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15 Books Perfect For Children Living With Abusive Parents

Parents often ask me for resources to help them support their children who are living with an abusive parent.  It can be such a difficult topic to explain as there are so many emotions involved.

I have therefore compiled this list, with the help of many of my clients, to offer you some guidance and words on how to best support the child.

It is broken down into age categories for ease but remember that a child’s physical age is not necessarily their emotional age so be mindful of where that child is at in terms of their own understanding.

Children aged 0 – 6

At this age children are learning that their behaviour effects the world around them and these early experiences form a blueprint for how they see their world. They may blame themselves for arguments and will be asking things like “why does mummy hate daddy?” or “what did I do wrong?”  Children will also begin to assert themselves in play and this can be aggressive.

Boys can “fall in love” with their mothers and girls with their fathers and so this stages forms a blueprint for relationships and how they view the opposite sex. Abusive parents can distort a child’s view of what the role of a mummy/daddy and man/woman is.

Therefore the books in this list focus on helping children to manage their emotions and understand anger better.

The Feelings Book by Todd Parr

Abusive parenting can result in emotions becoming very scary and distorted. The child may witness a parent happy one minute, angry the next with no trigger.  They won’t know what changed and so can be confused by not just their own emotions but also their parents.

Many children with abusive parents can also take ownership of their parent’s emotions and express them as their own.  Saying “I’m sad” or “I’m scared” but smiling and laughing.

This books helps children to identify what they are feeling on a range of subjects.

How are you feeling today Baby Bear By Jane Evans

Children who grow up in abusive homes often feel they did something wrong to cause the argument.  They regularly feel afraid, lonely, angry and tired.

This sensitive, charming storybook is written to help children who have lived with violence at home to begin to explore and name their feelings.

Kit Kitten and the Topsy Turvy Feelings by Jane Evans

Once upon a time there was a little kitten called Kit who lived with a grown-up cat called Kizz Cat. Kit Kitten couldn’t understand why sometimes Kizz Cat seemed sad and faraway and others times was busy and rushing about. Kit Kitten was sometimes cold and confused in this topsy turvy world and needed help to find ways to tell others about the big, medium and small feelings which were stuck inside. Luckily for Kit, Kindly Cat came along. Many children live in homes where things are chaotic and parents or carers are distracted and emotionally unavailable to them.

This storybook, designed for children aged 2 to 6, includes feelings based activities to build a child’s emotional awareness and vocabulary. A helpful tool for use by parents, carers, social workers and other professionals to enable young children to begin to name and talk about their feelings.

Two Homes by Claire Masurel

In this award-winning picture book classic about divorce, Alex has two homes – a home where Daddy lives and a home where Mummy lives. Alex has two front doors, two bedrooms and two very different favourite chairs. He has a toothbrush at Mummy’s and a toothbrush at Daddy’s. But whether Alex is with Mummy or Daddy, one thing stays the same: Alex is loved by them both – always.

This gently reassuring story focuses on what is gained rather than what is lost when parents divorce, while the sensitive illustrations, depicting two unique homes in all their small details, firmly establish Alex’s place in both of them. Two Homes will help children – and parents – embrace even the most difficult of changes with an open and optimistic heart.

Although not specifically centred upon parental mental health, divorce is an unsettling time for both parents and children and so this book may help ease the worry of how to explain what is happening to a child.

Grow Happy by Jon Lasser

“My name is Kiko. I’m a gardener. I grow happy. Let me show you how.” Kiko shows the reader how she grows happiness: by making good choices, taking care of her body and mind, paying attention to her feelings, problem solving, and spending time with family and friends. Kids will learn that they can play a pivotal role in creating their own happiness, just like Kiko. A Note to Parents and Other Caregivers provides more strategies for helping children learn how to grow happiness. Age range 4-8.

Anger is Okay, Violence is Not by Julie K Federico

Anger is OKAY Violence is NOT belongs on the desk of every child protective services case worker. This book has a hidden message for children who are living with violence and struggling with a domestic violence definition. This book is also a great resource for toddler’s struggling with temper tantrums. The book offers replacement behaviors children can do instead of getting angry. Anger is OKAY Violence is NOT teaches children about fish, feelings, families and anger control.

A Terrible Thing Happened by Margaret Holmes

Sherman Smith saw the most terrible thing happen. At first he tried to forget about it, but soon something inside him started to bother him. He felt nervous for no reason. Sometimes his stomach hurt. He had bad dreams. And he started to feel angry and do mean things, which got him in trouble. Then he met Ms. Maple, who helped him talk about the terrible thing that he had tried to forget. Now Sherman is feeling much better.

This gently told and tenderly illustrated story is for children who have witnessed any kind of violent or traumatic episode, including physical abuse, school or gang violence, accidents, homicide, suicide, and natural disasters such as floods or fire. An afterword written for parents and other caregivers offers extensive suggestions for helping traumatized children, including a list of other sources that focus on specific events.

Children aged 7 – 13 years

At this age, children are asking more questions and starting to understand right from wrong. This can be especially hard when they are being taught bullying and violence is wrong but witness this at home. It can be really difficult for them to process and they will struggle with their own identity as well as feeling alienated from others. They will begin to identify with their own gender and so can align themselves with the abusive parent of the same sex. They are also learning consequences and to push boundaries. Abusive parents can either have to strict or too lapse boundaries and so children struggle to feel safe. This can lead to them withdrawing or lashing out.

The books in this age bracket are therefore focused on developing their identity and managing behaviours.

Lizzy Lives In An Angry House: Learning to Thrive In the Midst of an Angry Environment by Karen Addison MSPH

Karen Addison, educator, author and speaker, has witnessed and experienced the devastating effects of emotional and verbal abuse. Many have not addressed this form of destruction in relationships because it is difficult to talk about and difficult to understand. Often people don’t realize they are in emotionally destructive relationships, and this is especially true of children. If they are living in a home where a parent is “scary angry” and emotionally destructive, chances are the other parent is struggling to cope with that person, as well as the negative dynamics in the home. With wisdom and practical experience, Addison gives readers young and old alike an empathetic approach to recognising emotionally destructive (scary angry) relationships and tools to help those living in “scary angry” homes overcome and break the cycle of abuse

The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig

Meet Brian, the invisible boy. Nobody ever seems to notice him or think to include him in their group, game, or birthday party . . . until, that is, a new kid comes to class.

