*Spoiler alert! I’m going to tell you the two main things that helped me and my family heal: a family trip with new family photos, and me doing the intense life coach work I did. This retreat I’m about to tell you about does both of those things-it is a connecting trip for your family AND it is 3-4 months worth of life coaching work all in one week. So buckle up, and enjoy the story of my family’s transformation.*
Let’s be real, no one gets married thinking they are going to get divorced one day. If that was really what we thought, why would anyone put themselves through it? This thought, that the marriage is supposed to last forever, is what makes getting a divorce so painful.
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while now you know that our THOUGHTS are what create our FEELINGS. (Check out this blog post if you’d like a refresher.) And you and I both know that we have all kinds of thoughts about divorce. In fact I had such strong thoughts about divorce, they kept me in my first marriage way longer than I should have stayed.
Some of the very unhelpful thoughts I had about divorce were: I’ll give up my place in heaven if I get divorced. I’ll never be supported financially if I get divorced. I’m going to be seen as being like my oldest sister (who has been divorced many times).
I had many more thoughts, but these were some of the strongest. I’ll break each thought down in a bit and tell you how I turned them around and replaced them with much more useful thoughts.
But first let’s talk about what it feels like to make the decision to divorce when you are having thoughts like those. Shame! I felt a lot of shame, and was very worried about what other people would think. I felt doomed both in this life, and in the afterlife. Getting divorced was one of the worst things I could THINK of happening to me. And, if I was willing to follow through with a divorce when it was the worst thing I could think of, it explains a bit about just how miserable I was. I felt like there had to be *something* out there that was better than that marriage.
Well guess what, I left that marriage and did in fact feel a lot of shame, and felt like my life was incomplete. I really thought that the only way to be happy in life, and in the next life was to be married, and have that man taking care of me financially. That his duty was to work, and mine was to be home with the kids. And since feeling shame is not a comfortable emotion, I was looking for ways to get rid of that shame. The only way I knew at the time was to get married again.
I believed that the ONLY way to be happy was to be married. And so, I went out in search of a new husband. I also believed that I was now “damaged goods,” having been divorced, so I knew I’d have to settle some. I considered myself lucky to be marrying a man who could financially support the family (I was the breadwinner in my first marriage), and honestly, most of the red flags came AFTER the wedding.
I had a very strong thought and belief that “I’m not a quitter and can make anything work”, and that kept me in my second marriage for 3.5 years, even though I was having major regret thoughts and seeing major red flags just weeks into our marriage. This is what often happens in relationships with a Covert Narcissist, but I didn’t know that at the time. (Go HERE and HERE to read more about Covert Narcissism.)
I again reached a point in my life where I was so miserable in my marriage, and was very worried about the negative impact living with a covert narcissist would have on my kids, that I was willing to once again face the shame and humiliation of a second divorce.
I was worried for my kids. They had been through so much change, and had been separated from people they loved. One of the things I did best in my second marriage was blend the kids well. I put a lot of work into helping all 7 of them bond, and now here I was tearing them all apart. There were a lot of people angry with me.
But I also knew I wanted better for my kids. I wanted them to see examples of healthy relationships. I didn’t want them to grow up thinking they needed to stay in unhealthy relationships because they had seen their mother do it. I left FOR my kids because I truly believed it was what was best for them. AND I knew that they would need healing.
There are many things that the kids loved doing with their step-siblings that they would talk about all the time. And often when they would talk about those things they would get sad, missing the other kids. So I decided to help my kids make new memories, intentionally at some of those places, so they would have new happy memories without their step-sibling too. This wasn’t to erase the memories they had made, it was simply to add to the memories and show their brains that they could be happy moving on, doing fun things without the others.
The first major “thing” I helped my kids reclaim was Cancun Mexico. It was the last big trip that we went on as a blended family. In fact it was on this trip that the story I talk about in another blog post, “When the Worst Day Turned Into my Saving Grace,” happened, and I started making my exit plan while on that trip. Of course the kids were unaware that was happening at the time, and they came away with only super happy memories. So just a few short months after I moved out, and just days after my second divorce was final, I took my kids back to Cancun. We stayed at a different resort, and had a blast.
