Welcome to The Widowed Mom Podcast, episode 230, Feeling like a Widowhood Outcast.
Does it ever feel like you’re different from other widows, that maybe their relationships were better than yours or that they don’t understand your specific struggle? If so, you’re not alone. And in today’s episode I want to talk about why this happens and what you can do about it so you don’t feel like you’re on an island all by yourself.
Welcome to The Widowed Mom Podcast, the only podcast that offers a proven process to help you work through your grief, to grow, evolve, and create a future you can truly look forward to. Here’s your host, Master Certified life coach, grief expert, widow, and mom, Krista St-Germain.
Hey there, welcome to another episode of the podcast. Listen, two very cool things are coming, well, actually three. One is that this weekend, no, we’re getting very close, the first weekend in November, it’s all a blur to me, is an event that I’m hosting at my house called Coaching on the Couch. And I have 10 widows, one of my team members coming. And we’re going to spend the day coaching, supporting one another. And then we’re going to have a lovely lunch, coach some more. And then we’re going to go out to dinner and hang out and it’s going to be amazing. I’m super excited about it.
And then also Halloween is almost here, which I’m very excited about because you know I love Halloween. And this year again we figured out how to broadcast our door camera, our Nest camera up on a screen inside the house. So we can see all the little trick or treaters come up to the house before they get there, which is really fun. Because they say a lot of things about the decorations that they wouldn’t say when you actually open the door. So I’m excited for that too.
And then also, I know I’ve talked about it on the podcast, but I want to bring it up one more time, well, actually a couple more times, let’s be honest. Our Happier Holidays event starts November 6th. So if you haven’t registered for it, don’t wait, go ahead and get registered coachingwithkrista.com/freeholidayevent. Super easy to do, three days, 30 minutes a day. We’re recording all of it. You can totally catch the replays. Going to give you three tools that will help make your holidays easier, not easy, but easier.
Because holidays for widowed moms, typically not easy, but we can make them easier. And I want to invite you to that. So you can do either the free version or you can upgrade and give yourself the treat of the VIP version, whichever one you do, totally amazing. But definitely go get registered coachingwithkrista.com/freeholidayevent because the holidays are practically upon us.
So okay, let’s talk about feeling like a widowhood outcast. The reason that I want to talk about this is because it came up in Mom Goes On recently, which Mom Goes On is my paid six month program. We go very deep in there and people are very honest.
And one of our Mom Goes On members was just really honest about how she was so happy that someone else had posted something about her relationship with her late husband that made her feel better. Because she had been thinking that because her relationship was, in her words, troubled, challenging, that other people couldn’t relate and that she was alone in that. And so I want to just debunk that. First of all, I want to debunk the myth that there is such a thing as a perfect relationship because I just don’t believe it’s true.
And then also I want to talk about what’s going on in our brain that makes us feel like we’re outcasts so that you know what to do about it and you don’t have to feel like you’re on an island all by yourself. So the first thing I want you to understand is that our brain has a built-in negativity bias. And for our survival this is a good thing. Our brain is constantly on the lookout for threats and dangers and anything that would hurt us and kill us. And in the modern times that we live in, there aren’t that many dangers and threats that could really kill us.
There used to be a time where it was literally dangerous to walk outside of the cave that we lived in. There really were animals trying to kill us. It really was a much more dangerous place to be than it is now. Now it’s not so dangerous but because that negativity bias in our brain didn’t change, our brain is still looking for all the dangers. And now the dangers can translate into social threats, emails, people rejecting us, people judging us. Those all feel like threats to our survival to that part of our brain that is old and predisposed to focus on the negative.
It’s a good thing that that part of our brain exists. We actually want that part of our brain to be there because we don’t want it to give equal weight to the amazing things. We really do want it to pay attention to things that keep us alive. But knowing that that’s how our brain works is powerful. We want to be able to go, “Okay, am I actually in danger? I know it feels like my brain is hyper focusing on something here, but am I actually in danger?” Does this perceived threat translate into an actual threat? And where is it showing up in my life?
Because sometimes it can be subtle as in the case of feeling like an outcast as a widow, feeling like you are different than the others. It doesn’t seem like a big threat. It’s subtle, but yet there it is. And we are living in a world where very few actual conversations, human to human conversations happen. Most of the information that we get about the people in our lives and how they’re doing, or other widows and how they’re doing comes from social media. And guess what people are posting on social media? Guess what they’re not posting on social media?
