Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Disengage

Disengage, stepmoms, blended family, blended families, step mothers, step family, step families
There are going to be times where us Stepmoms need to disengage or take a break away from all of the stress, disrespect, toxic ex-wife, toxic relatives or just stepfamily crises.  This doesn’t mean you’re a bad stepmom, this just means you know what’s best for your emotional health.  When necessary it’s great to take action and think of your emotional health and put it first.  I don’t recommend doing it for a long period of time, but just enough time to recharge and pray for your situation. Only you can determine how long you should disengage from someone or an activity.

How do you know when you need to disengage from an activity or situation?

If and when you feel that your anger or emotions are coming to the surface.  That’s when it is time to step away and remove yourself from the situation before you say or do something you will regret.

Where do I go when I disengage?

Pick a safe place and call it your “Safe Haven”, where no one else is at.  For example, your bedroom or if you’re at someone else’s house may be the bathroom or another room where you can just collect your thoughts and calm down. The best thing to do when you’re alone is pray. Pray about your emotions and your feelings of anger at the time. I also keep a journal where I can write all of my thoughts and feelings down, it really helps to get them out on paper sometimes.  Your Safe Haven might be a Friend’s house, wherever you can feel like yourself again is what it is all about.  Another idea is to run an errand and just leave the house for a while.  During that time, you can either call a friend to talk too.  You can also join my stepmom group on Facebook which is called: “Step Moms Are Us”, where you can post your situation within the group and within four hours, I will respond to you or maybe even others will join in and give you some great advice regarding your situation.  You don’t have to be alone in this; we can help be your support group.  When and if you do decide to call a friend make sure you are able to talk without anyone else listening into the conversation.  When I was younger anytime my Stepmom was mad at me, she would be on the phone talking to someone about me in Spanish. I didn’t know what she was saying, but I knew she was talking about me because she’s couldn’t say my name in Spanish. It used to really upset me, in fact, I told myself that I would try to learn Spanish so I can find out what she’s saying about me behind my back.  I never did learn Spanish, but I was really eager to when I was younger.


Disengaging is like a reset button for your emotions and feelings of anger.
 When you disengage from an activity you may have to tell your husband behind closed doors.  Explain yourself calmly and respectfully, express your frustrations and be sure to tell him your plans and offer suggestions as to what he should do.  For example: If you are always the one that picks up your stepchildren from the ex-wife and there have been some really bad issues between the two of you and you don’t want to pick them up anymore. Make sure you explain yourself and suggest an alternative plan.  Don’t be surprised when your husband objects to you doing this and will most likely be on the defensive side so be prepared.  Be prepared for your husband to try manipulative tactics in order to make you feel guilty and change your mind from disengaging.  Stick to your grounds and stand firm and tell him it’s for his own good and for a better relationship with his children.  If the conversation gets too heated sometimes it is best to take a break from each other until both of you have calmed down to continue the conversation. Then maybe the two of you can come to a comfortable compromise that you both find is acceptable.
Do not feel like you have to do anything in order to hold on to your husband, if he loves you, he will try to understand where you are coming from and work with you.
If you are want to be fully disengaged, you might have to tell your stepchildren when they ask for something from you “Please ask your father”. You don’t need to further explain yourself to the children; they don’t need to know that you are disengaging from them. I don’t recommend fully disengaging from your stepchildren for a long period of time.  When you start to see a difference in how they interact with you and it’s a positive one then get back involved slowly with caution. Sometimes disengaging can help preserve your relationship with your stepchildren and your husband.
Biological parents shouldn’t ever disengage from their own children that are under 18 years of age for a long period of time. It’s our responsibility as parents to keep the relationship connected.  After they are 18 years old and are living on their own, it’s their responsibility to keep the relationship connected.  But if you have to disengage from that child because of an ex-spouse, try to do your best to stay in your child’s life as much as you can.  That way down the road they can never say you didn’t try to keep in contact with them or that you didn’t try to fix the relationship with them (meaning the child).
If you’re disengaging from a toxic relative such as your mother-in-law or any in-laws sometimes its best to try to avoid as much interaction with them as possible.  For instance only see them on holidays or other special occasions.  If your husband wants to visit them, have him just go alone with the kids and you can stay home.  In my second marriage, my mother-in-law preferred a past girlfriend of my husbands and had pictures of her and my husband all around.  All she did was talk about her every time I was there.  It made me very uncomfortable and she never recognized my son on his birthday and other special occasions. So I decided to disengage from her and decided not to go over to her house, I just let my husband go with the kids and I would stay home with my son.  I refused to put myself through that and I got tired of the fake warm hellos when really she didn’t want me there.  My current mother-in-law is the best; I love her and think she’s the nicest lady I ever met.  She accepts my children as her own grandchildren and doesn’t treat them any different from her own biological grandchildren.  Anytime my husband wants to go visit with her, I go as much as I can.
Rachelle Katz says, Being involved with a toxic person damages your self-esteem and drains your energy while repeated contact can cause you to feel worn out, deflated, confused, belittled, undermined, insecure or controlled. You could even experience headaches, stomachaches, eye tics or even migraines from being involved these toxic relationships. The best thing you can do when you are around a toxic person is to walk away and steer clear of them. You don’t have to put yourself through so much anxiety just to be around them. Start putting your emotional health first and disengage from toxic people in your life. Life is too short, live it with people who can love you back and accept you just as you are. No one is perfect, and yes everyone makes mistakes from time to time, but we do strive to do the right thing in our lives.  So retreat or disengage when you feel it is necessary in order to get rest, destress, pray, replenish and touch the center of our souls, your emotional well-being deserves it. Do what’s best for you and your well-being. 
Have you ever had to disengage from someone before? How did you handle it?

