Indefinite child support in Texas 

Raising children is a difficult task. It isn’t time-dependent, and it certainly doesn’t stop at 18 years of age. Most child support orders remain in place until the child turns 18 years old or graduates high school, whichever comes later.

For parents of children with severe disabilities, that disclaimer may send panic through your heart. You know that your child will require special care all of his or her life, and you need a plan to provide that care. Fortunately, in Texas, that need is recognized.

On-going support for children with disabilities

Under the Texas Family Code, support for a child with disabilities can be ordered for an indefinite term. Suppose your child has a disability that does or will require special care or supervision, either due to physical or cognitive disability. In that case, child support may fall under this code.

Children with disabilities require extra care and supervision if they can’t provide those things for themselves. Parenting a child with a disability may also require that you:

  • Find employment hours that line up with school hours.
  • Take frequent time off for therapies or other services.
  • Make regular visits to get specialized care.
  • Pay for childcare their entire lives.

If your child has a lifelong disability, these extra tasks and monetary requirements may not stop when the child reaches 18.

Getting indefinite child support

Going through a divorce and facing the prospect of becoming a single parent is hard enough in typical circumstances. If you’re going through a divorce and are the parent of a child with a disability, make sure you fully understand your legal options.

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Divorcing a Narcissist: Keep Your Expectations Low!

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As long as you are in any type of relationship with a narcissist, you can bet the only person who will benefit from that relationship is the narcissist.

 

I’ve been accused, in the past, of being “disloyal” to my ex-husband when I write about my experiences with him either during the marriage or since the divorce. What some fail to realize is that when you experience divorcing a narcissist, feelings of support and allegiance toward that person are hard to come by, if not impossible.

Any loyalty I owed my ex flew out the window the day he walked away from his family. I have no sense of loyalty toward a person who left me in a truly untenable position with two children to care for and no concern for how his conduct impacted his children or me, their mother. Plus, why would anyone who takes a scorched-earth attitude toward those who loved him think he has the right to claim the protection of confidentiality?

I have to admit, though that it took time for me to realize that I owed my ex-husband NOTHING and that I had more power in our situation than he did.

I spent a couple of years capitulating, attempting to negotiate and fix the problems between us, believing that if I gave respect, I would eventually receive respect. I did what a lot of women who are dealing with the aftermath of divorcing a narcissist. I rolled over and over and over, playing nice doggy, hoping that one day he would rub my belly, begin to co-parent civilly, and we could put all the conflict behind us. You know, for the sake of our children.

What Does Rolling Over Get You?

You get nothing from all the effort you put into being civil with the narcissist. As long as you are in any type of relationship with a narcissist, you can bet the only person who will benefit from that relationship is the narcissist.

A narcissist has an inflated sense of his own importance. In his mind, you are supposed to roll over and often. You rolling over or giving in only cements his belief that he is all important and his needs must be catered to. And his belief that you are to cater to him only gets you more of the same emotional abuse you suffered in the marriage.

You roll over expecting a positive return on your emotional investment in your post-divorce relationship with the narcissist. A sensible expectation to have! He has his own expectations…you do as he feels you should do. Take it from me; his expectations will be met before yours if you continue to roll over.

Things You Should Not Expect When Divorcing a Narcissist:

1. Civil discourse.

He doesn’t have it in him, let go of expecting him to converse with you as if you are an equal. To feel good about himself, he has to treat you as if you are beneath him. Don’t buy into it!

Behind his mask of superiority lies a fragile self-esteem, vulnerable to the slightest criticism. He knows it, you know it but humbling himself and admitting it would be tantamount to emotional destruction for him. Take it from me; he will attempt to destroy you emotionally to keep from having to face his own emotional frailties.

He can’t feel good about himself unless he actively tries to make you feel bad about yourself. Every email you receive, every conversation you have will be him focusing on putting you down. Your best defense against his degradation is a “whatever” attitude. If he is nasty in an email, don’t respond. If he is disrespectful face to face, shrug your shoulders and walk away.

2. Healthy Co-Parenting.

This isn’t going to happen. The narcissist can’t separate his relationship with his children from his relationship with you. In his mind, you and the children are one package. And he has no qualms about using his children to further destroy you emotionally and financially.

