I Never Thought Suicide Would Knock at my Door….

Hello, Pearls

Been a while since I last blogged, and there is so much to inform you about. Just as a warning this blog post will be discussing suicide, so this is your cue to leave if suicide is a trigger for you.

Let me first start by saying that life has been challenging lately. There has been a series of unfortunate events happening consecutively and, in all honesty, my mental, spiritual, & physical health has been on the line. Usually, I remain positive and try to focus on the long-term outcome but when your children endure any type of pain; it changes you. My firstborn son has struggled with bullying for over a year. Just so you have an idea of who my firstborn is I would like to describe him to you. I call him “A”, he’s eleven years old with the soul of an old man, he is intelligent beyond his years, there is nothing he will not do for his siblings or anyone that he loves, his smile brightens up a room, his laughter is contagious, and he has dance moves like MJ! To sum it all up my son is a special little boy and he made me a woman! “A” was my first child. I named him Aidan “the fiery one” because during my entire pregnancy Aidan was always active in my belly. During my pregnancy with Aidan, I experienced mental, emotional, & physical abuse. I was 37 weeks pregnant when my then-husband pushed me to the floor onto my nine-month belly. After the domestic violence incident during my 37th week, Aidan stopped moving, and I had to receive a non-stress test regularly until I was induced. After being in labor for over 14 hours Aidan came into this world hollering. I’ll never forget looking over at my 8lb 15oz baby boy and just crying. I could not believe the baby that I carried for 42 weeks was here in the flesh. Aidan was my “little friend”, which sounds weird right, but I talked to my baby all the time when I was down. Everything I did was for my “A” I attended college during my entire pregnancy, and I was also in the military. Before Aidan entered this world, I had already made up my mind that he would never experience trauma as I did… & boy was I wrong!

I divorced Aidan & his younger brother’s dad after five years of marriage because one day I had an epiphany. One day I woke up and had enough arguing, fighting, cheating, and disrespect. One day I woke up and choose myself. I never knew this choice would lead me down this path. If I could give you all any advice it would be “know who you are procreating with!” I did not give myself the proper amount of time to know this man and that is why my children, and I are now suffering the consequences of my actions. I thought divorce meant freedom, but my experience has been the opposite. My ex-husband is vindictive, and I know this because everything he does is an attempt to get my attention, belittle me, blame me, or hurt me through my kids. Over the years I have been in trauma recovery therapy, and it has helped me cope and better understand that his behaviors have nothing to do with me. The sad part about the divorce is Aidan was old enough to see the dysfunction and it has traumatized him to the point he now says comments like, “why can’t ya’ll just co-parent mommy.” Aidan believes that his dad and I being cordial is easy. My son is innocent and does not understand the reasons I prefer to keep contact and communication at a minimum with his dad. The only thing Aidan knows is he wants all his family together. In the beginning, I often felt guilty for divorcing because I planned to try to stay until our children were at least teenagers. I tried to stay “for the kids” but I was miserable and not happy at all. Staying for the kids started to affect my kids negatively. Our youngest son does not remember, but Aidan was old enough to understand and that breaks my heart. I never wanted my children to go through a divorce or a broken home. If I knew that a broken home would lead to my son being diagnosed with mental illnesses and feeling inadequate, I would have made some different decisions in my life. Truth be told we can not change our past, and should only focus on making our future better. 

Therefore, over the last 3 years, I chose to forgive and move forward for myself. Forgiveness meant I stopped focusing on all my ex-husband did to me and made my kids the priority. I have supported their bio-dad being active in their lives since we divorced. I am not a “bitter baby mother.” All I ask is that we follow the decree and be respectful to one another. I noticed even when I bend over backwards to make the co-parenting work; my ex-husband always find a way to make a problem. He is oppositional to any and everything I say, and I understand now that he is vindictive, bitter, and stuck on how our relationship ended. The interesting fact about this entire situation is that for six months straight my ex will be a “super-dad” he will pay support, send items for the kids, be patient, act kind and respectful, and be an “active” dad. Then just randomly he starts to slack again and become disrespectful. Switching between kindness and back to rudeness has been a cycle over the last seven years and this year I just had enough! This year 2022 I decided I will no longer be disrespected and verbally abused. In my opinion, children must learn to adapt, and a part of adapting is to understand that mom and dad are divorced and are not best friends but we both love you unconditionally and will always love you. That being said, the boundaries I set this year must have triggered my ex because he started his narcissistic behavior again. We have been meeting at the same drop-off for the last five years and he just decides randomly without proper notice that he can not meet my husband at the drop-offs anymore. Initially, my husband showed up to the drop-off and just showed proof he was not here just in case this issue came up in court. My husband and I never knew this incident on top of the bullying would send our son into a pediatric psych facility for a suicide attempt. 

