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The other night, I cozied up with a glass of wine and watched that buzzed-about TV drama Big Little Lies starring (and produced by) the ever-inspiring Reese Witherspoon. OMG… it’s a must-watch! You’ll laugh, cry (a lot, and then some!) and will be completely distracted from your own woes as you become enthralled in the twisted story line.

I saw myself in so many different moments throughout this series – in both the challenge and beauty of motherhood, the adversity of difficult relationships, those new beginnings and the steadfast friendships that get you through it all.

But there was one moment in the show when my heart skipped a beat.

The reality of TV

I wasn’t expecting Nicole Kidman to take my passion to the big screen, but there she was.

Spoiler alert! After a secretive struggle through the toxic dynamics of an abusive relationship, the character Nicole plays, Celeste, finally reaches out for help from a marriage counsellor.

In just a few simple words, the counsellor tore Celeste’s current view of her reality apart and helped her acknowledge the danger and damage that a toxic relationship was doing to her and her children. The counsellor saw straight through Celeste’s shame and guilt-ridden excuses. Then she did something that made me gasp: she told Celeste to start documenting absolutely everything – NOW. The emotion in Celeste’s face said it all!

The counsellor (my new hero) urged her to photocopy statements and personal documents, take photos of evidence (including bruises and injuries) and start making an exit plan. Plus, she encouraged her to share the abuse with a loyal friend to have a respectable witness to call on if things got nasty.

I was instantly reminded of the first day I met with my lawyer. “Make sure you are documenting EVERYTHING!”, she said with an unmistakably serious tone. Looking back, I honestly feel this statement struck me down harder than the day my marriage fell apart. It made the reality of becoming a divorcee with two under two so (scarily) real.

Now, in any other situation, documenting in exactly the way the counsellor advised Celeste would be a breeze. But when your personal safety, finances, emotions and especially your children’s future is in the balance (and knowing you only have one go at this), it’s a whole different ball game.

When it came to documenting, here’s what I wished I knew at the start of my journey:
  1. How to get started.

  2. How to document vital information as it happened.

  3. How to maintain a positive attitude.

A solution for this wasn’t out there when I separated from my husband, so I decided to build it myself.

Let’s break it down:

1. What to document

  • All relevant communication (between you and your ex, lawyers, children’s school, doctors etc., in person, on the phone, SMS, email, social media etc.)

  • Important dates and events

  • Any notable incidents

  • Evidence (turn ON Location Services and date stamp in iPhotos)

  • Financial commitments and expenses (relevant to the children, support payments, and bills etc)

  • Visitation schedules for children

  • Children’s health, well-being and behaviour

  • Commitments (promises) made by the other parent, and any defaults (financial or in person)

  • Legal representative’s meeting notes, correspondence, call times etc to cross check their bills

2. How to organise

  • Use Hello Mojo’s app! Otherwise, use an A4 notepad or a soft-copy document. You’ll also need a large folder for collecting hard copies documents or evidence.

  • Turn the track changes function ON if you’re using a soft-copy document!

  • Record chronologically (in a table label columns across: date, time, location, people involved, and then record details (a factual, non-emotive recollection). Make note where the evidence is located/stored. Lastly, tag the entry with a code for ease of reference later on eg. domestic abuse, children, settlement negotiations etc)

  • Stick to the facts. It’s tempting to blast your ex, but it’s best to use non-emotive language no matter how mad you might be. Use, “he said”, “she said”, “I said” and “then this happened”, plus the all-important, “here’s the evidence”. “I noticed this reaction from the children”. Sadly, a Mills & Boon novel will not help you in family court.

  • Link conversations as you go, particularly if a conversation bounces over multiple communications channels. If you start on SMS, then a reply is sent via email, followed up with a phone conversation, you should make notes on each entry to show the conversation trail.

  • Attach or make reference to the evidence’s location

3. What exactly is considered as evidence?

  • Emails, SMS, messenger or social media correspondence, phone logs, bills, video call logs, face-to-face conversation notes, photos, phone recordings (check the legal requirements in your state), police reports of domestic violence, witness accounts, meetings minutes or notes, a list of agreed parental commitments, proof of broken promises, no shows, agreed visitation schedules, financial records, professional or school reports concerning the children etc. If in doubt, document it!

4. How to store your records?

  • Hello Mojo has implemented multiple high-level privacy and security settings for the protection and storage of your records.

  • Keep your journal in a (very) secure location.

  • If you are keeping records on a soft copy (i.e. a Word document), BACK IT UP!

5. Other key information

  • Don’t tell: It’s going to be very tempting to tell your ex, particularly if they’re being difficult, that you’re recording everything in a diary. Don’t go there! You’re handing over your power and the privilege granted by having the notes in the first place… and could result in a subpoena if your case goes to court.

  • Make it official: If you’re documenting a serious event or incident, copy the text of this specific entry into an email and forward it to your lawyer for their records.

  • A private diary or journal: If you wish to document your feelings or your experience of going through divorce, this is where a personal, private diary or journal should come into play. Keep it separate, don’t give it to your lawyer and don’t tell anyone about it.

  • Your privilege: You own the privilege on information that you give to your lawyer; however, once it’s with your lawyer, they may advise that it should be disclosed to the other party. It’s up to you whether to accept their advice or not. To avoid accidental disclosure, get into the habit of always writing, ‘This correspondence is private and confidential. For my lawyer’s eyes only’ at the top of your emails, documents or evidence given to your lawyer. Better to be safe than sorry (just be aware that it won’t stop advised disclosure).

  • Children matter: If you have children, consider writing an entry about them once a month, including their milestones, achievements, events attended, what you have done for and with them, the other parent’s involvement, things they have talked to you about, beautiful things they have said, your take on how they seems to be fairing etc. Now, this is where you can pour your heart out.

Lastly, you need to accept the commitment to document – and believe YOU CAN DO IT!

As always, it’s better to be prepared for the worst and hope for the best. And, fingers crossed, this little insurance policy you’re creating never has to pay out!

If you’re currently facing the reality of a breakup, separation, divorce, co-parenting journey or are a victim of domestic abuse, there is now an app to help you document absolutely everything – information, communication and evidence – so you’re ready for whatever legal obligations that may arise.

Download on the App Store

Download on Google Play

For more support and documenting tips, download my FREE e-book, 5 Separation & Divorce Hacks. It’s packed with helpful tips and advice from those who’ve been right where you are now. It will help you go in the right direction faster, and less painfully.

You’re doing just fine. Take it one day at a time. And remember, be especially kind to yourself.


Annie Kendall
Founder | Hello Mojo


Her Blog

When you held that tiny bundle in your arms for the first time, did you make a wish for your new baby’s future? Did you hope they’d be kind and fair? Did you gaze at your partner and imagine the happy home you’d make as a little family? I know I did.

And what about now? Perhaps when you gaze at your little ones, you have some different things running through your mind: will they be okay with the split? And are they going to turn into the narcissist you’re separating from?

What do we mean when we talk about narcissism? Some common traits are:

  • Charming at first

  • Arrogant

  • Have a sense of superiority

  • Dream of incredible success, beauty and fortune

  • Divide people into winners or losers

  • Constantly seek praise

  • Insults and demeans others to make themselves look superior

  • Regularly speak of how “unfair” life is

  • Blame everybody except themselves for their problems

Sound familiar?

Co-parenting with a narcissist is almost as hard as living with one. But raising a mini one? That’s every (non-narcissistic) parent’s nightmare. So how do you prevent your children from following in those negative footprints? And how do you protect them from all the game-playing by your narcissistic ex?

According to Bill Eddy, a lawyer, therapist, mediator and the President of High Conflict Institute, there are four key skills to teach your children that will immunise them against narcissism.

  1. Flexible Thinking.
    Children need to be taught they’re no better than anybody else, and learn that everybody has strengths and weaknesses. As parents, we should instil in them the expectation of being treated with respect, and how to treat others that way, too.

  2. Managed Emotions.

    Narcissists tend to get really angry when things go the wrong way, and their emotions get way out of control. Emotions shouldn’t be seen as something scary for children–both in others and in themselves–so we need to encourage children to express, name and regulate their emotions in a healthy way.