The narcissist views his children as objects to be used to further his own agenda. This makes it impossible for him to engage in healthy co-parenting. He is a fine father if those objects (his children) fit into his agenda or reflect positively upon him. When those objects no longer fit into his agenda…when he moves onto another relationship, remarries, and needs to focus on his step-children or suffers the wrath of his own children after mistreatment, WATCH OUT. This is when your children will begin to feel the full force of his narcissistic abuse.

This is also when you have to put your guard up. It will be your place to guard your children’s hearts against the damage a narcissistic father can do. You are the healthy parent, the parent who will teach them what unconditional love is. The parent who will teach them their value by role modeling how to respond to those who do them emotional harm. The parent who will keep them from becoming adults with fragile self-esteem and emotional vulnerabilities. You are your children’s only defense against the narcissist. On Guard!

3. Concern for Your Well-Being.

Once you stop feeding the narcissist’s ego, your needs and the needs of his children become inconsequential to him. I’ve been divorced from my ex-husband for 14 years. Our sons were 7 and 14 when we divorced. Their father has not once shown concern for whether or not they have what they need since we divorced. No phone calls or emails asking, “Can I do anything for you, son,” or, “I’m here for you if you need me, son.”

I had custody of our children, due to this, in his mind, they were an extension of me, the woman he wanted to be destroyed. They became collateral damage in the war he waged against me.

Our youngest is now 21 and experiencing health problems. The other day I called my ex and left him a message…”Alan needs you, can you call?” I got no response. I expected no response, but the opportunity came up for him to do something for his child and the choice of whether to take that opportunity was his to make. He did as I expected, but by reaching out, I took away any ability he had to blame his children or me for the distance between him and his children.

My ex-husband’s refusal to respond when his child was in need is an example of the total lack of empathy that is characteristic in narcissistic personality disorder. I’m sure that if you asked, my ex-husband would tell you he has, over the years, attempted to have a relationship with his children.

My children would tell you that the total of ten years of no contact from him does not feel like an attempt by him to have a relationship with them. The narcissist doesn’t care about how someone else perceives a situation. Their perception of the situation is the only perception that is valid. They don’t care about the thoughts and feelings of others and are unable to listen to, validate, understand or support others.

My ex-husband and all narcissists are not capable of stepping outside themselves and seeing a situation from the other person’s perspective. The world revolves around them and their feelings, and due to that, others aren’t allowed to feel, unless of course, they are expressing concern for the narcissist’s feelings.

The narcissist, my ex-husband, for example, can’t view ten years of no contact with a child as abandonment or abuse because those ten years are not about his children, they are about him. And I’m certain that a narcissist would find it highly offensive that a child would not express concern for the narcissist rather than expect a show of concern from the narcissist.

Outfoxing the Narcissist:

You will never be as cunning as the narcissist. You can’t outfox him. You may be crafty, clever, and shrewd, but you also have the ability to empathize with others, and it is that pesky aspect of your personality that will keep you from ever being able to outsmart the narcissist if you engage in conflict with him.

The only way to get one over on the narcissist during divorce is to disengage, distance yourself, and don’t feed the tiger. As I said before, have no expectations of the narcissist. But the big one, the one I struggled with myself, was the need to do something, to find a solution, to fix the problems between him and me for the sake of our children.

Few things are as emotionally painful or produce as much fear and anxiety as being in a high-conflict relationship with a narcissist. It is the emotional pain, fear, and anxiety that spurs you into action, attempting to fix the situation. After all, how are you ever going to have peace of mind and heart again if the situation isn’t fixed?

No matter how much you try to fix him, outsmart him, or stay one step ahead of him, the narcissist will always trump, one-up, escalate and create more damage in response. To stop the continued emotional damage to yourself and your children, you have to exit the stage, step out of the ring and take back your power by letting go of your need to fix the problem.

When you do that, you show the narcissist who is in control of YOUR life. You show the narcissist that no one has power over how you live your life, and the narcissist is completely out of his league when faced with true power…especially YOUR power over his ability to cause you pain, fear, and anxiety.

