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Monthly Archives: July 2016

Loneliness and single motherhood

When I climb into my heart in the darkness of the night, I finally realise how lonely I am.

Darkness seems to draw out the emptiness within. An emptiness which is usually hidden and consumed by mundane daily tasks. It is in the stillness of the night that I can no longer hide.

Within the deathly silence of the dark night, my failures, my broken dreams, and my demons swim out from the depths of myself, and up to the surface. It is during the night that I am haunted by my very own existence.

I can spend months at a time loving the single life. Any thoughts about relationships, men, and dating are automatically removed.

To prevent loneliness I have a golden rule. My mind is not under any circumstances allowed to wander into the relationship realm.

I have only ever had intimate relationships with men that have held me back, not driven me forward.

So, now I’m moving forward, carving out a pathway to a place of success. I have a career, lots of friends, and my little crew.

I have the best life!

”Well, this is what I tell myself.  Yet, somehow I’m not convinced.”

I’ve practised meditation, listened to the ‘Secret Teachings’ app, and taught myself not to think about the anxiety provoking aspects of my life.

However, every few months my mindfulness skills fly out the door, and once again I allow the darkness to get the better of me. My demons suddenly rise to the forefront of my mind, and the feminist crusader who was around hours earlier suddenly leaves the building.

It is in these moments that the truth comes out, and I come face to face with my lonely self. The one who pines for a companion, a best friend, and a man. As much as I hate to admit it, I miss male companionship.

I miss having a man to run things by. I miss having a second opinion, reassurance, and a male confidante.

It is within the darkness that I wish I had chosen more carefully before. It is within the deep dark night that my fears turn into a fretting anxiety that eats at my insides.

It is in this dark space that I assess the state of male and female relationships, weigh up relationship statistics, and over analyse the pain caused by relationships. I always  come to the same conclusion. Fifty percent of male and female relationships end in disarray.

Even though I have come to the conclusion that remaining single is a secure place to be, I still yearn for intimacy, conversations, and the partnership of partnerships.

Yes, I am self-aware enough to know what lies beneath my conclusions. Fear! Fear that I’ll make another unwise choice. Fear that I’ll disappoint my children, and fear that the relationship will end in tears. Who wants more tears?

I honestly feel twinges of guilt when I think of bringing a man into my children’s lives. Oh, the horror stories I’ve heard.

I don’t want my children to form attachments that may not last. I don’t want them to feel like somebody is stealing me away from them.

Single mother’s have a ridiculous amount of responsibility. Our children are the focal point of our family unit, and the most important asset. We have a responsibility to keep them emotionally and physically safe, as much as is in our control.

We can’t make a silly mistake, and accidentally invite an unwholesome person into our children’s lives. This will have a major impact on the family unit.

To bring a partner into your life, and the lives of your children is a hard decision to make. There are pros and cons. Single mothers have needs as well. Who knows? Mr Amazing could be just around the corner.

Mother hood is a beautiful gift. Single mother hood is too! It is fun, joyous, stressful, and filled with a ridiculous amount of responsibility.

Sometimes there are moments, days, or months where life can become dreadfully lonely, especially in the deathly silence of the night.

 

 

 

 

 

The science behind an ADHD brain

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Brain size and structure in ADHD

  • A child diagnosed with ADHD has a smaller brain than a child without the disorder.
  • A child with severe ADHD symptoms has smaller frontal lobes, and less temporal grey matter, caudate nucleus, and cerebellum. These regions of the brain  are used for concentration, to control impulses, to stay in control of inhibitions, and to produce fine motor skills. These are the four areas where a child with ADHD will have the most difficulty.
  • Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) allows scientists to look more intensely at the white matter in the brains of children. White matter is made up of (axons) nerve fibres covered by myelin sheaths. DTI allows scientists to have a really good look at the nerve pathways between each different section of a child’s brain.

The cortex (otherwise known as the outer layer of the brain) is referred to as grey matter. It consists of mainly neurone cell bodies and synapses. The white matter in the brain is right underneath the grey matter. The grey matter consists of long neuronal axons covered by a fatty sheath named myelin which insulates these axons, and aids in the conduction of electrical impulses.

Diffuser Tensor imaging was used in a recent study to look at the fibre pathways in the brains of ADHD children. It was confirmed that abnormal features were found in the fibre pathways of the frontal cortex, basal ganglia, brainstem and cerebellum. These areas are involved in attention, impulsivity, inhibition and motor activity.

The study concluded that brain circuits connecting each area of the brain could be altered in a child with ADHD. This is a possible reason children with ADHD have problems with attention, behaviour and learning.

An introduction to the brain

The three major parts of the brain are the cerebellum, cerebrum, and the brainstem.

The areas of the brain which are specific to  ADHD, and to learning, concentration, behaviour and attention regulation,  include the brainstem, cerebellum, frontal lobe, parietal lobe, and the temporal lobe.

The cerebrum

The cerebrum is located in the upper skull, and is the biggest part of the brain. The cerebrum uses the information distributed to it from our five senses. Through this distribution we are able to make sense of what is exactly going on in our surroundings. The cerebrum than relays back to the person’s body how exactly they should respond.

