My Life Coaching experience with Stephen Hedger

Those of you who used to visit this blog on a regular basis know my story and  what I went through and the help and guidance I received through my life coach – Stephen Hedger.  To those who don’t – well it’s all here!!   A long read but I think some of the pages and posts are helpful!

I stopped blogging on a regular basis last May (2012) as this blog had served its purpose!

However, I’ve noticed recently that a great many people end up here as they’ve used his name as a search term.  To help you find out how he helped me and the input I received from him here on this blog I’ve now created a ‘Stephen Hedger’ category.

I did not tell Stephen about this site for quite a while and then only allowed him to view but not comment!  It was important to me to feel I could say anything here and not feel restricted or constrained about anything.  He was very supportive of what I was doing and would telephone me when he saw me taking a dip.  Soon it became clear that his advice to me would also help so many others so I invited him to comment when he saw fit.  The result has been so useful to so many.  All the way through Stephen respected this space and commented with immense understanding.

To anyone considering seeking help from him, all I can say is I thoroughly recommend you do!

Good luck with whatever problem or issue you have


Rubbish in, Rubbish Out!

Many, many years ago when I was training as a computer programmer we were constantly reminded of this phrase!  Don’t blame the systems!  If you programme rubbish, rubbish is what you’ll get back!

Applies to life though doesn’t it!!

I will admit I’ve been sneakily feeding myself some rubbish recently!  Not, I hasten to add, with reference to my Life Coaching Goal in that I’m totally committed to the training and thoroughly enjoying learning!!

But more to do with me, my belief in myself and my wish to have a new relationship, succeed in giving myself a stunning new life, in being really happy and being financially secure!!

I was having moments of doubt, so feeding myself more rubbish!  And rubbish is what I’ve been getting back!!

I’ve NOT been doing a great many things!

I’ve not been entering photos in the camera club competitions – so not getting any points – so deciding I’m no good!!

I’ve not been hunting down any dates on the 2 internet dating sites I’m on so have decided no-one wants to meet me

There’s more – but I’ll spare you, dear reader!!

The ever watchful Stephen has been keeping a weather eye on my blog and suggesting I might care to give myself better chances!!  He is, of course, (and slightly irritatingly!!) quite right!

Today’s blog post from him is a timely reminderAnd I really do urge you all to read it. It’s very important – especially to any one, like me, who wants more than they’ve currently got in any area of their life.

I’m sure I’m not alone in feeding myself ‘rubbish’.  I believe hope even really successful people have moments of inflicting themselves with these negative perceptions.  I just hope that the difference is that the successful people spot the signs fast and then take positive action.  And as I’m determined to be successful I need to join that group and take action fast!

So all I would say, dear reader, if you’ve reached this paragraph, is to remember the adage “Rubbish in, rubbish out”  and do the opposite!!

What do you think?

And like all good exam questions I’d now like you to


OK! So how DO we communicate?

That’s what it all boils down to in the end isn’t it!

Men and women communicate in different ways.  All well and good but what if a man is in turmoil, for whatever reason, how do we wonderful women get are darling men to open up and tell us?  That’s what I want to know.  How do we help?

Given that the man’s role – so I understand from Stephen (and I agree with him btw)  – is to care and protect, I presume they feel they are failing if they hit a stumbling block and so can’t actually talk about it as this makes them feel even more of a failure as it voices their fears and vulnerabilities – which isn’t at all ‘manly’.

So, say, for instance, the man has a problem at work, or loses his job, or fails at an interview……  The list is endless…………..

How do we wonderful women, who are feminine and vulnerable and hanging on to our femininity and have no wish to ‘become manly’, how do we get our men to open up and still make them feel Strong and Manly?

In this minefield of communication we need tools.  Not only tools to help us say how we feel when we have problems but tools to help us help our men.

How do we create that safe haven for our men that allows them to say how they feel. Which enables them to communicate their problems without emasculating them?

Because if we know that then we can also create the same ‘safe haven’ for us to communicate back when we have problems.Because our men would recognise this ‘safe place’ and be happy to ‘enter into it’, knowing they were going to be respected and their manliness wouldn’t be in question.

OK they also have to learn about how women communicate but hey  I can’t sort everything out here in one post!!

And don’t tell me it’s the man’s job to ‘create the haven’ – I don’t believe it is!  Women are better at saying how they feel so – in my view (and I could be wrong) it’s our ‘job’ to create this environment where difficult communication can take place ‘safely’.

If we knew and understood that wouldn’t it be just great.

So all I now need is information………

And some views and ideas!

Remembering I am special!

I know some people who finding themselves in this situation throw themselves into a frenzy of activity to keep their minds off it all.

My weekend roller-coastered from far too much going on  on Saturday to Sunday’s inactivity where my body demanded rest but my over-exhausted brain seemed to go into a frenzy of inappropriate meanderings, none of which were the least future focused, helpful or sensible!

Also not helped by one of my neighbours asking me if I would still take Alex back if he rolled up on my doorstep. Please don’t ask me this!!  It so doesn’t help! Because I don’t know – there are far too many variables just to have a blanket answer to that question –  and since I’m very unlikely to be faced with the situation – and they know that – what’s the point in planting the thought back into my mind.

Keeping the past at bay is harder when I’m tired  Reminding myself I am special and that I am ‘lovable’ is harder when I’m tired.  Feeling envious of Alex’s new life is easy when I’m tired.  And I am envious.  I am envious of the “TWOness”  of his life, faced as I am with my “ONEness” which I hate.