I hired a professional photographer to take our family photos on the teal water beaches of Cancun. In fact I planned my whole living room decor around the colors in that photo, and it now hangs proudly in my living room. It was really important for me to help add happy memories of trips and vacations to the kids’ memories. And now they talk about both trips, and there is much less sadness when remembering the trip they took with their step-siblings.
I also did a lot of self-work and got myself a life coach. I learned how my thoughts were impacting every area of my life, and I learned the power I truly had in my life to create the life I wanted. I was learning to be more and more free.
So back to those thoughts I was mentioning before. Let me tell you how I replaced the old thoughts that were no longer serving me, with new, helpful thoughts. I’ll list below the old thought, with the new one right after it.
I’ll give up my place in heaven if I get divorced-I believe in a God that loves me and wants me to be happy, and would never want me in a marriage like the one I’m in.
I’ll never be supported financially if I get divorced-Of course I’ll be supported because I always support myself. I can create a financially secure life for my kids and myself.
I’m going to be seen as being like my oldest sister (who has been divorced many times)-The friends that I have see me as ME and love me exactly where I’m at, and they want me to be happy.
These new thoughts create feelings of confidence, optimism, peace, and support. The circumstances didn’t change, I still got divorced, was living on my own, and responsible financially for my kids and myself. But my thoughts did change, and with them I changed how I was feeling, which then changed the actions I was taking and have ultimately changed the results I’m creating in my life.
These changes are not just possible for me, they are possible for you and your family too! I have devoted my life coaching practice to helping other single parents learn to love themselves again, gain confidence, and lead their children in creating wonderful, abundant lives for themselves.
The Family Retreats I run are designed specifically around what I wish had been available to me and my kids when I was first divorced. In one week you will do about as much work as I do with individual clients in 3-4 months. You actively reclaim holidays and events that hold sour memories, and make them sweet again. You change the thoughts in your head that are holding you back, creating shame, or keeping you stuck. You learn how to have conversations with your kids about this new life you are creating. You make wonderful and fun memories with your kids, and make new friends that will last a lifetime. And I have even hired a professional photographer to take YOUR picture on that same beautiful beach in Cancun. (And that’s all included in the price.)
Families that come on our retreat have a true life transformation. I take care of EVERY DETAIL so that your mind is free to do the deep healing work you will be doing. I also plan lots of relaxation time (your brian needs this down time to process and create new neural pathways), and include lots of family fun! And you will not have to take your wallet out once you arrive at the retreat. Holding the retreat at an all-inclusive resort in Cancun is intentional. You need to be free to say YES as often as you like without having to think about money.
Right now I have open registration for our upcoming retreat January 23-29, 2022. If you are serious about healing yourself after divorce, and want to help your kids heal too, there really is no other retreat like this. This is where you want to be if you are ready to heal. Make 2023 YOUR YEAR, and start it off right, in Cancun, where your healing can happen in the sun!
Healing is possible. Living without shame after divorce is possible. Living your best life as a single parent is possible. What are you waiting for? A sign from the Universe?! Well here it is. This is your sign. It is YOUR TIME, you are ready for this step in your life, and this is going to be YOUR YEAR!
Early Bird registration ends November 10, 2022, and the final day to register is December 20, 2022. There is still time to get passports if you need them. Imagine giving your family this gift of healing for Christmas. You will get to heal AND take an amazing family vacation all at the same time. And in case you have a “thought” of “I can’t afford this” that is holding you back, please know that many families have found that the timing, in January, makes it oh-so-affordable. Get all the details of the retreat HERE.
Schedule a call to reserve your spot today HERE.This is 30 minutes that could change your family’s life forever.
If this story has resonated with you, and you’d like help finding your own emotional freedom, I’d love to help you. I have devoted my Life Coaching practice to helping people just like you find the freedom and happiness I now enjoy. I’ve been in your shoes, and I know it can be hard to find help. No worries, I’m here and ready to help you. Schedule a FREE call HERE with me to see if our retreat, or one-on-one coaching is for you.
Want more stories to read like this? Never miss a new blog post by providing your email address HERE and you’ll get a notification every time a new blog post goes live. And you will get my 5 Free Journaling Prompts Guide too.
You can also go to my Facebook page and follow me HERE.