All of us have days when we may feel anxious anticipation, but sometimes those days can become more frequent after infidelity, divorce, or other life-changing events. This episode will dive into how to prepare for hard days.
Whether it is a custody situation, an anniversary, or being around people who may ask tough questions, it is possible to not let those events de-rail you.
Listen to understand how to best prepare for those days so you can set yourself up for success. You’ll know how to handle your emotions, how to be the best version of yourself, and how you can create the outcome in your mind before the day happens.
I’m Andrea Giles, and you’re listening to the Heal from Infidelity podcast,
episode number 21, Planning Ahead for Hard Days.
Hello, and welcome to the Heal from Infidelity podcast for courageous women
learn not only to heal from their spouse’s betrayal, but to become the
boldest, truest, most decisive and confident versions of themselves ever.
If you know there’s more for you than the life here currently living, but
don’t quite know how to get there, you are in the right place. Stick around
to learn how to create a life that will knock your own socks off. Is it
possible? It is, and I’m here to show you how. I’m your host, Andrea Giles.
Are you ready? Let’s dive in.
Hello, beautiful people. I’m so glad that you’re here. I hope that you’re
doing well. So this episode is going to be all about planning ahead for
hard days. It is right around holiday season here. We have Christmas coming
up, we have New Year’s coming up, and it can be a hard time of year for a
lot of people.
I know that we can have hard days throughout the year sprinkled about.
Right? But because there tend to be some harder things around holidays
sometimes, I decided to do this episode now to dive in and just talk about
this. So part of the reason why I think holidays can be especially hard for
my particular clientele is because sometimes we’re dealing with first.
It might be a first Christmas without your kids with you that day. It might
be a first holiday season splitting up kids. It might be that it’s your
first holiday season staying with your spouse with the hard year that
you’ve had of learning about your spouses infidelity. It might be that
you’re having get togethers with people that bring up stuff for you, things
that you think they might be thinking or might feel a little bit shaky
There’s all kinds of different situations we can find ourselves in at this
time of year. We tend to talk about the wonderful holiday season, and I do
love the holiday season, but the reality is that for a lot of people, there
can be some painful things that come up, and I want to help you be prepared
for that. Okay?
So I’m just going to dive right on in. So first step, I’m going to talk
about a few different ways to set yourself up for success. Okay? So first
step is to take a look at why this date is hard for you. Ask yourself the
question, “Why is this hard for me?” And then listen to your answer.
Be honest with your answer. What is the story you are associating with that
day? What will be challenging for you on this day or at this event? Ask
yourself. Okay? I’m going to give you some examples that might come up for
some of you. Some of these are just hypothetical, some of these are from
clients that I work with, that these are actual things that they’re dealing
Okay? So for example, one of my clients, I had a call with her the day
before Thanksgiving, and she was feeling anxiety a couple days before
Thanksgiving. She was feeling anxiety about that Thanksgiving because she
and her husband are trying to work through things, and the family has known
that they have struggled and knows that they have gotten close to getting
And she was worried about comments that might be made or how she would be
treated. It was going to be with his family. And so all of the things that
I’m going to talk about in this podcast I worked through with her before
that day. That’s one example of something that might be difficult.
Another client of mine is dealing with having a home study done at her home
for a custody evaluation. And I worked with her last week, and she has a
lot of anxiety around that. Another thing might be stepping into a
mediation. Going to a mediation where you’re deciding who gets what, who
does what, whatever, and some anticipatory anxiety about that.
Another would be an anniversary of when she found out, this is a client as
well, this is right around the time where she found out that her husband
was having an affair. So replaying, going through those things, remembering
how hard it was. It’s only been one year. Sometimes it can be anniversaries
that come up, dates that come up that mean something to you.
Another might be anticipatory anxiety about a conversation that you know
need to have that you know will be hard for you. Those are just a few of
many examples. What might be hard to one person might not be hard for you,
and what might be really hard for you might not be hard for someone else.
And it doesn’t matter. Okay?
I want you to ask yourself, why is this hard? Why am I feeling this anxiety
around this date? What am I making it mean? What am I worried about? So in
the case of the mediation, my particular client in that situation, she was
really afraid that she would be plowed over.
She was afraid that she would be too scared to tell the truth and to hold
her ground. She was worried that she would be minimized and that she would
feel like she was shrinking. So she had a lot of fear around that.
