Almost there…..

 

ID-100107304.num_skymanIn regard to the marital property settlement I have recently passed through some major hurdles and have almost got the whole settlement across the line. The feeling I have is that I have been lost and alone in this thick dark gloomy impenetrable forest which I have spent three years trying to hack through, seemingly getting nowhere. Then I decided to go a different route, trudging uphill through an area of dense brambles, enduring much pain and suffering to go that way, but by that route I have slowly been edging forward. At last I have come to a clearing. Even though there is still a little way to go, I can at least now see the path ahead. The way to go is easy walking for me now and, just a little bit further down at the end of the road, I can see some light.

I am almost there.

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ImageCourtesy[num_skyman]FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The influence of divorce on my needs

 

house and family

Our needs can be grouped together such as basic needs (food, warmth), safety (home, security), relationships (partner, family) and higher mind needs (work, leisure).

After a crisis, our needs return to basics before moving to needs higher up. The ending of my marriage was such a crisis and as everything crashed down, I coped by focussing on the basics of eating a healthy diet, walking in the mornings, following a routine during the day and cocooning myself in the warmth of my bed at night. I was in a survival mind-set of fulfilling basic needs as all else was gone; my perceived safety, my security, my family unit and my companion. As I continued to crave the comfort that my home and routine provided, I wondered whether I would remain there. Could I ever move on to higher needs?

I had become confused about my needs.

There is a difference between my needs, including emotional needs, and those things that fill those needs. My needs have actually not changed. What has changed are those things that previously satisfied them. I had been clinging on to the concept that I needed the same type of ‘satisfiers’ to provide for my empty needs. Taking an honest look, my needs are not a home, a sound financial asset base, a life-companion, work, hobbies and experiential pastimes. They are satisfiers of my needs, not the needs themselves. My needs are stability, security, a sense of belonging, a need to contribute and create, and a need to celebrate the joys (and sorrows) of life. What is gone is the person and shared projects that previously satisfied those needs. What I need to do going forward is to find other things and other ways to fulfill those needs.

In regard to need satisfiers, you can receive them, be self-reliant, or give them. As a simple illustration: people in third world countries can be provided with food hand-outs or they can be taught how to be self-sufficient and grow crops. The first aids a continual need to be provided for, the latter aids self-reliance and improved community spirit.

One of the consequences of my divorce in regard to needs is that it moved me from a self-reliant ‘I need to do’ and contributing ‘I need to give’ strength to a fragile ‘I need to have, I need to be provided for’ mind-set.

My confusion over needs versus satisfiers and my fragile ‘I need to have’ mind-set together have influenced both life decisions I made in the months post separation as well as some day-to-day choices.

Life decisions:

I need to feel safe and comforted. My home provides me with safety and comfort.
I need security. The job I have provides me with financial security.
I clung on to my home and my job in the year post separation.
Those satisfiers for my daily comfort and security conflict with my long-term need for belonging as my children and family live far away. Therefore despite the daily comfort, there remains an ache. A year ago I looked at my real underlying needs as opposed to merely things that satisfy and I made the decision to change for my forward journey.

Daily choices:

I sometimes have feelings of anxiety, sadness, anger, resentment regarding my divorce. These are voices of pain ‘I am scared’, ‘I am lonely’, ‘I do not matter’ and ‘it’s not fair’.
These voices reflect my underlying needs of security, belonging, significance and respect.

In my last post I wrote how I now recognize those voices of pain as a call to protect my present. While it is tempting to go for a passive need satisfier providing comfort (watching TV,  over-eating etc) or leaning on a confidante who will provide a sympathetic ear; that keeps me at the ‘I need help’, ‘I need to be comforted’, ‘I need to have’ mind-set. I need to transform that ‘having’ mind-set into ‘being’, ‘doing’ and ‘giving’ strengths while providing for my own needs of *protection, *connection, *creation, *contribution and *celebration.

 

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*I have created these new terms for my own needs as creativity is a ‘doing’ need of mine and that is my start :).

You may also want to read:

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
Tony Robbins six needs
Max-Neef Human Scale Development.

ImageCourtesyOf[Smarnad]:FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I am a survivor

My way forward – this song says it all …

Survivor by Destiny’s child

Now that you’re out of my life
I’m so much better
You thought that I’d be weak without you
But I’m stronger

You thought that I’d be broke without you
But I’m richer
You thought that I’d be sad without you
I laugh harder

You thought I wouldn’t grow without you
Now I’m wiser
Thought that I’d be helpless without you
But I’m smarter

You thought that I’d be stressed without you
But I’m chillin’
You thought I wouldn’t sell without you
Sold 9 million

I’m a survivor (What?)
I’m not goin’ give up (What?)
I’m not goin’ stop (What?)
I’m goin’ work harder (What?)

I’m a survivor (What?)
I’m goin’na make it (What?)
I will survive (What?)
Keep on survivin’ (What?)

