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|Posted on July 20, 2016 at 1:35 PM||comments (17)|
Many parents who separate because they don't want to be in conflict anymore, usually find that they end up in more conflict over the children. If you are a separated parent reading this, try to focus on your own behaviour, how you can help ease the conflict and the impact on your child.
Why does the conflict arise?
Separated parents actually take some time to separate beyond the actual physical separation. Emotionally we sometimes stay attached, this can take a while to move on if you were the one that did not want the relationship to dissolve. It is worth thinking, 'am i struggling to detach after 6 -12 months', what is holding me back'?
Parents can feel out of control of their lives and over their ex partners lives. For some the battle can be about blaming one another. The children often will be used to exert power by stopping contact or threatening to take the child away. This is damaging to the child and your relationship with them. The children may be used by competing whose home is the best, who can buy them the most presents and so on. Unfortunately, there are no winners, the ones that loose out are the children. Children loose out by parents failing to consider the impact on a childs mental health and well being by being stuck between two parents who cannot put their own feelings aside to protect their child.
How might we start to stop letting the children get caught up in the middle?
Here are a few ideas to contemplate..................
Listen to your child, not only by what they say but how they behave. Do they seem happy? Are you having problems with their behaviour? They speak through non-verbal communications.
Do not use your child as a weapon, your child deserves to have two parents, unless you have issues that your child is at harm or risk with another parent, stopping contact is hurting your child.
Learning to communicate in a non aggressive but assertive tone and manner will reduce stress levels and help you stay in control of your emotions. Stop blaming one another for problems and start taking responsibility for your own actions.
Refrain from criticising the other parent in front of the child.
Children look up to us as role models, they copy and learn. They deserve to have a childhood without being expected to choose between parents. Ask yourself, are they caught up in the middle?
If the answer is yes, act now, find some support for you and your child.
If you are affected by the above and would like to learn more about how you or your child can get help visit my website. www.windmillsoftheminds.com
Sarah May Thorpe.
|Posted on July 4, 2016 at 1:15 PM||comments (110)|
Below are some questions that can help heal past parenting relationship issues and understand yourself as a parent. It helps to ask these questions without judging or blame, this is about understanding, then being able to take action to improve relationships, our own well being and parenting.
Write down five words which describes what you feel towards your parents or did do?
Did you want something from them that you didn't receive, what was this? What difference would this have made to your relationship?
What might have prevented them giving you what you needed?
How can you give yourself what your parents were unable to?
What do you struggle in giving to your children as a parent?
If you have children, what helps you bond, feel close with your child?
How important was it for you to feel loved and accepted as a child?
How might you start to give yourself that love and acceptance now and if you have children, to them if you don't already?
Do you have support in parenting?
Can you recognise your parents strengths and your own? Name these?
Have you happy memories from childhood, what were these doing?
Non of us are infallible, we all make mistakes, nobody is the perfect parent. Trying to be will mean we only end up feeling endless guilt. If we can forgive ourselves and our parents for not being able to give us everything, imagine what this would feel like?
We sometimes repeat patterns of behaviour, whether building or damaging relationships. Learning more about your own parenting, your relationships, your behaviours can help you be less stressed, assertive and creative in parenting. Also creating healthy attachments.
I am currently writing some Mini booklets.
Early warning signs of mental health in children/teens, what and who can help?
Ideas on how best to manage testing teen behaviours?
These will be at a price of £3.50 via email and £5 for a posted hard copy plus PP. If you are interested in purchasing these, please email me your details.
I look forward to hearing from you.
If you want to read more on how to gain more practical face to face support with parenting visit my website. www.windmillsoftheminds.com
|Posted on July 3, 2016 at 4:11 AM||comments (106)|
Dilemmas in life
Are you at a crossroads? Not sure which way to go. For some of us decision making is incredibly challenging. This becomes a dilemma.
Small day to day decisions might be......What clothes to wear? Whether to order the fish or the meat dish? What route to take..even these decisions or choices can feel like mountains for some of us.