  3. Moderating Behaviour.
    A narcissist likes to cut people off from their love or attention on a whim. Hello, silent treatment! Children should be encouraged to avoid this all-or-nothing thinking in their relationships. Instead, you could suggest they talk through the issue with the person they are having problems with, or that they back off and give them some space respectfully.

  4. Checking Yourself.

    Narcissists are preoccupied with blaming others for their life, their emotions and their problems. If you can teach your children to check whether they’re using the skills above and encourage them to take responsibility for their own emotions, it’s unlikely you’ll find you have a little narcissist on your hands.

Encouraging these skills in your children plays a big part in guiding their development. But there’s more that you can do as a parent to protect them throughout the split. The key? According to a recent study on parenting through a separation, it’s not about discipline or sticking to a bed time. Instead, it’s crucial to model the behaviour you’re hoping to encourage:

  1. Show unconditional love for your child.

    This is fundamental to their ability to cope with the split, and essential for the development of healthy relationships.

  2. Manage your own stress.
    You can’t be perfect, and your children will see you upset, but it’s the way you deal with those emotions that will make the difference. It’s helpful to express, name and then show your child how you navigate those emotions.

  3. Let them see you in other healthy relationships.

    Watching you interact in friendships, family groups and even with a new partner models what good relationships look like.

Finally, how do you deal with the narcissist who is now your co-parent? Bill says to think of it like a business relationship–and the business is raising your children. And if you can’t have a respectful conversation in person or on the phone, text and email is the way to go… just don’t forget that sometimes things that blow up over email will calm down face to face.

I’d love to hear your tactics for helping your children get through tricky times. Let me know in the comments below.

If you’re currently facing the reality of a breakup, separation, divorce, co-parenting journey or are a victim of domestic abuse, there is now an app to help you document absolutely everything – information, communication and evidence – so you’re ready for whatever legal obligations that may arise.

Download on the App Store

Download on Google Play

For more support, download my FREE e-book, 5 Separation & Divorce Hacks. It’s packed with helpful tips and advice from those who’ve been right where you are now. It will help you go in the right direction faster, and less painfully.

You’re doing just fine. Take it one day at a time. And remember, be especially kind to yourself.


Annie Kendall
Founder | Hello Mojo


Her Blog

There’s the ex: new hair cut looking sharp, a big old smile pasted on their face, phone pinging with Tinder notifications while the kids happily gaze up at them. Have they been working out?

Then there’s you: bags under your eyes from another sleepless night and a mind that’s jumping between your bank balance and your break-up.

What on God’s green earth is going on, you wonder. How do they have it all together, and so quickly?!

The truth is, they probably don’t. And even if they do, I’m here to tell you: it doesn’t matter. Moving forward from a separation or divorce is dependent on ditching the comparison game. Forget the bitterness, and tell those mean little voices who are trying to convince you you’re not good enough to hit the road. You CAN attract all the good things that you desire into your life.

It’s all about mindset. And yes, I get that when you’re heart-broken, bitter, feeling like you are trapped in a situation that someone else put you in, it is hard (really hard) to stop the negative thoughts from taking over.

Louise Hay put this best when she urged us all to adopt the mindset: “Only good lies before me”. In other words, no matter what life throws at you, it’s all going to work out for the best.

But how do you go from exhausted to enlightened? I won’t lie, it’s not easy—but it is worth it.

The four ways to shift your mindset and create the life you desire:

1. Open your mind

The ex used a word you don’t like. The ex’s new partner dressed a certain way in front of the kids. There was a crazy driver behind you in peak hour. The ex made a comment about you running late to collect the kids. You were unimpressed with your latest legal bill. The children gave you attitude because they are struggling to deal with the two-home situation.

I’ve been there. But according to Wayne Dyer, philosopher, self-help author, and a motivational speaker, “most people actually spend their lives looking for occasions to be offended. They’re actually out there hoping to find some reason to be offended. And, there is no shortage of reasons – they are out there everywhere”.

Another phrase for it is the victim mentality. And when that’s where our head’s at, we’re closing our mind to what is possible for us. “Having an open mind means opening yourself up to the potentiality, and the possibility, that everything and anything is possible”. It’s a mindset that says, “I’m never looking for something to be offended by”.

Tip: Start by noticing when you do this. And when you do catch yourself, turn it around to find something in that very moment to be grateful for.

2. You can’t see gold if you’re always looking for blue

Imagine you just bought a new car. You’re bubbling with excitement… it’s a brand-new-to-market make and colour. It’s definitely going to turn heads on the road.

You leave the car dealership, turn the corner and then O.M.G. – there is the exact same car. Two minutes down the road – another – exactly the same. And another. In total, five of them before you get home. It happens every time!

Why is this? Simple: once you make yourself aware of something – you start to notice it, and you begin to attract it.

How does this relate to you dealing with a split, or to you being jealous of your ex’s amazing new life?

Well, if all you see is that your ex has it all together, and you DON’T….that’s all you are going to see (and that’s the way it’s going to be, and feel, for a long, long time!).

Tip: Try flipping this around (and while you’re at it, take your ex out of the thought equation all together). Start pushing the thought that YOU have it all together. Start seeing GOLD not BLUE. Everyday… all day long. Focus on what YOU desire.

3. You already have everything

Did you know that floating out there in the Universe – right now – is absolutely every reality you will ever desire?

The problem: you are simply not experiencing it yet.

Neale Donald Walsch says, “You need to reach into the sea of infinite possibilities and call for it – the reality you now choose to experience.”

‘How exactly do you call for it?’, I hear you ask. With your thoughts, words and actions, of course: what you say, what you think or believe, and what you do.

There is a catch, though.

You need to be strategic in the way you request things – particularly by being aware of the driving motivation behind your wish.

Let’s break that down.

Wish: I want a nicer home (your mindset: because I can’t survive in this cramped little box). Universe says “YES”.

Wish: I need more money (your mindset: because I can’t afford the groceries this week). Universe says “YES”.

Wish: I’d like to be slimmer (your mindset: because I feel and look terrible this way). Universe says, “YES”.

What is the Universe actually saying yes to? Your mindset – not your wish.

If your statement comes from the deep seeded thought that you do not have any (money, happiness, fitness etc.), you will struggle to see results. Your thoughts have a huge influence on the final outcome.

This is where affirmations come in handy. Think about it: if you tell yourself more times in a day that you are unhappy than you are happy, or poor than rich, or fat and flabby than trim, taut and terrific… guess who wins? That’s right: Mr. Unhappy, Mr. Poor, and Mr. Fat and Flabby.

Tip: Write yourself some affirmations. Write them on sticky notes – put them everywhere around the house, on the dash of your car, on your desk at work, reminders on your phone, on the mirror in the bathroom.

I am strong.

I am gorgeous.

I am bold.

I have a heart of gold.

I can achieve anything I set my mind to.

There is an abundance of money in and around my life.

I am an amazing parent.

I am fit and healthy.

I am doing a great job.

I give myself permission to shine and be happy everyday.

Come up with your own powerful affirmations. Or, for suggestions check out websites like Louise Hay’s. Live by these affirmations, and watch the goodness start to flow into your life.

4. Sending out the right vibrations

It’s no coincidence that when a thought pops into your head about someone you’d promised to call (but didn’t) you unexpectedly bump into this person on the street.

“I was just about to call you!”, you blurt out. Or stumble through, “Oh, I was just thinking of you!”.

Incredibly there’s actually a rhyme and reason to this: a science of super powers.

It’s called The Law of Vibration. This law states that everything is vibrating with energy. Absolutely everything – a chair, a book, a tree, an animal, people, our emotions and thoughts. We are living in a massive sea of energy.

Speaker and author Camillo Loken says, “Our thoughts are on a certain vibrational frequency and hence are part of the vibrating universe. The Law of Attraction, which is based on The Law of Vibration, states that we attract what we are sending out. Hence positive energies attract positive energies and negative energies attract negative energies.”

“Thought is the most potent vibration – so this means you CAN attract to you what you want and wish for.”

“When you know that your thoughts and emotions are vibrating (The Law of Vibration) and you know that “like attracts like” (The Law of Attraction) you will appreciate that you can now start to alter your life just by altering your thoughts and emotions.”

Just asking the universe for things (like happiness, love, money) is sadly not quite enough to get the job done. You must make sure your emotions and feelings are in harmony with your wish, too. “You need to “fall in love” with what you want in order to be in the correct vibrational state”, says Loken.

