I talk with people often about divorce. Many women and a handful of men I have spoken with have experienced, what some call, gaslighting. How I understand gaslighting, it is the twisting of the truth and invention of new untruths.
I found an article that deals with the subject, "I Reject Your Reality and Substitute My Own" By Stilllearng2b. I will share with you some of her quotes and my thoughts on those quotes....
"He was rejecting reality and substituting his own." Stilllearning2b
"He was gaslighting – using deception and manipulation to cast himself as the sane and balanced one and to make me look unstable and vile." Stilllearning2b
This can become all to clear during divorce proceedings. Many times there are accusations that have to be disproved. I have found this to be fairly typical when speaking to others about their experiences. "He was a master at creating and convincing others of his own reality. And, as trusting of him as I was, I was easy to convince."
All I have to say about that quote at this time is "believe your gut feeling". It seems that more often then not it is right. I did not trust mine only to find out later I should have. "Gaslighting thrives on doubt. Starve it by believing in yourself." Stilllearning2b
Amen to that. Now it is our time to believe in ourselves and seek the life that God wants us to live. A life unimpeded by someone who never really loved us. Was it all in vain you ask? No, I don't think so. I know I would have been much happier having married someone who truly loved me. But then I would not have some of the gifts I now have. I have two wonderful daughters and two beautiful grandchildren. Because of that, aside from the pain caused to my girls, myself and others,
I would not change a thing.
I had to add one of my quotes. A thought based on all the divorce stories I have heard...
"Life is too short to waste time on morally bankrupt people who are unrepentant & refuse to see themselves for who they truly are. Instead, seeing only what they choose to see through the rose colored glasses they have created for themselves." KathieyV
I will leave you with a bible verse... "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."
...and a reflection of the joy that I have that was worth the all the pain.
Thoughts on my separation, my divorce, and my life as I read through the Bible. The Beginning The Journey The Joy.
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep. And God said "Let there be light" and he saw that it was good." My partial paraphrase of Genesis 1
The Beginning The Journey The Joy
Yes, God created the heavens and the earth, but in the beginning it was all darkness. Reading this scripture made me realize my new journey, my new beginning into divorce, was plagued with darkness. There was very little light. The Journey..
After God decided he needed more then darkness he started to change things for the better. He created light, the sea, the stars, the creatures and of course us. He saw that it was good. He had to work to make the good happen. Many of us who are involved in a life changing event such as divorce feel we are surrounded by darkness and we can't see any light. We have to give our situation to God and learn to live a new life. In the early days that may involve attorneys and private investigators. It may mean we have to learn new skills such as paying bills, filing taxes and many other things we have never had to do on our own. To learn to live life as me rather then we. I believe we can do it with God's help, the help of our family that decided to stay in our lives, and the support and love of our friends. The Joy...
I believe we can find joy in difficult times. We can find joy in adventures, in the beauty of God's creation, in family and friends. I know it is nearly impossible in the beginning but it gets easier as time goes by. This week I found joy. How about you?
Check out my book My Story My Divorce God's Promise...The Beginning.
“Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain”
After a betrayal such as separation and divorce finding joy can be a difficult task. I agree with Joseph that joy can burn out the pain or at least partially smother the pain even if only momentarily. I believe to get to that point takes sheer determination, faith, and constant refocusing.
So what did you do to find joy last week? Here are a few of my happy moments.
I found joy in spending time with my grand children. Cuddle time with Maggie and playing dinosaur games with Caleb. Enjoyed time with my daughters. Erica and I went to a winery and Stephanie and I spent time at the perfume counter taking in new scents. Dinner and wine with my good friend Cindy is always a treat.
Taking long walks with my dog Brodie. Getting rained on on a humid evening. Walking on a windy night, letting my curly frizzy hair go wild and not caring what anyone thinks.
What did you do last week that brought you joy? I would love to know.
We saw him in the distance. His head held high not only with confidence but conviction. He would stand his ground. Yes, it was a territorial goose. I have encountered them on many occasions, but this one looked particularly determined.
Brodie and I stopped and just looked at him. We had choices. We could run with our tail, well at least Brodie's, between our legs. We could continue our predetermined course and confront the situation, but the goose was already in the "this is my war, and I am going to win it" posture. If you have been around these creatures, I know you understand. We could retreat, go back the way we came, missing out on our planned adventure. We could avoid. Just walk across the street and continue our journey from there. We considered our options. Do we run? No, he was not chasing us. Do we confront, stand our ground and continue on our path just to make the point that we can? No, there was a very nice sidewalk just across the street. Do we retreat? No, that would ruin all of our plans. Do we avoid? Yes, we decided to avoid. Why? Because it was not that big of a deal, not worth the conflict.
