divorced dad

Why Don’t Divorced Dads Turn To Each Other For Support Like Divorced Moms Do?

divorced dad

 

My Facebook feed is filled with divorced or almost divorced women turning to each other for support and there is one thing you won’t find on there:

Men.

Single dads and divorced dads are not gathering in tribes on social media boards or in person to chat about their plight and experience with divorce even if they want to.

Why not?

Why Divorced Dads Don’t Turn to Each Other for Support

A study published in 2000 in the Psychological Review, showed that stressed women “tend and befriend” while men go for the “fight or flight” option. Researchers suggest that this is due to the fact that when stressed, men’s brains omit less oxytocin, that feel-good love hormone than women. And according to statistics produced by the American Psychological association in 2011, women (70%) are more apt to do something to reduce their stress than men (50%) are.

No matter which way we slice it, research shows that men tend to go the solo route when it comes to working through stress while women look for company along the way.

Men don’t want to raise their hands and say, “Hey everyone, my life sucks,” or “I miss my ex-wife,” or “It’s really hard raising kids in a single-parent home.”

Doing that would mean admitting pain and hardship, something that isn’t considered a masculine trait and let’s face it, while women have been the oppressed gender from the start, men also suffer from unfair stereotypes and expectations. Men aren’t oppressed, they are REPRESSED emotionally!

It’s not OK for a man to cry.

Be a man, suck it up.

You’ve heard those phrases tossed around and so have I.

We tell men to be brave and strong and to keep a straight face. This doesn’t leave a lot of room for grief and sadness.

So it isn’t surprising then that single dads and divorced men are not looking for a support group, but to me, this limits divorced men and single dads from moving past divorce in a healthy way.

If men could form groups or did form groups, it could help them grieve divorce and learn new parenting strategies from other dads. If a man did reach out to another man to say, “Hey, how did you find a good custody schedule,” or “Is mediation the better route?” it would be beneficial for that divorcing dad.

Going solo on such a huge adventure like becoming a divorced, single dad seems risky, from my female-wired brain. It could also be the reason men seem to jump into new relationships, faster.

A new partner might just be the divorced man’s support group, but that is problematic too. Someone you’re romantically interested in shouldn’t be a springboard for grief and renewal.

So for all the divorced dads out there, why not see befriending or growing your support network of other divorced and single dads in a different light, rather than seeing it as a “b*tch fest” or gathering like a group of old ladies?

See reaching out for support as a:

  • Chance to network: Maybe your new friends will have good business contacts or even better, cute single female friends.
  • Chance to mentor: If you’re a single dad mentoring a man who’s going through the divorce process, you can be a father figure to someone going through the experience—an adoptive son or little brother, as it were.
  • Chance to learn from others: Use your man brain and be logical: someone who has been there or done that will know certain pitfalls to avoid as you go through the divorce process that you wouldn’t have known without asking someone in the “know.”

To all the divorced dads or “going through a divorce” dads, why not do things a little differently in your life this time around? Making contacts and building a support network isn’t just for women. It’s for smart people who want to make a huge life adjustment a bit easier or in other words, it’s for you!

The post Why Don’t Divorced Dads Turn To Each Other For Support Like Divorced Moms Do? appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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divorcing a control freak

6 Strategies To Use When Divorcing A Control Freak

divorcing a control freak

 

I had never considered my husband a control freak. But as we were ending our marriage, I saw his need to control blossom into something ugly.

At that point, I reflected back over our marriage (for the millionth time?) and realized it had been there all along. I think I had largely overlooked it because I just wanted to get along.

Plus there were other hurtful behaviors that actually trumped this one.

Our divorce kicked off with some controlling behavior. What I had hoped would be a dissolution upgraded to a divorce when my husband sent the Sheriff to our home to serve me with divorce papers.

In those papers were restraining orders. He was trying to prevent me from accepting a job in my hometown. It was the best job opportunity that I could’ve received at that time. Many years ago, we had jointly decided that he would financially support our family while I basically stayed home with our four children.

But when the divorce started, he shut down all of my access to our finances. Then he tried to block my ability to provide for myself and the children. I was in an impossible spot, and needed solutions. Eventually, I came up with six strategies to handle divorcing a control freak.

6 Strategies To Use When Divorcing A Control Freak

1. Limit his opportunities to control. I created an email account just for him and refused to communicate with him in any other way. I informed him that I would no longer speak with him in person, nor would I answer his texts. If he needed to give me information quickly (maybe running late to pick up the kids), he could text someone in my support system and they would immediately let me know. The email account was actually my attorney’s idea. It limited my ex’s ability to control me and made a permanent record out of everything he said.

Along that same vein…

2. Create witnesses. After I made an email account just for him, I realized I could improve upon the idea even further. I made sure he knew that I would not be reading his emails. The people who supported me took turns reading emails from my ex. They only passed along the information that I actually needed to know, usually details about the kids.

I was never made aware of the drama, threats or speeches. My ex was intensely upset about this, but I stuck with it. I cannot even express how much stress this lifted from me. And yes, I realize how incredibly lucky I am to have such a wonderful support system!

3. Move, if you can. This was a tricky situation because my attorney and I decided that I would drop all of the kids off at their father’s new place, and then I’d move to my hometown. Their father had never wanted to be involved in parenting, and I knew that among other issues, the children would get really upset by his parenting and personality.

Within two weeks, all four of the children had found a way to move out of their dad’s home. Thankfully, the courts later interviewed all of them and allowed the children to move so they could live with me. The kids had been so understanding, but this calculated risk frightened me and filled me with guilt. The move was for a job opportunity and creating a better life for the kids and me. But it also ended up playing a significant role in my healing and creating boundaries. I believe it saved me.

4. Document. It felt like I would be stooping so low to record or videotape my ex, even though he was consistently doing that to me. But one day he called the police on me because our son rode the school bus to where his Pappaw was instead of where his father lived.

Once the officer understood how upset the children were, he explained that it could really help the kids and me if I were to record them being forced to visit their dad. Once my ex understood that I would be openly recording, he backed off on forcing visits. (Disclaimer: If children can be/feel healthy in their relationships with BOTH parents, I believe this is best. I don’t want to sound anti-dad. I’ve met some men that are amazing dads!)

5. Neutral territory. Two of our children visit with their father, and whenever we exchanged the children I insisted that we do so in a very public location. I had noticed that my ex’s controlling behavior was always bolder when we were at our homes or another private place. I’m very lucky because my father usually offers to do pick-ups/drop-offs. Pappaw has clocked in some major hours driving the 90-minute trek to my ex’s house with some very precious cargo.

6. My life is no longer his business. I stopped posting on social media for a few years. When I returned, I thinned down my friend count to remove anyone who was also a friend of my ex’s. As far as I know, the children feel pretty protective of me and never mention me or details of my life to their dad. He has tried to come into my home to use the bathroom, but I’m not comfortable with this (there is a nice Subway and gas station just two blocks away). In the past, he has gone through my belongings, and he’s been known to take pictures. I believe the less he knows about me, the less opportunity he has to control me.

There are almost always better ways to handle relationship issues than with control and force. Where’s the finesse, patience, compromise, and understanding? We have the right to be treated with respect. Plus, when we do stand up for ourselves, the other person has an opportunity to self-correct – if they are able. If they are allowed to treat us unfairly, they aren’t going to have an impetus to change. But if this best-case scenario doesn’t work out, and they still remain control-freaks, at least you’ve established some healthy boundaries for yourself.

