gatekeeper mom

4 Reasons To Avoid Being a Gatekeeper Mom Trap During Divorce

gatekeeper mom

 

Do you find yourself having difficulty letting go and relaxing about what your children do while they are with their other parent? Focusing too much on your children’s time or activities at your ex’s house can potentially damage your relationship with them and undermine their connection with both parents. When a parent communicates anxiety and becomes too vigilant about custody exchanges (or parenting time) they may be taking on the role of a gatekeeper.

What is a gatekeeper mom?

According to child custody expert Robert Beilin, P.h.D., a gatekeeper is a term  often used in a negative way to describe how parents (usually a mother) attempts to control their children’s time with the other parent. Since traditionally mothers tend to be gatekeepers, this article will focus on mothers but the term could apply to fathers as well.

According to author Kerri Kettle, the term “gatekeeper” is generally brought up in child custody cases. Kettle, an attorney, advises mothers to beware of being a gatekeeper and to avoid adversarial interactions with their ex. After all, it could lead to additional legal costs and have a negative impact on children. She writes, “If you think you might be acting a little like a gatekeeper, try saying “yes” more often than saying “no” for a while. Start with something small, like giving up a few hours of your custodial time for a special occasion or simply not asking questions about what happened at their dad’s house.” She also advises parents that they will save legal fees by being a cooperative co-parent.

Let’s face it, it’s easy to see how a parent could slip into the gatekeeper role. After my divorce, I had trouble adjusting to our co-parenting schedule and I found myself overly concerned about what my children did when they were with their father and the amount of time they spent with him. It took several years for me to realize that this was my way of trying to gain control over the situation. While I never did anything consciously to sabotage my children’s relationship with their dad, my questions, and concerns about their activities with him didn’t demonstrate confidence in our parenting plan.

Further, children have a way of sensing tension and worry and so a mother’s fear or concerns about time spent away from her may be a red flag that heightens their anxiety. Without awareness, a parent could be bringing undue stress on your children without intending to. My research shows that the two variables that had the most negative impact on children of divorce into adulthood were limiting their access to both parents and experiencing high conflict between their parents post-divorce.

A crucial aspect of healing after divorce is realizing that you can’t control what goes on with your ex and so need to respect the decisions that he makes regarding his time with your children.  You can’t change him and are wise to let go of unrealistic expectations. For instance, you might not approve of him taking your eight-year-old to a movie rated PG 13 – but in the end, it’s not going to make or break their emotional development. So it wouldn’t hurt to simply let it slide sometimes.

On the other hand, if you have legitimate concerns about activities that your kids participate in with their father, it’s a good idea to send him a friendly, business-like e-mail expressing your concerns. Divorce expert Rosalind Seddacca CCT writes, “If you’re intent on creating a child-centered divorce that strives for harmony between you and your ex, you need to initiate the conversation and model win-win solutions. If your ex doesn’t want to cooperate, that’s when your patience will certainly be tested. Look for opportunities to clarify why working together as co-parents as often as possible will create far better outcomes for your children.”

Eileen Coen, an attorney, and trained mediator states that one reason mothers tend to be gatekeepers is that trust is often lost in a marriage. Other reasons cited by Coen are economic and a lack of confidence in their ex’s parenting skills. However, she cautions us that on-going conflict between parents is the primary reason why mothers are gatekeepers – making it virtually impossible to have adequate, healthy parenting time with their children.

Studies show that kids benefit from access to both parents. There is evidence that cooperative co-parenting actually reduces conflict between divorced parents – which has a beneficial impact on children into adulthood. Scheduling appropriate parenting time for both parent’s post-divorce and keeping lines of communication positive can be a challenge but it’s paramount to building resiliency in your children. When a parent takes on the role of gatekeeper, they communicate discomfort and anxiety to their children and diminish their sense of belongingness with both parents.

Joan Kelly, a renowned researcher who has conducted decades-long studies on divorce, found that the more involved fathers are post-split, the better off the outcomes for children. Children benefit from strong relationships with both parents post-divorce. According to Linda Nielsen, author of Between Fathers and Daughters, the child’s relationship with their father is often the one that changes the most after marital dissolution. Sadly, Dr. Nielsen notes that only 15% of fathers and daughters enjoy the benefits of shared parenting.

There are many compelling reasons why mothers are wise to encourage their children to have strong bonds with their father post-divorce. Studies show that these reasons include: Better grades and social skills, healthy emotional development, higher self-esteem, and fewer trust issues. Lowered self-esteem and trust wounds are especially a concern for girls who may be more vulnerable to the breakup of the family home because they are socialized to be nurturers and caretakers. Your kids may also have better access to extended family members and therefore intergenerational support if they spend close to equal time with both parents.

Here are 4 Reasons to avoid the gatekeeper trap:

1. Your children will gain trust in both parents and feel more confident about their relationships with both of you.

2. You will build trust in your ex’s ability to effectively parent your children.

3. There’s a possibility you’ll have the added benefit of more leisure time – when you can relax and worry less about your children’s well-being.

4. You’ll create a new story for your life built on reclaiming your personal power rather than letting your divorce define who you are or the choices you make.

Focusing your energy on what’s going on in your home and encouraging your children to have a healthy connection with their father will pay off in the long run. Another important reason to avoid being a gatekeeper is to respect your child’s and ex-spouse’s boundaries. When your children are with your ex, honor their time together and try not to plan activities or partake in excessive communication with the other parent (phone, text, etc.). Since parental conflict is a factor that contributes greatly to negative outcomes for children after divorce, keeping disagreements to a minimum is a key aspect of helping your child become resilient. You owe it to yourself and your children to avoid playing the role of a gatekeeper.

More From Terry:

Follow Terry Gaspard on Twitter,  Facebook, and movingpastdivorce.com

The post 4 Reasons To Avoid Being a Gatekeeper Mom Trap During Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.



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What’s your role in the school nativity?

What’s your role in the school nativity?

Your child has been chosen as Third Shepard in the school nativity. That sinking feeling you have isn’t because they didn’t get a starring role. It’s because you know you did. Turn up to the play (like you want to) and you’ll be cast as the Judas. Stay away and, well, you’ll be cast as the Judas. There’s no winning. You’re between a rock and a hard place.

But what if you cast yourself – as the grey rock?

What if for these few precious moments of Away in a Manger and little Johnny dropping baby Jesus you can be just a normal dad sat watching your little one play the best third shepherd that has ever been played?

As we prepare for the Christmas season the levels of control and opportunities for conflict hit fever pitch. With all your emotions to play with your ex will feel like all her Christmases have come at once. And I don’t want to speak for you here, but I don’t think she was on your Christmas list was she? So let’s not give her what she wants.

Just like the teachers have handed out all the roles and helped the children practice their lines. She’s been doing exactly the same. Telling all her friends the stories, probably the children too.

Now don’t feel rubbish about that.

You and thousands of others are going through the exact same thing right now. I promise you there is never a reason to actively try and destroy a healthy relationship between a father and their children. Even if you did say her sister looked hot in that top once.

Between personal experience and community groups I am still dumbfounded, shocked and devastated by the things I see guys go through to be with their children.

Let me say, my Dad wasn’t at one single school play, parents evening or awards ceremony. In fact until I was 12 it was my reality that he wasn’t at all interested and had abandoned us. Last year (aged 35) I put up Christmas decorations with my dad for the first time ever. It was and will always be one of my happiest childhood memories, even if it did come 30 years too late.

I tell you this now because I want you to know a child’s love for their father can beat this situation your’e in. Despite having no memories of my dad and only one single photograph of us together it was enough that I never gave up hope he might love me.

So how do you show up to the school play without taking centre stage?

  1. Choose your performance. By far the easiest option is to see if there is more than one performance planned. If so you can arrange to go to the opposite one to your ex-partner. It doesn’t absolutely guarantee you won’t need these next steps too but hopefully it will give you a fighting chance.
  2. Practice your lines. Know that there is a good chance someone will wind you up, your ex, a teacher, one of their friends. Now this may be a deliberate attempt to provoke a reaction or the simplest of comments that digs away at one of those hot buttons we all have. But either way, preparation is key. Understand what is likely to piss you off and what is likely to be water off a ducks back. Then have some stock answers for the things that will piss you off. Literally write out and practice your lines, role play, pretend you’re a grey rock in the play.
  3. Choose your state. Rushing from a stressful meeting at work, through crappy traffic worrying you’re going to be late and skipping lunch will not help the best you show up. So physically prime yourself. Allow yourself time to do something that makes you feel amazing just before you go in, gym, swim, walk the dog, anything that will physically make the endorphins happen. You’ve seen Braveheart and Gladiator – those dudes went at battle in the best possible physical and emotional state for a reason.
  4. Know you can leave at any point. If things do take a turn for the more theatrical then exit stage left. Take things as far away as possible from an audience and go home if that’s what it takes. At all costs avoid a public display of crazy. (saw one of those in town today – I think someone had been a very naughty boy!)
  5. Take a calming influence with you. There’s always that one mate who tries to be a diplomat and calm things down. The one who seems to take life horizontal in all ways. They are a great person to have by your side. Especially if they know your little one too. On that note, while of course your new partner has the right to see the little on in the play I would ask if this year is the most important time for that to happen?