Life changing decisions may be........Do i change my career and take the new job? Shall i move somewhere else, ?Do i stay in this relationship or do i leave?
Most of us will have experienced that tangled mind, where we simply cannot think clearly. The inner chatterbox driving at a 100 miles per hour.
The most challenging thing to do decide to do nothing. This in itself is a decision. There may be time frames we need to make decisions within, that still allows some time.
Allow yourself some time. Give yourself some space. If it is a person who is wanting an answer, say you want to take some time to think about this.
Feeling under pressure often results in actions that are not always thought through. We can be too hasty, act on emotional feelings.
Press the pause button...wait...... usually when we release the pressure, we relax and the answer or action appears. Learning patience, to be still, is one of my biggest and beneficial learning curves of all my time. However if you have a time scale this website my be helpful to read.
Seeking support in the decision process can be useful. Understanding how we can become more confident in making better choices can benefit us in work and relationships.
Go to my website www.windmillsoftheminds.com to find out more about support.
Thank you for reading. I welcome your thoughts and comments on my posts.
Try yoga or learn more about meditation to help you along.
|Posted on June 30, 2016 at 6:08 AM||comments (0)|
You may here a great deal from mental health and emotional well being services that support networks are vital in keeping well. The NHS definitely recommend that we need a good support circle to maintain our well being.
In my experiences of working with others professionally and my own personally, i hear and see that having people who are supportive around us helps us cope with the challenges and slumps in life.
People who feel they have people to talk to often will cope much better than if we don't. If we don't have many people who are supportive, we usually end up feeling lonely and isolated which impacts on our mental well being.
Talking to others about feeling low, depressed or anxious still can be incredibly daunting for some people and in some work environments. From what i experience we still need to keep improving at talking, recognising and understanding how anyone can gradually feel unwell from stressful and emotional issues.
So lets keep making changes to supporting one another to let people know that it is ok to talk about their feelings without feeling inadequate or judged.
I welcome comments from people.
Thank you for taking the time to read.
Windmills of the Minds
|Posted on December 28, 2015 at 12:19 PM||comments (105)|
With the new year approaching, I felt the welcome urge to write a new blog. I haven't wrote for a while, writing is one of my passions, sometimes I loose connection with passions, I am determined to make space for the writing more often.
Which leads me onto the fabulous New Year, what does this look like for you? First of all, i think it is helpful before we do this to spend some valuable time reflecting on this year, take a look back and process what has been your happiest, saddest and most enjoyable moments. What went well, what did not go so well. What you could do differently this new year?
What or who would you like to leave behind in this year? What would you like to take forward to the New year?
Is this getting you thinking, the cogs turning, the mind opening to new ventures?
I would recommend taking some time writing down your reflections of 2015. Take your time, there is no rush.
Once you feel this is completed it is time to move on to 2016. Of course, I am mindful it is good to live in the present moment, however to live fully in the present in my experience, it helps to plan and prepare ahead.
Have you got your thinking cap on ? Great, we can now move on.......
These are my own ideas for helping to focus, keep motivated, maintaining the feeling of fulfilment and live in the present moment. There are links at the end. So here goes....
1. Invest in a large diary or a calendar. Coloured pens help, we want to be creative, innovative. Think outside the box, there is no box.
2. Close your eyes, imagine four corner stones in your life. Social needs, health needs, emotional needs, financial needs. You may want to write down specifically that you individually need from each of these areas. Everyone has varying needs, it is important that that you take time to think of your own needs. Check in that they are your own, and not someone elses. If you have a partner then you could look at a shared vision and your own.
3. Write in your diary your self care needs first. How often are you going to take those breaks? Holidays, where do you want to go? This is the best part. If you work, look after someone or volunteer, it is necessary to ensure these are in place. Allowing yourself time to de- stress will give you the energy, love for life you need to be healthier and happier this year and impact on those around you.
What about regular exercise, how often do you need to get sweaty, what can you do. Something new maybe? There are so many ways to keep fit, we can find something to suit our needs.