When Justin, the new boy, arrives, Brian is the first to make him feel welcome. And when Brian and Justin team up to work on a class project together, Brian finds a way to shine.

From esteemed author and speaker Trudy Ludwig and acclaimed illustrator Patrice Barton, this gentle story shows how small acts of kindness can help children feel included and allow them to flourish. Any parent, teacher, or counselor looking for material that sensitively addresses the needs of quieter children will find The Invisible Boy a valuable and important resource.

Includes backmatter with discussion questions and resources for further reading.

Angryman by Gro Dahle

There’s someone in the living room.

It’s Dad.

It is Angryman.

Boj’s father can be very angry and violent. Boj calls this side of his father’s personality “Angryman.” When Angryman comes no one is safe. Until something powerful happens…

Gro Dahle’s astute text and Svein Nyhus’s bold, evocative art capture the full range of emotions that descend upon a small family as they grapple with “Angryman.” With an important message to children who experience the same things as Boj: You are not alone. It’s not your fault. You must tell someone you trust. It doesn’t have to be this way!

Somebody Cares: a Guide for Kids Who Have Experienced Neglect by Susan Farber Straus

Somebody Cares explores the feelings and thoughts many kids have when they’ve had to look out for themselves or be alone much of the time. A useful book to read with a caring adult — such as a parent, foster parent, kinship parent, or therapist — Somebody Cares reassures children who have experienced neglect that they are not to blame for what happened in their family, and that they can feel good about themselves for many reasons. It takes time for kids to get used to changes in their family or living situation, even when they are good changes. This book will help kids learn some ways to feel safer, more relaxed, and more confident.

Teenagers

Teenagers are going through their own internal battle with hormone changes as well as having to make some life choices with regards to career. They often regress to toddler behaviour due to this pressure. For children with abusive parents the control between their own family and their friends can cause real confusion and disappointment or anger. They may, due to hormonal issues, start to lash out more and this can terrify them because they recognise themselves in their abusive parent. Equally they may see a passive parent and feel anger towards them for not doing anything. There may also be a physical risk to the child at this age as they talk back.

Children at this age will have a strong sense or morality though and so are more likely to want to speak out to others about the injustice they feel at home and perhaps even run away or move out as soon as they are old enough.

Therefore books for this age group are around managing their own emotions and feeling safe to speak up and gain some understanding about what is happening in their family.

Don’t let your emotions run your life by Sheri van Dijk

Let’s face it: life gives you plenty of reasons to get angry, sad, scared, and frustrated&mdashand those feelings are okay. But sometimes it can feel like your emotions are taking over, spinning out of control with a mind of their own. To make matters worse, these overwhelming emotions might be interfering with school, causing trouble in your relationships, and preventing you from living a happier life.

Don’t Let Your Emotions Run Your Life for Teens is a workbook that can help. In this book, you’ll find new ways of managing your feelings so that you’ll be ready to handle anything life sends your way. Based in dialectical behavior therapy, a type of therapy designed to help people who have a hard time handling their intense emotions, this workbook helps you learn the skills you need to ride the ups and downs of life with grace and confidence.

This book offers easy techniques to help you: Stay calm and mindful in difficult situations, Effectively manage out-of-control emotions, Reduce the pain of intense emotions and Get along with family and friends

My Anxious Mind: A Teen’s Guide to Managing Anxiety and Panic by Michael A. Tompkins, Ph.D., and Katherine A. Martinez, Psy.D

Learn strategies to help you take control of your anxiety. The authors share information about breathing, thinking, facing fears, panic attacks, nutrition, sleep, exercise, medication, and how to tell if and when anxiety is a problem.

The Truth about Love, Dating and Just Being Friends by Chat Eastham

Chad shines some much-needed light on these major issues for teens. Rather than let their feelings navigate them blindly through their tumultuous adolescence, Chad offers clarity, some surprising revelations, and answers to some of their biggest questions: How do I know who to date?  When should I start dating? How should I start dating? Is this really love? And, Why do guys I like just want to be friends?

Packed with humor that adds to the sound advice, this book will help teens make better decisions, have healthier relationships, and be more prepared for their futures. Just a few things girls will learn include: Five things you need to know about love; Eight dumb dating things even smart people do; Ten reasons why teens are unhappy; and Ten things happy teens do.

Any teen can live a happier, healthier life: they just need to hear The Truth

Forged By Fire by Sharon M Draper

Will Gerald find the courage to stand up to his stepfather? 

When his loving aunt dies, Gerald suddenly is thrust into a new home filled with anger and abuse. A brutal stepfather with a flaming temper and an evil secret makes Gerald miserable, and the only light in his grim life is Angel, his young stepsister. Gerald and Angel grow close as he strives to protect her from Jordan, his abusive stepfather, and from their substance-addicted mother. But Gerald learns, painfully, that his post can’t be extinguished, and that he must be strong enough to face Jordan in a final confrontation, once and for all…. 

This list is not exhaustive

I have just compiled some that I think resonate with my audience but please do your own research. You know what your child is ready for. Also remember that the ages are not cut off points and so be mindful of your own child’s capacity and choose the ones which best suit by the content, not the age.

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lessons daughters learn from divorce

12 Lessons Daughters Learn from Their Parents’ Divorce

lessons daughters learn from divorce

 

Women, and especially daughters of divorce, can put undue pressure on themselves to find the right partner, marry, and develop a happy home life. But if they possess this goal, it can present many problems. For the most part, women from divorced homes don’t have a healthy template to follow when it comes to nurturing and sustaining a committed relationship, making it difficult for them to know where to start.

The following lessons were derived from my own experience and conversations with over 300 women I interviewed for my book Daughters of Divorce.

12 Lessons Daughters Learn from Divorce:

1. Revisiting the past as an adult can help you heal. In order to overcome the legacy of your parents’ breakup, it’s essential for you to get a more balanced, realistic view of your parents’ divorce. Many women in my study discovered that a lot of their assumptions about the cause of their parents’ split were false after they examined it from an adult perspective.

As a result of gaining accurate information, many were better able to move forward with their lives (and in some cases forgive one or both of their parents).

2. Reevaluate your view of relationships and adjust your expectations. The reality is that with time people grow and change. This doesn’t mean love has failed. Simply because love doesn’t last forever doesn’t mean there was something wrong with it. If you are hard on yourself or your parents, you may need to adjust your standards.

