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How Great Thou Part

How Great Thou Part

10 Remarkable Benefits of Being Raised by a Single Mother

posted by corme

A single mother can bear the societal burden of being viewed as somehow not as adequate as a two-parent household. However, children of single mothers know better. They know the truth. It is not only a privilege to be raised by a single mom, but there are also many gifts that accompany it.

The children of single mothers comprehend the remarkable strength it takes to assume the role of both parents.They understand the undeniable and unexplainable bond of the mother who became all things to her children. They understand a debt and loyalty that is difficult to describe unless one has experienced it.

To the single mothers and to the children who understand their sacrifice with a loyalty and gratitude that seems impossible to repay…this is for you…thank you for the strength and the gifts.

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Thank you for choosing a remarkable love over the circumstance you were dealt.

10 Remarkable Benefits of Being Raised by a Single Mother:

Strength: The strength to do it alone if necessary. A role model who never left and who never gave up.

Independence: The independence to do whatever needed to be done despite the solitude and fear of being just one parent.

Courage: The absolute courage to do a job meant for two people alone and often with uncertain finances, jobs, etc.

Reliability: The reliability and steadfast parenting that it takes to let a child know they can count on you no matter what the circumstances.

Loyalty: The devotion as a mother to her children despite hardship and difficulty and less than ideal circumstances.

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Resilience: The determination to provide and be there. The example that giving up is not an option.

Intimacy: The level of closeness and emotional intimacy that is essential for children to feel safe in all areas of their life.

Selflessness: The degree of selflessness that it takes to be both parents without resentment or complaint or fatigue.

Resourceful: The resourcefulness it takes to problem solve everything often without the time, money or support that is needed.

Grateful: The extreme effortless love which represents the remarkable gratitude for being a mom regardless of the fact that it must be done alone. This may be the greatest gift because it conveys indescribable and unconditional love despite the unconventional circumstances.

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So now you know the secrets of a parental superhero…of a single mother.

The next time you feel sorry for someone who is being raised by just one parent – stop yourself – don’t feel sorry for them. Not even for a second.

Do not let society fool you.

They are blessed because they have been gifted.
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6 Relationship Boosters

posted by corme

Relationships are complicated, yet so uncomplicated at the same time. They seem easy so individuals jump in feet first and take off. The fact of the matter is that after take-off there is usually not much of an emotional flight plan.

Think about that for a moment.

In careers, individuals chart a path and what it will take to achieve professional goals and/or success.
In a family, individuals chart a path and what it will take to purchase a home, have children, retire, etc.
In education, individuals chart a path and what it will take to obtain a degree/certifications.

It is fascinating that the centering aspect of most lives, our relationships, lack the focus, attention and plan which they deserve.

The following are 6 Relationship Boosters to help chart a path in this emotional flight plan:

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Faith – Faith reminds us of what is most important in life and it is not the next purchase, winning an argument or work. It is living a God-centered life with family, the people we love and values coming first. A relationship is given a stronger chance of staying on course when guided by God. Faith serves as a constant reminder that though we are human and may argue, possess flaws and stumble, none of that really matters if we have the ability to reign ourselves back in and remember what is most important. This type of faithful reflection centers relationships because it allows relationships to remain the centered focus of life where they belong.

Exercise – It is far easier to love another when we love ourselves. Exercising together is an extremely healthy outlet. It is hobby, healthy and his/hers rolled into one. There is a physical aspect to relationships so working out together has obvious relationship benefits. It also reinforces necessary individual attention, taking care of one’s self, and staying healthy and strong. A strong, confident individual can equal a stronger relationship.

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Intimacy – Individuals do not thrive without intimacy; however most people think in terms of physical intimacy. Emotional intimacy is crucial for a happy relationship. People need to feel heard, understood, and safe. They need to feel as though they can share anything with their partner in life. It is easy to begin to live parallel lives as relationships mature, but one should not lose sight of shared time, secrets, and hopes and make time to keep that emotional connection super strong. An individuals partner in life should be their emotional refuge.