4. Who do you want to spend time with? Family, friends, colleagues... who inspires you. Need new friends? There are many groups that are available to join in the communities now, find somewhere that you would like to try, go and if it is not your thing, move on, you are not a tree. Social well-being is a must, isolation can cause feelings of loneliness and depression. Studies show that people are healthier and happier when they have supportive friends and people around them. Choose the right kind of people, many of us have experienced relationships that cause us to feel bad. If you are the one that is causing the bad feelings, find someone to help you, it is not to late to change. Caring about your own self is called self compassion, be your own best friend, love yourself then it is easier to be loved by others.
5. Emotionally we need to meet our needs, we can do this from the above, and from other passions in our lives. Animals, music, reading, blogging, singing, whatever gets you feeling those good vibrations. Find what ignites your fire in your soul. You may want to try out new well-being groups, or invest in your well -being by finding a counsellor or a life coach, Reiki, Hypnotherapy or some other kind of therapist, There re so many of us out there working in different ways that suit individual needs. Learn something new, play the guitar, learn to dance, or cook a new recipe. Try some practising mindfulness everyday, practice being the operative word, like any skill learning to be mindful will take you time if you are new to the whole meditation world.
6. Financially we can start to continue good habits or turn over a new leaf, create new helpful habits that will benefit us in the long haul. You can do this alone by reading on line or find some help. Pay off your debts, start to save, change the relationship you have with money, learn to love money, let it be your best friend. Value money, I have been inspired by Julie the Money Coach this year and Louise Hay, who both encourage ways to develop a better relationship with money. We all need enough money to live well in this world, if we don't have enough our security is affected which raising our stress levels to the red light. In your diary write in when you will look at your accounts weekly or monthly to keep track of spending. Find ways to save. Follow the links to find out more information on money.
None of these ideas above are limited, you will have your own thoughts I'm sure, if you do that's great, please share below. These suggestions are food for thought and not meant to be the answer to deep rooted problems or illnesses or claim to resolve any serious problems that you are experiencing. Seek or maintain medical or professional support if necessary.
Please find the links below for further help.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this blog. I would like to wish you a sparkling new year, be it healthier and happier for you in 2016.
From WIndmills of the Minds
This is copyright to Sarah Thorpe Windmills of the Minds © 2016 28/12/2015
|Posted on August 21, 2015 at 5:54 PM||comments (125)|
The you tube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQKjMvG7BLU, now albeit from a after shave advert, the title of my blog, I am not going to be who I am expected to be any more to me once echoed in my mind once when I felt I had enough of trying, I felt the need to share this with others.
Having experiences of my own related to trying to live up to others expectations ( or my perception of them) also my experiences of working with others who feel like they are a failure and that they are letting others or themselves down.
You will know the saying....'in a world trying to make you like everyone else, the challenge is to be yourself'? or something to that affect.
In the teen time, being ourselves can be tough, right? We often spend time trying to fit in, wanting the approval of friends or family. We may try to be something we are not, changing our behaviour or the way we look to be accepted.
Thoughts like, I want to be taller, smaller, thinner, fatter, funnier, smarter, richer...the list never ends really when we are in the zone of trying to fit in
This can cause us to feel a split in ourselves, and conflicted that we start to become anxious, depressed and not liking ourselves much at all. There begins to feel an inner discomfort and distress, we feel panicky at being around others.
This can continue onto adult hood, we may study subjects because our parents want us too.
We may go into a profession because it seems sensible, secure and has long term benefits. This for some is enough, it some can be happy with this, even though it is not what they wanted to do. Money is definitely a basic need, choosing a lesser paid job that we love may mean we are happier but less financially secure.
If you are reading this blog then I suspect you are questioning your self, your life choices. Maybe you want to make changes to your life, to take some plunges into the water of the unknown.
A suggestion is to start with writing or drawing your fears out on a piece of paper.
Ask yourself what are you most afraid of, who scares us, what scares us the most?
When did you start to forget who you are. What changed? Who do we most admire in life, whose our role model?