3. Learning to love yourself is an inner journey that involves examining your past from a fresh perspective. Take the time to investigate any carry-over from past relationships that might impact current ones. As a daughter of divorce, you can be your own saboteur. Write a positive intention to accomplish each day; boost your confidence by setting a goal and achieving it.

4. Self-compassion is a life-long journey. You may believe that you’re being selfish when you take care of yourself, or you may be left feeling you don’t deserve to be loved or have to earn someone’s love. But these feelings are based on low self-esteem and not based in reality. Change negative self-talk into positive statements such as “I am getting stronger every day.” You deserve to be loved and cared for.

5. Establishing a healthy level of trust in a relationship is possible but takes time. When your first reaction is to act out of a place of mistrust, this shows a lack of confidence in yourself and your partner. Trust is a skill that’s built over time by observing consistency between your partner’s words and actions.

Learn to trust your intuition and instincts and extend trust to someone who demonstrates trustworthiness. Consider how much your mistrust is a remnant of the past or as a result of your partner’s present behavior. Listen to his or her side of the story before making accusations or issuing an ultimatum.

6. Practice being vulnerable in small steps. Being vulnerable and expressing your thoughts and feelings to your partner will allow you to build trust and feel more connected to them. Does your fear of intimacy translate into testing a relationship by picking a partner who is wrong for you or picking fights to get your partner to prove their love? Setting a goal of being more vulnerable and accepting of nurturing and support from your partner is crucial to enjoying a happy long-lasting relationship.

7. Emotional dependency isn’t love. If your relationship causes you to feel anxious or to question your sense of self, it may not be the best relationship for you. Ask yourself this question if you’re in a relationship: Is there something about the way my partner treats me that makes me a better person? If the answer is no, you may be settling for less than you deserve due to a fear of abandonment or of being alone. These are the two most common reasons women stay in relationships that aren’t meeting their needs.

8. It’s OK not to rush into a commitment. In fact, getting to know a partner over time is wise and can help you to gain confidence in your judgment. It’s important for you to feel relatively safe and secure before you make a commitment.

9. You expect a lot from your partner but you’re also a giver. Sometimes giving too much can cause you emotional pain but being a giver is something you take pride in. However, it’s key not to morph into someone else when you’re in a relationship with a taker who looks to you as their source of happiness and fun (and may have trouble being alone). If you’re a giver, be careful not to allow a taker to zap you of your time and energy.

10. Counseling, reading, and blogging are helpful supports and can help you cope. As you experiment with new ways of relating to others, giving and receiving feedback is essential to your personal growth.

11. Relationships are your teachers. As a child of divorce, you know the sting of loss and are fine-tuned to the signs of rejection and abandonment. However, whether they last three months or three decades, relationships can provide their participants with the love, understanding, and intimacy they need at the time. Often, the courage to end a relationship that is no longer meeting both partners’ needs shows the greatest strength.

12. Both chemistry and compatibility are essential aspects of a successful long-term relationship and it’s possible to have both. Keep in mind that you can determine what kind of relationship works for you. Love is a leap of faith and there are no guarantees. This is true for all people, whether or not they are a child of divorce.

As a daughter of divorce, intimate relationships and marriage may present many challenges to you, but you must also realize that you are also armed with your own strength to face and embrace them. Truth be told, all relationships end: through breakup, death, or divorce. Why waste time being preoccupied with the fear of your relationship ending?

The concept of a wedding, or even a successful marriage, may seem alien to you but commitment and possibly marriage can be a source of stability in an uncertain world and bring you happiness.

According to researcher Nicholas H. Wolfinger, marriage is still the preferred state for most people. In Understanding The Divorce Cycle, he writes: “Doubtless, many people who remain single throughout their lives are happy to do so, but marriage remains the normative experience for most of us: about 90% of Americans will wed at some point in their lives.”

In closing, the best relationships are ones born out of trust and vulnerability. In positive relationships, each partner approaches one another as an equal. The relationship doesn’t drain its participants; instead, it nourishes. A successful romantic relationship is where you feel at your best.

It is possible to be vulnerable with others without losing parts of yourself. By doing this, you’ll be able to restore your faith in love, trust, and intimacy.

Follow Terry Gaspard, MSW, LICSW on Twitter, Facebook, and movingpastdivorce.com where you can purchase her book Daughters of Divorce: Overcome the Legacy of Your Parents’ Breakup and Enjoy a Happy, Long-Lasting Relationship. Her new book “The Remarriage Manual” will be published in the spring of 2020 by Sounds True Publishers.

The post 12 Lessons Daughters Learn from Their Parents’ Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.



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kids pet divorce

4 Ways In Which Pets Can Help Children Deal With Their Parents’ Divorce

kids pet divorce

 

Divorce is always hard on those involved. A marriage falling apart is something no-one likes to see. Often though, the party most affected by it are the children. The sudden loss of stability, perception of weakness in their parents who otherwise previously appeared so strong to them and the general confusion at what the future holds can leave children with serious emotional consequences, some of which could last their whole lives.

In those difficult times, children will often look for things to cling on to for comfort. One such comforting presence is a pet. Pets have proven themselves incredibly helpful to children going through any sort of trauma, including divorce.

When everything else around them is stressful and seems to be collapsing, pets can have a massive positive impact on a child as they try and deal with all of the problems that come with a parent’s divorce. Let’s take a look at the ways in which pets can positively influence your child’s experience of divorce.

Pets Can Help Children Deal with Their Parents’ Divorce

1. Consistent Love

Though the large majority of parents feel unconditional love for their child, in the stress and turmoil of divorce, children can feel ignored. There’ll be a lot of moments where it will be difficult for an adult going through this tough time to give their child what he or she needs.

“Having a pet, particularly a dog, gives a child a companion who, no matter what is going on around them, will be a constant source of love or at the very least the semblance of love that can imbue their lives with a needed sense of consistency”, says Ira Byrd, lifestyle blogger at LastMinuteWriting and Writinity. Having a pet there will allow a child to feel loved when they are uncertain about the concept itself as they witness their parents’ relationship fall apart.

2. Mental Health Monitor

It’s been proven that animals have the power to reduce stress in human beings. This phenomenon is what has bred the growth and embrace of therapy pets, animals that travel with humans who suffer from PTSD, anxiety, depression and other psychological problems.