If you’re wondering what a grey rock reply looks like, we’ve written up some lines to inspire you… These are designed to be non-confrontational and give little wiggle room for false accusations.  Naturally you’ll want to rehearse them in a ‘Hugh Grant in Love actually’ rather than a ‘Bruce Willis in Die Hard’ kind of character!

I understand.

Yes.

No.

Acknowledged.

Ok.

Thank you.

That does not work for me.

I will think about it.

I do not agree.

That information is wrong.

I intend to follow the court order exactly as it is written.

I do not agree with your version of reality/history and choose to disengage now.

I see things differently.

Received and noted.

Please comply with the court order/parenting plan.

I will be following the court order/parenting plan.

I will think about that and email you later.

Unless something has changed, my previous position has not.

I hope you find peace with whatever you are struggling with internally that causes you to respond in a negative manner continuously. I wish you the best.

I do not feel these misrepresentations warrant a response, I see no purpose to this exchange other than to increase / incite conflict. As such, I am noting my objection and your attempts to portray me in a negative light.

I will continue to comply with the court order/parenting plan as consistency is in the best interest of the children.

Just because you say something does not mean it is true. I will abide by ​the court order/parenting plan.

I am not going to participate in your perceived conflict.​ ​I will abide by ​the court order/parenting plan.

You will just need to make your best parenting decision.​ I will abide by ​the court order/parenting plan.

You’ll need to discuss that with your therapist or solicitor.

Your attempt to elicit a negative response from me has been noted.

I will not respond to false accusations and manipulations of events.

Wishing you all the best this festive season,

The Nurturing Coach Team

The post What’s your role in the school nativity? appeared first on The Nurturing Coach.

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I’m a dead guy, no worries

I’m a dead guy, no worries

I’m a dead man.  These people around me now, they think I’m alive.  But you, the one who’s reading this, you understand.  I’m dead, right?   See.  They don’t understand.  You do.

They think we have time. It’s that death delusion thing – existential psychology – our inherent fear of death, of impermanence.  We lose everything we hold dear… time… the inexorable march of time, sand slipping through our hands even as we try to hold on to the moments.

Grief and loss. We avoid the sadness and grief at understanding by going delusional… la-la-la, things are going to be the same forever.  There’s time, there’s always time.

No.  There’s not.  You understand.  I’m dead.   See.  All done.  They don’t understand.

I’m going to try to wake them up a bit on that, because I’ve only got a bit of time left, a moment.  We’ll see if I can awaken some of them, maybe we can get a little bit more accomplished before I leave.  How’d I do?  You know.  Did any of them wake up?

Doesn’t matter, not my worry.  I’m dead.  They may be too by this time.  You can see what I was doing,  Man, that ignorance and sloth is just a killer.  Of all the monsters I’ve tackled, that ignorance and sloth one over here, it’s like that big, dumb, troll ogre thing, uhhhhhggg.  That combination, ignorance and sloth, jeeze.  Reminds me of neglect trauma.  I hate neglect trauma.

Ignorance and sloth, boy-oh-boy that’s a tough combination.

And then there’s the transference dream.  Wow, that is an interesting one.  To have a transference dream at this scope, and they don’t see it. They are psychology people and they don’t see the transference.  Captured.  So I’m basically doing psychoanalytic therapy on all of professional psychology.

For a clinical psychologist, that’s a challenge of a career.  You understand.  You see.  Once we clear the dream… Doesn’t do me much good now.  I have a moment.  Maybe three.  How many do I have?  You know. 

I’m going to assume one.  I will do one last thing.  Then, if I can, I’ll do two, and if I have time three.  How many did I get to?  That’s a shame. There was so much more.  Oh well.  I’m not doing this again.  Get someone else next time.  That ignorance and sloth, the savage cruelty.  I’m done.  Last assignment.  I don’t like it here.

I’m tired.  It’s taken a lot to get here.  Expose that which is hidden.  

I’m ready.  I’m done.  I was worried at first whether I’d have enough time. That was why I kicked out that first set of YouTubes.  Triage.  Seriously, that’s what that was.  I’m trauma guy, I get over here and there’s massive-massive trauma, I immediately jumped into triage mode. What’s the fastest way to get the knowledge to the people who need it… YouTube.

Once I had the YouTube up, I had a little time, but this is active abuse and trauma, these patients are bleeding out and dying, all over the place. There are parents who haven’t seen their kids in 10 years. TEN YEARS, oh my god.  And other’s are still in active abuse trauma, with kids, ten-year olds, 14-year-olds, kids who they haven’t seen in years.  Oh my god, that’s awful.  And kids, not receiving the love of mom or day… for YEARS.  Oh my god, this is the worst thing I’ve ever seen.

This is the worst thing I’ve ever seen, and I’ve just come from child abuse trauma in the foster care system – early childhood no less – three year olds who have been sexually abused by meth addicts, five year olds beaten with electrical cords… I left that, entered private practice, wandered over here out of curiosity and,..

Oh – my – god.  This is the worst thing, the worst abuse and trauma, ongoing abuse and trauma, that I have ever seen.  I’m a clinical psychologist.  I’m working, start with triage, get them the IV of knowledge set up, see if we can save a few while we figure out how to stop this.

And these psychology people are acting like this is all okay.  Holy cow.  That’s nuts! What’s going on, oh my god it’s trans-generational trauma and it’s captivated all of them in the transference dream… the “bad parent” needs to be “punished” – they “deserve” to suffer, oh my god, we have that brutality and abuse line… active… by the mental health people.  They are participating in the abuse of these parents.

Oh my god.  The mental health people are being used as a tool, an instrument, of the abuse. And its unconscious.  They are captivated in the transference, they don’t see.

How’d that happen.  Trans-generational trauma, it caught them on their counter-transference. But where’s their empathy?  Dang.  They have none. These mental health people have zero empathy for the suffering of these parents, and they have no understanding for the child, zero-zero empathy for the child.

Absence of empathy, abuse. We’re spot on into a narcissistic abuse trauma, active, ongoing, with the mental health people as a primary instrument of the abuse.  The mental health people are a weapon of abuse.  The child is the primary weapon, and the mental health people are collaborating in it.

Dang.  I can’t just walk away from these parents, these children.  I can’t walk away from the kids.  I’ve got to do something… okay.

Dang.  Where do we start?  Triage.  Let’s get the solution into them as fast as possible, use knowledge to solve pathology, diagnosis, let’s get them that as fast as possible.

Then I studied the pathogen.  I studied the history of Gardner and the response.  Why are they using such an awful-awful model rather than just applying knowledge?  Oh, psychiatrists, Master’s level, they’re not psychologists.  Where are the psychologists?  Forensic psychology. So, then, what are they doing?

Oh my god.  That is awful.  They are just making stuff up, they are applying zero knowledge from anywhere, WHAT? $40,000 for an assessment?  That is an OBSCENE financial rape of these parents.  And look at what they are. That is the WORST assessment of anything I’ve ever seen, smoke and mirrors – oh my god these forensic people are just raping these parents, financial rape, bend over and take it… they are the most foul professionals…

Ethics.  That’s where we’ll have to go with them. There is an actual APA ethics code.  They are disgusting filth as psychologists.

But they are powerful.  They have puffy vitaes of emptiness, they are a collective, they will protect their rape of these families.  Oh my god… this is a rippling of sex abuse trauma – rejecting a parent – the shame line.  These parents are the little girl.  They are being isolated by forensic psychology, that threat to licensure isolating the victim from clinical psychology, a “special” field of psychology just for this population, this vulnerable population.  And these parents are being abused by the psychologists, raped, financially raped in their vulnerability.

Disgusting, foul and disgusting.  These are the lowest form of professional – I’m not even going to call them professionals anymore.  They are abusing their patients for financial gain, for their counter-transference cruelty –  the “bad parent” deserves to suffer.  Filth and corruption, inside them.

This is a ripple of sex abuse trauma.  Straight up on the borderline, probably to the mother of the narcissistic line.