FAQs About Divorcing A Narcissist:

Should I give in to a narcissist to save my marriage?

You will only end up reinforcing his beliefs that he is superior to you and his needs come first if you give in to a narcissist in an attempt to save your marriage. A narcissist will never stop emotionally abusing you no matter how submissive you become.

Can I have a decent conversation with a narcissist?

You can never have a decent conversation with a narcissist because he doesn’t treat you as an equal partner. He will keep on debasing you and make you feel insufficient so he can manipulate you to satisfy his narcissistic needs.

Do narcissists believe they are superior to those around them?

The very existence of a narcissist rests upon his need to feel superior to others. He cannot take slightest of criticism because it hurts his fragile self-esteem—masked under his false sense of superiority. He will gaslight you, manipulate you emotionally just to keep himself from facing his own emotional frailties.

How to deal with a narcissist when he is disrespectful?

Walk away without falling for an argument when a narcissist shows disrespect. Narcissists show disrespect deliberately to draw you in an argument you can’t win. They feed on your frustration and will not leave any stone unturned to make you feel miserable. Don’t respond to his nasty remarks either in writing or face to face.

Do narcissistic men use their children against their spouses? 

Narcissists are known to use children as pawns against their spouses. They consider you and your children as one package and will not spare any opportunity to draw them in a conflict to harm you emotionally or financially. 

Are narcissists healthy co-parents? 

Narcissists can never become healthy co-parents because of their need to feel superior and manipulate everyone around them. A narcissist is a father as long as he can use children to his own advantage—either to feel good or make you feel bad.

Should I take steps to protect my children from their narcissistic father?

You have to protect your children from their narcissistic father, who will eventually damage their emotional health. You need to understand the challenge and teach your children the virtues of unconditional love, besides protecting them against developing a fragile self-esteem and emotional vulnerabilities.

When does a narcissist stop taking care of his family?

As soon as you stop feeding his narcissistic ego, a narcissist will stop caring for his family. A family is more like a business relationship for a narcissist, which ends when you put an end to manipulation. 

Do narcissists ever see a situation from others perspective?

Narcissists are not brought up to see the situation from others perspective. A narcissist will cease to exist if he cares for others because his only purpose in life is to manipulate those around him.

How do I outsmart a narcissist?

Don’t try to outsmart a narcissist because you did not grow up perfecting the art of manipulation. You are brought up as a normal human being and carry emotions like empathy and love. These aspects of your personality will put you at a disadvantage if you try to outsmart a narcissist.

How to deal with a narcissistic husband during divorce?

Keep your emotional health in check and remain consistent in maintaining a policy of disengagement and distance with your narcissistic husband during divorce. 

The post Divorcing a Narcissist: Keep Your Expectations Low! appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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CoParenting: It Doesn’t Have To Be Difficult!

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Co-parenting is a modern term in the divorce world. When my parents walked out of the divorce court, they never communicated with each other ever again, and certainly not about me. Co-parenting implies cooperation and dialogue. The former spouses are no longer marriage partners but are so in raising their children.

Society today may be more complex with so many choices, or parents like mine did not consider the need to discuss children with each other post-divorce. Custody is usually joint, which means both parents have the right to decide what schools and activities their children will attend.

Cooperative Parenting Tips For Success:

There are ways to make co-parenting easier for the parents and more effective for the kids. Consider having a regularly scheduled meeting, perhaps monthly, to discuss issues or activities of the kids. Have an agenda, just as you would for a conference at work.

If one parent veers off course into blame or other toxic areas, calmly steer them back to the discussed topic, “We were talking about Jane’s wish to change schools….”  Keep emotion out of the discussion and treat the other parent as you would an excitable co-worker. These meetings do not have to be in person if it is difficult to be in their presence. Using Skype or the phone is fine, even if they only live a few streets away.

Co-parenting is easier when both are on the same page and do not feel left out of anything. There are various online calendars and apps which let each parent view and add activities or events in the youngsters’ lives. It is easy to put dance recitals, sports tournaments, and school concerts into a schedule. This way one parent cannot blame the other one for not notifying them of something. Remember to keep grandparents up-to-date on the kids’ events so they can attend.