Even if your child isn’t explicitly affected to that degree, the presence of a pet is therapeutic and can provide positive, soothing emotions for them as they try and cope with the divorce. It’s also a good motivator for exercise, as a lot of pets encourage children to run around. The proven benefits on stress and mood of exercise make this a bonus reason why pets are good for your child’s mental health in this difficult time.

3. Someone They Can Talk To

Even adults will catch themselves talking to their animals, it’s a common part of the owner-pet dynamic. For children, the sense that their pet is actually listening to them is elevated and so it can have an extremely strong effect on them. Children need to talk through things during a divorce and it’s often the case that they will feel unable to discuss anything with either of their parents. On the other hand, a pet will listen to everything in a non-judgemental way. “In a sense, a pet can be a bit like a therapist for a child.

They can absorb everything that the child is thinking about a situation in a non-judgemental, quiet way and not expect anything out of the child in terms of behavior or mood”, writes Myra Mcguire, psychology writer at DraftBeyond and ResearchPapersUK.

4. For Security

One thing that can be really frightening about divorce for children is feeling like they have been abandoned by their parents. Parents might change in their children’s eyes as they go through the divorce process and, with all of the stressful complications that can arise in divorce, parents might find themselves very busy, without much time to attend to their child. Pets help children feel defended and secure, temporarily making up for the lack of security from the parents.

Conclusion

Divorce is never going to be easy on a child and it will always leave a lasting impression. However, having a pet by their side during the process really can help to mitigate some of the hardest parts of enduring this traumatic family event and can help them recover faster after the fact.

The post 4 Ways In Which Pets Can Help Children Deal With Their Parents’ Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Custody Options for Non-Biological Parents

Custody Options for Non-Biological Parents

You have to prove you are truly in the position of a parent despite not being biologically or legally related to the child.

The post Custody Options for Non-Biological Parents appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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Parents, Protestors & Picketing Activists Focus on Judge Recalls And Indictments

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Contra Costa parents successfully gathered enough signatures to place three judges on a recall ballot, tripling the threat to the security of complicit judges who have been separating and bankrupting families in California’s family courts for the past two decades.. 

Joined by children who are the product of divorce in Silicon Valley, activists are turning their attention back to Santa Clara County to focus on Judge James Towery, Judge Joshua Weinstein, Judge Stuart Scott, Judge Cynthia Lie, Judge Lori Pegg and Judge Roberta Hayashi who have pandered to corrupt lawyers and loyalties over families they are elected to serve. 
Weinstein , who has returned to the family court after corrupting criminal cases is a new focus of social media hit pieces. 

Check out this link and guest Q post. 

www.blogger.com/u/1/blogger.g?blogID=4920646381212958787#editor/target=post;postID=6491986878894969875;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=0;src=postname
 
San Jose, February 28, 2019- 
Honesty, fair play, search for truth, unbiased application of enacted law, are among the “must have” qualities of a American Judge when they make binding, life-altering decisions on U.S. citizen’s life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

Complaints against the California judges, and in particularly the Santa Clara County judges, supervised by the California Judicial Council, have grown in recent past.. Lack of transparency, for example;  no recording of court proceedings, judicial immunity, tampering of records, judicial misconduct tactics, cover ups, et al., renders judicial misconduct almost invisible.

However, public has grown increasingly frustrated and began documenting and sharing with the world the crisis of judicial corruption. For example, recent Santa Clara County public filings reveal uncontroverted facts supporting Judge Joshua Weinstein’s misconduct, corrupt acts, fraud on the court, creation of false record, et al.
 
It is such gross judicial misconduct that led to California State Auditor being asked to audit of the hollow California judicial oversight body, the state’s Commission on Judicial Performance

Ironically public had previously complained that Judge Joshua Weinstein routinely cozy up lawyers and “He is especially unfair to self-represented parties” see www.therobingroom.com/california/Judge.aspx?id=22514

Please direct your comments and queries to drainjudicialswamp@gmail.com– news source for collecting complaints on Judge Weinstein. 

Recall Judge Program  Contact : JohnQPublic@Gmail.com


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Parents, Rape Victims & Children Use Social Media to Catch Dirty Divorce Lawyers

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Mocking government lawyers and judges on social media brings victims together

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Divorce Attorney Valerie Houghton was indicted three years ago and is rumored to being given special treatment by Rosen

Santa Clara County has been violating ADA laws and victims rights for decades. Judge Mary Ann Grilli was previously sued for her unconstitutional conduct, and Grilli’s favorite divorce lawyers; Bradford Baugh, Hector Moreno and Valerie Houghton engaged in rampant tax fraud, as well as abuses of appointments for private judges, custody evaluators and minor’s counsel. 

James Towery, former Chief Trial Counsel at the State Bar has been protecting lawyers like Houghton, Baugh and Moreno for decades. Jim Hoover, Donelle Morgan, Walter Hammon  and Bill Dok have been implicated as well, along with newcomers Heather Allan, Jessica Huey, Jennifer Mello, women lawyers willing to get appointments and discipline immunity the old fashioned way: On their backs. 

Judge Robert Hayashi  and Judge Lori Pegg have been drinking from the same water cooler with Towery and Jeff Rosen’s wife, Amber Rosen, excepting that disregard of the law would be protected based on the good old boy network operating Silicon Valley Courts. In return, Jeff Rosen has given judges a free pass on public corruption and taxpayer waste investigations. Front and center in the cover up is Jeff Rosen’s top prosecutors including David Angel, John Chase, Jay Boyarsky and even former reporter and public information officer Sean Webby.

One victim of attorney Nat Hales described who  Hales, along with other divorce lawyers including Michael Smith, Neville Spadafore, Robert Redding, James Cox , Ed Mills and Irwin Joseph have rigged divorce cases, bankrupted families and promised favorable outcomes for sex and cash payments in Santa Clara County divorce cases through private judging cases that gouged families and children for hundreds of millions of dollars. 

Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen has prosecuted parents for minor child support and custody violations, while he ignored systemic corruption in the county’s family courts. 

Victims subjected to years of abuse by divorce lawyers overcharging, selling homes and raiding retirement accounts and who were ignored by mainstream media have turned to social media and memes to tell their stories and expose corruption. 