The post 6 Strategies To Use When Divorcing A Control Freak appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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struggles of co-parenting

Do The Struggles Of Co-Parenting Ever End?

struggles of co-parenting

 

As a therapist and writer specializing in divorce, I’m often asked, “When does co-parenting get easier?” While there is no simple answer to this question, most experts probably agree that while families usually adapt to co-parenting over time, it never really gets easier. Most co-parenting arrangements, especially after an acrimonious split, can be exhausting and exasperating.

Put simply, the challenges change as children grow and develop. Consequently, it’s key for parents to keep in mind that the tools necessary to succeed need to be modified considerably as children age and mature.

Do The Struggles Of Co-Parenting Ever End?

Clearly, research by child development experts demonstrates numerous benefits to children when their living arrangements enable support from both parents. One reason is that parents who co-parent tend to experience lower conflict than those who have sole custody arrangements.

Studies show that conflict is what creates the most pain and anguish for children after parents’ split and that keeping parental disagreements to a minimum is a key aspect of helping kids become resilient.

Co-parenting, at its best, is a wonderful opportunity for children of divorce to have close to equal access to both parents – to feel it is okay to love both of their parents.  Dr. Joan Kelly, a renowned psychologist reminds us that the outcomes for children of divorce improve when they have positive bonds with both parents. These include better psychological and behavioral adjustment and enhanced academic performance.

However, few authors mention that while co-parenting is the best decision for children, it takes two special parents to navigate this arrangement over time. Interacting with each other at drop-offs, making shared decisions, or even speaking to an ex who you’d rather forget can be a challenge.

In order to succeed at co-parenting, it’s wise to be realistic about the difficulties that may arise as your kids go through childhood and adolescence. For instance, it might be hard to differentiate between the impact of your divorce and normal adolescent rebellion.

For instance, my two children spent close to equal time with both myself and their father until they reached adolescence when they both protested their schedule.  When my daughter was thirteen, after her father’s remarriage, she chooses to spend most overnights at my home, while her brother started spending more overnights at his father’s house because it was located near most of his friend’s homes.

Fortunately, my ex and I agreed that it was in their best interests to revise their schedule. As a result, our kids thrived as they felt their needs were being respected.

There are numerous benefits of co-parenting for kids:

Children will:

  1. Feel a sense of security. Children who maintain a close bond with both parents and are more likely to have higher self-esteem.
  2. Have better psychological adjustment into adulthood. My research shows that adults raised in divorced families report higher self-esteem and fewer trust issues if they had close to equal time with both parents.
  3. Grow up with a healthier template for seeing their parents cooperate. By cooperating with their other parent, you establish a life pattern that they can carry into their future.
  4. Have better problem-solving skills. Children and adolescents who witness their parents cooperate are more likely to learn how to effectively resolve problems themselves.

The key to successful co-parenting is to keep the focus on your children – and to maintain a cordial relationship with your ex-spouse. Most importantly, you want your children see that their parents are working together for their well-being. Never use them as messengers because when you ask them to tell their other parent something for you, it can make them feel stuck in the middle. It’s best to communicate directly with your ex and lessen the chances your children will experience loyalty conflicts.

The following are suggestions based on my own experience and advice from experts. First of all, it’s paramount that you gear your parenting plan to the age of your children and that it is consistent. Try to develop routines for them leaving and coming home when they are young. As they reach adolescence, they strive to be more flexible and adapt to their changing needs.

Tips to help kids live happily in two homes:

For children under age 10:

  1. Reassure them that they have two parents who love them. If they balk at going to their other parent’s home, you can say something like “Even though mom and dad aren’t married anymore we both still love you and are good parents.”
  2. Maintain a cordial, business-like relationship with your ex so that your children won’t feel intensely divided loyalties. It’s important not to express anger at your ex in front of your children so they don’t feel stuck in the middle
  3. Help your kids anticipate changes in their schedule. Planning ahead and helping them pack important possessions can benefit them. However, keep items to a bare minimum. Most parents prefer to have duplicate items for their kids on hand.
  4. Encourage your younger child to adhere to their parenting time schedule – being consistent with their schedule will help your kids feel secure. Younger children often benefit from avoiding frequent shifts between homes.
  5. Show enthusiasm about their visit with their other parent. It’s important to put your differences with your ex aside and to promote your children’s positive bond with them.

For children over age 10 – to young adulthood:

  1. Allow for flexibility in their schedule. At times, teens may have difficulty juggling their busy life with school, extracurricular activities, friends, and jobs if they start working.
  2. Encourage them to spend time with their friends and extended family (on both sides). Avoid giving them the impression that being with their friends is not as important as spending time with you.
  3. Plan activities with them that might include their friends at times – such as sporting events or movies. Encourage opportunities for them to bond with peers at both homes.
  4. Respect your teen’s need for autonomy and relatednessDr. Emery writes, “Teenagers naturally want more freedom, but they also want and need relationships with their parents, through your adolescent may be unwilling to admit this.”

Keep in mind that communicating with your former spouse is going to be necessary for the length of your children’s childhood into young adulthood. This may include special events, graduations – and perhaps even weddings.  It’s important to keep clear boundaries so that your children wouldn’t harbor fantasies that you will reconcile.

For the most part, this means less personal sharing and focusing on exchanging information, cooperation, and make good decisions about your children.

Finally, modeling cooperation and polite behavior set a positive tone for co-parenting. When children are confident of the love of both of their parents, they will adjust more easily to divorce. Keeping your differences with your ex away from your children will open up opportunities to move beyond divorce in the years to come. Ask yourself this question: how do you want your children to remember you and their childhood when they are adults?

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

More From Terry

Fathers and Daughters: An essential bond After Divorce

Building Resiliency In Children After Divorce

The post Do The Struggles Of Co-Parenting Ever End? appeared first on Divorced Moms.



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aggressive parenting

Is Your Ex An “Aggressive Parent?” Here Are 9 Signs

aggressive parenting

 

According to Alan Kemp in his book Abuse in the Family, domestic violence is defined as “A form of maltreatment perpetrated by a person with whom the victim has or had a close personal relationship.” (Kemp, P.36)

Furthermore, the clinical and textbook definitions and categories of child psychological maltreatment found in Table 3-1 of Alan Kemp’s book, Abuse in the Family, on pages 72-77, can easily be applied to show it as a horrific form of domestic violence via psychological maltreatment.

This book is just one of many textbooks used to teach students and professionals about psychological maltreatment and the categories that make it up. Whether one believes in the term parental alienation or not, the following criteria help to show that certain behavior perpetrated by a parent can cause a child to withdraw their love from the other parent.  For the sake of this article, we will term this abuse as aggressive parenting.

9 Signs of Aggressive Parenting:

  • Rejecting (spurning)
  • Terrorizing
  • Corrupting
  • Denying essential stimulation, emotional responsiveness, or availability
  • Unreliable and inconsistent parenting
  • Mental health, medical, or educational neglect
  • Degrading/devaluing (spurning)
  • Isolating
  • Exploiting

An Explanation of the 9 Signs

By deliberately isolating the child from other family members and social supports, isolation is occurring.  The whole premise of aggressive parenting is to isolate and distance the children from the targeted parent or any other individual who supports the targeted parent.

