Acceptance, Challenging Beliefs, Family, Relationships, Romantic Relationships

“I’m engaged!”And why I’m looking forward to a less than perfect marriage.

So I have some great news to share with you all! The other night my beloved boyfriend of nearly 3 years surprised me by popping the question, and I said yes!

We’d been to one of the most heartfelt and joyous weddings that I’d even been to just days prior to him asking me to marry him.

And whilst I’d like to think that it was the romance of the wedding that had swept over him the truth be told I think it had more to do with a big fight we had the next day. By big, I mean the biggest we’ve ever had. This fight combined with a quote from Pulp Fiction has led me to one of the most joyous and loving places I’ve ever been in.

In the lead up to the weekend I was stressing out about a decision which I didn’t need to make. Rather than just go along and deal with the problem if it ever arose, I took it upon myself to try and find some hypothetical solutions to what is a hypothetical problem.

In other words I was making shit up in my head, a little trait that I’ve tended towards oh too many times.

After speaking with a dear friend about it, and given our mutual love of Pulp Fiction, I was sent this pic below and then a really profound message.

My new favourite quote from my old favourite movie.  Thanks HS. :)

My new favourite quote from my old favourite movie. Thanks HS. 🙂

“I know what it’s like to get in your head too much, but if you turn it to a point of appreciation it actually puts you back on track to where you are wanting to go, rather than beating your self up for not being exactly where you want to be…and bitch be cool!”

I was really touched by the message, it resonated deeply with me and it wasn’t the first time that the answer to me feeling better about a situation lay in appreciation.  It annoys me so much though, because for heavens sake I know this stuff; I teach it for a living.

But in a weird way me forgetting to adhere to my own advice is great validation for what I do, an outsider is able to bring so much more to a situation, particularly when we are too close to it to see the bigger picture. It’s the whole forest through the trees thing.

The day after the lovely wedding my beloved and I had a stupid fight over something stupid. We had a perfect storm brewing, we’ve had visitors for a few weeks, we’re renovating and this has meant that at the moment our bedroom is in the living room without a wall or a door.

We hadn’t connected, communicated or spent anytime together in weeks and our little wheels fell off. Niggles would arise that we couldn’t talk about because we didn’t have the privacy and then another and another until boom.

Here’s the good news. At the point of boom I did something that I rarely do. I didn’t freak out and get into my head; I didn’t let the boom expand into the reaches of my hypothetical future. I told myself “bitch be cool”.

I told myself “we’ll sort this out, we always do”, I appreciated all that we have together and I chilled out about our relationship not yet being where I want it to be in 5, 10 or 20 years time.

Early on, my last wedded union was riddled with me comparing it to my parent’s marriage and being frustrated at how short we came up. Even after my mother generously shared with me,

“You never saw your father and I in our first five years of marriage, so stop comparing yourself to where we are now after years and years of hard work.”

I wanted it sorted; I wanted to just get to the destination without having to experience the pain of the journey. This is a little habit of mine too from as long as I can remember. Many a time I have managed to avoid the perceived pain of a situation but I’ve also avoided the exhilaration and the joy of it.

So there I was, after the ‘blow up’ feeling closer to my beloved than ever. I’ve finally accepted that one, or two or many blow ups don’t mean that it is all going to turn to dust. My father gave me some fantastic advice (which I didn’t take on board either) on the eve of my first wedding. He said,

“Your mother and I have worked out a balance where 10% of the time I’m impossible to live with and 10% of the time she is. As long as we try and spend most of our time living in that 80% then that’s my definition of a really happy marriage.”

Our new engagement as well as being in a serious relationship again in general, has led me to reflect upon so much within my first marriage. I can hand on my heart honestly say that I never let my ex have his 10%. I was always on his arse about everything.

Fix this about yourself, this annoys me, change this, give me more, take from me less; I just went on and on. But I sure as hell expected my 10% to be accepted and understood with patience and empathy.

With the benefit of hindsight I firmly believe that if I’d just allowed my previous relationship not to be perfect from the beginning then it may very well have developed and blossomed into the relationship of my dreams.

This insight has infused me with great confidence going into a second marriage, great confidence as well as great responsibility. For I now believe that I have a lot more control over how successful this marriage can be then I even dare to acknowledge.

I firmly believe that most relationship problems can be fixed from just one side, even my beloved Dr Phil talks about this when he frequently refers to “it only talking one person to be a hero and step up.”

My previous quest for perfection was always outwardly focused, “you need to fix this”, “you need to change”, “you’ve made me feel this way”. Never once did I come from a position of responsibility and used the words “I am”, “I’m going to love you just as you are without asking you to change for me”, “I’m going to be patient and kind with you because I believe in all that you are”, “I’m going to focus on loving you rather than on being right”, “I’m going to strive for a loving connection, rather than perfection”.

Now I can see how, even unknowingly that my hunt for perfection used weapons of criticism, judgement and control to bring my ex-husband down.

Where as a hunt for a loving connection uses tools of acceptance, understanding and patience to build up.

Moving forward in this relationship these are my great quests,

  • To let our relationship be exactly what it is for now.
  • To remember that nothing remains the same, both in our relationship and as individuals, we can’t help but to grow, expand, change and move forward and sometimes that is going to be frustrating and other times it is going to be awesome.
  • To focus on appreciating all that my new husband-to-be, myself and our relationship is, rather than all that it’s not.
  • And to remember “To be cool!” when things aren’t perfect.

So back to the proposal, fresh from my revelations from the weekend, the Monday just afterwards was my birthday. I take birthdays very seriously, perhaps too seriously, and last year’s was a debacle. I left all of the planning up to my beloved and as birthdays aren’t very important to him, long story short; he managed to drop the ball in a spectacular way…from my perspective anyway.

