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Lessons From the End of a Marriage

A “How to Thrive” Guide After Divorce

You’re Getting Warmer

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Do you ever react defensively to someone’s words?

I know I do.

I’m the queen of, “Yeah, but” and “I can’t” and “You don’t understand.”

Someone says something that justifies my ex’s actions and I respond with anger and righteousness (actually, this is not so true anymore, but it was for a long time!).

Someone else tells me that I can make this whole elderly car thing work out for the best and I want to stomp my feet like a frustrated two-year-old and scream in indignation.

Even Brock is not immune. When giving advice on my new career in real estate based upon his years of successful sales experience, I felt myself shutting down and becoming defensive rather than receptive.

So why do I respond this way?

It’s certainly not adaptive.

Or rational.

But there is a reason.

In every one of these cases (and in countless others), I picked up the armor and shield (and, yeah, sometimes a sword too) because the person was getting warmer.

They were dangerously close to touching on some hidden fear. Some inner wound that I preferred to protect rather than expose.

The remarks about my ex used to tweak that nerve that still stung with the betrayal and his words that I was the one responsible. I was still struggling to separate myself from his claims and actions and accept myself as whole and lovable and deserving. When someone validated him in some way, I saw it as reinforcing his false blames and devaluing me in the process.

The claims about my future triumph over the conundrum of reliable transportation triggers my deep-seated fears and shame around money and debt. I’ve been a bit head-in-the-sand about my car. I chose to focus on the assurances┬áthat it still has years of life remaining while not wanting to face the realities of its aging body. I take it to the mechanic’s and pay the bills as though I’m making a virgin sacrifice to the car gods – I will burn this $500 and in return, you will give me 12 more months of carefree driving. So I don’t always appreciate it when reality buts in.

And the advice from Brock? That tickled yet another insecurity. You see, Brock is a salesman. An excellent salesmen. And me? I literally freeze at the thought of making a cold call. In fact, I get nervous making any kind of call. Luckily, real estate is not sales in the purest sense. In fact, I see it as more customer service, an where I excel. But I’m still insecure, especially as I begin my career while overhearing Brock, confident in his, negotiate with the best of them. So, at the moment, I’m a bit oversensitive until I gain my footing.

In all of these cases, I have worked to address my deep-seated fears that triggered the defensive response. I’ve been very successful with that in terms of my ex and I’ve made progress on the financial anxieties. As for real estate? I suggest you approach with caution:)

Pay attention to your own protective reactions.

Be alert to when your guard goes up.

Or you respond with a firm, “I can’t.”

Because often, those reactions occur right at the area where you have work to do.

So instead of simply building walls and turning away, use that instinct as a sign to dig a little deeper and begin the needed repairs.

When you respond defensively, it means you’re getting warmer.

Keep searching.

You’ll find it.





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10 thoughts on “You’re Getting Warmer

  1. You are so right about real estate being a customer service business. The best realtor I ever had did exactly that…including showing up at the end of my “move-in” day with pizza for my hungry moving friends. (She’s also the only realtor I ever sent flowers.) Do what you do best! – Fawn

  2. On a unrelated subject…my Mom and I watched Karma is a B*itch tonight. So great to see and to put a face on your posts…you have been so kind to me. I hope your crappy ex suffers more than just being outed. Seems the whole ordeal has been very unfair to you.
    Best ever to you,

    1. Marie, I really appreciate your comments. As Lisa’s Mom, it is so painful to know that she is paying huge amounts month after month on HIS deceptive debts—while he just gets away with the whole thing by running away and going into hiding–except as you put it, “being outed”. That money could have been going for her much needed car replacement and her student loans. Ugh! SO unfair! Thank you for your kind and compassionate words.

  3. This post hits home for me on many levels.

    I have also started a position that is more customer service, but it requires me to get the customers first —- which for me is more painful than a full body wax.

    I just sit and stare at the phone, and then find things to do, so that I do not have to make the calls. Like reading this blog, is a good indicator of how I look for anything else to do, because I am petrified, shaking in my boots at the idea of facing my fear and phoning clients.

  4. I missed the fact that you have changed careers. That is a huge step and must be empowering – that you have become someone new.
    Congratulations and good luck and every success.

    1. Becoming:) Baby steps into a new career…
      With school out for the summer, it feels great to “try on” my desired lifestyle for a few weeks.
      Thank you!

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