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Healing Separation and Divorce - How to Get Started.

Healing Separation and Divorce

I am pleased to announce that the Separation and Divorce Group of York Region has been meeting for two years.

Why did I start a separation and divorce group? I am asked this question all the time. I believe that people going through separation and divorce are in a traumatic time in their lives. A support group alongside private counselling can encourage healing and learning how to heal in a group setting. Separation and divorce is very normal, if half of society is getting separated, I deem this very normal.

 Separation and divorce is not a death. Separation and divorce is the end of a marriage.

Friends and family. People around the separating couple can be very helpful and very destructive all at the same time. If you are wondering what a person needs when they are going through separation and divorce here are a few tips. A home cooked meal, a gift certificate to a local book store, journals, pens, a listening ear, refrain from your story or stories you heard. Negative information to a person going through separation and divorce is not what they need. Over talking about the separation and divorce is also detrimental to the person’s healing.

Group members ask very similar questions. How long till I feel better? He/she is not the person I married, what happened? I am angry, sad and confused how do I deal with my feelings? What can I do to start healing? How do I get through holidays and events? I am so sad I can’t get out of bed, when will that feeling end? These are just a few of the many questions participants have in the group. Every two weeks we touch on all feelings, all emotions, all questions and we heal together.   We cry, laugh and work through all emotions knowing that it takes time to day at a time.

To learn more about the York Region Separation and Divorce Self-Help Group visit For questions please contact Angel Freedman BSW RSW This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 905-780-8119

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Separation/Divorce "Think Before you Write"

Not all emails, phone calls, and text messages need to be answered right away. Not every question needs to be answered either.  You can simply smile when you don't have an answer in the moment.  Think before you speak or write.

Emotions are high in separation and divorce. This is the reality. Anger, frustration and most of all sadness play an integral part of this very real traumatic time in a person’s life.

Messages from the person that you separated and/or divorced from can be exhausting as well as quite disheartening. I will use the word “barraging” emails and text messages that arrive; often, fast and furious from one person and the recipient does have a choice to respond back in a manner that doesn’t bring on more conflict. I like to use the example of a fishing pole, one person casts the line and the other gets hooked right in and then it starts. CUT THE LINE, before you get hooked in!

If one person sends an email that can be answered right away with a few short words that is the way to go. If someone writes, “I will be late picking up tomorrow, I will send you a quick note on the exact time” This is not the time to go into a deep discussion about punctuality, taking the other person’s tardiness inventory, and/or anything else you want to dream up because you are just generally mad/angry about everything else. This short note can escalate into ten pages of basic anger dialogue and really all the email said is the person was going to be a few minutes late. Time to let go.....let’s start with a few words and short sentences to answer an email. If the email is degrading, anger driven and or downright rude. “Thanks for sharing” is a very good response. Remember cut the line quickly!

Very short answers to emails that have no, sarcasm or anger attached is better for your own health.

Thank you

Thank you for informing me

I appreciate the information

I will consider your thoughts and get back to you

You have some valid points

I never looked at it that way

I will take that into consideration

Give me a day to think about your question

Angel Freedman

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PRESS RELEASE: Join us this Monday, July 16, 2012 @ 11:00 am for the launch
The Angel Freedman Show with host Angel Freedman, a new internet TV show
about issues that affect everyone's daily lives . Watch it live on @">
About Angel Freedman: Angel is an individual, couples and group counsellor specializing in separation and divorce. Angel is an accomplished public speaker and activist,
involved in feminist issues, issues of homelessness, youth in crisis,
domestic violence and other social justice movements. Follow Angel, Twitter @angelfreedman and Freedman

THIS MONDAY JULY 16th @ 11 AM EST on the premier episode of The Angel
Freedman Show, meet Toronto Police Social Media Officer Constable Scott
Mills. Constable Mills is passionate about the success of our youth and through social media he is making a difference. Learn about how our children are using social media - the good, the
bad and the ugly. Follow Constable Scott Mills, produces interactive, internet based talk shows. Post your
comments or questions during the show, in real time, using the chat bar on
the right hand of the Livestream page.

To watch the Angel Freedman show this Monday @ 11 AM click here:
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How Is Your Marriage?

When is the last time you checked in on your marriage? I don’t mean going on that obligatory “date night” that everyone seems to suggest ...helps a marriage. I often wonder who started this date night in a married situation. Are we really trying to live in the past when we were actually dating our spouse? I am all for evenings out with your spouse, it is a very important part of nurturing the relationship. What I am trying to get across here is go out for dinner because you want to not because you feel you have to.

