(submitted by a wife and mother)

When Life Throws A Curve Ball???

Why are we always faced with some really tough decisions in life?  Life threw me a curve ball back in April and I had to re-evaluate what is really important for me and my well being.  My husband and I separated and I had to make some pretty fast financial decisions.

I parked the truck, started taking transit and decided to start seriously looking for a job in Oshawa where I live.  I had been travelling to Pickering and back at least 3-4 days per week, often times working into the evenings and not getting home until 9:00 p.m.  My travel took 4 hours in a day, what a waste of time!!!!  I applied for a job with excellent hours in Oshawa and I got the job. I was so very excited.  I would miss my co-workers in Pickering but I am so happy to be working near my home.

When I get stressed, I want to keep my mind occupied but I was getting a little too carried away.  I had five jobs (3 at-home dicta-typing jobs) and I also wanted to sing on the weekends.  I had to put a stop to some of these chaotic behaviours because I knew if I wore myself too thin, I would end up getting sick.  What good would that be?  I now realize how hard it was for my spouse because when would we actually get to see each other and have quality time together?  Most of the time, I was too tired to do anything, I just wanted to sleep on my off hours!!   We hardly communicated because we were like two ships passing in the night.

The past few months have allowed me to reflect on what is really important – my family.  My husband is in an addiction rehab residence and he is doing well.  Oh, it WON’T be easy, trust me, I know this!!!  I also know that we are married and my spouse has an illness – actually two of them –  which both affect his mood negatively.  It takes two to make a marriage work and we both have to work at it. For now, because of our poor decisions months back, we are working at it from a distance.

My goal is to be healthy and happy, that is all I want out of life.

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For more information on “How to Communicate Effectively with your Spouse” and also “How to Manage Stress”, please contact one of our counsellors today

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Photo credit: ainsliejoon from Morguefile.com
  • Arguing every day about the smallest things.
  • Telling me that my dad is selfish and doesn’t care about anything but himself.
  •  Complaining that mom is an annoying nag, who can’t get a grip.
  • I don’t know whether having both of them at my soccer game shows love and support or shows that our house is like a world war right now.
  • I mean, what are they trying to teach me here? That being married sucks?

Unfortunately, for most children exposed to high-conflict parents, divorce usually does not end the conflict, nor does it end parents’ relationship. Although a romantic relationship is over in divorce, parents remain in a relationship of some sort. Divorce proceedings raise intensity of emotion. Subsequently, can actually heighten conflict between parents, therefore damaging behaviour can be increased in the family and impact all members, especially the children.

It takes intentional, consistent and persistent effort for parents to work together and overcome conflict and establish more appropriate and healthier conflict resolution strategies. A professionally trained mediator or counsellor can help high conflict relationships by coaching to find a common ground and new ways to structure their communication process. When there is much hurt, anger, confusion, frustration and heartbreak, a trained relationship specialist may be just what the doctor orders.

Parents who can put down verbal conflict fairly quickly and put hurt feelings aside can more quickly overcome the grieving component of separation and divorce. It is then more possible for parents to learn the skills required to effectively cooperate. This obviously provides many benefits for healthy child and family development.

Cooperative parenting:

  • Helps reduce the child’s symptoms of stress as parental conflict decreases
  • Creates a more relaxed home environment allowing for children to adjust effectively
  • Enhances the child’s confidence and self-esteem by creating an environment for growth
  • Removes children from the middle letting them relax and be kids
  • Models how to get along with others even though you may not be happy with them

Cooperative parenting also helps parents to;

  • Conserve energy at a stressful and draining time in their life
  • Lower argumentative conversations and increase respectful exchanges
  • Reduce the number of litigated cases
  • Learn better anger management, communication, and conflict resolution skills
  • Work in developing a detailed parenting plan

To create a cooperative, positive parenting plan for your family, book an appointment today.

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Photo credit: GaborfromHungary from morguefile.com

So many people make this decision far too quickly and with very limited and or biased information.  After working in the counselling field for over twenty years, I have grown increasingly “pro family”. We often hear the following two main thoughts about separating… “I might as well leave and be happy” or “If I stay, we’ll only fight and be miserable”.  That negative voice in the back of our heads doesn’t want us to think about the other two possibilities… “I could leave and be miserable still” or “I could actually stay and work out things so we’re a happier couple/ family”. What happened to those options?