Tip: Watch Bob Proctor’s Youtube video on thought vibrations and The Law of Attraction to understand this concept fully.

You CAN have what you desire, today!

To Hell with circumstances. I make opportunities! – Bruce Lee

Whether you’re at the beginning, middle or end of your separation or divorce, I encourage you to learn these lessons and be the creator of your own circumstances from here on in.

Mix with happier people that are vibrating on a higher level than you are now – these people will lift your energy, your vibrations and your awareness. These people feel good to be around and in turn increase your feel-good factor.

If you’re aware to the fact that you’re not happy, it’s because the universe is sending you a message. Lift your positive outlook game, and awareness, to attract what you desire.

Always expect the best.

And make yourself extremely aware of that which you DO want (not what you don’t have). You need to focus your energy and vibrations on the specific goal – what you desire. Go for it!

If you’re currently facing the reality of a breakup, separation, divorce, co-parenting journey or are a victim of domestic abuse, there is now an app to help you document absolutely everything – information, communication and evidence – so you’re ready for whatever legal obligations that may arise.

Download on the App Store

Download on Google Play

For more support, download my FREE e-book, 5 Separation & Divorce Hacks. It’s packed with helpful tips and advice from those who’ve been right where you are now. It will help you go in the right direction faster, and less painfully.

I’d love to know what affirmations you’re focusing on right now. Let me know in the comments below.

You’re doing just fine. Take it one day at a time. And remember, be especially kind to yourself.


Annie Kendall
Founder | Hello Mojo


Her Blog

“Oh, the places you’ll go! Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away!” 
– Dr. Seuss

Really? Great places, I hear you scoff.

If you’re in the middle of a separation or divorce, or going through a really rocky patch, that Great Place you glimpsed on your wedding day probably looks like a not-so-great dump these days.

Truth is: Dr Seuss did set our expectations for life pretty darn high! (Fairytales, rom-coms and Disney have something to answer for, too). So how do you move on when those expectations–for life, for love–lead you to heartbreak?

Let’s break it down

Love them or hate them, expectations–defined as “a strong belief that something will happen or be the case”–help us to reach for great heights. Anticipate possible dangers. And allow us to predict and forecast how an experience will unfold. They’re what drives the belief you’ll have a faithful marriage; they also underpin that argument you have with your partner when they throw you a curveball.

They ready our heart rate for moments of pure joy, or despair. Save us from danger, from risking our lives, or from doing something totally embarrassing.

Expectations carry a badge of trust or a shield of warning. They give us standards to uphold. And they offer us the opportunity to make so-called ‘informed’ decisions (that is, if you believe in crystal balls) before participating in an activity.

But, here’s where things get messed up

A Harvard study led by psychologist and happiness expert Dan Gilbert concluded that expectations can actually lessen the joy and happiness factor in life.


Expectations present us with an alternative outcome for every situation – the one you role play in your mind ahead of the event, and actual reality. So, rather than wholeheartedly accepting and owning what happens to us minute by minute, there’s always a decision pending about which would have been the better outcome. We deliberate, compare and usually hedge our bets.

Expectations add inflated ambition to new experiences, a great deal of internal pressure and a massive amount of emotion, all of which may or may not be useful depending on the situation.

Where do expectations come from?

Turns out, our brains have evolved to become “experience simulators”, as Gilbert puts it.

Think of it like this: pilots practice in flight simulators so they don’t make mistakes in real life.

“Human beings actually have the marvelous adaptation that means they can have experiences in their heads before they try them out in real life,” he says.

These simulated experiences become our expectations.

Amazing, right? But that means rather than being completely present or open to the new possibilities that our future holds, each situation is influenced by an expectation.

Because of this, we miss experiencing so much joy and happiness in simply living life as it happens. We fail to listen to others’ points of view because we are too busy remembering our pre-rehearsed lines. We avoid situations where we expect to be uncomfortable or feel pain. We are convinced that we’re right. And, we would rather argue a preconceived idea than compromise, or in some cases, change our tune to agree with our spouse or ex.

The thing is, an expectation is purely conjured up in our mind’s eye. It’s not reality. However, we attach to it very real and significant meaning.

The good news: now you know this, you can change it.

Advice to help you heal and move forwards powerfully

Since my divorce I’ve spent a lot of time actively healing so I can move forwards with a life I love.

One thing I’ve learned? When you stop playing the blame game – no matter under what circumstance the relationship may have ended – you’re immediately empowered. I’m not saying your ex wasn’t at fault – particularly if there was any kind of abuse involved – but there comes a point where you have to look beyond what happened in the past in order to move on with your future.

Try this exercise: write a Mills and Boon style love story about your relationship – start to finish. The purpose: to figure out where you may be able to take (some) responsibility for the breakdown in your relationship (at first, this concept may be difficult to comprehend if you’re feeling hurt or betrayed!). This isn’t an exercise in self-punishment, trust me. It’s about gaining a deeper understanding of how things broke down.

To make this easier, I’d like to share a little about what I discovered from doing this exercise. (Yes, it has to do with expectations!)

So, our love affair began… and my story went on and on, page after page. Mostly happy, until it wasn’t.

Finally, I was done. I read and re-read the story… and, I made a major discovery.

In the early days of our relationship, it became clear that I was systematically ticking off desirable attributes on my virtual ‘husband must-have checklist’.

My list was comprehensive and detailed but very attainable (so I thought!). Perhaps 15 points long.

The issue was that as soon as I saw that my new boyfriend (now ex) had checked off just five items on my list, I started calling him Mr Right.

At this point in my story, I could suddenly see what happened: my subconscious took over and ticked off every other ‘must-have’ on my list …even if he didn’t fulfill the criteria.

And there was my problem: I now had an expectation that he could do everything on my personal checklist.

So, when I needed a qualified carpenter, a keen fisherman, or someone to enjoy country music with, I became internally frustrated with the in-house talent.

I didn’t quite realize this at the time. And I never verbalized these frustrations. But looking back, I’m sure my body language and mood would have suggested just as much.

I suddenly realized how stressful it must have been for my ex feeling like he always needed to live up to my fabricated and totally unrealistic expectations just so he could please me.

Would things have been different if not for my expectations? Maybe, maybe not. In hindsight, perhaps I should have listened to this advice from Tony Robbins: “Turn your expectations into appreciation and your whole life will change.”

The power of expectations
“It’s worth taking stock of how often our imagination, our expectations and assumptions, bleed into reality and actually change experience or change our bodies.”
Chris Berdik

As you walk forwards from here (from a separation, divorce, perhaps an abusive partner and into your new life), I challenge you to continually ask yourself if your experiences are being influenced by expectations. Are you putting your past into your future? Are you open to the power of a new experience (even if you’ve lived through the same situation before)?

Acknowledge your expectations and run with them – you still have the power. Or bench them for a whole new realm of amazing possibilities that comes from living in the moment.

If you’re currently facing the reality of a breakup, separation, divorce, co-parenting journey or are a victim of domestic abuse, there is now an app to help you document absolutely everything – information, communication and evidence – so you’re ready for whatever legal obligations may arise.

Download on the App Store

Download on Google Play

For more support, download my FREE e-book, 5 Separation & Divorce Hacks. It’s packed with helpful tips and advice from those who’ve been right where you are now. It will help you go in the right direction faster, and less painfully.

I’d love to know what expectations have been holding you back from new experiences or that may have contributed to your reality today. Let me know in the comments below.

You’re doing just fine. Take it one day at a time. And remember, be especially kind to yourself.


Annie Kendall
Founder | Hello Mojo


Her Blog

Think back: have you ever been so furious with your spouse or ex that you’ve fired off a nasty SMS, shot off a ranty email or left an angry voicemail?

Well, you’re definitely not alone.

Truth is, emotions are a very hard beast to tame at the best of times – but especially so when you’re heartbroken, confused or angry. The key? Understanding that it’s a (very normal) process… and you will come out the other side.

The 7 Stages of a Breakup

Emotions are driven by numerous chemical reactions in your body. They’re designed to help you survive, process and deal with a new reality, and navigate your way through seven different stages of a breakup, according to the team at She Knows.

Stage 1. Shock: “What the hell just happened?”

Stage 2. Denial: “This is so not happening.”

Stage 3. Isolation: “I just want to sit in this all by myself.”

