To all Single Moms: Forget the Drama. You Need Self-Love!

By Jackie Pilossoph, Creator and Editor-in-chief, Divorced Girl Smiling site, podcast and app, Love Essentially columnist and author

You wake up and look at the clock. It’s 3:22 a.m. You lie there and your mind instantly starts to wander.  You’re thinking about the fight you recently had with your ex husband, your friend who’s in the hospital being treated for cancer , the bills you’re struggling to pay these days, or the lie you caught your teen daughter telling.

All this worrying has you tossing and turning for the next hour. This constant worrying is what my good friend, Sylvia Friedman, a therapist, life coach, and author calls “spinning.”

“Everyone has problems,” said Sylvia. “But a lot of times, we blow them out of proportion, and we create this negative drama before anything actually happens.”

Sylvia, who is beyond inspiring to me (she grew up in a Chicago housing project and who went on to graduate from Northwestern University, by the way) said that people, especially successful women thrive on the drama, which creates chaos within them and causes nervous anxiety.

So, why do we crave the drama? Sylvia says it comes down to one very important thing: a lack self love.

“Self love is really about what people think they deserve, and how worthy they think they are” she said, “If you don’t have self love, you can’t handle things that might be painful to you.”

Sylvia (who is divorced) told me a story about losing her father and her boyfriend (who she calls the love of her life) within 3 days of each other several years ago, and said that what got her through it was remembering her father telling her to always love herself.

“All I could think of was that both of them would want me to continue on and keep living and raising my children.”

Sylvia said women who lack self love endure these consequences:

  1. They punish themselves if they make a mistake versus just trying to fix it and move on.
  2. They worry about excessive pleasing of other people in their lives and their children, and rarely think of pleasing themselves.
  3. They don’t recognize their talents and abilities and the good they do.
  4. They begin to feel like martyrs because they are not receiving
  5. They don’t know how to say thank you to others.
  6. They are generally very negative towards everything, including themselves.
  7. They tend to lie and/or omit things.

Another problem associated with lack of self love and “spinning,” are physical effects.  “People repress their feelings, and then the body begins to speak,” Sylvia said.

She said she sees a lot of clients who end up with chronic diseases such as acid reflux, and extreme digestive problems due to stress.

So, how do we obtain self love?  Sylvia offers three suggestions.

  1. Ask for what you need and ask for help. Whether it’s your boss or your friends or your family.
  2. Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself. Don’t be or act like a victim.
  3. Learn how to be more vulnerable. Many people think being vulnerable means being weak. Not true! It’s healthy to be vulnerable.

“When you find yourself spinning, say, ‘There I go again. I’m spinning. I’m going to stop doing that. I’m going to get the job done today and I’m good at what I do. I’m going to do everything I can that is in my control,” Sylvia said.

So, how much do you love Sylvia?? Right?? She has an office in downtown Chicago if you’re interested in some life coaching!

Buy novels by Jackie Pilossoph
Take the quiz to get recommendations Join the DGS Club

Sign up for the Divorced Girl Smiling newsletter to get articles on divorce and dating.

Sign up

    Listen to the Divorced Girl Smiling podcast! a weekly show about divorce and dating Download the Divorced Girl Smiling mobile app


    The Center for Divorce Recovery
    Tracy Coenen, Forensic Accountant, Creator of The Money Guides
    Joanne Litman - Eagle Strategies LLC
    Jerfita Pierson Team
    Jan Leasure - Mortgage Lender and Certified Divorce Lending Professional
    Divorced Girl Smiling welcome video
    Jackie Pilossoph

    Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

    Divorced Girl Smiling is here to empower, connect and inspire you. Jackie Pilossoph is the creator and Editor-In-Chief of Divorced Girl Smiling, the site, the podcast and the app. A former television journalist and newspaper features reporter, Pilossoph is also the author of four novels and the writer of her weekly relationship column, Love Essentially. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism and lives in Chicago with her two teenagers. The author of the novels, Divorced Girl Smiling and Free Gift With Purchase, Pilossoph also writes the weekly dating and relationships advice column, “Love Essentially”, published in the Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press and the Chicago Tribune online. Additionally, she is a Huffington Post contributor. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University.

    One Response to “To all Single Moms: Forget the Drama. You Need Self-Love!”

    1. Liberated Mama


      I love the term spinning. I can remember a very specific time when this happened and I experienced two severe panic attacks within a 24 hour period, it was so scary and I wanted to die. We had recently moved to a new suburb and a situation happened with one of my children and making a playdate with a new friend. I completely messed it up and couldn’t stop thinking about it, it consumed me! I had never lost control of myself like that and thank goodness have never had a recurrence.

      A few dear friends helped me thru one answering her phone at 3 in the morning, the other helping me write a list of “things to do” even if it was getting up, taking a shower and going to the grocery store that day. She wanted me to write a list and cross things off to keep me focused as well as having a sense of accomlishment.

      It worked and helped me maintain balance, peace of mind, and pride that I am in control.

      One other tip that I still use today is envisioning a Stop Sign. It helps me slow down in preparation for the sign as well as giving me pause to come back to “center” and attend to what really matters.

      Thank you again for your post!


    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *