When you’re down


Sweetheart, if you just found and are reading this blog article, it’s for a reason. And right up front, I’m sending you a very big hug.

Let me assure you: The phase you’re in right now will pass. Just like all the other bad phases in the past have passed.

What you’re experiencing right now doesn’t define you – and it doesn’t define your future.

What you’re experiencing right now is a snapshot.

Even if your toxic ex got sole custody or right to determine place of residence of their joint child yesterday. Even if your child was relocated by the court – against his will and yours.

Please don’t get me wrong: these are indeed nightmare scenarios that no empathetic mother should experience with a toxic Ex, and I want to minimize them.

Yes, it’s bad that it turned out this way.

And very likely there are a number of people and dynamic factors that contributed to it.

You may also be struggling with what you said or didn’t say in court. That the evaluator was incompetent and the guardian ad litem biased. That the ex’s expensive lawyer was a devil himself and the ex’s covert narcissism is difficult to detect anyway.

There are many reasons and factors that can make a difficult starting position even worse. Once the train with the heavy trailers has started moving, it becomes increasingly difficult to stop it in time.

Here’s something you’re not going to like:

If your train actually hit the wall with full force yesterday or the other day, that’s not the end of you and your life, but of the bad dynamics that were going on.

Only with the impact it was stopped and you can start anew.

Now you have no other option than to get up and put the train back on the track, but in the positive opposite direction.

Invitation to the FeelBold Friday

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How do you get a train moving – this time in the right direction, where you are happy and free and all options are available to you?

By starting with a first thought.

For comparison, when you left your toxic ex back then with the child and he very likely sent all the nasty threats after you, it’s likely that you thought at the time, “He’s so powerful, he’ll get it.” Or “He always gets everything he wants.”

If such a first thought is there, then you have it: your locomotive. And slowly it starts to move.

Eventually, other thoughts come along, as your brain meanwhile searches for evidence to support and prove the first thought.

Your Ex makes a confident appearance at the child welfare office.

You read aggressive articles from the fathers’ lobby.

The judge is sober and unimpressed with you.

The child babbles “Wants to go to daddy!”

You then think, “See – I knew it!”

Each thought alone is figuratively like a pendant attached to the locomotive. All trailers are similar, and the trailer hitch is also specifically designed only for these negative trailer thoughts.

With the load behind it, the locomotive then really gets going.

But it works the other way around in exactly the same way!

You start with a good thought – preferably first thing in the morning when you’re still in bed:

“I love this soft, cozy bedding.”

Then you look around and think, “I love this room. This is my room, this is where I feel comfortable.”

Then you look at the window and think, “I’m looking forward to my coffee (or tea).”

You see what I mean. Find aspects in this room, this morning, that you like.

Important: They have to be things or aspects that don’t trigger melancholy in you.

If you have your bedroom filled with pictures of your child, and each picture triggers a painful feeling in you, then put those pictures away until you are stable again.

You are not putting away your child, but only the pain.

This is a beginning.

This is your locomotive that leads you out of the tunnel, away from the wall.

Go on in your mind and in your thoughts:

“This is going to be a good day, and I’m looking forward to…”

When you have your schedule in hand, plan nice, easy moments into your calendar so you don’t forget them.

  • Make a date to meet a friend for a cappu in the city.
  • Schedule a phone call with a friend or your sister.
  • Put a marker on your calendar for a daily walk, whether it’s raining or snowing.

Remind yourself what activities let you be yourself and forget about the time around you.

Schedule a half hour or a full hour at least once a week, or better yet, every day to do this.

But please don’t fill yourself up with Netflix or chocolate or booze!

These things don’t make you feel better – they only numb you, and afterwards you have an emotional hangover.

Better make it a habit to sit down every day and list 3 to 10 aspects that are going well right now.

Because even if you are emotionally down at the moment: There are ALWAYS positive aspects. You just may not have them in your field of vision yet, as long as you are busy collecting reasons and justifying yourself why things can’t be going well for you right now.

You make a decision: To consciously shift your focus to the positive and stop shining the spotlight on what’s hard and bad.

You succeed in this if you don’t discuss the train crash with others over and over again. It’s over and you don’t want it to happen again.

You are not your past.

You experienced something you never wanted to experience. And now you’re setting out to experience something you’ve always wanted to experience.

Yes, I know that sounds simplistic and oversimplified.

But in fact, that’s exactly what it is:

Do you want to feel confident about managing child hand-offs with your toxic ex?


You have to make a simple decision

Which locomotive will you put back on the track?

Make a decision about which future you want to reach, not which one you want to avoid.

The hitch (read: your brain) doesn’t know avoidance. It docks what fits.

And it’s exactly this clear decision that you start with, and it’s best to say it out loud right away – calmly and confidently:

“I want X, Y and Z.”

And that’s how it’s going to be.

Invitation to the FeelBold Friday

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