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Getting Everything in Focus

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Photo by Jenna Hamra from Pexels

 

What happens when you lose your focus? If you focus too much on the wrong things or if unexpected life events rob you of your energy and time, you will find that your other responsibilities get neglected. When that happens, everything can become very chaotic.

Sometimes losing focus cannot be helped. For example, when my aunt became sick I had to put some things on the back burner, but she was my mom’s only living immediate family member so I thought it was important to take my mom to visit as much as possible. My aunt lived out of town so we took time every weekend to visit her, including one weekend that we stayed for four days because she was not expected to live through the weekend. She did make it through and actually lived another couple of months. What a fighter she was!  It was worth neglecting things on the home front.  Since then, both she and my mom have passed and I can look back without regret.  Imagine if I had decided that housework and yard work were more important!  Yes, during that time some things were ignored. Laundry piled up, the dust gathered, and the yard work did not get done, but I had my priorities straight. It was important to spend the time with my aunt and meet my moms needs, too.  I knew that the chores could get done later. No big deal.  Sometimes, you have to do what you have to do.

What about times when you lose focus on what is important and then the important things get ignored? For example, I have a friend who obsesses over what her ex is or is not doing. She needs to clean up certain aspects of her life that are causing her grief, but she never gets around to cleaning those things up. She has a boyfriend, who thinks she is fabulous, but instead she alienates him by talking about how much she hates her ex husband. Wouldn’t it be better to focus on building this new relationship rather than lamenting the past?  Consider where it is you want to put your energy and who you want to put your energy into.  Exes are exes for a reason.  The past is the past.  Leave it there and live in the here and now while you plan for the future you dream about.

I know a man who has a wonderful family, but he is a workaholic. His employer could live without him there 60-80 hours per week, but he thinks he must work that hard to get rewarded. Truthfully, companies rarely reward you with more than your salary. Ask anyone who has been laid off. Companies will always act in their own best interest when push comes to shove, and to hell with the employees. Especially when the economy is bad! The workaholic is missing out on his children growing up and being the kind of man that his children can count on to be there when they need him.  As it is now, when his wife needs him or his children need him, he is never available. He is always at work. I don’t know what his future holds, but what I do know is that if his life were to end, his wife and children would most likely wish that he had given more to himself than to the company, or maybe, this is sad to say, but maybe they wouldn’t miss him much.  If they are not used to having him around, the days after his death may be just a return to business as usual.  When it comes to your family, don’t take them for granted.  Be the kind of person who leaves a huge void when you are gone.  Nothing is more important than family.  Trust me, I work with people who have taken things for granted and lost them.  It is a hard thing to watch someone go through and even harder to be the one going through it.

When not focused on the right things, your life can spin out of control. You can also miss opportunities and events in your child’s life.  You may miss important moments that you can never get back.  To make sure you don’t, here are some tips:

1. Make a priorities list
Take some time, whether an afternoon, a day, a week or whatever time frame you need to figure out what parts of your life are most important to you.  Once you have set realistic priorities, live it.  Short of a temporary emergency or out of the ordinary situation, stick to your priorities.  You will be glad you did.

2. Put yourself at the top of your priorities
Put yourself at the top of your priorities list.  If your love or energy banks are depleted you don’t have much to offer others.  Eat, get plenty of sleep, and put together a good support system.  Most importantly, do not be afraid to ask for help when you are struggling with something.

3. Set realistic goals.
Whether you have big dreams or just daily life expectations, be conscious of what it will take to meet those goals.  Remember that some things are accomplished by taking small steps and that is okay.  Meeting the goal is the important thing, but you have to make sure that it is an attainable goal.  When goals are too lofty, you can end up disappointed.  At the end of each day, think about the progress you made and recognize even the smallest advances.  If you did not make progress toward your goals, forgive yourself when unforeseen circumstances or emergencies get in the way and then get right back to it tomorrow.  If you need to, break big goals into smaller goals that will lead to the same thing.

4. Take time to relax and have fun. 
This is something you really have to allow yourself to do.  Many people deny themselves and believe they are not worthy of a break.  It is not true.  Life is about balancing what you need to do with what you want to do.  The world will not fall apart because you took your eyes off from its desires for you for a short while and remember, you are not in control of the world.  Worry about what is your responsibility and don’t take on something that is not your concern.