Social media has also  drawn the attention of Facebook, Netflix , and Google, who have faced legal and media attacks for their publishing of stories that many victims know to be true. 

Q is seeking stories and support from union employees in law enforcement and county agencies, as well as Oracle, Cisco, Netflix, Google, Yahoo and Paypal in order to expose corruption in Silicon Valley’s family courts. Email us your story, or send us contacts to tech and social media companies willing to help catch these career criminals. 

CalJohnQPublic@gmail.com

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Does Alienation of Children from Safe Parents Really Cause Harm? - My Advocate Center

Does Alienation of Children from Safe Parents Really Cause Harm? – My Advocate Center

This is a lot to read, but critical for professionals to get this that it is no small thing to enable this form of abuse to ruin the lives of children when you are in a position to make life better for them.

 

AAML_Alienation of Children and Parents_2015 by Deb Beacham on Scribd

Do you know how to recognize harmful behavior in children who have been turned against a parent?

Excerpts found below are borrowed from the above document and may include occasional notes by My Advocate Center as this review is part of a larger study geared toward reducing childhood trauma and improving safety for parents and children.

Page 14:

Good grades in school, excellent performance in sports and performing arts, and polite, compliant behavior in settings apart from the rejected parent comprise only some aspects of healthy psychological functioning. Children who suspend critical thinking and judge parents as either all good or all bad are prone to transfer such cognitive practices to peer relationships, resulting in the rupture of friendships at the first sign of conflict.

Alienated children’s relationships with their favored parents may appear ideal because of the absence of conflict and frustration. In some cases, though, children pay for such harmony by neglecting their own needs.22 Often these children feel responsible for their favored parent’s emotional well-being. They comfort distressed parents, serve as confidantes, and assure parents of their allegiance. Alienated children often sacrifice age-appropriate independent functioning in order to gratify favored parents’ needs to keep the children close at hand and dependent.

Page 15:

The children believe that they have their favored parents’ approval to suspend the usual rules of morality when dealing with the targets of their enmity.

Apart from what may be covert or subtle corruption of character and respect for authority, alienated children suffer overt irrational anxiety or hatred of a parent and declare their wish to completely erase good parents from their lives.

Such irrational feelings represent significant psychological disturbances, regardless of how well these children function in other domains.24 At the very least, unreasonably rejecting a parent is as serious a problem as are other irrational aversions and anxieties, such as avoidance of school, peers, or open spaces. Their obsessive hatred of rejected parents is at least as worrisome as fixed negative stereotypes and irrational prejudice toward members of religious or ethnic minorities.

Severely alienated children suffer significant impairments in their cognitive, emotional, and behavioral development.25 They maintain a highly distorted view of a parent. They are unable to give and receive love from a good parent.

What would be a normal response, if the parents were not separated?

If these children were living in an intact family, professionals would not doubt the wisdom of addressing rather than ignoring the problems.

It is not necessary to cite the long-term consequences of parental alienation to justify the importance of addressing the problem. The family’s dysfunction in the present is sufficient justification for intervention.26 In addition to alleviating the child’s obvious impairments, interventions are needed to improve the functioning of both parents. Some mental health professionals and lawyers too readily counsel rejected parents to accept the situation and wait passively for the child’s return. Those who make recommendations and decisions for these families should understand that the family is suffering and should be aware of the immense tragedy for a child to lose a parent and for a parent to lose a child.

It is easier to appreciate what is at stake when parental alienation is seen through the eyes of a parent who is the victim. One mother puts it this way:

It is like your child has died, but you can’t go through the normal grieving process. Instead you are stuck in this Twilight Zone-like nightmare with no end in sight. You know your child is being abused, and this is child abuse pure and simple, but no one will help you save their hijacked souls and you are forced to stand and watch, with your hands tied behind your back. She describes what mental health professionals term ambiguous loss or complicated loss, more difficult to resolve than grief over the death of a child because it defies closure.27 She also identifies the pain of standing by helplessly while her child’s character is corrupted.

Page 17:

In addition to the emotional impact on families, parental alienation is implicated in violence, suicides, and homicides. An example is a father who alienated his children and then conspired with them to kill their mother. Explicitly recognizing the power of the father’s influence, the district attorney charged the man with having “coerced, persuaded and enticed his children to commit this atrocious crime upon their mother.”28

Researchers have limited data on what happens over time.

Researchers can extrapolate long-term outcomes, though, from several well-developed lines of investigation. These include: the impact of exposure to poorly-managed parental conflict, the consequences of intrusive parenting, and the risks to future development associated with parental absence and unresolved conflicts with parents.30

The literature on parenting most relevant to understanding the consequences of parental alienating behavior are studies on parental psychological control, also called intrusive parenting. This is defined as parenting behavior that “constrains, invalidates, and manipulates children’s psychological and emotional experience and expression.”33 Examples of psychological control include: “If I have hurt her feelings, she stops talking to me until I please her again.” “Is less friendly to me if I don’t see things his way.” The concept of intrusive parenting was not created with alienated children in mind. But “manipulating children’s psychological and emotional experience and expression” is precisely how authorities on the psychology of alienated children describe the negative influence of the favored parent.34

This type of manipulative parenting is linked to subsequent higher levels of depression and antisocial behavior.35 Higher risk for depression is also one of the known longterm hazards of parental absence during childhood.36

Some of the dynamics of this elevated risk may not apply to situations where parental absence is caused by the child’s rejection, but most of the identified reasons for the negative impact of parental absence are relevant to the risks faced by an estranged child growing up apart from a parent and without that parent’s psychological contributions to development.

The greater the discrepancy between the amount of nurturing and involvement children received from each parent—and for severely alienated children it is the most extreme—the lower their subsequent self-esteem, life satisfaction, and quality and satisfaction with friendships, and the greater distress, romantic relationship problems, and troubled ruminations about parents these children experience when they are young adults.37

In addition, children who hold a parent in contempt risk feeling contempt for the aspects of their own personalities that reflect identifications with the rejected parents. The resulting diminished self-esteem may contribute to depression. Children cannot escape the knowledge that each parent is part of them. It is difficult to harbor great contempt for a parent without, at some level, feeling terribly impaired.

In subsequent years many of these children regret missing out on the relationship with the rejected parent. As they mature, many feel ashamed and guilty for having caused so much pain to a loving parent.