The cerebrum is in control of our emotions, our ability to speak, have thoughts, read language and to learn. It is made up of grey matter, and is named the cerebral cortex.

Cerebal cortex:

The Cerebal cortex is divided into two left and right hemispheres. These hemispheres are connected by a thick band of nerve fibres named the corpus callosum, which allows the two hemispheres to communicate and to share information.

The two left and right hemispheres have been divided into lobes: frontal, temporal, parietal, and occipital lobes.

Frontal lobes are large complex structures, and include the motor cortex which controls movement. These lobes are required for speech, making plans, solving a problem, and for helping people to decide how to behave socially and emotionally. They also give us self – awareness and self- control.

The temporal lobes are the main areas responsible for remembering a fact or event. Together, with the support of the limbic system, they help us express, and understand emotions.

The temporal lobes effect a person’s overall personality. They are needed to hear, have an understanding of language, and to distinguish sounds made by musical instruments. The cerebellum of someone without ADHD will have more grey matter then someone with ADHD, which is why ADHD children have major problems with emotional regulation, and the processing of language.

ADHD children often have difficulty following through with instructions. Often, they are so hyperactive that they simply cannot process the language being spoken to them. It can’t be processed or understood in that moment of out of control hyperactivity.

Even if the language is processed, (which is unlikely) they will have great difficulty stopping what they doing, to put the given instructions into action. If they do put into place a plan to fulfil the task, the behaviour while doing the task will include hyperactivity, poor concentration, vocalisations and other disruptive behaviour. Anything can happen while they are trying to complete the task.

There is a lack of connection between what you are asking a child with ADHD to do, how they process what you are asking them to do, and fulfilling the task.

The parietal lobes make interpretations about sensations and messages from different parts of the brain. They make connections between the information from different senses, and store memories. These lobes interpret touch, temperature, pain, sounds, and visual information about objects and the environment. They help us understand shape, size, texture, and direction.

The occipital lobes contain the primary vision centres, as well as areas that help us visually understand, recognise objects, and help us understand what written words mean.

Underneath the surface of the cerebrum is the ‘white matter’ and deeper structures: the basal ganglia, and the limbic system, which are closely connected.

The basal ganglia are a group of structures around the thalamus, which include the putamun, globes pallibus, and caudate nucleus. The basal ganglia are important for voluntary movement, and contribute to learning skills. They control our response to reinforcement or rewards.

The limbic system is a complex network of brain areas that includes the amygdala, and the hippocampus, as well as the temporal, frontal and parietal lobes. The limbic system is the ”primitive” or ”animal” part of our brain. It controls our immediate, automatic responses to stimuli-our ”gut reactions’.

The cerebellum

The location of the cerebellum is right at the back of the brain. It keeps a person’s balance and physical, more complex movements coordinated. An action such as running or playing a violin are coordinated by the cerebellum. The cerebellum contributes to the control of speech, and participates in many of the functions  controlled by the cerebrum in ways that are not fully understood.

The brainstem

The brain and the spinal cord are connected by the brainstem. The brainstem will pass a message back and forth between parts of a person’s body and the brain. The brainstem is in control of functions like breathing, blood pressure, body temperature, heart rhythms, hunger and thirst, and sleep patterns.

What does the ADHD brain want?

ADHD brains to do not adapt to environments easily. They run on lower levels of dopamine and norepinephrine than the non-ADHD brain, which means it is challenging to keep up stimulation offered by less inspiring, or everyday tasks.

The ADHD brain is motivated by activities which enable high-stimulation, and allow for optimal arousal. This can mean elevating the existing stimulation, by wanting things louder, to go faster, to be bigger, funnier, or riskier. The more intensity, the more aroused the brain will feel.

Most people with ADHD find it difficult to modulate their own levels of stimulation, and often end up over aroused.  Laughter turns to hysteria, the engagement in fun becomes too much fun, stirring somebody up turns into a big argument, and a cuddle becomes a bear hug.

Due to poor modulation, the brain can suddenly become overloaded with stimulation. What was laughter moments ago can suddenly become tears, screaming, or an abrupt departure.

A major factor in ADHD is the brain’s  underlying challenge to self-regulate. The ADHD brain’s stimulation requirements always change in relation to internal and external demands.

The brains response to the environment is based on what is motivating the brain in that very moment, and the focus possible, given neurotransmitter levels. Whether an ADHD brain sways towards over-reactivity, or under-reactivity, these brains rarely get the balance right.

 

References:

Chadian, Peter. MA, MEd &Tannock, Rosemary, PhD. 2009

Dr Ellen Littman, ‘What the ADHD brain wants, and why’

 

Is it my fault my child has ADHD?

 

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So, your child has ADHD, and it honestly feels like the end of the world. Emotionally, the walls have caved in around you, and you can’t help but wonder, how did this happen? There is a lot to grieve when your child receives an ADHD diagnosis.

I was devastated when I found out my son has ADHD. Especially after I read the statistics. If an ADHD child isn’t treated for the condition, or goes undiagnosed, the outcome is costly.

Statistics show that an adult with ADHD is 4 to 9 times more likely to commit crimes and end up in gaol, compared to someone without ADHD. Fifteen studies from peer – reviewed journals show that 21-45% of prisoners have ADHD.