Stage 4. Anger: “I hate you for breaking my heart!”

Stage 5. Bargaining: “What will it take to get him/her back?”

Stage 6. Depression: “I will never get over him/her.”

Stage 7. Acceptance: “I understand why I was with him/her, why I’m not now, and that I will be better than just OK.”

The good news: you will make it out the other side of Stage 7.

The bad news: it takes a good six stages (and a decent amount of time) to get your emotions functioning properly again after a breakup. So yep, that’s plenty of time to get yourself into trouble if you don’t know how to manage the way you communicate.

Why tread carefully?

Firstly, it’s important to be aware that emotions can cloud your judgment throughout a difficult relationship, breakup, separation or divorce.

Plus, emotions can weigh in very heavily on your desire to unleash verbally (or in writing) just to get a point across— without first considering the consequence.

Unfortunately, when you communicate in the heat of the moment the idea that, one day, you could be cross-examined in courtroom about that colourful SMS you’re about to hit send on is far from your mind.

Know this: communication with a spouse or ex can come back to bite you through the separation or divorce process (if that’s where your relationship is headed).

We’re talking defamation, incrimination, or as a judgment on your character. No, thank you! You’re smarter than that.

So, here’s the long and the short of it: don’t hand your spouse or ex anything they could use against you — because there’s a good chance they will.

Communicate with confidence

If you do one thing today, do yourself a favour and watch this video Communicating with Confidence by Caroline Goyder. Okay, it’s directed at those looking to gain more confidence expressing themselves socially – but her techniques can also be used to help you get clarity before communicating with your spouse or ex.

When you’re faced with a situation (any situation, really) that requires you to contact, speak with or respond to your spouse or ex, Caroline suggests preparing yourself by breathing low and slow, building your inner confidence and remembering that sometimes you may be speaking on behalf of someone else (let’s say your children in the case of a separation or divorce). How would they wish to be heard?

The secret of good communicating

When communicating with your spouse or ex, it’s all about taking breaths!

No matter if you’re sending an SMS, email, posting on social media, speaking on the phone, or face to face – it’s all the same – it’s communicating. So what does taking breaths have to do with it?

As Caroline says, “We breathe our thoughts.” All our out-breaths are used for words (speaking!). Our in-breaths, for thought.

Picture this: if there are loving and positive thoughts on the in-breath, loving and positive words and tones flow on the out-breath. So, you know exactly where I’m going with this when it comes to upset and angry thoughts. Right?

The Romans knew this “breath” secret best. In Latin, the two words inspiration and respiration have the same root. “They knew that our breath was thought,” Caroline says.

Spoiler alert!

“Because we speak on the out-breath all you have to think about is the in-breath. And, the simplest way to think about the in-breath? Close. Your. Mouth.”

Who would have thought? All you need to do to be able to control those horribly complicated, upset or sometimes revenge-filled thoughts that you wish to verbalise to your spouse or ex, is to shut your mouth (not forever, promise). Take time with your breath and thoughts before acting (or reacting!).

That said, I’d now like to share these 7 tips to help you protect yourself when it comes to communicating with your spouse or ex.

7 Ways To Make Your Communication Safe
  1. Words Matter

Always be careful with what you put in writing. Be prepared that what you do put in writing can come back to haunt you. Even if your relationship is amicable today, things can change from one day to the next… even from one SMS to the next.

  1. Trust Nobody

I’m sort of joking, but it pays to be particularly mindful of your correspondence with your spouse or ex, your in-laws, and your friends (they may choose sides – and quite possibly, not yours!).

  1. Hit Pause

Think twice (and then think again) each and every time you pick up your phone to send an SMS or email. Take a little extra time than normal before you respond to any correspondence. Make a rule to sleep on it— the further removed you are from the heat of the moment, the clearer your head becomes.

  1. Think Like A Spy

Be careful what you say, even when it’s not in writing. Are your phone calls being recorded without your permission? Are ‘your’ friends yours or your ex’s? As hard as it is, do your best to manage your emotions and language when speaking with your spouse, ex, in-laws or friends.

  1. But Don’t Get Carried Away

Check the legal requirements in your state before you start recording phone calls. In most cases, you are required by law to make the other party aware that the phone conversation will be recorded and seek their permission. If phone recordings are used as evidence in a court situation, the opposing lawyer will have access to that evidence and could possibly cross-examine you about it too.

  1. Stop Over-Sharing

Keep your documenting private. Your ex doesn’t need to know you’re collecting information, tracking your interactions or keeping a diary. If he or she knows these documents exist, they could have them subpoenaed at a later date during your case.

  1. Think About Your Shrink

If you see a counsellor/psychologist while going through divorce, be aware that everything you tell them goes on file. And, there is a possibility that their files can be subpoenaed during your court case, if you go down that road. Your counsellor/ psychologist can also be summonsed to appear on the stand to answer questions based on their professional opinion. My suggestion: ask your legal representative or lawyer if there are ways to legally protect yourself when seeking support and therapy.

For now though: take a step back. Take a little more time to breathe IN. And, do your best to be considerate of the future, your children and the sort of relationship you want with your spouse or ex down the track.

And, if you need any more convincing: there’s a good possibility that if you can consciously reduce the amount of emotion and tension in your side of the conversation, it can help curb the incidences of unfavourable language directed back at you by your spouse or ex (fingers crossed). You’ll feel more empowered in general – and, yes, things should run just that little bit smoother for you.

If you’re currently facing the reality of a breakup, separation, divorce, co-parenting journey or are a victim of domestic abuse, there is now an app to help you document absolutely everything – information, communication and evidence – so you’re ready for whatever legal obligations that may arise.

Download on the App Store

Download on Google Play

For more support, download my FREE e-book, 5 Separation & Divorce Hacks. It’s packed with helpful tips and advice from those who’ve been right where you are now. It will help you go in the right direction faster, and less painfully.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on testing communication situations, techniques you use to best communicate with your spouse or ex, and ways you refrain from saying something you might regret. Let me know in the comments below.

You’re doing just fine. Take it one day at a time. And remember, be especially kind to yourself.


Annie Kendall
Founder | Hello Mojo


Her Blog

When my happily ever after ended, I had more rude awakenings than Lady Gaga has costume changes. One of these realizations? Just how entangled my soon-to-be-ex husband and my tech worlds had become in only a few short years.

Throughout my marriage there was no hesitation to share mobile phones, tablets, laptops, desktop computers, cars (with GPS), emails, usernames and passwords. It was all part and parcel of doing life as a team, after all. But when I realized just how much of my personal info my ex could get his hands on, I felt even more vulnerable.

Times have changed

Back in the day, we built relationships in person 一 not via text message. We actually had to muscle up the courage (and the time) to meet face to face. There was limited or no internet. House phones were attached to the wall; mobile phones were the size of bricks. There were no computers under the bonnet of cars, let alone in a small box on the dash instructing you on how to drive from A to B. Bring back memories? My children now refer to it as “the olden days”! Gee, thanks, kids!

Technological advancements have changed the face of dating and relationships, in good and not-so-good ways. Yes, it’s easier and faster to invite someone out (and book a fancy dinner reservation), but! It’s also easier for a partner or ex to infringe on your privacy and personal safety.

The two sides of tech

Love it or hate it, you can’t argue: technology enhances and improves our lives in so many amazing ways. But in the wrong hands, like a disgruntled spouse or ex, and technology can be used as a tool to control and monitor.

Let’s not shy away from what this is: domestic abuse. The abuse doesn’t have to be physical to have a devastating effect, and controlling behavior is unacceptable in any form. This is, unfortunately, a worldwide problem.

One in four Australian women have experienced emotional abuse by a current or former partner. In the US, one in three women experience intimate partner violence, while in the UK there were two million adults who were victims of domestic abuse in the last year alone. Yes the stats show us that more women than men are impacted by domestic violence – but, let’s not forget that men can be victims too. (Here you can find more information on what constitutes family and domestic abuse.)

If you’re experiencing family or domestic abuse, contact authorities or support agencies in your local area or state immediately (and keep a record of all incidences and reports made for future use). Or, at the very least, reach out to family or friends who can provide you with support.

Whether you’re in a volatile situation or you’re looking to pre-empt any privacy issues, there are plenty of ways to reclaim your power.