As I am writing this, I am still in disbelief that our son wanted to end his life. What hurts the most is I thought I “knew” my son. Aidan had expressed that the bullying was a lot and I thought informing school administrators, calling the cops, and supporting him would make things better. I was wrong. Aidan felt like it all was too much for him, and he decided he rather not live anymore. For Aidan, the burden of being bullied and being abandoned by his bio-dad was just too much. After Aidan’s attempt, he was admitted to a facility for pediatric psych patients. Immediately after his bio-dad was notified the narcissism began. Although their bio-dad has never in the last seven years attended a doctor’s appointment or cared who their teacher was or what was happening in their lives; all of the sudden he wants to be involved in everything. I encourage him to be involved with our boys, but what baffles me is that he comes into the situation and attempt to tell me what I should or should not do for our son. He started saying he would like to meet and talk, he wants us to do better for the kids, and he wants to be actively involved. Now, at first, I was ecstatic, because I believe it takes a village to raise a child; but I immediately had a sense of sadness and stress come over me because I know their dad lacks consistency and he often makes promises that he do not keep, and I fear that the inconsistency will send out oldest son over the edge and cause him more mental stress. So as a “mama bear” my first instinct is to protect my cub. Part of protecting my cub is enforcing the boundaries. I told the boy’s dad that he can be as involved as he wants, but that will not include him calling or texting me day and night, unnecessary meetings, or any communication outside of our children. It seems harsh but the inconsistency and lack of boundaries are something that I must not allow for my own mental health. I can not allow this man to curse me out, control me, and blame me anymore. I will leave the door open for him to build relationships with his children but in this situation, my only part is to step back and support my children.  

Supporting Aidan has been easy because I understand what it is like to struggle with mental illness, I understand not having a full-time active bio-dad, I understand being bullied simply because you are different, and I understand wanting to die so bad that you attempt to end it all. I understand because I have been in Aidan’s shoes, the only difference is that I did not have the support system and village that Aidan has. Aidan will be attending therapy regularly, participating in in-school counseling, having support persons on his school campus, and he is now on a new medication to help him cope. I am elated to have my baby back home, but I have also been overwhelmed, doubting myself, blaming myself, and simply not okay. I am not okay! This has been one of the hardest experiences of my life. Never in a million years did I think suicide would knock at my door and affect one of my babies. If I could give any advice to anyone going through something similar, I would say be sure that you are taking care of yourself; especially when your main responsibility is caring for others. Over the last three weeks I have felt mentally tired, and physically burned out. I am still not sleeping that well, and I often worry about my son’s mental health and what he is thinking or feeling. When you are a mom whether you carry the baby or not; there is this unspoken connection between you and your offspring, and when your offspring hurts it causes the mother to mentally and physically suffer. The bond of a mother and child cannot be examined in words. No words can explain how I feel about any of my children. 

The love for my children has led me to where I am right now while I am writing this blog. I am now at a point of releasing the things I can not control and living in the moment because life is so precious and short. I have promised myself to live more and be unapologetically me more often. I did something major tonight! I started fresh and chopped off all my hair. I believe that hair holds energy and I needed a fresh start. While the hair was failing, I felt like a burden had been lifted off of my shoulders. Cutting off my hair was the fresh start I needed. My main focus now is believing in myself, loving myself, doing what I love, setting boundaries, and living life to the fullest. I just want to continue spreading awareness about mental illness and being an advocate of mental illness because I know the struggle and if I just help one person, I have done what I aimed to do. If you are reading this and struggling mentally, I will attach some resources below; but please get help if you are struggling. You are not alone in this, so many of us are internally dying inside and too scared to ask for help. Ask for help. REMEMBER…It is okay to not be okay! 

