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Want to resolve your Texas family law case outside of court? Remember these rules of engagement

Safety, Substance Abuse and Mental Health: Helping yourself through a Texas family law case

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

Family law cases are among the most difficult of all areas of the law because of how intimate the subject nature is. True, you may not be worth millions of dollars like a multinational corporation but your family case deals with subjects that are more important than money. Your marriage, your children, your personal behaviors and that of your spouse are all relevant in a family case. While an investment banker’s work habits may require some embarrassing information to be disclosed in a trial, nothing compares to having to discuss your marriage to a room of strangers in a divorce trial.

Sometimes the material that is relevant in a family law case is more than just intimate or embarrassing. On occasion there is subject matter that relates to family violence, the safety of your children and even mental health disorders that become a huge part of family law cases. In these situations, you need to be able to know what to expect to encounter when dealing with problems associated with matters that are best kept private but are nonetheless relevant to your current family law case. Whether you are concerned for the well-being of your kids, yourself or even your soon-to-be ex-spouse I want to share some tips on how to handle these sorts of circumstances in your own family case.

What to do when you are worried about the safety of your children

If you find yourself worried about the safety of your children there is no time to waste in attempting to do something to remove those concerns from your life and theirs. Imagine being in a position where you had suspicions or thoughts about a hazard in your child’s life but did nothing to remedy that hazard. The next thing you know, something bad happens to your child and you end up blaming yourself for having identified a problem but having done thing to stop that problem from impacting your child.

This happens all too regularly with family law cases, I am afraid to say. For some reason our instincts as parents are inhibited by all of the hoopla associated with a family law case. This is ironic because at the core of what you are doing, no matter if it is a divorce or child custody case, is a desire to improve the lives of your children. The best advice that I can give to you is that you can improve your child’s life by addressing any concerns regarding safety immediately after you learn about them.

First and foremost, concerns about your child’s safety should be addressed by police and Child Protective Services (CPS). It is probable that the police will contact CPS anyways, but you should see to it that the police are aware of any concerns that you have for your child’s well being. If your child comes home from their mother’s house and tells you that her friend is acting inappropriately, your first step should be to talk to your child about any incidents that have occurred. Next, contact the police if that voice in your head tells you to. Better to be safe than sorry.

You need to know that if your spouse has a history with CPS, that will be an especially relevant bit of information that will need to be discussed with the judge. Family violence is a serious subject as judges want to, above all else, keep your children safe. Any words that you or your spouse use towards one another that could be construed as violent or threatening can and will likely be brought up again.

What does this mean to you on a practical level? Well, for starters, you need to get into the mindset that anything and everything that you say can be recorded and documented. This means those words can be taken out of context, potentially, and used against you and to the advantage of your spouse. Meaning: choose your words carefully. Especially choose how you text and email your spouse. Take a moment before responding to a particularly mean or nasty email to consider how your response can be utilized against you by your spouse.

Next, certainly never put your hands on your spouse for any reason. Even if you are justified in touching your spouse do not do it. Remove yourself from any situation that may rise to violence, animosity or anger. It is not worth it to you to be involved in any discussion that is heated. Use your attorney to convey difficult messages if you don’t believe that your spouse can be respectful of you and your opinions. Even if you are merely defending yourself, it can be a disaster to your case if you were to injure your spouse (especially if you are a man).

One thing that I have seen in recent years is people fighting over cell phones. Grabbing for a phone to see if someone has contacted your spouse or for any other reason can be dangerous. Mostly because those sort of actions can quickly escalate and lead to further use of violence or at the very least coarse language. Nothing contained in that phone is worth potentially losing time with your kids over- or even going to jail for. Be aware of your surroundings and do what you can to de-escalate any situation that you believe could lead to heated tempers.

Is protective order relevant to your situation?

A lot of clients ask about protective orders at the beginning of a child custody or divorce case. The thought being that one could potentially serve the purpose of de-escalating potentially dangerous situations. A protective order can serve a purpose when family violence has occurred in the home recently and that the violence is likely to continue but for the obtaining of a protective order.