Who can you be yourself with?
What is the difference to some people you feel comfortable with and others you don't.
I know when i feel at ease with people, that I can be my authentic self, I want to surround myself with more of those people, who nurture and support me and it is a mutual exchange of this.
I know I feel good with them because I look forward to seeing more of them.
How can you start to face your fears, how can you help yourself, who else can help you?
What will it take to piece yourself back together.
If you do feel like this. Here are some good articles to read that may help you.
This one is a great read on Carl Rogers one of my biggest influencers in the work I do.
www.windmillsoftheminds.com for Counselling/Parenting in Doncaster/surrounding areas and worldwide online.
|Posted on May 10, 2015 at 6:23 AM||comments (133)|
In my journey of counselling we are taught to questions ourselves and what we do. What does counselling actually do?
I will answer this question from my own beliefs, training, values and perspectives.
First of all, what counselling does not provide a quick fix for problems . Counselling is not about telling you what to do or how to do it. As a counsellor my role is not to judge you or situations you are in. My role is not to give you the answers but for you to find the answers that you have within you.
Friends and family may often give you advice, do you take it?
Advice giving is useful at practical times, for e.g such as managing debt, but in the counselling arena, this does not help you become more self assured and trust in your self.
Often the biggest conflict we have is with ourselves. We may not be supporting our own self, rejecting who we are. We may not feel good enough, strong enough, clever enough. People will say just be positive or get a grip. If only it were that easy. Like having a physical illness, when we are emotionally raw we need time and care to heal. This does not happen overnight, Patience is a virtue. Belief and trust that in time you will recover, helps the process. This can at times can be challenging in the depth of despair. We will have thoughts like..
No one cares
No one understands
What is the point?
Why me ?
These are completely normal and natural thoughts but can debilitate us and isolate us from others.
Counselling is a place where you can be understood and that these thoughts and feelings can be expressed and accepted.
We may feel embarrassed that we are having these thoughts, this blocks our way to seeking help and moving forward.
Counsellors offer the space and time to be there for you, they have the skills , knowledge and training to help you understand and accept your feelings and thoughts without judging your self or others.
Counsellors can support you to be able become more conscious of the unconscious. We often are too close to the situation. or we may not realise how we ourselves are playing an important role.
'Be the driver, not the driven'.
Here are a few links to helping you understand more about the areas discussed today.
to be continued..................
|Posted on April 30, 2015 at 5:19 PM||comments (0)|
Talking to a trained counselling professional is different from having a chat with a friend or a family.
Counsellors are highly trained professionals in working with others therapeutically to enable the person to work through challenging times.
My counselling training lasted over 10 years and i continue to update my learning in different aspects to increase my skills and widen my knowledge. Also keeping up to date with the changes in policies and the government.
It takes a great deal of work and commitment in this profession to maintain good standards of work. I am a member of the BACP and on their approved register. This requires working to their ethical standards and guidelines. It takes commitment to taking care of myself to enable my ability to support others.
Through the years of my counselling journey up to now, i have spent time learning about myself and i have attended counselling for my own personal development and when i have needed too. I highly valued the time I spent as a client. I learned to know what it feels like to sit in that chair and feel vulnerable. It also has given me the opportunity not only to support me in challenging times but to feel comfortable in my own skin. That is priceless to me.
Whereas the principles of counselling are similar for most fields, every counsellor is unique, we all have our own personalities. The relationship to me with every client is unique and is the key to being able to work together effectively. if i am able to help a client feel at ease, trust me and feel confident in me, this to me, is the stability that will provide the platform to enabling the therapeutic process to take place.
This in turn enables the person to accept themselves and therefore be able to make changes if they choose too.
Acceptance of the human self and all our parts for me is where we grow and become more human. We learn to accept others and understand each other in much greater depth. The relationship with ourselves makes the difference to how we relate to others. If we don't like who we are, how can we be open to forging deep human connections......?
To be continued.