So how can I apply this to my life? How can this encounter with a territorial goose be an example as to how I should respond in my life situation, or yours as we encounter separation and divorce?
We have to deal with a difficult situation or person. What do we do? It would greatly depend on each situation. The pros and the cons have to addressed before any action. Let's look at some options.
Should we run away? In some situations, I would say yes if there is danger involved. With an abusive spouse, I would say run far and fast.
Should we confront? Sometimes we need to. When someone lies about you or life events, when someone attempts to destroy your life and your future I think we have to respond. Yes, sometimes we need to confront even we don't feel like it. I believe we will know when to cross those lines.
Do we retreat, give up, change our life plans? For me to retreat is fine as long as it does not destroy my life goals. Do not retreat if in any way it harms you or the ones you love.
Should we avoid? I think some conflict is wise to avoid. If someone is posturing and it serves no purpose other then to build them up, I would say just avoid the conflict. They usually just want attention anyway. No need to give it.
So if you come across an aggressive goose, or ex, consider your options carefully. And of course pray for direction.
"Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me."
2 Corinthians 12:9 NLT
"God wants His grace to be completed in your weakness. You never really experience the grace unless you see the need for it—and even that realization comes by grace. The power of Jesus' grace is not fully seen until weakness is fully acknowledged. The moment you are overwhelmed with your absolute helplessness is the moment you are ready to hear Jesus say, I’m all the grace you need."
Quote above by Walk in the Word with James MacDonald
Weakness, that is what many of us feel when faced with an unwanted separation and pending divorce. The weakness found in the hurt, the fear, and the confusion. The weakness found in the unknown, the betrayal, the lies, the future. I was, as James MacDonald puts it, "overwhelmed with absolute helplessness." I prayed more than I have ever prayed. I sought Gods comfort more than I ever had. I become more familiar with his word, and it became more personal than ever before.
Would I say I am completely back to normal nearly four years away from the beginning of the trauma? The answer would have to be "not yet but still improving." For me, the "boosting in our weakness" translates into the fact that we can use our experience to help others on the same path. To show others that God's grace will guide them through their toughest and weakest of times. I believe if we hide our experience and fail to "boast" of God's help, we miss an opportunity and our pain will be wasted. I don't want that. I want to use my pain to encourage others.
Thank you for your love and grace, God.
And for your promise "I will never leave you or forsake you.
I know God loves us. I know he cares about us. But never realized that Jesus prayed for us. He did. He prayed for us in the Garden of Gethsemane. Here are a couple of versions from John 17:20.
"Neither for these alone do I pray [it is not for their sake only that I make this request], but also for all those who will ever come to believe in (trust in, cling to, rely on)
Me through their word and teaching."
“I pray not only for these, but also for those who believe in me through their word."
"I am not praying for these alone but also for the future believers
who will come to me because of the testimony of these."
He prayed not only for his followers at this time but also for us that would follow, future believers. Not only did he think about and pray for us but he did so as he was coming up on the most difficult time in his human existence.
Thank you, Jesus, for your love for us even in the dark times. Help me see past my difficulties to care for those around me. Amen.
Nothing touches me more then Christian music. This week one of my favorite songs is "Even If" by Mercy me. I like to look over song lyrics and place them in my category of The Beginning of my trauma, The Journey, finding myself again, and The Joy, that can still be found after an intense hurt. Listen to the song, it is inspirational and will touch your heart if you find yourself damaged by someone in your life.
"They say sometimes you win some
Sometimes you lose some
And right now, right now I'm losing bad"
"They say it only takes a little faith To move a mountain Well good thing A little faith is all I have, right now"
"But God, when You choose
To leave mountains unmovable
Oh give me the strength to be able to sing
It is well with my soul"
"I know You're able and I know You can Save through the fire with Your mighty hand But even if You don't My hope is You alone I know the sorrow, and I know the hurt Would all go away if You'd just say the word But even if You don't My hope is You alone It is well with my soul It is well, it is well with my soul"
I found this quote and photo on Pinterest. The statement is true. Every day is not "good" in fact the day may be horrible. There are times you just cannot see the positive because of the pain, but it is there. Let's make an attempt to see good every day on our journey. I don't know what you have to endure in your life, but God does. Remember his promise. I will never leave you or forsake you.
Thank you God:-)
Take a moment to list some of the good in your life....
Holding my 6 month old grand baby while she sleeps. So beautiful, so peaceful.
My dog who is always by my side....He is sleeping at my feet right now:-)
Friends who never give up on you even in your most difficult times.
The chill in the air and the warm fireplace.
The rain today as it waters the trees and grass.
Please leave me a reply as to the good you are finding today in your world.
God Bless You!
Karen's second suggestion is to Journal. I do journal but not consistently. I found it especially helpful when my ex first left. Through writing, I was able to find pieces of my self that were shattered. I am still finding the pieces today, nearly 4 years later.
