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


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)

Emotional Meltdown

I’ve now seen two men go into emotional meltdown recently.

Although both are behaving quite differently there are some startling similarities.

In both cases it seems on the surface (which I suppose is the only thing I’ve been allowed to see) there has been a startling personality shift.  Not in a good way but a bad way.

Their  negative characteristics (and let’s face it we all have them!!) have become exaggerated to an alarming degree.

So in the case of Alex his wish to run, dither, be sullen, sheepish, hide etc has become his modus operandi.

In the case of H – he’s become angry, petulant and irritated with the world and those in it

These versions of themselves they are living in have taken over to the total exclusion of everything else – when dealing with any form of relationship.  They’ve both ‘lost control’ of themselves.

Interestingly both seem to be able to function perfectly well on a day-to-day level with no apparent sign of a problem.  It’s only when the raw, exposed nerve of emotions is touched that the instant explosion happens.  And it is instant.  They switch from being rational human beings to being completely out of control.

And from this place they have or are taking decisions which will have (or have had)  a fundamental effect on the rest of their lives – and their partners.

This is what I find so scary.  And very sad.  Because – I imagine –  if both could work through these destructive versions of themselves, understand them and deal with the reasons behind them then they might find they were a great deal happier being in their own skins and enjoy the beauty of the relationships they have both squandered.

I just wonder what caused them both to ‘self-destruct’ in such a ‘violent’ way.  To make them want to lash out at all that is familiar and destroy it in their attempts to find happiness.  Talk about a cry for help.  That’s what it seems to me.

Maybe – one day – they’ll both see that.  Sadly, in my case, too late for retrieving the life Alex and I had.  It’s not too late for my brother but someone very strong would need to make him see that.  And it would need to be someone he respected – and right now he doesn’t respect anyone – least of all himself.

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!

Sticking Plasters!

I’ve never been brilliant on my feet!  Forever falling down or tripping over!  Photos of me as a child invariably show at least one of my knees liberally pasted with strips of sticking plaster!

As an adult I have successfully continued the damage – resulting in rather too many knee operations – the last of which (just over a year ago) I’m still recovering from!!

What I find interesting has been my determination  to pursue sports involving being on my feet  – I was going to say upright! (but that sounded a bit risque – and could give you the wrong idea about me!) – and the resultant damage!

Skating ( two ops), Skiing (one op), squash (one op) – being chased by an elephant – OK no op – and hardly a sport –  but who else would manage to get elephant dung lodged in the wound in her knee when she fell over as she ran – come to that who else would have fallen over!  And of course finally falling down my outside staircase – again not a sport! –  in the snow (big ouch  – op last year!).   I gave up skiing, skating and squash some years ago to save myself from  becoming immobile!  I’ve now moved so the stairs are safely out of reach and being chased by an elephant doesn’t look likely at the moment – at least not round here!

But plasters are not what they used to be.  When I was a child I hated that moment when my father would announce the plaster ‘had to come off’.  They used to really stick in those days which meant the wound was able to heal without the plaster having to be continually re-applied.  He had some special removal liquid call Zoff, if I remember rightly, and the plaster would be stripped from my skin at speed – apparently this caused less pain!

Nowadays plasters fall off as soon as they’re attached!  They lack ‘ the sticky stuff’!

And wouldn’t it be great if there was a plaster to apply over the wounds that have been done to our minds, our feelings and our hearts – so we couldn’t feel the pain so acutely and could heal without the fragile scars being knocked when we are careless and find ourselves looking back or having those moments of doubt!  But the plaster would need to hold fast rather than keep falling off!

I know my wounds are healing.  I’ve come a long way since last year!  And as a result of all the Life and Relationship Coaching I think I’ve now learnt so much about me that, with luck,  I won’t fall over and hurt myself next time!!  I hope so.

So maybe that’s what Life Coaching is – my plaster – in which case I still need to learn how to make it stick better!!

It helps if you read the manual!

I’m a great one for buying instruction manuals.  I have loads!

BUT!  Not so good at reading them!!

My camera came with an instruction manual (all 200 pages of it!)  – but I rarely refer to it!  I bought a book on Photoshop (for Dummies  – I can be wise about what I need!).  I have to say it has a very jolly, colourful cover, which I have admired for months and months!  Have I actually opened it and read its instructional contents?  Of course not.  Far too scary!  And anyway I’m using it to prop up a collection of CDs!

I also have a vast collection of books dealing with marriage and relationships (and I do mean vast!  Just about the entire relationship library)  with titles like – Moving On; Staying Together (good to have both options!);  Beat The Bitch (now that one was hard to resist!!);   Loving Yourself, Loving Another; Finding True Love…….   I could go on!   Have I read any of them.  No!  But I love the feeling of comfort they give as I look at them side-by-side on my book shelf!  I bought most of them during those first few months of shock.  It was as if by buying the book I was doing something about solving the problem!  I just couldn’t be asked to open the covers and read!

So – to be honest – what I need is to be ‘taken by the hand’ and taught!!

Probably that’s what most of us need!  To be taught how to keep relationships together, what we need to understand about the sexes, how each sex functions and how to get the best for ourselves and the one we love.

To be taught how to re-align, clone and recolour our ‘photos’, touch up the errors  made when the trigger was pressed at the wrong moment.  And being instructed in the ‘dark art’ of  how to do it and then made to practice under the watchful eye of a good tutor has much more chance of success than – in my case – faced with just reading the book – never mind how pretty the cover!

But having had the lessons and made to practice maybe it’s then good to have the odd manual to refer to when we need to remind ourselves of a particular technique.