Feeling like there’s an enemy in your midst can be really stressful. This is what a lot of stepmoms and ex-wives that are stuck with each other feel like -- there’s someone who’s closely connected to your life that has it out for you. This “breach” in family life is really nerve-wracking and hard to ignore. Family life is (ideally) supposed to be where you can relax and retreat from the world. Where you’re free to be yourself. Where you feel accepted and connected. Having the other woman around is like someone peeking in through your window, like a cold draft coming in from under the door, or god forbid, like a leak in the submarine. Not a good feeling!
I showed you a simple exercise that you can do to get back to feeling strong and grounded in part two of this series. If you want to center yourself while you attempt to improve your relationship with the other woman, or if you simply want more ways to bounce back from conflict between the two of you, here are a few more tricks to try:
Watching the ego: Most of us are very invested in how we come across to rest of the world. We don’t want to be seen as weak, clueless, losers. We still feel like that sometimes, but we’re always hoping no one else can see those parts. That investment is based on your ego, a false persona. It’s nothing more than a mirage, because your ego is not you! Can you step aside, become the watcher, and observe your ego in action? If you can, it’s a lot easier to not feel threatened by someone else’s behavior, even when it’s thoughtless or unkind. You have nothing to defend, because you realize the public persona is not what counts, it’s the YOU behind it.
Being in the present moment: Think of the past, present and future on a single line in front of you. Draw a line with your hands. The present moment is exactly in the middle. Ding! How often are you there? Are you actually living most of your life jumping around, back and forth, leap-frogging over the present moment? Now imagine that line, traveling through time and space, but with you still doing the same thing. Days pass like this. Months. Years. What do you think about that? The past is gone, it doesn’t exist anymore except in your mind. The future is yet to come, but we sure spend a lot of time anticipating it, don’t we? Especially in negative ways. Being in the moment is wonderfully freeing. So simple, it almost seems impossible that it could be so powerful and healing. And yet... there it is, available to you anytime you need it.
Testing your thoughts: There’s a little hamster living in your brain, running on one of those squeaky exercise wheels. It’s a hamster that can talk, and it’s actually rambling on all day long, deciphering events, giving you a running monologue about yourself, other people, and how the world works. Is the hamster always telling you the truth? How much of what the hamster says is based on old baggage or actual reality? Sometimes it pays to question the hamster and verify whether what you’re believing is right on--or total baloney. It matters because we ACT on those messages. Make sure your beliefs and actions are heading you in the right direction.
Get some fresh air and your blood flowing: Ahhh, the joys of exercise! For some reason, many of us dread it and put it off, but once we do it, we can’t understand why we ever avoided it. A lot of us are already stuck feeling bad about our bodies, so it feels like exercise is “for other people” or will be for us once we reach some arbitrary weight in the future. Bullshit! Your body was meant to MOVE, to feel alive, to stretch, to lift, to breathe deeply, to feel strong. When you get your heart pumping and the blood moving, you actually discharge negative emotions. Did you know that? There’s plenty of scientific evidence saying so. Wiggle that stuff out of you and feel better in the process.
Tune into life force/the divine: Whatever your religious beliefs happen to be, you have to admit that it’s pretty miraculous that we’re even alive at all, wouldn’t you say? That you’re unique. That so many of us have lived before us and will (hopefully) live after us too. That we co-exist with this vast and complex menagerie of plants and animals and a mind-blowing profusion of the awe-inspiring geographical features of our planet. If you don’t believe in God, or even if you do, can you close your eyes and tune into the power of life that animates us all? You may not be as alone as you think you are during tough times. Lean on that for a bit and see how it feels.
© 2010 Jennifer Newcomb Marine All Rights Reserved
Our book No One's the Bitch: A Ten-Step Plan for the Mother and Stepmother Relationship is a hands-on manual designed to help you navigate some really strange, disorienting territory. Get your bearings, learn tips and tricks for diffusing conflict and creating cooperation, and create inner peace no matter what. Coming this April! A beta version of a brand new, in-depth,stepmom/mom transformation course... and details on private consultations.
- Taming the Cobra - Part 1
- Taming the Cobra - Part 2
- The Power of Being Naked
- Digging up the dirt to plant flowers
- The guilt of gossip
- On not even peeking behind the curtains, because there are no curtains