If you’ve been cheated on, then you know how crippling it can be to your self-esteem. It can send a crumbling ripple effect to your ego, making you feel worthless for many months, if not years.
You play the blame game, and you play it well. You’re the victim, and you give your cheater immense power over you. You may look for answers but you may never get them. And because you don’t have a real answer as to why he cheated, all you can do is blame.
“If only I had complimented him more,” you think.
“If only I had more reasonable.”
“If only I was prettier… thinner… funnier.”
But let me tell you a secret: every time you say, “If only…,” you are cheating on yourself.
And when you cheat on yourself, it’s the ultimate betrayal. It means you don’t value who you are. You don’t respect your boundaries. You think you’re aren’t good enough.
So if YOU feel that way about yourself, why is he not allowed to think the same?
Why does he get all the blame, and you take none of it?
Of course, the cheater is initially responsible. But once it’s done and you find out, how you react to it is entirely up to you. If you can’t raise your head high, and know that what he did has nothing to do with you, then you are cheating on yourself.
Because it’s not okay for someone to abuse your trust.
It’s not okay for someone to give you less than 100% love and safety.
It’s not okay for someone to lower the bar in the relationship and pretend it’s otherwise.
The minute you think that it is okay, then you are cheating on yourself.
When you stop cheating on yourself, it means that you know you are worth someone’s time and emotional investment. It means you open to receiving greatness, and willing to give it someone else. But if you continue to cheat, then you will be forever stuck in sorrow.
Even if your spouse or partner doesn’t physically/sexually cheat on you, but he treats you poorly with emotional abuse, as long as you put up with it, you’re cheating on yourself.
So essentially, it doesn’t matter what is done to you by someone else. All that matters is how you honor yourself, and uphold your integrity with the highest level of respect.
Remember this when you feel the urge to text him looking for answers, or when your feelings were hurt and didn’t communicate them. Remember this if he blows you off for several hours, but then apologizes and you let him back in (when you know it doesn’t feel right). If you don’t trust your instincts but expect someone else to provide that trust for you, you will continue to cheat and be let down.
In my coaching practice, I always tell my clients to strengthen the voice within that says, “That’s not okay.” You truly know when it’s not okay – but be sure to say it. And if someone walks away from you after you say, “It’s not okay,” then let him go. He ain’t worth it.
You have this remarkable freedom to get what you desire, but only if you stay true to your word. As Miguel Ruiz says in his book, The Four Agreements:
“Being impeccable with your word is the correct use of your energy; it means to use your energy in the direction of truth and love for yourself… It is through the word that you manifest everything… Self-rejection is the biggest sin you can commit.”
But you know this already… you just needed a little reminder.
When we experience fear, worry, or sadness, we are not aligned with our true self, our Spirit, or the divine within. Our ego takes over and more often, we don’t even recognize that it is. Our ego is the opposite of divine love.
It gives us many false messages such as:
- You have been rejected due to the absence or departure of another
- Something was “done” to you and you don’t have control over it
- You feel abandoned or ignored due to the absence or departure of another When our ego takes over our mind, we feel powerless.
However, if you were aligned with your true self, you would receive these messages:
- The person who is no longer in your life clearly lives with fear. You wish them strength to conquer their fears, but you are glad you no longer are associated with a fearful person. Because after all, fear is contagious.
- You acknowledge and accept your actions that led you to the person that hurt you. You honor the event and receive a lesson from it. You experience gratitude towards the event, because it is a reminder that you were not living your truth, otherwise, the person would have never hurt you.
- There is no such thing as abandonment, because that word is only a perception of what is. You fill yourself with love and new things to do, now that this person is no longer in your life.
Rather than sitting with a void that you believe can only filled by another, you know that this void was already there before you met this person, and you will fill it with love for you.
In relationships, we falsely give the other immense responsibility to give you love.
A partner should be an addition to the love you already have, not the full source.
So when that person is no longer there, we feel an immense void and loss, and then tend to rely on other people or things to fill that void.
We fail to look within ourselves to do that work.
When you are aligned with your truth, you have a set of beliefs by which you live.
Now, think of your truth as your book of rules, per say.
Generally speaking, what happens when rules get broken? There are consequences – some kind of action needs to be taken, right?
Now let’s choose a better word over ‘rules’ because it sounds so rigid. Let’s call your rules boundaries instead.
So if you know your truth, then you have a set of boundaries. And if those boundaries ever get crossed, there are consequences!
Let’s say you’re dating someone new, and you are the kind of person who is punctual, and expects others to be the same. In your truth, respecting a person’s time is gravely important. People may not agree with your truth, but it doesn’t matter, it’s YOUR truth, not theirs.
However, if you offer your time and heart to someone, you expect someone to respect it – this is your boundary.
So, if your new date, whom you like, is consistently late, you will speak up. You may even gently pass a warning of a consequence (hint: no more dating you!).
Or you may not even give a warning, you may just dump them altogether.
So far, in this scenario, you are honoring your truth. You don’t like tardiness and you held your boundary.