If ADHD is ignored, or left undiagnosed, the person with the condition is likely to develop other mental health conditions. These can include depression, anxiety, addiction problems, oppositional defiance disorder, conduct disorder, or antisocial personality disorder.

It’s a grim prognosis, and there is a lot of work involved on the part  of the parent to make sure the boat doesn’t sink.

I spent a year questioning my parenting. I wondered where my son’s father and I had gone wrong. Had I disciplined him enough? Had our breakup contributed to his condition?

Sadly, I even wondered what other people would think once they realised that our son is out of control.

I knew I had disciplined him enough. I knew that I had loved him enough.

I also knew that I was deeply ashamed of myself for having a role in handing down this horrible, life changing, debilitating condition to my child.

I felt an overwhelming sense of inferiority around the other parents whose children went to school with my son.

This inferiority had absolutely nothing to do with my son. To me, he was beautiful in every way. However, his out of control behaviour was something else – and for a long time I blamed myself for every aspect of his dreadful behaviour.

There were inconsistencies in my own immediate family which screamed dysfunction, and I couldn’t help but wonder if this had something to do with his diagnosis.

For me, the birth of my son had originally meant that I would give him a new history. My original plan was to give him  the love and nurture that I had never been given. I wanted him to succeed in his life more than I ever could. To give him the opposite of what I had planned was not my intention.

While other people’s children were getting 100% in their class test, or reading at level fifteen, my son was failing everything, and reading at a level two. He was also ripping up his schoolwork, and throwing it around the library, giving the teacher a kick every now and again, and screaming at his class mates.

I found it embarrassing that he was calling out in class all day everyday. I found it embarrassing that he would hit the other children for laughs, and I was absolutely terrified about how the other parent’s perceived me as a mother.

I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs, ”he didn’t get this from me,” and point at his father.

I was annoyed that my son couldn’t simply get dressed in the morning without falling to the ground in a ball of tears. I was annoyed that he couldn’t complete a single solitary task without either losing concentration, needing help, or leaving his work unfinished.

I was also very angry that I would need to give my son a pill every morning up until the age of sixteen. A pill to have friendships, to concentrate, to behave, and to stop the constant out of control impulsive, overly hyperactive behaviour.

What has the world come to if we have to give our children a pill everyday?

ADHD  is a misunderstood condition. There are still people in this world who have no understanding about ADHD, and who would even go as far as to say that the condition doesn’t exist.

I did question my parenting. I was worried about what others may think if they found out my son is so out of control he needs medication. I was very hard on myself. Especially when I had a really good look at the family tree, and realised that hyperactivity and inattention runs rampant in my family.

”What is wrong with us?” I continued to wonder.

After a couple of years playing the blame game, I finally decided that enough was enough. I needed to come back down to earth and accept the reality that ADHD is an hereditary, neurological condition. A brain malfunction! Plain and simple.

I know what I know, and I know the behaviour can’t be helped. I’ve seen it first hand. Other people haven’t. To hell with the people who want to judge.

I was told my son has an immature brain, and that was devastating to hear. ADHD will most likely  impact his adult relationships, his impulse control once he is weened off medication, and his ability to concentrate for the rest of his life.

My son will probably always say silly things without thinking. He will always have learning difficulties, (which often coincide with ADHD) and he will have times where he suffers from self-doubt. It is all a part of the ADHD parcel.

My boy is difficult to parent, difficult to teach, and his energy is non-stop. He picks fights, hits, acts out, does his own thing instead of what he was told to do, and he often can’t get organised.

I am one hundred percent certain that with my non-stop support he will get there. Yes, he will get there later than some of his peers, but he will get there! His journey is his journey. At the end of it he will have lots of amazing funny stories to tell, and a hell of a lot of wisdom.

I love my quirky little boy!

 

 

 

Commitment Phobia

 

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We live in a world where relationships are failing everyday. The domestic violence rate is skyrocketing, and men and women have different values around marriage and relationships, more so now than ever before. Who wouldn’t have a phobia of commitment?

From my experience, couples just argue, banter, and carry on anyway. One partner always puts more work into the relationship than the other, and now days, its rare to hear stories of happily ever after.

The biggest question on a commitment phobe’s mind is:

‘Who is this person that I am about to commit to?’

We will never know who our partner really is until we enter the relationship in a full – time capacity. Even than, do you really know the person you’re involved with?

The marital relationship’s modelled to me as a child were completely dysfunctional. So now when I witness a dashing smile and good manners, I immediately wonder, ‘is there a monster under there?’

How can you believe in true love when you’ve never seen it? Most older couples I know of who do stay together, do it out of need, not love.

I have met the men who cheat on their wives. I have seen the monster lurking deep within this man that his wife will never see, and honestly believes doesn’t exist. This man is a professional when it comes to presenting the two sides of his extremely fragmented self.

I don’t wear rose coloured glasses anymore. Instead, my eyes are like two laser beams in search of a red flag, or something which signals un-safety.

Aha! You guessed it. I’ve seen a lot of dysfunction, and a hell of a lot of chaos. I am yet to see a couple that I know come out the other side of their relationship happy, and content.