Thank you for reading.
|Posted on March 2, 2015 at 3:46 PM||comments (102)|
For Separated Parents
I would first like to acknowledge that I write from a separated parent perspective and I am supportive and compassionate to all single parents, regardless of race, gender or age etc.
I think single parents receive some bad press, however, single or together is not the issue here. How we relate to one another is. Relationships being the key to having a happier life.
Secondly, I’m sure you will agree with me, being a separated parent can be incredibly tough. We may feel like we are up and down emotionally, not sure how to feel. Usually tensions are high, there are feelings of hurt that turn into anger and for some an overwhelming sadness.
So what can help us get through this challenging time?
In my experience, compassion, support, time and eventually acceptance and forgiveness.
Compassion for yourself. You may feel guilty, this is part of the process of parenting and loss, if we don't forgive ourselves or others we remain often in such a place that is destructive, to you, the other parent and the children. Be your own best friend. Be good to yourself. Allow your self time to feel what you need too and work through those feelings. Find ways to let go of these emotions that are not harmful to you or anyone else. Be creative, write a journal, sing, exercise, talk.
Time and Support
Who can we talk to?
Finding another adult to talk to is maintaining good self-care and is necessary for a healthy mind and emotional state.
Someone who isn't involved and can remain objective usually helps. It is healthy to show emotions in front of our children, leaning on them for emotional support causes them to feel too responsible for us. Children love both parents and it is good for them to let this continue to happen. How you feel is not how they feel. Unless there are safe guarding issues, seeing you both working together as separated parents helps them cope with the changes and loss.
Stages of loss below. We may not go through them all at once or in the same way. Grief is individual and can be very different for each person. No one can tell you how you should be feeling.
Is time precious for you? It is for me. Changes in life take time to adjust too. We are creatures of habit and also we may feel highly emotional in the first few months or it may take longer. Take time to grieve your loss and recover.
If you do find yourself stuck or struggling day to day to cope, letting down our guard and seeking help is one small step forward.
Children also need time to adjust to changes that are happening. Help children to feel safe and secure, reassure them and communicate it's not their fault, this reduces many major emotional and behavioural issues.
They may struggle with the separation needing some professional support too. This is not your fault.
Schools and GPS initially are a good source of first contact for support
Often explaining to schools what is happening and that life is challenging for you all due to the changes will help them to understand and offer more support.
My son went through a real challenging time dealing with loss. I spoke to the school and I could not believe the difference in a week. They gave him lots of general encouragement and praise to help boost his confidence.
Asking for help can take courage. I felt like I needed to cope due to the work I do. Once I accepted that I'm allowed to have problems and not be superhuman, life became much easier. Be brave and ask for help.
Acceptance and forgiveness – moving on
These are words often presenting challenges. I can hear some say there is no way I'm forgiving my ex-partner. At one time I would have felt the like this too.
Managing our emotions is undoubtedly difficult when we feel betrayed or hurt.
Part of moving forward means letting go of the past and the emotions that we feel
connected to what happened . We may hold onto our anger and resentment, what does this do? Keeps us stuck in a cycle of frustration, anger, guilt, resentment. Feeling stuck can be emotionally debilitating and draining. I've been there a few times. What's important is what and learning from how we got in the pit and how we get out.
Accept ‘What it was, what it is and what it shall be’
Whether we are angry at ex partners, ourselves or someone else, we are blaming someone. Blame means what? That we are not taking responsibility for our own life.
We may find it leads to us feeling deeply depressed, physically ill and our relationships deteriorate with others at home and at work. Many separated parents who have high conflict seek medical treatment for depression. Children in high conflict situations also may need professional and medical help due to the effects on their emotional health and well -being health.
It is good for our children to see us moving on in time, so they can. Life is tough right!
We need to be tougher, become more resilient. Reducing conflict helps children feel more secure, sociable, and happier. Think about how you know your child is happy? What do they do, how do they look? How do you feel? Often when we are happier our children reflect our behaviour. Of course life has its challenges that inevitably affect our mood, we can learn to accept these into our life, if we accept that life does not run continuously smooth.