The solution is the application of knowledge.  There are a lot of powerful vested interests.  We’ll see how the Gardnerian “experts” respond when I bring knowledge and its solution.  If I can get their support that’d be helpful when I go up against forensic psychology.  Forensic psychology is going to be exceedingly dangerous, the pathogen inhabiting them has power in its positions of authority.  I’ll have to find ethical psychologists in these organizations.

I need to get out into the light and stay there.  When I take on these disgusting forensic filth, I’m going to need to be fully in the light of day, because they are going to want to hurt me and destroy me, to maintain their financial rape hidden and unseen, their rape and exploitation of these parents, and the abandonment of these children to child abuse.  They don’t want that exposed.  They will try to hurt me.  I must stay in the light.

I must find ethical psychologists to stand with me.  How’d I do?  Did anyone stand and speak?  Did anyone come to these families and children?  I know… eventually.  That makes me sad.

That’s who the battle is going to be with.  The power of forensic psychology. They have the AFCC and the APA, a Division in the APA.  They own the power structures. They’re solidly anchored in the courts.  I am going to have to expose and take out an entire field of professional psychology.  A very powerful field, who have zero ethics, zero standards of practice, and who have been violating the APA ethics code wantonly and with no regard at all for what’s right or wrong, for decades.  And they own the APA.

This is going to take some time to get ready. 

Sheesh, what are those?  What?  Flying monkeys?  Pretty good term for ‘em.  Yeah, its that counter-transference delusional thing.  We’re into delusion and trauma world here.  We’re entirely transference, pretty much everyone.  These monkeys though, boy, they’re a dangerous lot in their psychotic nonsense.

Ahhh, jeeze.  You know what… that monkey line is in forensic psychology and the family courts too, isn’t it?  This is really dangerous.  Active narcissistic and borderline pathology in litigation with an attorney surrounding exactly the transference trauma, and colluding narcissistic professionals in both mental health – upper echelons – and the legal system.

And I’m just me.  Hmmm.  Hardly seems fair.  Maybe they should get some more help.

Okay. Gotta take on the ignorance, sloth, and power – abusive and dangerous power – of forensic psychology.  We’ll see if I can get some help from the parents’ current allies, these Gardnerian PAS people.  I’ll bring over knowledge and solution and see what’s up with them.

They’re captured too.  Everyone’s captured by their narcissistic inflation, the Gardnerians, the forensic puffy vitaes, although theirs is more just the financial rape of these parents, my goodness gracious, $20,000 to $40,000 for that worthless piece of crap that isn’t even a valid assessment… there’s a bunch of narcissistic pathology in forensic psychology no doubt, but mostly it’s just rape and exploitation.

It’s the absence of empathy in forensic psychology that is just chilling… and so wrong. We’re psychology – we are empathy – and we most definitely do NOT traumatize our patients.  They do.  All the time.

Isolate the victim, alone, away from resources and help, “out in the woods,” so you can abuse them.  Keep them silent through shame.  And the only allies they have are leading them into the worst model of a pathology ever developed in the history of mankind, and they’re being made to prove a pathology, to a judge, a legal professional, at trial, an expensive-expensive trial. Rather than simply get a diagnosis. 

Persecutory delusion, Shared Psychotic Disorder. DSM-IV.  Persecutory delusion, Child Psychological Abuse, DSM-5.

Wow, I’m going to have to kill this PAS construct first. These PAS “experts” aren’t going to like that.  They have their personal and professional identities all wrapped up in being “experts” in “parental alienation.”  They’re not going to like me taking away their status and standing that they gain from their “new pathology” thing.  Plus they’ve got that “Star Wars” rebel alliance against the evil empire thing going, they’ve been captivated by an archetype – jeeze, the transference is just everywhere.

Hi, who are you?  Dorcy?  What’s up, what do you have there?  Hey, that’s pretty good. Excellent as a matter of fact.  Once we get outta here, there are potentially some pretty nice things that can be done with that approach in other trauma areas.  What’s that about prison recidivism, you have done this approach in a prison population and reduced recidivism by 80%?  Okay, you’re coming with me.

What’s with all the monkeys?  Dang, they’re just swarming you.  Okay.  You’re like a monkey magnet, you should should give them pet names or something, except that they’re so incredibly dangerous – delusional splitting with righteous overtones.  THAT is a dangerous psychology.  When we’re in delusional world… one of them is erotomanic – that’s stalker world thing.  Be safe.  Your safety is most definitely at risk with this pathology. 

And what’s up with all the disrespect to you from the Gardner people?  You’d think they’d want your help, you have the solution in your hip pocket, you’re being swarmed by monkeys because of it, and they are not lifting a finger to help, and instead are trying to exclude your from their weird little narrcissistic “experts” club.

Okay, whatever.  I have strong doubts about the professional character of these Gardnerian “experts” – I think it’s just exploitation everywhere.  Okay, you just stay close to me and I’ll tell everyone the truth, I’m a clinical psychologist, that’s what we are, truth-tellers.  If you need a statement from me, no worries.  High Road will recover and does recover children from complex trauma and child abuse.

That is a fact.  I’d call it an elegant approach, and I want to extend its application to other areas of complex trauma and abuse recovery, like substance abuse recovery and prison recidivism.  Whoever in research world works with Dorcy will be a happy human. 

So let’s get you over to the AFCC people to tell them about what you do, they’re the ones on the “chain of command” who should hear about what you’re doing,  It’s substantially remarkable and wow.  So they should know about it.  They won’t listen because they are low-life disgusting pond scum, but it’s the right thing to do, for us to do.  Give them the opportunity so that if they weren’t low-life disgusting pond scum, which they are, they could develop your approach and extend it more fully into the solutions available for the family courts.

Okay, now let’s get you over to the APA, Division 24 Theoretical.  Those are the folks who need to hear about this. We’ll take it to them on the trans-generational trauma line.

What’s that?  A kid relapsed when contact with the abusive parent was restored and you’re headed out to recover the kid… a second time?  You can do that, recover the kid just like that, in day or so, a second time?  Okay then.

Because that allows for a single-case ABAB clinical intervention – and, wow.  That’s the best there is.  A-baseline, B-High Road, A-baseline, B-High Road.  Causality is a lock, and we leave the child fixed.  Okay, let me write that up.  That’s excellent.

What’s that?  You’ve got another one?  A parenting curriculum?  Okay, let’s see that?  Wow, that’s excellent too.  Professional psychology will want to hear about that too.  You’re a regular little force of nature aren’t you.  We’ll have to find you some university collaborators, and oh my god, they’re gonna love you.  You generate data, that’s magnificent.  Evidence based practice, these researchers are going to love you once we get the two of you hooked up.

These ignorant mental health people are still maybe a decade away from a single-case ABAB, they’re still on fire, “fire good,” so we have to get them caught up through wheel and internal combustion engine, but when they eventually get there, that’s really good.

With the publication of Foundations, I’m ready to take on forensic psychology.  Let’s tell everyone where we’re going.  Filmed some YouTubes, wake up, wake up.  The learned helplessness in these parents is pretty dense.  Understandable, inescapable trauma.  But boy, they are inert.  Wake up!  Wake up!

The pathogen has these parents believing that they have to “prove something” to someone – that’s the transference thing, putting the “bad parent” on trial.  Jeeze louise, that transference just has everyone captured.  We’re gonna have to wake up parents that, no, you don’t need to prove anything, you need a diagnosis of pathology so we can develop a treatment plan to fix things.

Where do they get a diagnosis?  Ahhhh jeeze… from the forensic people.  Okay, hold that thought.  We’re gonna need to get you some actual mental health people to diagnose the pathology for you, forensic psychology… get this… refuses to diagnose pathology, they say it’s “prejudicial” to the pathological parent. Does that make logical sense to you?  It doesn’t to me, but nothing makes sense over here, it’s all delusional transference dream… literally everywhere.

So I pop out the six-session treatment focused assessment protocol.  Toss off the Contingent Visitation Schedule as long as I’m at it, again, an exceptionally good Strategic family systems intervention, a craftsman at work, but it’ll be too complicated for this crop of mental health people, we’re at “See Spot run. Go Spot, go” and the Contingent Visitation Schedule is a college textbook. Maybe by 2050.  It’s the Assessment protocol we need right now.

Look at how simple I had to make it.  Seriously, three symptoms, check, check, check.  I can’t make it any more simple… and look… that’s STILL too complicated for them. They’re going into apoplectic shock, trembling on the floor, “How do I do this? How do I do this?”

Uhhh, check the box indicating if the symptom is present or absent.

Tough instructions.  A three-item checklist is too hard for them.  That is how bad things are.  Stone-cold stupid.  Seriously, with these mental health people, I feel like I’m educating high-schoolers, not even upperclassmen, Freshmen, high school Freshmen, if that.  I dunno, maybe 7th graders throwing paper airplanes.  These mental health people are sooooo far from professional.  Maybe we should start training teachers and plumbers to do the assessment. “See these boxes, if the symptom is present check the box that says, “Present,” and if the symptom is absent, check the box that says, “Absent.”