So this year rather than brace myself for another flop, I positioned myself in a place where I was opened to giving him the benefit of the doubt as well as letting go any expectation that he would do anything special for me. I would just let it be what it was going to be and offer love and appreciation regardless.

I spent the entire day appreciating all of the wonderful things both big and small in my life; and boy oh boy, isn’t that a good recipe for a joyful and happy birthday.

I had a fantastic day, I was high on life and chilled out about birthdays being a part of his 10%, and then the most wonderful thing happened. Genuinely free from any judgement or expectation he absolutely nailed the whole birthday thing and then went on to nail the whole proposal thing.

He’s had the ring for over 6 months and had been waiting for the right moment. I’ve been banging on about the perfect proposal, hot air balloons and those YouTube videos of ‘The Best Proposal Ever!’

I think it was no coincidence that the minute I stopped pushing for everything to be perfect, my life played itself out in ways which were more beautiful than I could have imagined.

So to all you stress heads and perfectionists out there allow me to grace you with these final words, “Bitches be cool!”

Leanne xx

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Much Love & Appreciation

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Challenging Beliefs, Forgiveness, Friendships, Relationships, Romantic Relationships

Is it Me? Do I Need to Change?

Hi Leanne,

Last night my brother sat me down and gave me a long list of the faults that he saw in me and now I have no idea what to do with it all. I feel like he read me like a book, being my brother he knows me inside out so he hit on some pretty big home truths.

He said if I didn’t change then he was done with me, that he has reached the end of his patience.

His list was long; I try to be a good person but I know I have a lot of demons and I don’t even know where to begin.

I have my own a family and a partner I love, a job that I’m good at and close friends who I also want to keep happy. 

I’m feeling really hurt and confused but also pretty helpless as I want to fix this but I don’t know how to or if I even should try. I really love my brother and want to do what I can. Where do I start?

Regards,

E.W

Hi E.W,

The reason you don’t know where to start is because this isn’t your journey. Your intuition can’t guide you in this situation because your intuition disagrees with the entire premise that there is anything wrong with you.

The negatives that your brother is seeing in you are his discomforts, they are about him. The uncomfortable feelings that you are experiencing from receiving his message however is all about you. (I’ll explain this part a little later on with an analogy about scruffy hair.)

Now I wouldn’t recommend confronting him about the mechanisms behind why he is striking out simply because it may just add fuel to his fire rather than help. What you need to know is that all he is attempting to do by having this conversation with you is to feel better. The way he has gone about it though clearly needs some work, but ultimately this is his journey. The one thing that you can do which may help him to feel better in the interim is just to listen and be open to hearing what he has to say.

This doesn’t mean that you have to agree with him, or that you have to commit to making any changes. Just listen to him and let him know that you’ve heard him by repeating his concerns back to him. Ask him to clarify anything that you don’t understand and then let him know that you appreciate that he has been able to share this with you and that you’ll have a good think about it.

And this will be the truth, because from the tone in your letter I’m guessing that this is all that you have been thinking about. So this is where I come in, my wish is to help you move past this E.W.

Firstly I want you to understand that the qualities that your brother is seeing in you which are causing him so much discomfort are the qualities that he doesn’t love about himself. The really interesting part is they are also the things that you are unsure about within yourself too. So by attempting to soothe him, the process will bring comfort to your own insecurities as well.

What is going on here is you are a mirror to all that your brother is struggling with. And here’s the thing, if you changed for him as he has asked you to do, and stopped reflecting what he doesn’t like; then he’d go and find another mirror which is identical to what you are reflecting to him now.

He is looking for answers and help to soothe the way he feels about the aspects of himself that he doesn’t like. He wants to find someone with the same “faults” as him who isn’t being hurt by them; he is looking for someone who is using these “faults” to their advantage so that he can follow the same path for himself. He is searching for the answer to the question,

“How do I feel better about myself?”

The “faults” that he has chosen to address in you are things that you don’t love about yourself either. That’s where so much of your pain comes from; it feels like he is telling the truth because you’ve had those same thoughts about yourself too. But it’s not the truth.

The truth never hurts, the truth always feels good. Other people’s truth about us hurt, never our own.

Blog Quote - The truth never hurts

There are probably other “faults” that he’s raised in your lifetime together but you are so disconnected to them that they didn’t hurt so you didn’t pick them up.

Let’s say you’ve got really short hair and your brother who has long unkempt hair said, “I hate the way your hair is so messy and untidy all of the time. You don’t take any pride in the way you present your long hair. It’s embarrassing”.

It’s doubtful that you would take that criticism on board or be hurt by it because it’s not something that you have said to yourself. It’s not an insecurity that you carry because you are so confident in your belief about yourself that you don’t have long hair. It is much easier to pick at a scab that is already there than cut a new wound.

You love your brother because of all you know him to be. You love him because you choose to look past the things about him that he would deem to be “faults”. Now it’s time to do the same thing for you. If you can look past your own “demons” and faults” to love yourself the way you love him; then you’ll show him how to do the same thing for himself as well as heal your wound.

Loving himself is the ONLY thing that is going to give him any relief. There is never a time when we are thriving, feeling awesome and kicking goals in all aspects of our life when we bother to stop and notice the flaws and shortcomings of those we love. Never.

Thriving & Flaws

Sure you can take on board his suggestions if they are things that make sense to you as areas that you wish to grow and improve in. But there is nothing you need to ‘fix’ about yourself because you are not broken. How could you possibly know just how amazing you are in certain moments if you didn’t equally know yourself as not-amazing in those same moments?