If the aggressive parent uses threats or denigrating tactics, to force the child to comply, this can be seen as terrorizing.  As well, verbal denigration, harassment and exploitation of the targeted parent is very prominent and a key indicator of aggressive parenting.

In addition, domestic violence includes the exploitation and use of the child for personal gain.

Thus in aggressive parenting, when the child is used to destroy the targeted parent by denying visitation or a relationship between the other parent and the child or is used for monetary gains such as excessive expenses beyond child support, they are in effect committing domestic violence.  It is for these reasons that aggressive parenting or isolating the children from the Targeted Parent can be considered as a form of domestic violence.

Rejecting/Terrorizing

Let’s take this a bit further in its application. When a parent rejects a child because the child shows any love or affection for the targeted parent that is a form of abuse. This is not only a form of rejection but terrorization. In fact, a child’s refusal to come to the targeted parent’s home for fear of losing the aggressive parent’s conditional love is fear and fear is terror.

Corrupting

When an aggressive parent refuses to comply with court orders and tells the child they do not have to either, this is corrupting. It is teaching the child that they are above the law and therefore immune to the court’s authority.  When a parent files false allegations of abuse and convinces the child to do the same, this is corruption.

When an aggressive parent tells the child lies about the targeted parent, and that anything having to do with the targeted parent is illegal, immoral and disgusting, this is corrupting.  In fact, this is a form of discrimination and prejudice, which corrupts the child’s minds.

Denying Essential Stimulation, Emotional Responsiveness, or Availability

By refusing to allow the children to have a relationship with the targeted parent, for no reason other than their own need to control the ex-spouse, the aggressive parent is denying them the basic elements of stimulation, emotions, and availability with the targeted parent. In fact, the targeted parent has little to no opportunity to defend themselves against false allegations.

Though they will have you believe that they or the children feared for their lives and that the targeted parent was abusive, this is usually unsubstantiated or proven by the courts to be a fabrication. With no basis for this denial, the aggressive parent refuses their child a warm and loving relationship with the targeted parent.

Unreliable and Inconsistent Parenting

Since the children have been denied a relationship with the targeted parent, they have also been denied a reliable and consistent parenting situation and the aggressive parent has proven that they cannot parent consistently and reliably in the supporting of a two-parent relationship with the children.

Mental, Medical and Educational Neglect

When an aggressive parent refuses to comply with numerous separate court orders for counseling, they are denying their children’s mental health. Thus mental neglect has occurred as defined in the DSM IV as Malingering.

Denigrating/Devaluing

If despite numerous court orders or requests and recommendations, the aggressive parent continues to insult, verbally abuse and denigrate the child’s targeted parent in front of the child, this behavior degrades and devalues someone the child once respected and loved and in most cases, secretly wants a relationship with.

This disdain and disrespect for the targeted parent in front of the child is another form of psychological maltreatment as it permanently affects their view of the targeted parent, which transfers to their view of themselves. This creates a distorted sense of reality, of themselves and their ability to trust and accurately judge others.

Isolation

When a parent deliberately sabotages a relationship with the targeted parent by refusing to allow visits, calls, or any form of healthy communication, with no evidence of abuse, this is called isolation. Furthermore, when a parent has initially allowed continuous contact with the children during the separation and divorce period, but reneges on this, refusing visitation, especially when they find out their ex-spouse has a new partner, this is isolation and abuse.

This is also called Remarriage as a Trigger for Parental Alienation Syndrome and can be further reviewed in an article by Dr. Richard Warshak, There is no doubt this is isolation and thus psychological abuse.

Exploitation

When a parent uses the children as pawns to get back at their ex spouse for not loving them anymore or to control them further, this is exploitation.  When an aggressive parent uses the children and makes false allegations of abuse, terrorizing the children to state they hate the targeted parent, this is exploitation.  When a parent uses the children for monetary gains such as child support, but yet does not allow the children a relationship with the targeted parent, this is exploitation.

In Conclusion

When you add all these signs up, it is easy to see how Aggressive Parenting, can be classified as child psychological maltreatment in a divorce situation.  When you put it all together, the DSM sums up the aggressive parent quite nicely under Cluster B Personality Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder.

The aggressive parent willfully and without regard to the child or the targeted parent’s welfare, or the innocent extended family’s welfare, continually violates their rights and disregards their needs for a relationship. The aggressive parent callously puts their own desires, wants and needs above those of everyone else including their own child.

This all adds up to one thing, Domestic Violence in the form of psychological maltreatment.  So why does Child Protective Services refuses to protect the children from this form of abuse when the signs and symptoms are so clearly evident?

The post Is Your Ex An “Aggressive Parent?” Here Are 9 Signs appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Why You Can’t Recover From Narcissistic Abuse

Why You Can’t Recover From Narcissistic Abuse

 

Recovery from narcissistic abuse is hard and sometimes you can struggle with symptoms such as constant obsessing, feeling powerless, broken, anxious, depressed and like your lifeforce has gone missing?

Also suffer conditions such as PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), Fibromyalgia or some other nasty.

In this Thriver TV episode, I explain why you haven’t been able to recover and what is necessary to recover.

I promise you that you can heal for real, you just haven’t known HOW to yet.

 

 

 

Video Transcript

Are you struggling to recover from the symptoms of narcissistic abuse such as constant obsessing, feeling powerless, broken, anxious, depressed and like your lifeforce has gone missing?

Maybe you are suffering conditions such as PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), Fibromyalgia or some other nasty?

So many people ask the questions ‘Will I ever recover?’, ‘When will the pain end?’ and ‘When will I get this person out of my mind?’

These are all valid questions and the truth sadly, in contemporary therapy is that these conditions go on for a long time, if not indefinitely.

In today’s Thriver TV episode, I want to explain to you – point-blank – why you haven’t been able to recover and what is necessary to recover.

Okay, before we get started, thank you for subscribing and your Thriver Mission support. And if you haven’t yet subscribed, I want to remind you to please do. And if you like this video, please make sure you hit the like button.

Let’s begin…

Am I Defective or Unable To Heal?

I know you may have been experiencing these feelings. Once upon a time, I did too. At times it feels like ‘I am getting there’ and then there is the sliding back down into the abyss and wondering why you aren’t getting better.

I know this is not because you are lazy. So many people who have experienced narcissistic abuse are people who don’t shy away from personal development. You may have been trying to get better in many different ways.

You not getting better is NOT because you can’t recover. I promise you that you can. It’s because the ways you have been trying to recover aren’t working.

Let’s have a look at where we think we should be doing which doesn’t work.

 

Researching Narcissism and Narcissists

I can’t emphasise enough the 90/10 rule.

How this rule works is this: ninety percent energy and focus is spent on self-recovery and only ten percent on learning about narcissists.

And this rule should only go on for the first month or so. After then it should be all about self-recovery.

Yes, initially, learning what narcissist are and what they do is important. Yet it is a total illusion that researching and learning all there is to know about narcissists will heal you – it doesn’t.

ALL you need to know about the narcissist is this: a narcissist is a false, empty self with dire insecurities, who needs to feed their insatiable false self with other people’s energy and stuff.

They are not capable of feelings and love the way we are. They don’t seek a relationship for the reasons we do, and healthy relationships are not possible with them.

