Cheating Happened, NOW what?!

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cheatingcouplepic2089831860379119432.jpegCheating Happened. NOW, WHAT?

It is a confusing time in a relationship when someone cheats. We feel angry as hell at first, then we try to decide if it is a deal-breaker. If we are dating someone, cheating is most often a definite deal-breaker. But many times, cheating happens within a marital relationship. When cheating happens in marriage, it is not always assumed that the big-“D” is coming.

The Decision can be Doomsday -staying focused on the feelings of a potential dissolved relationship or view it as a wakeup call to resolve issues. It can keep you bound in the thoughts of the Deception or alert you to deal with what went wrong. It can feel Devastational- but can be a catalyst for meeting unmet needs or facing unfulfilled desires.

It can stay Disastrous- and keep one partner in victim mode- or be the bridge toward having the intimacy that was lost.

It can be a Dreaded journey of bitterness, anger and lost hope or a beginning toward rediscovering each other.

It can be the most Difficult time of your life or the most enlightening as to what your future holds for you.

You can stay in a Depressive state of being over the past incident, or choose to move forward in a positive directionIt can hold you hostage with Discouragement, or help you grow wings to soar.

It can provide for you insightful knowledge that gives you a new Direction toward forgiveness and healing. Or it can lead you toward leaving, but still needing to forgive and heal, which equals the Biggest “D”….DIVORCE. But no matter which path ‘you decide’ on, forgiveness and healing is required to have a positive emotional future.

If you cheated, or if your spouse did; TRUST was the key ingredient that has now been compromised. For a relationship to have a positive flow, trust cannot be broken. Chances are, trust was broken down long before the cheating began; not in every case, but usually -it is the case.

Cheating in the eye of the cheater seems to get justified by the wrongful actions of the non-cheater (the victim) in a relationship.

Cheaters usually do not take the time to identify and/or communicate their unmet needs, or they feel unheard -unappreciated -misunderstood or neglected in some way; so they go out to try to fill these unmet needs by emotionally and/or sexually connecting to someone else.

In some cases, the cheater feels like they did try to tell their partner, but to no avail. So, therefore, instead of explaining that they are unhappy and want to separate, or express their need to go get couples counseling, they avoid this action. To fill their void, they just slowly attract to what fills their unmet needs: a person who takes and shows interest with them. Then they slowly, without realizing it, emotionally connect to someone, which sometimes leads to sometimes sexually connecting- to that person.

Cheating is a false sense of satisfaction and it is not a remedy for fixing relationship problems; it makes them worse. Cheating is never justified, no matter how wrong the behavior is with the non-cheating partner. Cheating is a wrongful choice. Conflict can be resolved, compromised, discussed, and dealt with. Cheating requires a lot more than ceasing the affair, it requires a long span of time to recover, heal, forgive, rebuild trust, and repair the things that were broken before the affair! Even if couples call it quits after infidelity; recovering, healing, forgiving, and rebuilding trust is still needed, especially if couples must co-parent together after splitting up.

Healing after cheating is not something that magically happens with one counseling session, nor does it resolve after the victim receives a remorseful apology, if or when the cheater may ask for forgiveness.

Healing is a long process that takes time, patience, quality communication, understanding, listening, and adhering to boundaries that may feel uncomfortable for the sake of the ‘rebuilding trust process’ that must take place.

The most difficult part of healing after cheating for the ‘cheated on’ person in the relationship is not only having to rebuild trust and all the crazy emotions that go along with that but how to eliminate the thoughts replaying in their head; the “would of…could of…should of…thoughts” of doubt and self-blame that go along with being cheated on.

The victim sometimes is made to feel responsible by the cheater. The cheater will often say things like…” well you never….” or “you always…” or “you just didn’t listen to me…” etc. Somehow, the cheater tries to continually justify their wrongful behavior and choice with blaming their spouse for their own unmet expectations. Let’s get one fact out in the open, here and now:

Behavior that you don’t like, current conflict with a partner, unmet expectations, or unbecoming behaviors or attitudes of a lover -NEVER- justify cheating.

Solving existing conflict doesn’t correct itself by going outside the relationship in secret, and starting a new one! A cheater usually does have thoughts and feelings that are negative toward their partner, but the correct and mature and responsible way to deal with those unmet needs, or unwanted behaviors-is to talk about them, and seek counseling to resolve them.

If unmet needs cannot be filled, or if the solutions are not reached, that is when a person should speak up and express their desire to separate from the relationship.

A person should be confident enough in what they want enough~ to express it. So, cheating happened. We can’t undo that. But what we can do, is to learn how to express our needs to our partner. BOTH partners need to sharpen their communication skills. Our partners should never, ever feel unsafe or uncomfortable sharing their deeper thoughts and feelings with each other. Partners should never feel fearful to share constructive criticism.

In many cases, a cheating partner wants out -but continues to ‘blame the split’ on the non-cheating partner, placing fault on them. The cheater sometimes has a history of building up a record of wrongs for weeks or months or even years as if they are on a mission to try and make their partner seem inadequate for them, which then justifies their reasons for cheating and leaving their partner. Reality is that those weeks or months or years they spent in the blaming mode- focusing on what behaviors they didn’t like, were all building up in their own head, causing them the inability to express their needs and work on unmet expectations.

