Cheated on? Learn To Dance In The Rain!


 

 So many people say that being cheated on stole something very precious away from them.  They worry that they will never feel “normal” or “right” again because their ability to trust and go into a relationship with their whole heart has been seriously compromised.  They feel that something is wrong with them, that they’re not enough, and that they’re now sentenced to a life where suspicion, doubt, and fear will reign.  I understand these feelings as I went through every one of them myself after I found out my first husband cheated.  But, I’m also just fine (and much stronger) today.  Although it may not feel like it right now, it’s not only possible to recover from an affair but to emerge stronger, wiser, and actually at peace.  Let me explain what I mean.

 

Your Recovery Starts With Asking For Or Giving Yourself What You Need To Heal:  You can really divide folks who were cheated on into two categories – those who ultimately decide that they want to save their marriage or their relationship – and those who don’t.

 

For those who want to save their relationship, you will need many things from your partner or spouse to heal.  You’ll need for them to be remorseful and responsible.  You will need for them to be willing to work with you to determine what went wrong and to improve and safeguard the marriage so that no one is worrying that this will happen again.  You will need for them to be accountable so that they’re not defensive when you ask where they’ve been and who they were with.  They have nothing to hide and these requests don’t offend them.  You will need for them to give you reassurance and affection when you need it and space and solitude when you need that.  You will both need to focus on improving all aspects of your marriage or relationship so that you can restore the trust, affection, and commitment.

 

For those of you who don’t want to save your relationship, you’ll have to provide much of what I listed above for yourself.  However, by no means is this impossible just because you’re flying solo.  It’s so important to be kind to yourself, but to also be honest about any places where you may have left the relationship vulnerable and what you can learn and take away from this to improve your situation down the road.

 

Knowing The Cheating Isn’t Your Fault And Not About You: Whether you ultimately decide to stay in the relationship or not, you’ll have to work hard not to take this personally and allow it to ruin your self esteem.  You must understand that this cheating likely has less to do with you than you think.

 

People cheat because of how they feel about themselves, not about you – and sometimes, not even about the other person.  They’re trying to fix what is broken within themselves, in the desperate hopes to fix their self esteem, reassure themselves that they’re still desirable, and to try to ignite some sort of excitement in their life as a response to aging.  You cannot prevent what is going on inside them.  And you weren’t present when they made the decision to cheat.  They own this – not you.  Do not take this onto your own shoulders because it wasn’t your fault.

 

Yes, you are the innocent victim in this and it certainly hurts, but please don’t allow it to make you doubt yourself or sabotage future relationships nor your ability to trust.

Knowing That You Can Handle Whatever Comes:  I often find that people get stuck and unable to recover because of the trust issue.  They are just so afraid to be vulnerable again because this hurts so much that they don’t think that they could survive a repeat.  I understand this.  But this is also a catch 22.  Because if you aren’t able to go into a relationship with trust and an open heart, then you’re doomed before you even start.  You may as well not even bother, frankly.  You’re only giving a little piece of you, so you’re only going to get a tiny bit of what the relationship could be in return.  You deserve better than this.

 

Often at the core of trusting your partner is actually trusting yourself.  So long as you have both done the work necessary to heal, so long as you’ve worked through your problems and your partner has shown themselves to now be remorseful and trustworthy, you have to make a conscious decision that you are strong enough to handle whatever comes your way.  You have to know that you are enough and that they are lucky to have you!  If they don’t see this or forget it, then that’s going to be their problem, not yours.

 

Restoring Your Self Esteem:  A huge part of recovering from being cheating on is restoring your self esteem.  As I said, you’ll start to wonder how you could’ve been so stupid and why you apparently weren’t pretty or interesting enough to hold your partner’s interest.  I hope that this article has shown you that the cheating is due to their shortcomings rather than yours.

 

With that said though, you will need to take responsibility for healing your self esteem.  Beyond understanding that this wasn’t your fault, there are other things that you can do to heal.  Being cheated upon brings out all of our insecurities that have always bothered us (and were always lurking under the surface) to the forefront.  Use this as an opportunity to tackle these things once and for all.

 

As an example, deep in the back of my mind, it always worried me that I had put my career on hold to care for my husband when he was hurt at work and help tutor him in college since he had Dyslexia and would accept no other tutor.  The affair was the wake up call I needed to get back to me again.  I also addressed insecurities that I had about my appearance.  I lost weight and got myself strong physically and mentally.  These things made me feel proactive and went a long way toward making me realize that I was in fact good enough and could now handle whatever came my way.

It wasn’t easy and I’m certainly not saying I breezed through it.  It only takes the first step and you CAN and WILL focus on you for a change!  And yes there were tears and self-doubts.  However, those tears and doubts began being replaced by determination, confidence and will to survive.

