Conscious Uncoupling : Working Through the Book – Step One


Breakups can knock the wind out of us faster than a sucker punch to the heart. - Katherine Woodward Thomas

Last week I wrote a little review about Conscious Uncoupling by Katherine Woodward Thomas. I felt the book really spoke to me so I really wanted to sit down and take the time to move through some of these steps as I move through the separation and divorce process. While I feel I still have a long way to go, I do have to say that there was quite a bit of information in this book which can be applied to my life; now and in the future.

Divorce is never easy. It doesn’t matter if it was mutual. I doesn’t matter if you felt it coming for a while. It doesn’t matter if you realize you are better off as friends and actually remain friends. There is a huge shift in your life. Change is scary and it tosses us around in circles like an angry beast. Navigating the world in a different way can be frightful. But, it doesn’t have to be.

Step One: Find Emotional Freedom

In this step one learns how to take the rage, hatred, anger, fear, and despair and turn then from destructive to constructive.

This step was important to me because I have a pattern when it comes to relationships. I’ve know it for quite some time; probably since the time of my 1st marriage ending.

On November 7 we celebrated 4 years of marriage for a total of 7 years together. On November 19 we moved me out. Here I am now, having gone through all of these emotions, wondering all the ‘whats’ and ‘whys.’

There was an excerpt in this chapter that really resonated with me.

Something has been broken and it is more than just your heart. It may be your feeling of being safe in the world, your ability to make sense of your life, or even your very faith in life and love. Whether you made the difficult decision to leave, or you are in the devastation position of having been left, the losses you’re facing are most likely many deep, and multidimensional. The heart connection you called home, and shared rituals and routines that shaped your daily life, the “you” you knew yourself to be in your relationship, your standing and position in the community, the clear certainty of your life, and the future you were so carefully strive to save for — all are gone.

For me, change isn’t just about losing a husband and my other half; for me, it also means I am no longer a mother.  Not only did my relationship and home life change, but a whole other role in my life changed as well.

This step wants us to take our negative and turn it in to something positive.

When I met Mr. McConnell, his daughter was 3. She is now almost 11. That’s a pretty good chunk of time that I was her ‘other mother.’ When she was going through her problems with her mother, it was me she ran to crying and in need of love. When everyone else turned the other way, I gave her structure and guidance. When everyone else told her how pretty she was, I told her she could be anything she wanted to be in life.

Sadly, step parents are stereotyped. Society paints us as these evil creatures who are trying to take the authority away form the birth parents. If I could legally tell you everything that child’s mother has done to the Mr. and go through all of the things that led her to lose custody of her daughter, society would flip the script and wonder why DHS , FOC and CPS didn’t step in sooner.

Now, I’m gone. No longer that constant.

While the Mr. says she and I can remain in each others lives, it won’t ever be the same.

I can’t go back. I can only go forward.

So, while I struggle to find some common ground with the Mr. as friends, I struggle to find a way to continue a relationship with the daughter I miss dearly.

Clearly, I’m still working through these emotions. But I have some fires burning when it comes to changes in life. While my path may not seem clear at this moment in time, the fact that I have put one foot in front of the other speaks volumes to me. #scarynotscary

Was there something negative in  your life that fueled a fire for something positive?

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  1. It sounds like the book has been a great help. All you can do it take it one day at a time and remain positive.

  2. That is a powerful quote and explains one of the most difficult times in a human’s life I think.
    You are brave and I am sure you are developing in ways you only dreamed off before all this.
    Best wishes to you on your life journey!

  3. I’m sorry you won’t be a constant in her life anymore. I loved my stepmom dearly, also. I actually even moved in with her after my dad passed away and stayed with her until I married my husband. She was, and always will be, my other mother.

    1. I am going to be in her life as much as I possibly can. Her father and I are remaining on very good terms, so that helps out a great deal. She knows I will always love her and have a place for her in my life.

  4. I believe in coparenting, I have a really amazing step mom and while she became my step mom as an adult – she has been here more for me than my own mother and knows more about me than my own flesh n blood mother. Step parents can be so amazing and even when the child has two involved parents, having that extra set or one step parent can really assist the child in becoming a well rounded adult having so much support!

  5. Splits are the worst, and not really for us, but always for the kids, and if you’re a step, then for us too… because oh my gosh that kind of hurt I can’t comprehend. It’s not an easy fix thing. I hope you remain close for life. It could def. happen.

  6. This would be a great book for a friend of mine. She is going threw a very hard divorce. I will have to get her a copy.

  7. I am so glad this book exists. It sounds like such a wonderful source of comfort and guidance for those going through a break-up or divorce.

  8. Endings can be super painful, especially when there are children involved, while I am not happy you are experiencing this, I am glad that this book is helping you find the perspective to move forward in a positive way! (Writing is definitely a great form of therapy!)

    1. Writing has always been a form of therapy for me. I have so many journals and writing books around here….some might think I am a bit obsessed 😉

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