What can you do about it? There are lots of things we can do to change ourselves, thereby changing those around us (Social Systems Theory).   We receive ongoing training to be great at our careers, hobbies and sometimes even get trainers/coaches for great physical fitness and sports. Great relationships are constructed over time and with plenty of effort.  How about getting coaching to improve mental fitness and great relationships. There are numerous books and professional counsellors that can help you assess your relationship and achieve your goals.

Before you make any major life changing decisions, get accurate and objective information about your options.  Ask us what you want to achieve in relationship and we will draw upon your strengths in the training and effort required to negotiate issues better, problem-solve more quickly and communicate concerns more effectively so you and your partner can have a satisfying, magnificent  romance and family. . Please reach out and call us today

“Safe Sex” What does it really mean?

A lot of people get nervous when they are faced with answering the question: What is safe sex?Quick standard answers involve: 1) “condoms and contraceptives”, or  2) “abstinence or no sex”. On the contrary, these are actually simplistic and misinformed responses that can contribute to risky business.

Healthy and informed messages, to adequately guide our teenagers in the complex area of sexuality, require more detailed conversations throughout the adolescent stage.  Although people often say this talk makes them “feel awkward”, it is important to push past this normal apprehension in order to prevent future problems and increase healthier decision-making down the road.

We can help you have quality conversations about:

  1. what sexuality is and what truly safe sexual expression is,
  2. what is involved in having a healthy and satisfying intimate relationship, and
  3. what to do if problems arise or possibly have already occurred.

There are lots of things that you can do! Explore how you can enhance your communication skills to open up conversations with your teenagers. Contact us today !

Dr. Mel Krantizer, of the Creative Divorce, Love & Marriage Counseling Center, has put forth the idea that within most long-term marriage relationships there are seven distinct marriages:

  1. the ‘Movie Marriage in Your Mind Marriage’
  2. the ‘Our Careers Are Everything Marriage
  3. the ‘Good Enough Parent Marriage’
  4. the ‘Time is Running Out Marriage’
  5. the ‘Is This All There is Marriage’
  6. the ‘End is The Beginning Marriage’
  7. the ‘After Death Marriage’

It is Krantizer’s contention that we grow, change, and adapt so much during the course of a long term marriage that if both partners do not “divorce” within the marriage and move on to the next “re-marriage,” changing their views of their relationship as they grow, it will lead to conflict and possible dissolution of the long term relationship.

Many couples find that “self help” books or tips from friends and family help them “renovate” their relationship enough to deal effectively with these changes. However, just like home renovations, many people need more help than ‘self-help” books or the guy at Home Depot can provide. They choose to hire a specialist (contractor or coach) to assist them with the work.

Counsellors at Jeff Packer MSW & Associates Inc. are specialists who are available to help you renovate your marriage/relationship. We offer private and confidential solutions to help you plan your relationship renovation. Our services are available in pay-as-you-go sessions or alternately you could purchase a prepaid renovation package, feel free to contact us for more information.

  1. Buy him a flower.
  2. If he’s a sports fan, find out what time the game is on.
  3. Turn on the T.V. to the right channel and watch it with him!
  4. Write him a love letter.
  5. Give him a full body massage.
  6. Greet him one night wearing nothing but one of his ties.
  7. Hide a sexy picture of yourself where he will have to find it during the day.
  8. Debate topics with him and find value in an alternate opinion, even if you don’t agree… even if you are right most of the time.
  9. Tell him plainly what you need or want… please don’t make him guess.
  10. Caring for him more than he does for you is the essence of positive loving.
  11. Equality is not measured by a single act.
  12. Give him a kiss just because you love him. Tell him how much you do.
  13. Expect his best and challenge him to live up to it.
  14. Get his permission to “work on him” or to give him useful feedback.
  15. Encourage his “reasonable involvement” in athletics. Iit will benefit you in the long run (wink wink, nudge nudge)
  16. Let him know how much you love him, no matter what it takes.
  17. Pick a week where you actually put sexual intimacy ahead of emotional intimacy… just to switch it up a bit
  18. Compliment him in the presence of his friends, not just when you’re alone.
  19. Hold his hand in public
  20. Put notes in his lunch!
  21. Keep him involved in what counts in your life and the children’s as well.