December 3rd: Emotional Manipulation

December 2nd-Triangulation

One of the most unattractive aspects of my divorce was the amount of emotional manipulation that I dealt with while trying to separate from my husband.

I never knew which one of us was going to fight for the position of: victim, martyr, or punisher.

Each time I thought of how he wanted to leave me, leave our relationship, leave our family, I would become angry and want to punish him for every transgression he had committed throughout our time together.

Each time I felt betrayed by him, and sought out comfort from family and friends, the role of martyr, the long suffering spouse, arrived on the scene to protect my fragile self-esteem and comfort my bruised ego.

And when I was full of despair or fear… I could blame my husband for my pain, feel sorry for myself, believe that other people had it so much better than me.

My husband played his part in the game as well:

He embraced each role as fervently as I did.

I learned through this addictive emotional manipulation, that nothing was getting solved; neither one of us was moving forward, because we were always so busy acting out our attachment to our particular roles.

I had to train myself to choose not to engage… to catch myself when becoming a victim, a martyr, a punisher and walk away from a fight instead of instigating one.

Over time, this became a habit, and once I chose to no longer participate, the manipulation ceased.

It was so easy for me to fall into a destructive pattern when I was suffering but, by doing the spiritual footwork to become aware of my shortcomings, I was able to move away from each role and focus on what was truly important: forgiving the past, finding gratitude in my present life, and moving towards my future.

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“Dear God, help me to be kind and forgiving. Help me to move forward with love and compassion even when I feel unable to do so.”

December 2nd: Trials

flame lips nature

I know that I cannot walk through life without experiencing trials.

I have been through many… and I’m sure there will be many more before my days are done.

Each of these trials has tested my faith, and when I am wrapped in the emotional and physical suffering that tends to drive a trial, I struggle to keep balance.

How can I possibly make a decision when I can barely keep my mind focused?

How can I move forward on a spiritual path when I am in a moment of great turmoil or despair?

When I find myself in a trial, I have to spend as much time as possible: praying to my Higher Power, discussing the painful issue with those I love and trust, and when doing so, remembering to be fearlessly honest so that I can make the best decision that will help me get through it.

I have learned that prayer quiets my mind and and helps me to receive clarity about my situation.

I go to my friends, my loved ones, for counsel, because they are often able to see clearly, what I cannot see, due to my emotional or physical attachment to the problem at hand.

I have also learned that time will move me through. If I use my resources to stay in the moment, remain as calm as possible, reach out as much as needed for help and guidance, I will get to a point where I can make strong decisions that will move me forward.

Today, when I walk through a trial, and find myself in despair, I remember each trial I have walked before, and I remind myself that because of these experiences, I am where I am today.

Because I have suffered, I have empathy for those that suffer around me.

Because I have experienced trials, I am able to use my wisdom to offer counsel when requested.

Because I have survived pain that I never believed that I could survive, I now have perspective for when I must walk through a trial again.

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“Dear God, help me to be aware of your presence as I walk through this trail. Help me to remember, that on the other side of this pain, I will find a better spiritual path.”

December 1st: Commitment

desert2

Often, when I think of the word commitment I think of marriage: two people making a decision to abide by a certain code, embrace love, and share a common goal through their relationship and hopefully, throughout their life time.

But commitment is not just about marriage, it is about most everything in life, and there are times when I must look at my own commitment to people, ideals, goals, direction and decide what codes I am willing to abide by, what emotions I am willing to embrace, what goal I am ready to pursue so that I can commit.

If I am committed to making a relationship work then what does that mean?

What am I willing to do to succeed with another person?

What am I unwilling to put up with? Deal with? Do I have limits when it comes to my love?

Am I able to put in the time this person will need to make them feel wanted, cared for, secure in our relationship?

Am I willing to put their needs above my own at times if necessary?

Do I have the means to share my life with them spiritually, physically, financially?

Often times, I might commit to things in life: in relationships, friendships, jobs, education, without stopping to think what amount of commitment it will take from me to follow through.

It is easy to say “I commit” …to be caught up in a moment of joy, passion, or excitement and promise to commit to a person, and ideal, a goal, or a direction.

But I know today… that when I choose to commit… I must first spend quiet, contemplative time, and focus on my spiritual footwork to decide if I am truly willing to follow through on that commitment and that path.

“Dear God, help me to be true to my word and pure in my intent. When I choose to commit help me to follow through.”

November 30th: Thoughts

November 29th

There are times when I let my thoughts run rampant in my head.

I often catch myself spending too many moments of my precious day obsessing over things I have no control over.

When my husband and I divorced, I would often wonder what he was doing? Who he was with? How I could fix things and bring him back to me.

I thought that once I had all of my thoughts worked out regarding our problems… that my obsessive thinking would stop.

But these days, many years after my divorce… I still catch myself obsessing over other things, other people, and I realize… that if I get into the habit of letting these thoughts run “rampant” in my mind… as I have in the past… and seem to keep doing in my present… I will end up with a lot of wasted moments.

I have to learn to control my thoughts, my obsessive thinking, and stay in the day.