You will never be perfect and the great news is you don’t have to be. You will continue to change, develop, improve and grow. But you will also continue to stumble, yearn for more and find the need to try again.

Your brother is seeking your help so that he can stop feeling the way that he does about himself. Not consciously, but deep down he has chosen you because he thinks that you are capable enough to help him. In a really messed-up way he is saying that he believes in you.

It is twisted but the only reason he has struck out at you is because he’s desperate for relief. He’s not a bad person; he just didn’t know what else to do. He really wanted your attention on this and it worked, he got your full attention.

There are positives and negatives to every situation. You simply can’t have one without the other. There are people who have said that prison was the best thing that ever happened to them and there are people who’ve said that winning the lottery was the worse.

So start looking for the positives in all of the “faults” that your brother has pointed out to you. You know what the negatives of those traits has been for you, but what were the positives every time you “let him down”?

And they will be there; if you look hard enough the positives are always there.

Let’s say you didn’t pick him up from the airport when you said you were going to for example. He then felt really let down and like he didn’t matter to you. A benefit may be that next time he’ll make more of an effort to let people know how important things are to him; so you’ve helped him become a better communicator.

There will be many silver linings; I’d say that you could find at least 10 once you start looking for them.

In the meantime saying this affirmation every morning and night is really going to soothe you and diminish the hurt that his words have brought which are spinning around in your head.

“I release the hurt that I’ve been carrying because I know that my brother is struggling right now and his intention is to feel better. The most important thing I can focus upon is how I feel about me rather than the opinions of others about me.

I send him love and I chose to focus on the wonderful aspects of both him and myself. I release myself from the burden of taking responsibility for how my brother is feeling, his emotions and his feelings are his concern.

When negative thoughts about myself pop up I’m going to put my attention to how those perceived negatives aspects of myself have benefited someone in my life.

I’m a good person, I am doing my best and that is more than enough.

Everyday I become wiser, stronger, more open and more loving. I have nothing to protect myself from and nothing to be confused about because I’m clear that mine is the only opinion that matters.

I’m going to follow the path that feels good to me, and if it feels good to me then I know it is my truth and it is going to best serve the people I love.”

And E.W, every time you see your brother you can think quietly to yourself “I don’t have long hair brother, you do. And I love you no matter how scruffy it gets.”

You deserve all the happiness, love and joy in the world. And I’m sending you a big cyber hug right now.

Lots and lots of Love

Leanne Evelyn-Charles xx

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Acceptance, Challenging Beliefs, Health & Wellbeing, Relationships, Romantic Relationships, Single Life

How to Get Her to Lose Weight without Losing Her

As a person whose weight has fluctuated substantially over the years I am oh so familiar with the struggle. I’ve chubbed up recently and I’m currently a Chihuahua away from equalling my all time highest record on the scales.

The last time I was here it was under identical circumstances. I was at the beginning point of a completely new list of goals after ticking off my last lot. I’m very much an “in for a penny in for a pound” kind of gal so this has meant big changes in every aspect of my life.

These changes have challenged me and provided me with many opportunities to confront my biggest doubts and fears. And when I freak out I eat; correction, recently when I’ve freaked out I’ve eaten.

It is from this perspective that I write this post for you, for me and for my loving partner who has recently asked “How do I help you with this?”

1. What you need to understand before you begin

  • You can’t ‘get’ anyone to do anything.
  • Her weight is none of your business.

2. Why it is okay to proceed regardless

This process is designed to be unconditionally loving regardless of your motivations. Whether you are driven by your own fears and insecurities or a genuine concern for her good health and wellness; you wish for her to lose weight. There is little to be gained for either of you by you pretending that this is not the case, so why hide how you feel for the sake of being politically correct?

I bring no judgement about your motivations, I’m writing this because I wish to help you navigate your way through in a loving way which doesn’t piss her off, upset her or crush her self esteem.

3. Her reasons

Regardless of what you think or what she has told you, she is carrying her weight for a reason. Not only are they good reasons but they are awesome reasons. Whether her weight has been a comfort, a protection, a support or a shield, it has been of great value to her.

Whilst weight gain as a coping mechanism has many limits and some obviously health costs, it is not the enemy here. It has done everything that it has been asked to do. It has been her way of coping, and it has done its job. It has also provided her with a sign that something is out of balance in her life.

To effect change you don’t need to unravel the specific reasons why the weight has been necessary in her life. You only need to acknowledge that those reasons are a part of who she is; therefore they are important, valid and worth loving.

4. Why do you want her to lose weight?

Years ago I dated a man who thought that it would be helpful to pull at a fat roll on my stomach and tell me “You know something? You would be stunning if you lost some weight”.

Now let us ignore the insensitive nature of these comments and look at them for what they were. They were statements that I allowed because they mirrored my own thoughts about my body. They were also statements projected from a man who had those same insecurities and thoughts about his own body.

His motives limited his ability to offer a solution. He wasn’t able to offer me anything other than critical observations because that was all he knew how to bring to his own struggle.

5. Your weight loss

You may not have a weight issue but there is something that you are struggling with. There is never a time when we are thriving, feeling awesome and kicking goals in all aspects of our life when we bother to stop and notice the flaws and shortcomings of those we love. Never.

There isn’t anything intentionally unloving about wanting the best for our loved ones. Who wouldn’t want their partner to live the very best life that they can and to be healthy and well?

Noticing and caring about the flaws in others helps us to bring love and understanding to our own struggles. In fact I would argue that is one of the key purposes to being in a committed partnership.