Talk to you all soon,

Michelle 

Follow this link for tips and resources: https://www.instagram.com/p/Ca0N-p-P5v0/?utm_medium=copy_link

How to co-parent during the holidays

Well, it’s the holidays again! I enjoy the holidays, but the holidays are often a reminder of the wrong choices I made that I cannot change. Each year my two older boys are either away for Christmas or Thanksgiving with their dad. Although I am happy that they have a relationship with their father, I always feel guilty because I made the choice to divorce. 

Most years I deal with feeling sad either Christmas or Thanksgiving and I have made a vow to myself “NO MORE”! I am done being sad over making the best decision I could have ever made for my boys and I! Divorce is hard on kids but if I had stayed, they would be seeing two parents arguing, fighting, and there would be no example of love around them. As a mother it is always my priority to prevent the boys from experiencing trauma due to my actions. Since I was raised in trauma, I want to break the cycle for my boys!  So, this Christmas will be joyful because I have accepted my past choices and I stand on them! If I am being truly open and honest, I have had a hard time with clinging to the past. Sometimes I find myself stuck in trauma, replaying certain events and situations over and over in my head. What I am learning through healing and growing is that replaying those memories is a form of self-harm.  It is okay to explore memories, but it is toxic and completely unhealthy to allow myself to stay stuck in the past. Therefore, for the holidays this year I vow to be present and focused on the now!

This year for Christmas I will celebrate with my family that is present! My husband and our two younger kids deserve to be happy and enjoy our holiday together until the boys return. I have decided to look at the holiday visitation as my time to have a small break. It is easier and cheaper to hire a sitter for two kids, than for four kids! (Lol) I have decided to look at the bright side and positives of the situation. I do not want to focus on the negatives anymore because it drains my energy and is not worth my time. On the brighter side the boys need and want a father, and since I have physical custody, it is only fair they spend time with their father throughout the year. When the boys are teenagers and young adults, I want them to have good memories and I want them to know that my mom loved us and only wanted the best for us, so she put us first.

Regardless of how nasty my divorce was, or what was done in the marriage… bottom line is I ended it and the kids should not have to suffer or feel guilty about it! Children are so innocent; they just want to love who they love without any drama or feeling like they must choose. I reassure my boys that they are loved on both sides and there is no need to choose or feel sad when we are not together during the holidays! I remind them we live together and will be back together soon. To make the holiday breaks easier on the kids and us, moving forward we will celebrate our holidays on whatever days we want to celebrate them! There is no particular day or time to enjoy time together as a family! Life is complicated! Things happen, but the best thing you can do is learn to adapt and be resilient, especially when you have little ones watching. No matter how bad your situation gets never allow your children to witness unhealthy behaviors, unhealthy forms of communication, or unhealthy relationships. It is important that children have good examples and role models, so they understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy.

 I know I am not the only parent going through the ups and downs of coparenting during the holidays. Coparenting is one of those things you just must learn to deal with and the quicker you learn to accept your situation, the better it gets! Time apart from anyone you love will be hard but seeing your kids happy should always be priority over your adult feelings. If the separating from your children is too hard and you feel stuck, I would recommend professional help! My therapist, my husband, and mom have all helped me through my difficult co-parenting times. And each of them kind of gave me the same advice: everything does not require a reaction, and silence is golden! Therefore, move with grace and always put the kids first! If the main focus is always the kids nothing can be misconstrued! If you are struggling and want more tips on dealing with coparenting during the holidays, I have posted a slideshow below that give advice coparenting during the holidays.  Also, remember this “Anything or Anyone that does not add value in your life, is not worth your time”! Use your time and attention towards the ones that matter and stay present in the now! We lose so much valuable time with people we love, wasting time on people and things that do not matter. Put what matters to you first (Your Kids)! 

Happy Holidays! 

How to co-parent during the holidays!

How it started…

How it started…

I do not believe my husband and I ever said how we met, or how it started. Most of the time when someone asks us, we usually do not go into details. Funny thing is there are millions of people who have met like we did, but maybe it did not lead to love, marriage, and kids!

So, let us get into it! I met my husband on Tinder! Yes, you read right…. Tinder! I downloaded the app July 4th, 2015 as I laid on my coach with my headset on listening to music to drown out the loud sounds of fireworks. It had been less than a year since my return from Afghanistan and I was home in panic mode just laying around bored. My two boys from my previous marriage were gone for the summer holiday and the house was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. The reason I had downloaded Tinder is because I felt ready to date, but because of my anxiety and being in a new place I was hesitant to get out and meet someone. Tinder gave me more control, and I did not have to share my number or did not feel pressured to meet up with anyone. While using Tinder I was able to go at my own pace.