Why is it important to take action to prevent such abuse and harm?

Overcoming severe alienation usually involves extensive litigation, multiple failed attempts to modify the behaviors of the alienating parent and child, and sometimes an intensive intervention, all of which take a lot of money and time. The longer the process takes, the more the losses accumulate. The longer the absence of contact between parent and child, the more lost opportunities mount for the creation of family memories. School performances, music and dance recitals, scouting trips, science fair projects, sports events, proms, and graduation ceremonies all create memories marred in future years by the parent missing from the photographs.

Can educational programs help?

The programs teach about the impact of parental conflict on children and the importance of avoiding bad-mouthing and alienating behavior. They offer no guidance, though, on how to respond when the other parent engages in alienating behavior that places the children at risk for joining in a campaign of denigration and rejection. The programs exhort parents to refrain from behaviors that encourage alienation, but they make no suggestions to proactively protect children from succumbing to a parent’s alienating behavior or to stem the tide of alienation before it becomes severe. In short, parents receive no advice on how to respond effectively to the challenges posed by their children’s rejection and provocative, contemptuous behavior. As a result, alienated parents typically make mistakes that compound the problem.43

Therapy?

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Counseling is not only ineffective in many cases of moderate and severe alienation. Often it makes things worse. Counselors who lack adequate understanding and competence in dealing with parental alienation may be too quick to accept at face value the favored parent and child’s representations of events.53 This can result in misdiagnosis and misguided treatment.

Detailed and Unambiguous Court Orders are Strongly Recommended

Parenting coordinators and therapists who work with high conflict cases emphasize the importance of the court issuing detailed and clear orders. A parent who is intent on obstructing the child’s contact with the other parent will exploit every loophole and ambiguity in the orders to accomplish this goal. For instance, the parent may claim that the child is coming down with a cold and can’t make the shift between homes. Or the parent will sabotage court-ordered treatment because the orders failed to specify which parent is responsible for getting the child to the therapist. Attorneys who represent rejected parents should anticipate every conceivable excuse to keep children from their clients and then ensure that the orders protect against these contingencies. If this is done at the stage of the initial temporary orders, it could help prevent alienation from taking root and becoming more severe. Attempts to corrupt a child’s view of a parent most effectively crowd out the child’s positive feelings and memories when the child has no reminders of the parent’s love and no time to enjoy that parent.55 The child becomes more dependent on the favored parent and more likely to see the absent parent through the distorting lens of the parent doing the bad-mouthing.

When their parents separate, children have no norms about what to expect. If they have regular contact with both parents from the outset, this becomes the status quo and the norm. If they lose contact with a parent, they come to regard this as normal. The longer children are apart from a parent, the stronger the negative attitudes, the more resistant to change, and the more difficult it is to reunite children with their rejected parent. The longer the children’s will dominates the behavior of adults, the more difficult it will be for the children to appreciate and accept that decisions about contact are not theirs to make.

Can courts do more to safeguard relationships between targeted parents and children?

One provision of many court orders, designed to safeguard children’s welfare, may have undesirable consequences. Parents are admonished to not speak negatively about each other to the children, not involve the children in parental conflicts, and not discuss the litigation with the children. The problem is that alienating parents, either intentionally or inadvertently, regularly violate this provision.

This places parents who are targets of badmouthing and smear campaigns in a bind. If they do not speak to their children and correct misinformation that persuades the children to see them in a bad light, they give their children no help to cope with the bad-mouthing, and may stand idly by as their relationship with their children gradually deteriorates.56 But if they do speak to their children, they risk being seen as criticizing the other parent, involving their children in the parents’ conflicts, or inappropriately exposing the children to litigation matters.

Lawyers and judges should recognize some limitations of court orders that attempt to regulate parent-child communications about the divorce. For example, parents should shield children from most adult-adult issues and not undermine the other parent’s relationship with the child—that is the true intent of such court orders. But a parent who is the target of bad-mouthing may need to defend his or her parent-child relationship by sensitively providing information to counter accusations the child hears from the other parent.

Even the most unambiguous and detailed orders will not help if they are not enforced. A parent who obstructs the children’s contact with the other parent may benefit from the status quo. In In re Miller and Todd, a New Hampshire court awarded custody to a mother who successfully interfered with the father child relationship.57 The court found that the mother alienated the children from their father, but reasoned that the children had spent the majority of their lives with her and that is where they felt most comfortable. This is typical for such cases. The absence of contact establishes a status quo that the court honors in order to spare the children drastic changes.

The New Hampshire Supreme Court vacated the award.58 It recognized that the father was denied contact with his children for more than two years, and that awarding custody to the mother because of the lack of father-child contacts rewards the mother for violating court orders.

The decision quoted the Vermont Supreme Court: Although obviously well intended, the court’s decision effectively condoned a parent’s willful alienation of a child from the other parent. Its ruling sends the unacceptable message that others might, with impunity, engage in similar misconduct.

Left undisturbed, the court’s decision would nullify the principle that the best interests of the child are furthered through a healthy and loving relationship with both parents.59 This reasoning gives voice to the most frequent complaint parents make regarding their custody litigation:

Repeated violations of orders go unpunished, with some parents making a mockery of the court’s authority.

Experts agree. Dr. Joan Kelly notes, “[A] significant number of these parents have come to believe . . . that noncompliance with court orders, whether for facilitating contact between the child and rejected parent or attending divorce education classes or therapy, brings no negative consequences.”60

Are some professionals encouraging misconduct and willfully causing psychological harm to children and safe parents?

In some cases a child runs away from the rejected parent’s home into the welcoming arms of a parent intent on driving a wedge between the child and the other parent. Law enforcement authorities can be effective in such situations by retrieving the children, giving them stern lectures, and returning them to the parent from whom they ran away. The police are more likely to do so if the court orders anticipate such an event and direct law enforcement personnel to enforce the parenting plan.

Unfortunately often the police dismiss such incidents as family matters that need to be settled in court and not by police intervention. A parent is less likely to harbor a runaway child if he or she expects swift sanction from the court for violating orders. Instead what often occurs is that the children remain out of touch with their rejected parent as the litigation slogs through a quicksand of legal maneuvering and failed psychotherapeutic attempts to remedy the problem.

