A Series of Articles on Adjusting to Divorce
By Harlan Jacobsen (Copyright 1998)
WE TELL A WARM FUZZY STORY IN OUR CLASSES
Actually an adult fairy tale written by psychologist Claude M. Steiner, Ph.D. This fuzzy story carries a lot of impact with many going thru the stages of divorce, and developing new relationships, and new life styles.
Basically, what the story says, is that in this imaginary story-land everyone had a bag of warm fuzzies which they reached into and gave out freely to everyone they met.
GETTING THESE WARM FUZZIES MADE PEOPLE FEEL GOOD. IF THEY DIDNíT GET ANY WARM FUZZIES AT ALL THEY SHRIVELED UP AND DIED.
A wicked witch noticed that everyone getting lots of warm fuzzies became happy and no longer needed to buy her potions and salves.
SHE STARTED A RUMOR THAT THEIR BAGS OR FUZZIES WOULD RUN OUT IF THEY GAVE OUT FUZZIES TO EVERYONE
As a result of this rumor, some became jealous if someone they liked gave fuzzies to others, because they feared there wouldnít be enough for them, unlike the limited supply they had always thought available in the past. Soon they were giving out so few fuzzies that some people started to shrivel up and die. The witch didnít want to lose any prospects, so she developed a cold prickly, which didnít feel good but kept you from dying. Some coated these to look like warm fuzzies, and made plastic fuzzies.
WE WONíT TELL YOU HOW THIS WHOLE STORY COMES OUT
It does bring home several things for us, that we need to think about and become aware of. In the classes, we do an exercise right after this story where we write on slips of paper some nice thing we noticed or feel about three different people in the room. We then get up and pass these "fuzzies" out when all are done writing.
It is amazing, the first time they do this how hard it is for some to think of, and write down even three nice things about three nice people in a room of 50 or 60 people.
IN OTHER WORDS, NEW SINGLES OFTEN FIND IT DIFFICULT TO GIVE OUT FUZZIES OR GOOD FEELINGS ABOUT OTHERS
They may be used to using, exploiting, and manipulating others to get what they want, but are unable to give to others, or inexperienced in giving to others. We take from others in time and feelings, and if we give nothing in turn the relationship fades away. So, how can we be ready to develop new relationships when we have not yet learned to share and to give?
THESE PEOPLE ONLY TAKE FUZZIES FROM OTHERS
They make withdrawals from others, they overdraw their fuzzy accounts with others because they make no deposits. They are takers, not givers. In order for your fuzzy bag to be always full, newly singled have to give personal feeling "deposits" to others, thru sharing your time, talents, and inner feelings. The more we share, the more we magically have to share as our fuzzy supply becomes limitless. You must change your present attitude to one of giving, from your past position of being strictly a taker and an emotional rip off artist.
I DONíT MEAN USING FLATTERY AS
Begin just as we do in class by giving out genuine positive (or even negative) things you notice about others along with your associated feeling.
It doesnít have to be a positive - to be a fuzzy. For example, "You seem rather tense here, maybe I can help you feel more at ease, since I felt the same way when I first started going out." Sharing yourself, your observations about another, and your personal feeling about the observation.
TOO MANY OF US ARE HUNG UP ON THE IMMATURE, "I AM A GUEST" IN THIS WORLD, DO IT FOR ME
Show me, tell me - give it to me... Reassure me that I am okay and do things for me. Hung up in the childish guest, (not an adult hostess). People like this are not long welcomed, as these dependent people sort of suck you dry. Experienced singles in the know avoid people like this. It is like an infant that reacts with rage when others get tired of trying to pacify this constant taking person. However, this adult bottles up and suppresses the rage over being dropped, and since it isnít nice to throw tantrums anymore, they instead switch over to deep depression and anxiety.
IT IS A FORM OF IMMATURITY TO EXPECT TO BE A CONSTANT FUZZY RECEIVER, BUT NEVER GIVE OR SHARE FUZZIES
Newly singles often lose their entire source of fuzzies (or at least cold prickleys, which kept them alive) when they lost their mate. They too often had no other source of fuzzies to fall back on. This newly singled person is not getting them from others, and in addition he has no good feelings about himself and generates no good "fuzzies" for himself. The result: total fuzzy starvation, and they start to shrivel up and withdraw from the world.
MANY NEWLY SINGLED ARE ABSOLUTELY STARVED FOR "FUZZIES"
(transactional analysis term is "strokes"), and when they find someone that responds with any good feelings at all about them, they latch on to this person making them their total source of fuzzies. Few will put up with, or long maintain this typed of dependent relationship.
We say you realize, number one, that you need to learn to give and practice sharing fuzzies freely and joyously with the rest of the world. Then, number two, learn to give fuzzies to yourself. Number three, develop many, not just one or two, new friends who feel good about you and regularly give you a steady source of fuzzies. Fourth, develop a boy-girl relationship that gives you a lot of fuzzies as a normal part of its thriving. Fifth, be sure you are in a job that gives you a lot of fuzzies. Now you have many sources of fuzzies.
YOU NEED TO LEARN TO KEEP THESE FUZZIES MOVING ON OUT TO OTHERS
Once you learn this magic formula, your fuzzy bag will never be empty. You can be assured that giving fuzzies will make you feel great, just as receiving a great many fuzzies makes you thrive. You will never again need to worry about shriveling up and dying from a fuzzy shortage.
YOU HAVE SOMETHING VALUABLE THAT OTHER SINGLES WANT AND NEED
Learn to distribute these fuzzies freely. When you find people who give you fuzzies and make you feel respected, worthwhile, warm and fuzzy, arrange to spend some time with these people as often as possible. Meet them for coffee, spend little nooks and crannies of time with them regularly whenever you can. Exchange fuzzies on the phone. Fuzzies are deliverable by phone. You put them in your end and they come out of the other personís phone.