Although I downloaded Tinder in July 2015 I only chatted with people, and then immediately I would get bored and delete the app! I never connected with anyone until September 2015. My husband and I had our first date September 12, 2015. We had planned a date on September 11th, but I was not able to attend, and I almost did not make the second date either. My husband has been boxing since he was an adolescent, so our first date was watching the Floyd Mayweather fight at the movie theater. Once I arrived at the theater it was full of people and immediately, I froze up and texted him that I could not come inside because the crowd outside was making me have anxiety. His response to that message let me know he was perfect for me! He told me stay right there, I will come out and get you. Our first date went well, and I am sure I talked his head off because he was so attractive, polite, & he made me feel safe and comfortable. After our movie date he and I sat in the parking lot until the sun came up talking about life. I did not want the date to end that night!

The months following our first date were rocky, and partially because of me! We both have flaws that made us not ready for a serious relationship! I was scared, guarded, and not ready to fully trust anyone with my heart and so was he. We stopped talking sometimes, but we were always led back to each other no matter what! Dating with PTSD, Anxiety, Depression, & past relationship trauma can be hard for anyone. I knew what my issues were, but I was not ready to fully express them to him. Our first year of dating was rocky, and simply because of egos, trauma, unsaid issues, & fear of being hurt on both sides. My husband has been my number one supporter when it comes to my mental health. I knew that any man I decided to date needed to know I struggle mentally, and I am not always this happy woman, and that I am flawed but I am worth it. What sealed the deal for me and made me marry him September 21, 2016 was the way he catered to my needs, the way he loved my babies, the way he attended my appointments, and became my biggest supporter. It did not matter what has happening in our day to day lives, he would always make sure I was okay and that is what I needed. Due to my father issues, I struggled with abandonment and I did not want to have a toxic relationship like my first marriage. I wanted this marriage to be healthy & happy!

One thing I can be completely honest about is that we did not go through “the honeymoon phase” our first year of marriage. We struggled our first year because I became pregnant and my pregnancy was hard, and he started his new job as an electrician and I wanted to support the long hours and schooling, but truth be told I needed help at home with the kids. In marriage it is hard to voice your weaker moments when you want to be fully supportive of your spouse. I always knew my husband had amazing potential. In the beginning of our relationship, I was often scrutinized because he worked at Macys’ and was told he only was dating me to benefit from me. What no one never knew is he has never asked me for a dime. Therefore, when he got a good paying job that he actually liked, I wanted him to enjoy it, and not worry about the stress of what was happening at home and that lead to me neglecting myself, which caused me to resent that he was working, and I was retired and at home with the kids. After medically retiring from the military, I enjoyed being home, but it was after our daughter that I felt like I needed to be out the house more and I felt the “stay at home mom” role was not enough. In all honesty a stay-at-home mom has the hardest job in America in my opinion and does not receive enough credit! I was craving work, adult conversation, and more freedom but I was not voicing all my needs and that led us to a bad place. We grew apart for awhile.

There was a year 2018-2019 that we were together…but separate and doing this time so many hurtful things transpired. We both portrayed hurtful words and actions towards one another simply because we did not communicate or know how to problem solve. Add losing a parent, sister with cancer, & being mentally exhausted to marital problems. I can admit with all I was dealing with mentally I completely checked out of my marriage and I thought I did not want to be married anymore. I kept asking myself why did I get married? I knew if I had to question the marriage that the relationship was completely over. During our separation is when everything became clear as day to me. It was April 11, 2018 I looked in the mirror and realized I did not know the woman looking back anymore. I was 220lbs, I was grieving the loss of my father, I was angry, I was numb, and I hated my life. While being all those things how I could I focus on being a wife. I needed that time to find myself again. I had lost myself, and the only way back to me was to allow myself to figure it all out. My husband has always been my safe place and I was dependent on him for my emotional and mental health so much that I did not know how to function completely without him. The year 2018-2019 I learned to stand on my own two feet for myself and my kids. I started being active every day and I fell in love with fitness. I never really focused on the scale because fitness became a lifestyle, and it was how I coped with the grief, anger, depression, and anxiety. I would leave all my feelings in the workout. Once I became physically, mentally, & spiritually better is when I decided I wanted to get back to work. Finding a job was not something I wanted or needed for finances it was something that I knew would make me feel whole again, simply because I wanted to interact with other adults and get over my fears of anxiety towards people and unfamiliar places. A job for me was getting back to a routine like when I was in the Army.

