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Volume 05 | May 2008 | Learning to Love Who YOU Are

Home | About Us | Contact Us | Courses | Coaching | Partners of Workaholics

Contents

Part 1 - Welcome!
Part 2 - Feature Article - Learning to Love Who YOU Are


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Part 1 - Welcome!

Dear Partner of a Workaholic,

Welcome to this our fifth newsletter written especially to support Partners of Workaholics who have excessive work habits. In this newsletter we will provide support for those of you who have to deal with a partner whose excessive work habits means they work all the time and ignore you.

Living with a workaholic has a number of challenges.

One of the greatest is that finding yourself playing second fiddle to your partner’s work, their colleagues, their clients, their insatiable drive to succeed in work can have a significant impact on you feel about yourself.

Partners feel rejected and at a subconscious level it becomes their fault. If I was worth more, smarter, more beautiful, cleverer … they would want to be with me. Feeling more worthless and rejected impacts on the partner’s confidence and ability to cope and the cycle gets worse.

What attracted you to your partner in the first place?

Were you attracted by their strength and drive, did it make you feel safe, or did you feel special because you had attracted someone with charisma and sense of success?

This scenario has been true of many of my clients. Where there is also an underlying issue about feelings of self worth as their spouse becomes more and more successful and spends more time working they become less and less confident about themselves and their relationship.

The solution is in learning to love and appreciate who you really are as an individual, and in doing so learning how to respond differently to the challenges of having a workaholic partner.

Time and time again this creates a change in the workaholic too but it is a bonus rather than the main act.

This month’s article focuses on learning to love who you are.

Some of you may have heard the feature on Woman’s Hour on Thursday 25th April which focused on the difficulties living with a workaholic creates. If you would like to hear that feature please visit the BBC web site at http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/womanshour/03/2008_17_thu.shtml

Are You The Partner Of a Workaholic?

  • Do you feel as if you play second fiddle to their work?
  • Is it left to you to make excuses to the children, to family and friends because they are late or too busy to attend?
  • Do your partner’s excessive work habits impact on your life and your relationship?
  • Do you send the evenings on your own – even when they are in the house?
  • Is your partner too busy or too tired to pay you the attention you need and deserve?
  • Is your life being affected because of the demands of your partner’s work?
  • Do you feel your own sense of self and your confidence are being eroded because they pay more attention to their work?
  • Are you feeling lonely and left out even though you are in a relationship?

If the answer is yes to three or more of the questions above you may be in a partnership with a workaholic.

You may be thinking:

“I didn’t need to see those questions in order to recognize that things between my partner and I are difficult because of his or her work. What I need to know is what to do about it!”

Workaholism is no different to the other “….holisms” in that the problem can very difficult for partners and families to deal with.

In the first instance you may recognise that there is a difficulty and be worried. Your worries may be for them, their long term health and well being. You may worry about the fact that the children hardly see their father/mother or that when they do they are too tired to show a real interest in them. Your worries may be about the impact work is having on your relationship and how it makes you feel about yourself.

Unless your partner accepts for themselves that they have a problem, it is extremely difficult to make them face it. Your concern may simply be ignored or be misconstrued as nagging. Until they acknowledge that they have a difficulty and they determine that they want to change their lives, you will need to deal with the impact it has on them, you and the rest of the family.

Am I saying things are hopeless? No of course not – quite the opposite in fact.

What I am suggesting is that you need to understand what being a workaholic is about. Each person will have their own personal reasons for becoming a workaholic but if you have read the information on the website you will know that there are a number of reoccurring themes. I suggest you watch and listen for the clues your partner will undoubtedly offer, as to why they have become a workaholic.

When we work with an issue which appears to be outside our control it often feels insurmountable. It is my experience that we need to work on these external things by working on ourselves. There are things we can't change, but what we can do is change the way we feel about the issue and how it makes us feel. The paradox is that as soon as we make the mental shift in ourselves there is frequently a shift in the underlying problem too.

Being the partner of someone, who is too busy to notice your needs, can begin to make you feel less attractive and really knock your self confidence. The reality is that in the majority of cases being a workaholic is about them and not you.

I suggest that you work on ensuring that you feel good about who you are and confident enough to help them to deal with their issues as and when they are ready to.