For a commitment phobic individual, the beginning of a relationship creates so much anxiety that it will literally take over the entire person. It can take upto a year before this person will even begin to feel safe. That is, if they even make it that far.

Intimate relationships make commitment phobic people feel incomplete, whereas time alone is where we feel the safest. No, we’re not super sensitive people who can’t endure the length of a relationship. We simply choose not to go there because of the anxiety it creates.

The problem? Previous attachments have most likely been unsafe, unpredictable, and riddled with fear and anxiety.

Commitment phobe’s often hurt the closest people to them.  Some commitment phobic people never intend to marry the person they get engaged to. They may even use the opposite sex for sexual intimacy, with no intentions whatsoever of ever committing to this person.

However, other people with a commitment phobia do have the potential to have healthy partnerships. Less severe commitment phobic people will sit out the severe anxiety, and other uncomfortable symptoms related to the condition.

In simpler terms, commitment phobia is a fear of deep emotional connections. Previous unsafe emotional connections have left life long scarring, and may resemble trauma, dysfunction, and instability to the commitment phobic individual. However, there is a way forward if you’re prepared to do the work, and to get the help required to over come the condition.

Dating and relationships after leaving a psychopath

 

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Everything is always your fault! Confrontations with this man or woman always leave your head swirling around for days at a time. The reason behind your argument, along with the contents, are often forgotten after you’ re either threatened with fists, raged at, or  the argument is turned back around to you.

The light must always shine on you, and never ever on them.

You have married yourself a psychopath!

You walk on eggshells, your disputes are never resolved, and they quite often end in your psychopath  raging. Your anxiety is eating you alive. You are always being accused of being the crazy one; and this relationship just makes you feel so damn bad about yourself.

So, you dive headfirst into therapy to sort yourself out. You are sure things will improve between you both once you get help.

Psychopaths put a lot of effort into destroying their victims! The games begin shortly after the love – bombing and adoration phase has been and gone.

A psychopath will subtly begin what is understood as the devaluation phase. Before you know it, this nut case will have whittled away at your self-esteem, just like a termite slowly ploughs through an entire house.

Than they will move into your social network, and find fault with each and every friend or family member.

Victims of psychopathy usually end up completely isolated, with nobody to turn to other than the psychopath.

Once psychopaths are finished with their victim,  the victim’s self-esteem will have completely diminished. He or she will be completely destroyed from the years of mental abuse, mind games, and manipulation.

Psychopaths can only have dominant relationships. They must have complete control over their partner at all times – because in their mind the victim is not a separate being with individual thoughts, beliefs, and opinions. They are instead merely an extension of the psychopath.

A psychopath will pick his or her victim’s entire personality to pieces. The victim will most likely begin to feel as though they always make the wrong choice, always say the wrong thing, and stand up for themselves when they should just sit down and shut up.

If the victim has a problem with someone, the psychopath will always take the other person’s side. Psychopaths and narcissists must be in a position of superiority above their partner at all times.

The victim must never disagree with the psychopath’s  opinions or decisions. If the psychopath is questioned, or asked to make some simple changes to improve their behaviour, the victim will be accused of criticising, controlling, or oppressing the psychopath.

Somehow the psychopath always evades responsibility, manipulates their way out of dicey situations, and convinces everyone around them that their actions, no matter how violent, were justifiable. Before you know it, he or she will have you convinced that we all get pushed to our limits sometimes.

The victim must always remember that the rules are constantly changing. There are rules for the victim, and rules for the psychopath. The psychopath can change the rules at anytime, and the rules are never in the victim’s favour. Rule number one is that the victim must always appear crazy.

A psychopathic male or female will convince the children that everything is always the other parent’s fault. They will even have the immediate family convinced that the victim has behavioural issues, and problems with anger management.

The psychopath will set the victim  up to fail in front of people, and will push the victim’s buttons until they explode. Before the victim knows it, they will  feel like everyone is against them. They are! The psychopath got in first, played the victim, and told everyone that his or her partner is the nutty one.

Victims of psychopathy often think

”if I could just pull myself together and behave appropriately, our relationship would be fine.”

Gas lighting is the most common way to erode a person’s reality. This is where the psychopath will hide things, and tell the victim that they lost them. Or, they must have put them somewhere else. Or, instead of admitting that they are an hour late, the victim will be told that they got the time wrong, not the psychopath.

This is one dangerous human being! Psychopaths control all of the information in family units.  They are the puppet masters. They turn siblings against siblings, and children against the other parent. They are the creators of chaos where there once was none.

They are often your petty hustler, guru, fault finder, pathological liar, ex – husband or wife who sits quite comfortably on the spectrum of psychopathy. Most likely they exude extreme charm, kindness and charisma.

Survivors of psychopathy often feel anxious, disgusting and shaky. They can endure extreme panic attacks, paranoia and depression.

Keep in mind that once away from the psychopath, many victims of psychopathy do go on to live fulfilling lives. Victims do move onto happier, healthier, more stable partnerships.  Happiness does come again!

However, some victims have been so traumatised that they may never enter a relationship again. For these men or women, the mere thought of a relationship can cause heart palpitations. Thoughts of intimacy, giving their heart to another, and trusting another person with their mental health, are thoughts these people would rather not have.

