By guest blogger Anoushka Macin of Balance PsychologiesWe all experience periods of uncertainty and fear in our lives. Whether it is fear of committing to a new relationship, worries about whether you should separate or start divorce proceedings, how you will manage financially after your separation or how you will cope with the children spending time with your ex-partner. Over the last fortnight, many of us have realised that there is also an unseen fear or enemy; covid-19.
I say that covid 19 is an unseen enemy but the reality is that it is everywhere. You can’t turn on the television, log onto face book or read a newspaper without reading all about the latest statistics. That in turn can just heighten your anxieties and fears.
For those of you who are going through a separation or divorce and are already anxious about how you will cope after divorce, covid-19 is an additional stressor. Who would have thought that a few short months ago that we used to think that a relationship breakdown or a house move were two of the most stressful life experiences that we had to cope with. Now, it feels like we are living in a different world. One where fear can easily be as damaging as the coronavirus.
How do we overcome fear?
First off, whilst some people may call me an expert, I am a great believer in listening and finding out what works for you in overcoming your fears. Whilst you may not know it we all have the power to manage our fears whether they are about:
Feeling alone because you have ended a relationship
Worried about your job and finances because of covid-19
Concerned about where you will live and how you will manage financially after your divorce
Frightened about letting your children spend time with your ex-partner in case they fall ill when they are not with you
Feelings of not be able to cope with home schooling your children and not being able to cope with life as a separated parent and coronavirus.
In addition to all these fears, many of us are also worrying about our parents or loved ones, especially if they are elderly or have underlying health conditions and are self-isolating or shielding. On a practical note, this may be making life harder for you if you are used to parents or grandparents helping out with child care or just being available to do all the things you don’t normally have the time to do.
Confronting your fears can be one of the hardest things to do. In my work with clients and with my online community I provide lots of information to people who find themselves having to make relationship decisions and to face up to their fears so that they can successfully move on with their lives.
Fear about covid-19 is no different than coping with the fears of separating from a narcissist or a toxic individual. Here are my five top tips for managing your fears, whether they are coronavirus related worries or fears about your separation or divorce:
Embrace your fears
You are not alone. Everyone has fears. Some of us are very good at acknowledging and recognizing them but others of us are not. Give yourself permission to say that you are frightened. Embracing your fears diminishes them; like when you stand up to a bully.
It is easy to feel totally overwhelmed and isolated during lockdown. You are not alone. There is help. Lots of counsellors (myself included) are offering skype or facetime or phone or online help.
If it is a practical or legal worry that is making you fearful then it is best to get an answer. Family lawyers will be able to offer legal advice during the
lockdown or during your self-isolation through telephone appointments, face time or Skype calls. It may feel as though you are alone but you aren’t.
Distance yourself from the news
Whilst we all need to know what is going on in the world outside of the confines of our own homes, don’t spend too long watching 24 hour news coverage on the television or by avidly reading all there is to know about covid 19.
There is a balance to be struck between what you need to know to keep you and your family healthy and information overload.
If your ex-partner is bombarding you with communications over your separation, divorce or contact with the children then you need to block them out to a manageable level (if you need to stay in touch because of your children) or block them altogether if they are just venting their covid 19 frustrations and fears onto you in texts and messages about your relationship breakdown or divorce as a means of letting off steam.
Find your routine
Whether you are trying to work from home, schooling the children or coping with being confined indoors for long parts of the day then the one of the answers to fear is routine; whether that is a work or schooling schedule, exercise schedule or eating and sleeping schedule.
That is because whilst you may find that life seems out of control because of the coronavirus or your ex-partner’s behavior, you can gain back some control by doing something as simple as following a daily routine.
Remember that even if you are stuck at home you still need to find time to do something nice for yourself, even if it something as simple as hot bath whilst the children re-watch a video or learning how to paint your nails in the absence of being able to go to a nail salon.
You may be feeling pretty miserable if you are feeling isolated because of covid 19 or maybe it is because you are combining self-isolation with a recent separation or your ex-partner just doesn’t understand how worried you are about the children travelling to them for contact. If you can put how you are feeling aside for a few minutes to be kind to someone else I can guarantee that you will feel better.