The REAL truth of narcissists, or for that matter anyone, is this: If we don’t share the same values with people – such as kindness, honesty, authenticity, empathy, and teamwork – then this person is not someone we can have a happy, healthy life with.

If we try to change people, narcissist, or non-narcissist, then truly we are abusing ourselves and will remain stuck in disappointing and painful relationships.

So, no matter what you are going through with your trauma or the narcissist – including co-parenting, property disputes, heartbreak, feeling addicted and trauma bonded, and suffering all the narcissistic abuse symptoms – your ONLY hope out of this for REAL is to turn inwards to heal yourself.

Only then will you be able to align with the TRUE Life that will bring you happiness, safety and decency, and leave behind the one that doesn’t.

Is it hard? Absolutely. But it is near impossible without doing the inner work. Research will NOT get you there. And even if you do leave the relationship, you will struggle to leave healthily and rebuild and heal.

Narcissists will keep coming into your life and be a blight upon your Inner Identity and soul until you do the self-recovery work. This means you stop looking outwards at WHAT happened to you and come inwards to heal WHY it happened.

 

Researching Your Trauma Symptoms

It is 100% NOT true that you will have C-PTSD (Complicated Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) or other nervous system, anxiety or physical disorders, that have happened to you through narcissistic abuse, for life.

Yes, they are terrible … totally.

I also had trauma symptoms that I was told were incurable and so would need anti psychotics for me to cope.

I promise you this was a lie. I’m not blaming the doctors who told me this – they had been indoctrinated into believing this was true.

One of the main reasons why you aren’t recovering is because you are choosing to believe what other victims of narcissistic abuse and contemporary therapists are telling you…

That you can only hope to try to manage the symptoms; that you will need coping strategies and possibly medication; and that it will take years, maybe even a lifetime of therapy, to function and maybe heal.

I urge you to take your power back and to choose NOT to believe what you are being told.

You have the power to decide your truth going forwards, and you have the power to heal at your core so that there aren’t ongoing trauma symptoms to battle and manage.

If you join ‘survivor’ groups and PTSD groups, then you are cementing your victimhood. You become what you choose to believe about yourself – that you are sick and that you are a victim.

Yes, you have been victimised and at present you are sick, but when you release the trauma that is driving these states out of your body, you just won’t be.

Joining and believing in victimised groups is one of the surest ways you will delay or completely forgo true healing.

In that orientation you may feel some comfort in shared victimhood, but if true healing and release from the pain and abuse programs and patterns is your goal, there are better options for you.

 

Trying to Force Justice or Accountability

Another way to severely stunt recovery is to believe that you can’t heal until the narcissist is brought to justice.

This will completely delay your healing.

The Laws of Life work like this: if we require anything outside of ourselves to change for us to be whole, we have handed our power away and change doesn’t happen.

Yet, if you decide to make it your personal mission to heal yourself and become whole, regardless of what is or isn’t happening (without conditions), then you will reach unconditional wholeness on the inside.

Then you will graduate into knowing the Powerful Quantum Creator you really are, seeing the shift on the outside that matches your inner state of wholeness.

It’s Quantum Law – so within, so without.

 

Not Getting the Trauma Out

Before people start working with energetic body healing, they may or may not know why it is necessary.

It’s necessary to release trauma, because it’s the toxic infection inside us that is not allowing us to be whole, real and healed.

If you have ongoing, unhealed trauma inside you, it affects your entire emotional, mental and physical systems. You are diminished and use up vital lifeforce trying to survive the trauma.

This is the state of being in Survival, rather than being free to enter into the Creation of your Life.

Because the trauma is so painful, often we can’t bear it and we may need to self-medicate with prescription drugs, excessive exercise, meditation or spiritual practices.

Or we start ‘searching’ or ‘researching’ to try to dull the anxiety and stop the depression hitting.

Or we may take up other addictions such as smoking, drinking, eating, working excessively or social media.

If we constantly HAVE to do these things – and we believe we do – it is because they are only managing our symptoms. They are NOT healing us.

We can’t release trauma mentally, logically or cognitively. It can’t be contacted, loaded up or reprogrammed by our cognitive mind. It just isn’t possible.

Energetic body healing is the new science to deal with trauma.

Interestingly, at first it is really counter-intuitive to do. It involves contacting our feeling centres, which most of us were trained out of doing.

Yet, when we re-connect and come home to ourselves within, it becomes the most natural, soothing and powerful process to do. And RIDICULOUSLY easy!

Okay, so now I’m inviting you to this process, to learn more about it and to experience a Quanta Freedom Healing for yourself. The system that allows you to find, load up and release your trauma, and to start living free from it and heal in all areas of your life – not just narcissistic abuse.

So, come heal with me in the Thriver Way by clicking this link to the free Healing Workshop – replay available.

And if you want to see more of my videos, please subscribe so that you will be notified as soon as each new one is released. And if you liked this – click like. Also, please share with your communities so that we can help people awaken to these truths.

As always I am greatly looking forward to answering your comments and questions below.

 

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Too Young to Understand Divorce

Preschoolers and Divorce: Are They Too Young to Understand Divorce?

Too Young to Understand Divorce

 

About 42 percent of all marriages in the United States end in divorce and in many cases young children are involved. Divorce is a stressful process and a time of change for all members of the family. Everything that once felt familiar and safe now feels unsafe and uncertain.

For adults, it means letting go of the dream to grow old together. It involves moving, splitting all assets and liabilities, adjusting to a new financial situation, getting used to being single again, changes in your social life, and dealing with all the emotions that accompany all these changes.

Sometimes, as a parent, you need so much energy to cope with the changes at hand, both emotional and material, that you may forget (or not know how) to explain to your children what is going to change for them and how this might make them feel. As a newly divorced parent, you may simply not be able to foresee what is going to change for your child (and yourself) yet.

Many parents have questions about how to approach their child(ren) regarding divorce-related issues. Sometimes parents don’t know how to talk to their young child(ren) about this sensitive topic. Sometimes parents have the belief that their child will not understand if they try to explain what is going on.

But are preschool children too young to understand about divorce?

The answer is NO. Even preschool children can understand more than you think when you talk to them in developmentally appropriate language. Young children can have intense feelings, but they don’t yet possess the words or the mental capacity to express how they feel. Even if children don’t talk yet, they feel something is going on and ‘speak’ through changes in their behavior.

Some children may express their distress and confusion by showing aggressive or noncompliant behavior. Other children may temporarily regress to an earlier stage in their development where they felt safe and sheltered. Parents and caregivers may notice more clinging or ‘baby-like’ behavior, bedwetting or soiling their pants (when a child was previously potty trained). Regressive behavior is a coping mechanism to deal with feeling unsafe or insecure.

Often adults don’t understand or misinterpret the behavior of a child who is going through the turmoil of a divorce. It is important, while parents are going through a divorce, to be aware of the needs of the children.

If parents fail to give children an explanation they can understand, children may fill in the ‘blanks’ by themselves. Young children often think it is their fault (because they were behaving badly) that their parents are separated.