Let’s say, you’re concerned about an email from your lawyer being intercepted by your partner or ex, a bank statement being opened without permission, or you are worried about being physically tracked and interrogated here’s how to protect yourself.

Nine steps to ex-proof your tech

1. Start with your computer

How scary is this: your spouse or ex could be spying on you through your computer right now. Yep, anyone can install a program on your computer that logs everything you type into it (check out keylogger surveillance technology). Apartment searches, password changes, emails… they can access it all. Uninstall the program, and the person who installed it will likely be notified, so for sensitive searches, like a new home or correspondence with a lawyer, consider logging in at the library, internet cafe or community centre. And always, always, always empty your computer’s recycle bin before shutting down the computer.

IMPORTANT: Turn off iCloud sharing on all of the devices you use. 

Plus, see that little camera on your computer? Cover it with a sticker: it can be hacked and used like a peephole. No thanks!

2. Erase your history

Ah, if only the not-so-nice memories of your relationship could be so quickly erased as your internet activity. Clear your browser’s ‘history’ and caches after each log on so your ex can’t see that search you just made for ‘how to get a divorce’. Don’t know how? Google “how to clear your history and caches for X browser” – on a computer that your partner or ex is not potentially monitoring.

3. Safeguard your email

Hate to tell you this, but if your ex knows you well enough, they’re going to guess your email password… and could get access to all that important incoming and outgoing mail. So no pet/children names, no birthdays, no ‘maidenname123’; it’s time to think like a spy and go for a random password. Now, change it often. If you’re really concerned, set up a new email address (Gmail has free ones), choose an address that doesn’t contain your name, and only access it on public computers (don’t forget to logout!).

Make it a habit of deleting e-mails from the “Sent” or “Outbox” in addition to your “Inbox” and then also delete the e-mails from the “Deleted Items” folder. In Gmail, delete email from All Mail. However, before you do, print or forward on to a legal representative any emails that should be formally documented.

4. Rethink your phone

Phone bills: no one likes them at the best of times, especially if they’re being used by your partner or ex to track who you’re contacting. If possible, get a PO Box or redirect your mail to a safer location so that your mobile phone bill can be sent directly to you. Keep change for a payphone should you need it and contact your local domestic violence hotline to learn about donation programs that provide new mobile phones and/or prepaid phone cards to survivors of abuse.

Did your partner sort out your phone for you? Consider turning it off when not in use; they could be using it as a tracking device. And check the settings: turn location services off when you don’t need it.

5. Get savvy with social media

It’s amazing what you can find out about someone just via Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter. Review and update your privacy settings frequently and make sure to change your password periodically. Avoid tagging where you’ve been or checking into locations… you don’t want your spouse or ex to work out your daily routine.

6. Protect your passwords

Never, ever, ever store your passwords, in hard form on paper or in your internet browser. Don’t use the same password across different channels, and again, don’t make them obvious (using both letters and numbers helps, too).

7. Hide your movements

GPS trackers help parents keep track of their children, but these devices can also be misused to spy on other adults and placed everywhere from your car to your purse – so be aware. Your phone can be used as a tracking device, too, with tracking apps (including Find My Phone) monitored remotely. Visit a mobile specialist to check if there are any apps or tracking devices on your phone or tablet – and also check if the disarming of these app will notify the installer.

8. Shield your public records

There’s plenty of information available on most of us, thanks to government records and services. Google your name and you’ll see what I mean (and if you find anything that could help your spouse or ex track you, have it removed). File a request that the court, government, post office and others seal or restrict access to your info to protect your safety, and make sure you’re not listed in the white pages. Consider a PO Box for all your correspondence to keep your real address off the record.

9. Consider your kids

Unfortunately, it’s not just your devices that can be hijacked by your spouse or ex–it’s certainly possible for them to use your kids’ tech to get information on you or to track your movements. For example, if your child’s tablet is linked to your account, your ex could be accessing your messages. The camera can be hacked (try the sticker trick again) and they can also have tracking apps installed. Consider taking all the devices in your household to a computer specialist (like the Genius Bar for Apple products) to ensure your privacy is protected.

It’s a lot, I know, but taking these steps will go miles towards keeping you safe.

For more information, check out these resources:

Relationships Australia – Australia

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence – USA

Centre for Relationship Abuse Awareness – Canada

National Domestic Violence Helpline – UK

I truly hope this information aids those who are facing difficult times in their relationship and have privacy or safety concerns. Remember: always document each and every incident.

Once you’ve taken the steps above, I’ve got something else that will help you on your journey.

If you’re currently facing the reality of a breakup, separation, divorce, co-parenting journey or are a victim of domestic abuse, there is now an app to help you document absolutely everything – information, communication and evidence – so you’re ready for whatever legal obligations that may arise.

Download on the App Store

Download on Google Play

Now available on the Australian App Store and Google Play (coming soon to USA and UK markets).

For more support, you can download my e-book, 5 Separation & Divorce Hacks for free, right now. It’s packed with helpful tips and advice from those who’ve been right where you are now to help you go in the right direction faster, and with less pain.

If you have any other suggestions for securing your technology do let me know in the comments below!

You’re doing just fine. Take it one day at a time. And remember, be especially kind to yourself.


Annie Kendall
Founder | Hello Mojo


Her Blog

Did my first blog post in this series freak you out? Sorry to scare you, but I’m serious: if you don’t have your health, you’re in trouble.

If you missed it, check it out here.

The good news is this: there are simple steps you can take to safeguard your health while you’re going through a separation.

First and foremost, you need to get yourself eating well and sleeping well. I know: easier said than done. So, what does that actually look like?

How to eat your way through divorce (in a good way)
  1. Fuel your body
    Food is designed to be streamed at intervals, not skipped, or intermittently fasted, like some of us do when disaster strikes!

  2. No skipping

    Remember if you skip a meal or deprive the body of adequate protein or fat, you will crave lost nutrients in the form of sugar, carbohydrates, alcohol or caffeine. You know what happens if you continually fall into this trap: tooth decay, gum disease, cardiovascular or cancer risk. It gets some people between 3-5 pm (if you’re not a believer, check out the cafes at this time) or it will chase you for the next three days. A nutritionist can help menu plan, if needed.

  3. Watch the clock

    Don’t eat for at least two hours prior to bedtime, otherwise you’ll encourage insulin release and interfere with the correct hormonal cascade at night. It’s true, our bodies have different hormones for day and night body function. That’s why getting to sleep on time and waking with the sun (if possible – okay, if you have kids it’s obviously no problem!) is also very important.

  4. Kick your crutches to the curb
    Cut down on your wine, coffee and chai lattes. I mean right down — to nil, if possible. It’s time to get on the herbal tea train. Yogi calming tea, peppermint tea or chamomile tea. And drink plenty of water, as your body will be producing many toxins from high levels of stress.

  5. Start the day with an energy drink (no, not the canned variety)

    Your capacity for optimal health is determined by what you consume, digest, absorb, utilize and excrete. So the best place to start is by improving gastrointestinal function. Not only does this drink help the body balance pH levels, detox and replace populations of friendly bacteria in the gut but it also helps your skin to glow. Consume a glass on rising and then finish throughout the day.

1 litre water
3 heaped tsp of Vit-C powder
20 mls lemon juice
10 mls lime juice
10 mls apple cider vinegar
1⁄4 tsp salt

Source: Nutrition Diagnostics

Start some self-care
  1. Check in

    Go for a medical and dental check up. If your budget allows, get a blood test to check your overall health status. In fact, have whatever health check ups you can while you are still on a family health plan (if applicable) to save you money.

  2. Skip screens

    Make a rule to not have up close and personal screen time with your phone or tablet for a couple of hours before bed. Hard, I know (but it really is best not to stalk your ex on Facebook). The blue light that screens emit can interrupt sleep patterns and circadian rhythms. Early research also shows that overexposure to blue light can contribute to eye strain and discomfort. That can trigger serious conditions later in life such as age-related macular degeneration, which can lead to blindness.

  3. Detox your bedroom

    Remove all wireless and electrical devices from the bedroom. Replace your clock radio with a good old-fashioned alarm clock – and mobile devices in the bedroom overnight are a big N-O. The electromagnetic radiation produced by these appliances creates a resonant stress on the human body, which directly affects our organs, glands, hormones and emotional states.