Drawbacks of leaving children with the parent using alienating tactics:

Leaving the children with their favored (abusive parent who is manipulating the children and exploiting the court process) parent may be less stressful for some children in the short run, and may be a default option if the court determines that the rejected parent lacks the capacity to assume full-time care of the children. In terms of alleviating alienation, though, this option has significant drawbacks.

It is not recommended when the favored parent has a history of sabotaging treatment (e.g., repeatedly failing to bring children to appointments, or repeatedly terminating treatment until locating a therapist who supports the favored parent’s position in the litigation).

It is not recommended when the favored parent exposes the children to an emotionally toxic environment, such as intimidating the children into rejecting the other parent. The literature on domestic violence describes the manner in which efforts to turn children against a parent sometimes represent a continuation and extension of behaviors by the other parent intended to harass, control, and punish a former spouse or partner.66

Are many court professionals currently getting it wrong?

According to a consensus of studies, treatment of severely alienated children while they remain apart from the rejected parent and with the favored parent is more likely to fail than to succeed and it may make matters worse by further entrenching the child’s distorted perceptions of the rejected parent.67 This is true for all models of treatment of irrationally alienated children proposed in the literature. Extending unsuccessful treatment while the child remains with the favored parent carries the hazards of delaying, and in some cases preventing, the eventual delivery of effective help.

Custody evaluators and guardians ad litem often prefer this option because they believe it is less intrusive and requires less of an adjustment on the children’s part than removing the children from the primary care of the favored parent.

Typically, court orders for treatment under this option are open-ended with vague and non-specific treatment goals (e.g., to reunify the parent and child, or to improve the parent-child relationship).

This is the reality for most parents being pushed out of their children’s lives. Is this intentional?

If treatment fails (which is more likely than not with severely alienated children who have no contact with the rejected parent outside of therapy sessions), the rejected parent wants to return to court as soon as possible (assuming finances allow), while the favored parent delays the process as long as possible. When the case is back before the court, the judge is likely to order an updated evaluation by the original evaluator. The timing of the re-evaluation is subject to the evaluator’s schedule and is usually prolonged by the favored parent’s obstructive and delay tactics.

The longer the delay, the older the children, the more accustomed they become to living estranged from a parent, and the less likely the court will be to overturn the status quo.

Note: in going through this body of work, it seems that there is great incentive for an abusive parent to violate court orders and engage in mental cruelty by manipulating and coercing children as it is so easy to get away with causing harm this way.

To what degree will abusive parents manipulate and collude to avoid intervention?

Collusion to Discourage Interventions and Placement with the Rejected Parent:

When the favored parent worries that an evaluator, guardian ad litem, or the court are likely to hold the favored parent in large measure responsible for the children’s alienation, and may place the children primarily with the rejected parent, often the favored parent encourages the children to pretend that they have overcome their alienation. Cooperative and superficial polite behavior replaces the former avoidance and disrespect. After months and sometimes years of no contact and scornful rejection, the children begin to comply willingly with orders for contact.

In an attempt to obscure the fact that the children had ever been alienated, the favored parent and children rewrite history. In one case, after the court heard evidence about a child’s animosity toward his mother’s extended family, one boy falsely claimed that he had been having weekly phone contact with his maternal uncle. Through texts and emails requesting to meet, greeting cards signed with love, and surreptitious voice recordings, the children fulfill their assignment to create a record that the favored parent subsequently uses to argue in favor of maintaining the status quo. Toward the end of a trial, a teen contacted her mother after months of avoidance to ask to meet for dinner.

The mother was aware that the offer was a ruse. If she refused the invitation the father would claim that the mother was not doing her part toward reconciliation. If she accepted the invitation, the judge would hear that the mother-daughter relationship was on the mend and no additional intervention or custody modification was needed. After hearing the details of the children’s communications during the contact, I advised the mother to be aware that her daughter likely was recording the entire interaction. The mother replied, “Come to think of it, she left her cell phone in the center of the dining room table during the entire meal.”

It exposes the power that the favored parent has wielded all along to remedy the problem and underscores that parent’s role in fomenting, strengthening, and supporting the children’s suffering.

At the same time, it reveals a previously unseen malleability in the behavior of the favored parent and children when sufficiently motivated by the court’s authority.

The sham, intended to convince the court to take a hands-off approach, instead helps the evaluator and the court appreciate that the successful resolution of alienation requires the court’s firm expectations, oversight, and enforcement. When the children believe that, as far as the court is concerned, failure is not an option, they are more likely to engage meaningfully in efforts to repair the damaged relationship.

The fear of getting the favored parent in trouble with the court provides children with a face-saving excuse to “follow the rules” and return to a normal relationship with the other parent. The children then feel relieved to shed the burden of having to disrespect one parent for fear of disappointing the other.

Can the court or professionals expect the abusive parent to do right by the children and other parent after winning?

The parent with whom the children are aligned has carried on a lengthy campaign to support the status quo of no contact between the children and their other parent. It is unlikely that the aligned parent will be inclined to relinquish the campaign in the immediate aftermath of the court’s decision.

Tips for Lawyers Representing a Parent Who is Alienating the Children – page 67.

1. If your clients are aware that they are undermining their children’s relationships with their other parent, impress upon them the damage this is likely to cause the children in the near-term and in the future.

4. Ensure that your clients understand the possible legal consequences for interference with custodial contact and for violating court orders.

The Targeted Family Usually Does Not Recover, but Faith Remains

Despite weathering cruel treatment and untempered hatred that would drive most people away, many rejected parents maintain a steadfast commitment to their children’s welfare and invest considerable resources trying to restore positive relationships. Very often the tragedy extends to an entire half of the children’s family who remain astounded and deeply hurt at the formerly loving children’s complete estrangement.

Challenge to the Legal Community and to Healthcare Professionals

The outcome of cases with severely alienated children spells the difference between elated parents who recapture their identities as parents versus bereft parents who mourn the loss of their children and whose children grow up with parents who may be perpetrators of emotional abuse, who force them to make a child’s version of Sophie’s Choice, and fail to honor their right to love and be loved by two parents.

If they don’t find their way back to their rejected parents when these children grow up and have their own children, the next generation is deprived of a legacy.

Helping these families is challenging and a heavy responsibility.

It is not often that legal and mental health professionals get the chance to alter the course of generations.

