Posts Tagged ‘alcoholism’

Being Blamed for a Divorce

Monday, October 22nd, 2007
 
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Dear Jane,
My ex-husband and I divorced after sixteen years of marriage. It wasn’t an awful marriage but I never really loved him. He knew this although we never really talked about it. When he started to drink a few years after our daughter was born, I really felt even more distant from him. We divorced six years ago without much discussion, like distant strangers.
Now I’ve met a wonderful man whom I love deeply. It seems that my ex suddenly can’t stand that I’m happy. (He heard about it from our daughter; I wouldn’t have rubbed his nose in it.) He started calling me telling me every few days, haranguing me that it’s my fault that he drank, that I ruined his self-esteem, and that he wasted the best years of his life on me. I want to know what I should feel guilty about. What should I apologize for?

While we bring all our hopes and dreams into marriage, we also bring all our limiting beliefs, self-judgments, and fears, most of which surface only after the routine of daily life sets in. When your ex-husband agreed to marry you knowing you didn’t really love him, he unconsciously used you to reinforce a prior belief that he wasn’t lovable. (Perhaps you had the same unconscious limiting belief or why would you have chosen him?) This baggage of feeling unworthy of love is what drove him to drink, not you. All you provided was a mirror of a belief he already held. That’s what people do: they mirror back what we already believe about ourselves.
Now, once again, he’s using your current happiness to mirror his belief that he’s unworthy. It’s not your intention to hurt him. He’s hurting himself and he’s the only one who can stop hurting himself by healing his thoughts about his worthiness instead of wasting any more time resenting you. The most harmful thing you could do is to reinforce his unworthiness belief by taking on inappropriate guilt. If you say, “You’re right to resent me. It’s all my fault that you’re miserable and alcoholic,” you are encouraging him to stay blind to what your relationship mirrored within him. If you don’t want to reinforce the belief that he is a “broken cookie” who is unlovable and unworthy, don’t apologize for his unconscious beliefs. Clearly, that won’t help him.
As I write about in Enough Is Enough!, underneath every resentment we hold is an underlying personal regret. Deep down, doesn’t your ex probably really regret not loving himself enough to have created a loving relationship with a partner or even with himself?
So what can you do? Tell him that you hope that he heals the thought that he’s unworthy so that he can have the love he deserves. Tell him that you hope he gets underneath his resentment to his real regret: that he let himself waste time feeling unloved and drowning his feelings in alcohol. Tell him that you are willing to forgive yourself for wasting time similarly.
What you can apologize for is participating in reinforcing his limiting beliefs in any way that you did while you were married. If you were unloving in word or deed, if you ignored him, if you were less than compassionate, apologize for all of that now. Forgive yourself for what your part was given whatever baggage you brought to the relationship. Then encourage him to forgive himself. After that, see him as a whole, deserving, empowered, and healed being. This is the most loving and compassionate thing you can do for both of you.

Announcements

Recovery from the Inside Out

Jane has been invited to New Orleans to give a workshop on November 18, 2007 for folks whose lives have been forever changed by Katrina. During my stay, I will keep a video diary, which I will upload to my Web site, StopEnduring.com. If you live in New Orleans, you are invited to attend this free workshop. My gratitude to my dear friend, Patte McDowell, for donating her air miles.
Also, I will be donating 120 copies of my book, The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, Eighth Edition, to New Orleans schools. If you know of a school needing these invaluable books, contact me at Jane@janestraus.com.

Jane on TV January 10, 2008
Jane will be interviewed on NBC 11’s The Bay Area Today on January 10. She will be talking about New Year’s resolutions. Expect a fresh take on the subject. More details to follow.

NEW! Dear Jane Podcasts
Listen to and download Dear Jane Podcasts. Also available for free downloading from iTunes.

Jane Straus is a trusted life coach, dynamic keynote speaker, and the author of Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life. With humor and grace, Jane offers her clients and seminar participants insights and exercises to ensure that the next chapter of their lives is about thriving as the unique individuals they have always been and the extraordinary ones they are still becoming. She serves clients worldwide and invites you to visit her site, StopEnduring.com. Here you will find excerpts from her book, more articles, TV and radio interviews, and clips from her presentations.
She is also the author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, Grammarbook.com, an award-winning online resource and workbook with easy-to-understand rules, real-world examples, and fun quizzes.
Contact Jane at Jane@JaneStraus.com.

