7 ways you’re being disrespected (reposting from Dr. Henry Cloud)

I’m reposting this from Dr. Henry Cloud’s: https://www.boundaries.me/p/boundaries-are-your-path-to-freedom My experience with Dr. Cloud’s resources are superb and they have helped me over the years.

Hey, guys.

No matter what kind of relationship you’re in — family, personal, romantic or professional — part of building boundaries means that you need to know that your feelings, needs and freedom are respected. When someone is uncomfortable in a situation, or is hurt by a sarcastic remark, or becomes angry with a broken promise, that is a signal that something is going on. The other person needs to take those feelings seriously. Both people need to talk about what triggered this, and solve the problem.

Disrespect may come out in several ways, and it usually involves some violation of freedom in one of seven ways:

1. Dominating: The other person won’t hear “no.” When you disagree with someone, the other intimidates, threatens, or rages. They are offended by your freedom to choose.

2. Withdrawal: One person pulls away when the other exercises some freedom or difference. They may isolate, sulk, or be silent. But they are passively punishing you for your differentness.

3. Manipulating: One person shows disrespect by subtle stratagems designed to make the other person change his mind.

4. Direct violation: The person disrespects by continuing the same hurtful action, even after being asked not to.

5. Minimizing: One person says the other person’s negative feelings are simply an overreaction.

6. Blaming: You talk about a problem, but the other person indicates that you caused the problem. For example, a man will tell his girlfriend that it hurts when she makes fun of him in public. She might respond with, “If you would pay more attention to me, I wouldn’t have to resort to that.”

7. Rationalizing: The other person denies responsibility for whatever caused the problem. There’s always an excuse.

Post Divorce Parenting or How Divorce Made Me A Better Father

It may be counterintuitive to say divorce made me a better father, but that’s the case for me. “It takes two to Tango” as the cliche goes and unless there is blatant physical, mental, drug/alcohol abuse by only one party it takes two to create the problems that lead to divorce.

Unfortunately, where there are children involved the issues are immeasurably complicated. For one thing no one asks to be born into this world! We arrive and from our first desperate cries for attention, food, warmth and love, and we rely on our parents to provide those things. When those parents are in some way lacking (and we all are as human beings with hangups, habits and hurts) problems ensue. Healthy parents figure out healthy ways to work together, but therein lies the problem!

Often what one parent thinks is a healthy way to raise a child is very different from the other parent’s thinking. There could be issues from the way the parent was brought up by their own mother or father! Tonya Harding is now being interviewed on national television clearly denouncing the brutal upbringing she received from her own mother which scarred her for life.

All of this makes marriage with children more difficult because when two people coming together who are not emotionally, mentally, physically healthy to the degree where fighting and arguments and other dysfunction occur the children will be scarred.

What to do? As mentioned in previous posts Codependents Dance two incomplete people do not complete each other. In fact two halves do not make a whole, but a dysfunctional family. And that leads me to the title of this post! Did I make mistakes in my marriage? Absolutely! Did my now X-wife also make mistakes? Absolutely! We would each argue the other caused problems, but I would say now after several years of divorce, the real problem was we should have never gotten married in the first place. My X told me she didn’t know if she loved me enough to get married, but I was codependent and needy emotionally in 1992 and begged her to try. Mistake one!

We waited eight years to have our first child so it was not an accident. We stayed married for almost eighteen years when in the summer of 2009 my X started an affair. I wanted to reconcile at first, but discovered that was a dead end because my X had no desire to do anything than to get out and pursue her affair.

So we co-parent, but only because I fought tooth and nail for my full joint physical and legal custody and to require my X to stay within a reasonable distance within a 30 to 45 min. drive from my home in Lake County, Illinois in order to participate in my daughter’s school activities. My X predictably wanted to try to put as much distance as she could between herself and me and I would argue was not able to see what was best for our daughters this created a Why is My Divorce Legal Bill so High?! situation.

At one point during the divorce my X actually told the court through her second of four total attorneys hired after each of their predecessors did not get her where she wanted to go that “she doesn’t think she can co-parent with me.” Thus sets the stage for a great co-parenting relationship. Not!

After 7 years from when the divorce started and 5 years from when the 3-year long divorce was finalized I believe we now have a good co-parenting relationship, but only through many fights and working hard to swallow pride, ego and try to really figure out what’s best for the children. Something that is continually evolving and not easy because we are all flawed human beings.

This will begin phase II of the Divorce Recovery Blog. I welcome your comments. More soon.

The Gray Divorce Epidemic

I’m reposting this email I just received today because it’s powerful and insightful. Hope you find it helpful!