 

I know this is a very difficult time but your future is the light at the end of your painful tunnel.  You need to realize that the potential here for you is significant.  Remember that banner on my blog?  It says:

 

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Climbing Out of The Darkness


 Delicate as a Butterfly

Even though you may no longer be in an abusive situation, the emotional scars can linger for years. Learn how to shed the negative programming and start healing.

Letting go of the victim mentality can be difficult to shed.  For many people, the emotional abuse they’ve endured has stripped away their self esteem and left emotional scars that linger for years.  It’s not uncommon for victims to feel responsible or even feel that they deserved the abuse they received.

It’s this type of thinking that allows the negative thoughts to keep their hold on the victim.  Learning to face the past so that they can move forward in a more positive direction is key.  The victim needs to understand that what happened is not their fault and that no one deserves to be treated badly.

Look at the situation from a different perspective.  Would you allow your best friend to be treated in such a manner or to blame themselves?  Of course not.  You’d try to show them that, like you, they are a person of value and should be treated as such.

 

Climbing Out of the Darkness

You may not be able to control the thoughts or actions of those around you, but you can control how you respond.  Declare to yourself that you are a survivor and then lift yourself to that higher level.  No one can keep you down unless you allow them to.

It takes a conscious effort to decide to stop wearing the label of victim, but somewhere inside is a happy, functioning, vibrant person just waiting to break free.  It just takes some direction and perseverence.

Follow these tips to start rebuilding your self-esteem and get on the road to recovery:

  1. Talk to a counselor or support group
  2. Avoid negative people and situations
  3. Stop dwelling on the past and look toward the future.  Set goals for yourself
  4. When you find yourself focusing on negative thoughts, remind yourself of your positives
  5. Make new, positive friends
  6. Join a group activity and become involved in it
  7. Indulge in humor
  8. Learn to accept compliments
  9. Read a book on building self-esteem and follow the examples
  10. Don’t allow yourself to be labeled

Healing emotional wounds takes time.  Each person must progress at their own speed. Keep reminding yourself that other people have made it through and became better people for it.  Focus on your positives and leave the negative thought patterns behind.

By letting go of the past programming and becoming a survivor, you are taking control of your own life.  Learn to have faith in yourself and your strengths.  As long as you continue to focus on rising above, you will achieve your goal.

Bet You don’t Know Who’s Depressed?


You may be surprised by who in your immediate realm of friends, neighbours and co-workers may suffer from depression.  In fact, your family could certainly suffer as well.  There are a few things which could help you with any of them and that’s why I’m writing about it here.  I’ve been asked fairly often enough questions of friends and acquaintances that I’ve decided to let folks know whatever I have learned in order to help them cope with others who either have this illness or help others dealing with family who have the illness.

Please realize you cannot cure someone else’s clinical depression.  It’s not just sadness which can be waved off with a few kind words.  And “no” you cannot “just get over it.”  It goes far deeper than that.  If you’re going into this with the heroic notion that you can somehow “fix” it for your friend, spouse or relative, then you need to disavow it immediately.  Operating on this assumption will only frustrate you and does no one any good.

There are ups and downs in depression recovery.  It is neither swift, nor steady.  Your friend or relative is going to go on the decline now and then.  Don’t think it’s because you are failing them or they are not trying hard enough.  The “roller-coaster” effect is just a part and parcel of depression.

Please don’t tell a depression patient that “you understand.”  Unless you yourself have experienced clinical depression, you don’t understand.  And your friend, spouse or relative knows it.  It’s not a bad thing as understanding depression means having it.  I’d rather no one, anywhere, understood it.  The point here is to be honest with your friend or relative and don’t profess things that aren’t so.  Sincerity will help him or her a great deal; it will engender trust, which every depression patient has a problem with, at one time or another.

No one wants to make your life miserable by being depressed.  Try not to view someone else’s depression as your own affliction.  Rather, be grateful you don’t have depression and try to realize what the other person is going through.  Don’t take the things your friend, spouse or relative says/does, personally.  They aren’t meant that way truly.

Recovery from depression is not just a matter of taking anti-depressant medication and going to therapy.  Both the depression and recovery from it can totally change a person’s life.  Treatment involves a lot of fundamental changes in a person.  At times, you’ll wonder if it’s the same person you’ve known for so long.  Believe me, it is–the depression probably hid the “real person” from your view, up to the point that he or she was diagnosed and began treatment.

At times, it may seem that the person is actually pushing you away.  This is very likely true.  Most depression patients believe that they unduly affect those around them and will do anything to prevent that from happening.  Thus they isolate themselves from others.  This kind of self-sabotage is actually a symptom of the illness itself.  Don’t let it overcome your relationship. Try to understand this is often involuntary and irrational, and act accordingly.