If you were the cheater in the relationship and you definitely want a divorce; keep in mind, you made your emotional disconnection long before your spouse even began to, and maybe they still haven’t! So as you approach your separation and divorce, be cautious not to treat the situation as though it is mutual. In the non-cheaters mind, no matter their past behaviors, the divorce is about infidelity, not irreconcilable differences.

If you are the person who does not want to reconcile (cheater or non-cheater) then you need to free yourself by expressing your unwillingness to reconcile.

If or When either partner keeps trying to deflect responsibility for marital problems onto the other unjustly- it will cause major conflict.

It’s hard to imagine this, but why be angry if someone doesn’t ‘want’ to love you and work things out? Isn’t it their loss? Do you feel you were at your very best, giving your very best?

The formula for a healthy marriage is:

1 emotionally healthy individual + 1 emotionally healthy individual = A Healthy Marriage! ~Life Coach Annalisa O’Toole

If you were the cheater, wouldn’t the love you show, possible willingness to reconcile, humble apology, disconnection from the relationship you had outside your marriage,  not be enough for them? If you are feeling this way, remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Your partner needs time to process, accept, and forgive in order to heal.

If you were cheated on, you may be feeling 3 different things…and what you should do:

  1. I might be able to try to forgive and trust again~ if I feel my partner is genuinely sorry and genuinely loves me and wants to work together to rebuild.

If you feel this, seek couples counseling.

  1. I definitely know I can not move forward with this infidelity that happened, and I admit I am not able to work through the forgiveness and trust right now, it is far too devastating.

If you feel this way, confidently tell your partner.

  1. I need more time.

If you feel this way, confidently tell your partner, consider counseling.

Interestingly enough, most cheaters are in reality, unhappy with their self. Many times they haven’t mastered knowing what they really want in life, so they fall prey to a quick infatuation that can provide a false sense of satisfaction. Sadly, most affairs are temporary seasons of happiness, and do not fulfill the voids they lacked in the first relationship, to begin with! And, without personal growth of ‘both partners’, their relationship (if they stay together) will have pop up problems in the future because they didn’t take an inventory of weaknesses, and learn from them, making changes to support an emotionally healthy connection. But even more devastation comes from getting a divorce having never gone through the personal growth work of recognizing your weaknesses, learning from them, and eliminating the same issues which may rise up in a future relationship!!

Cheating happens for many reasons, but several most common causes are:

  1. A person is not emotionally healthy enough to communicate their deepest needs to their partner; so they seek those needs elsewhere. It sometimes isn’t intentional, it just happens slowly. A cheater slowly feels the joy outside the marriage, that they somehow either don’t have, don’t work for, or don’t recognize ‘inside’ the marriage.
  2. A person does not feel safe or comfortable expressing their needs, for fear of rejection, fear of confrontation, or fear of not being heard and understood.
  3. A person prides themselves on being the support, leader, giver, fixer, provider, etc…so they actually feel “selfish” to express unfulfilled needs, they don’t want to tell their partner their negative feelings, (what is missing) (since most of the time, whatever the partner lacks, they pick up the slack on) so they gradually fall prey…elsewhere.
  4. A person is not feeling heard, appreciated, or supported by their partner, even though they try to communicate their needs, they don’t feel understood. Instead of investing time to fix this, they gravitate toward a person who makes them feel understood …elsewhere.
  5. A person is not receiving what they need most, and so an affair gives them a sense of affirmation that fills their unmet needs, temporarily, which creates a new emotional connection which causes the first emotionally connected relationship -to diminish.

Even if someone cheats, it is possible to consider a reconciliation. If you are currently confused about your marriage, or your relationship, because you were a cheater, or were cheated on…

Here are the 5 key questions to consider while your emotions are on a roller coaster as to ‘stay or not stay’ in the relationship which was compromised…

  1. Does the cheater feel remorse? Do they, or have they expressed a humble, sincere, heartfelt sadness for their behavior? This sense of guilt should not at all be confused with having fear of separation, or potential divorce. This guilt or humbled request for forgiveness should be real, not just ‘words’- and not initiated due to the possibility that the ‘cheating relationship’ didn’t work out, so the cheater just wants to go back to normal…
  2. Does the “cheating” spouse seem to have unstable emotions? …it is expected that the non-cheating spouse has unstable emotions…(shock, grief, depression, anger, resentment, bitterness, etc) but if a cheating person has severe mood swings, where you find it hard to understand what they are thinking and feeling, it probably isn’t a good time to communicate on details about your future relationship. If a person seems to want one thing one day, and on another day -they are focused entirely in another direction, they most likely, need more space. This is a sign that the unstable person (could be the cheater or the non-cheater) needs more time to evaluate his/her needs as an individual, and need more work in the self-development department before re-committing to be a team together.
  3. Does/Did the victim of the cheating spouse take responsibility for the unmet needs of the cheater prior to the affair? If a partner was/is willing to admit mistakes AND a willingness to make corrections for those mistakes, going forward, and can truthfully say they can forgive (either now or sometime in the future) and move forward, then these are positive signs things could work toward reconciliation.
  4. Was the non-cheating spouses’ needs met by their partner prior to the affair? In other words, was there distance- or everything seemed fine? If everything seemed fine, and the non-cheater was blindsided by the affair, it means that there were unmet needs -and possibly still are unhealthy traits in the cheater; examples being: inability to express what they want, but pretending all is well; not able to express deep thoughts and feelings and not feeling understood; but not sharing these details; or taking ‘space’ in a relationship making their partner feel they are working on things; but that time was spent cheating. (Characteristic: dishonesty) If someone has not overcome unhealthy characteristics – it would not be wise to consider reconciliation.
  5. If both partners erased the “affair” from their mind- pretending it didn’t happen and they were faced with only the feelings for one another, their communication with one another, and their personal needs that they need to be filled- would there be a score of 8+ in each category if the scale was 1-weakest and 10-strongest between them in each of those areas?