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Pedestal or Pit? The extremes of narcissistic parents

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Children of narcissists often experience extremes in the behaviour of the narcissist both towards themselves and others.  In fact there is often confusion over the diagnosis of bi-polar and narcissism due to the manic behaviours associated with both (Federman 2013).

 

These extremes can be experienced by the same child within the same hour, leaving children of narcissists extremely confused and insecurely attached (which we will look at later).

 

Children often find that they are either the Golden Child or the Scapegoat.  So let’s look in more detail about what these terms mean.

 

Golden Child

 

On the surface the child appears to be able to do no wrong.  They are the perfect child of the perfect parent (the narcissists twisted view of their reality).  They parade them around like a trophy.  Initially this may sound like positive parenting, being supportive and encouraging, but when you look a little deeper, you start to see the unrealistic and unhealthy parenting traits.

 

The narcissist will push the child to be the best.  They will coach them tirelessly.  Whatever skill the child has will be utilised to the extreme.  If they are academic, they may push them to read endless books, one after the other, until the child cries for a break and even then it will be “don’t you want to be the best?”.  If they are athletic, they will be up at the crack of dawn doing a punishing training schedule.  Again, whilst you may be reading this and thinking “that’s how champion’s are made” let’s look at the impact on the child in this situation.

 

The child may enjoy reading or running but they may also enjoy sitting eating pizza with their friends.  But the narcissist won’t allow that.  The narcissist is focused on ensuring the child becomes the best.  Because to them, that will mean that THEY are the best.  Narcissistic parents can see their children as extensions of themselves.  When their child gets praise, they believe it is them who is being shown adoration.  Every success is THEIR success.  And the narcissistic parent is desperate for people to see how clever/beautiful/skillful/powerful and ultimately BETTER they are.  And their children are the fast track to that.

 

So the child is placed on the pedestal (with the narcissist parent closely by their side) for all to worship.

 

But what about the child who isn’t naturally gifted?  How do they fit in?

 

Scapegoat

 

This child is the epitome of all that is wrong within the narcissist.  The narcissistic parent will seemingly hate this child because they also see them as an extension of themselves.  But the parts the narcissist doesn’t want anyone else to see.  The child can do no right.  Everything is their fault.  Think Cinderella’s evil step mom but on steroids!

 

To the narcissistic parent, the scapegoat is their true self.  The parts of themselves they detest.  When they look at this child it is like looking in the mirror.  They see all their own failings in this child and can’t help but point them all out.  When they criticise the scapegoat, they are in fact criticising themselves.

 

I think it is important to point out at this point that gender is not an issue here.  Golden child or scapegoat can be either son or daughter.  Extensions of self are not about physical appearance (although any compliments paid to the child – “he/she is really cute”- will be absorbed by the narcissist).  They are extensions of their soul, their inner self, their subconscious.

 

Also, a child can be BOTH golden child and scapegoat and often within the same day.  One minute they can be on the pedestal, the next they are languishing in the pit of despair as they have caused narcissistic injury to their parent (although they may not know why).  The narcissistic parent has a very fragile sense of self, fleeting between self love and self hate with great intensity.  And the more stressed the parent, the more intense, extreme and regular those fluctuations occur.  This can be very confusing for a child who is never quite sure whether they are loved or loathed.

 

Impact on attachment and personality development

 

Our attachment style is a direct indication of how we were parented and so this element in the narcissist’s psychology is two fold when they become parents.

 

Firstly, they are usually unable to form secure attachments to their children because of their own internal battle between love and hate.  A child, who they co-created and is therefore part of them, represents the physical embodiment of all the parents’ hopes and fears (this is normal and natural).  To a narcissist, they see themselves in this little person and often feel terrified.  Terrified that they will turn out just like them.  So they may pull away.  Leaving the child feeling rejected and unsafe with the narcissistic parent who in turn will pull away leaving the parent feeling rejected and insecure.

 

For a child to develop a secure attachment, they need to have faith in their parent that they will be there for them when they cry, feed them and keep them safe (Bowlby 1969) but a narcissistic parent lacks empathy (the ability to read other people’s emotions) and so would not be able to respond naturally and instinctively to a baby’s needs.  This can lead to anger from both child and parent as they are “out of sync” and can cause long term damage to the attachment as they become detached from one another and eventually avoidant (Ainsworth 1970).

 

Added to that, a narcissist has an idealised view of love and has to be centre of attention.  A baby can take the other parent’s attention away from the narcissist which destroys their sense of importance.  They quickly become jealous of the child and “punish” both parent and child by withdrawing even further and reinforcing the avoidant attachment.

 

As the child grows up and may begin displaying some talents which the narcissistic parent feels they can use, the narcissist may try to get involved again.  The child, who has always craved the attention of the narcissistic parent, relishes this new interest and will “perform” as requested to ensure they remain involved (conditioning).  But as discussed above, the narcissist parent will prone to “push-pull” parenting and therefore the child is left feeling confused, rejected and often angry.  They struggle to trust and can self loath.  Thus repeating the cycle within their own adult relationships.

 

What can you do if you are a child of a narcissistic parent?

 

The most important thing you can do is to practice self love.  Work on your self esteem and change how you view yourself.

According to Bowlby (1969), early attachments act as a prototype for future relationships via the internal working model.

There are three main features of the internal working model: (1) a model of others as being trustworthy, (2) a model of the self as valuable, and (3) a model of the self as effective when interacting with others.

Start working on these three elements by surrounding yourself with trustworthy people, identify your value to others and society, and recognise the quality relationships which you have with those around you.  Daily affirmations to confirm these beliefs can help to re programme your internal working model and therefore improve your future relationships.

 

If you are struggling with dealing with a narcissist and would like some support please do get in touch:

 

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/thenurturingcoach/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/sasquires3006

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/thenurturingcoach/

Email:  enquires@thenurturingcoach.co.uk

YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZPt2njTcKTmJWAyBsfZcDA?

 

References

 

Ainsworth, M. D. S., & Bell, S. M. (1970). Attachment, exploration, and separation: Illustrated by the behavior of one-year-olds in a strange situation. Child Development, 41, 49-67.

Bowlby, J. (1969). Attachment. Attachment and loss: Vol. 1. Loss. New York: Basic Books.

Federman, R (2013) https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/bipolar-you/201310/the-relationship-between-narcissism-and-bipolar-disorder

 



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