So how do we fulfil that key purpose without hurting our loved one and our relationship?

We offer solutions that bring more to the table than the criticisms that our loved ones are offering to themselves.

6. Specifically, what are you hoping to achieve?

As an example let’s say that you’ve lamented how your partner used to be the life of the party and now she’s put on weight you’ve noticed that she holds back, she’s less willing to go out, and she’s lacking in confidence.

In this instance what you are hoping to achieve is for her to regain her confidence in a social context.

When looking at how you’ve perceived her weight to have affected you; maybe you are not feeling as attracted to her as you used to. You are hoping to experience yourself as someone who physically desires their partner.

Activity:

I would encourage you to write out a list of the qualities you are hoping to see in her and experience for yourself once she loses the weight.

7. You are a mirror

You are a mirror from which she sees herself daily. If you were to start offering a new perspective on how you see her and her weight, then doesn’t it make sense that so would she?

I’ll pick up the example of confidence that I gave above. The first thing I’d like to ask you is, how has her lack of confidence benefited you? Some possible examples below;

  • You don’t like big parties and it has meant that you’ve been able to spend more time at home.
  • You’ve had to come out of your shell more to compensate.
  • She’s developed empathy for your quieter moments.
  • She’s become a better listener.

Activity:

Go through your entire list of what you are trying to achieve and look at how her being overweight has benefited you in those areas. Then let her know how much you’ve appreciated those benefits. 

NB: I’d strongly suggest that you leave out any mention of her weight in these appreciations, keep it focused on the benefit.

8. Her positive aspects

Going back to your list of things that you hope to achieve, I’d encourage you to start looking for where those facets of her are currently showing up.

If you are seeing her lack confidence at big parties; then where isn’t she lacking confidence socially? Where is she thriving socially? Who are the people she is with and what are the places where she is completely uninhibited?

Look for those moments, offer her appreciation and positive attention about those moments. The day that you find more examples of her thriving then of her struggling, is the day that you’ll help her to tip the balance in her own perceptions as well.

9. Tell her why she is beautiful

Offer her specific compliments that she can’t dismiss or shrug off.

Be as enthusiastic and adoring of her and her body right now as you would be if she was the dream that you envisage for her.

Why wait until she loses weight to offer her this level of attention, appreciation and affection? There is a lot about her for you to be attracted to right now. Start looking for these things no matter how small they might be at first and then compliment her about them.

10. You don’t need to fix her

She doesn’t need fixing because she isn’t broken.

She doesn’t need ‘to do things’ as much as she needs ‘to stop doing things’. She needs to stop believing that she is anything less than magnificent as she is right now.

Underneath she is exactly the same strong, brave, caring, compassionate, loving, smart, sexy, capable, funny and beautiful woman who you fell in love with.

You don’t need to help her ‘get back’ to that; you only need to help her acknowledge that she still is that. If the both of you could focus more on ‘what she is’ and less on ‘what she’s not’ then you and I wouldn’t be having this conversation.

If you really want this, then be the change that you wish to see in her. Keep your focus on just how amazing, beautiful and special she is right now. You tried this approach when you first fell in love with her remember? I’m guessing you weren’t trying to point out her physical shortcomings and ‘tell it like it is’ on your 3rd date? And if you did then allow me to tell it like it is, “You are a fool and you don’t deserve her.”

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Acceptance, Forgiveness, Relationships, Romantic Relationships

Loving Letter to my Batshit Crazy Past Self

I was married quite young by today’s standards and had very little idea about who I was or what made me happy.

Early on our marriage became a perfect storm of confusion, anger, fear and hurt. And where that combination builds up to the point that you are no longer in control then the Batshit Crazy is never far behind. I define Batshit Crazy as behaviour that ceases to care about consequences, sacred lines or collateral damage in the pursuit of ‘making the pain go away’.

I often think about that young girl who felt like she was going out of her mind and I am committed to offering her ease about everything that she went through. She was the trailblazer that led me to this point; her instinct to push and fight inspired me to get out and look for another way.

I write this letter for her and for anyone else who has experienced so much confusion, fear, anger and hurt within their relationships that they’ve felt Batshit Crazy.

Dear My Past Batshit Crazy Self,

If you were to write an advertisement for your current relationship I think you’d find it a difficult one to sell.

For Sale: One relationship filled to the brim with misery, arguments, and emotional pain. Includes a critical wife who is starved for affection and an emotionally withdrawn husband who is defeated and broken.

But wait there is more! There is zero joy or fun to be had, that’s right zero! If you call now we’ll also throw in zero appreciation, zero compassion and all the blame you can carry!!!

I know you believe that there are no ‘winners’ from a relationship breaking down, but can you believe me when I tell you that there doesn’t have to be a ‘loser’ either? I encourage you to stop looking for one.

It was never your intention to be cruel or hurtful in your relationship just as it wasn’t his. It just happened, and it happens easily when you love someone without loving yourself. And there is no better way to lose your love for yourself then to focus more on what’s not great about another then on what is great about you.

You don’t need to put your hand up and declare that you are the bad guy here, but making him out to be one isn’t going to work for you either. It just creates another dichotomy for you to struggle against. If he’s so bad then why did you marry him? Let me guess? “He’s changed and he’s no longer the man you fell in love with?”

You are going to find this really hard to hear but the man you are married to isn’t lacking any of the qualities that you need or want. You made a great choice; you always make awesome choices when you follow your heart.

Neither of you has ‘changed’. Your dynamic has changed; but you are both just as capable of expressing as much love, appreciation and compassion as you did when you first got together.