Examples would be:

Feelings:

10 = feeling close and attracted to my partner

1 = no attraction and don’t feel close at all.

Communication:

10 = we can talk and we understand each other, rarely argue

1= We fight. All. the. Time.

Personal needs met:

10 = My needs are always met by my partner.

1 = I don’t think my partner has any clue what I need most.

This test shows the work involved to reconcile beyond the work involved in rebuilding trust back! It helps couples evaluate whether the numbers reflect ease or difficulty of the reconciliation process. If numbers are low in these areas, working through a trust will be harder. If numbers are high, couples stand a better chance of resolving their issues and working through conflicts.

One of the biggest mistakes couples make after infidelity is playing the ‘blame game’ -blaming their partner for being unhappy with their present relationship, and naming all the wrong things their partner has done or is doing- as if this justifies their choice or reason for stepping out or not wanting to reconcile. This sometimes goes on for years.

It is much more freeing emotionally to know clearly what it is you need most, and decide if that criteria is realistic in your partner’s ability to meet those needs, or seek counsel to determine if they can.

Sometimes, we can love someone but just can not live with them. Sometimes we cannot feel deeply loved by them because they just don’t take the time to meet our deepest needs. Or…we have built up the record of wrongs for so long in our minds, any thought of a positive emotional connection to reignite a flame is impossible because it would make all of our hard work that created a “wrongful partner” seem as though we lied!

Don’t let pride or your record of wrongs stand in the way of reconciling. If you feel your partner is capable of loving you and meeting your needs and overcoming their inability to communicate their deepest thoughts and feelings, initiate a humble reconciliation. But if your partner has a hardened heart, you should either hold out …giving them time to heal and forgive, or make the decision it would continue hardening your heart to do that, and move on. Only you can decide what God may be leading you to do. There is not a best friend, a family member or even a counselor who can make the best decision for you. Only you, and divine connected guidance within you can decide if your future includes your partner, or if your feeling led away from them.

To divorce or not to, to move back in or not to, to reconcile your differences, or not to … lies between you…God …and your deep inner knowing, of what is best. Our deepest yearnings, those are our invisible compasses, guiding us toward joy. Our spirit is always trying hard to lead us toward joy. “Forget reason”…”forget religious laws”…those are things our inner soul speaks to us…” go here, where it feels good”…..that is our divine nature. To feel love. Acceptance. Joyful experiences. Belonging. We need it so badly, we forget that sometimes wrongful places and people illuminate the belief that we can capture the good things we need elsewhere, and avoid the feelings of ‘lack’ we may be feeling, elsewhere. Many of those illuminations are just illusions or false beliefs that seem real. They feel so real. Many of these, are fake. Fake illusions of our deepest needs. It’s trickery. ‘Bloom where you are planted’ is a powerful quote. But then so is this quote…

When the pain of remaining the same grows greater than the pain of making a change, we change. ~author unknown

When our feelings of lack expand in one area,                                                          our feelings of fulfillment expand in another!!~Coach Annalisa O’Toole

If you genuinely try to communicate, take steps toward your personal growth, learn from your mistakes, openly communicate what you need, and your partner is still not hearing you, this determines that your partner is not working on their own personal growth. If your partner is not accepting responsibility for their actions, or openly and positively receiving constructive criticism…it may mean you need more time and space, or you may feel God guiding you another direction.

Some people are meant to be in our lives for a moment,

some for a season, and some for a lifetime.

Pray about your situation and go with your gut feeling. No one should stay in a situation that feels constantly resistant- but no one should give up over a mistake if/when someone deeply loves you and you just don’t want to go through the work- that would be tragic too. Sometimes we just know when it’s time to let go. Sometimes we just know ~we need to hold on. Also, remember this…

When a person really loves someone, they would not need to be asked, prompted, or swayed by a counselor, a clergyman or anyone else to meet their partner’s needs because it should come naturally to them, to not only recognize what their lover needs, but meet those needs lovingly, and consistently.