  4. Promote better sleep

    If you still have trouble getting to sleep try:

    • playing a guided meditation for deep sleep – easy to find on YouTube or apps like Headspace (play it from the next room), or

    • diffusing essential oils, adding them to a bath or rubbing on the soles of your feet. So relaxing!

  5. Be selfish

    If you have children, think about arranging a regular play date with family or friends so you can have a few hours of “me” time each week. Use this time to take some deep breaths (and get the oxygen flowing), make list of all the things you are grateful for, exercise (to clear your head and get those endorphins pumping) and use it as an opportunity for self-care.

  6. Boost your mood

    Meditate. Try yoga. Or tai chi. And, here’s a tip – when doing your sun salutations (or any of these practises), always make a point of facing the ocean – even if it’s miles off. Why? It’s all about negative ions. They are odourless, tasteless, and invisible molecules that we inhale in abundance in certain environments. Think mountains, waterfalls, and beaches. Once these negative ions reach our bloodstream, it is said they produce biochemical reactions that increase levels of the mood chemical serotonin, helping to alleviate depression, relieve stress, and boost our daytime energy. WebMD

These are just a few ideas to help you become an advocate for your own good health. Listen to your body. And treasure the gift you’ve been given.

I’d love to know how your body is feeling today. And what you’re doing to take care of it. Let me know in the comments below!

If you’re currently facing the reality of a breakup, separation, divorce, co-parenting journey or are a victim of domestic abuse, there is now an app to help you document absolutely everything – information, communication and evidence – so you’re ready for whatever legal obligations that may arise.

Download on the App Store

Download on Google Play

For more support, download my FREE e-book, 5 Separation & Divorce Hacks. It’s packed with helpful tips and advice from those who’ve been right where you are now. It will help you go in the right direction faster, and less painfully.

You’re doing just fine. Take it one day at a time. And remember, be especially kind to yourself.


Annie Kendall
Founder | Hello Mojo


Her Blog

You might have noticed something kind of strange: when your world falls apart… your body falls apart too. And usually, by the time your health has taken a hit – boom – it’s too late.

You’ve got your legal representative. You’ve got your counsellor. You’ve got your accountant. You’ve got your support team. Maybe you’ve even got your settlement and custody agreements all sorted.

But do you have your health? Without it, the rest isn’t going to matter much at all.

What to do? In the first of this two-part blog post, I’m going to explain how a the stress of breakup can make your health vulnerable. Keep an eye out for part two, where I’ll show you exactly how to divorce-proof your health.

Why does divorce make you sick?

Let’s break it down:

The moment a separation or divorce becomes your new reality, your emotions and hormones take over (big time!). They kick start numerous chemical reactions within your body to help you survive the shock of a breakup – you’ve probably heard of the fight or flight reaction. Yep, that’s what’s happening here. Our body’s one incredible machine.

But, here’s the thing…

These days, the separation and divorce process is long, conflict-filled and stressful (on many fronts). This means the fight or flight response period is horribly over-extended, and your body is working overtime to produce chemical reactions well beyond what we actually need — or can cope with.

It’s very important to note upfront that for those people who’ve been living in a toxic relationship, it’s possible they’ve been experiencing this fight or flight dynamic for decades.

A prolonged period of fight or flight exhausts many elements within your system and throws your entire body chemistry out of whack. Your hormones, your mind, your emotions, your weight, your stress levels: everything gets more and more out of balance… and puts you at serious risk of illness.

Sure, but who has time to pay attention?

It’s fair enough: during a breakup, you’re so preoccupied with getting through the here and now that it’s easy to miss the telltale signs that your health is falling by the wayside.

Or maybe you have noticed, but have just chalked it up to divorce stress that will move swiftly along as soon as your divorce does. I hate to say it, but it won’t, unless you nip it in the bud now.

So, what should we be looking for?
  • Skin irritation

  • Hair falling out

  • Bleeding gums and bad breath

  • A burning sensation in your stomach

  • Insomnia

  • Low energy & fatigue

  • Weight gain or weight loss

  • Bad moods & aggression

  • Headaches

  • Fogginess, dizziness, shortness of breath

  • Low mood

Where body chemistry comes into play

“Your body is its own ‘chemistry set’. It holds the secrets to precisely what your body requires at the specific time.” Nutrition Diagnostics

To assess your blood chemistry, doctors order a simple test to check a number of markers in the blood — think iron levels, or white blood cell counts. These markers help identify health conditions and show the overall health of your body’s organs.

When your blood chemistry is in balance, your body is better at fighting off disease. When it’s out of balance, you’re more susceptible. Interestingly, a weakened, out of whack body chemistry shows up first in the mouth, in the form of dental decay and gum disease.

Why the mouth?

Well, poor health all begins with an elevation of glucose in your system (yep, that’s sugar – and you know what that does to your teeth!).

What does sugar have to do with it?

It turns out that there’s a reason STRESSED spelled backward equals DESSERTS.

Let me ask you this: what are you eating or drinking to cope with the stress of your separation or divorce? Come on, we’re all friends… it’s something sweet, right?

I’m not going to lie: during my separation, chocolate was all that could cheer me up at the end of the day. But it was a toxic relationship: the next day I’d feel even worse… so that night I needed a double serving, naturally!

For some of you, the stress reliever of choice may be alcohol (please seek help if this habit becomes unhealthy), which the body actually converts to sugar… so, same problem.

Now, insulin is a hormone that moves glucose (blood sugar) from the blood into the body’s cells for energy and storage. When you increase the amount of sugar in your system, this affects insulin production and can result in serious conditions like diabetes, and can damage your kidneys, eyes, and other organs.

From here, it’s a domino effect. One thing leads to another, and another. Everything is connected. And, it all starts by you consuming way too much sugar because of that nasty little beast called stress.

The stress trifecta

There are three types of stress that impact your body:

  1. Biochemical (toxins in your system or a poor iron status*)

  2. Physical (parenting, intense exercise or your body repairing from injury)

  3. Emotional (everyday pressures, loss or divorce)

Sound familiar? That’s right – you’re pretty much slammed three ways by stress when your relationship or marriage falls apart.

What women need to know

The median age for a woman going through a divorce is 42 years old. So, if you have children, it’s likely that you gave birth in the last 15 years.

Creating life (as beautiful as it is) depletes your system of many key elements, including Ferritin (a blood cell protein that contains iron). Most women fail to replenish their Ferritin level post-childbirth. Yep: things are busy and life just gets in the way. What’s worse, you’re a tired, single parent, caving in to the convenience of eating kids’ meals each night (with no steak dinners in sight!).

*Iron is a key component of a healthy immune system.

Facing a stressful event like divorce with a compromised immune system is extremely dangerous. And often there’s another hurdle for women: menopause. To successfully navigate menopause you require iron, too (and lots of it).

So, if you’re currently dealing with a stressful breakup, have an already-depleted iron store from bearing children, and are approaching menopause, your immune system is in a severely compromised position. You’re wide open to disease and illness.

Think about it: how many women do you know who have been touched by an illness in their late 40’s and 50’s? It’s a ridiculously shocking number.

The good news: you can do things now in the hope of a healthier outcome.

In the next part of this blog post, I’ll share exactly how you can guard your health as you go through even the most hellish divorce. Check it out here.

In the meantime, let me know: how is divorce affecting your health? Have you found any strategies that help? Let me know in the comments below.

If you’re currently facing the reality of a breakup, separation, divorce, co-parenting journey or are a victim of domestic abuse, there is now an app to help you document absolutely everything – information, communication and evidence – so you’re ready for whatever legal obligations that may arise.

Download on the App Store

Download on Google Play

For more support, download my FREE e-book, 5 Separation & Divorce Hacks. It’s packed with helpful tips and advice from those who’ve been right where you are now. It will help you go in the right direction faster, and less painfully.

You’re doing just fine. Take it one day at a time. And remember, be especially kind to yourself.


Annie Kendall
Founder | Hello Mojo


Her Blog

It’s not often you hear love and respect used in the same sentence as divorce — if you’re anything like the majority of people going through it, acrimony and pain might be more like it.

(Unless, of course, you managed to untie the knot both lovingly and respectfully. If so, that’s awesome. But don’t stop reading here).

If you’re in the midst of a breakup, or are currently navigating a separation or divorce, you’re probably feeling anything but love and respect right now. I know: I’ve been there.


But can things be different?

