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.

The ‘Stephen Hedger’ category gives you a fast insight into the help I received.

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

Caroline
xxx

The dilemma of this double-edged sword

There’s definitely a double-edged sword in deciding to learn more about Life Coaching.

On the one hand I’m finding the subject fascinating.  The more I read the more I want to know.

But, and this is rather a big but, it’s also painful.  Painful realising that if I’d known a lot of this before and Alex had too then maybe things would have been different.

But it was because we didn’t that I’ve ended up in my ‘now’ and that includes finding out I’m interested in something that would never have occured to me before!

I still read Stephen’s blog posts avidly as I find them fascinating. Even if each one is a stab through my heart as I read how he helps couples get their marriages back on track and it was too late for us.

But I want to learn and not only learn from my mistakes, but also learn from the experts how they apply all the techniques they have at their ‘finger tips’ – so I’ll carry on reading and ride out the pain.

It’s tough though!

By the way it was brought home to me yesterday how much integrity there is in Stephen’s approach and coaching.  No ‘signing up’ for months and months, or years and years to be coached for ever!   Not like the treatment this person received from a psychoanalyst!  (click to read!).  Which in my view is just totally unethical.  People in trouble are very vulnerable and will grab at anything to remove the pain.  It is, in my view, a fundamental duty of the therapist to ensure the client is treated with respect.  And that includes not spinning out the therapy to suit the therapist.

Anyway I need to keep focused and not look back!  Perhaps I need to buy some blinkers!  Though probably that’s not a ‘good look’!

My ex sister-in-law (whom I’m very fond of) emailed me today giving me news of Alex and the OW (whom she dislikes!), and my  niece and nephew who I’m very fond of (I suppose that should be ex-niece and nephew!!).  So it’s been a bit tough thinking about them……   and all the other stuff.   Hearing what they’ll be doing at Christmas…..  I feel a bit left out!!

So now for some planning so I don’t!

Acknowledgement

A lot is said about forgiveness. That moment that people suggest we are able to forgive our EXs for smashing up our lives, throwing us into our pits of despair, walking roughshod over our feelings and disappearing into their supposed new found happiness.

The other day I ‘wrote’ to Alex on my blog and forgave him for what he did.  At the moment when I wrote it I did.  Bizarrely ever since then I haven’t!

For months and months my earnest hope was that what we had could be resurrected, that we could somehow come through all this. That he would wake up one morning and realise he was in bed with the wrong woman!  (OK real good Holywood stuff).  That I would be able to forgive.

Denial was where I was – big time.  According to the book I’m reading “Time to Think” by Nancy Kline – and I quote:

We can usually go for about a year before we are forced to see what had been right in our face from the beginning. 

What she calls The Amy Question:   “What do you already know that you are going to find out in a year?”

What I do know is I’ve reached a level of acknowledgement that life has changed and will go on changing.  Not in the way I’d planned.  Maybe that’s what people mean by ‘letting go’ and ‘moving on’.  For me, for now, acknowledgement is about all I can handle.  The sadness of the breakup is still there – maybe it always will be.  But that’s something I feel comfortable acknowledging too.

BTW – the book is very enlightening and interesting!

The life-line of survival

How come so many of us have ended up in the marriage cul-de-sac of disaster?  The place where  clear communication has been cancelled.

And what made our runners run?

I’ve stopped asking Why?  I now want to know the answers to:  What made you feel that running was the only option?  Was I such a nightmare to live with?  Such a bad listener that I had killed off all other options?

You see I don’t think so!

I read others’ blogs and so many ask the same questions, including The Why didn’t we at least have the “Big Talk” questions!

I’ve thought about this a lot and I’ve come to the conclusion that unless the “Big Talk” is held from a position of total security with both partners secure in knowing who they really are and feeling totally safe,  then I can’t see the answers will be that ‘truthful’.

Because the answers can be totally different if answered from a position of fear, guilt, anger, trauma….. the list is endless.

Alex accused me of being controlling.  Fine, I probably was – from his perspective.  The trouble is rather than say sorry I justified it – then.

Now all I want to say is.  Yes I was – and I’m sorry – I was scared silly. All I wanted was for you to throw your arms around me and protect me and ‘take over’.  But his interpretation of the ‘Controlling Caroline’ was I wanted to be in control.

WRONG!  I wanted the total opposite!