Do you think we can get teachers and plumbers to do this, because apparently we can’t get mental health people to do it, check, check, check… way too complicated for them.

Seriously, the combination of ignorance and sloth are the worst.  I’m not doing this again.  Way too exhausting.  Don’t try to teach a pig to sing.

We need a whole new crop.  This current group is worthless.

So that’s where I stand now.  How much did I get done?

Hey people… I’ve had two strokes.  The first was about 2006, dropped me to the floor, entire left side was dysfunctional, I had that blah-blah-blah stroke talk thing.  I recovered mostly, 95%.  Last year I had a second stroke, called a TIA, took a hit on my balance and I’m having trouble articulating certain sounds, you’ll see me with a cane now because an old guy doesn’t want to take a tumble on an uneven surface and break a hip or something.

I’m a dead man.  Always have been.  See, am I dead?   Yeah, I know.   These people think I’m alive.  I’m tellin’ ya, stone-cold stupid.

So I’ll try one more thing, I’ll try to wake them from their transference dream, try to break through that sloth barrier.  It’s not my job to teach them, it’s their job to ALREADY know, and we’ll try to line up that licensing and malpractice line, that’s pretty much fully there already, it’ll be on the systems end, with the licensing boards, that ignorance and sloth will reemerge, once again.  If they’re able to work up the malpractice stuff while I’m still here they can grab my testimony, if not then not my worry.

I’m tired.  Doing this all on my own.  It’s nice to have a touch of sanity in Dorcy, otherwise, boy, you people are delusional – it’s the transference, it’s got you all captured. And your narcissism, jeeze louise, pretty much everywhere.

Sanity in the midst of insanity, Dorcy.  She’s a smart lady, she knows this pathogen inside out and seven ways to Sunday.  Way-way hugely better than any mental health person out there right now.  Come on people, time to up your game, Dorcy’s dustin’ you.  She’s lapping you.  Pace people, pick up your pace.

If people listen to her they’ll figure it out.  She’s got her health issues too though, trauma leaves impact, so people shouldn’t count on her either.  Word to the wise, better use her while she’s here.  But nobody listens to me.  Now their listening.  Fat lot of good.

I could have told you so much.  But we were stuck on “See Spot run.”  Whatever.

I suspect Dorcy’s got a couple of decades on me.  Did she?  How’d that work out?  I suspect pretty good, I like the lines on that one.  Who knows, we’ll see what happens.

Not my worry.  I’m a dead guy.  You.  The one reading this, that’s a you problem.  Hopefully things are working themselves out.  Be kind.  There’s enough suffering in the world, no need to add more.  See what you can do about taking some out. And add some happy, we need more of that.

Our problem is not that there’s too much happiness in the world, so we have to limit and restrict happiness.  The problem is that there is too little happiness.  Smile, say a kind word, restore bonds of love and affection, add more happy and love and kindness, that’s a good thing.

But it’s not my worry.  I’m a dead guy.  How am I doin’?  As a dead guy?  I’m fine, thanks for asking, no worries.  I know what I am, and I know where we are.  No worries, I’m fine.  I don’t like this place, too much cruelty, ignorance, sloth… an absence of empathy.  I’m fine.

Not enough love and kindness here.  This place is okay on my-end, trees and mountains are nice, oceans.  People?  Mark Twain said that the better he got to know people, the more he liked his dogs.  It’s okay here, but generally, I’m not liking the level of cruelty here.  I’m okay not being here anymore, no worries on that.  They can figure things out on their own. 

Craig Childress, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist, PSY 18857

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Slide4

Peer Review

I agree with peer review.  If someone wants to peer-review my work, peer-review Foundations.  If you want the research support, here it is:

AB-PA Reference List

Nothing about an attachment-based description of this pathology is new, go argue with Bowlby, Minuchin, and Beck.  It is all standard and established knowledge applied to a set of child and family symptoms.

Solution is the DSM-5

The core line to solution though, is through the DSM-5.  All the rest is foundation, the central issue for solution is the application of the DSM-5.  That is the solution in its entirety.  This pathology is a persecutory delusion, a shared persecutory delusion with the allied parent who is the “primary case” of the persecutory delusion.

Presenting Problem

The child presents as being “victimized” by a parent.  That’s called the “presenting problem.” 

Differential Diagnosis

The first question for diagnosis is, is the child’s belief in “victimization” by a parent true or false?

If it’s true, then that is a DSM-5 diagnosis of child abuse.  Make the diagnosis and protect the child.  There are four diagnoses of child abuse in the Child Maltreatment section of the DSM-5:

V995.54 Child Physical Abuse
V995.53 Child Sexual Abuse
V995.52 Child Neglect
V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse

If the child is being “victimized” by a parent, diagnose child abuse and protect the child.

If, however, the child’s belief in “victimization” is false, then that is called a “persecutory” belief.  The diagnostic question then becomes, is it a perecutory delusion? A delusion is a fixed and false belief that is maintained despite contrary evidence.

This diagnostic question can be answered through the application of the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS) to the symptom.  The BPRS is one of the oldest, most widely used scales to measure psychotic symptoms for both clinicians and researchers.

From Wikipedia:  “The Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS) is a rating scale which a clinician or researcher may use to measure psychiatric symptoms such as depression, anxiety, hallucinations and unusual behaviour. Each symptom is rated 1-7 and depending on the version between a total of 18-24 symptoms are scored. The scale is one of the oldest, most widely used scales to measure psychotic symptoms and was first published in 1962.”

BPRS Item 11 is the rating for delusional beliefs.  The diagnostic consideration separating Slide4an “idea of persecution” from a “delusion of persecution” is whether there is “full conviction” in the false belief.  The BPRS instructs  the rater to “Consider the individual to have full conviction if he or she has acted as though the delusional belief were true.”

Has the child acted as though the false belief in supposed “victimization” by the normal-range parent is true? 

Yes, the child is refusing contact and involvement with the targeted parent based on the false belief that the child is being “victimized” by this parent. The child displays “full conviction” in the false belief.

Slide6The anchor description for a BPRS rating of 3 says that the belief is held “without full conviction.” 

The child in this case has full conviction as evidenced by acting on the false belief.  The BPRS rating for the child’s persecutory belief is, at least, above a 3 Mild score.

A BPRS rating of 4 is the cutoff rating for the difference between a persecutory Slide7idea (2 and 3) and a persecutory delusion (4 and above).  The anchor point for a rating of 4 Moderate specifies that it might be an “encapsulated delusion” (limited scope), and states that there is no preoccupation or no functional impairment.

Is there impairment in the child’s functioning caused by the persecutory delusion? 

Yes, in the child’s family relationships.  The false belief in “victimization” is creating a cutoff in family bonding to a normal-range parent, it is impairing the child’s functioning in the family.

There is functional impairment, the BPRS rating for the child’s false belief is therefore higher than a 4, 

The anchor point for a BPRS rating of 5 Moderately Severe states that “more areas of functioning are disrupted.”  This captures the child’s symptom severity.  The BPRS rating for the child’s perscutory belief is at least a 5 Moderately Severe.

The anchor description for a 6 Severe delusion states that there is “much preoccupation OR many areas of functioning are disrupted.”  If either of these criteria are met, then the BPRS rating is a 6 Severe.  Slide8

If there is “almost total preoccupation OR most areas of functioning are disrupted,” then the BPRS rating is 7 Extremely Severe.

This is not something from Dr. Childress.  This is the American Psychiatric Association and the BPRS, “one of the oldest, most widely used scales to measure psychotic symptoms.”

Shared Psychotic Disorder

The child displays a Moderately Severe persecutory delusion toward a normal-parent.  How does a child acquire a persecutory delusion toward a normal-range parent?  From the influence and psychological control of the allied parent, it is the parent who is the origin for the persecutory delusion; the “primary case” (APA, 2000).

The “primary case of the persecutory delusion” is the allied parent, who then “imposes the delusional system” on the child.

Here is the description of a shared delusional disorder from the American Psychiatric Association:

From the APA: “Usually the primary case in Shared Psychotic Disorder is dominant in the relationship and gradually imposes the delusional system on the more passive and initially healthy second person…  Although most commonly seen in relationships of only two people, Shared Psychotic Disorder can occur in larger number of individuals, especially in family situations in which the parent is the primary case and the children, sometimes to varying degrees, adopt the parent’s delusional beliefs.” (American Psychiatric Association, 2000, p. 333).