If you get a protective order against your spouse that can be severely detrimental to his case in a divorce or child custody matter. You would need to decide whether or not to pursue a protective order that protects you and your kids or just you. While in today’s world we do not ordinarily consider these situations all that often, the fact is that men can be abused, as well as women. Think about all the information we are told about how women are reticent to come forward with details about abuse that they have suffered. The same can be said for men. Men are typically even less willing than women to come forward with details about abuse that they have suffered.

Handling issues regarding mental health in conjunction with a family law case

These are two subjects that come up all the time in family law cases. In some cases they are the primary reasons why there are child custody issues or circumstances that have led to discussions about divorce. Whether your spouse has been diagnosed with having a mental impairment or other mental health difficulty, or you suspect him or her of having a condition like this, mental health problems shine through brightly in many family cases.

Do you suspect your spouse of being bi-polar, having anxiety or being depressed? Some clients of mine in the past have commented that their spouse must be bi-polar considering how hot and cold he/she is. One minute they could be having a conversation together, and the next minute that same spouse could have grabbed a knife to attack our client. Behavior like this that is inconsistent and aggressive can be downright dangerous.

Another problem that clients frequently run into are issues related to a parent’s inability to take their medications as prescribed. The result is comments that relate to how good a parent your spouse might be when he or she is taking their medication, but if that medication is not taken as prescribed your spouse may be the most disagreeable person on earth. It is understandable to not want to take medication when those medicines cause you to feel out of sorts, but that concern needs to be balanced against the desire to keep your safe.

Finally, you need to speak to your attorney about your own history involving drugs and alcohol. The reality for many parents is that if there is a history of drug or alcohol abuse, you probably do not want to share those details with anyone. However, the worst thing that you can do is to keep that history a secret until a mediation or hearing date. Having your lawyer blind-sided by an opposing attorney who disclosed a history of drug and alcohol abuse is not a good plan to have.

Beware of back and forth bickering

Sometimes it is inevitable that you and your spouse will get into an argument. That happens even in the best functioning of marriages. Those arguments usually go nowhere and just leave everyone involved stressed to the max and angry that the discussion was ever started in the first place. Many times, we can see these discussions/arguments happening ahead of time and it takes a little bit of self-control to simply avoid them altogether.

There is nothing more awkward and potentially detrimental to your case to get into an elaborate game of bomb throwing in a courtroom. It typically will happen like this: both you and your spouse have allegations that the other acted inappropriately, was emotionally abusive or generally did something that was harmful to the kids. You then use your time on the witness stand to defend yourself and then hurl a few bombs her way.

What this ends up being is a back and forth game of unsubstantiated allegations. Instead of using your time productively to testify credibly for yourself and against your spouse, you are going to alienate your judge and distance yourself so far from the facts of your case that you may have trouble getting back on track. I have seen this happen many times in other cases and even in my own cases. Emotionally it may be satisfying to fire back at your spouse when he or she makes allegations against you, but in the long run that sort of behavior rarely if ever turns out to work to your advantage.

The people in your life that you trust are there to be your support system

We all have moments in our lives that require the support of others. Whether it is during a difficult family law case, a death in the family or the loss of a job, we cannot always be at our best. It is during those times that we rely on others to prop us up and support us. With that said, keep in mind that there is nothing wrong with doing so. At some point in the future it is likely that you can repay that person by being there for him or her when they need you.

Remember, also, that your mental and physical well-being matters. Staying in a marriage for the sake of your kids is noble, but ultimately self-defeating. Your kids deserve a parent who is at their best. You cannot be at your best when you are involved in a marriage that is emotionally

unfulfilling or worse yet- violent. We will discuss this topic when we pick up where we left off today in tomorrow’s blog post.

Questions about family law cases in Texas? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan would like to express their sincere appreciation for your interest in today’s blog post. We post articles like this every single day in order to share some of the knowledge that we can have gained through serving people in our community just like you.

In order to speak to one of our licensed family law attorneys about your case, please do not hesitate to contact us today. A consultation at our office is absolutely free of charge and can go a long way towards helping you better understand your circumstances and how to help your family and yourself.