Have you ever had a “couples meetings” , you know the kind that takes about 10 minutes a night and you check in with each other. Let me tell you a little more about it. The couple meetings are very similar to your family meetings it is a time to reflect not only on your day, but on your hopes and dreams for the future.

Remember those mornings (before you had children) when you woke up late on a Saturday morning read the paper and had coffee? The best part of all was when you decided to go back to bed!

Children are wonderful and they add such joy to the lives of a loving marriage. The key word “loving”. If your relationship is a little rocky you may want to ensure you are both in a very secure place with each other before you decide to have children. The most important relationship is and always should be your relationship with your spouse. Children move out and your spouse and you remain together happily married if you “check in on the marriage” and never take each other for granted.

In the fall the “Couples & Marriage Maintenance Workshops” will be commencing. You can check out my website for further details. If you want more information about couple meetings and/or family meetings please contact me through my website.

Healthy, loving relationships between two adult people are full of fun, love, happiness and time together. The best thing you can do for your children is love each other. Children who witness unloving, lifeless marriages will learn that staying in that type of union is OK. I would hope that all children will grow up and find very meaningful, happy and loving relationships and if they are not all those things and more I hope they can end them in an amicable way. Staying with a spouse that you don’t even like is a dis-service to your children.

I wish you love, happiness and fun in all your relationships.

Individual, Couples & Group Counsellor

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“Releasing the Past to Move Towards The Present”

Do you have an old comfortable blanket that you just love? It may be ripped a little or starting to fray and you have often thought about buying a new one to replace it, but really never get around to it? It has been the blanket you have always had and really why would you change it?

In counselling I often talk about choosing angering, depressing, and headaching in relation to an old blanket. These negative feelings that we feel are that old blanket, it is what we know and are comfortable with. We choose them first and choose them often, just like the old blanket we cuddle up with at night, we choose to keep it even though it’s time to “move on” and buy a new blanket.

When you choose angering as an example you are choosing to keep the misery going. You can choose to deal with what is “angering” you and move into the present moment. The first step is to choose someone, a professional that can support you through the past, but not dwell on the past for too long. What happened in the past has to stay there, in my opinion therapy is not about being in the past for too long, it’s about trusting that person to support you to get you into the present moment and living the best happy, fun, and fulfilling life you possibly can......without medication.

Talking about feelings is the start to acknowledging them. Unhappiness is a reality for many people. Choosing to be happy is attainable...... if you are ready to let go of the past. Do you really want to spend every day being unhappy or would you prefer to choose to be happy?

Unhappy people often have a relationship in their lives that is not working out or they need support with. This is a very important part of your first step to healing is acknowledging the relationship that is not working out in your life. Remember people do not change if they do not want to. Hoping that they will change and will change for you is delusional and is never going to happen. You can choose to make the changes for yourself. You can also be honest with that person and tell them how you are feeling. Ask that person if they are willing to seek counselling with you or go yourself.

Remember you live one life and to stay unhappy is a choice....your choice. If you have children you are the greatest teacher they have and you are directly teaching that choosing unhappiness is ok.

Today choose to be happy.


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You Can Choose to Move Forward After Separation & Divorce

Do you remember your first boyfriend or girlfriend? Do you remember when you “broke up” and how hurt you were? I am to believe though you moved on and had other boyfriends or girlfriends and eventually married and now you are facing separation and divorce.

The reason I am bringing up your first boyfriend or girlfriend from the past is because you are not dwelling on the past...or are you? Most of us moved on, a slight broken heart when we broke up with our first boyfriend or girlfriend, but we seemed to have move forward. Do you hate your first boyfriend’s or girlfriend's wife or husband now? I would  hope not.

I want you to know it is possible to move forward with the right counselling and/or group therapy.  People fall in love again and they find new partners. I do understand that in separation and divorce it can be a little more complicated than our first boyfriend or girlfriend, I mean there are no children, dogs, wedding gifts, really bad vases or houses involved in first relationships as young people, though all those things can be worked out as adults who CHOOSE to move forward.

Bottom line is RELATIONSHIPS END.....I can’t stress that enough and when they end they are in the past. If you are ready to move forward you are actually living in the present.