“Love wins; every vibrational emotion below love,                                              either helps us learn or lose.”~LifeCoach Annalisa O’Toole

Test your emotions by viewing this chart below for where you are feeling emotionally, where your energy vibrational number is, God’s view of that state, and the process you’re in.

We can not control what other’s will say or do, but we can control our reaction and response to them, ultimately controlling our own emotions for our desired state of wellness! ~LifeCoach Annalisa

If you or someone you care about is struggling with a personal or Relationship issue, reach out to me, by calling, texting, or seeking more information at my website!

Life & Relationship Coach,

Annalisa O’Toole

678.431.6528

http://www.askannalisa.com

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Is Controversy YOUR new Normal?

Every. Single. Day. There it is, right there in the headlines; a major controversial theme for the day, which can sometimes take over the news and media for weeks. Saints vs. Rams, Native American vs. Catholic teens, Wall funding vs. Congress, Kavenough vs. Ford, the list could go on for days on end. It has become such a normal part of our daily living, daily news, and daily conversations that I am very concerned for our marriages, our newlyweds, our premarital couples, our young adults, and our future leaders!

The constant controversy we are faced with on a regular basis from companies, groups, National sports leagues, and well-renowned organizations has become the new normal, and nothing can be more damaging toward creating peace and unity! If this has become the ‘norm’ in media, in TV reality shows, in the press, and all over social media- how in the world could families refrain from making this the norm in their own homes and in their most precious and valued relationships with loved ones, spouses, and especially with their children?

This new acceptable form of daily conflict seems innocent, and unavoidable at times; but what is happening is, ‘MEDIA’ is taking ‘clips’ of happenings, or small segments of words or phrases spoken, and developing a negative story out of it; creating perspectives that would sometimes, and often, be non-existent if the ENTIRE message, or ENTIRE video, or ALL the facts were presented, to begin with.

Our controversial culture is wreaking havoc in the subconscious minds of everyone! We literally have become immune to acts of controversial behaviors assuming everyone will adapt and it will be fully acceptable!

This couldn’t be farther from the truth!

DON’T LET THIS NORMALIZATION OF CONFLICT BE YOURS TOO!!

Even one of the fruits of the spirit in the Bible states having forbearance, which means, don’t have resistance, don’t challenge and push for things, have self-control. The Fruit of the Holy Spirit is a biblical term that sums up nine attributes of a person or community living in accord with the Holy Spirit, according to chapter 5 of the Epistle to the Galatians: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. …

If every day we brought a ‘new’ problem to the table within our family or in our workplace, or in our community, everyone would be in discord, major dysfunction, and a breakdown of love and trust would diminish!

When an environment is a never-ending pool of different perspectives, different opinions, and arguments, there is conflict continually. Successful families and companies have positive flowing relationships when they can create an atmosphere that promotes positivity, results, praise, respect, and admiration. The following guidelines are helpful to create unity within groups, teams, partnerships, and families:

  • There is kindness; even expressed when providing constructive criticism. We don’t ‘bash’ the child or spouse or employee, we express our discord with ‘choices’ or ‘behaviors’.
  • There are boundaries and rules, and they are conveyed as to what and how they should be followed; if homes have no children; spouses express preferences to each other and each partner works hard to conform to their partner’s desires in an effort to please each other.
  • There are consequences for not complying to boundaries that everyone agreed to in a family; or set forth by the leader, parent, President, or top authority figure. Without adequate consequences, there would be chaos, and no one would have any reason to adhere to the boundaries, much less comply.
  • There is respect. Not everyone will agree, or like all the boundaries, rules, or laws put into place; but under the leadership or parental units, or companies where people have hatred, or a deep dislike, or a strong disagreement; it is the mature responsibility of those individuals to understand this very important principle: If you don’t like the management, you have a few choices: leave the company/family/relationship/group, move out or away from your current authority submitting yourself to new leadership or management, or you rise up to be the leader yourself! But if you remain in the situation, and your way of dealing with it is to badger, criticize, complain, cause dissension, disrupt others peace, you have caused strong negative energies to take over within you, and it wreaks havoc to all those around you. Why engage in actions to yourself and others that cause thoughts and emotions to suffer?

If you are in a family, group or company that argues and has a lot of dysfunction and problems, you have a few choices.

You can stay in the situation (hoping it changes; trying to change it- which often creates constant resistance and lowers everyone’s energy vibrations and emotions! Unless all parties can communicate effectively or seek counseling) Problem rarely gets resolved

Leave the situation (get a new job, move out, or ignore and distance yourself from the problem or person) -problem remains

Argue, or try to ‘WIN’ (a useless, virtually never successful effort) lowers emotional state & problem remains.

In all the above remedies: problem remains. Division, discouragement, bitterness, resentment, blame, negative emotions, hard-spiritedness, dissension, and discord are all results of staying insistent on getting your way.

Compromise is where two parties both ‘step off’ of certain desires, and ‘allow’ for some unwanted things. The keyword here: BOTH parties must give & take.

The only time a person should stand their ground is if a choice is made without their consent- against their will or against their desire- that person afflicted should not be held accountable in any way (financially or otherwise) because someone else made a wrong choice. Example: Son breaks family TV when he threw a ball in the house. Mom thinks the parents should replace it, describing the incident as an accident. Dad, on the other hand, feels the Son should relinquish his allowance, seek new neighbors yards to cut for money, and do whatever else it takes to buy a new TV.