However, once you’ve been with a psychopath, you do become an expert in your field. You will know red flags to look out for. If it seems too good to be true, than it is. If your body is telling you something is wrong, listen to your gut and walk away.

Is your new partner is grandiose, have few friends, a lack of empathy, possible drug history, and behave like a guru? Are  they self-indulgent, have  a history of failed relationships, put others down all the time, and assure you that all of their exes are crazy?

Keep your eyes wide open! Wider than ever before. I don’t believe that wolves have taken over the entire forest. However, I do know that psychopaths target people with particular traits. If you’ve attracted one before, you could easily be a target for a psychopath, narcissist, or sociopath again. If something feels wrong, run!

Can one manifest their soulmate?

 

Rhonda Byrne’s famous book, and film ‘The Secret,’ discusses in great depth the concept of manifestation, and how we can use our imagination to manifest our dream life.

All we have to do is follow these three steps:

  1. Ask      

  2. Believe      

  3. Receive

 

             Is it really as simple as that? Hmmmm……I’m not so sure!

Ask for what you want, live as though you have it now, and than receive it? I know, it sounds way too good to be true right? To be honest, manifesting anything requires a lot of patience, and a very strong mind. It is not by any means a simple task.

Living your life as though you have your dream partner right here, right now, isn’t as easy as it sounds. In my experience, to live like this without ever allowing the reality of your single lonely life to seep into your mind, is almost impossible. An experienced manifester may be able to stop an enquiring inner critic from treading on all of your dreams with the truth. However, an amateur at manifestation will most likely struggle a lot!

In the five years that I have been practising ‘the secret,’ I have had a significant amount of manifestation ups and downs. I have doubted myself, had negative thoughts, (which have most likely stopped my desires from coming my way) and, the manifestation projects I have consumed myself with, have mostly never arrived. Instead, objects, situations and people that I have visualised for no particular reason, have come quickly and easily.

                         ”Be careful what you visualise, and what you go          on to think about…….”

So, I’m on way to the post office, and I suddenly see someone I know. I associate this person with someone I don’t like. Immediately I provide an image of my rival to my imagination. While paying my bill, I quickly forget about the image of my arch rival, and I engage in small talk with the cashier.

While walking down the street on my way to work the next day, I suddenly run smack bang into my rival. The universe doesn’t just give you what you ask for. Its gives you what you think you are worth, and whatever you see in your imagination.  Plain and simple!

I have never been a cat lover, and I detest their predatory nature! However, images of these predatory furry little animals have sprung to mind as I have often watched a cat chase after a bird, or, as I have stepped over the latest victim on the driveway, an innocent dead mouse. Ironically enough, following a strange sequence of events, I now own a cat.

At the age of sixteen I would often see a man out shopping with his support worker. Everytime I saw him, I would walk away with his image in mind as I wondered what kind of life he leads. Twenty years later, I now work with him.

Every time I set an intention to receive something, I always receive it in a way contrary to how I originally thought it would come about.

Years ago I set my intention to become a non-smoker. Everyday for six months straight I visualised myself as a smoke free person. In my imagination I would walk past the cigarette counter without buying cigarettes, and I would picture myself detesting the smell of cigarette smoke. At the end of the six months I was diagnosed with Pnemonia, and I was too sick to smoke, so I quit.

                             What you see is what you get……

To me, red cars are slick and stylish. They scream style and sophistication. Every time I see a red car, images of red cars enter my mind.

Two years ago I reversed into the side of a shiny red car, and two years later I wrote my white wagon  off. Low and behold, the most affordable car for me to buy was a lovely bright, cute as a button, little red car. Not how I would have planned it!

                             ”Can I manifest my soulmate?”

Almost a year ago I set an intention for a soulmate. I even created a  desired  image in my mind of what he would like. I wrote down all the qualities I would like him to have, and I declared my intention to the universe.

For six long months I  imagined our lives together. I imagined us holding hands, going on dates, laughing, shopping, and taking long romantic walks on the beach together. I honestly tried every manifestation technique I know, from soul mate mediations, to sending out the official  soul call through subliminal messaging.

I imagined that my soul mate was in my life, right here, right now. However, the realism over rode the fantasy, and the reality that it was all one big fantasy, which may never happen, began to eat at me. I allowed thoughts of manifestation as hogwash, to  creep into my mind.

So, I stopped the lengthy soul mate visuals, decided to enjoy my life, and not agonise over finding truelove. The request for a soul mate has been sent out to the universe. He’s coming eventually!

As soon as I wake up in the morning I send my soul mate a kiss. I thank the universe for bringing me a day closer to the moment that I will finally get to meet him, and I speak words of gratitude to the universe for the never-ending stream of abundance in my life. Than I get on with my day, and leave the manifestation process in the hands of the universe.

I believe that if a soul mate is what you want, than a soul mate is what you will get. If you believe he or she is coming, than they are!

 

 

 

 

Day one of single motherhood

 

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Where do I go from here? Whats next? How do I grieve the love lost? What am I feeling? Why has this happened to me? How in the hell did I get here?