The American Psychiatric Association even offers guidance on the treatment of a shared delusional disorder,

From the APA: If the relationship with the primary case is interrupted, the delusional beliefs of the other individual usually diminish or disappear.” (American Psychiatric Association, 2000, p. 333).

From the APA:  “Course Without intervention, the course is usually chronic, because this disorder most commonly occurs in relationships that are long-standing and resistant to change.  With separation from the primary case, the individual’s delusional beliefs disappear, sometimes quickly and sometimes quite slowly.” (American Psychiatric Association, 2000, p. 333).

Here is the description of a persecutory delusion from the American Psychiatric Association,

From the APA: “Persecutory Type: delusions that the person (or someone to whom the person is close) is being malevolently treated in some way.”(American Psychiatric Association, 2000)

Does the allied parent share the false belief that the child (i.e., someone to whom the parent is close) is being “malevolently treated in some way” by the other parent? 

Yes.

The diagnosis is a Shared Psychotic Disorder.  In the ICD-10 diagnostic system, the formal diagnosis is F24 Shared Psychotic Disorder.  The DSM-5 diagnosis is V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse.

Pathogenic parenting that is creating delusional-psychotic pathology in the child is a DSM-5 diagnosis of V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse.  Creating delusional-psychotic pathology in the child through aberrant and distorted parenting practices is child psychological abuse.

That is the truth.

None of that is an opinion of Dr. Childress, it is all entirely the American Psychiatric Association, the DSM-5, and the BPRS, “one of the oldest, most widely used scales to measure psychotic symptoms.”  Go argue with the APA and the DSM-5.

Diagnosis.

Peer Review

There are a lot of mental health people holding themselves out as “experts” and who are offering interventions that they have crafted for this pathology.

I am going to want to see the protocols for their interventions.  Consider it peer review of your work.  I want to see your protocols.

I understand that Linda Gottlieb is offering something, some short-term intervention workshop model she’s created.  I’m extremely concerned about that.  Models of psychotherapy don’t work in intensive application situations.  Intense for psychotherapy models is two hour a week, the most intense is four or five hours of week of psychoanalysis.

Psychotherapy is not made for high-doseage intensity, it can do bad things if offered in too high an intensity.

There is no model of psychotherapy for what she’s doing, so she is stepping outside of any established model of known psychotherapy for what she’s doing – psychotherapy is NOT supposed to be delivered in that sort of intensive format, psychotherapy doesn’t work in intensity, and it can even be destructive at high-levels of intense application.

I’ll want to see Linda Gottlieb’s protocol to review it.

There’s also apparently a group in Arizona, I think, Overcoming Barriers I think it’s called.  Another short-term intensive intervention model.  I’ll want to see their protocol.

Cafcass, I’ll want to see what their doing.  Anyone who is holding themselves out as.an expert, bring your vitae, anyone doing intervention, I’ll want to review their protocol – consider it peer review.  I’ll start formally requesting protocols for review as a licensed. clinical psychologist somewhere around May or June of 2020, just putting out a heads up.

They won’t want to show me their protocols, and I strongly suspect it’s because what they are doing is seriously flawed and doesn’t work.  If they refuse to provide me with professional review of their protocol, I may  to get access to their protocols through other avenues, such as when I’m a consultant on a case where they’ve been the treatment provider.  The moment that happens, I’ll request their treatment records for continuity of patient care.  It’s a mandatory release under Standard 3.09 of the APA ethics code.

Standard 3.09 Cooperation with Other Professionals
When indicated and professionally appropriate, psychologists cooperate with other professionals in order to serve their clients/patients effectively and appropriately.

If I’m on a case as a clinical psychologist consultant and they were a prior treatment provider, then I’ll request their treatment records pursuant to Standard 3.09 ‘of the APA ethics code in order “to serve the clients/patients effectively and appropriately.”  It’s called “continuity of care.”

If I have to go that direction in order to review their treatment protocols, i.e., through my personal involvement as a licensed clinical psychologist with a client who has been treated by them, it won’t be simply a request for their protocols, I’ll want to see their treatment notes, intakes, treatment plans, outcome measures for that particular client.  I’ll want to see their individual treatment record and the protocol at that point.

Outcome measures too.  All interventions should be collecting outcome data.  That’s mandatory professional standard of practice with all pathology, ADHD, eating disorders, autism symptoms, depression and anxiety treatment.  Standard of practice; outcome measures.  What are the treatment outcome measures being used by Gottlieb and Overcoming Barriers, and any other intervention out there?

One of the primary things I will focus on in my peer review will be what their DSM-5 diagnosis is.  Diagnosis guides treatment.  They’re doing treatment, what’s their DSM-5 diagnosis.  What pathology do they think they’re treating.

A question will be, did they miss the diagnosis of a shared delusional disorder?  That would be a major problem, if they have no idea what the pathology is that they are even treating, yet they are developing treatment interventions for it, something – whatever it is they think their treating.  So I’ll want to see what their DSM-5 diagnosis is.

Consider it peer review.  I will be formally requesting their protocols for review at some point.  They’ll probably say no, probably ignore my request.  I’ll post my letter of request.  I’ll discuss their programs anyway, with whatever information I have available.   The exploitation of these parents ends.

I want to see your protocols.  If you’re offering some sort of treatment intervention for this pathology, I’ll want to review your protocol.  Consider it peer review.

If you want to peer review my work, great.  It’s the DSM-5 and the American Psychiatric Association – shared delusion – ICD-10 F24 Shared Psychotic Disorder (persecutory delusion) – DSM-5 diagnosis of V995.51 Child Psychological Abuse.

Peer review that.

None of this is Dr. Childress.  It’s the American Psychatric Association and the DSM-5. It’s Bowlby, Minuchin, Beck, van der Kolk, Tronick.  It is the application of established knowledge to a set of symptoms – that’s called diagnosis.

So to all my professional colleagues, what’s your diagnosis, and why?  Let’s see your support for your diagnosis.  That’s Standard 9.01a of the APA ethics code,

Standard 9.01 Bases for Assessments
(a) Psychologists base the opinions contained in their recommendations, reports, and diagnostic or evaluative statements, including forensic testimony, on information and techniques sufficient to substantiate their findings.

Your “opinions and recommendations” contained in your reports, including your “diagnostic or evaluative statements” and “forensic testimony,” needs to be based on an assessment that is “sufficient to substantiate their findings.”

So… let’s see it.  Let’s see your “information and techniques sufficient to substantiate” your findings that there is NO spousal IPV emotional abuse of the ex-spouse/targeted parent using the child as the weapon; that there is NO cross-generational coalition and emotional cutoff in the family caused by unresolved multi-generational trauma in the parent; that there is NO encapsulated persecutory delusion in the child, and shared persecutory delusion with the allied parent.

Let’s see your documentation from your assessment that rules-out these potential diagnoses.  Dr. Chlidress is going to be doing peer review, used to do it all the time with interns and post-docs.  Your turn.

I’ve reviewed Dorcy’s protocols, all of them, for the High Road workshop, the Higher Purpose Parenting course curriculum, the CRM data tagging protocols.  I know exactly how they work, I am fully comfortable with them as a clinical psychologist, I can explain them all at a professional level.  She collects outcome data on all her workshop recoveries, documented success with each case, she has lock-solid single-case ABA data demonstrating effectiveness of the High Road workshop.

So… mental health people.  Let’s see your protocols, let’s see your outcome data.  Have I protected propriatary intellectual property rights with Dorcy?  Absolutely.  No worries on your intellectual property rights.  It’s called peer review.

The rampant ignorance and incompetence ends.  The violations to the APA ethics code and professional standards of practice surrounding these families, ends. The exploitation of these families, ends.  From equine therapy to magical workshops, Dr. Childress wants to review your protocol, starting with what you’re using as an outcome measure.

Craig Childress, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist, PSY 18857

 

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mothers have an advantage in custody disputes

Do Mothers Have an Advantage in Custody Disputes?

mothers have an advantage in custody disputes

 

If you are going through a divorce, a primary concern is often your children and your child custody arrangements. It’s difficult for any parent to contemplate not having their children living with them all of the time, but it can be even more difficult for mothers who have a close bond with their children.

If you and your husband cannot come to custody terms that you both can sign off on, the court will need to decide the matter for you. While many people think that mothers have a natural advantage in such disputes, the truth is far more complicated. Understanding the basics related to child custody can help you navigate the process while standing up for your own parental rights.