You are two beautiful balls of wool that have gotten so tangled up that you are not expressing those aspects of yourselves right now, but they are still there.

I know; I hear you desperately asking,

“If I love him so much, if he hasn’t ‘changed’ and if he was such a good choice of husband, then why is everything so horrible?”

Deep down you already know the answer to this question, but you don’t like it and that is why you are asking me. And the lovely thing is that by the time you are ready to hear the answer, I promise you’ll no longer care about the question.

The question I’d like to ask you right now is, “Can you put your burning question on hold?” I know it seems really counter intuitive to do so, because for you it seems like the only question of any importance right now.

But I’d suggest that there are far more pressing questions to be answered that will bring you immediate peace, like “What’s great about me?” and “What am I doing to love myself right now?” and finally “Do I love and appreciate myself for the magnificent person that I know myself to be?”

Put your other questions on hold for a bit until the answers to the questions above become a predominate part of your thoughts. This is how you start sorting out your ball of tangled and knotted up wool.

Not his ball. Sorting out his tangles and knots has brought you more tangles and knots. Sort out YOUR ball. Let him know what your intention is, ask him for a little understanding about the space you need.

Get some perspective and see where the threads run. Enlist your friends as support; I said support, not ears to hear how knotty his ball of wools is.  Let them help you to see how beautiful your ball of wool is, let them inspire you of your abilities to untie some of these knots on your own.

Read some books, seek help, ask people how they’ve untied their own knots. Get some hobbies, spend time in the fresh air and sunshine. Exercise, eat delicious food, drink delicious wine, laugh more, go to art galleries, write, paint, take photo’s. Do all of the stuff that you love!

Let all of this help you to see the beauty within your own ball of wool. Let it ease the tension on your knots long enough so that you can untie them and give yourself a chance to hear your own voice again.

The coolest thing that I can tell you is that little inner voice of yours knows exactly how to untangle your ball, and quickly. Listen to it, let it guide you.

My advice to you is to commit to untangle your ball and ‘then’.

  • And ‘then’ decided if this is a relationship you want to be in.
  • And ‘then’ decide what your beliefs are around marriage and divorce.
  • And ‘then’ decide what your next step is.
  • And ‘then’ ask yourself the big questions.

Everything that is fighting inside you, all that Batshit Crazy behaviour is about trying to untangle your wool. Your eventual disentanglement is inevitable but how you go about it is entirely up to you.

You can do it as a couple or on your own; but if it’s not untangling your wool, then it is contributing to your Batshit Crazy behaviour. And why would you want to focus on the stuff that is making you miserable? Let it go for now, you don’t need to bother about any of it right this minute. It’s not going anywhere.

Untangling your wool has zero to do with if he loves you or if you love him, it has zero to do with whose fault it is, where it went wrong or if you ‘should’ be together. It has zero to do with whether or not you are ‘good’ at relationships or are a ‘good’ person. And it also has zero to do with how much you’ve been hurt and how much you’ve hurt him.

You can commit to untangling your ball of wool while you are together, you can cut the strings and end it now, or you can keep pulling until they snap. You cannot get this wrong because no matter what you do all roads lead to a place of disentanglement.

Your instincts will continue to guide you and your inner voice is now much louder so you’ll hear it much sooner. Every time you’ve ignored that voice it has gotten stronger and stronger, the Batshit Crazy has served you as a guiding light. So stop feeling embarrassed about it, everything has been working perfectly. It’s time to start easing up on yourself. You should be proud of all you have done to get to this point; all that you have been through will continue to bless all that you are.

As your future self I know how this story ends, you don’t work through it together and it takes you awhile to tend to your own ball. You’ll understand soon enough that it’s not the tangles that caused the Batshit Crazy in you. It was the distracting thoughts, beliefs and questions that led you away from tending to you own tangles and knots, and this is the stuff that has caused you all of the distress.

The day you made the decision to stop worrying about everyone else’s balls and untangle your own was the day that you took back your power, and it was the day that everything changed for you.

This doesn’t mean that you don’t get tangled or knotted up ever again, you do. The tangles and knots are a part of life and you wouldn’t be you without them. All that changes is that you stop stressing about everyone else’s threads. You finally understand that tangles and knots are OK, because you are perfectly capable of tending to them yourself.

All my Love, Your Future Self xoxo

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Acceptance, Forgiveness, Friendships, Relationships, Romantic Relationships

Batshit Crazy: A Familiar – Letter to my Batshit Crazy Ex

Dear Past Self,

Tricked you didn’t I? Sorry, but to write this letter to our ex would be futile. You couldn’t change or fix him when you were together so how do you imagine I’m going to have some magic solution to do it now?

The reason that I write this letter is because you need to move on and you can’t do that until you stop taking responsibility for his behaviour and well-being. It’s now time to let go of having an opinion about how he is living his life, because it is exhausting you.

Whether you realise it or not you are still trying to fix, help and change him. There have been so many arguments; you’ll tell anyone who’ll listen just how Batshit Crazy he has been behaving and how if he just listened to you more he could avoid a lot of heartache. You read articles and your first thoughts are “he needs to read this, this is what his problem is”, you hear things and you think “that’s the issue that he has”; regardless of how much or how little contact you have with him you are still focused on all that he is ‘not’.

Here’s the thing, that focus isn’t helping either of you. Deep down you’ve always known that it feels safer to try and ‘fix’ and take care of him because it means that you’ll never have the time to do it for yourself. The question I want to ask you is “Now you are not a couple, why do you care so much if he doesn’t get it together?” When you were first together you didn’t seem to perceive him as being as broken as you do now. Are you really trying to ‘fix’ him or have you been avoiding ‘fixing’ yourself?