Seven months pregnant, one three and a half year old, a two and a half year old, and the loss of a life expected. I thought I’d be with my children’s father for a life time. Little did I know that the signs of a doomed relationship were there on the first date, and would only continue to glow brightly as the years went by. Five years to be exact!

Red flags were looming in the crevices of the little things being said on date one and two, and through a past which was laid out on the table before me with ease. I should have left than and there. However, empaths tend to let the big things slide easily, forgive continuously, and give the benefit of the doubt to those who don’t deserve it.

It was learned behaviour. I watched my parents give one another way too many chances, forgive things which should not under any circumstances be forgiven, and continue to be kind to people who really weren’t worth their time.

At the end of the day, I accept full responsibility for my choices. I ended up alone with three children because I built my relationship on the sand. There was no secure foundation to begin with. I chose to put my faith in someone who would ultimately let me down, and leave me terribly wounded, and sad. One more painful wound would now sit on top of all the others, sting my inner being, and eat at me for what would feel like an eternity.

On day one of being a single mother, I sat in a room with my two little ones and a big pregnant belly knowing that I would have to bring these children up all on my own. I sat in that room in a complete state of shock, too devastated to cry!

Instead, the next two years would be fraught with anxiety, self-doubt and chronic second guessing. My mind had become my own inner prison. Terrible bouts of loneliness and sadness loomed, especially in the darkness where I faced the night all alone, in-between breast-feeding a new-born, and putting little toddlers to bed, who were refusing to sleep. The night-time was the loneliest part of the day. For me, the night felt like death.

This was the first time that I had ever been alone, without adult company. I have to tell you, I went on the journey of a lifetime. I didn’t just grieve a relationship. All of a sudden, past grievances, old wounds and regrets started to be remembered, and would finally be dealt with after years of running away. It was horrific.

Sometimes I thought I would die if I had to feel another feeling, or face another regret. Everything I’d been running from before I had children came flooding back to me like a tsunami.

During the nights I would browse the internet, and go to sleep in a world of shock. I often felt sick to my stomach, and deeply depressed as I lay in bed and realised that I was all alone, running a ship with three crew members under the age of four.

The crew cried about everything. They lost it when their sandwiches were cut into triangles instead of squares, threw their dinner at the wall if the plate wasn’t the right colour, and had major melt downs over very small concerns, like being handed the pink top with the bow on it, instead of the purple top.

To top it off, my dad had died at the young age of fifty four, one month before I would become a single mother. I had itchy feet. I felt like I had ants in my pants, was exceptionally jumpy, and I cried a lot. I also spent a lot of time wanting to scream at the top of my lungs in the wilderness. I felt bitter, and really angry. My dad (the only family member that I had ever truly loved and adored before I had children) was dead, my relationship had fallen to pieces, and I had failed my children.

We were now a single parent family because of me. I was absolutely terrible at choosing quality men. I became especially angry when I suddenly made the deep realisation that I had been the creator of my misery.

I had chosen men based on the negative view I had of myself, which originally surfaced from an extremely dysfunctional, difficult upbringing. I didn’t feel loved as a child. My parents were hot and cold, love was provided conditionally, and I was an extension of my mother, not a separate entity.  Unknown to myself at the time, I was actually in search of man who would mirror my upbringing.

When kind men surrounded me, I felt too uncomfortable in their presence. However, I felt extremely comfortable around men who couldn’t, and who would never be able to love me. I was here in this situation right now because of myself. The reality was heartbreaking!

Through a chain of events beginning with unnecessary self-doubt and a potato sack full of baggage, my children now live in a single parent family.  I’ve grieved it, accepted and embraced it.

Day one of single mother hood was horrible. The lights went out for a very long time, and I felt like I was suffocating. However, in time, I found myself, on my own, out in an emotional wilderness, and I grieved everything that had been holding me back for years.

Before I had children I was a flight type personality, always running from myself in one way or another. It was because of my children that I had no choice but to stop, to sit down, and to find myself, the person who had been so lost for so many years. Eventually, I found myself hiding underneath an insurmountable amount of inner pain.

No! We’re not the perfect family. We don’t have a wonderful husband, or father figure. Honestly, the grass is always greener! Marriage comes with its own set of issues, disappointments and trivialities. We get by, and we love each other. I have the best kids in the world. Thats enough!

Single mothers: to date again, or not?

The idea of dating makes many single mothers feel sick to their stomach. The mere thought of allowing another man to come into what is now a harmonious life, makes these women feel terrified, and often unlikely to date for quite a while.

It can take years to battle for some single mothers to battle through the overwhelming feelings of loneliness, sadness, grief, regret, and loss, and to finally come to a place of joy and happiness, after having come out of a relationship.

While many single mothers like to talk to men, and hang out with them, feelings of attraction can be a big turn off. Lets face it; too many relationships where single mothers try to integrate another man other than the father into the children’s lives often turn pear – shaped. No-one wants their children to go through anymore grief unnecessarily.

Some of the women among us have a track record of choosing badly when it comes to men. A lot of them are empaths, and therefore, attract the worst of the bunch, while other women simply keep hitting the repeat button, and end up repeating the trauma from their own childhoods over and over again. No wonder they’ve given up and have decided to raise their children on their own.