I’m a survivor (What?)
I’m not goin’ give up (What?)
I’m not goin’ stop (What?)
I’m goin’ work harder (What?)

I’m a survivor (What?)
I’m goin’ make it (What?)
I will survive (What?)
Keep on survivin’ (What?)

Thought I couldn’t breathe without you
I’m inhaling
You thought I couldn’t see without you
Perfect vision

You thought I couldn’t last without you
But I’m lastin’
You thought that I would die without you
But I’m livin’

Thought that I would fail without you
But I’m on top
Thought it would be over by now
But it won’t stop

Thought that I would self destruct
But I’m still here
Even in my years to come
I’m still goin’ be here

I’m a survivor (What?)
I’m not goin’ give up (What?)
I’m not goin’ stop (What?)
I’m goin’ work harder (What?)

I’m a survivor (What?)
I’m goin’na make it (What?)
I will survive (What?)
Keep on survivin’ (What?)

I’m a survivor (What?)
I’m not goin’ give up (What?)
I’m not goin’ stop (What?)
I’m goin’ work harder (What?)

I’m a survivor (What?)
I’m goin’na make it (What?)
I will survive (What?)
Keep on survivin’ (What?)

I’m wishin’ you the best
Pray that you are blessed
Bring much success, no stress, and lots of happiness

I’m not goin’ blast you on the radio
(I’m better than that)
I’m not goin’ lie on you and your family
(I’m better than that)

I’m not goin’ hate on you in the magazines
(‘m better than that)
I’m not goin’ compromise my Christianity
(I’m better than that)

You know I’m not goin’ diss you on the internet
‘Cause my mama taught me better than that

I’m a survivor (What?)
I’m not goin’ give up (What?)
I’m not goin’ stop (What?)
I’m goin’ work harder (What?)

I’m a survivor (What?)
I’m goin’na make it (What?)
I will survive (What?)
Keep on survivin’ (What?)

I’m a survivor (What?)
I’m not goin’ give up (What?)
I’m not goin’ stop (What?)
I’m goin’ work harder (What?)

I’m a survivor (What?)
I’m goin’ make it (What?)
I will survive (What?)
Keep on survivin’ (What?)

Oh (oh) oh (oh)…

After of all of the darkness and sadness
Soon comes happiness
If I surround my self with positive things
I’ll gain prosperity

I’m a survivor (What?)
I’m not goin’ give up (What?)
I’m not goin’ stop (What?)
I’m goin’ work harder (What?)

I’m a survivor (What?)
I’m goin’ make it (What?)
I will survive (What?)
Keep on survivin’ (What?)

Week 36 – Recipe for a bigger divorce pie

Week 36 May 28 2012. This week marked us agreeing to a property settlement – not signed, but at least agreed to.

I wrote earlier about the pain I had felt when I began to face the full fall-out of the financial insult that this break-up would bring upon me. Thinking over this predicament in the weeks since then had been a major factor in preventing me from moving forward in my life, of letting go of the life we had, of the future of us that will never be. Trying to accept the financial insult was a second wave of pain coming on top of the emotional pain.

Being together for 40 years and close to retirement years, the sums had been done many times. There was to be a pie with 40 pieces – one piece for each year together – that we had carefully put away. This pie of 40 pieces would have been adequate to provide us with a comfortable lifestyle income of about two pieces of pie per year. The initial shock on separation for me was that there would now only be 20 pieces of pie for me to live on, half of the original providing me with only one piece of pie a year to live on. This was a down-coming but not exactly horrific and being an optimistic person I came to accept this and tried to move on. However, slowly I came to realise that the Maths was all wrong. What struck me in April was the harsh reality of a much more severely depleted pie of only six pieces and only one fifth of our ‘couples’ pie.

Let me explain the Maths.

In the original pie of 40 pieces, 10 were tied up in the family home leaving 30 pieces for investment to provide the annual income of about two pieces of pie. In the post separation pie there is the reality of 8 pieces of pie being taken out for divorce proceedings, leaving 32 pieces to divide – 16 pieces each. From my half, once I take 10 pieces for the family home, I am left with only 6 pieces left to invest and live on – only one fifth of the original investment pie of 30 pieces! The equation is not a simple matter of dividing the total in two. Moreover the cost of living for a single person is more than half of that of a couple – with house and car costs incurred on one’s own. You actually require more than half to live on. Yet I would only be left with six pieces of pie to invest. How could I survive? As I sat working out the figures, turning them over, backwards and forward and upside down; there was also the horrible thought that the only way of getting more pieces of pie for myself was to become a combatant and fight against my husband through the courts, bringing up mud to fling, having to say vile and toxic things against the one person who up until 10 months before I had given my whole life and love to. I did not want to become that person necessary to get more pieces of the pie simply so that I could have a comfortable retirement. However, I was now on my own and I also did not want to have to fight for financial survival throughout my golden years. Financial survival versus soul survival. It seemed like a lose-lose situation. It was this knowledge hitting home to me that had sent me spiralling downwards early April.