Healing Post Traumatic Stress

Monday, October 1st, 2007
 
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I have been invited to New Orleans to give a workshop for some folks whose lives have been forever changed by Katrina. I will be going with great humility as I don’t presume to fathom the emotional, physical, and spiritual demands that this catastrophe has imposed on those who live in its aftermath. During my stay, I will keep a video diary, which I will upload to my Web site, StopEnduring.com.
While living through a catastrophe such as Katrina is in some ways unique, there are commonalities in how our minds and spirits attempt to handle extreme trauma. Learning about these commonalities can help us support each other during and after times of crisis.
If you have suffered through war; emotional, physical, or sexual abuse; a natural or manmade disaster; or abandonment or overwhelming loss, you may suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). If you isolate yourself, you are more likely to experience chronic PTSD long after the initial trauma. Your symptoms may, in fact, become disabling.
Therefore, it is important to learn the symptoms of PTSD so that you know if you need to reach out or if someone you care about needs help. PTSD symptoms can include one or more of the following:
• flashbacks about the traumatic event
• feelings of estrangement or detachment
• nightmares/sleeping disturbances
• eating disturbances
• suicidal thoughts
• occupational instability
• memory disturbances
• family discord
• parenting or marital difficulties
• hopelessness
• helplessness
• alcohol/drug abuse
Recognizing the symptoms of PTSD will help you understand that you’re not “crazy.” In fact, your symptoms are actually coping strategies you’ve unconsciously devised to keep you from re-experiencing the intensity of the trauma.

The problem is that these coping strategies can evolve into permanent lifestyle changes that wear you down after a while, keeping you enduring rather than thriving. This is no time to feign a stiff upper lip or to try to pull yourself up by elusive bootstraps. You owe it to yourself to reach out for help.

Remember, PTSD is not a sign of weakness; on the contrary, it’s a clever strategy that your psyche has conjured up to keep you from being overwhelmed. So don’t hide your PTSD and suffer in silence and isolation. Join a support group, seek counseling, and/or help others who are in a similar situation.

Let me know if this information is helpful to you.

Jane Straus is a trusted life coach, dynamic keynote speaker, and the author of Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life. With humor and grace, Jane offers her clients and seminar participants insights and exercises to ensure that the next chapter of their lives is about thriving as the unique individuals they have always been and the extraordinary ones they are still becoming. She serves clients worldwide and invites you to visit her site, StopEnduring.com. Here you will find excerpts from her book, more articles, TV and radio interviews, and clips from her presentations.
She is also the author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, Grammarbook.com, an award-winning online resource and workbook with easy-to-understand rules, real-world examples, and fun quizzes.
Contact Jane at Jane@JaneStraus.com.

Trading Addictions

Wednesday, December 13th, 2006
 
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Dear Jane,
I quit drinking alcohol almost 20 years ago, and I quit smoking more than 5 years ago, but I have yet to release my attachment to sugar. What would you suggest?

We will tend to “trade” addictions until we get to the bottom line of why we have the addiction to begin with. While there is ample evidence that addictions have a physical and even a genetic component, there are thousands of people who kick addictions daily. Studies suggest that the best way to heal an addiction is to work on all levels simultaneously. Here are a few questions to get you started on the emotional and spiritual levels of healing:
When did your addictive behavior begin?
What triggered it?
What were you feeling at the time: Scared? Hurt? Humiliated? Abandoned?
What do you feel when you kick one habit? Do you feel the same original painful feeling?
Answering these questions will give you clues about why you’re trading addictions.

Addictions serve as coping strategies to help us handle difficult or frightening emotions and situations. Of course, they present a new set of difficulties, and once we get into an addictive pattern, we suffer the loss of what little self-esteem we may have had.

You need to know that you deserve to like the person you see reflected in the mirror. In order to admire yourself, discover and heal the root pain that has kept you in this vicious circle, enduring humiliation and shame. Often, people are afraid to go to that root pain. I promise you that nothing you will experience when you go back to it can be worse than what you have already experienced.

Never tell yourself that you should be fixed by now. That’s hanging out in Courtroom Earth. Hang out in Classroom Earth instead. (Chapter 2, Enough Is Enough!)
Acknowledge yourself for being in the truth that you are suffering and don’t deny yourself more help. Find someone you can trust to work with, someone compassionate and insightful. Those in your life deserve you to be free of this pain. Most of all, you deserve it.

About Jane
Jane Straus is a trusted life coach, dynamic keynote speaker, and the author of Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life. With humor and grace, Jane offers her clients and seminar participants insights and exercises to ensure that the next chapter of their lives is about thriving as the unique individuals they have always been and the extraordinary ones they are still becoming. She serves clients worldwide and invites you to visit her site, StopEnduring.com. Here you will find excerpts from her book, more articles, TV and radio interviews, and clips from her presentations.
She is also the author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, Grammarbook.com, an award-winning online resource and workbook with easy-to-understand rules, real-world examples, and fun quizzes.
Contact Jane at Jane@JaneStraus.com.