A Very Modern Divorce Via Facebook & Email!

 

“How Not To Be A Doormat” is the title of one of my 20 self help e-books so I have had to take my own advice!

My previous blog about my divorce was written when I was feeling very sad and grieving for the 17 years spent with my husband.  Now I am feeling much more assertive.

I have finally gotten my head around that fact that he has vascular dementia due to strokes and that the man I married has already gone.  He looks like my husband but his mind is not totally how it was as each mini stroke has killed off more of his brain cells.  Nevertheless I must get through a divorce and move on to create a new life for myself.

The funny thing is that last week, after writing my blog, I tweeted about it and posted it to Google Plus and Stumbleupon etc and also clicked the Facebook link.  Oops!  I almost notified my husband and his friends and family that the divorce papers were on the way!  You may not think it funny – I am still chuckling at how easy it is to simply push a social media button and information escapes without time for thought!  A friend helped me find how to ‘hide’ it then.  I may well announce it on Facebook this week – intentionally.

Since it appears to make a more peaceful co-existence, my husband and I are not really talking to each other.  Thus, this morning I decided to start negotiating our financial settlement via email.  A very modern tool.  I quite liked the experience as it gave me time to write and amend as much as I wanted so I said exactly what I wanted to say in the most assertive language I could muster.  I also sent a copy to my solicitor and girlfriends so that they can see my self esteem has improved.

My initial reaction to the concept of a divorce was to want to run away to somewhere safe so that I could heal my wounds.  I packed up all my belongings and moved some of them into storage.  I checked out the private rental market and the reality is that with 7 rescued cats and a rescue dog it is virtually impossible to get a landlord to rent to me.  My registration for social housing – I qualify for an old person’s bungalow – may take a very long time to get to being offered to me so I hunkered down in my bedroom.

Today the worm has turned.  I have done nothing wrong and I am not being dumped after 17 years to be pushed aside with nothing but my clothes and a few bits of furniture.  I read in my Which Guide to Divorce that it might be possible for the court to order that I be allowed to stay in my home – the matrimonial house – and that my husband moves out.  I so hope this can happen!  Why should I skulk away with virtually nothing?  I have had my matrimonial rights registered against the property with the Land Registry so that my husband cannot sell nor do equity release without my consent. 

Why am I sharing all this with you?  I thought it might be useful to someone else in a divorce situation and so that my readers can see that I truly believe in every word I have written.  Do take a look at my Amazon Author Bio and the About Me page on my website http://EmotionalHealthForEmotionalWealth.co.uk

Take care of yourself and take responsibility for your own quality of life!

 

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Divorce!

Shockingly my 78 year old husband, after 17 years together, has announced he wants us to lead separate lives.  I have decided that I will move out and divorce him because I do not want to spend whatever life I have left in a loveless marriage.

I am profoundly sad.  I also know that I still have the strength to survive as I am only 63 years old.  Between tears I have focused on doing all the practical things required:  finding somewhere else to live, packing up, finding suppliers for the new lifestyle, finding movers to take what furniture I still own.  I will be taking the rescued dog with me as I paid for him and he is registered in my name.  The 7 rescued cats are a bit more difficult!  He wants 2 of them, but I have decided to take them with me because I am the one who does the food and care-taking on a daily basis.

When my husband made his announcement he also said he did not want a divorce because of the money it would cost him.  I do not want more than I am legally entitled to and my lawyer does say we are considered a long-term marriage.  Thus a financial settlement is ahead.  My husband is in for a surprise.

I was a divorce mediator for over 5 years and have gone and photocopied as many of the financial and legal documents that I could find in his desk.  I am including this information here because it will really help to know what his assets are and what the account numbers are etc.  People are expected to make a declaration of assets, yet I have seen people (particularly wealthy men) try to hide what monies are around.  My advice to anyone in a similar position is that old saying ‘possession is 9/10ths of the law’.

I have started re-reading “The WHICH? Guide to Divorce” by Imogen Clout.  It is a very practical guide to the legal and financial arrangements and includes some further information about issues affecting children.  I would recommend not only reading this guide, but if you do have children, please take a look at my e-book “Parenting Your Way Through Divorce”.  You do need to put the needs of the children first.