After months of soul searching and reaching a healthy and happy space in my life, I started to think about my marriage more. I missed my husband presence, but I needed to be whole before we reconnected. Also, I refused to be in an environment that was toxic for me or my children. My goal with this marriage was to see red flags, handle red flags, and not make the same mistakes. Since my husband and I had been apart we both had grown into different people. I wanted my marriage back, and I wanted us to grow into a loving and healthy space again but there was some work to be done. My sons have experience divorced and it was hard on them. I did not want to divorce unless I was for sure because to be honest my husband has been the boy’s father figure, and they loved and depended on him. I did not want to make a permanent decision over temporary feelings and cause more hurt to myself or my three children. The problems that my husband and I had were minor. We both needed to sit down and figure out what we needed and wanted from our marriage. There were some honest and hurtful conversations had. I made it clear that yes, I am a Mom and I want to support my kids and my husband; but I also must take care of me first! If I am not physically, mentally, and spiritually together I cannot function properly as a wife or mother. My husband understood that I had to have a life outside of kids and him. I did not want to sound selfish but, I had to be completely honest. We eventually came back together and I am glad that we did!

Where we at now….

One important thing I have learned in the process of my husband and I falling in love all over again is that it is not my job to make my husband happy and it is not my husband job to make me happy. A healthy marriage requires two people who are already happy within themselves to come together and combine the happiness and create a healthy relationship. My husband and I are one, but self-development is a must before you can become whole with another person. Our marriage is not perfect now, and we disagree at times, but what I can say is we do not have a toxic marriage! We are at a place where we talk openly and honestly with one another, we respect each other, we listen, & we do not act out of anger. The year of 2019 up until now has been our best years of marriage thus far! We have matured so much over the years, and we have grown closer than ever. Marriage is work and it takes effort on both parts. I do not regret the time apart, because it was needed to grow into where we are today. I can say my husband is my best friend, he finishes my sentences, and he knows what is wrong without me even speaking at times because now we are on the same page. I wrote this blog because I want to encourage anyone that may be having marital issues to take a step back and reevaluate before making a final decision. If you are not being abused or if there is no infidelity, then it can be worked out. We all have our own breaking points in relationships. My breaking point is abuse, infidelity, or lack of respect. If it is not one of the three above, then I can work through it. No marriage will be like marriages on television. All marriages are different and have different challenges. No matter what your challenges may be remember to put “You” first and evaluate what would be best for you! Do not let society convince you to accept anything that does not bring you happiness. I hope that my story inspires you to love, grow, heal, or let go what is no longer serving you!

-Toni

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Webster Dictionary defines love as:

***Just as a heads up this post will be personal and could bring up some emotions**

Just thinking about how I grew up perceiving love and how I finally ended up in a loving relationship is very emotional and hard for me to even think about.

Did my mother love me? Yes, I know she loved me very much. But did she know that some of her actions were unloving, did she know that her failing to protect me was unloving, did she know that not being gentle was unloving… Did she know that I asked myself many of nights? Why does my mother hate me so much? I was only a child and questioning my parent love should not have been a thought or question at the age of 12.

I have forgiven my mother, and now understand some of her decision making now that I am a mother myself. My mother and father both have caused me more hurt and trauma than anyone. My mother raised my siblings and I on her own. There was not much co-parenting happening. She had 5 kids to spread her love to, and I was her baby girl. Growing up my mother had multiple boyfriends, and that was my first example of what I understood love to be.

I figured if a woman and man argued and was hostile towards each other, but never broke up….it must have been because they loved each other too much to be apart. I seen my mother be abused, argue, & fight with men… but subsequently she always seemed happy again, so I figured that it was normal. I normalized unhealthy relationships at a young age.

