Emotional Independence, Self-Care

The Review of an Independent Woman

The independent woman is an interesting phenomenon. 

The complexity of her confidence and emotional stamina is highly attractive.  Some want to be her despite their fears. Some want to learn from her while others want to limit her.

The independent woman has failed to let her experiences define her.  She can speak to her past without the tears because she has faced her feelings.  She recognizes her flaws. 

She doesn’t subscribe to social constructs nor does she fit into any box. 

She is her own person with her own thoughts.  She is unique. She is confident and respects herself.  She is driven by the love she has for herself.  She is unapologetically herself.

  She knows her ‘why’. 

She seems to be a pro at being independent, but she was not always this way.  While she embraces her flaws and mistakes there are plenty out there who would be all too happy to share her bad decisions with anyone who will listen, and she won’t stop them.

She is the kind of woman that doesn’t seem to “need” anyone.  She seems to be able to not only manage her own problems but that of others.  She is heavily relied upon by those around her.

She motivates others with her perseverance. 

She inspires others with her words.  She attracts many on various levels, but she honors personal boundaries in order to preserve relationships. 

It is not the independent type doesn’t need others – we all need others in one fashion or another.  But the independent type knows how to make space for others, so they feel wanted.  They understand the value of relationships and the boundaries the bind them. 

The independent woman doesn’t lack need.

She has needs.  This is not to say that she is impersonating her independence.  But the independent woman know how to find the grove or momentum to pursue her goals.  She has found the light to shine on her path even when the direction is not clear.  And when the light is not so bright, she will feel her way through.  She has learned enough about herself to know when she needs to rely on herself and when she should rely on others.

The independent woman has a sense of self and has assigned it a specific value.

We all have this sense of self but to love and nurture it is a specific discipline.  Most will abuse, neglect, or ignore themselves in order to fit into a box created by others.  The independent woman doesn’t have a box and without the box there are no instructions. This can make troubleshooting with her more difficult when times get tough but she just becomes that much more intriguing. 

So, what do you do with the independent woman? 

How do you help her when you can see she is struggling even if she is not voicing her struggles? Ask her. Ask her the questions you think you know the answer to.  While you might know her independence you can still learn her needs.  There is a difference.

Emotional Independence, Helping Friends, Self-Care

Truths: How can we build an understanding of exchanging truths

It is a tough time.  No single person has all the understanding for everyone.  This is why forgiveness is important.  Doesn’t mean anyone should forget, we’ll never learn that way. 

I’m not talking about forgiving crimes, necessarily.  I am talking about forgiving when others don’t understand.  There is surely a lot we don’t understand about one another and truly, that is okay.  There are so many who want to be empathetic and sympathetic and compassionate and caring.  Those are the ones to focus on and build relationships with.  

It is said, and I often preach it, toxic relationships should be let go of; dismissed.  They bring no joy to life but do tend to steal life.  They cause incredible stress, anxiety, and depression. These are the people to remove from your life.  These are the relationships to avoid. 

Understanding what others have been through when you don’t witness it is really difficult. Ultimately, personal experience is a truth, though it may not be your truth it makes it no less real for others.  The understanding may not come now but that doesn’t mean acceptance is out of reach.  It doesn’t mean support is withheld.  We can have our truths. We can share our truths. We can build an understanding from exchanging truths.

You can also decline a truth but we see what that has yielded

Self-Care

Health and healing

Nick and I take a deeper look at how Covid-19 has changed our world and what it has given to us all.

Nick

One thing the Covid19 pandemic has taught or reminded us is the profound relationship between physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual and relational wellbeing. People across the world have barricaded themselves in (or, at times, been instructed to self-isolate – or else) to avoid the physical threat of a potentially deadly virus. The media hype that has accompanied the crisis has created an ever-more terrifying drama in which existential anxiety has turned to outright panic. ‘How can we find God in this?’, ‘Will our economies collapse?’, ‘What about my job?’, ‘Are we all going to die?’