LEARN TO MAKE SHORT WELCOME FUZZY PHONE CALLS TO YOUR FRIENDS AND ACQUAINTANCES
Especially those short of fuzzies right now. Learn to give real fuzzies - not plastic fuzzies.
TO MAKE YOUR LIFE WORK, LEARN THE FOLLOWING RIGHT NOW
1. Recognize that you want and need to meet people; get out and practice doing it.
2. Reduce your fears of rejection. Remember, expect to reject and be rejected by 98% of the people you meet over time.
3. Learn to protect yourself from manipulation and exploitation. (Say no to anything you donít want that isnít in your best interests now.)
4. Guard against "putting all your eggs in one basket." Develop many friends now for different reasons and needs. (It makes sense that you wouldnít just take a bologna sandwich at a smorgasbord.)
5. Learn to maximize what you GIVE and what you get in a relationship.
6. Do active, accomplishing, exciting fun experiences with others. It strengthens relationships and makes friends out of strangers.
7. Learn to do away with games, manipulating and seductive tricks.
WHEN YOU GO OUT TO MEET NEW FRIENDS YOU THINK YOU NEED TO PUT ON A FACADE TO SUCCEED
Wrong. Stop inflating your strengths and hiding your weaknesses. Stop playing a role you think you need to play to win friends.
THAT WAY WHEN YOU DO DEVELOP A FRIEND YOU DONíT DARE STOP PLAYING THE ROLE
You are afraid they wonít like the real you. Maybe they wonít, but you eventually grow tired of playing the role and pretending you are something you are not.
WHEN YOU ARE THE REAL YOU AND PEOPLE BECOME FRIENDS, THEN YOU HAVE GOT SOMETHING
Most newly singled are afraid of reality; they are afraid they are no good and no one could like them the way they are.
I TRY HARD TO CONFORM TO WHAT I THINK YOU FIND LIKEABLE AND DARE NOT BE MY REAL SELF BECAUSE I FEEL DEFECTIVE
Not only that, but as a newly singled, I need (fuzzies) love and attention so badly that I donít dare take a real look at you because that might ruin it too.
WE SAY - BE REAL - BE GENUINE
When you are feeling inadequate, unable to cope, angry, disappointed, etc., be genuine - say so.
This develops trust and confidence. If you are new at meeting people and feel you are not good at it, say so. Tell it like it is for you - be real, stop pretending.
WHEN PEOPLE SEE THE REAL YOU - LIKE AND ACCEPT THE REAL YOU - THEN YOU CAN BE THE REAL YOU FULLY, PROUDLY AND DELIGHTFULLY
You can then express fear, and anger and disappointment, etc. openly.
You will not then allow others to control you nor will you allow yourself to be engulfed. You automatically stay out of the position where someone is doing it to you or is in the position they can.
NEWLY SINGLED GOING OUT TO MEET NEW PEOPLE HAVE UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS
They expect that when they run away, they will be chased. They are crushed when they are not. Most pitiful now is the high school or college beauty queen who traded on her beauty for popularity. Now 25 years later, she comes out again and tries to trade on her looks this time around because that is all she knows. She fails miserably and withdraws from the social world. Iíve lost it, she says - my life is over.
SHE ONLY NEEDS TO LEARN TO USE OTHER THINGS SHE HAS TO OFFER
(which others learned years ago when she was queen of the ball). Growing up as a person is painful and you will do more learning and growing as a person in the period after divorce than any other time.
YOU WILL LIKELY HAVE MORE PAIN AFTER YOUR DIVORCE THAN ANY OTHER TIME IN YOUR LIFE
That also means you will learn and grow more as a person in that period of time than any other. The growing is not a result of the pain as much as the pain is the result of the growing. However, withdrawal pain (relationship addiction) will motivate you to make changes and take steps to cause you to grow as a person that you otherwise would not have done.
YOU WILL DEVELOP MORE FRIENDS AND RELATIONSHIPS THAT WILL HELP YOU GROW THAN ANY OTHER SIMILAR PERIOD OF YOUR LIFE
You can not grow as a person except through action and reaction with other people. Divorce recovery groups are a powerful force in growing together. Some single people in some of these groups make such rapid progress in growing as a person, you can see the difference in week to week contact.
MEET AND GET TO KNOW LOTS OF DIFFERENT TYPES OF PEOPLE
Do not restrict yourself to old patterns and programming.
Normally, since you are only comfortable with the same type of people you had contact with in the past, you tend to go back and try to find only others like those types you are experienced and comfortable with. To expand your life now, however, you need to expand the types of people you have contact with and develop as friends. You will be amazed at how you learn new things, new attitudes, new life styles, etc. After doing some experimenting with different types of people as friends, you will be delighted at your new range of possibilities and you will have grown greatly as a person as a result.
YOU BECOME LIKE THOSE YOU
If you are comfortable with fat compulsive overeaters, you too will likely become or stay like them.
If you associate with negative loser types primarily, you will tend to think and become and stay like them.
FIND HAPPY SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE NOW AND ASSOCIATE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE WITH THEM
You will tend to become like them. Realizing of course, that if you see yourself as a lonely, miserable, defective failure, then you will be very uncomfortable associating with happy, successful people.
ASSOCIATE WITH HAPPY, SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE EVEN IT IS UNCOMFORTABLE INITIALLY
After doing it for a period of time under stress, it will become more and more comfortable. Soon you will start to see yourself as happy and successful too. You will say, I am now uncomfortable with miserable, unhappy single people. I belong over here with the happy, successful people.
STOP TRYING TO FIND SOMEONE WHO WILL BE DEVOTED TO YOU FOREVER
For now, concentrate on getting someone who will give you full attention for an hour or two.