I was sexually abused on my weekends with my dad by my stepbrother, & I often felt resentment towards my dad because these incidents occurred while he was laid up with his wife. I felt like if he spent more time with us one-on-one while we were visiting then the sexual abuse would not have occurred. I blamed him often because I felt like he should have known. So, while I was being sexually abused on the weekends at my dad’s house, I was also being sexually abused at my mother house by her live-in boyfriend. The difference between my mother and father is that I felt close to my mom so I knew if I ever mustered up the courage to tell what was happening to me, she would protect me. Regarding my father I had witnessed him angry and I felt informing him would only cause more trouble. My mother and I had a strong connection, although she was strict. My dad treated me like daddy’s’ little girl, but both said they loved me, and both gave me hugs and kisses. They expressed their love for me & so I assumed I would always be protected because of LOVE. Well one night I got fed up with my mom boyfriend coming into my room, and I informed her what was happening. I remember vividly my mother boyfriend running out the house, and he moved out, but we never sat down as a family to discuss this issue. She never apologized or mentioned that night again.

I was in the 8th grade when I came home from school one day & who do I see?… My mothers boyfriend with money in his hands asking for my forgiveness. I did not say anything, I went to my room & went on with my life like normal. He moved in and out a few times. My mom and my abuser never stopped talking and would continuously come back together, as if he had never abused me. I remember once I was an adult, she even allowed him back in her home, and without my permission brought him around my children. I felt so betrayed by my mother and although she has given me half apologies and never really discussed the issue, I had to forgive her because it was eating me alive to live with that anger and resentment. I was about 19 when I told myself, if my mom would allow me to get hurt, there is no one I can trust & no one could possibly love me any better than her.

My perception on love was shattered at such a young age, so when my first boyfriend beat me up I thought “ he just love me”, when my ex-husband abused me & constantly cheated on me I thought “he just love me”. I thought since the guy never left it meant he loved me. I would see the red flags and I would still remain in the relationship because I “wanted love” I wanted to be in love so badly that “I did not love myself enough to receive love properly”. When you have not felt real love, seen a healthy example of real love, or loved yourself enough… How could you possibly have a healthy & loving relationship? After my divorce I dated & I was smarter to avoid the red flags. But, when I did meet someone, I genuinely loved who was super kind, very selfless, loving, gentle, & understanding I was frightened. I would tell myself “he do not love you, because he being too nice” “He hiding something” “A real man, would not be this soft”, “Why do he care so much” “ I can not trust this guy”.

After extensive therapy and soul searching, I learned that I did not love myself. You cannot receive love until you have it within yourself. Loving yourself is the very first step! I used to listen to Fantasia Barrino “ I feel beautiful’ on repeat because the lyrics resonated with me so much.

🎵Nothin’ I ever did was good enough for you

Nothin’ I ever did could ever seem to please you

You always tried to make me feel small

And all I did was give you my heart

Never felt pretty enough

Never felt sexy enough, never felt good enough

You tried to keep me down on my knees

I got myself back up on my feet

Found the strength to set myself free

And I feel beautiful, beautiful, I feel beautiful, beautiful

You could not crush my soul, crush my soul

Nothing you can do to make you take away my right to feel

Beautiful, 🎵

I had let my parents unloving ways cause me to not love myself, I let men walk all over me & treat me in the most disgraceful way, and I was now at this place in my life where “A Real Man” was trying to love me & accept me & my kids as a whole & what did I do…..I threw everything negative at him that I could, I betrayed him, I pushed him into dark places that he did not deserve to be in, I constantly badgered him, hurt him, pushed him away.. & I was giving him all the hurt that was once given to me. I was giving him what I thought was love… & that pushed us into a place where we almost lost each other for good. So many people were hurt in the process of me giving to him what I thought was love. We took some time away from each other & realized that I was still that 11/12-year-old scared, abused, damaged girl. I realized I was fighting a battle with a person that did not mean me any harm. I was being my mother, father, & abusers, to someone who only wanted to help me heal & he truly “Loved Me”! Someone loved me without needing to abuse, mislead, lie, deceive, or take from me. He loved every inch of me to the point he kissed my flaws, he admired my weaknesses and strengths, & to him I was the most beautiful woman in the world. Me learning what love was, how to receive love, & how to give love came at a terrible price. It took me into some dark places and has left me with some lifetime trauma that I will forever be healing through. But I can now say I know love. I have experienced love, & I have given love. Love is not an unhealthy connection, love does not hurt, love does not cause you physical, mental, or emotional pain.

Do not let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace….