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The Gray Divorce Epidemic

by Michele Weiner-Davis Reprinted from Bottom Line Personal

As a marriage therapist who helps couples avoid unnecessary divorce, I find it reassuring that the divorce rate in our county has stabilized. But there’s a notable exception: Divorce is on the rise among people age 50 and older who have been married for 20 to 30 years.

According to data from the National Center for Health Statistics and the US Census Bureau, the number of married couples in their 50s who call it quits has doubled since the 1990s. Among couples age 65 and older, ­divorces have tripled since 1990.

This trend to divorce later in life even has a name-the gray divorce.

Here’s what you can do to save your marriage…

WHY DIVORCE NOW?

There are many reasons why long-term marriages are breaking up…

* Kids leaving home. When children still are home, people who are unhappily married often choose to put aside their own unhappiness, fearing that divorce will negatively impact their children. They opt to make the best of the situation until the kids are launched.

Divorces are common when the youngest child leaves home.

* Feeling disconnected. The early stages of marriage typically are characterized by feelings of strong physical attraction and infatuation. But over time, this mutual love affair wanes. Spouses start leading separate lives. They focus on their careers, children, extended family, friends, hobbies and other commitments… anything but each other. 

Eventually, loneliness and emotional disconnection set in.

* Remarriage. Older people often are in second or third marriages-which, overall, have significantly higher rates of divorce than first marriages. Stressors arising from complicated stepfamily dynamics, challenging ex-spouses and overwhelming financial responsibilities often are at the root of why these marriages end.

* Increased life expectancy. It’s not uncommon for people in their 50s or 60s to live another 20 to 30 years. Many seniors are wondering whether they ­really want to spend what remains of their lives with their current ­partners-and finding that the answer is no.

* In search of more energetic partners. If two partners have decidedly different levels of energy or ability or interest in engaging in activities requiring vitality-such as sex, athletics or active hobbies-the more vibrant spouse might desire a more active ­partner.

* Focusing on oneself. Some people complain that during the course of their marriages, their own needs have taken a backseat to caretaking for others-spouses, children, parents and in-laws.

Believing that “time is running out,” there is a growing sense of urgency to nurture oneself instead. Divorce is viewed as an opportunity to redefine and refocus one’s life.

REASONS NOT TO GET A GRAY ­DIVORCE 

Although the idea of getting a new lease on life might be appealing, there are good reasons to be cautious about ending a marriage later in life.

In their quiet moments, many people who divorce later in life-even those who are happily divorced-express sadness about not being able to reminisce together about good times, share family holidays and other important events, or even rejoice in grandchildren together.

Furthermore, the idea that older children aren’t affected by their parents’ divorces simply isn’t true. Research suggests that children of all ages-even adult children-often struggle tremendously when their parents ­divorce. They wonder, Isn’t anything permanent in life? They worry about the viability of their own marriages.

Because mature adult children are believed to be emotionally equipped to deal with the challenges of divorce, parents often openly discuss details about their failing marriages, leaving their children feeling caught in the middle.

Although some gray divorcees yearn for the solitude that single life has to offer, others fantasize about finding new, more compatible partners with whom they can create healthier, more loving relationships.

But “gray dating” isn’t necessarily easy. Becoming single again after many years of marriage has its challenges.

Finally, because many gray divorcees are retired-or close to it-they may be living on fixed incomes that don’t go nearly as far when split between two independent people as when shared by a couple. This can diminish the quality of life and create financial worries.

HOW TO PREVENT A GRAY DIVORCE  

Some older couples think, We’ve made it this far…we don’t need to do anything different now. But if your marriage still is strong and you don’t want to wake up one morning thinking, We have nothing in common anymore, you have to make your marriage your number-one priority.

Your marriage should take ­precedence over kids, careers, hobbies, extended family and any other commitments. This means spending regular time together as a couple and checking in with each other daily. Also…

* Break out of communication ruts. Couples who have been together a long time can get stuck in ineffective ways of communicating. If you’re upset about something in your relationship but avoid discussing it or find conversations about it to be nonproductive or hurtful, over time it will destroy your feelings of love for your partner.

Although all marriages have their ups and downs, when resentment, hurt and anger are ever-present, it is essential to address and resolve underlying issues. If communication problems are at the root of destructive interactions, it’s easy to think that you’re both so set in your ways after being married for so long that change isn’t possible. But this simply isn’t true. When motivated, people can make life-altering changes that profoundly improve the quality of relationships.

Learning new relationship skills is one way to achieve these fundamental changes. Marriage-education classes offered by mental health professionals, religious organizations and universities can be extremely helpful. Simply Google “marriage education” in your area to find a local class. Also, self-help books outlining how to have successful relationships can be useful.