Would the parents replacing the TV be teaching the child how life works? If the parents were not in the child’s life in 5 years, the same scenario happened in college, would the child feel like ‘all’ the roommates should chip in to recover the cost of a TV… since, after all, it WAS an accident? Or, would the child have grown up realizing that we are all responsible for our mistakes- purposeful and accidental mistakes?

Love wins. Patience endures. Kindness calms. Thoughtfulness encourages. Non-resistance compromises.

Sometimes we must come to the realization that we can’t keep trying to have our expectations met, it is so emotionally draining.

Sometimes, things are better left unsaid. Letting go of trying so hard to make a point can be energizing. If someone has a different value system, your point is mute anyway.

Sometimes, it is best to do the following when a difficult person says or does something against our better wishes:

  • Pause.
  • Shake our head. (release that negative feeling!)
  • Realize that sometimes the other person resisting our decision is based solely on their own fears or levels of insecurities.

Each day does not have to include drama. Be a drama-diffuser. Here are the best ways to reduce drama, cease potential arguments- and keep positive flowing energy at work and at home.

A person has a critical argument or comment:

Your Response: That’s interesting.

A person has a negative statement or complaint:

Your Response: What are your ideas to fix that?

A person is going on and on with Blame…blame…blame:

Your Response: What are your plans moving forward since you can’t change the past?

A person has a project or something unreasonable for you to do:

Response: My answer is no, but I’m willing to compromise with the idea to ____________________.

Try hard not to let our present day culture that has developed a ‘normalcy’ to drama and conflict, be your method of everyday operation as well! The Nations leaders may not be in constant unity, but our relationships, families, and workplaces can be!!

Be happy within yourself, and kindness will flow. Be content and grateful, and appreciation will come naturally. Be a person with no expectations, and you’ll rarely be disappointed.

Don’t take things personally. Don’t assume. Always honor your word. And always, do your very best. ~The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz

Less conflict = more peace!🤗✌

Life & Relationship Coach,

Annalisa O’Toole

askannalisa.com

Do you have a child, or do you RAISE one?

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childpicParenting has two parts. The two parts are two different things. There’s the first part of parenting; the act of ‘becoming’ a parent, where you actually created a child, the child was born, and now you are either a Mother or Father in name only. The second part of parenting, the more committed part, is where parenting isn’t about the simpleness of claiming the title of such a privilege, but the act of loving and caring for the child day in and day out. Even a parent who doesn’t live with their child should know and understand that an emotionally connected parent is the one engaged in their child’s life enough to promote the child earning respect for them. An absent parent = absent respect. A child learns more about their parent’s values by being around the parent.  A parent who is actively engaged in their child’s life, learns about their child’s intentions, and is in a position to guide, support, and mentor the child with the end goal being raising and developing a responsible, kind, confident, and stable adult that strives to succeed in life to their fullest potential. The responsibility for this development shouldn’t be left to only one parent; but all too often, it unfortunately is. Some divorced parents use the excuse that their child never calls them, or reaches out to them. It is not the responsibility of a child (a young, sensitive, undeveloped mind, with an undeveloped level of people skills and maturity) to reach out to a parent; quite the contrary. It is the responsibility of each parent, regardless of a living situation, to reach out to their child, on a regular basis to create and build a strong relationship. It is not the child’s responsibility to be the only initiator for staying in contact or to plan to spend time together.

According to Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2009, a report released by the U.S. Census Bureau every two years (and most recently in December 2011), there are approximately 13.7 million single parents in the United States today, and those parents are responsible for raising 22 million children.

Single parenting doesn’t always mean that only one parent is raising a child. Many cases of divorced or unmarried parents are co-parenting together, meaning that they both share in the responsibility of teaching, mentoring, disciplining, supporting, encouraging, and paying for the child’s needs. Some of the co-parenting arrangements still involve one parent paying support to the primary custodial parent, while some parents choose to have no child support, but split the child’s costs. There are some children who actually live in two homes; they split their time between both parent’s houses. There are judges in the US that are beginning to award the child support be directly deposited into a child’s bank account, versus being paid directly to the primary custodial parents account when a child is a certain age, and the parent’s income is substantial for this scenario to be beneficial for the child (usually a teenager). But, while money is necessary for raising a child, emotional connections from BOTH parents are more important. If a child grows up feeling loved and supported by both parents, it creates strong trust in their own relationships. A child may not remember the tennis shoes a parent bought them on their 9th birthday, but they will definitely remember if one parent didn’t come to their party to celebrate. A child may not be affected by who pays for their car insurance while they are in high school or college; but you can be rest assured, they will remember if their parent supported them by spending time with them teaching them how to drive. A child may not recall how parents split the cost or didn’t share in paying for braces, but they will surely remember who dives them to their monthly appointments and takes them to the drug store for the supplies, and talks with them about dental care, and idea’s to implement for relieving pain. In all of these common scenarios, it is ‘time’, ‘attention’, and ‘helpfulness’ to a child that instills a strong relationship between a parent and a child.