Sure, the idea of love and respect in even the worst breakup is nice, but let’s be honest: it sounds like a bit of a fairytale. But recently I heard something that made me understand a whole new way to consciously and practically bump up the love and respect over the course of a breakup. In fact, what I learned can help in any relationship situation at all – be that with your spouse, ex, children, parents, work colleague or a new partner.

What I heard both shocked and inspired me. I say shocked me because having been married and being a mama of two, I thought I knew a fair bit about love and respect.

Truth is: I’d only scratched the surface.

What I heard dug so much deeper. And, it made a lot of sense.

I kicked myself: if only I’d known this sooner it would’ve positively impacted my marriage; my separation; the up and down relationship with my ex. The good thing is, I know that now I’ve heard this, it will only help strengthen the beautiful bond I have with my children.


The ‘aha’ moment

To set the scene: I was driving home after delivering my children to their father’s house for the weekend. I switched off the radio and pressed play on a podcast called Recognizing your son’s need for respect by Focus on the Family. (I know, I know. In my only child-free time I resort to schooling myself on better ways to parent!)

I was driving, and listening. Driving, and listening. And, then it happened: one of those eye-popping ‘aha’ moments (made famous by Oprah!).

Now, what I’m about to share is by no means a secret.

If asked, you’d probably say, ‘Oh yes, of course, I know that!’ But knowing and understanding are two sides of a coin! And doing? Well, that’s a whole other thing.


The juicy details…

The University of Washington psychologist John Gottman led a study of 2,000 couples for 20 years. Two decades down the track, he confirmed that his team had identified the two ingredients necessary for a successful marriage. When these ingredients are present the marriage succeeds, and when they’re not, the marriage fails.

Yep, you guessed it: love and respect. Sure, sure, I hear you saying, what’s new. But it’s a little more complicated than it may first appear.


So, what’s the real problem in a relationship?

Best-selling author and Founder and President of Love and Respect Ministries, Dr. Emerson Eggerichs says,


“successful relationships are the ones carried along with a tone of love and respect towards each other while they are dealing with the ‘real’ issues.”


In other words, “it’s our attitude toward each other during those moments of conflict; that really is the key. If you’re going to come across as hostile or contemptuous to the spirit of the other person”, that’s when the other person deflates and suddenly the issue is no longer the issue.

This is where the trouble starts… and can stop.


Enter the ‘Crazy Cycle’!

Did you know that most men fear being disrespected and inadequate more than feeling alone and unloved? True story: Shaunti Feldhahn, a best-selling author, popular speaker and renowned social researcher discovered this during the course of her research.

And guess what? A woman’s biggest fear in a relationship is feeling unloved.

She’s not just talking about romantic relationships, either: this can apply to your ex, co-parent, friend or boss.


So, what’s the issue?

When an issue arises (whether about co-payments, children’s visitation, new partners on the scene, sex etc.), the minute there is a disagreement or one party feels like they have their back up against the wall, a woman will find herself saying something to a man like, ‘You’re never here’, ‘You never spend enough time with the kids’, ‘You don’t make enough money’, etc.

He then feels disrespected and inadequate.

So, what happens next?

A man replies with, ‘You never had time for me’, ‘You never made an effort to look good for me’, ‘I’ve had enough of you – I’m going to the pub with the boys’ etc.

She then feels unloved.

And, bingo! You’re off and racing. You’re now on a downhill black run… spiraling faster and faster…and you can’t get off. It’s called the ‘Crazy Cycle’.

(BTW – it doesn’t matter who started it!)

Both parties disconnect from each other – pretty much for the sole reason of protecting themselves from their own biggest fear.


So, here’s the secret for success…
  • Women will respond better to a man when they are addressed in a loving way.

  • Men will become more connected to a woman when they are addressed in a respectful way that makes them feel like they are absolutely enough (i.e. adequate).

Eggerichs says, “If you want to motivate (someone), the way in which you do that is by meeting their need, especially during conflict, and watch what happens. (They) will connect with you.” They will stay engaged and resist the need to withdraw, get aggressive or shut down.

“No man feels a fond feeling of love and affection in his heart toward a woman he thinks despises who he is as a human being any more than a woman is going to respond to a man who is harsh and angry.”


OK, but how am I supposed to respect my ex after what they did?

One very important point to note: Eggerichs is talking about the power of showing love and respect toward the spirit of an individual, not about respecting their bad behavior.

“We do not respect bad behavior; that’s stupid,” he says. “We don’t love unacceptable behavior, but we lovingly and respectfully confront that behavior.”

And here’s how it’s done
  1. Identify when you’re on a ‘Crazy Cycle’: that is, when the issue you are discussing is no longer the issue and you’ve gone down that black hole.

  2. Call an immediate timeout on the conversation: this will help you avoid situations when you say or do something you may regret, or that could harm your case in court. It’s also very important in preventing your children from being exposed to conflict.

  3. Take a moment and recognize the other person’s biggest fear (Is it feeling unloved? Or, is it feeling disrespected and inadequate?).

  4. Re-approach the conversation using some new vocab allowing you to better connect with your ex (or spouse etc).

Choose your words

It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it – and it’s time to introduce a whole new vocab to your relationship. Add a few new words or lines into your conversation when addressing an issue and you’ll be way better placed to get the result you want — while keeping your ex happy, to boot.

Eggerichs suggests that women use lines like these when addressing men:

  • I’m not trying to say this to diss you or dishonor you.

  • I believe in you more than I think you believe in yourself.

  • I know you are an honorable man, but for the life of me, I can’t believe why you did that.

  • I don’t respect what you did, but I respect you.

  • That conduct is unbecoming of who I really believe you to be. I see so much in you. Can you explain this disconnect here?

  • I really believe in you, but I don’t understand what’s going on here.

  • Let’s take a five-minute timeout because I’m too upset right now, and we’re going to come back and visit this respectfully.

And suggests that men use lines like this when addressing women:

  • I don’t know how to do this loving thing. Please help me know what your heart needs right now.

  • You know my father didn’t love (if that’s true) and I’m trying to be more loving to you as the mother of my children (or my wife).

  • I would die for you.

  • I can’t believe what you did here. How do I do this lovingly?

  • I don’t know how to be as loving as I ought to be, and I’m struggling with the changes we’re going through within our marriage (or as single parents) but I want you to know that I do love you and respect you as the mother of our children.

  • I feel horrible as a man who doesn’t know how to love, but I’m so spitting mad, we need to take a timeout.

  • I want to do the loving thing here, but I don’t know how to do it.

Want to know more? Go ahead and check out these links:


Recognizing your son’s need for respect



The Language of Love and Respect: Cracking the Communication Code with Your Mate by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs

Mother & Son: The Respect Effect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs

For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn

For Men Only by Shaunti Feldhahn


YouTube videos:

“Learn the Two Key Ingredients for Successful Relationships” with Dr. Emerson Eggerichs

“Love and Respect” Dr. Emerson Eggerichs Part 1 & Part 2

I truly hope this blog has planted the seed for new ways to help make the relationship with your spouse, ex or other special people in your life much more positive and successful.

If you’re currently facing the reality of a breakup, separation, divorce, co-parenting journey or are a victim of domestic abuse, download Hello Mojo’s documenting app to help you get everything on the record – information, communication and evidence – so you’re ready for any legal obligations that may arise.

Download on the App Store

Download on Google Play

For more support, download my FREE e-book, 5 Separation & Divorce Hacks. It’s packed with helpful tips and advice from those who’ve been right where you are now. It will help you go in the right direction faster, and less painfully.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you incorporate love and respect into conversations with your spouse or ex, and what works best for you. Let me know in the comments below.

You’re doing just fine. Take it one day at a time. And remember, be especially kind to yourself.


Annie Kendall
Founder | Hello Mojo


Her Blog

What’s worse: a jet lagged 3-month-old? Or a jet lagged toddler? Or the 8-hour solo flight to said destination, which makes the children jet lagged?

It’s not a trick question. It was my reality as an expat.

On this particular day, I was recovering from jet lag but happy – happy to be back home with my husband after a trip to see family and introduce the newest member of our clan.

I was nursing a 3-month-old and keeping a watchful eye on the super-charged toddler bouncing off the walls and doing anything he could to get my attention.

I was 35. And today, this very day, I learned my marriage was over.