As far as many single mothers are concerned, they would rather remain a spinster for the rest of time, than put their children through the ramifications of another bad choice made by their mumma.

I guess the decision to date again or not is more about:

  • Where are the children up-to? Can they handle a new person coming into their life at this point in time?
  • Are the children still grieving the relationship breakdown between their mother and father?
  • Are you ready? Have you grieved the relationship breakdown?
  • Have you dated the person you are about to bring into your life? And do you know them well enough?
  • What’s is your love interests previous history? Are they good with children?
  • What is your over- all assessment of your own situation? Is this doable at moment, or is it too hard at this point in time?

What can traumatised single mothers do to help themselves emotionally before getting back in the dating game:

  • See a councillor
  • chase up the resources available to you
  • work hard on changing beliefs about self
  • don’t jump into another relationship without putting a lot of thought into every aspect of the entire situation

 

Why do only 50% of marriages make it?

My question is why? Why do so many people go and get married when they know the statistics? What makes these couples think their marriage will succeed when the statistics say otherwise? And what are we doing wrong in our relationships with one another to produce such devastating results? Are our beliefs or values about marriage wrong, or even silly? Maybe relationships do have an expiry date, and maybe we should just accept it, recognise that nothing is forever, and move on once things become too chaotic.

People are money orientated, un-indated by consumerism, and constantly on the go. We continue to try to keep up with the world, provide the best life possible for our children, and get ahead. Where is the time to put the effort into nourishing a marriage? How can a couple water their marriage with love and attention when there is very little quality time to do so?

Life gets in the way of all different types of relationships. The pair of bestie’s who couldn’t stay away from one another at school don’t always stay in contact throughout adult hood.  Siblings move on, marital relationships don’t always work, and people change.

However, are we really meant to stay in a relationship with one person for the rest of our lives?  Have we been programmed by society, or religion to feel as though we must see a marriage through right up until the end, until death do us part? Can couples only bounce back from so many hurdles before they finally cave in and head for the divorce courts? Are we as human’s so terribly floored that we will eventually push our husbands or wives away? Or does marriage simply take a toll on both partners, and we just end up getting bored with our spouse physically, mentally and sexually?

As a single woman I often wonder many things about marriage and relationships. People are constant evolving, finding new ways of being, and developing all the time. A thirty-five year man or woman is a completely different person compared to their eighteen year old self. I may sound like an anti-marriage advocate. However, I honestly wonder if it is truly possible to stay attracted to a spouse for any more than twenty years.

The well-bred person you met two decades ago, with a strong set of values and beliefs which aligned with yours, may not have those beliefs twenty years on. They may completely change in every way possible. Isn’t life about change and diversity, and growing into the best version of ourselves? Are we allowed to change our beliefs, and our values if we once swore to the love of our lives that we would forever be on the same wave length, and share a similar view of the world? What if your partner changes religions, genders, or ideas? What if they totally rebel against everything they once believed in? Can we stay in a marriage or a relationship where everything is changing? At the end of the day, everybody changes, and will without even realising it, move into a different state of awareness as time goes on.

I know so many couples who do the hard yards and complete two decades of marriage. All that time together, and then somebody moves on, and decides that enough is enough. There are a few common scenarios. Someone cheats, one of the partners doesn’t pull their weight anymore, or one partner is simply refusing to continually evolve alongside their husband or wife. These are all choices made by one or both of people in the marriage. Do too many humans treat one another as disposable objects?

What absolutely astonishes me is that some recently separated or divorced couples may even leave the marriage, and dive head first into a brand new relationship. A marriage which once meant everything to them is suddenly discarded, thrown in the garbage, and disposed of.

Than there is the other side of the coin. Why would you want to hang out with the same person for more than twenty years? Can people withstand one another for this long, or do they make it this long in the relationship merely because they have an amazing capacity to tolerate a lot of abuse? These are the questions I ask myself on a day-to-day basis.

Too often couples think they are on the same page. They think they are aligned with one another spiritually, emotionally and ethically, until suddenly they realise they never were, and they never really even knew each other to begin with. Well, that’s my experience! What they saw was  a person putting up a front that they could live with for the rest of their days. This wasn’t the real them. The failure to present the real self to their partner in the first place has now put the relationship in jeopardy. I guess we’re all just humans on a journey. We get tired, we get sick of one another. Should we divorce, or should we rise to the occasion?

The couples who rise to the occasion travel the length of the journey together, continually checking that they are both at a similar stage of awareness. I guess you could say that they have a mutual respect for one another. They communicate willingly, and are committed to being with the love of their life. They will not do any anything to put their relationship in jeopardy. They value the relationship, and they see their loved one for all they are worth. I know couples like this, and I truly admire them.

For a relationship to stay solid and sturdy, both people need to be on the same page, and at the same level of awareness as their significant other.  How can marriage overcome all struggles if both parties stop valuing the marriage, and each other? It won’t!

Instead of making promises to be together in ‘sickness, or in health,’ or’ until death do us part’, maybe couples should make vows to stay on the same path, and to remain on a journey of self transformation, and self discovery with their partner, in the hope of seeing their marriage through right up until the end.  Just a little something to think about.