Legal Custody

Custody is divided into two major concerns that include physical custody (related to with whom the children reside at any given time) and legal custody. It’s important to recognize that in the vast majority of divorces, both parents share legal custody, which refers to a parent’s rights to make important decisions on behalf of their children. These decisions include:

  • Matters related to your children’s health and well-being, such as medical care
  • Matters related to your children’s education
  • Matters related to your children’s religious upbringing

These are fundamental issues that shape your children’s lives, and it’s very likely that you and your divorced spouse will continue to make these important decisions together, although one parent is sometimes given tie-breaking authority.

Physical Custody

Physical custody relates to with whom your children reside primarily and to their visitation schedule with the other parent. While many people believe that mothers have an advantage when it comes to physical custody, this really isn’t an accurate assessment in many cases.

Do Mothers Have an Advantage in Custody Disputes?

The Court’s Stance

If you and your divorcing spouse cannot come to mutually acceptable terms regarding your children’s custody arrangements, the court will intervene and make a determination of how you will split custody rights.

The court will always favor what is in the best interest of your children, but this is obviously open to interpretation, and it’s important to remember that the court has considerable discretion in the matter. You obviously know your children in a way that the judge never can, and you know what’s best for them.

Courts often favor the status quo when making child custody decisions. In other words, if the mother has been the primary caregiver and she and the children are living in the family home while the case is pending, the judge may be hesitant to upset the balance and may be more inclined to award the mother primary custody.

This is generally more a function of how things are commonly arranged than it is a function of favoring the mother or of the mother having an advantage in the matter.

The Considerations at Hand

In determining child custody arrangements, the court is guided by the children’s best interests, but in the process, it takes a wide range of variables into consideration, including:

  • The emotional connections between each parent and the children
  • Each parent’s ability to provide the children with a loving home and a healthy life
  • Any criminal history
  • Any history of domestic abuse – either physical, emotional, or sexual
  • Any substance abuse issues
  • Any pertinent parental considerations that could affect the decision, such as age or disability
  • The location of each parent’s residence (who lives closer to the children’s school, for example)

None of these issues are gender-specific and, as such, the court’s decision cannot favor the mother. Many mothers, however, are already providing primary custodial care, and courts are not fond of dramatically disrupting children’s lives when they’re already going through the emotional challenge of divorce. After all, divorce is hard on everyone, but children are especially vulnerable.

Your Children’s Voices

Many parents wonder if their children’s preferences will guide – or should guide – the court’s custody decisions. The fact is that many judges will speak to your children privately (especially older children) and will take their preferences into careful consideration, but the decision is simply not up to your children.

The court is making determinations related to your children’s custody exactly because they are children who need custodial care. When your children are adults, they’ll make their own important decisions, but for now, those decisions must be made for them. Your children’s voices, nevertheless, may help guide the court’s ruling.

Reaching a Resolution

If you’re going through a divorce, emotions are inevitably running high. The stress and heartache of divorce leave many couples unable to reach mutually agreeable terms on many important issues. Both of you, however, naturally put your children first, and if you can find a way to hammer out custody arrangements that you can both live with, the court and its considerable discretion won’t need to be involved in the process.

Reaching a compromise with your children’s father can come in many forms. If you aren’t able to work together personally (which isn’t uncommon), your attorneys can attempt to negotiate an arrangement, and you can also address the issue via mediation – with the legal guidance of your respective divorce attorneys.

The post Do Mothers Have an Advantage in Custody Disputes? appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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single moms at christmas

A Message To Single Moms At Christmas

single moms at christmas

 

A Message To Single Moms At Christmas

Hey! Hey, you! I see you there, staying up late, searching for the best deals and worrying about how you’re going to put presents under the tree. I know you’ve been squirreling money away since July, hoping to surprise your kids with more than you were able to give last year.

I understand all too well how much easier it would be if you had another income to work with. How much weight would be off your shoulders if you didn’t live paycheck to paycheck all year long?

I know that this time of year is hard, if only because you want to do so much more for your kids than you can.

But I saw you carrying a tree as big as you through the lot all by yourself, never once complaining or asking for help. I saw you bundling the entire family up, going neighborhood to neighborhood to admire the lights as Christmas carols played on your car radio.

I know that most nights, when you’re not too tired or rundown, you try to sit with them and read at least one Christmas story, sometimes in front of a fire. I’ve seen you making hot chocolate and breaking out the advent calendar, determined to make happy holiday memories for those little people you love so much.

I know you’ve been sharing your favorite holiday movies, beaming with pride as your kids laughed at Elf” or giggled through “A Christmas Story” (Fun fact to impress them with: The same kid who played Ralphie grew up to play one of the head elves, supervising Buddy at the North Pole. Ask your kids if they can spot him!)

I saw you flipping through your Christmas cookie recipes, trying to plan a time to bake with your favorite little people—trying even harder not to think about how much you don’t need those cookies around your house. (It’s the holidays, let yourself indulge a little. I promise you deserve it.)

I know you may be worrying (or even heartbroken) about spending Christmas alone this year (perhaps it’s their dad’s turn to have them) or about not being able to give them the Christmas they deserve if they will be with you. I know that it’s not just the presents that get expensive this time of year.

The visits to Santa, the tree, the new ornaments, even the baking supplies; it all adds up. And maybe you have a job where you won’t get paid on the days you aren’t working, making this a short month with less money coming your way.

I see you trying to do the very best you can anyway.

I know you bolt out of bed some nights, remembering that you forgot to hide the elf. So you jump up and move him while it’s on your mind, and then you can’t fall back asleep for another two hours. Only in the morning do you realize how unoriginal your new hiding spot was.

And I know that you are the only one wrapping gifts and that because you’re tired and stressed out and a little short on personal time, the corners aren’t just right. And you’ve got a few presents with scraps of paper taped together because you don’t have any to waste.

But you know what? Your kids don’t seem to care. They don’t mind that there are only a few presents under the tree, or even that the tree is second-hand and a little beaten up.

They aren’t upset you had to skip the Santa visit this year, and they remember all the Christmas stories by heart—because you’ve read them every year before now. And do you want to know the best part? They think you are beautiful enough to eat all the cookies without fear.

Maybe this is the first year you’ve been doing it all on your own, or perhaps it’s always been like this. Either way, there is an extra pressure there when you are solo parenting around the holidays. You never want your kids to miss out. You never want them to feel as though they don’t have everything every other family does. And this time of year, that missing presence can feel even harder to ignore.

But I promise you’re doing just fine. Amazing, even.

Because every step of the way, you are putting your kids first. You are pushing and striving to make this holiday season better than the last, to stick to the traditions, to create the memories and to show your kids just how much you love them.

You are a superwoman. And I’m here to tell you, even if those attempts don’t go exactly as originally planned, they know it.

And they see you, too.

They see you bending over backward to make the holidays special. They see you slapping a smile on your face as you sing, even though the circles under your eyes are dark. They may not be beaming with gratitude just yet; in fact, it might take them years to tell you just how much your efforts meant. But they see you, and the memories you are working so hard to make.

You are singlehandedly creating Christmas, and your kids are benefitting daily from that fact. They see you, and they’ll always remember…

The carols.

The hot chocolate.

The lazy elf.

The love.

All of this will mean so much more to them than anything you could possibly put under the tree. In fact, years from now, they won’t remember what gifts they got this Christmas—but they will remember how hard their mom worked to make it special.

You’re doing an amazing job. So be kind to yourself this holiday season; you deserve some happy memories, too.

Merry Christmas,

Olivia

The post A Message To Single Moms At Christmas appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Infidelity Affect the Outcome of Your Divorce

Will Infidelity Affect the Outcome of Your Divorce?

Infidelity Affect the Outcome of Your Divorce

 

Infidelity is a common cause of divorce throughout North America. However, the effect that an affair might have on the outcome of your divorce case will vary depending on your jurisdiction. Different laws set out different standards for how infidelity impacts a divorce, and the following is some information about adultery and some examples of how your divorce outcome might be swayed if your spouse was unfaithful.

Adultery as Grounds for Divorce

For a long time, a spouse had to state “traditional” grounds for divorce that were based on marital misconduct, such as adultery. While all jurisdictions in North America now allow no-fault divorce based on the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage, some jurisdictions still allow spouses to claim fault-based grounds for divorce. In many cases, fault-based grounds can eliminate the need to be separated for a period of time before obtaining a divorce.

If you allege infidelity as grounds for a divorce, your spouse will have the opportunity to contest your allegations. If your spouse does contest, you will need to sufficiently prove the adultery occurred to obtain your divorce. This does not mean that you need to catch your spouse in the actual adulterous act, though you do need to present credible evidence that infers they were engaged in extramarital sexual conduct. Such evidence may include:

  • Statements from friends, family members, or other witnesses who knew about the affair
  • Credit card charges for gifts, hotel rooms, romantic meals, trips, or other expenses related to the affair
  • Emails or text messages
  • Not coming home often or another departure from normal routines without explanation
  • Seeing your spouse with another person

If you are unable to present evidence to support your claims of infidelity, the court can deny your petition for a divorce based on those grounds. You might need to file for no-fault divorce, which might require a period of separation before the case can get underway.