Social Restrictions – There is nothing better and healthy than the shared communion of friends and community. However, as the saying goes “Too much of a good thing is not a good thing.” A relationship needs to pare down their social commitments if the scale has tipped in favor of other people rather than the relationship itself. It is a constant balance to include social activities and others without neglecting one another. A good rule of thumb would be to schedule relationship time in the same manner as outside social commitments are scheduled.

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Counseling – Counseling seems to be what couples in crisis turn to. The fact is, counseling can be preventive health care for relationships. It can reinforce respect, understanding and communcation. It can help a couple grow together rather than hinder one another with pettiness and unresolved conflict. The fact is that many relationships end because one partner emotionally outgrows the other. This is a solid argument for counseling. It just may take the reversal of how many see counseling as a weakness rather than the strength that it truly is.

Shared Hobbies – A shared hobbie just provides extra insulation for a relationship. It provides one more piece of common ground that two people can share. Furthermore, it is an opportunity to share laughter, joy, and accomplishment in the same area. What could be better?

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These are just a few relationships boosters that will bring two people to a more desirable location.

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8 Relationship Killers

posted by corme

Relationships are challenging, even under the best circumstances. They require balance. There are already enough everyday life challenges that can derail a relationship. Therefore, they should stay clear of the following eight dangers.

Roles – The more relationships evolve into husband and wife rather than friends, equals, and teammates, the more the equilibrium is lost. It can evolve into stereotyping one another. It can also lead to gender-based indulgence abuse trying to show the wife that one deserves more camping, fishing, and golfing trips – or show the husband that he should put up with too many shopping sprees, spa days, etc. Roles can eventually lead to too much division between wife and husband and one person with too much power and the other powerless.

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Comparisons – If spouses compare what they do and get to do, aka, tit for tat, it can become an exhausting exercise of comparisons. It can lead to a constant back and forth positioning for power. This partner got to go out one night so the other partner demands their turn, this partner bought something now the other partner demands an immediate purchase, etc. It is a continual equalizing of the relationship.

Neglect – If spouses focus too much on their own interests and profession, it may leave little time for one another and the relationship. In turn, that can evolve into vastly separate lives.

Family Conflicts- It is crucial that each spouse ensures their family respect and treat their spouse well. This responsibility falls squarely on the spouse whose family it is. If it is ignored it can lead to long-term problems and resentments that one spouse allows their family to mistreat the other. In addition, too much family drama from either family even if it isn’t directed at a spouse can take a relationship down because the relationship needs to stay centered.

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Lack of Emotional Intimacy – It is extremely difficult to maintain a relationship which lacks emotional intimacy. It will be hard for a surface relationship to stand the test of time. A relationship which lacks this type of intimacy will leave a spouse feeling lonely, frustrated or possibly looking for a friendly ear. A relationship requires sharing on the deepest levels.

Control – A controlling spouse has one objective and that is to live life under their terms. It is counter-intuitive to relationships in general.

Selfishness – Selfishness is self-explanatory. Relationships are a ‘Relay’ and deserve give and take.

Disrespectfulness – Relationships erode in an environment of disrespectfulness. Respect begets respect and so lack of respect eventually leads to an unhealthy and chaotic communication style.

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Why Processing a Divorce Is Not Black and White

posted by corme

I get a text from my friend. It has been an excruciating divorce for her and it involves betrayal.

I think to myself just how devastating a blow that must be, how it adds salt to the already raw wound.

I make my way through her text which involves a few explanative’s. I get it. She’s processing. I know this because
I have been there. If another person were to read her text they might be filled with judgements.

Maybe a little…

She needs to move on
She should be over this
She shouldn’t let him get to her
I’m worried about her
She’s not handling this well

and so on.

Not me. I have no judgements because I understand the agony of divorce. It is a process. It is not a day, it is
not an overnight, it is not a week nor a month. It is a knockdown, drag out minute after minute, hour after hour, day after day, week after week, month after month affair. Pardon the pun.

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I am not worried about my friend. I am not one of those people who will impose timelines on her, tell her how she
should feel or add to her emotional loneliness.

I understand she is processing.

I understand the type of grief that losing love demands.

I understand that divorce is not black and white.

I understand that matters of the heart seldom are.