5. Don’t feel guilty!
There really is nothing to feel guilty about.  People who learn to say no usually get much more joy and fulfillment out of life than those who do not.  If you don’t want to help your friend move, say no.  However, if you want to help your friend and maintain the friendship, be confident explaining to them that you cannot do it that particular day, but maybe you could help in a different way.  Maybe you help for a couple of hours or maybe on a different day (if they can arrange it).  Maybe you offer to help unpack things and arrange things after the move.  When you say no to people you care about, make sure they know that you are not saying no because you don’t want to help, you are saying no because you are not available at that particular time.  If they are a good friend, they will understand.  Try not to say no to your spouse or children though, unless it is an absolute must!

6. Use To-Do lists!
It helps to write down the things you need to do and have a plan of action.  It also helps to cross each item off the list when done.  That way, you see that you have accomplished things and it keeps you motivated to do more!

7. Separate work from home life.  Bringing work home with you, even if it is only the bad mood the boss put you in, puts your focus on the wrong things.  You are likely not getting paid when you are not at work so why put your energy into that?  Get rewards at home, such as the smile on your family’s face from receiving your full attention on them.  Work is for work and earning an income to support your family, but home is where the heart is!

8. Schedule tasks that you don’t like to do, but know you have to do.  Does the garage need a good cleaning?  Pick a day and stick with that.  However, the garage is part of the house so enlist family to help.  You get to spend time together, sharing, while doing something that is a benefit to the family.  It is also teaching your kids how to cooperate and share, even when it may not be the most fun thing in the world!

9. Balance together time and alone time
We all should be making time for the important people in our lives, but we all need some time to ourselves, too.  You may also want to spend time with friends and family as a group, to best utilize your time, but also, connect with each person individually as well.  People need to know that you are interested in them as a person and if you only spend time with them in groups, it can create a wedge.  Make time for you, for individuals and for group activities also, and do not forget how important couple time is for a couple who has children.  Mommies and daddies need to connect without kids to keep their connection strong for sharing the kids.

10. Make it more about positives than negatives.  Focus on what you have done, not what you were unable to get done.  Focus on the few minutes you spent with your kids today, rather than the hours you did not get to spend with your kids today.  Remember, tomorrow is another day and we never get to have every day go exactly as we plan or as we’d like!  Before you go to sleep each night, reflect on what went right and what made you feel good.  You will sleep so much better when you think in the positive!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Divorced Parents, Where is Your Focus?

Life is like a camera
Image courtesy of https://www.pinterest.com/explore/inspirational-quotes/

As a Life and Divorce coach, I am sometimes misunderstood and misjudged.  Over the years that I went through a high conflict divorce, I brought myself out of a deep dark place and into a life of joy and happiness.  I have successfully shown many others how to do the same and focus on finding their way beyond what has happened in the past and to the life of their dreams  I’ve been able to help many people, but not everyone.  Some people want to stay stuck.  If an individual wants to stay stuck in something bad, there is nothing I can do.  There is also nothing a psychologist, lawyer, or judge can do either.  They may try, but ultimately they will have to leave you behind and move onto helping the people who are willing to do the work that will get them where they want to be.

I work mostly with people in the Family Court System.  These are parents who find themselves in a high conflict divorce situation, getting beaten to a pulp (legally) by the confounding judge, who is unable to understand what the heck it is that drives them to do the things they do.

I understand domestic violence.  I understand parental alienation (which is not the same as Parental Alienation Syndrome).  I understand Domestic Violence Organizations.  I understand Father’s Rights Groups. I understand the parent who lives under a microscope for years in family court proceeding after family court proceeding.  I understand the legal community.  I understand the psychologists.  I understand a lot of what happens in Family Court.  I understand how people got into the mess they have gotten themselves into.  Understanding all these things does not mean that focusing on them will make anything better.  In fact, putting a focus on what is wrong in Family Court can be a huge waste of time and hurt you in achieving your custody and parenting time goals.

There have been times when I have either lost a client or lost a client’s respect and trust  when I have had to tell them that they and their attorney are putting too much emphasis on domestic violence in their family court case.  I have also angered parents when I’ve had to tell them the parental alienation syndrome argument won’t get them far.  An honest statement like that mistaken to mean that I don’t believe parental alienation happens.  I know it happens.  I have even experienced it for myself.  It happened to my youngest son and I, at the hands of a manipulative father, but my son and I are closer than ever now because I always trusted him to know truth and to figure out what was happening.  I did what I could, left alone what I could not do, and put my energy into waiting for my son to be ready to restore our relationship.  I had faith that I had raised him in a way in which he would see truth, and now, we are closer than ever.  He does know the truth and bears some scars.