Being kind doesn’t have to be a big deal. It can be as simple as suggesting a skype bed time story for a separated parent or grandparent or offering to get someone’s food whilst you are doing your own shop or just smiling at someone whilst maintaining your social distance. Sometimes, it really is the little things that help you, your family and neighbours and your community the most.By guest blogger Anoushka Macin of Balance PsychologiesLatest From Our Counselling Blogs:
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By guest blogger Anoushka Macin of Balance PsychologiesYou have decided or it may have been decided for you that you no longer want to stay in a relationship that is tormenting you. Leaving a narcissistic relationship is one of the hardest things to do. In my work with clients and with my online community I provide lots of information to people who find themselves with a narcissist or toxic individual. Here is how to get out safely with your wellbeing intact.
When we fall in love it’s natural to attach and form a romantic bond, but once in love with a narcissist it is not easy to leave let alone detach from them.
Why it’s hard to break up?
Pathological narcissists or people with narcissistic traits present as charming, interesting and seductive to be around and will treat you with kindness and warmth. They may even love bomb you. This is where the dysfunctional attachment to the narcissist begins. I am not saying that it is wrong that you are being treated with kindness, charm and respect at the beginning. Of course you want to be with them but you become easily dependent on their attention and validation of you.
Once you are hooked onto this they become secure and then they aren’t motivated to be nice to you. Their charm, warmth and respect fades and is replaced or intermixed with varying degrees of criticism, demands, coldness and emotional abuse. You become accommodating and try to win their love and attention back and meanwhile your self-esteem and independence of mind are compromised. You may even become gas lighted and begin to doubt your own decisions and perceptions due to blame and lies. When you question this you become attacked, intimidated and confused by manipulation.
Over time you learn to accept the abuse or even attempt to avoid conflict and become deferential. Because facing the reality is too painful. To leave is the only option as this behavior becomes a cycle of abuse and unfortunately you are too weak and vulnerable to be able to do anything about it. You cannot save them, only yourself. Below are some tips and strategies that may help you to cope and heal after leaving a narcissistic relationship.
Go no contact - limited no contact
Block them! I mean of all your communication avenues,.That means phone, email and social media. You need some time to yourself to ‘breathe’ and get your thoughts in order. You are not going to be able to do that if you have constant abuse through secondary sources. The narcissist will try to contact you! You have to cut off this communication, you need some time to get your mind in order.
Now, this may not be as straight forward if there are children involved, so what I suggest here is limited contact. I feel that at the beginning of this process do go no contact but only when you are ready begin with limited contact and it needs to stay like that. So, what does limited contact look like? It will mean that you have to clarify what it is that you are communicating with the narcissist, be specific and stick to only the facts that you want to get across. Take the emotion out of the content that you are talking about, this will give you the advantage. Please know that the narcissist will use your triggers and emotions against you to trip you up and get what they want. As these interactions are about gaining power over you and controlling the conversation, to do that they need to initiate an emotional reaction out of you and will press your buttons. Be wise to this and prepare yourself accordingly.
Join a support group
It is really important at this time that you have support of people that understand and care for you. Having to explain your decisions to people who do not get it, is not good for you to be around them at the moment. You need to surround yourself with people who give you positive validation. Finding a therapist might be a good idea too.
Become more autonomous
To heal and move forward from an abusive relationship it is helpful to build a life outside of the relationship that includes separate friends, hobbies and other interests. When you leave you will need a fulfilling life to supplement or replace the relationship. You will need to surround yourself with positive things that will help you to heal and remind you that there is a life outside of this person and relationship.
Build your self esteem
This is very important, you will need all the strength that you need. It is important to reconnect with yourself and get to know you all over again. In relationships such as these your identity would have been compromised and diminished, therefore reconnecting to your own needs and values is important to build your inner strength. You will need to learn to become more assertive and build boundaries.
Learn how to nurture yourself
This follows on from the last point of reconnecting with yourself. Learning your needs and putting them first. This is really important if you have children as you will be teaching them to value themselves and to build a robust connection to self. This is a life skill and will insulate you from the abuse.
Please allow yourself time to grieve the relationship and false future promises that were made to you in the relationship. This will help you to process your emotions and recover from the relationship. I would also urge you to find an experienced Manchester divorce solicitor who has the understanding and experience of dealing with narcissistic personalities. Mediation is not a good option where there is a history of abuse.
As long as you’re under the spell of the narcissist, they have control over you. In order to become empowered you will need to educate yourself. Come out denial and see the reality of what this really is. Information is power. Read up on narcissism and abuse, I have a lot of information on my website. Regardless of your decision, it is important for your own mental health and to redeem your autonomy and self-esteem.By guest blogger Anoushka Macin of Balance PsychologiesLatest From Our Divorce & Domestic Violence Blogs:
guest blogger Anoushka Macin of Balance Psychologies