It is of no help to me… or anyone around me for that matter… if I am unable to work with the reality of my present.

I don’t have time to ruin my day wondering why someone doesn’t want to be with me, or what they may be doing right now, or why that person at work snapped at me the other day, or why I don’t have exactly what I want in life, the moment that I believe I should have it.

Obsessive thoughts waste time.

I must train my mind to stay in the moment… to value what I have right in front of me… work to remain in the present and positive in my thoughts.

I must stop my obsessive thinking before I even start.

Obsessive thoughts can not help me to solve a problem. Obsessive thoughts cause me to become out of control, break my serenity, and keep me from living fully in the day.

“Dear God, help me to let go of my problems. Help me to calm my mind and give over my obsessive thoughts. Help me to stay in the day and value the moment.”

November 29th: Giving Up

I used to believe that “giving up” on someone or something was a sign of weakness on my part.

I have always been such a fighter… unwilling to give in… unwilling to see that maybe I wasn’t supposed to continue on a particular path that I thought was surely the right path for me.

I prided myself on my strength… my determination… my ability to march on despite all obstacles and continue on my “forced path” just to prove I could succeed at my agenda.

And then one day, I realized that I had exhausted myself… depleted my own resources time-and-time again… to support ideas, goals, people, that weren’t really meeting my needs in any way.

It was hard for me to admit it… but I realized that giving up was not a sign of weakness it was a sign of strength, spiritual knowledge, and maturity.

If I have given my all, if I have tried my best, if I have done everything in my power to make something succeed over a significant period of time and it still isn’t working… then I have to be honest with myself, put my ego aside, and admit that maybe this is not the right path for me… that maybe… it is time to give up… and that my Higher Power is trying to point me in a different direction… a better direction…  my true spiritual path that I am choosing to ignore by being resistant to giving in due to my own stubborn self-will.

Today, I still struggle to decide when it is time to give up on people or plans I have fought so fiercely for… but that doesn’t mean I have lost my spirit.

My fighting heart has not diminished it’s need to hold on and hope for the best… but now… I work to put my energy towards what really matters: praying for direction and accepting the answer in the outcome.

“Dear God, help me to let go of self-will, and to remove ego from my life decisions. Help me to give up the fight, and win the spiritual battle, by listening for direction through constant contact with you.”

November 28th: Change

Sometimes change comes to me whether I like it or not:

A loss of a beloved friend or family member.

The end of a relationship.

A divorce.

These moments in time where I cannot control the situation are difficult… often painful… but I must mourn the loss and accept the change… so that I can move on.

But other times, I can see that change is necessary in my life and I must take action, even when it may be difficult to make a decision to do so.

I have never wanted to hurt someone through change, yet even when I strive to follow my spiritual path, or take the higher ground in my decision-making, it still may happen.

I cannot control what other people may feel or how they react when I make a decision that I feel is in my best interest.

What I know is… is that if I make my decision, with the best possible intentions, using a clear mind, and a kind heart, then I know that I have done what I honestly believe is right for me and anyone else involved.

I may need to take a break from a relationship for awhile to gain clarity regarding my emotions, or actions.

I may need to cut back on work if I’m struggling with balance and suffering in health, or in emotional well-being.

I may need to take an inventory of my life… and correct behaviors that I feel are not honest in intention.

Change is not about being selfish.

Change is about a reckoning… and understanding that something is “off” in my day-to-day life and it is time for me to make what I believe are positive changes to correct it.

Although change may be difficult for me, and for those I love in the short term, by being fearlessly honest about my need for change with those connected to me, I believe I am making the better choice over time.

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“Dear God, help me be fearlessly honest yet gentle and kind, when expressing my need for change with those I love and care for. Help me to make my decisions based on a sound spiritual foundation and not out of ego, pain, anger or fear.”

November 27th: Self-Awareness

Growing up in an environment of chaos, I learned many things about myself.

I learned that negatives could actually create positive outcomes.

Growing up in a house where chaos was the “norm” of the day, I learned to depend on myself and figure out things on my own.

Never being sure of what rules at home would change, based on someone’s mood or whim, I learned to value the institution of education. School became a “safe” place where rules and structure, logic and fact, made it easy to succeed and I was relieved to find that emotion was not figured into the equation.

Because I grew up this way… I became strong, knowledgeable, and capable however… I found that in my marriage… these qualities were not always valued.

Strong… often comes across as demanding.

Knowledgeable… often is confused with controlling… or a “know-it-all” mentality.

And capable… can leave others feeling “less than…” unable to make a contribution to the relationship… especially if a spouse may be struggling with their own self-esteem or limitations.

It took a lot of spiritual footwork, and self-awareness on my part, to look at the fact that my positive character traits could also be negative character flaws.

I am thankful for all that came out of my upbringing: the negatives of my childhood created the positive person I am today.

But I must use my gifts with self-awareness and not let my shadow self use them out of ego, pride, and control.


Dear God, thank you for your life lessons. I value what I have learned for each hardship has led me to be the strong and capable person I am today.”