Remember your own and your family’s life is precious and time is precious.
Make the most of your life! Make different and better choices. Remember this, if you always do what you’ve always done, is it likely that repeating your actions only leads you to the same place time and time again. Feel familiar? How frustrating that is too. It is like ground hog day.
Move forward not round in circles
Start to turn your life around today. Make small changes each day and you will see the difference.
If you've enjoyed reading this and want to read more.
Go to my website and sign up for a newsletter or read my blogs.
www.windmillsoftheminds.com. Also I am hosting a radio show ‘It's Your Life’ focusing on living your life, with guest speakers talking on social and health topics. Starting in the middle of March 2015 on Thursdays 12-1pm on Sine FM local Doncaster radio. http://www.sinefm.com/ the radio is available worldwide on the Internet. Shows can be listened to for a week after they broadcast on the website so listen out for me.
Written by Sarah Thorpe
This work is copyright ©. All rights reserved to Windmills of the Minds.
|Posted on December 2, 2014 at 2:49 PM||comments (9)|
‘Money cannot buy life’
Christmas can be an incredibly joyous time for some, or an incredibly difficult, sad or stressful time for others. It is good to consider what stresses we can not avoid and ones we place on ourselves that could be avoided. Such as spending too much money or over committing to please everyone. This can cause feelings of guilt, sometimes resentment. We may feel guilty for having to let people down, or resentment for feeling pressured to be somewhere you don’t want to be. Making conscious choices helps to ease these feelings. However, these feelings are natural and inevitable at times. Rather than feel bad for feeling these emotions, not judging ourselves for having uncomfortable feelings and thoughts will create less stress for yourself and others.
Separated parents often experience stresses and strains at this time. How will my children feel? Who will have the children on Christmas day? Will we take it in turns or split the day? Who buys what?
For many families this will create anxiety, stress and sadness. Dealing with being alone on Christmas day without your children will create mixed emotions for many. We need to allow time to reflect and let ourselves feel these emotions. Suppressing them only makes them stronger.
Many elderly people will sit alone at Christmas, maybe not even have Christmas lunch or get out of bed.
People with alcohol abuse, addictions, will inevitably find this time of year challenging and tempting to fall back in to their old patterns. The families of addicts will also suffer at these time due to their anxiety, for e.g. worrying if there partner will not be there for family get together, will they spend money on drink or other addictions. ‘It is worth considering a plan of action to tackle these issues before they arise.
For people who have been bereaved, whether this was at Christmas time or not, this can be an extremely difficult time for them to cope. It feels like everyone is having a good time, happy and with the ones they love. They experience feelings of loneliness, depression and will immense sadness.
Anxiety sufferers will find that they start to feel increasingly anxious. The crowds in the shops, the noises, having to spend time with family and groups of people can be enough to trigger strong panic attacks.
For people with issues affecting healthy mental health, already feeling isolated and vulnerable, celebrations can be a trigger to feelings of sadness, fear and sometimes suicidal thoughts.
Students may be far away from their families and struggling financially if they cannot afford to go home. Especially overseas students who will be far away.
Some ideas and suggestions of surviving Christmas.
A plan of action helps to prepare ahead. Setting budgets and sticking to them. Writing lists. Having realistic expectations of ourselves and others will reduce pressure. Doing something out of the ordinary. Getting some rest and relaxation time. Time out, a walk in the fresh air or relax in the bath. Plan to visit or invite people over. Not everyone likes Christmas or celebrates it and if don’t then that is ok.
Become a volunteer. At Christmas charity shops or other services need help. Also you could become a volunteer for ending loneliness.
Helpline over Christmas
Hopefully if you do celebrate Christmas, this can be a great time to reflect, spend time with others who we rarely see. Relax and pamper ourselves, give and receive. Watch Christmas movies, go for winter walks, and enjoy Christmas songs.
I wish well to everyone who reads this, whatever you do, and take care of yourself over the holidays.
‘Money can’t buy me love’
© All rights reserved to Windmills of the Minds owned by Sarah Thorpe