There is a saying that has been posted about parenting that hits a home run in my opinion, on conveying the difficult task of preparing a child for their future. This quote sums up almost all of what a parents job really is, beyond making a child feel loved, of course.

theroad~Our job as parents is to prepare our children for the road…

not prepare the road for our children.~

It is a difficult task to be in the constant care of a child which involves maintaining organization, scheduling, food preparation, medical attention, discipline, schooling issues, social intervention, teaching, mentoring, hygiene, extracurricular activities, and spiritual guidance. If only one parent is handling these tasks, it means that a child is only getting influenced by that one parent’s perspectives. Even if two people are no longer living together as parents, the child still deserves to know and be encouraged about all of their life’s many twists and turns from both parents.

In many cases, a parent who is ‘not’ the primary custodial parent (the parent the child lives with full-time) feels that sending a child support check, and calling occasionally, is being a parent. News Flash!! Money isn’t what a child needs emotionally. Money is not where a child learns kindness, or patience, or how to talk to an adult with respect. Money doesn’t instill confidence, nor does it reinforce certain values and principles that often get pushed aside because parents are too busy. Values, like loving your neighbor as you love yourself; or the golden rule, treating others the way you would want to be treated are reinforced when a child has both parents guiding them on a regular basis. And if only one parent is trying desperately to persuade a child towards loving and honoring God, but another parent doesn’t engage in the child’s life enough to demonstrate their spiritual walk, how will a child learn the importance of the most important relationship in all of life, connecting to their heavenly Father? And here’s an amazing point: How will a child learn- that maybe, the primary parents perspective may be a little ‘off’ if they don’t have a differing perspective from their own blood-line to compare it to?

Too many non-custodial parents are viewing their young child’s life as they would a friend; they believe the relationship is a 50/50 exchange. If the 50/50 exchange was what marriage counted on; everyone would be divorced. If the 50/50 belief (you give this relationship 50%, and I’ll give this relationship 50%) were what all friendships counted on, there would be far fewer friendships in this world! The truth is, young children didn’t ask to be part of split families. They did not ‘choose’ to have both parents living in two different places. They are not thinking of their family relationships as something they have to invest in. Children and teens are naturally focused on themselves. All children are consumed with playing, school, friendships, and extracurricular (sports, gaming, clubs, social media, etc) It isn’t psychologically in a child’s mind to think like an adult with a thought that might be like this: “Oh yeah, haven’t made plans with Grandma & Grandpa in a while, I should call them and get on their calendar.”…..

The most important thing a parent can ever do for their child, (regardless of ANY living arrangement, regardless of geographical locations, regardless of income, regardless of the support payments or non-payments, regardless of any issue between the non-married parental figures) is to show love, show up, show support, show encouragement, show that you are engaged in their life, show that you’re interested in their life by being there with them. Show them you will be there IN PERSON to guide them along their journey as they develop their own values, their own passions.

~Our children are learning how to be the future parents by our actions; which will be developing our grandchildren.~

In the case of Parental Alienation…

Wikipedia: Parental alienation syndrome (PAS) is a term coined by child psychiatrist Richard Gardner, and introduced in his 1985 paper,[1] to describe a suite of distinctive behaviors he argued were shown by children who have been psychologically manipulated into showing unwarranted fear, disrespect or hostility towards a parent and/or other family members – typically, by the other parent and during child custody disputes.[1][2]

…it is VITAL divorcing parents research the after-effects of this tragedy) the targeted, alienated parent must continue to pray, reach out with love, and be patient, allowing God to embrace the children with truth and the courage around the child to reunite with the lost parent. In no way, should a parent lose hope, or be angry; children can not be held responsible for estranging themselves, when they were led (either passively or deliberately) to shun a parent in their life; especially when no abuse, neglect, nor abandonment was present.

Parents shouldn’t just be a distant figure the child hears from every now and then; a real parent shows up LIVE, and IN PERSON, next to their child on a regular basis, talking to them, looking them in the eye, spending quality TIME with them, demonstrating their perspectives about life.  An engaged parent is the one a child can depend on in happy times of celebration and in sad times of defeat. Our children need both parents. Children don’t deserve to be deprived of the two people in their life that are the sole responsible parties for their development, the support, the encouragement, the love, and the installation of life’s important lessons. The most important life lesson being…..learning how YOU connect to God and how you live out YOUR life in Faith and not fear. Children learn what they see, not what they hear. 

For more relationship or parenting advice, follow this blog! Visit annalisaotoole.com for more info on Life Coaching. For ordering audio downloads, or to learn about an upcoming debuting PODCAST, The Ask Annalisa Show, available beginning June 1st: visit: www.askannalisa.com. 

 

 

 

Why do “I” …need Personal Growth?