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



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blended family life

4 Tips For Helping Your Kids Adjust To Blended Family Life

blended family life

 

According to statistics, there are many more stepfamilies today than there were a decade ago. And the number is projected to grow steadily. It is, therefore, essential for you as the mom in a blended family to help the children make necessary adjustments because such situations hit kids the hardest.

Below are a few ways you can help the kids make the adjustments required for their new, blended way of life.

Helping Your Kids Adjust To Blended Family Life

Explain the unique situation to the kids

As mentioned earlier, kids are the most affected when their parents either die or get divorced. Therefore, it would be a good idea for you as the mom to make ample time and talk to the kids involved. Acknowledge the difficulties they are going through and give them a pat on the back for being so brave. Then assure them by promising to be with them every step of the way.

Knowing that they have a strong and understanding mom who is ready to help will make the adjustment much easier for the kids, whether they’re yours or not.

Acknowledge their losses and help them through it

Blended families come as a result of deaths, divorces, or nasty breakups. Once again, the kids are usually hit the hardest when they lose a parent (or both their parents). The latter explains why kids are often very reluctant to accept blended families. As a caring mother, or stepmother, acknowledging their pain and at the same time helping them through it will make the transition much easier for the kids.

Helping kids through their pain is easier said than done. Some kids will outright disrespect you or throwing nasty tantrums in the name of coping with their new situation. If the latter happens, then it would be in your best interest to seek professional help. Once you’ve helped the kids overcome their pain, they’ll gradually start warming up to the idea of a blended family.

Nurture existing relationships

Just because you’ve forged a new, complicated relationship doesn’t mean death to the old ties that existed before the blended family. Therefore, it would be a good idea for you and your children to keep your old family traditions. If you used to watch movies or go bike riding once a month, stick to doing that because it will only make the transition gradual and as natural as possible.

You can also encourage your new man to do the same with his kids since they need help as well. Afterward, you can slowly create and introduce new family traditions with the blended family without getting rid of the old ones. Feel free to set your nice alarm panel to remind you of the times you and your kids ought to be doing your usual activities.

Encourage respect

Respect is the glue that holds together all kinds of relationships. And since blended families happen to be complex relationship structures, the more you have to emphasize respect since everything can fall apart so easily. You can start by letting the kids know the importance of respecting each other’s boundaries as well as privacy. There should be consequences if anyone doesn’t recognize anyone in the new family setting.

A final word

Being a member of a blended family can be challenging, especially if there are more kids involved. Therefore, it would be in your best interest to try and approach the situation with a lot of care. Try listening to the kids and letting them know you’ll be there for them every step of the way. If it gets a bit difficult, then don’t hesitate to seek outside help.

Lastly, it’s essential to always remember it gets worse before getting better. Once the children know that the new blended system is meant for them to thrive, they’ll gradually warm up to the idea.

The post 4 Tips For Helping Your Kids Adjust To Blended Family Life appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Is My Adult Child A Narcissist? When Helping Them Is Hurting You

Is My Adult Child A Narcissist? When Helping Them Is Hurting You

 

Is my adult child a narcissist? is one of the most devastating questions a parent can ask.

Some years ago, I went through this terrible trauma myself.

In today’s Thriver TV I want to help you realise what is necessary for you to know whether or not your child is narcissistic…

…and how to BE your most healthy and powerful, for all concerned, and possibly able to discover that your adult child isn’t narcissistic and is capable of being respectful and loving.

Regardless of the outcome, there is an even more powerful truth that you will need to watch today’s video to understand.

It’s my most heartfelt wish today, if you are struggling with the agony of your child being narcissistic, that this episode will help grant you peace, strength and direction.

 

 

Video Transcript

Many people in this Community have asked this question.

In fact, once upon a time I asked this question myself.

In Today’s Thriver TV Episode, I want to help you understand whether or not your adult child is being narcissistically abusive and, even more than this, I want to help you understand how you need to BE to help yourself regardless of the outcome.

Please listen up, because I know if this is your situation this episode is going to help you a lot.

Okay … before we get started, I want to remind you that if you haven’t yet subscribed to my channel please do. And if you like this video, please make sure you hit the like button.

Let’s get started…

 

What We Thought WOULD Help

First of all, I want to address many of the false premises we often believe as parents that do not help our children in any shape or form.

