chey being

Seeing what's inside again.


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Sharing Stories

I am very happy to present below, a guest blogger!  Dear Claire has been very generous in sharing her story and allowing me to post it here on my blog.  Please be sure to check out her beautiful blog where she is “Saving the planet, one green tip at a time.” 

 

I have had the recent pleasure of taking part in the http://dailypost.wordpress.com/courses/blogging-201-branding-and-growth/ course.  One of the unexpected bonuses of participating is that I’ve discovered bloggers all around the world who write on such a variety of topics.  Chey Being caught my attention as a fellow blogging student as she writes on a slightly different topic to most ‘divorce’.

My divorce isn’t something I’ve written about in public before but reading Chey Being has given me the confidence to do so.

Back in 2005 I was going through a very rough time in my life having just lost my two grandparents who brought me up and Richard was there to comfort me.  The relationship very quickly progressed and we were living together within only a few weeks and engaged within a few months.  I’m quite an introvert really and find relationships quite difficult and so Richard was in fact my first real relationship so I was swept away.

By 2008 we had our first beautiful child together and were pressured by then by his parents to get married as they didn’t like us being unmarried parents.  To be honest, we nearly split up just before I found out I was pregnant as I found out Richard was exchanging explicit sexual text messages with another much younger woman.  However, with a baby on its way and my confidence being incredibly low I decided to let the text messages go and give Richard another chance.

Fast-forward to the Summer of 2009 we finally got married.  People say the day of your wedding should be the happiest day of your life, well mine wasn’t.  I had niggling doubts in the days leading up to the wedding but I assumed these were just nerves about the day, I wasn’t allowed to invite my family and friends as Richard didn’t get on with them but again he made me believe this was normal; in fact I hadn’t had any contact with my  own family and friends since he decided he didn’t like them.

My wedding day basically involved me looking after our daughter and him getting drunk with his friends.  Not a great start!

Within two years of being married, Richard had an affair and he had signed up to numerous sex chat websites.  I gradually learned to realise that Richard was being increasingly emotionally abusive towards me, he was forever putting me down, banning me from contacting people, shouting at me and verbally abusing me.  My confidence and self-esteem were at an all time low.

I eventually got admitted to a psychiatric hospital as I tried to take my own life things were that bad.

During recovery, I joined an internet forum for a hobby I have.  Over the space of a few months I built up a wonderful friendship with an American that changed my life.  Tom is a few years younger than I am, but we instantly clicked on the site, initially we just commented on each others posts and shared the occasional joke.

Gradually and I mean very slowly we started to private message each other and I confided in him about my situation.  Tom did an incredible job of rebuilding my confidence, made me feel respectable again and eventually gave me the confidence to leave my husband.  Finally I was free of him and it felt wonderful.  I’ll never forget the feeling of it just being me and my daughter int he house and the feeling of happiness washing over me.  Of course I would still have to deal with him for our daughter’s sake but I no longer had to spend time on my own with him.  It was only now that I realised how terrified I was of him.  My daughter also settled too, she was much happier as she could see me in a much more relaxed way; we played like we hadn’t really played before.

So, now nearly two years after I kicked him out, we’ve both moved on.  He still has regular contact with our daughter and I wouldn’t take that away from her, I have a choice who I’m married to she doesn’t have a choice who her Daddy is.

Tom and I stayed in touch and slowly built up a trans-Atlantic relationship.  We’ve met up in person lots of times through the two years and he makes me feel like no-one else has ever done.  He understands me, brought back my smile, he supports me, treasures me and makes me feel like the most special person in the world.  Hopefully one day in the future he’ll actually live over here in the UK with me as I can’t imagine things any other way 🙂

So I’d like to thank Chey Being for giving me the confidence to write about my divorce as it’s actually one of the best things that has happened to me!

Thanks for reading, here is where I normally blog: http://aimingtobegreen.wordpress.com


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She came home with Froot Loops

I have two specific memories of a pivotal time during my childhood.  I grew up in a home where we had home cooked meals every night.  This was normal back in my day.  We never had pop, sugared cereals, white bread, or the typical junk food.  This was a time before fast food restaurants lined the streets and eating out was common place.  My parents weren’t strict health nuts or anything, my mom just knew that certain foods were not all-together natural.

My dad was a big cereal fan so this was our usual breakfast growing up.  We always had some variety of bran flakes, shredded wheat and granola.  This may explain why I knew something was horribly wrong the day I saw a box of Froot Loops sticking out of the grocery bag my mom had brought home.  I remember the feeling of panic, but I don’t remember if I asked her specifically why she had brought home this forbidden fruit.  I do remember that it was the very same day she sat me down on the window seat in the family room to talk.  She told me that her and my father were thinking of getting a divorce.  This was very uncommon back then but I imagine the feeling is still the same for any child.  I only remember crying, pleading, and feeling scared.