Another one, the example of the home study, she’s so scared that she might
miss something that the evaluator will see and use against her, and that
she’d be judged critically and potentially put herself in risk of the
custody situation. Anniversaries, my clients who worry about anniversaries
are worried of their, they’re kind of afraid of their own emotions.
They’re worried that it will just take them over, that they’ll be overcome
with powerful, painful emotions and memories, and that it will be too much
to bear, too painful. The hard conversation, my clients worry that they
might lose control and say something they don’t mean or won’t be able to
say what they want to say.
They might worry about the judgements or the feelings of the person they’re
talking to. They don’t intend to hurt that person’s feelings, but they’re
afraid of how it might land and the other person’s judgments or hurts or
how they’re feeling. They might worry about what they feel about themselves
in the moment.
Might worry that they’ll be so set before and so settled before in what
they want to say, and that they’ll lose their grip on it and are so afraid
of that. So just telling the truth to yourself of why it might be difficult
is huge, because you’re acknowledging that you’re human, and that sometimes
we are afraid of our own feelings.
Naming out loud what it is that you’re afraid of can help you take a little
step back from it and decide if you want to keep that fear or not. It can
help you to see outside your own brain in a little bit of a different lens,
and then you can decide if that’s something you actually want to engage in
in the first place. Right?
So the next step here is in deciding how you want to show up for yourself
at this event. I suggest journaling all of this, writing it down. This
process of getting it out of your head and onto paper is just one more
separation from yourself and the words on the paper. It’s not you, it’s
just the thoughts that you’re having.
It’s the feelings that you’re having. It’s not actually you. Back to what I
just said though about telling the truth, having that little bit of a
different lens on and saying to myself, “Okay, I’m afraid of this. Do I
want to believe this fear? Do I want to buy into this?
Do I want to even go down that path? Or do I want to just set it down right
now?” If it’s something that you know is going to come again and again and
rear its head, no problem, no problem at all. Okay? You’re instructing
yourself how you want to deal with it. You’re instructing yourself how
you’re going to handle it.
It’s not a problem. Okay? It doesn’t mean anything that it’s there. So when
you’re journaling this, you’re writing down how you want to show up for
yourself at this event. Write it down. Okay? Let’s go back to some of the
examples I used before. Let’s talk about an anniversary. Okay? So let’s say
that the anniversary’s coming, and sure, you could psych yourself up and
say, “I’m just going to stay positive that day.”
You might not want to though. What if you just allowed yourself to be sad
and said, “This is what I’m going to do. I am going to allow some sadness,
but I’m going to set some boundaries around where I’m going to allow my
thoughts to go.” Did you know you can set boundaries with your own
thoughts? It’s so cool.
You can decide, “I’m going to allow some sadness. I’m going to stay in this
place, but I’m not going to start beating myself up. I’m not going to start
wondering what if. I’m just going to allow myself to be sad that it’s our
anniversary and that things did not go the way I thought they were.” Okay?
This goes for if you stay married or not.
Those days can come up and they can just be something that reminds you of
some hard times, whether you stay with the person or not, you can allow
yourself some sadness. Okay? Not a problem. How about in the case of the
mediation? This client of mine decided she wanted to show up minded and
with a clear articulation of what she wanted.
So her work was to decide what she wanted, to decide how she wanted to show
up, to write down the things that matter to her and to be ready to say
those things in that room. For the other one of being around family that
knows you’re having problems, you want to be confident, or you might want
to be these things, right?
You might want to show up as confident, not over explaining, or being in an
apologetic energy. I love Brené Brown. Anyone here a Brené Brown fan? I
love her. She’s great. If you haven’t listened to her or read anything, go.
Just pick up just about anything. YouTube, she’s great. I love Brené. I
love what she says when she needs to remind herself of who she is, “Do not
Do not shrink, but stand my sacred ground.” Isn’t that amazing? Do not puff
up. Do not shrink, but stand my sacred ground. That’s the energy that this
client wanted to have when she went into this mediation, “I’m not going to
get pushy. I’m not going to try to convince anybody of anything, and I’m
also not going to shrink. Going to stand my sacred ground.” Okay?
Okay. So on to step three. Okay? Get really, really clear on what it looks
like to be that person. You’ll hear me say all the time in these podcasts
to ask yourself really good questions and answer them truthfully. So for
example, what if in the situation of the Thanksgiving dinner with the
extended family, what if you set up an escape route for yourself?
If it starts to go this way, this is how I’m going to take an exit. I’m
going to allow myself to leave. What would that look like? What if you have
a very specific plan to take care of yourself? For example, on the
anniversary day, what if you just decided that on this day, I’m going to
give myself a couple hours to just be with myself.