Grief is shock, sadness, anger, and acceptance and it is not a linear progression.  You go in and out of the various stages.  Luckily as a Psychotherapist for over 20 years I do understand how to grieve well.  If you need more information do take a look at my e-book “Loss is Part of Life”.

I can see a new life opening up and will do my best to embrace whatever is ahead.

 

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Domination!

My Twitter followers number over 1800 now and many are following, I suspect, because I am open about being a survivor of incest, rape and domestic violence.  My childhood suffering has driven a need within me for knowledge and understanding.  I’ve read all the self help books I could and I re-trained to do counselling when in my thirties. I trained as a divorce mediator also.  I’ve spent over twenty years looking at other people’s lives as well as my own.  You can find out more about me in my Amazon Author Bio and on the About Me page of www.EmotionalHealthForEmotionalWealth.co.uk

One theme runs through a lot of my observations:  domination.  It does not need to be as severe as abuse.  It can be as subtle as not saying what you actually want.  It may be that one person in a relationship controls the money and, therefore, can chose where the couple live, what they eat, clothes they wear, and where they go.  This is an unbalanced relationship.  One person has more control than the other.

Negotiating a win win is the most equitable style of living togther so you both get some of what you each want. In a compromise, each person has to give up something to get to the middle, so negotiation is the best way forward.

When a persom is dominant it is being driven by fear and their inadequacies and an inability to cope. They usually have poor communication skills and those could be improved if the dominent person had the incentive to do that work.  In my opinion, counselling and personal growth is the only way forward.  Sadly for many who are dominent their very fears (particularly of change) keep them trapped and unable to seek help.  Frequently destroying a relationship – so sad.  Further, not a good example to any children of the relationship.

 

 

 

 

 

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SELF HELP QUEEN!

By Susan Jane Smith B.Sc.

 

Forget ‘Dancing Queen ‘ (song by Abba) I think I’ve become the Self-Help Queen now that my 23 books/e-books are for sale on Amazon!

I am a survivor of incest, rape, domestic violence and the miscarriage of my baby.  I spent 3 years in counselling in the U.S.A. and turned my life around personally and professionally.  I re-trained.

Over 20 years as a Psychotherapist and 5 years as a Divorce Mediator followed.  Now I am writing self-help e-books to help other people.  I hope my books will inspire you to change your life if you are sad, angry, stressed, depressed or unhappy.

My 17 e-books in the Little Book Series of Emotional Health for Emotional Wealth were written to give you a starting place – some basic information and support.  Through Amazon they are selling world-wide:  U.S.A., Canada, U.K., France, Germany, Spain, Italy, India, Brazil, Japan, China and via http://www.Amazon.com in Australia and New Zealand.

If you read self-help books please check these out:-

Sexual Abuse & Incest

Physical & Emotional Abuse Hurts the World as Well as The Child

Rape Not Sexual Assault

Charming Men and Chauvinists (about domestic violence)

What Passes for Passion on TV (about loving too much/obsessing)

Walking on Egg Shells (about anger)

My Drinking Isn’t A Problem!

Feeling Down?

Parenting Your Way Through Divorce

Food and Thought

Superwoman Does Not Exist (about stress)

Loss is Part of Life (about bereavement and other loss)

Why Walk Into a Therapist’s Office?

What Every 16 Year Old Needs to Know About Love

How a Functional Family Might Look Like

How Not To Be A Doormat

 

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Women Be Warned – Charming Men Can Have a Dark Side

A man who makes a woman feel great about herself is very seductive.  It feels wonderful to be that woman.  The trouble is that somewhere down the road you will realise that your self esteem was poor in the first place since you needed that man to make you feel good about yourself.  Then if he takes that away you can plummet to the depths of despair if you are not careful.  Ever been in this situation?  I certainly have, repeatedly, until I figured it out!

When a woman’s self esteem is good she has a solid sense of who she is and what she wants from life.  She no longer has to accept what other people give her.  That is the best place to be and if you are not there do go to counselling until you get to that good place please.