When I told him in May that I never wanted to see or hear from him again.  What I was actually crying out for was for him to be bashing my door down and fighting for us and our future!

When he said he hoped we could be friends and amicable, I wonder now what he actually meant.  Who knows!

I feel so stongly now that what we say and what we mean can be two totally different things.

So how come we fail to communicate in a way that our partner will understand?

What I don’t know is what he wanted me to understand about him when he was trying to communicate his needs. What I wonder is what interpretations was I putting on what he was telling me which meant I completely failed to understand him.

I think that’s where Life Coaches such as Stephen can help so much. Help bring communication back to its truest form.  Help with the understanding and interpretation of what we each needed to say and understand.  How they do this I have no idea because we never got to that stage. We never found out.  We never met half way.

And for me that is what is so sad and so incredibly hard to live with.  And part of the reason, I believe, that I (and probably many others ) still get ‘stuck’ days.   We never found out.  We turned our backs on the enlightenment of truly understanding each other – of really learning how to communicate – which in moments of crisis are invaluable and essential. 

Because communication is the glue which holds you together when things are tough.

The life-line of marriage survival.

The thing which is the main route back to a marriage full of passion and happiness.

Finding Me! Oh!

The process of  ‘finding me!’ continues – mainly because I’m too scared of sliding backwards down the slippery slope!  But that being said I am, dear reader,  by and large, finding the experience interesting and enlightening. Even though the path continues to be somewhat bumpy.

What I wish I could rid myself of are the bouts of cast-iron self-doubt.  Those moments which wake me in the night and then haunt me through the small hours.

That and the “How could he” moments. I’ve managed to abandon the “Why” and “What if” ones. What I continually face are the “How could he have done this to me given what we had” – moments.  And it’s no good everyone pointing out to me that he has and that I am where I am – because I know that!!

I also know all too well that my version of the ‘truth’ and Alex’s will be different BUT, BUT, BUT they can’t be that different.  Not at the time. At the time he laughed and seemed to be pleased and happy to be with me. He cared.  We loved.   I don’t care what anyone says. They weren’t there.  I was. 

How come he has re-written history to such an extent?  How come he has been able to convince himself of some ‘new truth’.  How come his whole character has changed.

How come – despite everything – I still care, I still miss him,  I’m still sad.  How come he won’t ever see the New Me and won’t realise what he has lost.

Because in Finding the new Me  there is still a big Oh!  And there’s still a large shark of self-doubt and regret and sadness snapping just behind me.

There’s a space..

There’s a space between me and the rest of the world. At least that’s how it feels.  That gap which separates me from those who appear to have what I’ve lost.  I say appear because who am I to say if they have or they haven’t.  I don’t know what goes on behind their closed doors.

I have no idea if they sleep side-by-side each night content and happy just to be together or are they separated by their failings to communicate and protect each other. Still in the same bed but left with the isolation of being close and yet not. That feeling that ‘something is missing’ , something which they had but now seems to be a shadow of its former self.

People can be just as lonely together as I’m feeling apart.  They can go through their lives not meeting each other’s needs and failing spectacularly to understand each other deeply and yet still remain together and give all the appearances of being happy.  Maybe they are happy. That’s not for me to judge.

But there are those who do have true happiness.  Passionate and loving marriages.  Not perfect ones.  Will someone define perfect for me!  I know my marriage wasn’t perfect. But Wow it wasn’t bad.  At least that’s what I thought at the time.   What’s been a bit tough to accept these last few days is if the ‘new me’ I discovered this week, had been around in my marriage would Alex have gone?  And of course there is no answer to that!  But there again maybe the ‘new me’ couldn’t have happened in my marriage because to be truly me I had to feel safe.

Well I feel safe now!!  So…………………..???

And knowing what I now know, understanding what I now understand and believing in what I now believe, I know things can be different for me. My outlook is a great deal ‘sunnier’.

Yes in all honesty it makes me very sad – and mad – that I couldn’t be looking at this with Alex committed, as I am,  to doing, understanding and believing in a different way, but together.

But that’s not to be and I do know that. And that’s where the space is.

Now I want to close the space between me and the rest of the world.  And by that I mean I’d like to have what I think they’ve got!! Rather than the reality of what some of them have actually got!

And I know that sounds selfish because it appears I want to cherry-pick. But maybe, thanks to Stephen’s guidance and persistence, I now have the tools to be able to do that!!  I hope so.

And anyway we’re all entitled to dream!