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The 4 Top Reactions to Divorce

posted by corme

A divorce doesn’t come with a standard reply. It is varied because there are those who simply don’t know what to say. There are others who fear it could happen to them. There are the inspiring individuals who recognize the strength it takes to alter life in this manner. There are the nurturers who are willing to jump right in with support. And there are the people who take away the sense of insecurity and validate that this is the right path.

The following four categories represent different responses to acknowledging a friends divorce:

The standard sympathy – It stems from either sincerity or the better you than me mentality.

I am so sorry
I am so sad for you
That’s too bad

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The inspiring response – It acknowledges that getting out of a bad situation is admirable and not shameful.

Good for you
You have guts
Congratulations

The helping hand – It represents the awareness for the need for support.

What can I do?
Are you alright?
Let me take you out

The supporting validator – It validates that everyone deserves to be happy and in a healthy relationship.

Happy for you…you deserve better
I am so glad you have gotten out of that situation
You deserve to be happy

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8 Warning Signs That You are in a Relationship of Benign Neglect

posted by corme

There are overtly difficult relationships and there are benignly difficult relationships. The overtly difficult relationships are extremely uncomfortable. The benignly difficult relationships, sadly, can become far more comfortable than they should.

Why? Because rather than be overtly abusive they are benignly abusive.

It’s easy to stay in a relationship of benign neglect. After all, the individual who is being ignored is with a spouse who basically leaves them alone. It seems like a pretty good deal. The ignored spouse initially believes they have independence. They also believe they have entered into a relationship with someone who is extremely laid back.

The warning signs of a relationship of benign neglect:

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Do you feel lonely even though you are in a relationship?

Do you feel so independent that you are living a single life rather than a relationship life?

Do you feel more ignored than engaged?

Do you live and share just the life and interests of your spouse, but not the life and interests that drive you?

Do you speak and feel as though your significant other does not listen to you the majority of the time?

Do you feel unsatisfied with the emotional intimacy in your relationship?

Do you feel as though nothing gets the attention of your spouse?

Do you feel as though you simply share a house rather than a relationship?

If you feel any or the majority of these things than you may be experiencing a relationship of benign neglect. If you feel an overwhelming sense of loneliness and a sense you are living a solitary life despite being in a relationship then you may also be in a relationship of benign neglect.

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A relationship of benign neglect may not carry the sudden shock of trauma, but make no mistake that it is equally as damaging. It is a long-term, slow erosion of love and lack of love.

It is just as cautionary.

Love should be overt! Love should not be benign!

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Has Your Divorce Left You with Trust Issues?

posted by corme

I am in my marriage counselors office.

“How do you think you have changed?” he asks.

“I no longer trust people,” I say. “It’s beyond the immediate relationship with my husband and more about how so many relationships are altered in divorce.”

“You should write about that,” he says. “You should write about how much friendships can change in divorce.”

“I have,” I respond. I know he is right; however, there is still much more to explore on that subject. I need to write more.

I continue my response…

“I am almost back to my old self,” I say. “My moxie, my confidence it’s returning. I am returning. I am so grateful for that; however, I don’t think I will ever regain that sense of pollyanna-esque trust I once had.

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“How about we rephrase it,” he says.

“How so?” I ask.

“Why don’t we say that you are more discerning,” he says. “You have learned to be more discerning about people. The gift of discernment is a precious gift…not distrusting, but cautious. ‘Be wise as a serpent, but harmless as a dove.'”

I like it. My marriage counselor turned a negative into a positive. I did not know this when I was initially referred to him, but he is actually a Christian based psychologist. It is a good fit for me. My faith reinforces that everything happens for a reason, even the bad stuff. However, divorce made it challenging to remember that. My counselor is a source of spirituality for me. He reminds me this is still all a part of the plan. A part of the plan that God had for me and for my children.

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He reminds me that I haven’t lost trust in people. I have gained wisdom.

I am now wise as a serpent, but still harmless as a dove.

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4 Powerful Steps to Stop Hating the Spouse You’re Divorcing

posted by corme

In my last column, I included a simple sentence that brought forth a critical turning point in my healing and emotional advancement. It was something my marriage counselor said to me early on.

“Colleen, your husband is who he is, only you are the one who made the choices to stay and accept certain things.”