The connection for me between a charming man and a chauvinist is control issues.  What a charming man does is use that charm to get all that he wants and when he does not get his own way you may find that he quickly becomes Mr. Nasty and spite-full.  That is because his self esteem is poor and underneath the facade he feels inadequate and probably is emotionally inadequate.

A chauvinist is also into control because he believes men are superior and thus should be in control.  Obviously, since I believe women are equal and different I cannot agree that we should be in a one-down position.

Want to know more about what I think about living with a controlling man or in a domestic violence situation?  Read my latest Kindle e-book “Charming Men and Chavuinists” £1 from Amazon or go to the store page of this website: 

www.EmotionalHealthForEmotionalWealth.co.uk

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Rape Not Sexual Assault

Have you ever wonded about the kind of person who rapes?  See my latest e-book Rape Not Sexual Assault now for sale on www.EmotionalHealthForEmotionalWealth.co.uk £1 and on Amazon $1.99

I spent years listening to the horrific experiences of women (yes, a sterotype but the most frequent) who had been raped.  I prefer the term rape, personally, as it is the more terrifying and I think that sexual assault makes it all sound just a little bit to clean and tidy.  Yes, I do understand that there are sexual assaults that are abuse, but do not include full penetrative intercourse.  All of it is worth the public’s understanding and empathy.

Empathy for the rapist – yes, because he is a human being who is not adequate and in my book Rape Not Sexual Assault and in Emotional Health for Emotional Wealth I talk about some of the psychological profiles connected to rapists…not pleasant reading.  Still, I would have them put to sleep by lethal injections because as far as I know there really is no cure and once released from prison (the few who actually get there) they are most likely to rape again.  It is about meeting their own needs and that is what they want to do most.  There is no concern for the victim.

Yes, men get raped too and not just gay men.  Old women get raped.  It is not just the young female with a short skirt out late at night.  This is a crime of violence and about the need for power, control and domination with a desire for humiliation thrown in for good measure.

I believe society needs to talk more about this subject so I hope you will educate yourself by reading my book.  If you have survived a rape or a sexual assault I hope that you will find some useful information in there too.

 

 

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Are YOU Hearing Wedding Bells?

Wedding bells are very romantic and a beautiful dress is a great attraction.  However, in my experience as a Divorce Mediator you would do well to take the quizzes in my book Pre-Marital MOT: A Relationship Inspection available to purchase on this website as a paperback or an e-book BEFORE you live together, conceive children together or get married.

I’m in my second marriage.  It’s not perfect but I have learned loads in our 16 years together.  My first husband was my childhood sweetheart and I now know we were simply too young – we had no communication skills to resolve conflict.  I have spent the last 20+ years listening to individuals and couples about their relationships so I designed this book as a fun way to get the two of you talking about what matters.

This book is a useful self-assessment tool for couples.  If your partner is not willing to go through the quizzes and discuss their answers with you alarm bells need to be ringing!

A marriage is so much more than the wedding day.  The discussions you have when all ‘loved up’ can set the foundations for the future and you need to build that future on solid information about each other.

Instead of just having fun or great sex or shared interests why not take a look at each other’s character traits?  The old saying does still hold true that you need to take a look at your partner’s parents – do you like their values and how they live?  Would you want your children to have those people as role models?  People do tend to do what their parents did.  The worst assumption you can make is that your partner will always want what you want or will do things the way you do them!

How are your negotiating skills as a couple?  Do you both work towards win/win when there is a disagreement or does one person try to bully the other into submission?  Who wants their own way and at what cost?  Think about this long and hard before you even live together let alone get married.  Do not make the classic mistake believing that it will be better once you are married or that you can change your partner.  If you don’t like your partner’s behaviour now get out of that relationship now!

How is your partner with children – observe to see if you like how they behave and the words they use to children.  Would you want that for your own children?  What are their ideas about punishment – discuss this before you conceive please.  You might get a nasty shock one day otherwise.

The material in Pre-Marital MOT: A Relationship Inspection is designed to get the two of you talking about the issues that matter in the long term.  I hope you have a very happy wedding day and a long marriage.

