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How did this happen to me?

How did I get into this mess? Co-parenting with someone who appears to be on a singular mission to destroy me, seemingly unaware of what they are doing to our kids in the process?

How did I miss the signs? Were there signs?

Do you spend hours/days/years dissecting your past to try and pin point exactly when things went sideways?

Trying to figure out the exact moment you knew things weren’t perfect but you glazed over those feelings because you believed in your partner? You knew that if you loved them enough they would be able to see their own potential? That in your heart of hearts you knew that deep down they were a good person, they just needed help learning how amazing they are?

If you find yourself asking, “How did this happen to me?” then you are still trying to control the future with events from the past. You are unconsciously (or consciously) trying to rewrite your history in an attempt to save yourself (and your kids) from the present circumstances.

Read that line again…

“… then you are still trying to control the future with events from the past.”

If you’re stuck trying to change the past to control your future, you’re stuck in a puddle of quick hardening cement. And if you’re in quick hardening cement? You’ll never feel the freedom/calm/peace you are craving. You will never get past the misery you are currently experiencing.

It’s totally cliché, but I can say with 100% certainty, that you can’t change your past. And believe me, I’ve tried – relentlessly.

When we keep doing the same thing over and over, without positive results, it’s called a survival pattern.

Survival patterns are thoughts, feelings and/or actions we’ve created to keep us safe, to keep us in our comfort zone, to protect us from the mystical question “What if?” Which makes ZERO sense because often times our survival patterns are shame, guilt, anger and fear. Or over-eating, drinking wine every night, trying to control the past or the future. Or asking yourself, “How did this happen to me?” over and over and hoping to secure a different history so that your present and future wouldn’t involve your co-parent.

Survival patterns are created, subconsciously, to help us manage/cope with trauma in our lives. We don’t choose our survival patters consciously. Most people likely aren’t even aware of them.

And make no mistake, high conflict co-parenting is traumatic. Physically, emotionally, mentally and energetically.

Trauma: A nightmare of thoughts, images and emotions based on past wounds/hurts that create unconscious and irrational stress in the body that suspends awareness of our infinite nature. – Mastin Kipp

In an attempt to manage all the trauma we are repeatedly faced with, we create survival patterns to keep us ‘safe’. They don’t actually keep us safe, it’s a façade, but they definitely help keep us stuck in a cycle of one step forward, one step backwards – which is essentially being stuck in cement. And being stuck feels AWFUL!

You’ve felt awful long enough. You’ve given your power to outside forces that don’t deserve it. You’ve sacrificed your well-being. You’ve desperately tried to fix a situation that can’t be fixed. You’ve been trapped in your survival patterns and it’s time to escape. It’s time to reclaim your power, your confidence, your love of life.

It’s time to not only survive your high conflict co-parenting relationship, it’s time to thrive through it. And that, my friend, is the unicorn of feelings – freedom.

Andrea LaRochelle

*Chapter 1 from the High Conflict Co-parenting Survival Guide

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