The main ones are:

That we help our children by giving them all we can to help them.

It doesn’t help!

When we don’t allow our children to experience actions and consequences and disappointments, and by doing so allow them to become self-generative, they don’t have to take responsibility for themselves or get well.

Let me tell you about a father I know called Laurence who had his 23-year-old daughter Emily living with him. Emily, a highly intelligent and capable girl, had been through a lot due to Laurence and her mother’s breakup.

Laurence felt extremely guilty because of this. She lived with Laurence rent free, didn’t contribute any money to bills, and stayed at home all day because she said that she was too depressed to work.

Emily constantly demanded money from her father for cigarettes and her entertainment costs, which Laurence gave her every time she threw a tantrum to get her own way. It could be argued that Emily absolutely was acting narcissistically – the way she talked to her father and treated him was abysmal.

Nothing was changing and Emily did not have to be any different. She had a guaranteed roof over her head and could get pretty much anything she wanted.

Which brings me to the next point…

Our children are never going to be self-generative or respectful and grateful if we try to shoulder them and let them take the easy way out. We may believe that by taking the burden for them we are helping protect them and allowing them to get well. However, really what is happening is that we are holding our children back, just as a mother bird would be by not nudging her babies out of the nest.

When our children have never had to flap their wings and learn to fly for themselves, their self-esteem is diminished and they are held back from branching out, taking risks and growing.

For our children this means that they are likely to be depressed, feel inferior and incapable, and as a result lash out and take it out on the people closest to them.

I went through this too, with my son Zac. Whilst he was depressed, addicted to drugs and stuck at home, with me allowing him to be there and looking after him he didn’t get better. Of course, whilst this was happening I was still lecturing and prescribing – which were my futile attempts to try to get him motivated. It was when I forced Zac to move out at 19 years of age and I started working diligently on myself to stop seeing him as broken and hopeless, that he came into his power and light.

Truly, I was so close to believing he was a narcissist – and yet he is anything but. Rather he was sick and was being enabled by me to stay sick. Also, whilst my son Zac stayed at home, I was receiving the abuse from him that I didn’t yet understand wasn’t my reality.

When I became clear and stood into my power, values and truth for my life, he followed.

 

What Is Necessary When Suffering Trauma From Your Child?

How do you know if your child is narcissistic or not? The truth is you won’t know until you get clear on your own healing, solidness, values and truth.

And I really want you to know this from the very bottom of my heart. If you have an adult child who you suspect is acting narcissistically, you are not going to help them get well or make them start treating you decently and respectfully until you start respecting yourself and take a stand in your truth.

I have seen parent upon parent in this community, as I did myself for a long time too, try to stop the terrible trauma that their adult child was causing them when they themselves (the parent) were still broken and traumatised.

It doesn’t work … I have NEVER seen it work.

I really don’t think there is any time that Quantum Law is more important and more vital for us to get right than when we are dealing with the challenges and heartbreak we are suffering with our children.

Quantum Law is so within, so without.

What does that really mean? It means ‘be the change you want to see’. I think it would be fair to say that we want to see decency, respect and integrity from our children who are hurting us.

This means that you need to be this for yourself for this to show up outside of you as your experience in your experience – from anyone you are struggling with, including your child!

What would decency, respect and integrity to ‘self’ look like?

Let’s go back to Laurence and Emily. To Laurence these things would mean getting money for board and bills, and to only accept non-abusive communication. Also to lay down boundaries and time limits that Emily would need to honour otherwise she would need to move out.

We may not realise at the time that maybe it is our own guilt we are pandering to, or the fear of our children not loving us, rather than thinking about the consequences of enabling our children in their stuckness. Emily wasn’t getting well any more than any of our children do when we leave things the way they are, hoping something will change.

Quantum Law is absolute – nothing changes in your experience that isn’t pleasant until you change who you are being in the dynamic. Laurence wasn’t changing. He was doing the same thing – trying to make Emily change whilst he wasn’t loving and respecting himself.

How was she ever going to love and respect herself and him when he, as her parent, wasn’t being this for himself. She wasn’t and couldn’t. She continued smoking, drinking, refusing to work and contribute, and being abusive towards his father.