I know that this makes you very uncomfortable, but it’s not something you need to be afraid of any more. Lots of people in your life know that you are not perfect and guess what, they love you anyway. You love loads of non-perfect people too; in fact the only person in this world who you don’t love because they are not perfect is you.

Your ex is acting Batshit Crazy right now because he is very hurt, confused and angry…but so are you. You have managed to keep some control over your emotions so it looks very different but it is the same, you both haven’t been coping. He screams, rants and loses control and you withdraw, pull away and control.

Controlling? Me? You know what I’m talking about, when you give him your stern schoolteacher voice to instruct him “Please don’t interrupt me when I’m speaking or this conversation will have to end” is only something you do because you know drives him crazy. You constantly pointed out his faults and you set yourself up as the authority, in your world you were always right and he was always wrong.

I’m not judging your choice of tools here, I don’t think you’re an arsehole, I don’t think there are any arseholes in this story; you were just two people trying to do their best in a highly emotional situation. Why wouldn’t you retaliate when he flipped out? It’s a scary thing to deal with, and imagine the mess that it would have turned into if you didn’t have a clear vision of what you thought was happening and if you didn’t try to control it? My point is the two of you were in it together; you both were and are struggling to cope.

Whether you like it not your ex in still in your life and that may or may not change soon. But this uncomfortable, frustrating and undesired situation is offering you the greatest opportunity for growth that you’ve had in years. This challenge holds him at its centre but the benefits will mostly be yours; I urge you to start focusing on the things about him that you’d like to see.

Remember we are talking about a person who you fell in love with and at one point you thought he was so together that you decided to partner up with him. Start focusing again on that, I get that this was a challenge that you couldn’t meet when you were together, so why would it be any different now?

Here’s why, because now the middleman is gone. He is out of the equation so now you have the time and the space to start to redefine how you see him and more importantly how you see yourself. Remember how you used to feel? Remember how capable, loving and happy you used to be?

You’ve complained for years about how you are always there for others and how desperately you crave for someone to do the same for you. You now have the time and the space to be that person for you.

You can let go of worrying about him; it has taken up so much of your precious energy and has offered you zero returns. I’m not suggesting that you stop caring about him; I’m suggesting that you stop the worry.

I appreciate how terribly hard this is to do so I suggest that you start really small. Whenever he behaves in a way that is Batshit Crazy tell yourself a new story, tell the story so it it offers you some relief.

“I know that I fallen into his Batshit Crazy world at times and I have reacted in ways that have added fuel to the fire and which has made me feel more upset. I also know that how he behaves is none of my responsibility. His behaviour has never made me feel unsafe but I have surrounded myself with support and a plan in the event that it gets anywhere near that point.

I’ve taking back control of how I feel and I have the power to choose the emotions that I respond with. I no longer allow him to choose the emotions I feel by reacting to his behaviour. To do this I am going to step back and pay attention to what he is trying to achieve through his behaviour. I am also going to focus on the positive aspects of him in order to maintain the good feeling life that I wish to live.

When I step back I know he is only acting this way because he is feeling very hurt, confused and angry. I know that he wants to feel better and that he’s not sure how.

He’ll work it out, and I look forward to the day that he feels really good again, but I release my worry about that. I’m going to try and remember him as the person that I fell in love with. I’m not going to do this because I think that it will fix or help him but because it is going to make me feel better. And when I’m feeling good there is nothing that I can’t handle.

When we get stuck on things and I find him to be unreasonable I’m going to ask myself the question “Does it really matter if I let go and let him have his way on this?”

I’m going to stop engaging with him about who’s right or wrong, I’m going to let go and let him ‘win’ if it means more peace and happiness in my own life. I know there is lots of things that he is fighting for that he doesn’t care about, he just cares that he doesn’t ‘lose’. I can understand this response from him, nobody likes to feel like they are losing something.

I’m going to cease being a resistant force that he can push against, I’m going to let as much flow over me as possible. I’m focused on the end game, not the nitty gritty of all of this. I get that there are no ‘winners’ or ‘losers’ here. There is only ‘happy and peaceful’ or ‘sad and tumultuous’ and I choose the former.

Right now I don’t have a lot of great things to say about him and that’s OK. I know that I used to think that he was a good person. I know that some of his family and friends who I like and respect as well as our kids really love him so I’m going to try to focus on what they see in him. Until then it feels much better to have no expectations of him.

I know I can’t live the joyous fulfilling life that I desire for myself if I’m focused on all of the negatives in my life. So on the days that I struggle to see any positives in him I’m going to refrain from dwelling on any thoughts about him at all, I’m going to keep the focus on the good stuff in my life.

I’m improving all of the time and there are lots of things that I can be appreciative for. It makes me feel empowered and energised when I focus on these things.

Life is starting to feel really good again, everything is going to work out just fine for me: it always does.”

Lots of love from your Future Self
xoxo

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Acceptance, Forgiveness, Friendships, Relationships, Romantic Relationships, Teaching & Learning

Batshit Crazy: The Acquaintance – My Partner’s Batshit Crazy Ex

I’ve written this piece as part of a series on dealing with loved ones who are struggling with acute hurt, anger and confusion. This particular letter relates to those relationships that we are bound to, through either another person or circumstance. It could also be a work colleague, an ex’s new partner, a close friend’s friend etc.

I believe that a difficult relationship that we have had in our past plays a large role in the life of our other relationships. There are going to be character traits that we don’t like that keep popping up in people that come into our lives. One of the most heated contexts that this happens is where our new partner exhibit traits that are similar to or the same as those of our ex.