The effects have been worst for the poorest people and communities in the world. The lockdown may have created a risk of real starvation that outweighs the risk of infection. For such people, life means hanging on by a thread. Reaching out to God is a daily, essential, way of solace, sense-making and survival. It puts our worries about empty supermarket shelves into humbling and challenging perspective. The recovery post-virus will take time, care and support. Many have faced their darkest fears and find themselves weakened, damaged and hurting. Healing at all levels will be needed soon.

Tara

Sadly, for some, the isolation posed by Covid-19 has further-darkened domestic prisons. Since the order to self-isolate, we hear of an increased number of cases of suicides, domestic violence and child abuse. Experts say the cause is a lack of access to social provision and support systems. Even access to the help of loved ones was reduced by efforts to ‘flatten the curve’. Others experienced little change to their daily activities, other than rolling out-of-bed to walk a few feet to their home office. Some didn’t have to roll out of bed at all, if they were on furlough. Amazing how an event can impact on billions in such a way that its identity can be recognized everywhere by a single name.

As the push to re-open the global economy begins, we must know that our personal experience with this pandemic is distinctive in its physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, and relational impacts – yet it’s collective ashes we all must rise from. How we heal from the viral setback will depend on our own identity and locus of power. For some, healing cannot be done alone. We must be willing to help each other heal by extending a hand to those in need.  We must continue to connect in ways that may feel far-fetched, or old-fashioned.  If Covid-19 has given anything positive, it is a new appreciation of how we need one-another to withstand such forces and thrive, despite the pain.

Nick Wright is a psychological coach, trainer and organisation development (OD) consultant, based in the UK (www.nick-wright.com). Tara Parker is a change agent, organization development (OD) consultant and soft skills coach, based in the USA (www.elegantdiscourse.net).

Defeating Narcissists, Emotional Independence, Self-Care

Get Out and Stay Out

It is already a tough decision to think about, let alone execute.  Some respect the decision though they may not understand it while others can’t for the life of them “get it”.  These people, no matter their intent, don’t really make things any easier.  In fact, it is not really a particular person that give you the strength to follow through such a big decision.  It’s that “it” factor that you can feel but don’t really know what it is.  All you do know is that you have had enough and come hell or high water you are done – and this time done for good.

You are FINALLY leaving that unhealthy relationship!!!

For starters, when I use the word “unhealthy” I am talking about the kind of relationship where there is abuse.  This is the kind of abuse that is designed to control the actions of another.  The abuse could be physical, mental, emotional, verbal, sexual, or spiritual.  Abuse is a pattern of negative behavior from your partner that results in a pattern of submissive behavior from you.  This is not a clinical explanation but a quick and dirty definition that will make sense to those who have been in an unhealthy relationship. Additionally, abuse can happen in any relationship, but the intimate ones tend to be the longer lasting ones due to the intimacy factor.  (We can dive deeper into this in a later conversation.)

Leaving is the first tough step but the real challenge is how you stay out.  One of the toughest things to deal with after leaving an unhealthy relationship is re-igniting an old friendship, or in some cases a new one, with yourself.  Being out on your own is not like moving out of mom and dad’s, which had a sense of excitement and liberation.  Leaving an unhealthy relationship does come with a similar sense of freedom along with a sense of fear, anxiety, and “what the hell do I do now?”

Don’t worry; those are all normal feelings and questions.  What’s more? You should be feeling those things!  Those are great signs that you are on a path towards healing and getting you back.  What sucks about these feelings? They don’t feel good.  They can easily position you for another unhealthy relationship.

I know what you are thinking…”WTF? Why? Why do we have to go through these crummy feelings to move on?”

Well, my dear, because what you were involved in didn’t happen or evolve overnight. It took a lot of time, for some of you years, to get to where you were.  So, it is pretty unreasonable to think that a new normal occurs by simply moving out.  Moving out and spending some time alone is just the first few steps down the road of healing.  The real work starts at this point despite how tough all decisions were to get here. 