It was a long journey from my naive beginnings in family court.  I went from being blind sided by the nastiness of Family Court to getting to where I am today.

More than believing in parental alienation, I believe that co-dependence, childhood trauma and unhealthy relationship patterns are likely the underlying cause of on-going family court nightmares.  A good psychologist should tell you that as long as there is one strong parent, your child can overcome the trauma, regardless of what your ex throws at you.  I have seen this to be true.  In my own case, I stopped being the victim of domestic violence and stopped adding to the drama.  I wanted a better life for my children and myself.  That meant that I would have to pull myself up by my bootstraps, get healthy, and work with the professionals in the Family Court System at their level.  They were not going to listen to me if I only spoke to them when I was at the point of hysterics.  I was never heard when I screamed and swore at them, and you won’t get far with that either.

They were also not going to allow me to educate them.  These were educated professionals and in their eyes, I was the one who was uninformed.  If I was so smart, how come I couldn’t put an end to this conflict for my family?  Why did they have to make decisions about my children?  They could not understand and I was not able to make them understand.  I found them to be obstacles in the way of me being able to move on with my life.  They were also, definitely,  hindering my children’s development, but they would not have ever wanted to hear that.  Over the years I came to realize,  that they were not the answer to the problems and they should not be my focus.  Instead, my focus needed to be on myself, and my children.  That is when I began to turn that ship around, and in doing so, I freed myself and my children of those professionals forever.  No more obstacles.  No more hindrances.

This is what I help my clients as well.  Please don’t think that means that this can happen overnight.  It is a process.  I help my clients through that process, but they determine the pace, I cannot.  I connect with many clients through a free consult, but not every consult turns into a client.  Some people think I am nuts and they never come back.  They do not want to give up that crutch of family court.  That is sad because most people come to me due to their frustration with how the Family Court is not helping the situation, but is instead, making it much, much worse, but when told that they may need to take the focus off of family court professionals and onto their healing and gaining skills, they don’t want to refocus their energy inward.  It is a lot of work to explore what has happened to you, and it is painful and ugly to peel back the layers of who you are you, and so some people cannot stomach it.

Think about this for a minute.  Maybe it will make sense to you and maybe it won’t.  I can only put it out there and hope that you can make some sense out of it.  When you are a victim of domestic violence and look to the family court to help you with it, that is your focus.  If you keep your focus there, and run to and fro, in search of professionals who will understand, that is taking your time, energy and money away from having the life you want.  You may think that you cannot have the life you want, but I am here to tell you, it is just not true.  You are the one keeping your life and your children’s lives in the family court.  Your ex may stay there, and he or she may use it against you, but if you really get yourself strong, stay confident in your truths, and put your focus outside of the court, you will see miracles happen.  The people I see who beat this system at its own game, refocus on their life and their children and slowly shift their thoughts and energies away from their nasty ex and the confusing court people, are the ones who succeed in getting saving their children from an imprisoned life.  The people who latch on to their domestic violence experience or try to expose parental alienation will find that  they ramp up the conflict, get more deeply embedded in the Family Court System, and feel more and more stuck over time.  I am not saying that domestic violence or parental alienation should be tolerated or ignored.  I am not saying that at all.  What I am saying is you cannot push those memes the entire time because there are only certain ways to successfully use those arguments in family court.

Not everything involved with the conflict is related to domestic abuse or parental alienation.  Some things are communication issues and related to how you speak to or correspond with you ex.  Some issues are related to those Mars-Venus, male-female issues, too.  Some issues have to do with the stage of development your child is in, as well, and so you need to really consider what is driving the conflict for each particular issue that arises.  You cannot blame everything on domestic violence or parental alienation because the professionals don’t always have any recourse, even if they do recognize those issues are present.  You still have the court orders you have and their roles are limited as far as what action they can take.  You are the driver of a family court battle,  not them.  You want to make sure you are focused on which direction you want to go and where the journey will lead.  If you know your desired destination, you cannot go around in circles.  That will not get you there.  Instead, map out how you are going to get there and come hell or high water, keep traveling in that direction and don’t stop until you get there!

This post may anger some people and intrigue others.  It’s hard to really explain it all in one blog post!  If you are interested in finding out how to free yourself of the family court, as much as possible, please contact me through High Conflict Central.  I’d love to consult with you to tell you more.  There is nothing more rewarding for me than to see a client who grasps these concepts and takes their life and their children back!