When relationships end with one or both parties feeling acute hurt, confusion and anger the Batshit Crazy is never far behind. When this behaviour becomes so volatile that it crosses boundaries that are not easily forgiven then things can quickly spiral out of control. I define Batshit Crazy behaviour as not being limited by fear of consequences and as the sentiment of “I want you to hurt as much as you’ve hurt me, and I will so this at any cost”. (For further explanation regarding this please see my previous post introducing this series.)

When a relationship has broken down and the parties involved are still bound together by circumstance, people or children there is often no opportunity for the couple involved to stand back and get perspective. Under these circumstances it is difficult to change the habits and patterns that they have been bound by for years. With all of those wounds and triggers still present and active, neither has had the time and space to deactivate them. It is my belief that a third party, like a new partner, a friend or family member, or a professional can help bring about that new perspective.

It only takes one side to see it differently and to offer something new to the dynamic for the whole thing to change into one that is respectful, caring and supportive. And if the ex couple can have that kind of relationship with each other, then doesn’t it make sense that when they hit those similar impasses in their next relationship that they’ll be able to navigate their way through more successfully than in the past?

So if I was tied to an acquaintance who I felt was acting Batshit Crazy then this letter would set out the parameters that I’d like to keep all of my communication within. Not because it is the higher road or because it is the most loving way. Not because there is a possibility that the dynamic could shift into becoming more respectful, supportive and caring.

But because this approach offers a release from being at the whim of the Batshit Crazy person; because it empowers and it offers peace and relief to us as their targets.

I would encourage you to write your own letters if this is a dynamic that you are struggling with; I would also suggest that you don’t send them because this approach isn’t about the other. Just write it and feel the relief of looking at it all from a different perspective. Feel the relief of releasing your own hurt, confusion and anger and most of all feel the relief from being able to take control of the situation in terms of how it is making you feel. This is then a relief that you can share with your loved one from the benefit of your new perspective.

Dear My Partner’s Batshit Crazy Ex,

Where do I start? Your behaviour has been Batshit off the wall crazy. You know what I’m talking about; the texts, the late night abusive phone calls, the not showing up when you are meant to, the screaming in front of the kids, the insults, the legal threats, the stalking, the games, and all of the carry on.

Let us start there and finish here with the four phrases of Dr. Hew Len’s ‘Ho’oponopono’. I’m sorry, please forgive me, I thank you and I love you.

I’m not offering this to you as an endorsement of your behaviour or solely out of the hope that it might change it. I am doing this for me. I don’t have the power to change you but I do have the power to determine how I respond to you and to choose how I feel.

I choose to take the responsibility for how I am feeling; this doesn’t mean that I am taking responsibility for you or for the situation or that I’m taking the blame. I no longer care about whose fault it is or who is to blame; that search has held me to this dysfunctional dynamic for too long.

I’m taking back my power and I am going to choose to respond to you rather than react. I am choosing to step back and disengage from what you are presenting to me. I am choosing to focus my attentions on what is really going on with you. I am choosing to feel good about myself and the way I behave when I am in your company or when I hear about your behaviour.

This doesn’t mean that I will never feel angry, hurt, confused or upset with you; it means that I will feel those emotions at my choosing and not at yours. And I am going to do all of this by offering you empathy, love and acknowledgement of our similarities rather than focusing on our differences.

I have been where you are; I have experienced the pain, anger and confusion of a relationship breaking down. Whilst my behaviour manifested itself differently and may have looked dissimilar; the sentiment running underneath was exactly the same. I am choosing to focus on the fact that you are hurt and you want to feel better.

Let me say that again; you are hurt and you want is to feel better…and that doesn’t sound so crazy to me.

Obviously the way you are going about it isn’t super helpful; but I know that you get that and in actual fact you knowing this is probably making it all worse. And you know how I know all this? Because I’ve done plenty of super unhelpful things in my own life, and I’ve also felt trapped by the guilt of it.

Although you and I don’t know all that much about each other I do know that I love and admire your children more than words, and they are 50% of you. I also know that the man that I love and adore once loved and adored you so much that he asked you to share the rest of his life with him.

I forgive you for all of the Batshit Crazy things that you have said and done to me personally; and I hope that you can equally forgive me for when I have reacted and tried to hurt you. I am sorry for this, this is not who I want to know myself as. I know that neither of us has ever woken up and decided to be a horrible person for the day; sometimes things just happen but that doesn’t speak at all to who either of us truly are.

I am thankful for the challenges that you have provided to me; I haven’t always risen to them but I am committed to my personal improvement. You see, I want to live a life where I can rise above a heated or uncomfortable situation and you have provided me with more opportunities to walk-the-walk and talk-the-talk than anyone recently.

I also want you to know that in your ex you are always going to have someone in your life that cares as much about your children as you do. He is someone who is always going to be there for you and care about you as their mother. He may be your ‘Ex’ but he will always be you ‘Current Co-Parent’ and this is an important relationship that I wish to support.

I also wish to acknowledge that throughout this whole process your kids have come out the other side just fine. Actually they are better than fine; they are happy, and loved, and they are spectacular people…and that didn’t happen without you.

Through the act of writing this letter to you I feel so much better and in control. It is almost an instant change I feel when I hold to a vision of you that aligns with the vision that I have for myself.

It feels so good in fact that from this point on no matter what you do or what you say I am going to refuse to stray from it. That vision is; you as a person are worth loving, you are worth caring about and you are always doing your best. We have so much more in common then we have in differences, it feels really good to me when I focus upon that.

