Thursday, September 08, 2011

Dhyan Summers: Top 3 Tips for being a Happy ESWK (Expat Spouse Without Kids)

Frequently I see clients in my practice who are ESWKs (pronounced ‘eswik’) or Expat Spouses Without Kids. Although they are in an enviable position by some standards, they often tell me that their spouse is working all the time, they are lonely, and are fighting, sometimes successfully and sometimes not, the tendency to hide out at home. One client mentioned that she sometimes felt like curling up and hiding in a box in her closet.

There are two sides to the coin of being an ESWK. On one side you have the freedom to do almost anything you want to do, and on the other side is an almost complete lack of structure which at times can seem overwhelming and even despairing. In addition, when you have young children it is much easier to bond with other parents, as you have a built in reason for doing so.

Exhilaration vs. Despair:

So the question becomes, how do we turn the despair into excitement and exhilaration that freedom can bring? I have spoken before of the importance of finding something we feel passionate about, and at the risk of sounding like a broken record, I repeat myself here.

Tip # 1: Find Something You Feel Passionate About Doing:

Usually when we feel overwhelmed, or depressed or isolated, we have a tendency to, as my client mentioned, want to hide. I use the metaphor of climbing into bed and turning the electric blanket up to 10, which in Delhi where I live, would not be a practical thing to do! We want to hide because we are not feeling good about ourselves and might be feeling that we have nothing to offer anyone else. The one sure cure for this is to find something you feel passionate about doing.

You might notice that I say...

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