Can You Help Someone Who’s Depressed?  I cannot tell you precisely what is best for your friend, spouse or relative.  I can only give you some guidelines from what I’ve experienced and researched.  The rest is entirely up to you.

Don’t ask very general questions; you won’t get a meaningful answer.  As an example: Rather than asking “How are you?” ask “How are you today compared to yesterday or last week?” or something of this kind.  Make the question open-ended, so the person can say what he or she wants, but provide something specific for them to talk about.

Try to get the person out.  They will want to isolate themselves –hibernate, even– but this is exactly what should not happen.  Try to take walks with them, or go shopping or go to a movie, whatever you have to, to get the person out of their environment they’re trying to take shelter in.  You may get some resistance, and even complaints; be somewhat persistent but not unreasonable.  You don’t want to push them away.

Don’t be afraid to let your spouse, relative or friend talk about whatever they want to.  And this is important: Even if they mention self-injury, or they are suicidal, you are not endangering them by listening.  Actually, you are helping to protect them from those things; talking helps them deal with these feelings.

Keep an eye out for any changes in their behavior.  These can include loss of or heightened appetite, sleep habits such as insomnia or sleeping too much, over drinking of alcohol or drug abuse, anything at all.  Any major changes may be a sign of trouble.

Little things go a long way for someone with clinical depression.  Small gifts and favors seem much bigger to them than to you.  Don’t be afraid to (for example) leave the person a short note with a smiley face on it.  Even if it seems silly or hokey, small considerations will help.

 

Non-depressed people have a difficult time understanding depression; which is completely understandable.  Depression is not a weakness, a character flaw, a personality trait, or anything of that kind.  It’s not God‘s punishment for past sins either.  It’s not karma catching up with something the person did in a past life.  It’s not someone just being too sensitive, believe me.  It’s not laziness or even immaturity.  It’s exceedingly real and very terribly serious.  No one does anything to deserve it.  And you did nothing to cause someone in your life to become clinically depressed.

Depression is also not just the emotion of sadness.  In fact, many people suffering with depression experience numbness, or no emotion, rather than sadness.  It is called a “mood disorder” but this is a misnomer, in that it can go way beyond someone’s mood.  Depression can totally disrupt someone’s thinking, in every way.

Depression is also not an excuse.  Having this illness doesn’t absolve anyone of responsibility for themselves.  Don’t make the mistake of letting a depression patient “off the hook” because of his or her illness.  Point out any transgressions and explain what went wrong, and make sure the person understands it.  However, getting angry or vindictive does no good either. Keep criticism constructive.  And stick by your friend or relative; you will find that it pays off in the end.

It’s difficult accepting depression in someone else.  Just as any depression patient must learn to accept his or her illness, and work on overcoming it, so you must accept that they have a mood disorder.  Since recovering is really a matter of work on the patient’s part, it’s impossible to start doing this work until one accepts that one must do it.  By the same token, you will find it impossible to deal with someone else’s depression, unless you accept that he or she has an illness–a very real one.

From what I’ve seen, this is one of the hardest things for friends and family to do.  I will not kid you into thinking that this is easy.  It’s not.  Accepting an illness in someone else, that you don’t understand and never will (hopefully), is not a simple or trivial matter.  Above all, don’t blame yourself for it.  No one can “make” another person depressed, so don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you caused it.

This is just as important as anything else!   You offer nothing to someone else if you’re stressed out.  If you need to, take some time away from the depressed person.  It will give you a better perspective on things and unravel frustrations and tensions.  Just make sure that your friend or relative knows that you’re still committed to him or her, anyway.  You can even tell him/her that you’re taking “time out” for yourself, so you can better help. (It’s true.)

Kids Unhappy Left Alone – Are Dogs Also? You Bet !


 

Leaving for work in the morning sometimes isn’t a happy experience for many folks. It’s not that you don’t love your job necessarily but you hate it when you have to leave your pets home alone, just like when folks have to leave their little kids behind.  A lot of animals aren’t particularly fond of it either.  Many dog lovers tell how sad they (and their dogs) feel when they go out of the house for their jobs, on errands, or even to have some fun on their own.  More activities are becoming dog-friendly but for the most part, time outside the home is time that you don’t get to spend with your dog.

Dogs have very little to occupy their time while you’re gone, especially if they’re the only pet in the household.  We’re their entertainment.  Some dogs are content to nap away their day while you’re away.  Other dogs have a much harder time coping with the situation when they’re home all alone.  These dogs can suffer from boredom, stress or separation anxiety.

How do you know if your dog is unhappy about being left alone?

Some dogs make their displeasure quite obvious by leaving behind a trail of destruction.  You could return home to find your furniture or personal belongings chewed up, the garbage ransacked, paper or pillows chewed to shreds, or you may find that your dog has vomited, urinated or defecated in the house.  Some dogs eat everything in sight when you’re away, and others become almost anorexic.  Some dogs groom themselves incessantly to calm their nerves.  Others vocalize their dissatisfaction by howling, whining and barking while you’re away.  And if you have neighbors nearby, you’re sure to hear about it!

If your dog is bored, anxious, depressed or destructive while you’re away, “environmental enrichment” can help.  This is the act of adding interesting items to your dog’s surroundings to safely entertain them.  When you give your dog plenty of fun things to do and see, his unhappy time alone can be transformed into a very satisfying day.  Here are some suggestions:

• Hire a dog walker, even if it’s every so often
• Invest in doggy day care at least a couple of days a week
• Leave plenty of fun toys for your dog (like puzzle toys that you fill with treats, or even the newer created interactive toys they enjoy for hours of fun)
• Tire him out with some active play before you go

 

I’m fortunate my three girls, while not necessarily liking whenever I go out, do not destroy nor ruin anything in the house.  The worst they do, which is actually good to me, is that they leave all their toys all over the living room.  But then I know that they’ve been playing and having fun which is so good for them.  And what I’ve tried to do on many an occasion is to bring a new toy to them upon my return if it happened to be a longer time away from home.  Or just a small biscuit treat after they hug me upon my return.  It concentrates on the fact they were good while I was gone.  So much so that as I arrived home recently, one of my white boxers, Casey, brought a toy to me to show, “See I’ve been good and playing!”

 

 

To Feel Love Again … Ditto


 

 

“Remember everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something and has lost something”

 

When you lose love in your life, there is a huge hole left, a gaping hole in your heart where love dwelt.  It doesn’t matter how that love was lost – natural causes, suicide, old age, accident … loss is painful.  Loss of love hangs over you as a black cloud, raining upon daily life.  And depending upon loss of whom – be it a parent, a child, a spouse, a friend – the damage to your heart can be long-term and feel endless.

“Real loss only occurs when you love something more than yourself.”

However, there is a glimpse of a positive aspect.  I know this first-hand after losing the love of my life, my sweet husband, due to suicide.  It has now been 28 months as of September 4th that he is gone from this world.  Too soon, too hurtful, too sad.  I faced so many unperceivable emotions during this time.  Yet there is happiness in my life now.  The light is brighter in my heart and my soul can breathe again.  It was a lesson in breathing which began to teach me I could live again and be truly alive through the sadness.

The term “light at the end of the tunnel” is something which makes you believe that a difficult or unpleasant situation will end.  I’ve lost love through several situations in my life.  Loss of husband, parents, siblings, friends all feel just a bit different; the loss of my husband being the worst ever.  Suicide is devastating and you never, ever get over it.  I have learned, however, that you can live through it and “yes” you can even allow happiness to shine on you again.

My writing back nearly two and one-half years ago was what I call black writing.  It was meaningful and important, yet bleak and dark.  My life was altered forever.  With the love of friends and what I believe are my angels surrounding me, I purposefully brought life back into my heart.  Life trailed along in the form of furry pets, my three beautiful girls.  These girls are three dogs I’ve rescued, or really who rescued me.

 

Fast forward to present day and I am profoundly happier and feel so much love through these lovable creatures from God.  Love shows through and takes hold in so many ways and not just from furry creatures.  My friends have been guiding beams of light as my ship sailed without a compass for a while.  Many a stormy night presented itself during these 28 months, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you that I still have “those days” or “those nights” when sadness consumes me.  After all, when you have real love and lose it in this world, is it forgotten one day?  Then again, I must ask you is that love you feel you’ve lost truly lost?

 

 

Many, if not most, reading this right now have seen the movie, “Ghost” when Patrick Swayze says to Demi Moore, “It’s amazing, Molly.  The love you have inside, you take it with you.”

 

 

That love is what I miss in the here and now.  But it’s NOT gone.  It’s still here in my heart and always will be.  And I believe Swayze’s quote – Martin did take his love and mine with him!  The part I miss is the physical Martin in this life.  He was gone all too soon.  Although in life, we are never guaranteed what forever means.  We have no guarantees other than to LIVE life.  And that, my dearest friends, is the key element to life.  We “must live life” in order to love and feel and be happy again.

“If you’re alone, I’ll be your shadow.  If you want to cry, I’ll be your shoulder.  If you want a hug, I’ll be your pillow.  If you need to be happy, I’ll be your smile.  But anytime you need a friend, I’ll just be me.”