So, a few things to keep in mind as you venture down this new road:

  1. Do recognize you will question what you have done! This is normal and to expect it is what makes it easier.  It is totally fine to wonder if you are doing the right thing or if you made a mistake.  You literally took the puzzle of your life and removed some pieces of it giving you the space to feel as though you are not whole.  To counter this remember, you were whole and always will be.  (Let’s visit this idea later, too, it can get pretty deep.) J
  2. Expect to have free time on your hands and no idea how to spend it.  When living in an unhealthy relationship you were likely always worried about what things would be like if the abuser was gone or worrying about how to walk on egg shells for the day.  Maybe you spent your time presenting yourself, your home, your children, or anything in just the most perfect manner to avoid triggering your abuser.  Now that the abuser you don’t have all those expectations to live up to. This is time to learn about you and what you like…time to date you for a while! J
  3. Realize that you are not a bad person for leaving.  This is such a tough feeling to deal with particularly if there are children that miss the abuser or others who don’t understand.  First, it’s hard to remember your abuser doesn’t abuse everyone or doesn’t abuse them in the same way. This puts you is such a crazy position when others feel they should have justification for your decision.  This leaves you with opportunity to take blame based on reactions of others.  DON’T! Just as you need to feel through your emotions others need to do the same and all at your own pace!
  4. Realize you are easy to deceive in your own home!!!  Your abuser is no fool.  They know how to work you over and spent a good amount of time doing so in the home you two shared.  Being in the space that you now solely manage doesn’t make you the power in the home; just makes you the only provider.  You can expect your abuser to try to weasel their way in your territory using all their best tricks – some tricks you will recognize and some you won’t. The abuser doesn’t want to be alone any more than you do.  They don’t know what to do with themselves, either. Their object of control left and therefore will play that “vulnerable” card better than Luke Skywalker begging his father for help against Darth Sidious.  Know it could take a few times of falling for those tricks (old and new) to realize the abuser is working towards an Oscar nomination.  Don’t get down on yourself when it happens. Forgive yourself and try a new strategy.  Easier said than done but you will do it though it does take time and a lot of: “Oh shit, not again.”

These are just a few of the things you should expect.  Avoiding them only makes things harder on you.  If you learn to expect them or continue to expect them, they will be easier to work through when they happen. Half the battle of leaving the abuser is knowing that there is a rough road ahead and a lot of uncomfortable feelings that you are unfamiliar with. These are all good things that are indicative of better choices.  They don’t feel like it at the time but if you review on some of your others “firsts” you may find there are several of them that didn’t feel that great at first but wound up to be not that bad.  😉

You can do it.

Pro Tip: Go back through the list and when you see the word “abuser” or specific pronouns use the name of the person and their pronoun. Make this about you and hear what you are going through 

Defeating Narcissists, Emotional Independence, Self-Care

How I Let Him Go Even Though I Still Loved Him

How did I do it? How was I able to walk away from the man I loved so deeply and profoundly? How was I able to move on from a love I felt and embraced so much?

woman sitting in front of tree

And there is it was – staring me right in the face. I knew it immediately but despite my knowing I still questioned it. My gut was on red alert and my heart was on the verge of sobbing. My ears were ringing. My eyes felt frozen. It was the red flag that couldn’t be denied and I denied it anyway – at least for a few more years. Ugh. (facepalm)

We seemed to have so much in common. We could talk for hours. Our pasts seemed parallel giving us an exclusive understanding of one another. We had genuine interests in each other’s hobbies. We could see through to one another. Being together we both emerged with a side from within that was buried so deep. The connection was unique. It felt rare. It redefined passion.

So, why is it I am not with him today? How could I not eternally embrace something that sounds as though it was delivered from “a land far far away”?

Well, I finally saw what everyone had been telling me – that he was not right for me.