References:
Katz, Rachelle. (2010). The Happy Stepmother. Stay Sane, Empower Yourself, Thrive in Your New Family. Harlequin

22 comments:

  1. I go and disengage in the basement in my home. I get it though, you need a space, a place to get away from it all. It is not easy.

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  2. i think everybody, no matter what, needs a place to disengage....

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  3. Sometimes at parties, there are too many people to talk to/interact with, so I usually seek out a bathroom and stay there for a few minutes.

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  4. I live alone but I can relate to the need to get away from anyone for any reason at some point or another.

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  5. Yes, I've had to disengage. I either retreat to the bedroom or office. We all need time away sometimes.

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  6. Yes I think we all need to disengage from time to time. I love to craft, and I get lost doing that when I want some alone time.

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  7. Disengage. Great word. We all need to do this from time to time.

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  8. I go to the bedroom and spend some time there. Everyone deserves a time off.

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  9. I completely agree with you. Your blog is looking great. I know my limits and I can feel when I need to disengage. It's usually more than a normal person since I'm an introvert.

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  10. I think we all need to disengage sometimes and need a good place to go hide in while you're purging whatever it is from your live.

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  11. I agree. I also think that we all need at some point to disengage :)

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  12. this is especially important with the upcoming holidays, toxic relationships are especially hard to deal with during those times.

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  13. It's hard but sometimes for the better of yourself and your kids you need to disengage for a little while. Go have some alone time. I have started coloring when I feel overwhelm and just need to disconnect from the world for a bit.

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  14. I agree with this wholeheartedly, I think it's important to manage your anger in such a way that will also help you gather yourself. You need to make sure that it doesn't get the better of you and that you won't have to unleash it any time soon.

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  15. It's important not to lash out in anger. Disengaging by removing myself from the situation is one way I do this. We also use a "safe" word in our family so conflict doesn't escalate out of control. I typically go to our bathroom or bedroom to cool off.

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  16. I go and disengage at my bedroom alone and thinking of all and together with a prayer for all my problems. Sometimes you need to be alone and a space for thinking

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  17. I like disengage by taking a hot bubble bath and letting my worries slip away or by putting my headphones on and watching a good film. :)

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  18. My issue is not disengaging. Mine is re-rngaging

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  19. I think we all need some place to get disengaged at some part of time every day no matter where you are. When I had to attend some big events I just get in to a near by Coffee Shop & sip a cup of coffee all alone & come back.

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  20. I totally agree! During the holidays, my family makes me crazy, and those are really toxic relationships for me. DISENGAGE!

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  21. That's great advice to step away from the situation and diffuse a bit before giving way to anger. I appreciate all your tips!

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  22. We always need to disengage from anything that is uncomfortable and can create an issue. These are great!

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