I went online to find a few benefits of journaling and believe me there are many. If click on any of the links below you will find more info...
Positive Effects of Journaling.
Reduce stress. Writing about anger, sadness and other painful emotions helps to release the intensity of these feelings. By doing so you will feel calmer and better able to stay in the present. Psych Central
Healing Expressive writing is a route to healing — emotionally, physically, and psychologically. Dr. James Pennebaker, author of Writing to Heal has seen improved immune function in participants of writing exercises. Stress often comes from emotional blockages, and overthinking hypotheticals. He explains, “When we translate an experience into language we essentially make the experience graspable.” And in doing so, you free yourself from mentally being tangled in traumas. Huff Post
Lower Blood Pressure Because journaling lowers stress and anxiety, it can help manage high blood pressure. Dr. James Pennebaker claims that journaling strengthens T-lymphocytes, immune cells that fluctuate with stress and anxiety. Strengthening them boosts your immune system and helps keep your blood pressure low. Health and Fitness Revolution
Journals help you have a better connection with your values, emotions, and goals By journal writing about what you believe in, why you believe it, how you feel, and what your goals are, you better understand your relationships to those things. This is because you must sort through the mental clutter and provide details on why you do what you do and feel what you feel. Life Hack
Keeping a journal requires us to write out our goals. The importance of committing our desires to paper cannot be overstated. It is a simple process, but it pays great dividends. Writing out our goals provides the opportunity to articulate them clearly and makes their achievement appear closer.Becoming Minimalist
(One of the suggestions I found was to find a quiet place to journal with no distractions. As you will see in the above photo I had a distraction. Thats ok, its only Brodie:-)
For me it is just to sit down and write.
So how do I sum up journaling? For me, it is a release of my thoughts and emotions. It does confirm my faith and help me set up goals. I find it to be not only the act of writing but I direct most of my writing to God so for me it is an act of worship.
In my opinion, you should give it a try. If you have trouble coming up with how to begin, I suggest you get a journal that prompts you. Right now I am using a devotional journal...
My suggestion for today. Get out a pen and paper and grab a bar of chocolate. Hopefully it will help decrease some of your stress. I know if you are going through the pain of separation and divorce that the stress is unbearable at times. Don't give up. Remember God's promise. "I will never leave you or forsake you".
I love to travel. I love adventures. I love the turquoise waters of the Caribbean, the trails in the mountains of NC, feeling the cool breeze during a bike ride near the beach. I have a five yr old grandson, and we go on adventures. We have been to museums, the zoo, the park, the ocean and there are many other excursions that I am planning. My dog Brodie and I love to go on walking adventures together. It would be exciting if life's journeys would take us to exotic beaches, towering snowcapped mountains, and beautiful cathedrals. Wouldn't that be great? Yes, we can make some of those things happen, and I hope to. But, sometimes life's journeys are less than joyous. Life events such as death, illness, and in my case, divorce. The pain can be devastating. In these times we call out to God. Lord, please wrap your arms around us. Give us your peace, joy, and comfort no matter what adventure we find ourselves on. Please direct our path and help us to trust your direction. Help us to praise you in this amazing adventure we call life.
I love you Lord and look forward to our travels together:-)
"I trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding. In all my ways I acknowledge Him and He directs my paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Well today, Feb 9 2017, I am officially divorced. So how do I feel on this impactful day? I will try to verbalize it...
Did I ever in a million years predict that I would be divorced? No!
Did I choose to break a vow to someone I loved, or did love, or a vow to God? No!
Did I ever want to divide my family? No!
Did I ever want to put my children in in a position for an increased chance of divorce, what statically happens with divorced families? No!
Did I ever want to field questions from my grandchildren as to why they have multiple grandparents. No!
Did I want my children and grandchildren to say it is ok to throw a family member away anytime they want just because they are tired of them? No!
Did I want to fulfill my vow to God and to my husband? Yes!
Did I want to have children that could look at their parents and see love and commitment? Yes!
Did I want children that could look to their parents as an example of imperfect people trying their best to fulfill God's plan and through that example believe that a commitment to God and to each other is important? Yes!
Did I want to have grandchildren that could say that their grandparents took their vow to God and each other seriously. That family was important and thus find some stability in that family bond? Yes!
Did I want to retire with my husband and enjoy trips and wonderful times with my family! Yes!
I will always be honest. Ask me anything. I invite your questions.
I will move on to hopefully help others who have been betrayed.
I will love my girls and my grandchildren with all my heart.
I will continue to hold tightly to God knowing that he is our only true constant in this life.
I will remind myself of God's promise..."I will never leave you or forsake you"
Thank you God!