I hear from a lot of people who are in pain. It’s difficult for them to heal and let go of that pain.

Why?

The end of a marriage is in many ways the ultimate betrayal because it involves the loss of trust.

It could be that a spouse had an affair.
It could be that a spouse refused to go to counseling.
It could be that a spouse turned out to not be who one thought them to be.
It could be that the spouse seemed apathetic about losing their partner.

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All of these things have one thing in common. We marry someone because we believe that we can trust them. We can trust them to only have eyes for us, do anything not to lose us, continue to be the person we believe them to be, etc.

When a marriage fails and they prove themselves untrustworthy it is hard to accept. After all, we wouldn’t have married this person if we didn’t trust them. A lack of trust makes us feel bad. It also makes us attach that ‘bad feeling’ to ourselves.

The truth? It’s important not to attach that ‘bad feeling’ to ourselves, aka the trustworthy spouse.

It is about the untrustworthy spouse.

They are who they are and it’s important to believe their actions and the message they are sending and let go. We can do this when we accept that we made the choice to stay with them despite warning signs along the way (yes, there are almost always some type of signs when we look back).

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So they are who they are and we made the choices that led us to them and to stay with them.

Once we accept this, it is oddly empowering. Our world no longer seems so out of control. The ‘bad feeling’ is no longer attached to us. We can forgive them because we are now accepting responsibility for ourselves and the role we played in the relationship.

To reiterate more specifically:

Step one: Validation: Yes, this person is who they are and they have broken trust. It’s horrible, it’s painful, it makes our world feel out of control, it gives us an overall ‘bad feeling’ about ourselves and our current situation. The validation of fact is acceptance of the person and situation. They are who they are and it is what it is.

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Step Two: Self-Responsibility: We made the choices and decisions that led us to this point in our lives. We chose this individual and we built a life with them and along the way, more than likely ignored warning signs – enabled bad behavior and stayed, etc. The right counseling shows both individuals what it is about their personality and actions that played a part in the end result even if they were the ‘trustworthy spouse.’ It exposes what it is that led us to choose an ‘untrustworthy’ individual or what led us to stay with that person.

Step Three: Forgiveness: The act of validation and acceptance combined with self-responsibility opens the door of forgiveness. Forgiveness appears as blame disappears.

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Step Four: Empowerment: We made the choices. No one did this to us. We allowed someone into our life that did not treat us well (more than likely, long before the traumatic event that ended the relationship). We put up with behaviors that led to this outcome.

Therefore,

We can stop hating our spouse.

We can start forgiving our spouse.

We can stop feeling like victims.

We can stop feeling like our world is out of control.

We can take our power back.

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Getting My Happy Back

posted by corme

I am texting a friend.

“Now that I have my happy back,” I say.

Wow! Not that long ago, I couldn’t imagine that this day would come.

I think the overall moral of my story to getting my happy back is to recognize that two wrongs do not make a
right.

Sure, I wasn’t the one initially behaving badly in my marriage. I am the one who made excuses. However, for
every excuse I made, the worse my own behavior became.

Whatever you do, do not say things to yourself such as:

They are a good person in a bad place.
They don’t mean to behave this way they don’t know any better it was in their home growing up.
This is the way most women are anyway – This is the way most men are anyway.
They are under a great deal of stress.

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NO – If a person is behaving badly it’s completely and 100% on them. The irony, is it will make you begin to behave
badly. I’ve spoken about this before. You will begin to yell, over talk because the person you’re living with isn’t
listening to you, say things you don’t mean because of the level of disrespectfulness, etc.

So what’s different in my message about enabling this time??

It’s the recognition that in addition to being an enabler, I became someone who also was no longer responsible for
my behavior – scratch that – someone who was no longer responsible for own my bad behavior.

I knew I was over talking, yelling, etc. I knew that was bad behavior. I have always been self-responsible. And yes, as I have written about before, that is what happens when you are an enabler. However, at some point (much sooner) I should have stopped accepting it as a part of trying to save my marriage and thereby somehow explainable and
realized that I had a responsibility to always be self-responsible.

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It brings me to something my marriage counselor said to me when I first began going.