In hindsight, I can now see that there were “trouble in paradise” alarm bells ringing for a good few months prior. But, on this day, I was completely oblivious to that fact. As a sleep deprived mama trying to navigate the joys of childbirth and a young family, the idea that my marriage was about to fall apart hadn’t even crossed my mind.

I clearly recall the unimaginable and awful rollercoaster of emotions experienced that day (and for the weeks and months thereafter).

It was brutal.

That first night, I heard every tick of the clock. I heard every crumple of the bed sheets as my toddler tossed and turned. I just sat. I sat all night in the rocking chair in my baby’s nursery and stared at that beautiful, peaceful angel (until she woke, softly whimpered and lovingly latched on for yet another feed). It was a mixing bowl of, ‘I’m sure this is one of those really bad dreams people talk about – surely I’ll wake up soon’, and, ‘I can fix this!’, and, ‘what in the hell just happened?’

I wondered. I cried (no, actually I sobbed uncontrollably till the tears were no more). I repeatedly asked myself, ‘what on earth am I going to do now?’, but, for once I was lost for words.

The empty feeling in my heart was debilitating and made me feel physically sick. The voices and moment-by-moment replays in my head drove me crazy. I couldn’t get a moment of silence. It was as if I had been transported to the medium strip of the M1 during peak hour.

In an instant, I went from someone who knew every next move – to someone who had absolutely no idea: no idea what to do next, or what life was going to look like from that moment on. I was experiencing the full force of despair. It was petrifying. I was completely lost. And, I was in a foreign country.

If this sounds familiar to you or you can relate in any way, welcome to the club. You are completely normal and you will be okay.

So, what are the emotions you’re likely to experience in the initial stages of a separation or divorce?

Adele Theron from The Naked Divorce played an integral role in my healing journey. She’s kindly allowed me to share the following piece on completely normal responses to the initial stages of getting separated or divorce.

  • Numbness – numbness can be physical, emotional, or both. The numbness lasts for different periods of time for different people.

  • Disrupted sleep patterns – not being able to sleep or sleeping too much is completely normal.

  • Changing eating habits – it’s normal to have almost no appetite or a need to eat nonstop, or both, alternately.

  • Roller-coaster of emotional energy – extreme ups and downs. As a direct result of these emotional highs and lows, you may feel emotionally and physically drained.

  • Depression – feeling low and depressed is normal.

  • Despair, desolation and desperation.

  • Reduced concentration.

  • Feeling hopeless.

  • Feeling helpless.

  • Feeling strong anger or rage.

  • Experiencing dramatic mood changes. Exhibiting a change in personality.

  • Losing interest in most activities.

  • Experiencing a change in sleeping or eating habits.

  • Performing poorly at work.

The turning point

Adele says, “you will feel low for the first few weeks, even months. That’s normal. After that, you’ll start to feel more like your old self. You’ll start to rationalise things and you’ll begin to work out what to do next.

This is a turning point, and it means you’re thinking about your future. The pain will still be there, but it will become easier to bear and you’ll find many things you can do to work through the pain and speed up your recovery.

You may feel it tempting to keep busy and avoid being alone. However, if you want to heal, the KEY is to FACE your emotions and process them. I know this may sound like a frightening idea. I remember thinking that my own sadness and grief would swallow me whole.

What I did realise after a few days was that every single emotion had another emotion underneath it, almost like there were layers of emotions which needed to be peeled off.

My job was to simply move through each emotion, find the boundary or ending of the layer and move onto the next emotional layer. There was actually a natural ending to each emotion but only when I truly experienced and acknowledged the preceding emotion. When you resist your emotions and avoid being with them by indulging in Short Term Emotion Avoidance Tactics, you prolong the healing cycle unconsciously.

You will consequently have no say about how much time your healing will take or what will happen.”

The concept of healing may indeed be a far-off reality for you as you struggle to deal with the imminent onslaught of emotions at the beginning of this journey. However, when the time is right – take positive steps down this road. Yes, it is possible to heal from a separation or divorce. And, it is possible to be happy again. So, grab onto this piece of hope and take it with you as you venture forwards.

So, how do you survive the emotional roller coaster in week one?
  1. Ensure that you and your children (if you have them) are in a safe environment
    Safety must always be your top priority. If you have any concerns about domestic abuse or self harm, seek a safer location or contact the authorities immediately. If you and your ex going to stay put in the marital home today, agree on boundaries with regards to acceptable times, behaviour and conversations both in private and around the children.

  2. Reach out for support
    Let someone know what is going on. This could be a family member, a professional or member of your community (note: steer clear of mutual friends as they may pick sides – and quite possibly not yours). Give a relationship counselling support line a call (free services) if you need additional support or have questions.

  3. Breathe
    Stop what you are doing and take 10 deeps breaths (try to do this every hour on the hour). Psychology Today recommends that by simply taking control of your breathing—slowly inhaling, envisioning good imagery (in contrast, during stress, to naturally hyperventilating from anxiety, causing us to use only a small portion of our lung capacity), and exhaling, releasing what is not useful, muscles relax and clearer thinking is restored.

  4. Hydrate
    Drink plenty of water. Fill a water bottle – whatever helps you drink at least 2 litres of water throughout the day. Try hot water in the morning and evening. Here you can read about how studies have shown that being just half a litre dehydrated can increase your cortisol levels. Cortisol is one of those stress hormones. Staying in a good hydrated status can keep your stress levels down. When you don’t give your body the fluids it needs, you’re putting stress on it, and it’s going to respond to that.

  5. Let it go
    If you need to cry, scream or anything else – go for it (ensure the children are out of ear shot). Allow yourself to experience each emotion as it comes up. Don’t dismiss your emotions or suppress them. If you haven’t already organised the day off work – call in sick (and, yes – definitely for the rest of the week too). Focus on one step at a time. Listen to what your body needs. Hold on tight and ride out the wave of emotions coming your way.

  6. Nourish
    If you’re like me, your appetite left the building with Elvis. Even the sight of food made me feel sick. However, it’s still super important to stay nourished. Easy does it and little by little. Perhaps some nuts, a whey smoothie, fresh chicken soup or a chocolate bliss ball. Try and arrange for family or friends to make you a few meals or snacks so there is food prepared. Call your doctor and check if you should be increasing your vitamin intake (multi-vitamins, Vitamin C, Vitamin B etc).

  7. Sleep
    Think positive thoughts and prepare yourself well for sleep. Sounds easy, I know. But, unfortunately, those annoying little voices in your head often have no intention of letting you do so. Here is a suggestion that worked for me: when you lie down and close your eyes do your best to acknowledge each little voice as it speaks to you: thank it for visiting your head, tell it you will give it your full attention tomorrow morning, and then imagine your fingers picking up the voice and moving it to the side of your head and carefully placing it on the pillow beside you. Tell it to head off now and have a good night. Once your thoughts have been genuinely acknowledged, they do truly disappear. And after a while, the repetition of this action will become somewhat like counting sheep. You should find yourself drifting off to sleep in no time. (Here’s hoping!) If you need an alternative plan, The Huffington Post posted an article about Sleep During Divorce in 3 Peaceful Steps.

  8. Get moving
    Stretch your legs, take a walk, do a yoga class – nothing overly strenuous that will pump you full of toxins but just enough to get you moving and producing your happy hormones. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. You can check out more here.

  9. Get informed
    As soon as you are ready and able to start functioning, you need to start protecting yourself (personally and financially) and start the process of collating vital information about your relationship. This task will help you feel more informed and less vulnerable to the legal separation process ahead. The legal component of splitting up, splitting assets and possibly splitting homes for your children can be your second tidal wave of emotions. Getting informed now and protecting yourself financially will help soften the extremes of your emotional ups and downs in the future.

If you’re currently facing the reality of a breakup, separation, divorce, co-parenting journey or are a victim of domestic abuse, there is now an app to help you document absolutely everything – information, communication and evidence – so you’re ready for whatever legal obligations that may arise.

Download on the App Store

Download on Google Play

For more support, download my FREE e-book, 5 Separation & Divorce Hacks.

I’d love to know if you have any other survival tips for the first few days and weeks of a separation or divorce too. Let me know in the comments below!

You’re doing just fine. Take it one day at a time. And remember, be especially kind to yourself.


Annie Kendall
Founder | Hello Mojo



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