While the number of divorces in the United States zooms higher than the amount of votes cast for a singer on American Idol, the myth of the happily-ever-after marriage may be nothing more than mere fairy dust.
However, with guidance from divorce expert, Lorena Bathey, women who now find themselves back in the singles lane can experience a quicker and healthier path to a more fulfilling life with the help of a new kind of "fairy godmother."
When Bathey, who is the author of Happy Beginnings: How I Became My Own Fairy Godmother (Scepter Press), was informed by her husband of 11 years that he was pulling the plug on their marriage, she was stunned.
Although her marriage had never been the stuff fairy tales are made of, says Bathey, "I would have preferred to be like most married couples; sometimes loving my husband and sometimes wanting to run him over with my car."
Eventually, Bathey created her own happily-ever-after story, and in the process, discovered that she had mastered the keys to help other women heal from the ravages of divorce, turn their lives around, and boldly go on to live their dreams.
Bathey describes the initial three levels of grief common to women in the first few months of their divorce as:
- "Get me alcohol quick;"
- "I don't need a man," and,
- "I'm a loser who will be living alone with many cats."
After moving beyond these levels, she concludes that three new phases take center stage in a divorced woman's life:
1) A selfish phase, in which one tries to find a replacement boyfriend so as to not feel more pain;
2) A self-help phase in which one lives in the psychology section of Borders and Barnes and Noble, and reads every book about recovering from a divorce; and
3) A self-empowerment phase, in which a woman becomes her own advocate -- or "fairy godmother."
Says Bathey, "When a divorce occurs, a woman is shell-shocked. Even if she is highly accomplished, she feels like a victim and she loses her sense of self-esteem. For example, look at Uma Thurman, who is one of the most gorgeous women in the world. When Ethan Hawkes left her, she said she no longer felt any sense of confidence in herself."
"When a woman feels like a victim, someone is draining her power away," continues Bathey, referencing the thousands of ex-husbands who intimately know how to push their former spouse's buttons.
To call back one's power, she encourages women to say "no," as in:
- "No. I do not accept that."
- "No, you may not speak to me that way."
- "No, you don't get to know why I'm going there."
- "No, you don't get to know why I'm choosing to do x, y, and z."
For those who need a personal power boost, Bathey also offers "Fairy Godmother in Training" workshops, which are especially handy when an ex-husband throws the "you're-a-bad-mother" card or when dealing with any other equally challenging or stressful situation.
So, how does one become her own fairy godmother? According to Bathey, Fairy Godmothers in Training begin by visualizing the presence of a special fairy godmother who embodies all of the attributes they wished they possessed.
At first, one's fairy godmother is seen as a being outside of oneself. However, as each woman learns how to take her power back and strengthens emotionally, she becomes less susceptible to the hurtful comments or actions of her ex. As she gains more and more power, the fairy godmother on the outside will naturally become a part of her on the inside.
"When a woman becomes her own fairy godmother," says Bathey, "she fully realizes her sense of self-worth, and she will no longer put up with the kinds of things she put up with before.
For example, when she is ready to jump back into the dating game, this time, she will not settle for a "fixer-upper" relationship. That is what many divorced women do. They find guys who don't fit and try to make them fit."
Instead, Bathey encourages women to wait for exactly what they want. "Would a fairy godmother ever wave her wand and bring about anything other than the very best for herself?" she asks. "With a fixer upper, you'll be at the 'Love Home Depot' every weekend, throwing money into the emotional money pit.
No fairy godmother would let someone abuse her or give her less than what she knows she deserves. If the person turns out to be a fixer upper, a fairy godmother will take her wand and zap that person, and make them disappear."
Bathey is passionate about empowering women to take their magic wand into their own hands and create a new life that surpasses their dreams. "Most women keep their dreams really small," she says. "I want women to dream big. Stop sitting in the back seat and letting life pass you by. Take control of the wheel and drive yourself.
There's nothing wrong with being sure of what you want and going for it, and being sure of what you don't want and saying, 'no thank you.' That's fairy godmother."
Learn more about Lorena Bathey at her website.
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