I’m going to take a bath, I’m going to go for a walk, I’m going to maybe do
some yoga, maybe do some meditation, whatever that is for you, but giving
yourself permission to be with yourself. What we tend to do on those days
is we try to keep ourselves so busy so we don’t have to look at it or feel
I’m asking you to allow yourself to feel. What if that was your plan? Was
I’m going to allow myself to feel some pain. I’m going to allow myself to
process my emotion and not make it wrong that I’m feeling it. What if you
just allowed that? What if you had a codeword? What if you clued somebody
else in on the thing that you’re afraid of?
And part of the plan that you set up is a codeword of needing somebody else
to just be there and help you and to recognize that you’re in a certain
spot emotionally, and to kind of help you out and remind you. Somebody to
remind you of who you are and how you want to experience that day. It’s
kind of an accountability thing as well. Right?
So part of this is getting really clear about the result that you want.
Okay? So let’s give an example here. Let’s talk about my client who was
going into a mediation. Okay? I asked her to get really clear about what
she wanted. Now we can’t control what other people in the situation are
going to do.
We can kind of guess what they’re going to do, right? But we don’t know. We
don’t know exactly. And so you need to set yourself up for knowing what
success looks like to you, regardless of what other people do. So in the
example of the mediation, the result that she wanted was to ask clearly for
what she wants and only say yes to something when she means it.
That’s it. Not arguing, not getting into it, not shoving down her wishes
and desires and discounting her own voice. So to do this, she would need to
speak up, she would need to ask clarifying questions. She would need to say
yes when she means yes and no when she means no. She would need to feel
And a thought that she might be thinking is, “What I want matters.”
Thinking what I want matters can create a feeling of empowerment and allow
her to show up in that way. I want you to do this same kind of exercise for
whatever date or event you might be dreading. You’re going through deciding
what you want your result to be, and then how you need to show up for that
result to happen in that way.
What you need to feel to take the actions that you’re taking and the
thought that’s feeling that feeling. Okay? You’re riding out the thought.
That’s going to create the emotion that you want to be able to show up the
way you want to and ultimately get the result that you want. Another really
great question to ask yourself is, “If it gets really, really hard, what is
I want you to have some kind of reminder to yourself that you can read at
this event that will remind you. It can be a screen saver that you can
glance at on your phone. It could be a note that you keep in your pocket.
It can be sharing your plan with someone else and asking for their help.
The most important step here in all of this is to mentally rehearse the
event over and over again and decide what your plan will be. Decide in your
mind what it’s going to look like, and then play it out in your mind over
and over. Play out different scenarios.
If this person that I kind of am nervous about says this or does this, this
is how I respond. And you’re literally watching yourself in your mind
respond in that way. You’re playing it out in your mind over and over
again. Now I’m going to give you an example from my son. And I think I
might have shared this before, I apologize, but it’s very relevant here.
So I have a son who needed to have a difficult conversation. And I asked
him, “No matter what the other people in the room do, how will you know
that you won? How will you know that it was successful and that you showed
up in the way that you wanted to?” And he said, “I won’t get defensive. No
matter what, I will not be defensive.”
And so afterwards, when we talked and I asked him, “Did you win?” He said,
“Yep, I did. I didn’t get defensive.” And you know what? The people
involved did not say the things he wanted them to say. It was a little bit
rough actually. But for him, he could walk away with his head held high
because he knew what his standard was for himself, that he was not going to
be defensive, and that he was still going to stand his ground without
caving to that.
So in the end, he could be proud of himself. Practice over and over,
rehearse it in your mind. When you wake up in the morning, think about that
day, think about whatever it is, the conversation, whatever it is, what
you’re anticipating, and actually go there in your mind and play out
This way too, you’re not surprised when things happen because you’ve
already rehearsed it in your mind over and over, right? You’ve already seen
it in your mind. You’ve already planned on it. You already know what you’re
going to do. Also, I just want to point out that sometimes winning the day
is allowing yourself to have a hard day.
What if you can just let it be hard? What if it’s okay to just have a hard
day? Say, “Yep.” How can you hold yourself in that and have compassion for
yourself and say, “It’s okay that I’m having a hard day. I love myself. I’m
going to let it be hard today.” Wrapping your arms around yourself, taking
care of yourself, nurturing yourself.