If you prefer to purchase Pre-Marital MOT: A Relationship Inspection from Amazon the ISBN is 978-0-9553698-4-1 and Amazon’s ASIN is B005LSD62A

 

 

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E-Book Publishing Adventure

Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L.James has sold brilliantly and yes, I am jealous that my book Emotional Health For Emotional Wealth is selling slowly.  What I wrote as a Psychotherapist is the polar opposite of the ‘mummy porn’ which includes sadomasochism in Fifty Shades.  My husband wants to know why I don’t write books like that as they make money – well, I would not dream of it, because what you read affects what your mind is willing to tolerate in real life and, in my opinion, Fifty Shades opens women up to tolerating abuse in their sexual lives.

This promped me to take a second look at what Rachel Abbott (author of Only the Innocent) wrote as a guest blog on www.AuthorsElectric.co.uk  (30 July 2012) about marketing e-books.  My paperback of Emotional Health for Emotional Wealth sold at Foyles and Waterstones so I investigated how to get the e-book sold there too.  It already sells on www.Amazon.com and www.Amazon.co.uk as well as on this website www.EmotionalHealthForEmotionalWealth.co.uk

Waterstones came back to me saying that I needed to work with one of the content aggregators that they use: www.eBookpartnership.com (Mint Associates Ltd.) or Easy Press Technologies (www.easypress.com).  Rachel Abbott speaks well of her experience with eBookpartnership on their website so that is who I will probably use.  They also have the advantage of including Barnes & Nobel and Ingrams in their ‘stable’ of distributers/retailers.  Further, Gardners Books Ltd. (a major UK distributor) work with them which opens up 77 retail possibilities including Tesco, Foyles, and Hive.  Of course, Amazon & Apple are places where eBookpartnerships send your e-book too.

Waterstones require VAT registration and I have not done that as my sales do not warrant it yet and I hate the thought of the paperwork.  That is where using a content aggregator helps because they are VAT registered and there is VAT on e-books I understand!

Waterstones require an ISBN connected to the Enhanced Service of Nielsens.  This is available via eBookpartnership for a yearly fee.  As a small publisher I could buy Nielsen’s Enhanced Service, but for now at least the eBookpartnership option is a smaller upfront cost.  Waterstones apparently will not deal with Lulu nor Smashwords so whilst I have published one of my e-books via Smashwords they don’t look so good an option now if I want the broadest of marketing possibilities.

I’ve read the contracts from eBookpartnership and they do make it clear that whilst they can ‘push’ the information about my book out to their retailers, those retailers have their own approval process prior to listing me on their websites.  What is worse, the retailers control the price they charge for my e-book and if they decide to discount it my royalties shrink.  Still worth the risk?

I think Matt Horner of eBookpartnerships has been clever in the format that has been  created for this enterprise – they get their fees upfront so they cannot lose.  Hats off to them.  EasyPress Technologies and Smashwords take commission on sales, is my understanding, so that might be a more effective system for authors.  I simply cannot agonise over the options!

It is not enough to write a book or e-book – you do have to be willing to market your work through press releases, book reviews, book signings (obviously for paperbacks not e-books), talks to groups of readers, use Twitter, Google +, Facebook, Linked In, www.Goodreads.com, forums, and as many places to tell people about your work as you can find!

 

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Olympics 2012 and The Lives of Women

Even I have succumbed to the Olympic fever and watched the women’s judo.  So inspiring.  It is truly a sign of social change that there are so many female athletes at the Olympics now.

I was brought up by an English Mother who expected me to be a ‘lady’ as that was the way she had been raised.  The reality is that I am a mixture as my Father was an American army sergent, from the outback of New Hampshire, and he tried to teach me to do carpentry and car mechanics (and, yes, there have been many times I wish I had listened).

Now you have to take into account that the world was very different for women especially in the 1950′s when I was born.  Flowery summer dresses below the knee, and in winter my Mum wore tweed skirts, twinsets and pearls…even just in the house.

The sexual revolution of the 1960′s did not really impact on my life as I was too young to experiment with that kind of freedom, but it did change the lives of women as The Pill gave them freedom of choice.  Still it did not go as far as women ‘fighting’ as in judo and boxing like today.  Ladies being that physical would have been unthinkable.