Some parents have a notebook that goes back and forth between homes, which is particularly helpful with young children. This is good when a child has asthma or a food allergy so both know when an inhaler or Epi-pen was administered. This also is useful for medical conditions like seizures.  If there are incidents at school or other information that needs to be relayed, the notebook is another method of communication.

An important part of co-parenting is setting up consistent rules, routines, and consequences in both homes.  Kids require constancy in their topsy-turvy world. Going to bed and eating meals at vastly different times is like having chronic jet lag. They feel more secure with a routine, which is better for their well-being. This also avoids pitting one parent against the other one. No, “Dad lets me go to bed at 11, or Mom lets me watch TV all day.” Kids realize that their parents are on the same team and are less likely to try and get away with things when rules are consistent.

Work together when dividing up holidays. Some parents have the kids for part of the day, and others trade holidays on alternate years. There may be new step-siblings to work a holiday schedule around who also have to share them with another parent. Some co-parents have a get-together with new partners and grandparents and do okay in each other’s company. See what works out best in your situation.

The don’ts of co-parenting can mostly be avoided when thinking of what is in the children’s best interest. Yes, it is hard to put one’s ego aside or not to take part in a revenge fantasy. Getting back at an ex through the children is not healthy and can backfire. One father took his sons to a show during the divorce that he knew his wife would get angry about. The boys were upset seeing an adult-themed play with scantily clad women, and they told the interim psychologist, who put a stop to this behavior. Later they discussed this and more with the Custody Evaluator. The mother ended up with physical custody, and the father was not granted any overnights with visitation.

If co-parenting is difficult, consider having a third party handle all communication between you. One woman had her friend edit out any mean comments from her ex-husband’s e-mails and then send to her. Others have used a mediator or another professional to care for all messages and communication between co-parents. There is even an online company that does this too. Co-parenting is a learning process and generally gets easier as time goes by.

The post CoParenting: It Doesn’t Have To Be Difficult! appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Raising A Daughter With High Self-Esteem Post-Divorce

daughter's self-esteem: smiling mother and teen daughter lying in the grass

 

I’ve written extensively about daughters of divorce, the father – daughter bond, mothers and daughters, and divorce adjustment. When it comes to divorce, there’s no shortage of topics to write about. But what came to me recently is that fostering a daughter’s self-esteem after divorce is a top priority. In a culture where girls are barraged with inappropriate images of what it means to be a female, it’s no wonder that bringing up girls with a healthy dose of self-esteem can be a daunting task.

A child’s self-esteem is based on their belief system. According to Leah Davies, M.Ed., self-esteem is a blend of the way a child feels about themselves and the way they believe others see them. A child’s view of self influences their perception of what they can do, how to get along with peers, and coping with problems.

Keep in mind, children don’t acquire self-esteem all at once and it fluctuates. They may see themselves positively in one domain, for instance, but negatively in others. Some daughters may feel confident in school, for instance, but lack confidence in relationships. Most of the over 300 young women I interviewed for my book, Daughters of Divorce, reported more confidence in school and work than in interpersonal relationships.

There is consensus in the research literature that children of divorce are at increased risk for psychological, social, and academic problems compared to their counterparts raised in intact homes. When compared to sons, daughters of divorce may be more sensitive to disruption in a family. A recent British study reported that a quarter of young girls with absent fathers grow into depressed teenagers if their father leaves before they are five years old and that boys cope better with parental separation.

My research showed an association between low self-esteem and lack of access to both parents after divorce for daughters but not sons. Parental conflict – before and after divorce – was also associated with low-self-esteem in females but not males. However, it’s important to recognize that this association is moderate and can be mediated by many resources. Keep in mind that access to both parents, low-conflict in the family, and supportive parenting after divorce greatly reduced a daughter’s risks for low-self-esteem in my study.

Perhaps one of the most important factors in the development of self-esteem is the way a child sees their parents interact with one another. By and large, when two people divorce, they haven’t been treating each other very well for a while. Without a healthy model to follow, a daughter may not know how it feels to forge a relationship based on kindness, mutual trust, and love. After all, our relationships, and the responses we receive from others, help to create our self-esteem.