Now here’s where you align with it:
- You don’t feel guilty about speaking up.
- Should your date be offended and never call you again, you don’t second guess yourself.
- You know how awesome you are, and you know that someone who is equally awesome will cross your path.
- And because of that, you won’t waste your time with someone who doesn’t respect it.
So here’s your first exercise to help you align with your truth. Write this down.
Step 1: What is one thing you believe strongly in? Pick anything – it could be your faith, politics, how you parent, how you date
Step 2: What are your hard core deal breakers – meaning, you will speak up or remove yourself from a situation should boundaries be crossed?
Step 3: How have you ignored this thing that you believe in? Think of examples from your past relationships, and what you didn’t do about it.
Step 4: How would you react differently, now that you have aligned with your truth?
Healing from a past relationship means knowing what you believe in now, so you don’t repeat the same mistakes later!
Since I’ve returned to coaching after my one-year hiatus, I’ve had 32 phone calls with women in just the past few weeks, from women all over the world. These women are either struggling to exit an unhealthy relationship, or they just left it, but are still dealing with their ex’s manipulative behavior. Each woman has a different story, but all of them share one consistent theme: they are over tolerating. They tolerate physical abuse, verbal abuse, alcoholism, gambling, porn addiction, or just fill in the blank, and they are tolerating that too. This is an epidemic facing women, and we are seeing it unfold in Hollywood, in Congress, in the workplace, and it’s been going on behind our white picket fences as well.
We need to speak up – for ourselves and for each other. Sexual assault and relationship abuse will only continue if we keep quiet. Each of us play a role in maintaining zero tolerance. Take a listen to this video, and comment below – how are you going to speak up, either in your relationship, or for someone you know?
If you find this issue just as important as I do, please share this page on your social media page, with friends, via email and use the hashtag #SpeakUp – let’s start breaking down the walls of silence!
How many times have you felt like you’ve gone mad because one day your narcissistic partner loves you and the next day he is mean or simply not empathetic? (Or if you’re divorced to him, perhaps he acts very cooperative one day and then he is completely uncooperative and not logical the next).
Let’s say you are upset with him, and you say to yourself, “This time I am done. This is over.”
But because he is a savvy manipulator, he’s already onto you, and sense your retreat.
And because narcissists have a huge fear of abandonment as well as someone shattering his false image, he will do everything he can to make sure your anger at him was truly nothing.
He may first…
• Negate your feelings and call you overly emotional
• Position himself as a victim of YOUR bad behavior
• Position himself as a martyr in that he has sacrificed so much for you and the family (so how dare you need things from him)
So you then…
• Say sorry
• Think he’s right
• Feel horribly guilty for having such feelings of wanting to leave
• Rewards you for seeing “the light” or seeing “his side”
• He is nice for a while, kind, maybe even really loving
So you then..
• Silently think you were crazy for thinking anything was wrong because he is now proving to you how nice of a guy he is
• Pretend that anything he has ever done wrong didn’t exist
• Give, give, and give some more, hoping he will love you the way you had always hoped.
• Feel him slipping away as he gives you only shreds of hope, just enough to keep you around.
• Become depressed, unwanted, validated that you are unlovable.
• Ask him for attention, question his busy life or work schedule, want him to pay attention to YOU for five minutes, all for the hope that he isn’t the person who you think he is.
So he then:
• Negates your feelings and call you overly emotional
• Positions himself as a victim of YOUR bad behavior
• Positions himself as a martyr in that he has sacrificed so much for you and the family (so how dare you need things from him)
And so the cycle repeats itself again, and again – which is what I call the Cycle of Narcissistic Despair, which is what I cover my Break Free course.
This cycle is perhaps the most destructive to someone who is involved with a narcissist. If it goes on for years, it can significantly impact your self-esteem and you can be stuck in the relationship forever.
But know this – you are NOT crazy – all you want is unconditional love, but unfortunately, you are never going to get it from a narcissist. They are incapable of unconditional love.
You CAN break free – I’ve done it, my clients have done it – now it’s your turn.
We all anticipate divorce to wreak havoc on our emotions, but I think few people are prepared for its financial toll.
I was one of those people.
Before I divorced, my husband and I lead comfortable lives – we each made a six-figure salary and rarely did I think about how much was in our bank account – as long as I saw a figure with lots of zeros in my account, I was never worried.
When I retained a lawyer and put $5,000 on my credit card, it was still the biggest “purchase” I ever made, but I knew I had the money to pay it off. I was totally naïve to think that one retainer would pay for my divorce (insert laughter from the divorced, peanut gallery).
Within a few months, that retainer dried up. So then I had to pay for another. Then another. And then I had to find a place to live, and was required to put down first and last month’s rent as a deposit (yes, it was steep, but it’s the going rate where I live).
Within one year of separation, I was completely broke – $50,000 of savings was gone. The rest I had to depend on my husband who tied up our finances with the divorce. I wouldn’t receive child support for another year and half – and alimony was never an option.
Divorce and Debt – the perfect marriage, and I was married to both of them.