They’re posting the nice things. They’re curating the narrative and what they want us to see, but they’re not posting, by the way, my relationship was abusive, by the way, there was an alcohol situation happening in my house, by the way, there was mental illness. No, that’s not a complete blanket statement. There are some people that do post that. But for the most part, what we see in social media is highlight reels. We see what people want us to see, not what’s really going on behind the scenes.
So we need to be aware of that because our brain’s negativity bias combined with highly curated online messages can really reinforce our belief that we’re isolated or our belief that we are the only ones or that nobody understands. So we’ve got to be aware of that because it’s inaccurate and it’s not helpful. What’s really true, and I can speak for my Mom Goes On community, is that there are all shapes and sizes of widowhood experiences, all kinds of mental health challenges happened in the partnerships or marriages, affairs happened.
There were betrayals, there was abuse, there was addictions. Things people aren’t really talking about to their friends or sharing on social media. But because I’m the one coaching people who are being very vulnerable and honest with me, I can assure you that most people’s real experience was not a fairytale. There may have been amazing things about it, but there were also not so many amazing things about it. There were all kinds of experiences. We just don’t typically talk about them in public settings. I don’t think anybody’s relationship is perfect.
I think it’s super easy after someone dies to only talk about the things that made them amazing, to kind of put them on that grief pedestal. We do this a lot and whether intentionally or not, to minimize the realness, the rawness, the actuality of what was going on. And so what I want you to know is that if you’re feeling alone because your relationship wasn’t all roses, you’re not. If your brain is scanning the environment and looking for how you’re different and making you feel bad. That doesn’t mean your brain is defective. Your brain is doing what it was designed to do to keep you alive.
And you want to ask, is this real or is this just perceived? Because chances are, it’s just your brain being hypersensitive to negativity, to that bias and perhaps worsened by the fact that most people aren’t being super honest about the realness of their relationships. And what I think and what I have experienced when I work with women is that I can help with a lot of kind of surface things.
But the deep work, the powerful stuff, the stuff that makes you feel like you lost 100 pounds of emotional baggage requires a level of vulnerability and honesty that only exists when you’re in the right community. When you’re surrounded by women who are willing to love you for whatever, not because you’re amazing. I mean, of course you are amazing, but accepting that you are amazing and also you are flawed because we’re human and that’s the way of it. Gives you the ability to talk about what was real for you, what was actually going on in your relationship.
That thing that you’ve been shaming yourself for can come to the light, and because it can come to the light, then we can unchain it. And that only happens when you believe that it’s not just you. So of course my hope is always that you’re going to come to Mom Goes On because that’s where I do what I do. And I know it to be an incredibly welcoming environment, incredibly welcoming.
And also if you don’t do that and you do want help, you’re going to need to find a community that doesn’t try to make it all roses, that doesn’t expect you to be perfect. And that that is a place where you can feel comfortable being vulnerable and talking about what was actually going on. So that you can un-shame it and you can let go of that emotional weight that you’re carrying around. So we love our brain. We love them and they’re trying to keep us alive, these brains, especially that old part of the brain. It’s always scanning the environment for danger.
So if you’re feeling isolated it might just be partially because your brain is scanning the environment looking for danger. Also be wary of what you see on social media and the surface level conversations that are happening among people that you know. Know that there is more to that. Remind yourself there’s always more and there’s nothing wrong with you if it wasn’t amazing and rosy and fantastic. That’s not really how human relationships work. There might be amazing moments, but they’re not all amazing and you’re not alone in that.
So that’s what I wanted you to hear this week. Now, go sign up for the Happier Holidays event. Remember, I love you and you’ve got this. Take care and I’ll see you next week. Bye bye.
If you like what you’ve been hearing on this podcast and want to create a future you can truly get excited about after the loss of your spouse, I invite you to join my Mom Goes On coaching program. It’s small group coaching just for widowed moms like you where I’ll help you figure out what’s holding you back and give you the tools and support you need so you can move forward with confidence.
Please don’t settle for a new normal that’s less than you deserve. Go to coachingwithkrista.com and click work with me for details and the next steps. I can’t wait to meet you.