“Colleen, your husband is who he is, only you are the one who made the choices you made to stay and accept certain things.”

These words were oddly empowering to me. They allowed me to forgive my husband and once again accept responsibility for myself. That would be self-responsibility. The truth is I had never played the role of victim – until my marriage went South. I had always taken responsibility for the good and the bad in my life.

I didn’t need to over talk. I didn’t need to yell.

I needed to be self-responsible. This was not a good situation, marriage or no marriage. I needed to get out.

I needed to get my happy back.

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And…

I have because the day you begin to give up on being overly responsible for another human being and self-responsible for yourself again, something crazy happens. All of the sudden, joy sneaks back into your life, hits you upside the head, resuscitates you, and says ‘fool, you tried as hard as you could’ – now worry about your own behavior.

Get your happy back!

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What Does Being Catholic Mean to You?

posted by corme

I remember the first time in elementary school that the nuns gave me a rosary. To this six year old little girl, it felt like being handed a piece of jewelry. It had clear, iridescent beads that sparkled like bling.

I have always loved the rosary. In the past twelve or more years, I have begun to collect them and rather than leave them in a drawer or just by my nightstand, I display them in various places in my house. I suppose for two reasons: They are symbolic of my faith and still the beautiful bling I found them to be as a child.

My niece recently went to Rome on her Honeymoon. I knew that she would be going to the Vatican and visiting our cousin, Father Kevin and I asked her if she would bring me home a rosary. My niece returned with a gorgeous pink rosary with silver hearts. It is even more special to me because my cousin blessed it. It is now one of my three favorite rosaries: The one blessed by The Pope, the one blessed by Father Kevin and the ones that belonged to my uncle, the priest.

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I have my Father Kevin rosary next to my computer. It is a reminder to me every day of not only my faith, but of the strength my faith gave me during this difficult period in my time.

It got me thinking.

What does being Catholic mean to me?

I don’t mean the faith or spiritual side. I mean how would I describe what my life is built upon if I met a stranger who had never heard of Catholicism.

If I were to sum up what being Catholic means to me it would be kindness and kindness is simply the manifestation of love.

It is congruent with my favorite hymn from elementary school. The nuns and teachers would usher us down to the Church during the school day. It was hard to sit still as a child, but the music made the Mass come alive. There was one song in particular that bonded me with my faith and spoke to me.

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It is the Christian hymnThey’ll Know We Are Christians by Our Love.

This song was written by a Catholic priest named Peter R. Scholtes and based on John 13:35 – “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

I think of my new pink rosary with the silver heart beads.

I think of love. I think of being Catholic.

I think it will become my favorite rosary.

Two versions of the hymn:

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Follow me on Facebook @Colleen Orme National Columnist
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Previous Posts

10 Remarkable Benefits of Being Raised by a Single Mother
A single mother can bear the societal burden of being viewed as somehow not as adequate as a two-parent household. However, children of single mothers know better. They know the truth. It is not only a privilege to be raised by a single mom, but ...

posted 4:22:47am May. 03, 2016 | read full post »

6 Relationship Boosters
Relationships are complicated, yet so uncomplicated at the same time. They seem easy so individuals jump in feet first and take off. The fact of the matter is that after take-off there is usually not much of an emotional flight plan. Think ...

posted 12:26:21pm Apr. 29, 2016 | read full post »

8 Relationship Killers
Relationships are challenging, even under the best circumstances. They require balance. There are already enough everyday life challenges that can derail a relationship. Therefore, they should stay clear of the following eight dangers. Roles ...

posted 2:45:45am Apr. 28, 2016 | read full post »

Why Processing a Divorce Is Not Black and White
I get a text from my friend. It has been an excruciating divorce for her and it involves betrayal. I think to myself just how devastating a blow that must be, how it adds salt to the already raw wound. I make my way through her text which ...

posted 2:05:44am Apr. 28, 2016 | read full post »

The 4 Top Reactions to Divorce
A divorce doesn't come with a standard reply. It is varied because there are those who simply don't know what to say. There are others who fear it could happen to them. There are the inspiring individuals who recognize the strength it takes to ...

posted 1:47:29am Apr. 28, 2016 | read full post »

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