Here are some tips to help talk to your preschooler about divorce:

  • It is important to let children know what is going to happen (For example: “Daddy is moving to another house but you will still see him”).
  • Even if you don’t have a clear idea about the parenting plan yet, the child needs to be reassured that the other parent is not leaving him or her.
  • Reassure your child that the divorce is not his or her fault.
  • Explain that separation is your choice. You and the other parent didn’t get along, and both parents think this is better for all of you.
  • Young children don’t need to know details about the reason for divorce.
  • They do need to know that, even if parents don’t live together, they never stop being Mommy and Daddy. They keep caring for and loving him or her.
  • Don’t punish children for regressive behavior and give them extra attention and reassurance.

For more information, check out Nina Has Two Houses. This illustrated children’s book helps young children and their parents, who are going through a divorce, adjust to the new situation. The book can help explain to the child what he or she may be going through. It can open up the topic of divorce while it gives parents the necessary tools to talk with their children about the situation and accompanying emotions. Many helpful hints for parents and caregivers are included in the book to help parents deal with important co-parenting issues.

Children’s book Nina Has Two Houses is available on Amazon.com in English and Spanish (Nina Tiene Dos Hogares). Like the book on Facebook and find helpful tips for parents on www.facebook.com/NinaHasTwoHouses

Follow Danielle Jacobs, LMHC on Twitter @75748135 for tips on divorce, parenting, and relationships.

The post Preschoolers and Divorce: Are They Too Young to Understand Divorce? appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Same Sex Marriage: Can a judge stop you from getting a divorce in Texas?

Same Sex Marriage: Can a judge stop you from getting a divorce in Texas?

Originally published by The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC Blog.

Despite the decision out of our federal Supreme Court a few years ago that legalized same sex marriage across our country there are still some misunderstandings and questions regarding that subject. This is understandable to a degree. The change in laws dramatically altered the landscape of family law in terms of who is and is not able to participate in the family law courts. In addition, some folks I have spoken with in my capacity as a consultative attorney with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan still have questions if marriage and divorce work the same for opposite sex and same sex persons. Today’s blog post will discuss marriage and divorce for same sex couples.

Expected length of time for a same sex divorce in Texas?

There are two roads that your divorce could go down. The first is the path of least resistance- an uncontested divorce. To be considered truly uncontested you and your spouse would need to be in agreement on getting a divorce, have a plan in place for diving up any marital property and if you have children would need to have every aspect of a parenting plan agreed upon as well. This means conservatorship, visitation, support, etc. all need to be decided prior to hiring an attorney. If even one piece of this pie is missing, then your divorce is not uncontested and will therefore require some degree of negotiation.

The second path is unfortunately the more common road that most divorces go down- a contested divorce. All of the above issues that I laid out are in play in a contested divorce. The more substantial your martial property or the more detailed your parenting objectives and plans are the more complicated and longer your divorce will likely take. There is not anything wrong with this as a general rule, but it can get tedious and tiresome for most people who are eager to complete their divorce and move on with the rest of their lives.

Generally speaking, a divorce in Texas must take at least sixty days from the date on which the Original Petition for Divorce is filed with the court. Ostensibly the sixty first date is the earliest date on which you and your spouse can have a judge sign a final decree of divorce. A final decree could be signed and ready the day after your petition is filed but absent extreme circumstances (like family violence being an issue) it is unlikely that a judge would waive the sixty-day waiting period. For those of you wondering, the waiting period exists in order for you and your spouse to make absolutely sure that you want to get a divorce rather than remain married and try to work it out together.

How can you avoid a long and protracted divorce?

The key to a fast-moving divorce is to understand early on that you are not going to get 100% of what you want. I wish there were some way to ensure that all of our clients always got just what they wanted out of a divorce but to this point I have not been able to do the math on how to get there. If any attorney ever does get to that point, then the rest of us may as well give it up and start looking for work elsewhere.

The reason that divorces end up being situations where you and your spouse both give up (and therefore gain) things in order to settle the case is that most family courts in Texas require that you attend mediation at least once throughout your case’s life. Typically, you will attend mediation once before any temporary orders hearings and then again before your trial.

Temporary Orders hearings have everything to do with how you and your spouse will be situated during your divorce from the perspective of making sure bills are paid, the kids are cared for and one another are treated with respect. Mediation involves attending a formal negotiation session with your attorneys in the office of a third-party mediator. The mediator is also very likely a practicing family law attorney him or herself so you will be able to gauge the relative strength or weakness of your arguments with the mediator as well.

In mediating for final orders you will likely be extending much of the temporary orders out into your post-divorce life as well as deciding what will happen with any marital property accumulated by you and your spouse. Texas is a community property state. This means that any property that you acquired during the course of your marriage is considered to be jointly owned by both of you and is therefore subject to being divided up in your divorce case. If it is your contention that something acquired during your marriage is your property separate from your spouse- like a gift of some sort- then the burden is on your to prove by clear and convincing evidence that this is the case.

Tips for preparing for mediation in your same sex divorce case

Attending mediation will be the same for you as it would be for persons going through any other divorce. You and your attorney should come prepared with settlement offers, a list of property that may be in play as far as negotiation is concerned as well as plans and ideas on how to divide up parenting time with your children. The more prepared you are and the more variations you have available to you of the different parenting plans the more likely you will be to reach a relatively pain free settlement.

For instance, it is commonly thought in opposite sex divorces that mothers have the advantage when it comes to being named the primary conservator of your child. Primary conservator means the parent who has the right to determine the primary residence of your child- among other rights. This allows your child to live with you throughout the school year and provides visitation time (mostly on weekends) to your spouse once the divorce has been completed.

In same sex divorces there would not be an apples to apples comparison due to there not being a male and female parent from which to choose from. You and your spouse should have had discussions heading into mediation regarding which of you is better suited to be named as the primary conservator of your children. Having an honest conversation with your attorney about which parent has been more active, more involved, and better acquainted with your children’s day to day needs is a good place to start. My admitting to yourself that your spouse has taken the lead in these areas throughout your marriage or has a work schedule that is more conducive to providing the level of care that is needed to raise a child on a daily basis is not admitting that you are not a good parent. It can, however, help you to eliminate contentious delays in your case and lead to a more developed settlement agreement.

Another aspect of divorce mediation that you need to be prepared for is determining how to divide up your bigger financial assets. Retirement plans, bank accounts, home equity and the like are probably the type of assets that you will have in play for your case. If you have not considered these subjects prior to entering into mediation you will find out that you will need to work through them in mediation. Seeing as how most mediation sessions are only four hours long you will not be optimizing your time by spending an undue amount of time on these sort of brain storming sessions while in mediation. Rather, spend a few weeks prior to mediation using your attorney as a go-between to communicate settlement offers to your spouse.

Finally, it is important to note that what you settle upon in mediation cannot (in most circumstances) be changed. That means that you cannot wake up the morning after mediation and call your attorney in a panic because you think you made a huge mistake in deciding to agree to a geographic restriction for your child when you really want to move back home to Colorado to be closer to family once the divorce is over with.

You can avoid problems like this by asking questions of your attorney about anything that you are agreeing or not agreeing to. If any settlements are reached (either in part or in full) then the mediator will present rough draft copies of what is known as a mediated settlement agreement to you and your spouse. You can and should go over them with your attorney to make sure that you understand everything that is being agreed to. If something doesn’t make sense, or if the wording of what the mediator included does not comport to the agreement as you understood it please raise that issue before mediation is over with.

Will you ever have to go to court in your divorce?