What we had was a very passionate relationship in every romantic sense of the word that you can imagine. And yet with the positive passion came the negative passion. Both were intense at their own distinctive level. Both were scary. Both were invigorating. But also dangerous to my mental health.

I won’t go into the details of the relationship but what I will tell you is that we had little to no support from our friends and family. This is a definite sign that the relationship is not what you think it is. Sometimes, the best measurement of the health of a relationship is the level of support from those around you.

I refused to listen to those people because there was always that one person who stood out and said, “Yes! Yes, you are the one for him!” My desire to hold on to that positive passion was fed by the repetition of that one statement for two years – in my head.

woman in black full zip jacket

So, how did I do it? How was I able to walk away from the man I loved so deeply and profoundly? How was I able to move on from a love I felt and embraced so much?

I had to recognize that what I felt was not equal to what he felt or the negative passion would not have been as strong.

Don’t be mistaken. He liked to keep me around for his pleasure and fun or his needs but when it came to what I needed? Ha. It was not only my fault he was unhappy with our situation but it was my fault if I was experiencing turmoil or trials. It was my stupidity or my bitchiness that created my situation and that wasn’t his problem.

But, he loved me. Yeah, I didn’t get it either. But, wildly enough, I believed that he loved me and I needed to stay. It took me about 25 months to finally pull the trigger and walk out of his life and back into my own.

I don’t know if was time wasted or the most influential learning experience I have ever been through. What I do know is that the experience is mine to share with you.

So, back to how to let go if you still love him. How did I put my love aside to escape my prison?

1. I kept all the text messages for reference. He used to get mad that I would retain our text conversations and refer back to them. He rarely came off looking like a nice guy (and my responses weren’t always pretty, either) and therefore he would demand I delete them or sweet-talk me into deleting them.

Once they were gone I had nothing visual to remind me who he really was. Once those texts were gone he would turn on the loving charm and then cycle back into the emotional deviant I was hooked to. I do have some of the texts to remind me of why I left when I start to miss the good times.

2. I had to push my emotional brain aside for my logical. I had to really think about his actions and how they aligned, or misaligned, with his words. I had to look at his expectations and my expectations and determine how they balanced. I had to stop deceiving me and come to terms with the reality that I was not getting anywhere with him and my life was depleting the more time I devoted to him. Once I realized that it was easier to not respond his last text message.

photography of woman using laptop

3. I needed something to maintain my focus. My attention had to be placed somewhere else so I could go through the process of grieving a relationship I had with a man who was mentally dangerous. I found that focus and protected it with every fiber of my being. That focus remains today as a reminder that being me is a great thing and not a result of someone else’s demands.

4. I prepared myself emotionally for the final walk. I literally stood in front of a mirror and told myself, “You will want to text him so the crying will stop. You will want to run back to him to feel normal again.” I knew the real problem for me was fighting the addiction created throughout the relationship. Maybe the uncomfortable tears of grief would stop by contacting him but they would be replaced with the comfortable tears of name-calling and emotional abuse I had been so accustomed to.

Maybe I would feel normal again by running to him but would hurt myself more by embracing that sense of “normal” versus developing myself by venturing out of my comfort zone. The funny thing about a comfort zone is that it might be comfortable but it doesn’t necessarily feel good nor is it healthy. It is just comfortable.

5. I had to be fair to myself and allow myself the time to heal and try life without him. I had to be permitted to be me again without his permission or approval. I had to give myself enough time to feel the emotions I prepped myself for. I had to give me a chance to heal even if it hurt like hell. Even if I cried myself to sleep. Even if it meant I would never be loved again. In the end, it meant I would love me and not have someone attempt to make me feel guilty for it. There is no guilt in loving me but there is guilt in knowingly hurting me via an unhealthy relationship.

woman holding a smiley balloon

So, the time has passed and here I am. I didn’t die without him like I thought I would. I didn’t spiral down into depression like he had predicted. I continued to breathe and live my life. I am free to be me and am happy being me. I have grown and continue to do so every day. Why? Because I didn’t give up on me.