You are hereBlogs / cynthiasmartin's blog

cynthiasmartin's blog


IS FINANCIAL RECOVERY POSSIBLE?

Did you know that recovery exists even in the financial world?  No, that doesn’t mean your portfolio will suddenly triple in size or that your 401K will allow you to retire early!  Many people find when they are in recovery for an addiction, that addiction often makes a radical turn to a new and undiscovered area of life.  At Relationship Recovery Center it is our job to watch for co-occurring addictions.  One of those areas is money and work!  Those two subjects touch most of us reading this blog!  What are money and work issues, you ask, and how do I know if I have them?  Does money trigger various kinds of emotion in you?  Does the lack of it cause you to be anxious?  Does a big bonus check make you feel high? 

I once heard a wise man say that more divorces are caused by money issues than by infidelity!  We all have a relationship with money much like we have a relationship with people!  You may never have thought about it that way, but its true.  Your relationship with money started long ago in your early childhood years.  Your relationship with money may be just like your parents’ relationship with money.  Or, it may be the complete opposite of what you saw at home because of the adverse effects it had on you at an early age.  Whichever it is, it is impacting you today. 

LOOK! UP IN THE SKY! IT’S A BIRD, IT’S A PLANE! NO, IT’S SUPER MOM!

Does this statement describe anyone you know?  Your mother, your aunt, your best friend or perhaps YOU!  In our culture today, moms wear many hats.  Some are single moms in the workplace trying to meet all the needs of their children by playing many roles: taxi driver, tutor, meal maker, personal shopper, schedule keeper and soccer coach.  These roles result in little time for oneself.  Some super moms are “stay-at-home” moms, and because they are NOT in the workplace, are consistently called upon to show up at school to:  supply birthday parties, drive, chaperone field trips, volunteer their services in the school office, and help the teacher out when asked.  

Motherhood is a 24/7 occupation that never gets a day off. 

 The job description doesn’t offer a 2-week vacation or a certain number of sick days. The typical 8-hour workday, is often more like 18 hours…from before sunrise to well past sunset.  For “stay-at-home” moms, the job can be so demanding that some have thrown in the towel and joined the workforce just so they can reclaim some sanity and get some time of their own!  Mothers are the “glue” that keep the family together and function smoothly. When that “glue” becomes stressed, it no longer holds.  This shows up when moms get short-tempered, critical, judgmental and even jealous of other moms who “seem” to have a more carefree lifestyle. 

Good Grief! Making Holidays After Death or Divorce

By Cindy Martin, LAMFT, ASAT (2), EMDR

 

As we near the end of the year, everyone is telling us to be happy! But what if we have experienced the loss of a loved one or the loss of a family as we have known it through divorce?  How do you manage to be happy then?  I suggest 4 things to think about:

1.    Create a New Family Tradition

2.    Surround yourself with Support

3.    Come to grips with feeling sad, but be open to feeling joyful

4.    Take steps to welcome Healing in the New Year

The holidays can often be something where we just survive rather than thrive-especially if we are in a BLENDED FAMILY!  There are only so many hours in a holiday season and the question then becomes, “who do we spend it with?”  The children often ask, “Will Santa know whether to deliver the gifts to Mommy’s house or Daddy’s house?”  Even the best plans for the holidays can be tinged with sadness because someone or something is missing that was there before.  As human beings, we don’t like CHANGE!   Statistics tell us that 20% of children live in step families, so it’s important to address these issues rather than ignore them.

1.    Create a New Family Tradition-every family has holiday assumptions, so rather than be sad that they cannot be fulfilled as in the past, make new ones that can soon become family memories as warm as the old ones.  Do what is best for your current family and your current situation.

2.   Surround yourself with Support-if certain family members are insensitive to your new circumstances, perhaps this is the year to spend time with those people who you feel supported by.  Or maybe you need to communicate to family members what makes you feel supported.  You can’t expect that they will automatically know.

3.   Come to grips with feeling sad, but be open to feeling joy- don’t be afraid to cry.  Sometimes the release is good for you.  There's no avoiding sadness when your heart is broken, but neither is there a complete absence of joy. Sometimes you're afraid to feel joy when you're grieving; it can feel like a betrayal to be happy. Or you fear that if you're too happy, those around you will think you're officially "over it" and your sorrow will no longer be tolerated.  In modeling for children, it’s good sometimes to see parents cry and then be able to be happy again afterward.  That way they can understand their own conflicting emotions.

4.   Take steps to welcome Healing in the New Year-a new year can mean a new beginning.  The holidays may bring moments of pain along with moments of happiness, but resolve to take steps to care for yourself and those you love by increasing visits, learning to listen to each others’ emotions, and perhaps getting support from professional counselors who can guide you into forming new traditions that will stabilize the family when the next holiday season rolls around.

BLENDED FAMILIES

By Cindy Martin, LAMFT, ASAT (2), EMDR

 

Just the sound of it conjures up images of being in the kitchen with a smoothie recipe.  You put each ingredient in the blender:  the banana, the berries, the apple, the yogurt, the skim milk.  Then you turn the blender on, wait a few seconds and what comes out looks nothing like what went in!  It doesn’t even have the same texture or taste of the original separate ingredients.  It turned into something very different.  It is much the same way with blended families.  We are each very distinct individuals and yet when we come together by the marriage of two individuals who want to spend the rest of their lives together, the families that follow them are expected to gel, mold and generally become one as well!  This is not an easy task. 

          Statistics tell us that more than half of all Americans living today either have been, currently are, or will be in a step or blended family one or more times in their lifetime.  Remarriage rates have dropped while co-habitation rates have increased.  I have observed that many single parents feel that re-marrying and putting two families under one roof is too hard and brings too many problems, therefore they just don’t do it.  They get used to their own unique set of problems and don’t have the energy or desire to tackle anyone else’s.  In these instances, I believe they are short changing themselves and their families. 

          Mary Pipher, a noted psychologist says that “while families are imperfect institutions, they are also our greatest source of meaning, connection and joy.”  And although a single parent family is still very much a family, blending two families together successfully can double the meaning, connection and joy!

          The complex structure of blended families cries out for quality integration of the relationships between individuals within each of the family units.  It requires developing a skill set of valuing diversity and differing opinions, tolerance of various traditions, and acknowledgment of accepted boundaries. 

                                   

          Blended families need not achieve the “ideal” to become successful, but they must foster a sense of belonging, an “us against the world” mentality, where each member is supported, validated, valued and LOVED! 

          So go ahead and taste that concoction in the blender, you might find out that merging all the various ingredients together is actually more pleasing to the taste buds than it is to have just a banana, a berry, an apple or yogurt all by itself!