My mother never mentioned it again and I never asked.  I always felt the detachment my mother had for my father.  I always felt she would have rather been some place else.  She was unhappy and I knew it, but she kept our family together.  Years later, as I had grown into a young adult, she told me she would not leave my dad until after he received his retirement.  She felt she was somehow owed this for her time and suffering.  However, by that time she felt too old to start life over.  It took over ten years later for her to decide it was time to live her life as she wants to live it.  She is now leaving my father (I talk more about this in another post, Grow old along with me?)

For a long time I carried a certain amount of guilt, thinking that I was the reason my mother stayed.  I have also carried a great sadness because it made me feel unwanted.  Perhaps, I was the cause.  Perhaps, my reaction on that fateful day was the deciding factor on how my mother was to spend her next 30 years.  Ultimately, it was her decision and I can not take responsibility for it.  My mother did teach me something however.  She taught me that I never want to live the life she lived.  Unfortunately, I have somehow landed in her footsteps.

On a lighter note, maybe the real lesson to be learned here is never try to bribe a child with Froot Loops.

 


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A word about the word, Conscious.

Google defines conscious as, aware of and responding to one’s surroundings; awake.

The word “conscious” has been in the media quite a bit recently since Gwyneth Paltrow (famous actress) announced her “Conscious Uncoupling.” Seven years ago, I began to write my thoughts about my path to divorce and titled it, My Conscious Journey to Divorce (which I also use in my blog). When I heard the phrase that Paltrow used to describe her separation, it made me very happy; I could really understand the meaning behind it. Then, much to my surprise, immediately following the announcement, Paltrow was ridiculed for how she came forth with her news. Now, I understand that she has a certain “goody two-shoes” reputation, and thus every move she makes is seen through this lens. However, I find it incredibly sad. Here is someone who is actually divorcing SMART! I believe her phrase tells the world that she and her husband are making a conscious effort to do right by everyone. They are not letting emotions run the terms of their separation. This decision should be praised, talked about in high regard, and emulated. How wonderful this is for the children! And no, you don’t have to be rich to emulate another person’s actions.

After my ex and I told our children we were divorcing, I lived at home for the six months it took for our divorce to finalize. It spoke volumes to our children. They were extremely frightened because they did not know what was going to happen, but their world did not immediately change. They were able to adjust to the idea without having to adjust to ten other things at the same time. They could see that their mom and dad could treat each other respectfully even though they were no longer going to be married. I believe this was instrumental in my children adjusting so well from my divorce. Was it easy? Of course not. But we were doing everything we could do make it as easy as possible for them. We made a conscious effort in separating to help our children through it. I also came to decide upon divorce in a conscious manner. That is so important. I will talk about this further as I continue my posts on my journey (see below).

I understand that everyone’s situation is unique and we all have a story. I simply want to create awareness. How conscious are you? Are you letting your emotions rule your life? As the word conscious is defined, are you awake?

In the beginning..

My Decent.

A secret life..

 


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What’s in a name?

Someone on Twitter recently asked if a name change was in order after a divorce.  I quickly gave my response, but it prompted me to think about how my views on this subject have changed so much though out the years.

I was 21 when I first married.  I, of course, changed my name immediately. It was just something a girl did; it was like a right of passage.  I remember back then (it really wasn’t that long ago), for a girl, getting married was like a sigh of relief.  We made it.  We were now part of some special elite club.  We were married and every girl dreams of being like “us.”  OK, maybe it was a long time ago.  Anyway, I remember being somewhat sad about changing my name because it was my heritage; it meant something to me.  My name represented where my families came from.  Now, I had a new name.  A name that inherited me.  I became a part of something else, but only in name. My children would carry this name and mine would be lost forever.  My name, just like my mother’s before me, was not to live on.

After 15 years, this name had become my new identity.  Much like moving from childhood to adulthood, it just happens one day.  After my divorce, I did not even think about changing my name back.  This was the name my children carried and naturally, their mother should carry that same name.  I believe there was a part of me too, that would have felt less their mother if I had changed it.  We would no longer match.  How would people know that they were my children?  I just couldn’t be different from them.  Even when I re-married years later, I did not change my name.  My husband understood that it was important to me that I carry my children’s name and he felt the whole name-change thing was a silly tradition anyway.  When my ex remarried, his wife changed her name immediately.  I was angry with her at first.  I felt she was a horrible mother for “abandoning” the name of her children and now people would believe SHE was MY children’s mother!  I was the matriarchal lioness of this pride and I didn’t want anyone taking claim to my cubs!

I had to eventually swallow my pride and drop the ego.  I was driving past a cemetery one afternoon.  A cemetery that I have passed literally, thousands of times.  A tombstone engraved with someone’s last name in large bold letters caught my eye.  I suddenly had the realization that if I died, I would live on forever (on paper anyway) with my ex-husband’s last name.  Now, I don’t even want to be buried or have a headstone, but this really mattered to me.  I had an instant panic attack!  There was NO WAY I was going to die with his name.  I immediately started the process of changing my name.