Susan

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How to Stay Positive When Everything is Negative

Think Positive by jesadaphorn
Image courtesy of jesadaphorn at freedigitalphotos.net

In challenging times one can often feel hopeless and stuck in a downward spiral of negativity. If anything doesn’t go according to plan or it takes your time away from doing what you need or want to do, you go on the attack. Everyone is a target. You start finding yourself labeled as psycho, angry, disturbed, etc. If you are involved in a court battle you could be labeled as a bad parent or with a mental diagnosis like bipolar, histrionic, schizoid or other, even if you have no such diagnosis in any medical record. The courts throw these terms around at the mildest suggestion by an ex or a court authority. It is extremely upsetting for the accused when people who are not doctors or psychiatrists or therapists to start writing labels into your court documents. These labels will then stick. You may even start to wonder if they are right! If you haven’t been diagnosed outside of the family court arena, in most cases those labels are NOT right!

So what can you do? The courts view you as something you are not, your ex bad mouths you all over town. Sometimes your kids act kind of distant. You get upset about everything and everyone. Work becomes a hostile environment also. How do you have a positive attitude and stay out of the negativity trap?

First of all, take time to nurture yourself. When things get really intense, have a great workout, take a walk, do some yoga, ride a bicycle, or a motorcycle, go hang out with a friend, watch a movie, use some kind of distraction to separate you from your problems. Have you colored in a coloring book lately? Do this with your kids and see how creativity uplifts you. For just an hour or two, do not allow yourself to dwell on the negativity at all.

Next, make sure you are taking care of your body by getting enough food and drink and get the amount of sleep you need. A strong body supports a strong mind. If you’re not able to sleep without dwelling on your problems, sit and meditate, or listen to soothing song that makes you feel good. Take some deep breaths. Think of anything positive in your life. Make a list of positive things or goals. Think of how it will feel to accomplish those goals.  Read some scripture.  Pray.  God is always on your side, even when you think no one else is! Then go to sleep on a positive note. This takes a lot of practice, but you can get yourself to where you can always pull yourself out of negative and into the positive thoughts anytime the negative tries to creep in.

Use good body language. Walk tall. Hold your head up. Have you ever tried it? It is amazing. If you stand up straight and wear a smile on your face, people will see you as confident and happy. Say, “Hi”, to people as you walk by. See the reaction. Don’t slouch, it comes off as the appearance of defeated, you don’t want to look weak or defeated, especially when you are dealing with the court or court authorities.

Use positive words. When I decided to go for sole custody, I used words like “when” i am granted custody, rather than “if” I am granted custody. “If” was not in my list possibilities. I use that when going on a job interview as well. I act as if I already have the job! This is very important. Believe in your ability to do whatever it is you want to do. If you are going for sole custody, know you can and will do it. Believe in yourself. If any doubters try to bring you down, let them know that you WILL prevail in court. You WILL do everything humanly possible to achieve your goals. Know that whatever happens in life, you will get through it. Negative times are temporary. A Positive attitude is permanent.

It may feel strange at first, if you have been struggling for years, but you will get the hang of it. If you need something tangible to hold to remind yourself, get yourself a good luck charm, either a necklace, bracelet, key chain or something that you keep on your desk at work or in your car. Find something that will bring you back to your focus if you start reverting back to the old negative ways. Retrain your brain to stay on some kind of movement forward in your life so that you are not stuck and you are not going backward.

Life is a balancing act. When you allow yourself to obsess over one part of life, while not allowing time for the good parts, you will feel hopeless and want to give up. Sometimes you will have to focus on the court battle. That will be unavoidable. For times when you don’t have to focus on those spirit draining things, don’t. No matter what. Make sure that you schedule time with a friend or doing some activity you really enjoy at least a couple times per week. That gives you something to look forward to and helps you move forward.

You don’t have to stay stuck. You really don’t. You can always think of something positive in your life if you really try.  Focus on the good things and put the negative in a closet where you only let it out if you must.  Get unstuck in life by moving forward. You will notice a difference and you will feel a new strength that helps you achieve all of your goals.

 

 

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The Best Revenge on an EX

Best Revenge
When hit with divorce some people decide that their life is over. They think that in order to be a good parent, they must make sacrifices.  They decide that dating has to wait until the children are grown, or they decide that they must be alone FOREVER.