Adultery in a No-Fault Divorce

Many people file for no-fault divorce because it seems simpler or because their jurisdiction does not allow fault-based grounds. In this situation, infidelity may or may not play a role in the divorce process. While you can end your marriage without the court considering infidelity, your spouse’s conduct could still come into play when deciding certain issues in your divorce.

Property Distributions

In some cases, your spouse might have wasted marital assets on an affair. If you have records showing your spouse racked up credit card debt or otherwise spent money on gifts, meals, vacations, or other expenses related to their infidelity, you can claim your spouse wrongfully wasted assets that were rightfully half yours. In this type of situation, the court can decide to award you a larger property award to make up for the funds your spouse wasted for extramarital purposes.

Spousal Support Awards

Whether infidelity affects spousal support (or alimony) awards will depend on the law and policies in your jurisdiction. The laws can vary significantly, including the following:

  • Some jurisdictions prohibit judges from considering infidelity when it comes to spousal support, as the focus should be on the financial need of the recipient spouse
  • Some jurisdictions prevent a spouse from receiving alimony if they were unfaithful
  • Some jurisdictions entitle a spouse to a higher spousal support award if their spouse was unfaithful

It truly depends on where the divorce is occurring, and a knowledgeable divorce lawyer in your jurisdiction can advise you how infidelity might affect your alimony award.

Child Custody

Some spouses might think their children should not be around a parent who sets an immoral example by having affairs. However, a spouse’s infidelity does not make them automatically unfit to parent under the eyes of the law. Instead, the court will consider what is in the best interests of the child when determining custody arrangements. Some factors the court might consider include:

  • Is the adulterous spouse engaged in affairs with numerous people at the same time?
  • Does your spouse expose your child to inappropriate situations as a result of his affairs?
  • Is the adulterous behavior accompanied by substance abuse, being gone for long hours, or other behavior that puts the child at risk of harm or neglect?

If the court believes that your spouse’s parenting abilities are impacted by the circumstances accompanying the infidelity, it might impact the custody determination.

Resolving Your Divorce Case

Even if you are rightfully angry and hurt by your spouse’s infidelity, this should not be the driving force leading to a certain outcome of your divorce. Family courts encourage divorcing spouses to focus on resolution instead of blame and fault, as this often makes it easier to compromise and reach out-of-court agreements. In some cases, raising the issue of infidelity can improve your divorce outcome while, in others, it might simply distract from the important issues and not impact the outcome at all.

If you are filing for divorce because your husband was unfaithful, it is important to examine all of your options and strategies with an experienced divorce lawyer. This way, you can take the best approach to ensure the best possible outcome of your case.

The post Will Infidelity Affect the Outcome of Your Divorce? appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Covert Narcissistic Ex Nearly Destroyed Our Children

Maddie’s Story: How My Covert Narcissistic Ex Nearly Destroyed Our Children

Covert Narcissistic Ex Nearly Destroyed Our Children

 

In part one and part two of my story, I discuss how I no longer feel responsible for his behavior and, how I found it so easy to fall in love with him. Today I want to discuss how my covert narcissist destroyed our children.

I guess I should say, nearly destroyed because, thankfully, for them, I was always there to guide them through the damage he did to them. Even with my guidance and love, the damage is there and will last their entire lifetime.

There is nothing more heart wrenching than having no recourse against someone who is doing grave emotional harm to your children. If a stranger had done what their father did, I would have had recourse. But, since it was their father, the family court system turned a blind eye to his behavior.

It started from the beginning, the very beginning before I even knew there would be a divorce.

I’m sharing this information in bullet points in order to keep my thoughts straight and not running together. We’ve been divorced for nearly 2 decades, there is no way I can share the entire story but, these are issues I remember as being the most damaging.

How My Covert Narcissistic Ex Nearly Destroyed Our Children

  • He made the decision to divorce without a discussion with me. One day he was there, the next he was gone. Here is how he told our children before he ever told me. He went to our older son’s school and checked him out of school. He told our son, to not ask him any questions, to get in the car and he would explain after they picked up our younger son. He then went to our younger son’s school and checked him out. Once they were all in the car, the boys in the backseat, he turned, looked at them and said, “Your Mom and I are getting divorced. I’m leaving and never coming home.” Needless to say, our sons became very emotional. They thought they came from a happy home and family. He had just dropped a bomb on them. They begged and pleaded for an explanation, but he refused to look at or respond to their questions and evident distress. He pulled up into the driveway or our home and told them to get out. He left them standing in the driveway, crying with our youngest who was six at the time, writhing on the ground.

 

  • He didn’t see the children for a month after that and when he did, he was only interested in spending time with our youngest. When our oldest son, asked him why he never invited him to visit his father told him, “because I have a deeper bond with your little brother. “I think I love him more than I love you.” I told him he couldn’t take one without taking both, that I would not allow him to ignore the needs of our older son. So, he began visiting with both boys. The problem? Both boys had questions about why he left, why he was doing what he was doing. He refused to answer their questions or allow them to ask questions. He said, “I won’t have my time with you marred by unpleasant conversation.”

 

  • Our oldest eventually stopped going on visitations with him and requested his Dad join him in therapy to work through their “relationship issues.” His Dad refused therapy together but said he would see our son’s therapist on his own when he had time. When asked by our son why he didn’t want to go with him, he responded with, “I don’t owe you anything, not my time, not my feelings, NOTHING.” That’s when our oldest son gave up on his father.

 

  • It’s been 14 years since he’s had a conversation or spent any time with our oldest son. My ex has a DIL and granddaughter that he has never met and, given his actions must not have an interest in meeting. He also has a grown son who is in therapy to deal with the damage done by a father who abandoned him.

 

  • My ex continued to visit with our youngest son. He saw him once a month. No phone calls, email or contact between those once a month visits. Our younger son would email and text him, but he never got a response. He asked his Dad to call on Tuesday nights to help him study for spelling tests. His father refused. He asked his Dad to help him build a car for the Boy Scout’s Pinewood Derby, his father refused.

 

  • Three years after our divorce my ex became seriously involved in a relationship with a woman who had an older daughter. That is when he completely cut off our younger son. He had no communication or face-to-face contact with your youngest or oldest sons for six years.

 

  • When our younger son was 16, he had a psychotic break. He was hospitalized and diagnosed with PTSD and Bi-Polar Disorder. His medical records state “Psychosis due to parental abandonment.” According to the Psychiatrist our son needed his father. The Psychiatrist called my ex and my ex told him that there was nothing he could do to help. That what was going on was my fault, not his. How could it be his fault because he hadn’t seen the kid is six years. The psychiatrist told him that, that was exactly why our son was having issues. My ex hung up on him.

 

  • It’s been another 8 years with no contact from their father. Since the day he left the marriage he has not sent a Christmas gift, Birthday gift, attended a graduation, wedding or acknowledge the important things in their lives.

I’m happy to report that both sons are flourishing. They are stable, ethical men. Both have great careers and one has a lovely family. The majority of their day-to-day lives are lived without thought of their Dad and what he did to them.

They both, however, are in therapy. One is on medication he’ll take for the rest of his life and neither will be rid of the scars left by a covert narcissistic father who discarded them as if they were dirt on his shoes.

The Family Courts and Emotional Abuse of a Child

You can protect your child via the courts if they’re being emotionally abused. You can request a custody evaluation, get a Guardian Ad Litem for them, or a psyche evaluation. There is nothing you can do via the courts to protect a child from abandonment by a father.

Google, “Legally forcing a man to visit his children” and you’ll come up with nothing. I came up with one article that said, “visitation is a privilege, not a legal responsibility?” Since a man who abandons his children isn’t breaking any laws there is no way to hold them legally responsible for the damage done by their abandonment.

That’s why I tell other mothers who are dealing with the damage done by such fathers that it’s up to them to clean up the mess to the best of their ability. It’s up to all us mothers who’ve watched a narcissistic father damage his children to do our best to cushion the damage being done.

We can’t fill the hole left by an absent father. That isn’t within our power. We can let our children know that we are their “ride or die.” We can promote their emotional wellbeing by enlisting friends and relatives to show them love and support.

If you’re lucky you’ve got a brother or father who can step in and take up some of the slack and become surrogate fathers. It still won’t fill that hole left by the father but, there is never too much love and caring given to children who’ve been abandoned.