Thankfully you will likely only have one court date that you will have to attend during your divorce. That court appearance will be an uncontested appearance in what is known as a Prove Up hearing. The petitioner (party who filed the Petition for Divorce) will attend a quick hearing with their attorney in court. At the prove up hearing your attorney will be presenting you and your Final Decree of Divorce to the judge for his or her approval. The attorney will ask you questions regarding the divorce decree as a means to show the judge that you and your spouse have come to an agreement and are ready to move forward to close out your case.

In all likelihood your judge will not ask any questions and will send you off on your way. The divorce decree will be signed by the judge later that day and will likely be posted online in the day following. You can pay for certified copies at the clerk’s office shortly thereafter.

One question that I am sometimes asked by clients is how much of your prove up hearing will be heard by the public. It is true that anyone can walk into your courtroom during your prove up hearing and hear some details about your case. If you are at all trying to keep the divorce from becoming an “event” or something like that I understand why you may not be too excited to set foot in court and put your life on display in front of a handful of people.

I cannot emphasize, however, that it is unlikely that anyone in court other than the court report, judge, your attorney and you will be paying attention to a word of what is said. In Harris County, for example, you and your attorney will approach the bench and speak to the judge in a conversational tone. Therefore, a person in the first row of courtroom seats will have problems hearing what is happening in your case. The bottom line is that if you are worried about airing your business for all the world to hear then you should be at ease because a Prove Up hearing is not that kind of court appearance.

Closing thoughts on same sex divorce cases

It could be that you never imagined that you would ever get married in your life. Now you are having to contend with the thought of getting a divorce. This cannot be an easy time for you and your family. However, the attorneys and staff with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan are here to tell you that our office will stand with you throughout your case until your process is complete.

If you have any questions about the material that we have covered please consider contacting the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. We offer free of charge consultations six days a week with our licensed family law attorneys. It would be our pleasure to talk with you and to answer your questions and concerns in a comfortable, pressure-free environment.

Curated by Texas Bar Today. Follow us on Twitter @texasbartoday.



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Preparing To Leave A Narcissist – 7 Things You Must Know

Preparing To Leave A Narcissist – 7 Things You Must Know

 

Leaving a narcissist can be terrifying. You know it’s not going to be easy and not going to go well.

Have you left and so have already suffered the threats and horror of what the narcissist is capable of doing?

Are you thinking of leaving, but the thought of it terrifies you?

These questions and more are answered in this video!

 

 

Video Transcript

Leaving a narcissist is one of the hardest things you will ever do.

For a start, you are NOT well.

It is likely that you are suffering from all sorts of anxiety disorders such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Generally, at the time of leaving a narcissist, it’s because things are so traumatising that you have no choice.

Please know getting out is not the end of the trauma. In fact, it usually brings on an escalation of your traumas, which is why, today, I wanted to share with you the seven top things you must know when leaving a narcissist.

Okay, before we get started, thank you for supporting the Thriver Mission by subscribing to my channel. And if you haven’t yet subscribed, I want to remind you to please do. And if you like this video, please make sure you give it a thumbs up!

Okay, I want to start off with one of the most important things you need to understand regarding leaving a narcissist.

 

Number 1 Aftershock

This is one of the BIGGEST, if not the BIGGEST, understanding you need to know.

When you leave you are not going to feel better because you have left. Maybe you will – but it’s extremely rare.

The reason being is that you have been cellularly trauma bonded and peptide addicted to the narcissist.

Once your ‘drug dealer’ of these terrible peptides is gone, your body will start screaming out for them. Also, when you are stuck in the survival battles with the narcissist, your attention is diverted from the horrible cellular addiction that your body is hooked on.

It is only when the silence comes that your peptide addiction can hit with full force.

This aftershock can be WORSE than the feelings you had IN the relationship.

You can feel an insane compulsion, powerful addictive pulls and even like you will DIE without this person.

Also, this is a time when people feel like it’s love – ‘I must love this person to feel this terrible without them’. But please know that is NOT the truth.

Maybe you have had many failed attempts at staying away and keep going back (as I did too). This is often the case until you start healing the peptide addiction and breaking free from it.

If it has been AWFUL for you to try and survive, feeling like you can’t COPE and are DYING without this person, then the Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program (NARP) is the most powerful and fastest solution I know of to help you address this.

And if you haven’t yet left, NARP is the BEST way to start preparing for the Aftershock when you do leave – because aftershock is the #1 thing that can derail you, more than anything.

 

Number 2 The Narcissist Has No Care For Your Future

You really need to know that the narcissist is not going to make your job of ‘moving on’ easy. He or she will want to punish you and make you suffer. As far as the narcissist is concerned, you were the one who did the wrongdoing and he or she is the victim.

If you are walking away, you are the enemy and this means you need to be brought down, demeaned, smeared and desecrated, as much as possible.

So many people, myself included, were astounded at how this person can become the greatest enemy you have ever been up against.

The relentless belting may be so terrible that it feels like you will break – or that you have to go back to the narcissist to stop it. You may even feel like you will never survive it.

You need to know that all hell could and probably will break loose and that you will not be able to predict what is to come and how it will manifest. Therefore you need to be calm, cool and rational.

When I left narcissist number one, I was totally unprepared. I had no idea what I was up against and that I should have prepared first.

If you start getting triggered, panicked and distressed, the narcissist will have you exactly where he or she wants you and will keep firing missiles at you.

The more you try to get decency, clemency, and care from this person, the more they know you are affected and the harder they will ramp up the abuse. The more you engage with them, the worse it will get.

Don’t, under any circumstances, try to bargain and create deals or get understanding.

You must remember this – as soon as it starts. Detach, don’t engage, keep healing and do WHATEVER it takes with your healing to be calm, clear and succinct – NO matter what is thrown at you. And if you DO all this, you will see how the narcissist loses all power to annihilate you.

In fact, he or she will lose all power to have ANY effect on you.

 

Number 3 Plan Your Escape

Know thy enemy and be smart.

This is essential.

Don’t tell the narcissist that you are leaving. Set up bank accounts. See your solicitor. Don’t tell anyone who may tell the narcissist your plans. Have somewhere to go and get your possessions out of the home, before the narcissist knows what you are doing.

Do not leave anything behind that the narcissist can hold onto, to hook you back with.

Make sure that all credit cards, or finances that could be taken from you, are disconnected. Please know that whatever you can’t disconnect will make you vulnerable and a potential target of the narcissist’s wrath.

If you are frightened for your safety, calmly and intelligently express this to the authorities and get ready to act with an intervention order in the event of threats.

 

Number 4 Go No or Modified Contact

You don’t have to tell the narcissist you are leaving – and as I just expressed, it is better that you don’t.

Actions speak louder than words.

Once out, it’s time to block the narcissist. Don’t take contact from him or her. If you have businesses or children together, get the ball moving with setting up a parenting plan and third-party channels of communication.

Detaching and healing is VITAL now, and continued contact will not allow you to do that. Make sure the people around you know that you will not be in contact with this person, other than through other channels and that you need them to respect this.

 

Number 5 Don’t Want or Look Out for Accountability or Change

When I finally got away and stayed away from my two narcissistic experiences, not wanting and looking out for accountability helped so much.  I NO longer believed there was ANY hope of change.