Then I worked out a recipe for a bigger pie. There is another way and I created it. Rather than focussing on what we had had and lost, I focussed instead on the income I would require and created a pie that would provide me with enough investment pie to provide the income I would need. This is my recipe for a bigger and better divorce pie:

Ingredients:
Take
1. Your soul
2. Your choices
3. A clear head
4. Determination
5. Respect and
6. Your finances

Method:
1. Stay out of the courts. This gives you back 8 pieces of pie in the savings on litigation costs.
2. Compromise. Even though it seems unfair to give some bits away to the person whose choice it was for this financial mess, is it really worth fighting for two pieces of pie to lose four in the process?
3. Stay out of the courts.
4. Think of your soul. Do you really want to become a bitter toxic person by dragging down the person you gave 40 years to?
5. Think of your children. Save the children the pain of seeing their parents knocking each other over.
6. Stay out of the courts.
7. Compromise on the house – at least in your head. Accept that sometime in the future you will downsize from the family home to a smaller home and release another 4 pieces of pie.
8. Get a hold on your own personal budget, live more frugally, watch discretionary spending and make the pieces of remaining pie work for you.
9. Remember your own divorce code and stick to it.
10. Stay out of the courts.

Here is a comparison of the alternative pies:

Original
Total pieces of pie                  40
Less Litigation costs             – 8
Remaining                              32
Half to me                              16
Less cost of home                -10
Pieces of pie to live on            6
Living costs per year               1.2
Years of income                      5

My recipe
Total pieces of pie                  40
No Litigation                           – 0
Remaining                              40
Half to me                              20
Less cost of home                 -6
Pieces of pie to live on           14
Living costs per year              0.7
Years of income                     20

Voila! This recipe will provide me with four times the financial security of what may have been and has saved my soul and sanity. Moreover, if you look carefully at the figures, by careful budgeting and a revision of my lifestyle – from what had been ‘our’ lifestyle – it actually provides me with more financial security than before separation as there is now no-one I have to compromise with in my careful budgeting to make it all happen.

Full steam ahead now with – my choices – my lifestyle.

Week 14 – Detachment

Week 14 – Detachment – December 2011

“Man cannot discover new oceans until he has the courage to lose sight of the shore” Andre Gide

Up to this point my husband had been around a fair bit, collecting his things, discussing finances etc. He wanted our relationship to be the same as before – except for living apart – and for us to openly be ‘friends’ with each other. I was still in so much pain that I simply froze in his presence which he took as a personal affront. For me to survive, I needed time to heal and to have an emotional separation from him which he was not giving me. I had to be strong enough to ask him for it.

This was not a straight forward process. Firstly, I had to finally face the happy-ever-after as it really was – an illusion. You know, that journey of the grief process and finally coming to a state of acceptance. I had to come to a state of accepting the happy-ever-after as an illusion and let go of it. Secondly, I had to emotionally detach from my husband by letting go – or standing aside – from those feelings of love and care I held for him right up until the very moment of separation. This was not easy and it took a considerable mental attitude from my part. It was a difficult and necessary part of my own healing – for me. Thirdly, I had to mentally separate my issues from his issues and let go of his. They were not my responsibility. They were no longer my problem. I let go of them. Fourthly, I worked at setting up an emotional distance by moving myself from a state of ‘reacting’ to ‘acting’ in his presence. ‘Reacting’ is the ‘fight – flight – or freeze’ response one often takes to a stressful situation. ‘Acting’ is a more measured planned response; by allowing time and space to absorb a situation and offering a true and honest response. Giving in to his requests or ‘freezing’ simply to save the pain of an argument is not an honest response. Fifthly, I set myself healthy boundaries by aiming to make a clear statement to him without an extensive discussion. ‘This is what I need. This is why.’ End of story. Lastly, I learned to quieten my mind and, having made my decision, to let go of all those things about the situation that I could not control – including his response.

Having worked out my action, I contacted him. I explained that after thirty seven years of marriage and four beautiful children, many worthwhile projects together, sharing triumphs and tragedies, after the sanctuary of marriage and all that means, and because I was still suffering the pain of abandonment without choice or discussion; that friendship was not at this point in time an option for me. He would have to let me go.

This was one of the most difficult things I have ever done and yet one of the most important.

Afterwards I was calm and I was at peace with myself.

 

Invictus

Invictus

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I
have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley

Invictus is latin for unconquerable, invinsible, undefeated.

The poem’s meaning is all powerful of there being freedom of choice in all circumstances even difficult ones because ultimately you make own your own destiny, and no matter how much choice has been taken away from you, you still get to choose your own soul and your own values and your fate.