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“I am who I am”, Heard yourself say that? Or, “I’m just me. No one can expect me to change.” Some of us feel we are fine. We are emotionally healthy. There are hints that life can throw us to know we are kidding ourselves!! Here’s the reality, while setting our personal boundaries is vital to good relationships and creating balance and peace, there are definite times in our lives we need to stop, look within, evaluate our choices and actions to possibly consider tweaking some things. Clues to needing to exit on a new path of personal growth are easy to detect- if your conscious. Here are a few clues:

–People stop listening to you and often become distracted.
–You can not get into or have trouble staying in a committed relationship.
–You do not have a passion, hobby, or strong creative interest in your life outside friends, family and/or a lover(s).
–There is constant drama around you.
Ok…so if any of the criteria above holds true in your life, here are 10 ways to come into massive personal growth –so you can begin to enjoy life! Experience peace. Create balance and harmonious relationships.
1. Read or listen to the audio versions of a personal self help book. I recommend Joel Osteen’s “YOUR BEST LIFE NOW” to start. Or, “THE MAJIC OF THINKING BIG”
2. Surround yourself with people who are where you most want to be in life, emotionally, career wise, spiritually and intellectually.
3. Evaluate who you talk to most. What goes in (your brain) comes out. Make sure people you are close to are not negative, whiney, energy draining, and crisis oriented. Choose positive people who speak life, givers who do for others, people who support your goals, and love their life.
4. If someone walks away from you- Let it be. Let go. Move forward. They may come back in a different season, but for now, you just work on you -to be your very best.
5. Love and forgive yourself. The past is over. Your future is so bright, you’re going to need shades!! Read Jer.29:11
6. You are designing your life. Your thoughts are creating your mood. Your mood inhibits or prohibits your actions. Your actions are developing your life’s journey! So, adjust your thoughts to what you desire with a positive expectation; so deeply believing that all resources and opportunities are aligning to make this a reality even as you read this!! Remember this too: Anxiety happens when our minds are affixed on past or future things. Be mindful of this present moment, be grateful and count your blessings…you will feel anxiousness subside the more you begin to dwell in the “now”.
7. Live and let live. Don’t be needy or clingy to other people. Find your niche’. Discover your calling. This makes you an interesting person. People want to be around people who have fun. People are drawn to those who have enthusiasm! Don’t have unnecessary expectations of others. Let the little stuff roll. Life is too short to get bent over things that won’t matter in 5 years.
8. Understand this: IT IS A HUGE MISTAKE TO MAKE ANOTHER PERSON YOUR WORLD. No one is responsible for your happiness, except you. You should be creating a life that is fulfilling, fun, enriched with activities and opportunities that don’t always involve the love of your life.
9. Trust your inner compass. Go with that gut feeling! This is God within you saying YES or No! If it just doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Know the difference between feeling fear or feeling hesitant.
10. Work on self discovery. Just because you have a physical attraction to someone doesn’t mean you are meant to be and will live happily ever after. Your values must match. People need similar priorities and goals or there will be constant resistance.
Decide your career path. Choose your retirement location. Develop your dream. Work on a project that serves someone or something that helps them in some way! Make a list of your “must haves” in a relationship so you have clarity on what you want, and most importantly, your personal red flags!

In careers, love relationships, family relationships and friendships…we should NEVER let our need for affirmation, affection or attention be so strong that we stay involved, but sacrificing our deeper beliefs and values.
Make 2015 your beginning of a massive personal growth journey! Remember, it’s up to YOU…to make ALL your days great!

For more Self-empowerment, dating or marriage coaching, contact LifeCoach, Relationship specialist, Inspiring Speaker, Annalisa O’Toole
678-431-6528
@coachannalisa /twitter
lifecoachannalisa@gmail /email

Annalisa O’Toole, Life Coach, Relationship Specialist, Inspirational Speaker http://www.annalisaotoole.com

Happy Valentines Day…but…I want to break up…

IMG_20140725_073621Here’s the hardest reality for some people on Valentines Day: Pretending to celebrate a Love, that in their heart of hearts, has evaporated.  Yet, due to the hurt it may cause their love, they do not want to express their true feelings, before Valentines, during Valentines, or shortly afterwards. The pain of having to conform to a day where lovers exchange gifts, and words of gratitude and passion can be excruciating. Many people love their partner but don’t feel IN LOVE.  It leads to thoughts like, “what is ‘IN LOVE” mean, really? “Can true love even exist?”- “Is finding a soul mate even possible?” Sometimes the hurt of breaking up can be devastating, even if you are the one wanting to call it off. Many times, the other person didn’t do anything wrong, but you aren’t feelin’ it anymore.  When this happens, it is such an ordeal when you know you are going to break someones heart. You dread dealing with the crying, the text messages, the constant questions. You’re to the point of visualizing an interrogation of disastrous proportions!! Maybe though, You’re not wanting the break up, but someone has or is trying to…break up with you.

Here’s an amazingly positive thought. What if breaking up could be perceived as a LOVING gesture? Breaking up could actually be a GIFT!  Let’s examine how this can be true, even for the broken hearted receiver from the ‘breaker-upper’.