While divorce can be problematic for all children, it poses unique challenges for girls. When her family is broken, she may feel broken. Most studies report that girls tend to adjust better than boys immediately following divorce. However, several experts, such as Judith Wallerstein, have written about a “Sleeper Effect” – a delayed reaction which can trigger negative emotions and wounded trust during adolescence and early adult years. As they venture out on their own and make decisions about love and commitment, daughters of divorce may feel pessimistic about love and become preoccupied with fear their relationships will not succeed.

As a parent, it’s crucial to recognize that intimate relationships may be hard for your daughter if she didn’t have a template of a healthy, intact marriage to follow. On the other hand, E.M. Hetherington, a leading authority on divorce who studied 1,400 divorced and remarried families, found that a successful remarriage, competent parenting, and low-conflict in the home can counteract some of the negative effects of parental divorce. Consequently, it’s important to model healthy communication and to promote your daughter’s bond with both parents – as well as stepparents if you remarry.

The father-daughter connection is a key element of a girl’s self-esteem. A daughter’s relationship with her father can help her grow into adulthood with confidence in her ability to love and be loved. Author Meg Meeker, MD, writes “It’s important for every good father to know the impact of divorce on his daughter. Only then can he help her.” After all, a daughter’s relationship with her father is the first one that teaches her how she should be treated by a man.

Mothers are not off the hook when it comes to helping their daughters establish a separate identity and healthy self-esteem. In my article The Best Gifts A Mother Can Give Her DaughterAfter Divorce I write: “Lastly, accepting that your daughter is different from you and has her own personality, interests, and choices will help you to stay back while she learns from her mistakes. You can’t live through her or save her from the pain that comes from growing into womanhood – but you can delight in her joys.” Two of the best gifts a mother can give her daughter are the opportunity to have a strong bond with her father and encouraging her to be independent.

Here are 7 ways to help you foster your daughter’s self-esteem:

  • Create a safe atmosphere for her to discuss her feelings – be sure to validate them.
  • Don’t bad mouth your ex-spouse as this will only promote loyalty conflicts and made it more difficult for her to feel good about herself.
  • Help her to find enjoyable activities and healthy outlets that will encourage her to build self-worth. Praise your daughter for her efforts rather than her performance.
  • Attempt to help your daughter repair any father-daughter wounds. A father’s effect on his daughter’s psychological well-being and identity is far-reaching. A girl stands a better chance of becoming a self-confident woman is she has a close bond with her father.
  • Don’t raise her to be a “pleaser. Encourage her to stand up for what she wants. Create opportunities for her to express her opinions and make decisions – honor her choices.
  • Direct your praise away from her appearance and comment on her talents and strengths. You can model body acceptance by not focusing too much on your weight, diet, or appearance.
  • Don’t let cynicism, sadness, or anger get in the way of your daughter’s future. If you have negative views of relationships don’t pass them to her.

A girl’s desire for authentic connection is strong and parental divorce can impact her view of herself. On the whole, girls crave stability and harmony in their home and they may feel their parents’ divorce is due to their own defect. Consequently, it’s important to model healthy communication and to promote your daughter’s bond with both parents. You can have tremendous influence — both by what you say and do. Promote your daughter’s self-esteem by modeling optimism and hope for her future.

More From Terry

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

The post Raising A Daughter With High Self-Esteem Post-Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.



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The Narcissists Pathological Relationship Agenda

You think you have found the love of your life….. but they turned out to be your BIGGEST mistake!

The Narcissists Pathological Relationship Agenda (NPRA) is a pattern of behaviour which is evident is the majority of their relationships, including the one with their children.  Once you identify this pattern, you can superimpose it on every single relationship the narcissist has ever been in and make predictions about future relationships and how to protect your children.

Let’s unpack some of the elements of the NPRA.

 

Agenda

 

This relates to something the narcissist considers important and wants to achieve or solve.  In relationship terms this is primarily an unmet need from childhood, an dysfunctional schema or generational trauma.