Animosity, revenge, hate, depression and anger are emotions we all can feel after separation and divorce. In the moment all those feelings are justifiable....just remember though they are not healthy to hold onto forever. You can choose, happiness, love and respectful relationships going forward.

Mid-life love can be and is actually beautiful and attainable. If you have a chance to read the book, “The Authentic Heart” by John Amodeo, PhD. An Eightfold Path to Midlife Love. Love in mid-life is so different because you are more mature and understand fully what you are looking for in a spouse and lifelong partner.

Why do people hate their ex-husband or wife’s new partner? Is that fair to the other person? Always think that once you have found a new love would you want your ex-partner to be rude or disrespectful to the new person in your life? Yes, the pain is real and it is there, I am not disqualifying anyone’s feelings, what I am saying is the union with your ex-partner is over....that is the truth.

If you have children and are choosing to say derogatory statements about your ex-partners new love you are directly teaching that it is not OK to move forward in life when relationships end. Is that fair to a child? What message does that send? I would hope all young people have the chance to break-up with a boyfriend or girlfriend at least once.

Counselling or group therapy really helps, talk about your feelings and choose to live your life to the fullest.


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Healing Separation & Divorce Without Medication.

Why is it as a society we are quick to seek help if we break a leg or have the flu? We know what to do to recover from a broken leg; we go to the hospital and get a cast, and with the flu we need lots of fluids and rest. How about sadness, anger, unhappiness and despair? How about feelings while going through Separation & Divorce?

The new “normal” to cope with all emotions seems to be in a pill form. The problem is you are masking the pain and deciding to not talk about it and basically avoiding the inevitable.

In our Separation & Divorce Self-Help Group in York Region we discuss all emotions that the group is going through such as anger, sadness, despair and general confusion to what is going to happen next. We also talk about going forward; this is a very important part of healing. You are in the healing and then you are out of it. I am not saying there is a time limit put on everyone’s individual healing process, but I encourage the group to discuss the future, it is part of healing the past.

I encouarge my clients to make a time commitment to me and commit to their own healing plan.  We visit the past and we also make time to move forward. Continually talking about the past, is just that the PAST we eventually have to leave it there. We visit it, but the bottom line is we are in the moment and we are moving forward.

How long do you want to stay angry? Anger is your choice and a very healthy emotion. I suggest that at some point if would be healthy for you to talk about your feelings and what is going on for you. You also have the choice to be happy. Talking about your separation and divorce with one person or a group can make a world of difference, you are not alone.

As a counsellor it is my utmost pleasure to have the privilege to listen to my individual clients and facilitate the Separation & Divorce Self Help Group every two weeks. My schooling experience, my life experience, and research has brought me to the conclusion people want to be happy and I will supprt you through the healing to live your best life ever. Please visit my website for further information

Happiness is your choice.


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Can separation and divorce be respectful and amicable?

The answer is yes absolutely.

Couples get separated and divorced every day. This is not a news flash. It seems though that when the process starts the couple and everyone around them starts to act like they are the first couple to get divorced on the entire planet. How many times do you hear, “oh you are getting divorced, good for have chosen to be happy in your life” or “wonderful news you are going to move forward and now you are teaching your children that relationships end instead of staying in a loveless marriage”. So far I haven’t heard those statements from many people.

It seems that as a society we don’t like to talk about separation and divorce. People get married and that is a happy occasion, but once that couple starts to talk about terminating the union because it is not working out, everyone around them starts judging and advice giving. As a counsellor I am not an “advice giver” I am a person who will make suggestions and build upon how the client wants to start on his or her healing path and moving forward. No one has the right to tell another human being what to do. It always seems that the “advice givers” are suddenly therapists and usually they themselves are in marriages that are not working out.

In our self help group we discuss seeking out new friends after divorce. I never suggest to leave your old friends or your friends that you and your spouse had, but I do suggest that a few new friends that didn’t know you as a married couple isn’t a bad idea. Finding an activity or class is also a great way to meet new people and avoids the continual questions about why you got divorced. Supportive non advice giving friends are fantastic and if you are a friend of a couple going through a divorce, be a good listener it is usually what the person needs.

Respect can be very difficult when emotions are running high. If you put your children and yourself first you can find it in yourself to be respectful to the partner you are divorcing.

Emotionally intelligent people have amicable separations and divorce. They have decided that the union ended, they want to find happiness for the rest of their lives and they don’t want to spend their life savings to pay lawyers to separate from a person they no longer love.