If I was given a $1.00 for every time I was asked “How did you move on with kids?” “Were you scared?” “How do you co-parent with a new partner involved?”. First let me state this, when I said vows and became a wife, I never thought it would lead to a divorce. I filed for divorce because I knew the relationship was no longer healthy & I knew it would not improve. Filing the divorce was the easy part, but once it was complete, I kept thinking I would be single forever because who would love me with children! I thought every single negative thought you can imagine. I also felt very ashamed because my marriage had failed.

When I met my current partner, it was random & believe it or not I did everything in my power to run this man off, just to see if he could stay through ups & downs. The fact that he seen me & my children as a “packaged deal “was how he stole my heart. My partner never tried to replace their dad, he never stepped on the other parent toes, & he always kept it respectful because he only wanted to see me & the children happy!

Love after divorce is the hardest because learning to trust, being open for love, & accepting that even this new relationship could also fail was not easy! The uncertainty is the scariest feeling in this world. The uncertainty and the emotional/mental health of my children was a major concern. I did not want my children to feel like me having a new partner, means that their dad was replaced. I was scared to trust my own judgment. I stepped out on faith & decided to give love another try, and I can now say it was the BEST DECISION of my life!

In the beginning it was uncomfortable because I had never done this before, and I did not know if I should introduce my ex-husband and my new partner or if I should just let things flow. My ex-husband moved on quickly after the divorce, and he never properly introduced me to his new partner & because she was the mistress while we were married it was already an understanding that her & I would not be interacting. But I felt the need to have the two of them met each other. Now that I have more experience, I would say your ex and new partner meeting is not a necessity for a healthy co-parenting relationship, especially if the divorce between you and your ex ended with hostility. I learned that keeping everything between my ex-husband and myself was easier than involving all parties. There was less conflict when only my ex-husband and I communicated about the children.

Although my partner was an active parenting partner for the children & the children were with us 90% of the time, my partner still never crossed any boundaries with the kid’s dad. My ex was hostile and often rude about my new partner being so involved with our children. My ex often spoke badly about my new partner and his new partner was often rude & disrespectful towards me. It was not easy navigating all these different people, and trying to keep the kids unaware and happy. Trying to keep everyone peace and all parties on the same page became way too much work. We even tried combining a birthday celebration by going to a movie as a “blended family” & we tried to show the kids we could be “blended” but that was not realistic because of the hostility & anger that was still in place due to how the marriage ended. We would do good for a few months, and them BOOM there was drama again.

So my new partner and I came up with the perfect solution on how to co-parent when there is a new partner/role model involved. For us we only cared about the welling-being of the children. We wanted the children to know that they have two homes, two new extra supporters, & they can love us all because we all love them. The goal was to not place any aggression, pressure, or any form of negativity around the kids. So, we started to simply follow the custody agreement to the T. We did everything legally right, and if there were any issues, we handled them through the courts. We stopped all unnecessary conversations and only spoke when it was necessary to speak about the kids. My partner and I decided that emailing was the best form of communication because it can be traced, and the co-parenting with my ex started to become more peaceful. The children seem to be enjoying the peace, and it is simpler for them and us. When I divorced and then moved on, I had this tv image of us all being “blended” and on family vacations together and having holidays together like Mashonda & Alicia Keys have done with Swizz Beats and their children. But the reality is… All divorces & co-parenting situations will not end in peaches and cream. It is important to know that your situation will be different from mines, and the next person. My only suggestion is that you focus on what is best for your kids, yourself, and the new person you love. Do not allow the other parties to control your life. “Do not let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace.” —Dalai Lama. There is light at the end of the tunnel, & there is sunshine after the storm!

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“Do not let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace.” —Dalai Lama.

 

A high conflict divorce is where marriage ends, and war begins…

A high conflict divorce is where marriage ends, and war begins…

To those who have experienced divorce/breakup with kids we all know how difficult it can be once you have decided to part ways from someone whom you have built a life with and have created children. It can be emotionally draining, stressful, & full of high conflict for the adults. Imagine what it does to kids?

Being a divorcee, I know how hard it can be to divorce, and the after math of it all. In the beginning of the process it can be so intimidating and heart-breaking because you do not know what to expect. This week on Majorie Blog I will be discussing the 5 most important things that has helped me co-parent after a high-conflict divorce. If you are not sure what a high-conflict divorce is I will sum it up.. A high conflict divorce is where marriage ends, and war begins…

For me I felt as if I was going to war, but I will let you know now co-parenting after a high-conflict divorce does not have to be war for you or your children. There is some peace, and although there will be bumps in the road, and may be some days when you feel defeated, if you follow the following tips I promise you co-parenting will not be a war, instead it will be peace for yourself & all children involved.