Here is another reason, I did not change my name after my divorce…it is a PAIN IN THE ASS! However, I was determined, but what was I going to change it to?  I really wanted to change my name back to my maiden name. Unfortunately, out of blue, my husband now had an issue with this. I really think he  thought I wanted my maiden name back because I was thinking of divorcing him and didn’t want to have to go through the process again.  I really wasn’t thinking about divorce at the time.  I just had no attachment to his name and I really like MY name!  I did have to agree that it would make things easier if we matched.  So, to make my husband feel “secure” and to make travel plans simpler, I took his name.  I am really pissed at myself for making that decision.  Not because my marriage is teetering on divorce and not because I may have to go through this whole bloody process again, but because it is not what I wanted to do.  I didn’t do it for the right reasons.   Maybe someday my name will return to me.  I hope it does.

Picture reference:  My first name was given after a rose.  Thanks Mom.


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Time to Reflect

It has been over six years since my first divorce.  Only now am I able to revisit it.  From the beginning, I knew I would one day want to help others through the process; however, for a few years, I didn’t want to think about it.  I was tired of living, breathing divorce.  It was exhausting and just as unhealthy as the marriage.  Somehow the very word still makes me want to squeegee my tongue.  Here we are in the year 2014 and the word, the very deed, still seems to hold a shamefulness or embarrassment around it.  Now, as my second marriage is on the verge of following the same fate (via a far different path), I find it is time to reflect.  How did I get to making those tough decisions?  It is time to go back to those dark days and share my journey that led me to divorce.   I can go back now with very little feeling.  Time really does heal, if you let it.

A spark was lit from the moment I set foot in the mandatory divorce class for people with children.  Looking around the large hollow room, dotted with angry and even sadder people, I knew I wanted to write about it and somehow help these people.  I was sitting there happy as a clam.  I wanted to giggle out loud because I was finally going to be free from an unhappy marriage.  I wanted to run around that room, grab people by the arms and shake them senseless.  “Wake up!  It will be ok!  Don’t let your anger and sadness hurt you and your kids.”  Yes, I realize I wasn’t the one being left.  It was easier for me in some sense; I admit that.  I admit it was easier, NOT EASY.  I had my own demons visit me sometime later and their names were Guilt, Shame and Fear.

So what is my goal here?  I want to help others by learning from my experience (my good, bad, and very ugly) of getting to and going through divorce.  Deciding to leave someone takes every ounce of courage one can possess.   People get hurt, there is no way around that, but realizing that there is a happier space in life is a powerful and wonderful promise. I am passionate about helping people going through divorce. I want people to learn from it.  That is what is most important.  Even if it wasn’t your decision (which I hear often), I believe there must be a level of accepting some responsibility.  There is something for you to learn about yourself.  What is it?  That is what I want to help others find out.

What seems like the end of the world is only the beginning of something better.

If you allow it to be.

If you choose it to be.

You are in control even though you may not feel like it.

What do YOU want?

I hope you will follow me as I reflect upon my journey.


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Pet Peeve – Divorced parents who can’t get along!

As I contemplate the thought of another divorce (sadly, I do say that with a tinge of embarrassment, like I am somehow a bad person…but that’s another post), I worry about how my husband will treat me and my children if we are no longer together.

I worry because my first husband (my decision to divorce), simply no how, no way would even entertain the idea of being my friend. I asked him why once and his response was, “Divorced people can’t be friends; it’s not normal”. Seriously? That’s the reason?  I just simply do not understand this.  Of course, I understand people get hurt, betrayed, etc., but we are adults.  WE ARE ADULTS!   Put away all the anger and hurt, at least in front of them.  As parents, it is a wonderful opportunity to show our children how to properly treat others. They are already hurting and scared so why make it worse?  After divorce, there is only one common ground and that is the kids, so I recommend making that the “free space” to make a united front.

I do have to give my ex some credit.  We, for the most part, have been able to communicate well when it comes to the kids.  I am very much grateful for that fact.  However, when he was reeling from the divorce, he let the kids see it.  He let them see his pain all too often.  They became afraid to talk to him.  They became afraid to ask him for anything they needed because they felt bad for him and did not want to “bother” him.  Years later, they have maintained this type of relationship.

I am sure anyone going through divorce has heard the saying, “Kid’s are resilient.  They’ll be fine.”  That really always bothered me.  It seems to give someone permission to act poorly.  I read somewhere once that the affects upon children from divorce become most apparent during their adult life, meaning their relationships.  I interpret that to mean it is extremely important to show our children what a loving relationship looks like.  Many people stay together for the kids, which is great, however, I feel it is only great if you are demonstrating a healthy relationship.  How we treat our spouses WILL BE how they treat their spouse someday.  I ask myself all the time in my relationship, “Is this what I want my child to imitate?”

So that brings me back to my current situation.  My husband runs when he is hurt, like an out of sight, out of mind sort of thing.  If I choose to divorce, I am afraid he will not keep his connection to my children.  He is very close to my oldest but I am not sure that is enough to keep him around.  Is it selfish of me to expect him to maintain that bond?  Is it selfish of him not to?  I know I will be hurting my children by divorcing.  I know they also see my suffering.  My first husband denied me of my one true goal and that was to be friends.  I just don’t want to be denied that again.  I want to divorce a grown-up.  I also want to show my kids what a great relationship looks like.  I fear I am too late.