I  look forward to the day when all these thoughts stop happening!!

And why I ask myself do I have this almost overwhelming desire to contact him!  I haven’t.  But for reasons that completely escape me I find myself wanting to.  I have no idea what I want to achieve by doing this.  Because all it will give me is pain.  So totally pointless

I suppose it’s the feeling of  – I can live with not seeing him now, as in today,  it’s the prospect of never  which I find so sad.

And as there is no need for us to see each other again then that’s the way it’s likely to be.

I still want to shake him and say look at what we’ve lost.  Read what Stephen posts and, and , and……….  But clearly, unlike me,  he can’t think I was worth it or he wouldn’t have gone.  But I’ll always wonder why he dithered for that first 18 months and kept saying he wasn’t sure – that’s the bugger.

Sorry this post sounds rather miserable which wasn’t my intention – it’s more an acknowledgement of where I am today.  Yes at the top of my ‘mountain’.  So much further forward than this time last year.

I just wish he was man enough to join me to look at the view! 

(and my mental image of my ‘mountain’ is one in Namibia with the never ending plains stretched out beneath our feet)

The spotlight

Finally this morning I experienced a feeling of incredible relief.

Relief that the spotlight of “marriage failure” has been removed from on me and transferred to the latest casualty – my brother and his wife.  (Not that I wish it on them).

But that’s how it’s felt these last 32 months.  As far as the people living close to me – my neighbours, family and friends,  I’ve been the one who has been the local casualty.  The one who needs nurturing and caring for.

The one in the spotlight.

Don’t get me wrong I’ve been stunned and humbled by their kindnesses and concern. The way they’ve been there for me to help me through. The hours they’ve spent listening to me go over and over the same ground – especially that first year of indecision and trauma – as I  floundered around lost in my own despair.  Then the encouragement and nurture as I fought my way through to where I am today.

The fact they thought I was worth it.

But today the sense of relief is incredible. A big weight has suddenly gone – one which I hadn’t realised was there – I am no longer weighed down by being the latest statistic.  Someone else has taken my place.

I have now moved up a rung on the statistical ladder.  I am a survivor.

In this new place I feel released from the limelight.  I have learnt so much.  And actually hope I still have more to learn.  I’m finding it all too fascinating to stop now!

I can turn to my sister-in-law and listen and listen.  I can empathise like no-one else near her can.  I know what it’s like.  The fact that my experience is still so new.  OK I’m not in her shoes. She will react differently to the way I did.  We are, after all, all unique. We will react in our own unique way. But hopefully  I can help.

I also know what NOT to say or do!

I hope she allows me to be there for her.  I don’t envy her.  I wouldn’t wish the spotlight on her at all.   But I hope her ‘journey’ is enlightening as mine has been and still is.

I still have my goals to resolve – which with Stephen’s help and guidance I hope will truly make me buzz.

Today for the first time I felt that my own personal mountain top is finally in sight.  And when I get to the top I’d like a new spotlight turned on and a banner across the sky saying “Sensational Survivor” – because for my sister-in-law (and hopefully my brother) that might be the incentive to get the help I feel will help them both!

Imploding or Exploding?

Everyone reacts differently and in different degrees when pitchforked into a new reality they didn’t want and  they didn’t see coming.

I wonder which is the more challenging for the LC to deal with?

The Exploder who needs to deal with their anger, wish for vengence…….  or the imploder who needs to want to start living again?

Little did I realise a year ago that I had such a long way to go!  Clearly I had much more to unearth than I realised, much more to face, much more to deal with, so much to learn and much, much more to come to terms with.

Amazing to think a year ago I thought I knew all the answers to my problems  and my only problem was  I just didn’t know how to action them!  Wrong!!!

But what is even more stunning is I didn’t know how much I didn’t know!!  And for most of this last year I have put up an amazing resistance to learning!!  Yesterday as I watched the debate on my blog  I suddenly realised I have actually learnt a great deal.

Now I can’t believe I erected such a strong barricade against changing the way I think and understanding me.  I smile at how confused I was with Stephen’s coaching – and how he kept telling me confusion was Good! (don’t get me wrong I still get lots of moments of confusion – but now I realise they are good and that I may be about to understand something new and helpful)

But if I could do that – and I wanted to get out of the hole I’d imploded into – how much harder must it be for the likes of Alex who have had their beliefs so entrenched as a life-long, survival mechanism that to change them is almost to redesign themselves. Very Scary.  I’m not condoning what he did.  But maybe I’m beginning to understand why.  And the why doesn’t have a great deal to do with me.  Yes I unwittingly played my part.  I accept 100% my involvement.  But perhaps what happened had to happen.  Maybe there really was an inevitability about it.  But despite the inevitability of the initial meltdown there didn’t have to be this long-term solution,  the path he chose to take (at least I don’t think so). But I can’t do anything about that.

So the version of me I’m now running is the compassionate and caring me.  Compassion for Alex but really focused on me and giving myself care and compassion.  Don’t get me wrong there is a whole mass of sadness at what we have irretrievably lost but I’m nurturing me into my new future.  Why?  Because I have no other choice.

Why this version of me. Because for me it seems right.  I can’t be vengeful, I can’t be bitter, I can’t spend my life being angry.  Because if I do I will be the one who loses.  And that’s not what I want.