Posts Tagged ‘sinking feeling’

Ending a Destructive Relationship

Monday, May 6th, 2013

Ten years ago I accepted an invitation to dinner with a man I was dating at the time. It was a warm Spring evening and he came to pick me up on his motorcycle. Once he got to my house, it didn’t take me long to realize he’d been drinking as I could smell it on his breath. Never-the-less,  I decided to get on the back of the bike and also chose to leave without two items I almost always take with me–my purse and phone.

Once we got to the restaurant and sat down he ordered drinks. I got a familiar sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach but chose to ignore it opting instead to go with the flow which was standard for me in this particular relationship.  After downing several beers he became obnoxiously loud and  rude with the waitperson who was serving us so was escorted out the door. I got up and walked out behind them. There were many thoughts spinning around in my head not the least of which was frustration with the fact that I was dealing with this situation at all.

Once outside the restaurant he went to get his bike and although I was used to going with the flow, I knew there was no way I would this time.

He pulled up to where I stood expecting me to hop on but I told him no. Agitated, he  said “get on the bike now!” And again I affirmed I wasn’t going to.  After a few more go-rounds of his insistence and my refusal he left. And there I stood no purse, no money, no phone and no ride home. I’m not sure why, but I elected not to go back in the restaurant to make a phone call maybe because I was too embarrassed or maybe because I just wanted to be alone. Whatever the reason, I started walking home–all twelve miles. (more…)

Pivotal Moments in Destructive Relationships

Sunday, May 27th, 2012

When you think about the pivotal moments in life the big ones come up first—graduating from high school, getting into college, graduating from college, getting the first job, meeting your life partner, marriage, buying a home, having children.

Those are definitely big moments but there are others happening daily which lead us toward or away from who we are as people. We can choose a path that leads us in a direction where although not perfect, we feel good about. It’s a place with people, choices, daily life, events, and opportunities that are in line with our values. Movement on this path may take on a two steps forward one step back characteristic. Instant gratification isn’t typically part of the landscape but when followed this path usually produces satisfying results.

We also have the option of a path which is more exploratory and quite different from what we’ve experienced. This is a tricky path to navigate because on one hand it is unfamiliar, on the other it is exciting interesting and fun. It can even feel like we’ve hit the jackpot and can’t believe our good fortune.

Relationships we develop down this lesser known path initially seem good. They start quickly and appear to be all we could hope for.  Yet after a little time we discover things we may have overlooked at the onset. We may experience a sinking feeling thinking we’re not good enough or exciting enough for a new partner who is suddenly restless. We don’t know what we did or didn’t do to get to this point but we’re scrambling to figure out what we can do to make things right. We might observe questionable behavior–like ranting or off the wall rudeness toward us or others. Decisions are made which don’t make sense.

When we question circumstances in these relationships we’re doing something good—we’re recognizing pivotal moments and it’s up to us to figure out what we’re going to do with the information we’ve been handed. Do we ignore it or do we take action by asking questions, listening, stating our feelings, and if necessary, leaving.

If you aren’t sure about a current relationship think about the following:

Question why you feel uneasy

Decide if you are willing to compromise your values to meet those of your partner.

Determine whether or not you can continue to live with the situation and the person. If you know you can’t let them know and exit.

Recognize if you’re saying you’re okay with things as they are but know deep down you’re not. It is not wise to accept the unacceptable to keep a relationship going.

Give yourself credit for knowing when a relationship is and  isn’t right for you.


Can’t Put a Price on Peace of Mind

Monday, August 15th, 2011

Leaving a destructive relationship can be a gut wrenching experience. Seven years ago I committed to no further contact with a relationship partner. Initially I fought having to stop contact. I didn’t want to and hoped I wouldn’t have to but deep down knew if I wanted a healthy life for myself and my children I had to leave the relationship behind.

So I left.

Once I committed to maintaining no contact I slowly gained strength.

I got stronger each time I didn’t pick up the phone.

I felt better about myself when I resisted the urge to make contact.

In my mind leaving the door open–even a crack–would be too much.

Over time and day by day life got better. The heaviness  I’d felt for so long lifted. It was replaced with relief and comfort experiencing life’s simple pleasures. Spending time with my sons, being available for them, seeing them gain confidence in me and in themselves was a joy to watch unfold.

I’d spent years accommodating the needs of relationship partners and in the process sacrificed my needs and those of my children.

My life which had once been a series of dramas was replaced with peace of mind. I’d forgotten–or maybe never fully felt–peace in my life. I started to understand the meaning of empowerment and what it was like to live life on my own terms. I no longer needed to worry about what a partner would think say or do. There was no need to fear a partner’s reaction to things I said or their inability to cope with daily pressures. My decision to leave these types of relationships behind eliminated the need to deal with an ongoing sinking feeling in my gut.

My voice got stronger. Too often in the past I’d allowed my words to be drowned out by more confident or outspoken partners. As a result I convinced myself that what my partner had to say was more significant than anything I had to say.