It all sounds pretty simple, but then why are our courts full of unhappy divorcing people?

Bottom line; it is your choice and you are the only one that can decide that you are emotionally intelligent and you want to live the rest of your life in a happy way. Seek a counsellor, seek a self help group and make a plan.


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Mom & Dad Are Getting A Divorce - Tips For You and Your Children

Creating a space for open dialogue with your children to discuss what is going to happen in regards to the divorce can ease the stress children may feel. A family meeting is a wonderful way to allow everyone especially in the beginning to start an open dialogue with Mom, Dad and the children to ask questions in a safe environment to both parents. Children are looking for the facts, like what about my toys, clothes and will I have a toothbrush at Mom’s and one at Dad’s? These are very important questions to a little person. Have your child make a list of items that he or she will need when going to the other parents new home. Allow your child to buy the toothbrush with you so they feel they are part of this new life.

Children have fears that Mom and Dad will not like each other anymore. I suggest telling your children that you and your ex-partner are friends now and you both love the children very much. You are not divorcing the children you are divorcing each other. Do not lie to your children, be honest with them, and explain that relationships end between partners, not between parents and children.

A family calendar at both homes would be beneficial for the children, so they know when they are with Mommy and when they are with Daddy. That will relieve the continual asking of “when am I with Dad this week?” question. You may even want to buy a small calendar for the child to have so they can write the days that they are with the other parent.

Posting an agenda on the fridge for upcoming family meetings can be very beneficial. Children often have so many questions in the beginning of a separation and divorce, having weekly family meetings can be a great calm time to go over the questions and the weekly plans and the new schedule.

Calling your ex-partner my EX or my EX HUSBAND or EX WIFE can also be very disheartening for children. I recommend using language like...the children’s father/mother. The word EX is so harsh!

One extremely important tip I can give you is please never say anything derogatory about the children’s mother or father in front of your children. Discuss your personal feelings with friends’ away from your children and remember children hear and see everything. If you are on your cell phone in the car, don’t for one minute think they cannot hear you even if they are watching a movie. They hear everything!

On transition day when you are picking up the children, it is not a time to discuss any heated issues at the door. If you have something to say write it out and pass the person an envelope or call them at a later time. A cordial hello and goodbye is the best way to go.

Your children are also sad and often angry about what happened. Both emotions are very normal and they will be wonderful in time as you will is a healing process give it time and remember it is ok to cry in front of your children, as they will see you are healing as well.

One of my favorite books for younger children is called: "When Mom and Dad Divorce" by Emily Menendez-Aponte.


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Couple & Marriage Maintenance

Couples & Marriage Maintenance

As a society we seem to take the union between two people, for granted.   A pretty bold statement I would believe most people may say. Let me explain why.

Couples and Married people want to stay together. They want to be happy, in love, be accepting of each other, support each other emotionally, and have a wondrous and intimate sex life. The Couples & Marriage Workshops have been created to develop intimacy in your relationship by making your relationship a priority.

What are the basics? Most people want to remain in the relationship they are in, but feel that they are looking for answers to develop a better and more intimate relationship with their partners.

Let’s start with communication; are you talking to your partner? Are you taking the time to really listen to each other? Creating a space in your home to be together with a cup of tea for just 10 minutes a day to truly open your hearts about your feelings, dreams, fears, and joys are essential for relationships. This is a special uninterrupted time that the two of you can have eye to eye contact away from the rest of the world. Make time for daily “marriagemeetings”.

Have fun with your partner, pull out the old scrabble game and find time to play a game or two during the week. Bring popcorn in bed and laugh when you find a piece in the morning. Find time to laugh and giggle together.

Intimacy in a love relationship is one of the most loving, bonding and beautiful unions between two people. When two people are in love....true love like the great poets wrote about, you are truly happy with your partner.

You yourself also have to be happy, your partner can add to your happiness but, he or she cannot make your happiness. Discuss your feelings and seek a counsellor if you are feeling you cannot get passed whatever it is that has brought on your unhappiness. Be honest and true with your partner to allow him or her to be there when you need support.

A friend once told me, that your partner cannot be your friend. I disagree with that statement; your partner is your best friend.

One last little tidbit of information; when you have children, you and your partner need to make more of an effort to nurture the relationship. Remember you and your partner are the most important relationship you guys were first and when children move out your partner will still be there if you do the maintenance.


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