Ballet, acrobatics, and tap dancing was the extent of my physical exercise except in the winter we did go ice skating.  When I left school I went to work – shocking as I was expected to stay at home with my parents until I got married and had children.  Not me – I got a job and a bed sit so that was another move away from being a lady.

In my thirties I did jog and I went cross country skiing.  More for losing weight than for the activity itself.  Would I have been an Olympic competitor if I had a different childhood?  I doubt it.  I have always preferred to curl up with a book -  do you think that is why I have ended up as an Author?

Congratulations to all the women, from all over the world, who are Olympians.  It is a great sporting achievement to be there and also the hallmark of a change in the social history of women.

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Let Me Tell You About Adele

Adelle was a little girl who went to stay with some relatives in a big city.  One day a man offered her some marbles.  She followed him to his home, but it was not just marbles that were waiting for her there.  To find out more please read my book/e-book “Sexual Abuse & Incest”- it’s priced at £1 for accessibility.

I’ll be writing blogs that are inspired by my books.  In my opinion, my e-book “Sexual Abuse & Incest” is great value for money!  It is based on over 20 years of helping victims become survivors and go on to thrive.  If child sexual abuse or incest has been a part of your life do take a look and see the other resources contained therein.

My passion about this particular book comes from the fact that I have managed to survive incestuous abuse from my biological father when I was 2 years to 7 years old.  When I needed help with this 30 years ago there was very little written.  I ended up reading mostly research papers.  Clinical Psychologist, Essie Hull, managed to get me to face all the pain that I buried for so long.  She saved my life.

Incest is the betrayal of trust – and I think the worst because it leaves you without family support all too often.  The non-offending parent frequently will take a perpetrator’s side over that of the child because they really do not want to believe it could be true.

Now that does not mean that child sexual abuse is not a betrayal of trust – obviously it is.  So is physical and emotional child abuse.  Sometimes a child gets lucky and gets some support from a family member.  Sometimes not.

Whilst Social Workers are over-worked and burdened by too heavy a case load, I do not understand the public’s hesitancy to ask for their help.  That’s probably a different blog.

Statistically everyone knows someone who has been abused in some way.  Please do tell anyone you know (who needs my book as a starting place) about my book because no child should carry the burden of being abused.  The child is not to blame.  If you want to understand more, educate yourself by reading my book and the others that are now available…particularly “The Courage to Heal” by Elaine Bass and Laura Davies.

A couple of decades ago a client wrote this poem about her experiences.  I have long since lost contact with her so have not been able to get her permission to re-print it, but given how she felt about it at the time I think she would be glad if it might help someone else know that they are not alone.  I still cry every time I read this:-

THE PAIN

Memories that I wish could be mine

A Daddy so caring, strong, so fine

A man to admire, worship, adore

A source of guidance, loving and sure

A safe love: one that shelters and shields

A wise discipline he gently wields

But sadly these will never be true

The man who fathered me was you

The memories I can recall

Invaded my body, raped my soul

A childhood innocence and trust

Twisted and broken to serve your lust

The taste, the smell, the look in your eyes

The vicious words, the callous lies

My tears – your aim, my pain – your pleasure

What memories for you to treasure!

A little girl made to whimper and cower

Was this your idea of masculine power?

‘Evil’ the word, no other will do

For the years of hell you put me through

You hurt, despised, degraded and defiled

You had total control when I was a child

I kept your secret for so many years

It burdened my life, walled-up my tears

So long the pain I’ve had to hide

Repressed, twisted, buried, denied

I let nobody close, no one could know

For fear the badness inside me would show

But soon I’ll be angry, bitter and sad

Grieve for the childhood that I never had

There’s no turning back, I want to be free

And find the woman I am meant to be

The path is so hard though, the road so long

I tremble and doubt, can I be so strong?

I follow the flame of life inside

It’s burned so low, but never quite died.

All this is true of little boys too.  For some it is abuse by a mother and some a father and some another relative or person.  It still destroys lives unless you reach out and tell – preferably a professional.

 

 

 

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