Because Laurence was being abused and drained of his lifeforce and resources, he got sicker and sicker. He started drinking as well, to numb out his pain. He couldn’t expand on his business ideas, and had unsuccessful dating experiences, all because he couldn’t be present and healthy in his Life as a result of Emily’s pressure and demands.

This is the deal with our adult children – if we allow them to stay sick we get sick and we drown with them.

There is only one way out and that is to lead the way. And it is only after we do this that we then see if they are narcissistic or not.

In the cases of my son Zac and Emily, they were never going to get well the way things were and neither were Laurence and I. However, I am so happy to report that Laurence and his daughter finally understood what I did.

It was several years after my situation with Zac that I helped Laurence get very clear on what was necessary. This is what I told him, ‘When you know that loving and respecting yourself is the most important thing here, then Emily will have the chance to move up and join you. Otherwise it can never happen.’

Laurence did a lot of work on himself with NARP to shift out of his terrible feelings of guilt and obligation, as well as the fear of losing Emily altogether. Then he calmly and clearly told her she had a month to get a job and that she would need to pay for board and bills from this date on.

She didn’t take him seriously and when the date came, Lawrence told her calmly and clearly to pack her stuff and leave. She called him every terrible name she could think of. He held his ground and did not capitulate. Emily moved in with a girlfriend, who naturally was not going to put up with paying Emily’s way.

Emily got a job in a café within a week. Every time she asked Laurence for money he said ‘No’. Emily stopped drinking and smoking and started saving for the things she needed and wanted.

Today, only three years later, she works as a successful graphic designer in her own business that she loves. She and her father have a great relationship.

When Emily moved out, Laurence said he would hang up or refuse to talk to her if she was abusive – and he did. Two years ago Emily thanked her father profusely for setting those boundaries with her and has apologised liberally for her past behaviour towards him. She loves and respects her father immensely. His door was always open to her when she was being like that!

Emily did a complete 180 degree turn on the way she used to treat her father, because he loves and respects himself.

Absolutely Laurence had to go through a great deal of discomfort and pain – he had to keep holding his boundaries and continually let go of his guilt and his wanting to rescue her. Look at the results – just as it was with my own son Zac. Walking our truth powerfully and calmly, and keeping working on ourselves inwardly with NARP, created the solid healthy inner and then outer template for our children.

Our children often follow and develop into where we go. Emily may have turned out to be narcissistic if Laurence had continued with his own powerless, co-dependent behaviour. As it turned out both he and his daughter ended up being whole, healthy, self-generative people.

Honestly, as parents it only takes us to lead the way.

 

When Your Adult Child Is a Narcissist

I do know many people within this community who devastatingly have suffered a child who is narcissistic. In the case of your adult child being this way it can be terrible, especially if they have children as well. Many a grandparent has had the grandchildren used against them horribly by their narcissistic adult children or step-children.

I want to share with you this story about Jeanee and David whose adult narcissistic daughter Marina was abusing them terribly.

Marina would use her parents constantly for babysitting duties for her four young children. Jeanee and David loved their grandchildren but struggled greatly with their daughter’s demands, accusations, anger and inconsistencies.

Often they went through the gut-wrenching times when Marina would threaten to never let them see the children again. The children, whilst in their grandparent’s care, would tell them what terrible things their mother had said about them. This broke their hearts, especially as Marina expected them to do so much for the grandchildren – things that she wasn’t taking responsibility to do herself.

There was never gratitude, just abuse for their love and efforts.

When Jeanee contacted me, she said that Marina had been difficult all their lives, and now that these four precious babies were in the mix as well it was literally killing her and her husband. I convinced Jeanee that the most important thing for her and her husband, as well as her grandchildren – and even Marina – was for her, Jeanee, to lead the way and get well.

Jeanee worked with NARP, letting go of the trauma within her that Marina was inflicting. She also did healings on her husband and her grandchildren by proxy. Jeanee felt calmer and more confident with what she was dealing with, and saw a bigger picture that she was working towards.