When you have been dealing with someone who is capable of what narcissists are – pathological lying, deflection, nil accountability, malicious acts and horrifically abusive situations – remember that these people have crossed the line.

They are damaged goods. They can’t and won’t heal. It’s just not going to happen.

You need to REALLY mean No Contact – which means I am no longer hanging out for you to tell me you love me; that you are going to fix this; that you will change and we can get back together.

NO! Those days are gone – no matter what you say, what crocodile tears you put on or what promises you make!

You need to face facts. How many times has that happened already and you’ve ended up in exactly the same horrific place?

Shut the door and MEAN it!

Of course, you are going to have feelings and urges to return. Of course, the feelings of broken dreams and dismay come up. But NOW your resolution is between you and you. If you take this to the NARP Modules, those feelings will pass very quickly, and you will emerge strong and no longer susceptible to going back or accepting a hoover attempt.

 

Number 6 Detach From The Smearing

A narcissist will do their best to dismantle your support forces and discredit you to the main people in your life. This will be your family, friends, colleagues, boss and maybe even the authorities.

The smearing may be so vicious, that you start getting abused by proxy by people enlisted by the narcissist. It might even be the police or other agencies, that the narcissist has arranged to investigate you.

There is a golden rule with this – let go of the fear of what other people think of you and heal this terrible trauma within yourself. I can’t emphasise this enough, because being persecuted is one of the most terrible human fears that we can feel.

I got slammed with this. Many of us have.

I was so traumatised by the smearing, that I thought that I was going to die. It wasn’t until I released all of the trauma inside, that I was able to deal calmly and succinctly with the authorities, and I was no longer affected by what family, friends and colleagues thought.

The smear campaigns fell over.

Previously when I was triggered, it just got worse and worse. The more I tried to prove my innocence, the less credible I appeared.

When I let go of trying to fight back and just worked on myself, the whole thing dissolved away. I promise you, with all of my heart, that the same will happen for you.

 

Number 7 Value Your Soul Above All Else

Over the last ten plus years, I have been deeply connected with thousands of people’s recovery after leaving a narcissist, and I want to finish with this message.

Value your Soul; your Inner Self.

Deeply learn to come home to you and make ‘you healing you’ your greatest priority.

Are you prepared to put your soul’s worth in front of bricks and mortar?

Are you prepared to be an example of ‘not succumbing and tolerating abuse’, rather than staying with the narcissist, so that your children don’t have a broken family?

Are emotional feelings and soul truths your priority now? Or are you staying because you think you should ‘have’ certain things – at a horrible soul expense?

Are you going to stay because of your fears, limitations or insecurities? Or are you going to commit to growing and developing yourself to be the source of love and approval and security and survival you need to be non-reliant on the narcissist and go forth and create your True Life for yourself? Do you want to be a positive and true example to those you love?

I want you to know that there is an infallible Universal Law that goes like this – when you honour you, life will honour you – with more abundance love and joy than you could imagine.

 

Phenomenal Support

For those of you needing to leave, or struggling to leave, I SO hope that this Thriver TV Episode has helped you.

I want you to know, with all of my heart, that you don’t need to do this alone. Myself and many other Thrivers had to go through it – obscene trauma, battles, aftershock and fallout with narcissists – and we are here for you.

We know how to get through this, and we know the best way to successfully leave and then resurrect your life, as well as rendering narcissists powerless against you.

Many people in our community are getting through this process EXTREMELY successfully and PAINLESSLY. Winning custody and settlements, and even having narcissists fully capitulate to give them what they want.

They do this because they are diligently working with NARP, their Inner Being powerful weapon, and they are in the NARP Member’s Forum, where the best minds in the work in abuse recovery are there to help you with unlimited 24/7 access – so any time that you are in need.

This all comes for free as a part of your NARP Gold Membership.

Also, please know I sponsor 10% of all NARP Programs to people in financial distress, because I don’t want anyone in need, who can’t afford NARP, to go without.

Mind you NARP is so affordable, it only costs the price of 2–3 counselling sessions. Also, it has a full money-back guarantee.

But if you can’t afford this, then you can apply for sponsorship with my support team at support@melanietoniaevans.com. If you are accepted, it means that you can start NARP and have all of its support structures at NO cost

Okay, so in closing, I really want to say this to you…

In the ten years plus that I have been doing narcissistic abuse Thriver Recovery work, I promise you there is a night-and-day difference between the people who don’t work with NARP and those who do. In fact, so different it seems like you are living in a different universe, and this is why I always bang on about NARP. It is my strongest suggestions for you.

It saves souls and lives and will grant you the most incredible life you could imagine on the other side. It is your solution, that you’ve been searching for.

So check out NARP and get all the right help, by clicking the link at the top right of this video.

And if you want to see more of my videos, please subscribe so that you will be notified as soon as each new one is released. And if you liked this – click like. Also, please share with your communities so that we can help people awaken to these truths.

As always I am greatly looking forward to answering your comments and questions below.

 

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i had a great marriage

I Had a Great Marriage, Or So I Thought

i had a great marriage

Book Excerpt from Divorce Inked Out

 

So here I am, years married, two kids down and…… not happy. Shocker!

I had a great marriage, or so I thought, until one day, I didn’t. If you asked me to pinpoint where things went wrong, I couldn’t tell you exactly. Of course, we had our issues. What marriage doesn’t? But to single out a specific reason for its demise is difficult. I can tell you one thing, married life after children is never the same.

Married life B.C. (before children) is fun and exciting. I mean really, what is the difference between a serious relationship and marriage? Most likely you live together anyway, so the only real change is the title. We still had a great social life; parties, dinners, nights down by the shore, vacations. We came and went as we pleased. There are no limitations, no responsibilities and thusly, much less stress.

I remember we were watching the cooking channel one night; These incredible sandwiches were being made. Homemade bread fresh out of the oven, imported cold cuts and cheese from Italy, mouthwatering spreads- all combined and toasted into a panini of perfection. I still recall how we started to salivate over them. As luck would have it, they were from a restaurant in the city. We jumped out of bed, got dressed and drove there. It was that simple. Freedom…nothing to run home for, no obligations except him and me.

People do not realize how much children stress a marriage. I am not saying children are responsible for divorce, but they definitely limit your freedom and apply a layer of pressure that wasn’t there before. A typical day for me was basically spent taking care of my kids. My husband would go off to work and I was home all day with them. I don’t know about you, but there is just so much yum-yum, baba and go sleepies, a person can take.

Add that to severe sleep deprivation and colicky kids and you can find yourself, one twisted sister. My daughter used to scream for hours on end. We were trying to “Ferberize” her. I’d like to meet this Ferber guy and give him a piece of my mind. Let’s just say one night my husband came home to find me sitting on the couch with a tall glass of scotch- neat.

Now here is a scenario that wreaks havoc on a marriage. You are tapped out. You do not want to change another diaper, speak any more goo-goo language or watch another episode of Elmo getting his groove on. You are dying for some stimulating adult conversation. Your husband has just dealt with tons of people all day long. The last thing he wants is to be bombarded with a chatty Kathy and raging kids as soon as he gets home.

I have witnessed first hand and heard from many others, the scenario I will describe now. The husband walks in from a crazy day at work. He is exhausted and just wants a hot meal to eat with peace and quiet. The wife, 5 Starbucks in, is trying to calm hyperactive kids down and is desperate for some adult talk. The last thing the husband wants to do is deal with screaming children and a caffeine driven hyperactive spouse.