When I first got divorced, I focused a lot on what was done to me, how I was abused, mistreated, and hurt throughout the years. I focused too much on the pain I endured from the marriage and I did not realize the major changes and hurt the divorce was causing my kids. So that is where my first tip of advice stem from.

1. If you are hurting because of a bad divorce then please seek counseling for you, but no matter what the other parent does to push your buttons or make your life miserable, ALWAYS put the well-being and happiness of your kids first. Putting the kids well-being first allows you to heal just from seeing the happiness in them. Seeing my children happy is what helped me to ignore and disengage from a lot of unnecessary drama.

There will be occasions where something may take place that is negatively affecting the children, or there may be situations where the other parent is acting against what you feel is the best interest of your children. In my case the other parent was often in and out of jail, and was an addict, and disciplined in a way I felt was too harsh. In these cases, it is best to seek legal advice & handle your situation through the court system, but NEVER ever interrogate your children about the other parent & make them feel stuck in the middle.

2. Do your very best to not put the children in the middle of adult drama, adult drama can make the kids feel like they have to choose a side or make them feel like the situation is their fault. The more you can hide from your children, the better.

Co-parenting consist of co-existing with another person with whom you are no longer with. Co-existing could be phone-calls, drop-offs/pick-ups, or events where the children are involved and both parents are required to be in attendance. There will be occasions that require you and your ex to be present for the sake of your children. I suggest making these times as simple as possible and this leads to tip #3.

3. Always attempt and make every effort to work together for the best interest of the children. When you are present with you ex, always make sure there is no inappropriate behavior displayed while the children are present. Children pick up on behaviors, and energy of adults. So work together and be an example for them!

When relationships end, there are occurrences where it ended on really bad terms and you may genuinely dislike the person you have to co-parent with. The person I co-parent with was a serial cheater, and abusive so of course there was animosity and hate towards the other parent in the beginning. I really did not want to co-parent with him, and I did not want to share my children with such a person. I had to realize that I chose this person to procreate with and now I must deal with them and accept the choices and decisions I made that led to this. In doing this there were times when certain things were said about the other parent and the kids would ask questions or want to know the whys? The biggest things I learned is that the kids will not remain kids forever…let the kids determine who the other parent is without your opinions of that parent. Children are big on energy and actions. Let them decide!

4. Do not speak badly about the other parent while the children are present. The children will resent you, and the children will be upset because they love both parents. They are not aware of what happened between daddy & mommy. Even if they are aware, stay neutral and let them figure it out. If they need further understanding a neutral party/ therapist may be a good option. Whatever you decide bad-mouthing the other parent is not the answer.

My final and most important tool that helped me was disengaging. My divorce was high-conflict and there was a lot of disagreeing and I felt like I was treated so badly, and I felt like although we were divorce there was still tension, disrespect, yelling, anger towards me, controlling behavior, verbal & mental abuse, and I would always try to combat back and forth with my ex until I realized silence is the best medicine for a high-conflict ex. I only speak to my ex when it is ABSOLUTELY necessary. I understand now that I divorced some one who may never change for the better, but I am not in control of anyone but “MYSELF” when I realized that I am not responsible for my ex behavior toward me, I changed and I THRIVED for the better of myself & my kids.

5. DISENGAGE…If your ex is someone that like conflict and enjoys making your life hard…I suggest you disengage. Disengaging is one of the easiest ways to end conflict because the other person needs someone to engage with them in order to keep the conflict going. Remember you are no longer with him/her so there is no need to argue or prove yourself to them. Remain silent for your peace and your children peace.

I am not a therapist or professional, but I have experienced a high-conflict divorce and high-conflict co-parenting until I changed the narrative for myself and my children. I have used all the tips I gave, and they have worked for me. Divorce does not have to destroy you or your peace of mind. When you realize that war with your ex, is like war with your children it will make you look at co-parenting so differently. Before you can mentally be okay it is important to know you are not alone in this. People divorce every day, and co-parenting does not have to be toxic. You are only in control of you! Never allow another person to live rent free in your brain!

ThePearlBlog