I was reading an article from Huff Post....10 Things Every Woman Going Through a Divorce Wants to Hear. I know that before my experience with separation and divorce I had no clue as to the extent of the pain. I think my reply to a woman who was going through this would have been "I am so sorry to hear that" and I would give her a hug and go on my way not realizing just how lost this person could feel. I know much better now. I know this is a pain that does not go away quickly, if ever, but it does get easier. In the early days and even beyond what do we want to hear? As I looked over her list I picked a few that I feel could be extremely helpful.
"You know I have your back"
It is so important to know that there is someone that will stand by you especially when the one you gave your life to just dropped you like a hot potato.
The reassurance that someone realizes this is not just scrape it is a deep wound.
"What do you need?"
Believe me, in the heat of the devastation you do not know what you need. This one question can help you start to think about what you do need and hopefully lead you to steps to meet those needs.
These are just a few of the things listed in this article that I could relate to.
If your friend or family member is going though this just know the pain they are in is deep and unfathomable to those who have not experienced it. Please give them lots of hugs, love, and support.
If you are in this situation don't give up. Reach out to your friends and family. Take care of yourself as much as you can and lean on your faith.
Always remember God's promise. "I will never leave you or forsake you".
I came across an article on Huff Post called Karen Carnabucci’s GPS Guide On Relieving Stress. In one portion of her writings she has a link to 100 ways to destress. I will slowly go through all 100 and see what works for me. We are all different and what works for one will not always work for another. Lets see what happens....
#1. Chocolate Meditation as found on Psychology Today. The goal is to meditate while eating a bar of chocolate. I do not have a chocolate bar so I will eat a mini Hershey's Chocolate. The directions will be underlined and in italics and my comments will be below each step.
• Open the packet. Inhale the aroma. Let it sweep over you.
I must admit I never really took the time to deliberately smell chocolate. Very nice. I closed my eyes and took slow deep breaths and it was a soothing scent.
• Break off a piece and look at it. Really let your eyes drink in what it looks like, examining every nook and cranny.
Light brown, dense yet smooth.
• Pop it in your mouth. See if it's possible to hold it on your tongue and let it melt, noticing any tendency to suck at it. Chocolate has over 300 different flavours. See if you can sense some of them.
I popped it in my mouth and yes I did notice the tendency to suck on it and I went for it. It did not last long. The flavor I came up with was chocolate:-)
• If you notice your mind wandering while you do this, simply notice where it went, then gently escort it back to the present moment.
Ok, lets see if my mind wanders. I took another small piece. The only time my mind wandered was when Brodie came up to see what was going on.
• After the chocolate has completely melted, swallow it very slowly and deliberately. Let it trickle down your throat.
Oh no! I am going way too fast. I have already melted, sucked and swallowed 2 bites.
I still have at least 2 more so let's try the slowly and deliberate trick.
So what happened? I went directly to the sucking not the melting.
I did try to swallow slowly but that did nothing for me.
• Repeat this with one other piece.
I have one more piece. Popped it in my mouth, chewed and swallowed. Yummy:-)
How do you feel? Is it different from normal? Did the chocolate taste better than if you'd just eaten it at a normal breakneck pace? Do you feel fuller that normal, more satisfied?
I feel fine. I do think I had a true chocolate experience. I don't feel fuller then normal or more satisfied. I would say that if anything in this experiment was a stress reliever it would be the scent of the chocolate. Taking the time to smell the chocolate was pleasant.
In conclusion. I have found the scent of chocolate to be soothing.
I try to listen to an online sermon every week. This week I listened to a sermon found on the Summit Church website. JD spoke of God's great love and grace to us. He spoke of his slowness to anger and our choice to follow or ignore him. If we ignore his teachings how that is our choice not God's. It's funny. I visit many churches and tire of the teachings that more or less say there is no condemnation for anything we do. Basically there are no consequences to our actions. I would disagree. So what are God's teachings for if they mean nothing? I think they do mean something and that if I choose not to follow them I believe I will be separated from God at some point. But, I do believe we make mistakes and thankfully God is slow to anger and will draw near to us with compassion and give us time to repent. Sadly many will continue in sin and never repent. So, for now, God waits because he loves us. Some quotes from the sermon...
"Heaven can only be heaven if there is no sin there"
"How many times has my sin caused somebody else pain or caused them to cry?"
"God’s holiness can’t tolerate sin."
"If you cheat on your wife and you leave her for someone else will your kids suffer because of your actions?
Of course they will!"
"A pardon is only a pardon if it is received. It can be refused."
Thank you God for being slow to anger. Thank you for such a strong love for us that you wait. I know it is our choice to separate ourselves from you, please don't allow me to do that with my life. Help me to always choose you and if I ever turn away lead me back quickly. Direct my path Lord. I love you!