Jeanee started laying boundaries with her daughter, requesting she contact them ahead of time to make arrangements and to end the last-minute demands. And Jeanee stopped allowing her love for her grandchildren to allow her to be manipulated and abused. If they missed a doctor’s appointment or didn’t get to school on time, that was not her responsibility.

At times it broke her heart not jumping to Marina’s attention for her grandchildren, but she understood that often you have to lose the battle to win the war – and she was determined to be the model of love, truth and integrity that she wanted these little ones to become in their lives.

The inevitable happened. With the boundaries she set came Marina’s nasty efforts to rip the boundaries down. That didn’t work and so the next, quite common, thing happened – Marina pulled her trump card on Jeanee telling her she wouldn’t see the children again.

Through a torrent of tears Jeanee shared this with me, and I kept lovingly bringing her back to the Quantum Truth of so within, so without. I said, ‘If you look after emotion first, if you release all of this trauma from inside, the space opens up for positive and healthy change.’

Jeanee got to work, and that is exactly what she did. She got stuck into her NARP Modules daily to keep upholding her truth and strength. A week and a half later Marina contacted her asking her to look after the children. Jeanne responded by saying she would send Marina an email laying out the limits to this – the healthy boundaries Jeanee needed to have respected to be a part of Marina’s life.

Jeanee got an abusive email back from Marina, but rather than reply Jeanee went inwards again to release what this exchange had brought up within her. Two days later Marina sent her an email agreeing to the boundaries.

Jeanee to this day has to walk a determined line with Marina, and has also had to let go of any expectation of having a healthy and happy relationship with her. However, she sees her grandchildren regularly and she and her husband have them during school holidays for extended periods of time, which they love.

The grandchildren are all so much healthier since Jeanee’s shift, and I have no doubt that their grandmother’s dependable, empowered role modelling of aligned values, truth and respect is calling them to follow.

Can you imagine if this hadn’t happened? They would have had even more role models of trauma, powerlessness and victimhood.

 

The Ultimate ‘Lose It All To Get It All’

I remember once hearing the expression about enabling others to hurt us and take from us, is like watering their lawn whilst ours turns brown and dies.

Not only are we not teaching them to be self-generative and inwardly fulfilled, we are killing ourselves in the process. The truth is, if we stay sick and are sick in any dynamic, we are not in a position to help anyone and we only contribute to the toxic sickness.

In Emily’s case, Laurence had to risk her failing at looking after herself and leaving him for good. But something spectacular happens when necessity becomes a driving force – people step up. Something else extraordinary happens when we start to love and approve of ourselves and actualise what that really is in real-time – key people in our life start to love and approve of us unconditionally too.

In the case of Jeanee and Marina, Marina didn’t want to have full responsibility for her children. She needed her mother and was going to treat her as badly as her mother would allow it. When Jeanee no longer allowed that bad treatment, it stopped. More than this – as it is for all of us – when we release the painful trauma of the losses of those and that closest to our hearts, and reach the full resolution of being the example we wish to be, live and see in our world, calmly and lovingly, then we often receive these people and things back in our life.

Gosh, it’s huge. And when our children and grandchildren are concerned it takes everything we have – but what choice do we have when we break it all down and understand the deeper layers of the Quantum Truth of all of this?

If we want to be healthy and have a healthy world, and for our future generations to be well, there is nothing else to do but heal ourselves and lead the way.

So, I hope that this TTV had helped grant you some goals, direction, and power regarding your difficulties with your adult children.

Also please know there are beautiful people in this Community who have had no option other than to let go and go No Contact with their children. We may think that this would be a trauma that would destroy us, yet I promise you that the people working with NARP who have made this decision have been able to get to peace and free themselves to live their full lives. Such is the extent of detoxing from trauma that NARP creates.

It ALWAYS comes back to the same thing – heal ourselves and then all that is healthy can and will follow. We can’t make other people healthy – we can only lead the way by being that ourselves.

Is that clear – does it really make sense?

If so, I want you to write: ‘If my mission is my healthiness, then I inspire all of life in the healthiest of ways.’

If you are ready to make your inner and then outer worlds healthy, for you and your future generations, join me by clicking this link. Today you can start a deep dive into the step-by-step proven formula to make this happen.

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.

And as always, I look forward to answering your comments and questions below.

 

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