But while debt after divorce seems like an unforgivable, rite of passage to many – it doesn’t have to be – at least not long term.
First – and this is SO extremely important – stop saying you’re in debt.
Stop telling people how much you’re getting robbed from the divorce.
When someone offers you something fun to do, stop telling them you can’t afford it.
Stop looking at the married people as the “have’s” and divorced people as the “have nots.”
While debt IS real and very much a problem, the more you talk about it with others, the more you are married to it. Unless you are talking with a financial planner about how to solve your debt, your debt is nobody’s business but yours.
Debt should never be a long term partner – so stop telling everyone as if it is. The more you tell everyone you’re poor, the more you will be.
Second – make a plan. And I mean a serious, F-you kind of plan that kicks debt out of your life. And yes, I know this is difficult when you’re emotionally tapped. But the longer you wait to make a plan, the more you’ll be married to debt. And the more debt you’re in, the more tapped you’ll be – so stop the cycle before it gets worse!
Talk with a financial planner. Read books about money management.
Third – Create multiple savings accounts. You could create accounts for kid spending only (so when they ask you for that one toy at Target, you can say ‘no!’), groceries, fun spending, holiday gifts, vacation. By dividing your checking account into smaller savings accounts, you can easily move your savings money over to checking when it’s time to pay bills – but when that account is running low, you know you need to stop spending in that category for the month.
Fourth – Even when you’re in debt, you MUST spend money on you. This is so, so important, and don’t ignore this. Here’s why: when you constantly feel poor and you never spend on you, your resentment only attracts more poverty. You must always feel what it’s like to spend money, joyfully, otherwise you will literally forget.
So, when your “fun spending account” is reasonable, then reward yourself with something fun to do.
When you’re in control of your finances, you’re acting like a rich person – you’re managing your finances. And when you act rich, you become rich. When you maintain control, you actually get more control.
Now go divorce your debt and be happily ever after.
I recently received an email and with her permission, she allowed me to share it with you. Here goes:
I have been separated for 2 years (divorce still pending), and now I am dating. When I first started dating, I was confident and didn’t care what the outcome was with my dates. But I find that if I have more than two dates with someone, I get paranoid as to when they’re going to call me, or if they don’t call at all, I get so upset! I hardly recognize myself anymore. And before I was divorced, men used to hit on me all the time – but now that I’m single, I hardly see it. It’s almost I was more confident when I was unhappily married than I am now. Why is that? I feel like there is no hope for me!
Shannon (name changed for privacy)
Oh, dearest Shannon (and anyone else plagued by the lack of confidence) – I remember those days well. It’s the old adage of a “watched pot never boils” or “when you’re least expecting it, love finds you.”
So here you are, all ready and willing to date, but now you’re mojo is off! But here’s what’s really going on – you’re relating “confidence” to dating, and you’re transferring your power to another.
Let’s break both of those down:
Feeling confident is not the result of something happening – it’s a feeling that should be rooted within YOU, no matter what happens. So when someone doesn’t call you (even after a couple of great dates), your attitude should be – “He must not be ready to date, or perhaps he has commitment issues. And I don’t want someone like that! I just dodged a bullet!” You’re fine with who you are, no matter who calls you, or who doesn’t.
When you transfer your power to another, you’re basically giving that person permission to dictate your life, your mood, and your daily attitude – and unless that person is a narcissist, no one really wants that role.
Here’s an example – Have you ever tried to sell something because you really, really needed the money? You’re so desperate to have that sale, you’re even willing to go less on the face value and thus, your buyer is now totally in control. Here, you give away your power to the buyer, and boy, do they know it.
Conversely, have you ever sold something that you could really care less on whether it sold or not? I bet you got it for MORE money, or you had multiple offers on it. You maintained full control and power, people wanted it even MORE!
Dating is the same way. You don’t have to be desperate for your date to pick up on the fact that you want them – and with so little words, it could be a turn off. Just the slightest showing of lack of confidence and they may move on.
So it’s important that dating is a part of your life, but not your entire life. You’ll be fine if they don’t call, because you’re busy doing other things. Or perhaps your DVR is full of recorded episodes and you’re going to have a date night with yourself.
Confidence means you’re fine whether or not your Saturday night is booked. Don’t allow dating to fill a void in your life – YOU must fill it with other things. Because when that guy cancels on you, you will feel the void even more – you’ll start beating yourself up, thinking horrible things, and wondering if you should have ever gotten that divorce at all.
Dating is a lot like job interviewing – it’s always better to interview for a job when you have a job, right? Because it’s easy to pick and choose the right job versus being desperate for one. Ask yourself why you’re dating. Your answer should be, “Because it’s fun. I get to meet new people. I like to go out and try new things” not, “Because I’m lonely. Everyone has a partner except for me. Unless I’m on a date, I do nothing exciting.”
If your answer is the latter, take a break from dating – try dating you first. If you’re not comfortable with that, then why would anyone else want to date you?
Confidence comes from within, and not from another person. And once you own it, be prepared for multiple offers, and pick and choose the right ones! Have fun with it.