First of all, here are some of the feelings breaker-uppers usually have. They feel like they need space. They feel they need to disconnect, not necessarily for actions they dislike about their partner, but rather, actions they want to experience without being in an exclusive relationship. Some people want to break the constant communication, checking in, the assumed ‘together time’ on the weekends, and it’s not always about being interested in someone else. Breaker-uppers sometimes want out of feeling trapped. Or maybe, they haven’t felt independent in so long, they need more time to discover more about themselves.  Some breaker-upper’s have a gut feeling, an intuition that is leading them toward being solo –for no apparent reason, just feels right to transition there. And for some, the red flags of the relationship or the other person are just too much to continue. There are different value systems and priorities that become apparent after being with someone for a while, (after the infatuation stage wears off, which can be a year up to 7 years!) and the person didn’t do anything wrong like cheat, or defy their loyalty or respect, but one person just realizes the differences are too vast to remain compatible.  There is the case where the breaker-upper ‘changes’ in their values or priorities, and the relationship isn’t flowing like it once did when choices and decisions were made around different activities and perspectives. Also, there are people who are shy about speaking up in a new relationship to honor their deeper preferences, and then when they become stronger in expressing what they really want, this becomes foreign to their partner, and causes conflict.

Whatever the situation is, breaking up is always a hard thing to do. However, if you look at yourself, look deep within yourself, it really doesn’t matter if you are being broken up with, or you’re the one breaking up — IT IS STILL A GIFT and let me tell you why.  If the other person is ‘doubtful’ of their feelings, or needs more time to evaluate their individuality — PRAISE GOD for this!!! Would you want someone to stay with you otherwise? If you did, you are selfish. The best relationships are the ones where two individually healthy people team up, speak up, live it up, and love up life – together.  If your partner is breaking up, they are giving you the gift of freedom. Freedom to evaluate ‘your own life’ – (while they evaluate theirs!) and freedom of time to explore your passions, experience life without being on a team for a while. It can be WONDERFUL!  And think of this, they are actually giving you the most UNSELFISH gift. The gift of TRUTH. They are being honest with their feelings.  it would be dishonest to hide those feelings on Valentine’s, offering you rose pedals, bouquets, chocolate, and sex, but their heart is wanting out.

I’ve never understood the ‘anger’ people have when someone breaks up. I don’t want to be with anyone who doesn’t want me. The ‘wanting me’ is a major part of why I want them!!  I value myself. I love myself. I love my life. I like my personality. I like my career. I love my friends and family. If someone else doesn’t value me, ALL the qualities about me, even my short comings, then WHY would I beg, cry, ask a million questions, and even spend any time worrying over their decision of leaving me? I wouldn’t. No one gets that kind of  power over me. Sadness? Yes, it’s OK to be sad. But only for a moment. Some need longer moments than others.  But if you look at a break-up as a gift, a gift the other person gave YOU, and gave their self, you can take this punch a little stronger.

Also, Breaking up is an act of service and kindness. Why? Because it speaks volumes for the breaker-upper’s deeper character. They are being true to self. They are able to express a feeling; they are not afraid to risk a future friendship, or love, because they are honoring their inner sense of knowing. They are trusting a gut feeling, or their inner compass. They could be following God’s will, and/or, their inner sense of caution. While to most, a break-up is horrible, and viewed as depressing, and unkind; to healthy people, it is an act of real love for self, and for their soon to be -former lover.

“IF YOU LOVE SOMETHING, LET IT GO, IF IT’S MEANT TO BE IT WILL COME BACK TO YOU”

Another positive approach to a breakup, is to look at it as a way to know, evaluate, or gauge if the relationship is TRULY meant to be, truly intimate, and truly what you want for the rest of your life. How could you determine this if there has never been a time you could venture into thinking for yourself, deciding individually for yourself, or freedom to develop your own ideas, your own goals. If you have ALWAYS been a team, and you feel shorted by not having independance with life’s ups and downs, it is HEALTHY to break up to go through a discovery process. This type of break up sends a positive message- that you aren’t rejecting your lover, but rather, you are in need of space from being exclusive, and all that exclusivity has involved during your relationship.There is a big difference!

So, if you are contemplating a break-up, or someone is breaking up with you, look at this as a positive transitional time in your life of God’s favor. It is a blessing of time. It is a gift in kindness. It is a chance to personally grow. It is a breather. It is a freedom opportunity to discover more about yourself. It is a healthy time for you to develop personally. It is a break from dual-choices, into the liberating feeling of independent thinking. It can provide time and space for personal reflection, contemplation, and setting values or goals into motion.

BREAKING UP is…(not hard to do)…but rather, a non-selfish, act of honest, loving kindness. Accept or give the gift without worry of hurt, but with compassion for a positive future for both people. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is not boastful. Love is not jealous or self serving. Love does not keep a record of wrongs. Love does not anger, but comforts. Love serves. Love never fails. 1 Cor. 14:4-8, and some additions- by your’s truly. : )

Happy Breaking up this Valentines day. I sincerely wish you have found hope and faith in what the world views as a hardship; as a renewal time, an amazing gift, and one of the most sincerest acts of kindness within all that Love embraces.

~Life Coach, Relationship Specialist, Inspirational Speaker,

Annalisa O’Toole

For more relationship advice, dating, marriage, or divorce coaching or support, or counsel…

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