When I first began Recovering Workaholics I created it for people who wanted to redress the work/life balance in their lives. Those who wanted to enjoy their work but who were keen to create a life full of passion, enjoyment and fulfillment. It soon became evident that there were many people who were partners of workaholics and were desperately trying to manage the impact that their partners work habits had on their relationships and their lives. Sometimes the loneliest place is when we are with others.

Partners often contact me saying how alone they feel and how difficult it is to solve the problem because ultimately the change is down to someone else.

The article this month is designed to let you know that whilst you may feel very lonely, you are by no means alone. If there are particular issues or examples of difficulties you would like to explore through this newsletter please contact me and I will do my best to cover them in future newsletters.

It may feel like a huge challenge but you can help your partner to change their beliefs and behaviours but before you do so you need to examine and adapt your own.

If you would like some help to do this coaching can help.

Recovering Workaholics is a growing concern. We offer 1:1 coaching, and training to facilitate those who want a truly satisfying life. Understanding what drives us to work to the point where love, happiness and fulfillment are the poor relation is the first step to creating a life you truly love. We can help you work towards achieving your “dream” life.

We also offer support for those who are facing retirement or who have recently retired or experienced redundancy and who are finding it difficult to adjust to the change.

If you know of anyone who would be interested in working with us please let me know by contacting me at gina@recoveringworkaholics.com

Make 2008 the year when you took consistent action to make a positive difference to the quality of your own life and for those who share it with you.

With best wishes,

Gina Gardiner
Helping you create a life you love!


Recovering Workaholics
Tel in the UK: 01708 703 959
Tel from outside the UK: +44 1708 703 959
Email: gina@recoveringworkaholics.com


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Part 2 - Learning to Love Who YOU Are

Learning to Love Who YOU Are

When you think about who you really are- do you love yourself?

Do you like the person you are or do you feel that you are in some way wanting?

By loving yourself I am talking about valuing yourself for the unique, amazing person you are. Knowing your weaknesses and failings and always wanting to be better but knowing that simply being you is actually enough.

I’m not talking about being indulgent or narcissistic.

Leaning to love who you are wobbly bits and all, is something many of us find difficult. We have one set of rules to judge ourselves and a very different set of criteria by which we judge the worth of others.

A poor sense of self worth comes from so many places. How we respond is dependent on so many things, our personality, the experience itself and the other influences within our lives.

Our sense of self is often created early in life. The significant adults in our lives are generally doing the best they can and truly want the best for us. However as in the Larkin Poem which describes how parents **** you up many parents and teachers instill in us beliefs which limit our sense of worth.

One client had parents who constantly told her “You can do better” without recognizing the efforts which she made. They left her with a sense of never being good enough. The motive behind the parent’s criticism was, wanting their daughter to be the best she could be. A positive loving motive but it created a very different outcome.

Another client felt that he was always on the outside of “the gang” when he was at school. He was no good at football and a little over weight. He always felt he wasn’t good enough, until he met his now wife. She married him and it made him feel special. Several years on, she is a workaholic and although he is extremely successful in his own professional right, all the early playground feelings of insecurity have taken over once again.

Many children carry that sense of being a failure throughout adulthood even though there is plenty of evidence surrounding them that they are a perfectly successful human beings.

Others feel that their worth is entirely dependent on what they do for others. Their own needs are a very poor second to those around them. They feel good when they do things for others but that sense of worth comes at a cost of their feeling that their needs are less important and that they are simply disappearing.

Below are some simple strategies which clients have found helpful.

A Sense of Fairness

Think about a set of scales, the old fashioned sort with two weigh pans. Draw them on a piece of paper.

In the one pan consider how you judge other people. What do you expect from others? What do you think is good, bad or indifferent?

In the second pan identify the criteria you use to judge your own performance.

Ask yourself: Are the criteria the same for both? If not consider why not.

Over the coming days each time you go to beat yourself up for something you have done or failed to do and ask yourself am I being FAIR. What would I think if Fred or Bertha did this. Would I go on at them in the same way I keep beating myself up with that voice in my head.

It is crucial that you are honest and FAIR. Be no easier or harder on yourself than you are with others. Would the scale pans be even?

You Are Unique

So many of the people I work with find it difficult to identify what their strengths and skills are. They can identify in detail their short comings but stutter and stumble over coming up with a list of the things which they can do or like about themselves.

Make a list over a few days about all the things you can do and positive attributes. Don’t take things for granted. You may be kind, thoughtful, funny, a good neighbour or daughter. Your skills may include the ability to organize the family, multi task, teach other.

As you think of them write them down. Read the list at the end of each day and acknowledge that you are a very special unique human being. There is no one else who is just like you.

Explain to 5 people who know you well that you are doing a project for an organization ( Recovering Workaholics or anything else you choose) and ask them to write for you the list personal attributes and skills they think of when they think of you. What is it which makes you – you.

Learn To Love Your Body

Body image gets a great deal of press these days. Lots of people dislike their body shape, a facial feature, their height etc. The media push the myth that skinny is best and we find ourselves comparing ourselves with the air brushed and doctored pictures which fill the magazines.

Learning to be comfortable with who we are, is important. You are more likely to feel good about yourself if you are healthy and fit. If you are overweight and live an unhealthy lifestyle taking control of your life by taking positive steps to get healthy will have a positive impact on your sense of self worth. If you have a history of yo yo dieting or other eating disorders I urge you to get some help as the ongoing process can ultimately lead to greater weight gain and/or health risks. Understanding your relationship with food and creating a healthier one can help you to create and sustain a healthier life style in the long term.

The following exercise is a useful strategy to help you appreciate your physical assets.

Stand in front of a mirror. Look at yourself and identify the three things you like most about how you look. (Remember it is what you like most. You don’t have to be ecstatic, you might want to say you like them the least worst but the language is important so please use the positive format.)

Say out loud

  • "I like my hair best because………"
  • "I like my ....…….. because ………"
  • "I like my ....…….. because ………"

As you bath or shower each day and you are washing yourself.

Say thanks to each bit of you.

If you like it thank it and state why you like it “Thank you hair for being my crowning glory, I love the way you shine”

If it is a bit you don’t particularly like thank it for its function. “Thank you nose for being there and for providing me with a sense of smell”

The exercise should be done in a light hearted way. As it makes you smile you will find yourself feeling better about how things are. You start to make a friend out of the fact that having your body is part of you.

Affirmations

Try my example to start with, but then create some for yourself.
It is important to include “Even more” as it assumes you love yourself already.

Say it out loud. Each time put the emphasis in each word in turn and see just how different it feels.

Every day I love and appreciate who I am even more and in doing so I become a stronger.

Every day I love and appreciate who I am even more and in doing so I become a stronger.

Every day I love and appreciate who I am even more and in doing so I become a stronger.

Every day I love and appreciate who I am even more and in doing so I become a stronger.

Every day I love and appreciate who I am even more and in doing so I become a stronger.

Every day I love and appreciate who I am even more and in doing so I become a stronger.

Every day I love and appreciate who I am even more and in doing so I become a stronger.

Every day I love and appreciate who I am even more and in doing so I become a stronger.

Every day I love and appreciate who I am even more and in doing so I become a stronger.

Every day I love and appreciate who I am even more and in doing so I become a stronger.

Every day I love and appreciate who I am even more and in doing so I become a stronger.

Every day I love and appreciate who I am even more and in doing so I become a stronger.

Every day I love and appreciate who I am even more and in doing so I become a stronger.

And so on….

Working with a coach can be incredibly helpful when working on developing a healthy sense of self worth but there are things you can do to help yourself. Try the ideas above. We would love to hear how you get on and if you have other ideas which have worked for you.

To arrange some coaching support please contact me by email at
gina@recoveringworkaholics.com or
Phone in the UK 01708 703959 (or International +44 1708 703959).


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Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

If there are any topics you would like covered in future issues please let me know on gina@recoveringworkaholics.com or complete the feeedback form at www.recoveringworkaholics.com/enquiryform.php.

What do you think?

Warmest wishes,
Gina Gardiner


For any further information about Recovering Workaholics or to discuss your coaching needs contact
gina@recoveringworkaholics.com or
Phone in the UK 01708 703959 (or International +44 1708 703959).

Gina Gardiner recognised by "Investors In People" as creating an "innovative and exemplary training programme for emerging and middle managers" and by Ofsted as an “inspirational leader”. Her experience includes that of “Change Management” and in supporting organizational leaders in developing strategic vision and creating a “can do” culture.

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Copyright © 2008 Author : Gina Gardiner - www.ginagardiner.com