encounter life again.I believe the divorce was harder on the older children. I had many more challenges and issues to work out with them. Being an adult when my parents divorced, I know from firsthand experience that adult children can take the divorce even harder than children at younger ages.  I read research that boys are quieter than girls about their hurt. Many boys’ misbehaviors surface two or three years after the divorce, leaving parents surprised and wondering what happened. It is extremely important if you have sons to get them in touch with their feelings and help them deal with this upheaval to avoid future problems.   I worked hard with my oldest son, nine at the time, who struggled silently with the divorce. He needed counseling. That was by far the best thing I ever did for our bond with each other. He was angry with me at the time of the divorce and blamed me for everything. He wouldn’t even talk to me. The therapist and I worked hard with him on his feelings. Now we cherish a tender relationship. We are good friends. He thinks I’m a mind reader because I helped him identify his feelings and normalized them. When he showed signs of stress, we made a habit of meeting on the couch in my bedroom where he would curl up on my lap (he still does this even though he is bigger than me!) and talk. He resisted at first. Then his walls crumbled and he opened up. The human contact got through to him. I’m grateful I took the time to help him through those tough months. He was a quiet child, and I could easily have brushed aside his emotional needs until I was doing better myself.     One of my other children viewed me as weak since she saw her father hit me. She decided she wasn’t going to be the weak one. She took the anger and power position. I figured out, that in order to be a good mom to her, I needed to let her know I was strong enough to handle whatever she tried. I could keep her safe. She tested the boundaries a lot. Once she discovered that I was not going away, and after doing some weightlifting so I was the stronger of the two of us, she settled down. I needed to be consistent, loving her and sending her value as I set the boundaries. I did not always succeed—she would be the first to tell you that. But I continued to try. We have a much more workable relationship, and she no longer thinks Mom is a pushover. We have even enjoyed some honest talks about how the divorce affected her.  I let all my children know that I’m truly sorry that they had to endure so much pain. I never wished this on them. They are strong individuals, and they can take this situation and use it to benefit their lives in the future. It is exciting to me that they are discovering how strong they are by making it through this difficult time in their lives.