* Don’t give up on compliments. Science tells us that our brains have a negativity bias-that is, we’re most likely to notice things that are problematic. Although this vigilance serves us in terms of survival, it’s extremely detrimental in marriage. 

Constantly focusing on what your spouse does wrong creates resentment, anger and hurt, which in turn leads to emotional distance. 

Instead, couples in healthy relationships focus most on what their spouses do right. They are diligent about expressing appreciation and gratitude. Older couples sometimes stop giving each other compliments in the mistaken belief that they’re not necessary. 

But making a habit of complimenting your spouse a few times a day is a powerful way to build goodwill and friendship-an important foundation for a lasting marriage.

* Keep it sexy. Reaching midlife does not mean giving up on staying fit and having a satisfying sexual relationship. In fact, many couples in their 50s and 60s (and beyond) report having active sex lives.

As people age, however, what they find sexually arousing changes. What “worked” in their 20s may be quite different from what “works” in their 50s or 60s. That’s why ongoing open communication about sexual ­preferences is imperative.

Often one spouse is more interested in sex than the other. In itself, this is not a problem-as long as the couple finds a way to bridge this desire gap so that they both can be happy. When the lower-desire spouse consistently rejects his/her partner’s sexual advances, it causes deep resentment, hurt and, eventually, anger.

For the lower-desire spouse, anger is a big turnoff, making sex even less likely. For more on how to address this, read my article “When a Spouse Doesn’t Want to Have Sex.”

* Break the routine. Older couples can get stuck in routines. But happily married couples continually reinvent themselves. They are creative. They have a passion for breaking out of the mold. Novelty keeps relationships fresh…and that freshness keeps people interested.

What to do: Do some of the things your spouse loves to do even if you’re not crazy about those things. Experiment with new hobbies that you can do together. Travel to new places. Try new kinds of recipes and restaurants. Even if you have two left feet, take a dance class together. Having more time available in later life makes engaging in new activities more feasible.

* Get help. If you’ve tried the steps in this article and still are thinking of getting a divorce, seek qualified professional help. Look for a therapist who specializes in marriage therapy and understands the issues you are facing as you age. The website of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT.org) offers a helpful “therapist locator” tool.

(Another great resource: Divorcebusting® Telephone Coaching) 

Source: Michele Weiner-Davis, LCSW, is founder of The Divorce Busting® Center in Boulder, Colorado, that helps on-the-brink couples save their marriages. She is the best-selling author of eight books including Healing from InfidelityThe Sex-Starved Marriage and The Divorce Remedy, and is a TEDx speaker on the topic of the Sex-Starved Marriage

Date: December 1, 2017 Publication: Bottom Line Personal

Warmly,

Michele

p.s.  I’m always interested in your comments. Write me: michele@divorcebusting.com 

 ©Michele Weiner-Davis  All Rights Reserved

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For more advice and help, read my latest book: Healing from Infidelity, The Divorce Busting® Guide to Rebuilding Your Marriage After an Affair.

My newest program for professionals:

HEALING FROM INFIDELITY: A PROGRAM FOR PROFESSIONALS 

Now including 6.5 CE Credits at no additional cost.

For advance information on my Summer 2018 professional training opportunities in Boulder sign up here.

Michele Weiner-Davis

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Codependents Dance

A friend recently contacted me to say he thought this might be his marital relationship which is now a filed and proceeding divorce. See 7 min. video clip below. I agreed with him that he was being manipulated by a narcissistic soon to be x wife. I am not a psychologist and my opinion of his relationship is based on observations over the years of this man and his soon to be x wife and my own codependent recovery journey.

Many times people that are not whole and healthy psychologically “hook-up” and each half of a not complete person “completes” the other. This is what is joked about in Codependents Anonymous circles as the “Jerry McGuire Syndrome,” and notable experts such as Dr. Henry Cloud also correctly tell us that two incomplete people do NOT complete each other, but reduce each other through unhealthy co-dependence.

We also know that it may be possible to get healthy together if BOTH people in the relationship are willing to admit and work on their own faults, hang ups and habits, but it is also just as likely they won’t and stay together in a dysfunctional dance for years, decades, a lifetime or at least “until the children are grown,” and then have to look at each other and see a stranger in the “empty nest.”

I can’t tell you what to do. You must discover what is best for yourself. Hopefully some of the posts and resources here can help you. See http://locator.coda.org/ for more on Codependence.

Holidays Can be Tough!

Whether you’re just struggling through the holidays and still married or in the middle of a divorce or post divorce (See How Church Divorce Recovery Groups and The Law May Differ) post here in this blog and think about and pray about (if you have a faith or believe in a higher power), read some of the other posts here and consider carefully. I hope this blog helps you to make the right decision for yourself and your family!