 

Feingold diet experiences from one mother

Half way through kindergarten, it became painfully obvious that my son had issues with behaviour, concentration and hyperactivity. After hours upon hours of research, I decided to give the very complex Feingold diet a trial to see if my son’s suspected ADHD would improve.

In the early 1970’s Dr Benjamin Feingold, Chief Emeritus of the ‘Department of Allergies’ at the ‘Kaiser Foundation Hospital,’  speculated that particular foods and additives could trigger ADHD. Feingold made claims that once 30 to 50 percent of patients experiencing symptoms of hyperactivity were placed on an extreme food elimination diet, symptoms of ADHD had rapidly decreased.   In his studies, Dr Fein gold had purposefully eliminated preservatives, colours, and salicylate’s from the diet’s of his patients.

The Fein-gold diet is a salicylate free, colour free, preservative free, sweetener free diet. Salicylate’s are natural chemicals found in fruits and vegetables. The list of vegetables and fruits containing salicylate’s that your child will be unable to eat will seem never-ending.

The diet exists in stages, and stage one is known as the elimination process. During this process, you must cut out all salicylate’s, which means meal times will be very bland for at least a week. During stage one, you can introduce salicylate’s one at a time to confirm which salicylate’s your child can or cannot tolerate. However, after watching my son react to particular salicylate’s, I did notice that it can take up to 72 hours for negative reactions to stop.

My son could not eat any red coloured fruits or vegetables. This included, strawberries, cherries, capsicums, red apples, grapes, blueberries, blackberries, tomatoes, or products with red food colouring. I made ice – cream from scratch, and bought an organic brand of  yoghurt from Coles. Even still, my son could only eat the natural vanilla flavoured yoghurt from that particular brand. I spent hours in the supermarket reading ingredients, and sifting through the products to determine what he could and could not eat. I had to cut out all soy products, savoury products, cakes, biscuits and lollies. He  couldn’t even eat baked goods from the bakery, hot chips from the shops, or packet chips from the supermarket, because of the preservative in the oil on the baking trays.

All food dyes are banned. Sunset yellow, red, pink, green, blue, brown and black. My son had huge reactions to sunset yellow, which is in the majority of savoury foods, sweets and flavourings such as imitation vanilla essence. He had a major reaction to twisties in the early days, which resulted in him smashing his sisters glass tea set.  Chocolate is also banned. To be honest, it felt like he couldn’t eat anything.

However, we did have alternative solutions. I bought his lollies from a special company which sold natural lollies. I tried giving my son the lollies from the Natural Confectionary Company. However, he could only have two of the colours. He couldn’t have the cherry, strawberry, blackcurrent or orange lollies. I used beetroot (the alternative to tomatoes) to make  lasagne, beetroot sauce for pizza bases, and spaghetti Bolognese. I even made homemade ice-cream as a substitute to real ice-cream. The Feingold information booklet even tells you how to make your own food dyes out of natural alternatives. However, beetroot sauce as the alternative to tomato paste on the pizza base, tomato in the lasagna, and spaghetti Bolognese sauce really didn’t cut it for me or for my son.

I supported my son by placing our entire family on the diet (his two sisters and myself). As a Feingold diet participant, I have to tell you that in all honesty, I found all the Feingold diet alternatives more than boring. I also believe that the diet itself was making my son depressed, and highlighting to him that there was something really wrong with him. He had to say no  to the hotdog at school on hotdog day, and he cried at birthday parties because he wasn’t even allowed to have a sausage sandwich. And, sadly, just to add to our situation, some children are more food sensitive than the average Feingold dieter. My son was one of these overly food sensitive children.

However, the pros to the diet were that my son did improve almost one hundred percent, compared to his earlier behaviour. He could finally concentrate, sit still and stand still. He barely called out in class anymore, and he rarely misbehaved.

Two weeks before his birthday, I decided that he most likely wasn’t allergic to soy. For his birthday I made him a lovely chocolate mud cake, which had a large amount of soy in it. It turned out that he was allergic to soy. He had a terrible reaction to the cake, and misbehaved at school for the next five days. Just as I thought I could put him back on the diet, he came down with a cold and developed an ear infection. So, I had to put him on amoxicillin to eliminate the ear infection. During this time he kicked the teacher, couldn’t concentrate, and spent a week in trouble.

After his ear infection went away, I put him back on the diet, only to find that he was most likely allergic to spinach. I made a lovely spinach pasta dish, only to find that he went to school the next day, and ripped his work up in front of the librarian. He also screamed at her, threw himself on the floor, and tried to kick her. I did some more reading, and discovered that I was going to have to eliminate more products, and vegetables from his diet. I was actually beginning to wonder if he was even getting enough nutrients.

It simply became too hard, and I decided that I just couldn’t do the diet anymore. My son has a severe case of ADHD, he was quickly losing his self-esteem, his impulse control was out of control,  and I wasn’t going to experiment anymore with diets when medication could set things straight for the moment.

The Feingold Association can be joined for a small fee of 69 US dollars. Membership is for a lifetime, comes with forum support, a complete guide explaining the diet, food list, shopping list, shopping guide and some recipes.