It’s okay. And I want you to remind yourself that how you feel that day is
not always how you’re going to feel. You’re having a day. It doesn’t mean
it’s going to last forever, okay? It might mean that part of experiencing
that day is talking to somebody about what you’re experiencing even.
And especially when it’s not something that you normally talk about. It
might be part of healing for you to open up and talk about it. So I’m going
to give you a couple examples from my own life that this, I’ve used this
work for in hopes that it will help you. Okay? One of them is, as you know,
if you’ve listened to my podcast, my first husband died seven months after
we got divorced.
And it was quite a blow. And it was tricky because I had some people
telling me that I shouldn’t be sad because we were divorced and what’s the
problem. And in reality, I was very, very sad. I was very, very crushed. I
was very sad that this person that I was married to for 16 years was gone.
I was sad for my babies who lost their father, and I was sad that it was so
quick and sudden and that none of us had a chance to say goodbye. He was
just gone. And so on that anniversary of his death, for the first few
years, I wanted to just be sad. I wanted to remember that day and remember
the concern and care that I had for him.
I wanted to give him that moment out of respect for his life, out of
respect that he was the father of my six children, out of respect for our
marriage, out of respect for the space that we took up in each other’s
life. We were married for 16 years. It didn’t matter that it ended in
I could still hold that space to think about him and show some reverence
for the life that he lost that day. His life was over that day. And it’s
been so interesting because as I have allowed myself to feel what I’m going
to feel, to say, “I think I am just going to feel sad today,” this last
year it came and went, and I was totally fine.
And I think a lot of it is because I’ve allowed myself to feel. And I no
longer need to do that. I can think about him and think about him with a
smile on my face and wish him all the best and not get pulled into feelings
of sadness because I’ve already experienced it. And now I’m ready to move
forward. And I don’t feel the need to do that anymore.
It’s interesting how allowing ourself to be sad can help us on the back end
to be open to feeling other things that we might want to feel. Another day
that has traditionally been kind of hard for me is Valentine’s Day. And I
know that I’ve mentioned this before too, but I got married to my husband
four years ago and his first wife died on Valentine’s Day.
And that’s been a little bit of a hard day because my new kids lost their
mom that day. And because my brain likes to play tricks on me that day. And
coming from my experience of all the deceit and all of the things that
happened in my first marriage, my brain likes to trick me into making me
think that he’s not with me that day, that he’s somewhere else, and lots of
drama, lots of drama in my mind on that day, lots of storytelling on that
And I’ve practiced this work and I get better and better at it as the years
go by of just allowing myself to be somebody who feels, who feels for
myself who has compassion for myself, who feels for my husband who lost his
wife that day, who feels for my children who lost their mother that day.
And I can have compassion for all of us that it’s not ever going to be your
traditional Valentine’s Day.
And I can hold space for that. And it’s okay. And I can decide what that
day will look like. No matter what, you get to decide, my friends, how you
want to show up. You get to decide. People are going to do what they’re
going to do. People are going to be people. Right? You get to decide what
is a win for you. And like you’ve heard me say before, a question that is
always good to ask is, “What would love do?
How would love show up in this situation? How would love show up for me and
for everyone in the room?” Sometimes love is saying the hard things.
Sometimes love is feeling the hard emotions, but the more intentional you
are about this, you don’t need to be blindsided anymore by those holidays.
You don’t need to be blindsided like, oh, this anxious dread and anxiety of
the day because you already have a plan and you know that you can handle
it. You know that whatever negative emotion you experience that day, that
it’s temporary. Whatever happens, you can handle it. You’re tough, you’re
You are feeling it intentionally on purpose. You will not always feel this
way, and that brighter days are going to come. Those days will not always
be as hard as they are today. The more you practice this work, the more
those scary days lose their grip.
They are not quite as foreboding and scary anymore. So I’m sending you all
my love. I’m sending you a big hug from Montana, wherever you are. I’ve
decided for my family that I’m going to hold off on episode number 22 until
after Christmas. I’m going to take some time off that week and spend some
time with my family.
So there will be no episode on Christmas Day, but there will be the
following week. But I’ll be thinking about you. Thank you so much for being
here. I love you all, and I will see you next time. Thank you for listening
to the Heal from Infidelity podcast.
If you would like to be kept in the know about upcoming free classes, new
podcast episodes, and other ways of working with me, go subscribe to my
weekly email. You can subscribe at andreagiles.com/lies-about-infidelity/.
Again, it’s andreagiles.com/lies-about-infidelity/. I will see you next