There are always those people who decide that “all men are scum!” or that “all women are man haters!” While it certainly feels that way as you try to heal the wounds of divorce, those statements are blatantly false.  Just because one person hurt you, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t a loving man or woman out there who has been hurt just as badly, and would love to find someone like you.  Many people are looking for a decent, loving individual, with whom they can build a new life, but instead, they do not allow themselves to seek out a potential mate.

It is called fear, people.  Fear holds them back from true happiness.  Those who live in fear never get to live life to the fullest.  They miss out on the joy life can bring.  They miss out on sharing a life with someone wonderful.

We can take our past experiences and let them continue to hurt us, or we could chalk it up to experience and hop right back on that bicycle and try it again.  What I think people find through dating, especially when they are a little older and have been through divorce, is that they matter, and that they are more beautiful and desirable than they think they are.

The period following divorce can be a chance to learn about yourself.  It can be a time to figure out who you are and what your interests are.  You can try people on for size and it will help you find the right one for you.  Just because the last one turned out to be the wrong one, that is no reason to give up and hide under the covers.  I truly believe that there is someone out there for everyone.  Just make sure that you have examined your part in the failed relationship and that you are emotionally healthy and ready for a new relationship before you get deeply involved with a new mate.  It will save many headaches later if you get your act together!

I have another take on that whole “sacrificing for the children” belief.  I think that when you swear off dating, you are robbing your children of a good example.  Here’s why: Since you ended up divorced, that was probably not the best example of a healthy relationship.  Did you fight? Was there chemical dependency involved? Was your ex physically and verbally abusive?  Children learn by modeling.  They observe the relationships they see and it leaves an impression on them.  The kind of relationship they witness will be the relationship they seek out in their own lives and they will do so without even knowing they are doing it.

One day, they will choose a significant other and have a relationship just like their parents had. Why? Because this is what a relationship looks like to them. Do you want that? Would it be better to show your children how to date selectively and then hopefully find that special person with whom you can have a healthy, lasting relationship with? What a great model to give them, especially if all of the relationships around them haven’t always been the healthiest! Do this for you, but also for your children, and for that new person you have yet to meet, the one who is just as lonely as you are. You just might surprise yourself and find the right one. I know I have.

Keep in mind that there is another reason to open your heart and mind to love, and all of the possibilities in life.  Your ex.  While I would never recommend dating just to get back at your ex, I do think the best revenge on an ex is for them to see you blissfully happy and successful in life!  Go ahead.  Have the last laugh.

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We Love Podia!

Tulips and Heart Shape Butterflies by anekoho
Image courtesy of anekoho at freedigitalphotos.net

 

Are you familiar with Podia?  We are, and we thought it was time to spread the news.  If you have a desire to offer course content to the public, your clients or customers, we highly recommend that you check out Podia.

We started out with an idea to offer free and paid course content to people experiencing high conflict divorce or relationship problems (or both!), but it took us some time to find a home for that.  We had never really done anything like this before and starting out we went to the first place we found (teachable).

Venturing in to the venue of providing course content online exploded our creativity, but we were finding things a little tedious and time-consuming over at teachable.  We also wanted to incorporate a membership platform at some point, too, and I was having to split my efforts between different places, mainly: teachable, a website, and membership works.  I couldn’t get a thing done by dividing my time that way!  So many things had to be duplicated.  I was fed up!  That is why I went looking for something different and that is when I found Podia!

Moving High Conflict Central was a difficult decision as we are very aware of how it can affect the amount of traffic to our site, but when we saw all the features Podia offers, we had to make the switch.   We are very happy we did!  Our traffic has actually increased with the move!

What do we like about Podia?  Everything!

We like:

  • They offer more, but we actually pay less than we did before for all of the separate vendors we had previously
  • They are extremely helpful and offer great customer service
  • They respond very quickly to questions, concerns (and even frustrations that have little to do with them, but involve my own panic)
  • They are friendly
  • They are positive
  • They make it easy
  • They save us time
  • Everything is user-friendly (which is not something I would say about teachable)
  • We can sell downloads and products, in addition to our courses
  • We can have our membership platform just like we wanted (yay!)
  • Everything is in one place (which makes me, the creator/tech gal very, very happy)
  • Everything is simple to understand as far as storefront set up goes
  • Our storefront looks great!
  • Podia is FUN!

High Conflict Central moved over to Podia months ago and we will be staying put right there.  We love it!  If you want to see what Podia can do for you, head on over there and don’t be afraid to ask questions, they’ll answer promptly.  You may even want to sign up for their free 14 day trial (that is how we started).  While you are at it, check out what we are doing though Podia over at High Conflict U, too!