Lots of love and appreciation from a Fellow Batshit Crazy Ex

xoxo

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Friendships, Romantic Relationships, Single Life

Why My Friends Wouldn’t Set Me Up and How I Rebranded Myself

Please forgive the sleazy pic above, you’ll understand why it’s there in a minute. But for now I want to tell you about the most charming man that I met last night at a local business owners meeting.

He was about 6’4, fit, handsome and had a nice sense of style. He was articulate, successful at his job, engaging and energetic. But the real charm came from his warmth, openness, honesty, intelligence and humour. You could just tell that he came from a really lovely family and would have lovely friends. My instincts even said ‘very healthy relationship with his mother’, which is a huge tick in my book.

I didn’t ask if he was single but let me tell you he is exactly the type of guy I’d want to introduce to my single friends.

And here’s where it got interesting. I started to pour through a list of my single girlfriends and I couldn’t find a match. I wrote all of my friends off as either being too picky, too closed off or too much of game players.

These are my friends! These are people who I love and adore and who I know the full complexity of. These are people who I know to be loyal, caring, smart, open, funny, and beautiful in the context of our friendship.

But in the context of the romantic relationships that I’ve seen them all in recently, I only know them to be uncommitted, fussy, critical, closed off, unreliable, protective, pessimistic or just not ready for anything serious.

Am I actually saying that I think this charming stranger that I met last night is too good for my friends? Um, yes I guess I kind of am.

I knew that they’d either mess him around or write him off as being too nice of a guy. The idea of setting them up felt like giving them the keys to a brand new Ferrari whilst knowing that they are rubbish drivers.

This got me to thinking about my own life as a single in her 30’s. Is this how my friends saw me? Would they not recommend me to a charming stranger? I asked them and they said yes. Ouch!

For most of my single years I wasn’t ready to commit to a grown up relationship again, even though at times I pretended that I was; the truth be told I was just really scared. So I either cut myself off from dating altogether or I ‘dated’ the types of guys who weren’t interested in a commitment either. But the kicker was…I then felt let down, hurt and upset by their lack of commitment.

That last bit is the topic for a whole other blog; but my point is the type of partner that my friends saw me being wasn’t indicative of who I knew I really was. I presented as a game playing commitment-phobe because they were the parameters that my relationships were bound by. To offer anything other within these relationships would seem either ridiculous or desperate to the other party involved.

Actually I did just that one evening. I met a nice young fella and we attempted to have one night of passion but due to some logistical issues (we couldn’t find a spot to do ‘it’) it didn’t happen; so we rescheduled to ‘catch up’ the next night.

It had been AGES since I had participated in anything slightly romantic so I lovingly prepared a candle lit dinner for us both, soft music and all.

Of course I knew that it was going to make for a really awkward prelude to some even more awkward sex, but I thought it would be a) funny and b) nice.

It was soooo ridiculous! We had dinner for goodness sake! We had zero in common and zero interest in talking to each other. After dinner I segued with, and I kid you not,

“So…..you want to see my room?”

We’ve since become good mates and we still laugh about it whenever I see him. I do a whole routine at parties where I re-enact our dinner scene that is hilarious! But I digress.

Just prior to meeting my current partner, and not even knowing that I did it, I rebranded myself. When I decided that it was time to get back into the game I cut off contact with (well most of) the pseudo-relationships that I was involved in. And more importantly I stopped talking to my friends about either my lack of a love life or my messed up, disappointing, drama filled ‘relationships’.

When my single girlfriends and I got together, actually when I caught up with any of my friends the topic of conversation would invariably re-enact that scene from the Bridget Jones movie,

“So how’s your love life?”

One day rather than regale with stories from my brief and dysfunctional dalliances or declare that I had nothing going on; instead offered something a little more like this,

“I’m not seeing anyone right now, I’ve ceased contact with the Fireman and the General (there were always code names). I’m ready to get back into a loving relationship; it’s time. I’m looking forward to offering all that I have learnt to someone really special, I’m ready for a really spectacular relationship.”

I would then go on about the specifics of what I had learnt and about what I intended to do differently. I never spoke about what I expected from my future mate, only about what I was excited to offer. Without knowing it I was rebranding myself as a person who knew how to be in a spectacular relationship.

It had never occurred to me until now just how much the rebranding brought to me. Of course there were a few other things at play but in essence, I had simply asked for what I wanted and started behaving in way that aligned with that request.

From that point on I actually had fantastic men seemingly coming out of the woodwork, and they were all introductions from friends. The interesting point is that these men were not actually in the woodwork, I was. They were there all along; I just wasn’t able to see their value because I wasn’t letting it in.

I met the man I now share my life with through friends at a party. Where this rebranding idea gets really interesting is with regards to what his mates had to say about me.

I knew some of his friends from high school; I couldn’t recall a single conversation that was longer than hello and goodbye but as it is when growing up in a small town we all knew of each other. When my now beloved mentioned to his mates at the as party that he was sweet on me and wished to get to know me better, his best mate said

“Mate, I wouldn’t even bother. She’s massively uptight and a bit of a snob.”

That was an impression that was garnered over 20 years ago!

Upon reflection I’ve learnt two massive things;

1. How you treat people matters in ways that we can never be aware of. The type of person that we are in all of our relationships is important.

Not because our friends will introduce us to people, although that is a nice perk. But because if our nearest and dearest don’t think we deserve someone wonderful, why would we?

The aspects of ourselves that we get to live everyday are the aspects that we come to define ourselves by.

2. Even when we live a life that is completely contradictory to the one that we know is our truth; as long as we believe ourselves to be more, love will always find a way.

How is the life that you are living lining up with your own personal truth?

Leanne xx

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