The wife so desperately wants a helping hand and some attention. If proper communication is not already established, a compromise to help the husband and wife is very difficult to reach. Being home is no longer a quiet relaxing place. There may be after school activities, homework, studying and much more. Schedules are a must, and before you know it, it’s time to go to sleep and restart the day again. Is there any real communication with a life so engulfed in routine? If it’s not already established, it probably doesn’t exist.

This is where, in my opinion, the marital problems begin. You used to experience butterflies in your stomach when the key would turn in the front door. You were so excited to greet the person on the other end. Now, the key turning is met with a sick feeling and an eye roll. Bickering becomes constant. The only real conversations are those regarding the children’s schedules. The days of snuggling on the same couch are long gone. If there is any time for television, it is either in separate rooms watching different shows; or the same room on separate couches.

Again, lack of communication. So now let’s take it to the next level. No communication leads to separate spaces which then leads to the extinction of intimacy. After all, why would you be romantically interested in someone if you hardly speak to them? You have just added another level of non-communication in a sexual way. Barely any communication of any kind then leads to methods of avoidance; workdays become longer, dinner meetings run over, any possible reason for you to avoid interaction is given. It reaches such a severe level that you truly don’t know what to say to each other if you are alone.

Some people try to keep things cluttered and completely ignore the huge pink elephant in the room. They busy themselves with kids’ activities; and host as many parties and social events as possible. They may even seem like the “perfect couple” to on-lookers, but that is just the pretty picture they portray. For example, take a Monet- beautiful from afar, but fake and not so attractive the closer you look.

No sooner is the communication chain broken both verbally and intimately, do you start to criticize your significant other. You begin to pick on every little thing that, all of a sudden, bothers you about them.

“She doesn’t even put on makeup anymore.”

“He has man boobs and a sunken ass.”

“She packed on the pounds.”

“He drinks too much.”

Anything that bothers you in the slightest way has become an annoyance tenfold its amount. This person that you were once so enamored with, now completely turns you off; and little quirks that have always been present, now irritate the ever, loving, crap out of you. Ironically, the things that attracted you to each other in the first place, eventually become the things you hate the most.

I remember my husband used to love the fact that I was tough and protective of those I loved. I would get extremely heated if I felt someone was out to hurt them. However, years later, that same attitude turned him off. There was a child constantly “pinching” my daughter at school. She came home very upset one day and I immediately lost it. I marched right back up to school with both kids and went straight to the principle’s office. I boldly explained the situation and demanded actions be taken to resolve it. Needless to say- it was addressed properly.

The mother of the child apologized to me and reprimanded her son. The boy also wrote my daughter an apology letter. Ironically, I think the little boy had a crush on my daughter, but I digress. Instead of being happy that I defended my child and made her feel safe, my husband commented, “how can you just barge into the school like that? What are you a gangster?” My reply, “Yes, when it comes to my kids, YES I AM.” The previous feelings of admiration do not exist. You become condemned for the person you always have been but for some reason, it is no longer acceptable.

Now is the stage where the excuses become pattered. Any reason you can think of to avoid contact with your partner is given.

“I don’t feel well.”

“I’m exhausted.”

“I have my period.”

It becomes so bad, you even start using the kids as your “get out of sex card free pass.”

“The kids want me to lie with them. I’ll be down as soon as they fall asleep.”

Coincidently, you fall asleep too or at least pretend to- crisis averted. Then there are nights when you are positioned on your separate couches and you say a Hail Mary hoping he falls asleep. You quietly glance over and to your excitement, he has dozed off. Finally, you can relax; watch your chick flick and enjoy your night. As you unwind you start to question how things got this bad. You are nothing more than roommates, residing in the same house, co-parenting children.

divorce inked out

Available for purchase on Amazon

 

The post I Had a Great Marriage, Or So I Thought appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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productive co-parenting communication

Developing Productive Co-Parenting Communication

productive co-parenting communication

 

Parenting can be difficult even in an in-tact household wherein even residing together the time spent together as parents, uninterrupted in thought and time for discussion, results in many discussions occurring through text, email and in passing.

Of course, the hustle and bustle of the world we live in as parents leave much room for errors in schedules, forgotten appointments, and confusion as to who is where. This is even more difficult for two parents who do not reside together yet share in one mutual goal- raising and being involved in their children’s schedules and lives on an equal basis.

Productive Co-Parenting Communication

Married or not, raising children takes a lot of communication. Unfortunately, communication in relationships that have broken down for one reason or the other is made even more difficult and can create a host of issues for couples attempting to co-parent absent a close relationship or any at all for that matter. As family law attorneys, we are often faced with questions, concerns and issues from our client stemming from the lack of communication, i.e. the other side not providing information or not being responsive.

Other times, the absence of communication is used to assert control and intentionally keep the other parent out of the loop. On the other hand, some parents utilize communication in a manner which is harassing such as incessantly texting, calling, or making things difficult. Either way, the reality is that communication in strained relationships can be incredibly difficult and as a result, children suffer by missing activities, homework assignments, family outings, etc.

Therefore, focusing on simple ways to communicate, absent the need to involve lawyers and judges, is the most productive and cost-effective way to co-parent when the relationship with the other parent is less than ideal. The reality is that the involvement of lawyers and the court’s not only costs thousands of dollars, but there is also a delay in resolution by virtue of the time needed for everyone to respond.

Therefore, it is simply not practical on any level to require the use of your lawyer to communicate about everyday issues regarding your children.

It is significant to note that communication is one of the primary statutory factors the courts consider in determining custody and parenting time arrangements. Moreover, just not getting along is not enough to prove that two adults cannot communicate in a manner which would cause a court to minimize either parent’s role.

In fact, the New Jersey Supreme Court has long held that joint legal custody is the “preferred” custody arrangement and that this requires sharing the responsibility for jointly making “major” decisions regarding the child’s welfare, developing a productive way of communication is key to the success of not only the co-parenting relationship but the children’s success overall.

That being said, family law attorneys, as well as Judge’s, are mindful of the difficulties parent’s may have communicating during less than ideal times. Therefore, the focus and trend have been to encourage the use of apps that parties can utilize to limit and focus the communication to just the issues versus the text message and/or email chains that seemingly increase in hostility with the back and forth involved.

For example, one method of communication often utilized by co-parents, either by way of agreement or more frequently now being Court Ordered, is Our Family Wizard.  Our Family Wizard obviously cannot circumvent the use of communication as a weapon in contested or tension ridden co-parenting relationships, however, it is designed to assist parents by having categories that limit and narrow the issues and minimize the probability of misinterpretation of miscommunication.

Parents can download the children’s schedules, they can monitor parenting time changes in their schedules, and even scan in the children’s expenses, none of which can be altered if needed for use in Court. In other words, it is a protected forum which allows communication between parents about the issues relating to their children and provides clearer documentation in the event that communication (or lack of same) is the overriding issue.

In sum, learning and finding a way to communicate is essential to raising children regardless of the status of your relationship. Utilizing applications such as Cozi, Our Family Wizard, Truece, and other applications which permit scanning, scheduling and limit the opportunity for emotions to supersede the issues is beneficial to everyone’s quality of life, especially and most importantly the children involved.

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