Not so.

All I needed to do was turn up the volume and let my voice be heard. It didn’t matter if a hundred other people thought differently than I did what mattered was that I believed my words had value and  expressed myself with confidence.

It’s impossible to put a price on peace of mind when life begins to make sense and you don’t have to hold your breath for fear you’ll offend or look over your shoulder to make sure all is well. When the eggshells you’ve been walking on for so long are gone, the peace you feel is priceless and worth holding onto.


Anxiety After a Breakup–The Restless Mind Syndrome

Friday, November 19th, 2010


In The No Contact book I take some time talking about anxiety or what I’ve come to see as the restless mind syndrome.

There is this heightened sense of awareness in terms of relationships in general and the fact that you’re not in one.

Anxiety sets in and along with it, the feeling of the sinking gut–where your insides are in pain and there is a hollowness that doesn’t seem to go away during your waking hours.

If  your relationship has ended, you were most likely feeling anxious before the final breakup actually took place. There is usually an unsettled feeling before the end.

The anxious feeling you feel near the end or at the end can torpedo you into a place where impulse rules. You may do and say things that if you weren’t in a state of high anxiety would likely think twice about.

If you’re feeling an uneasiness inside your relationship follow these guidelines:

1.  If you feel worry or high anxiety coming on during a conversation with your partner end the conversation. Say something like…”you know, we can talk about this later but right now I’ve got to get some things done.

2.  Go do something that will take your mind off the conversation. Whatever you find relaxing, or if you’ve genuinely got some things you need to get done pour your focus into getting those things done. Don’t discuss the previous conversation with anyone. Just get busy with something.

3.  When you’ve calmed down wait for your partner to call. Don’t make the call, wait and continue the conversation only if you feel in control of yourself, your words, and your actions.

When you can get control over your emotions you can take control of your life.

Think about your past relationship and the times you felt anxious. What did you do? How did you respond to anxious situations?

Anxiety can potentially damage and destroy relationships. Take control of your emotions and your life.

If you’re faced with the end of a relationship it is a difficult place to be but your life is about more than that relationship.

Instead of allowing your emotions to run wild when you’re anxious remember that you have the power to control them.

Don’t Know What to Do? Take a Small Action

Monday, October 18th, 2010

One of life’s biggest challenges is not knowing what to do. Not knowing what to do is a decision to stay uncertain or in limbo. If you don’t know what to do about a certain situation, you must figure it out if it’s important to you to do so.

There are times when moving forward with a decision is squelched due to being concerned about the rightness or wrongness of a next step.

It doesn’t take long to determine if a next step is right or wrong. If it feels right you will naturally build from your previous step. If it feels wrong, you will pull back or re-route your decision and go in another direction.

How do you know the next step? You don’t know for sure but it is likely that you will come close to a good answer by seeking information.

Then, take a step by going with the hunch that feels accurate for you.

What is your alternative?

Not moving forward.

Say that you are in a  toxic relationship. You don’t know what to do. What is one thing you could do?

Something simple: look up toxic relationship and see if the definition feels like it applies to you.

Next, pay attention to the way your body feels.

Are you nervous, uncertain, confused, withdrawn, have a sinking feeling?

Pay attention to all these signals.

Then make a next decision.  Even if it is to journal about it–even just one sentence. That is still taking an action because you are committing words to paper.

That one small action will get the wheels turning and you will be able to take additional actions.

You may want to journal more, read more about destructive relationships, or speak to a counselor.

Major actions aren’t  necessary. Small ones work best especially when you are uncertain.

Surprise & Fear

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

Have you ever had someone you trusted catch you off guard with something they’ve said or done and your heart sinks? If so you’ve probably been caught by surprise and then fear. The surprise first and the fear second but it feels like it’s instantaneous. It’s a disturbing feeling, one that I never attached a name to until recently.

Joyful surprises are a good thing–we love them. Maybe your child picks you a bouquet of dandelions or a friend you haven’t heard from in a long time calls just to say hi. Maybe you get a compliment from a friend and it feels great. These are joyful moments.

Surprise and then fear may come in the form of an inappropriate remark directed at you from a relationship partner or a date shows up hours later than planned, shows up intoxicated, or not at all. Maybe a trusted friend says something untrue about you to others and you don’t understand why it was said and especially not by that particular person.

It could be anything and it may not even come from a person. Not too long ago I was surprised by my bedroom smoke alarm going off in the middle of the night not one night but two nights in a row. There was no fire but the first alarm triggered the rest of the alarms to go off throughout the house and I was definitely caught off guard. I felt the surprise and fear pretty much at the same time. After that second night I knew for sure it was time to change the batteries…

I’ve been told that once you acknowledge that surprise and fear can exist together, you’ll know what you’re dealing with the next time around.  It’s the type of thing where you’ll know it when you see it.

What do you think?