I was thinking about the Catholic church the other day and how suits can be filed by people who were molested by Priests. My hope is that one day, adults who were abandoned by a parent will have the same right to sue that parent for punitive damages. It won’t make them whole again or undo the damage but, I can think of nothing better than legally punishing a parent who skipped out on their children.

Protect your children, Mamas! You are their lifeline. You are their hope. You are all that stands between them and their narcissistic father.

The post Maddie’s Story: How My Covert Narcissistic Ex Nearly Destroyed Our Children appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Custody Issues that Can Arise during the Holidays

3 Custody Issues That Can Arise During the Holidays

Custody Issues that Can Arise during the Holidays

 

For many people, the holiday season is a time to relax, spend time with friends and family, and engage in various religious or secular traditions. If you are a mother that shares custody of her children with their father, however, it is important that you consider the fact that the holidays can present a virtual minefield of custody issues that can be difficult to navigate.

Fortunately, by recognizing these issues and planning ahead, you can usually avoid them and have a holiday season free from any conflicts or fights related to child custody and parenting time.

Here are some of the most common issues that mothers who share custody should consider as the holidays approach.

3 Custody Issues that Can Arise During the Holidays

1. Not Having a Plan

One of the worst things you can do as the holiday’s approach is failing to make a plan as to how the kids will spend them. This is a recipe for disaster and a ruined holiday season. If your current custody order does not specify how custody is to be divided over the holidays, you should address the matter immediately, either informally or by requesting a modification to the order.

Some of your options include assigning fixed holidays to each parent (for example, you get Thanksgiving and their dad gets Christmas), alternating holidays, or splitting a holiday in half. The arrangement that works best for you will depend largely on the specifics of your living arrangements and the things most important to you.

2. Traveling Out of State

If you are considering traveling out of state this holiday season to see friends or family, it’s critical that you ensure that you check the terms of your custody arrangement prior to making firm plans. In some cases, your child custody arrangement may require you to obtain permission from your kids’ father in order to travel out of state – but it also may not.

Even if your child custody order does not require you to obtain their father’s permission to travel out of state, it’s not a bad idea to discuss the matter with him anyhow. First of all, it’s a show of good faith that you are willing to engage in open communication and co-parenting; secondly, it can work in your favor should a dispute arise in the future.

3. Unusual Custody Schedules During Winter Break

Unfortunately, an existing holiday custody schedule does not always make things go smoothly during this often hectic time of year. First of all, a departure from normal schedules can be hard on children, so it’s important to keep them aware of what’s going on and why. Furthermore, there are often logistical issues regarding holiday custody schedules.

For example, if your arrangements involve your children spending more consecutive nights with their father than they normally do, make sure that you pack enough clothes and discuss any issues that may arise with their other parent. Similarly, your normal schedule for dropping off or picking up the kids may not work because of holiday commitments, so make sure that these potential problems are discussed ahead of time.

Avoiding Custody Issues Now and in the Future

Fortunately, these and other issues related to child custody can usually be avoided with some simple planning and communication. If you and your child’s father have an amicable relationship and are able to talk, it’s not a bad idea to try and work out a holiday custody schedule yourself. In the event that your relationship is not so good, it may be necessary to petition the court to modify your custody schedule and assign holidays to each of you. In either case, it’s highly advisable to discuss your custody goals with a family law attorney in your jurisdiction.

Making New Traditions

One regular concern for mothers – especially those who are newly divorced – is how to maintain the family’s regular traditions for the holidays. The reality is that you might not be able to keep all of the same traditions, but the good news is that you can make new traditions with your children.

While you might normally have a special breakfast you make for Christmas morning after your kid’s open presents, you might be switching off Christmas morning with your ex-spouse. This means that you might miss the morning tradition, but maybe you can make a new special-breakfast-for dinner tradition for Christmas Eve.

That being said, if you have a special tradition with your family that your ex-spouse does not have with his family, you might want to negotiate to ensure you can continue that tradition since it means more to you.

Find Support with Family and Friends

No matter how well you plan ahead for custody issues, the holidays can still be difficult when you are not always with your children. It can be difficult to adjust, so you want to make sure that you have the support you need emotionally. When you do this, you can ensure you are in the best possible position to celebrate the holidays when your children are with you. If you need to adjust custody for the future, never hesitate to seek legal support from a trusted attorney, as well.

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hiring an effective attorney

The Secret to Hiring an Effective Attorney:  Emotional Intelligence

hiring an effective attorney

 

My parents divorced right after I was born and I was raised by my mother. She was a social worker for the New York State Division for Youth. She worked there for decades and I can remember going into her government office, in Syracuse, New York, and raiding the office’s supply closet. Money was always tight.

Being raised by a single mother was challenging, for sure, but I was very fortunate that my mother was emotionally intelligent. In fact, had I been raised by my father I suspect my life would have been far less purpose-driven and more focused on self-centered endeavors. I am a very lucky man in that respect.

I am now a divorce and family attorney with a family of my own. I speak with people every day about divorce, custody modifications, relocation, decision-making and everything else one would expect of someone managing a large family law firm. I watch competitors everyday market to their “target audience.”

Marketing Based on Fear:

We have a lot of “Men’s Rights Firms” here in our state, and they get many clients calling every day. We have law firms locally that market “aggressive representation” (admittedly I did as well in the beginning) and messaging similar to “We Win Family Law cases.”  Nobody wins these cases. I see no value in advertising expertise or specialty related to the sex of a client. It’s marketing based on fear, and it’s natural for parents to be fearful as they contemplate major life changes.

I disagree with the idea that you need to have any plan in place other than being very deliberate and thoughtful about choosing an attorney.

He cheated on you.

He lied to you.

He isn’t a good dad.

He used marital money to buy his mid-life-crisis answer.

If someone told you, when you are raw and emotional, to get aggressive and hire Lawyer X to fight for you, I suspect you would think that is a good idea. I suspect I would feel the same way. But that is really, really bad advice.

The Secret to Hiring an Effective Attorney:  Emotional Intelligence

Fighting and being aggressive has its place in every family law case, but how you fight and how you are aggressive is the key. Understand that you are extracting yourself from a dysfunctional relationship. There is pain, fear, anger and every other emotion open and available for you to experience.The feeling you do not want is regret with your choice in representation.

I strongly suggest that you seek representation that does not mirror you, your emotions, or your anger…at least at the outset. Do not hire an attorney who gets you motivated to destroy him. If your case warrants a parenting time restriction, or a protection order, a private investigator or a Child and Family Investigator then the right attorney will guide you only after he or she understands your case, your relationship with your husband and children, and your goals.

Choose an emotionally intelligent lawyer. 

What exactly is that?

Emotionally intelligent people are…aware. That’s all. But that’s huge! An emotionally intelligent attorney uses all her tools in her toolbox. She doesn’t react to opposing counsel who thinks being a jerk is in the job description.

An emotionally intelligent attorney uses data, strategy and thought in accordance with a communicated plan of action geared towards a successful outcome. They think about their actions and advice, understanding the raw nature of the situation, and they don’t exploit the client’s fears. Emotionally intelligent attorneys can inspire and protect clients, oftentimes, from themselves.

Think about it. Your husband cheated on you with someone you know. He is clearly a piece of trash and shouldn’t have parenting time because he can’t be trusted. Right? Or, even more cutting, he introduces your children to her as he and your babies “accidentally” run into her while grocery shopping. You want it to stop. You want him to pay dearly. That mindset will have many lawyers licking their chops to follow your strategy and blow it all up…and bill you for it all.

Emotional intelligence is not a weakness. It is the epitome of strength and most lawyers don’t have it. Emotional intelligence is seeing the case from both the 30,000-foot view, anticipating behaviors based on the data, and having the legal and factual knowledge to make strategic decisions that benefit the client in the short term and long term.

Emotional intelligence is not ripping off scathing emails to opposing counsel, at your behest, because you are hurt. Emotional intelligence is using your narcissist husband’s abusive texts to your advantage by waiting until he portrays himself the way he sees himself and opposite to what the facts, collateral witnesses and written or recorded communications conclusively portray him to be.

If your “aggressive lawyer” did what you asked, or on her own, acted, by emailing opposing counsel and threatened your husband you will feel better…and you likely lost the benefit of all the data because you allowed the lawyer to tip off your husband that he has bad facts to overcome.

Emotionally intelligent lawyers see the forest through the trees and effectively save you from your emotions, while at the same time advancing your effectively strategized case towards a successful resolution. Sophisticated, emotionally intelligent representation can be lulling your husband to sleep with false confidence, only to trap him in his lies at mediation or trial.

That is effective, and even aggressive, representation and is done at the highest level by very few attorneys.

There is nothing worse than lining up a narcissist with his own words/actions/behaviors only to see this leverage disappear because a lawyer was lazy, greedy or both.

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