 

Pathological

 

The behaviours which a narcissist cannot control due to their pathology such as projection or narcissistic rage.  The behaviours are a maladaptive efforts to self regulate. 

 

Relationship

 

Narcissists are by nature interpersonally exploitative and this manifests from the disorganised attachment style which has taught them that people cannot be trusted to meet their needs and so they need to use others by whatever means necessary to get their needs met.  It is why there is a push/pull dynamic to these relationships.  Narcissists desperately shift and change tactics in an attempt to meet their unmet needs, creating confusion for the partner who finds their their efforts, which previously had been wanted and welcomed, are suddenly cause for anger and criticism.  They want someone else to meet their unmet need but don’t trust them to and so will often have a “back up plan” or take control in order to try to force you to meet their need.

stage development

Unmet Needs

We all have unmet needs from childhood.  Many psychologists believe our unmet needs are our purpose, our own unique pathway to healing.  Unfortunately for narcissists, their disorganised attachment means they are unable to go within to meet those needs and instead seek external resources.

  

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs shows the levels of needs all human beings have met and unmet, depending upon our experience.  For narcissists, their unmet needs are usually psychological needs and although their attempts to meet those needs might appear more sophisticated, at their core they often come down to being about belongingness (an aspect of attachment) and love.

Dysfunctional Schema

 

Schemas relate to the basic emotional needs of a child and are broad, pervasive themes regarding oneself and one’s relationship with others.  When these emotional needs are unmet, dysfunctional schemas can develop. The 18 schemes are:

 

Emotional Deprivation:
The belief and expectation that your primary needs will never be met. The sense that no one will nurture, care for, guide, protect or empathize with you.

Abandonment:
The belief and expectation that others will leave, that others are unreliable, that relationships are fragile, that loss is inevitable, and that you will ultimately wind up alone.

Mistrust/Abuse:
The belief that others are abusive, manipulative, selfish, or looking to hurt or use you. Others are not to be trusted.

Defectiveness:
The belief that you are flawed, damaged or unlovable, and you will thereby be rejected.

Social Isolation: The pervasive sense of aloneness, coupled with a feeling of alienation.

Vulnerability:
The sense that the world is a dangerous place, that disaster can happen at any time, and that you will be overwhelmed by the challenges that lie ahead.

Dependence/Incompetence:
The belief that you are unable to effectively make your own decisions, that your judgment is questionable, and that you need to rely on others to help get you through day-to-day responsibilities.

Enmeshment/Undeveloped Self:
The sense that you do not have an identity or “individuated self” that is separate from one or more significant others.

Failure:
The expectation that you will fail, or belief that you cannot perform well enough.

Subjugation:
The belief that you must submit to the control of others, or else punishment or rejection will be forthcoming.

Self-Sacrifice:
The belief that you should voluntarily give up of your own needs for the sake of others, usually to a point which is excessive.

Approval-Seeking/Recognition-Seeking:
The sense that approval, attention and recognition are far more important than genuine self-expression and being true to oneself.

Emotional Inhibition:
The belief that you must control your self-expression or others will reject or criticize you.

Negativity/Pessimism:
The pervasive belief that the negative aspects of life outweigh the positive, along with negative expectations for the future.

Unrelenting Standards:
The belief that you need to be the best, always striving for perfection or to avoid mistakes.

Punitiveness:
The belief that people should be harshly punished for their mistakes or shortcomings.

Entitlement/Grandiosity:
The sense that you are special or more important than others, and that you do not have to follow the rules like other people even though it may have a negative effect on others. Also can manifest in an exaggerated focus on superiority for the purpose of having power or control.

Insufficient Self-Control/Self-Discipline:
The sense that you cannot accomplish your goals, especially if the process contains boring, repetitive, or frustrating aspects. Also, that you cannot resist acting upon impulses that lead to detrimental results.

Generational Trauma

 

Trauma can be passed down from generation to generation in our cells, our beliefs, our behaviours and our culture.  The symptoms of generational trauma may include hypervigilance, a sense of a shortened future, mistrust, aloofness, high anxiety, depression, panic attacks, nightmares, insomnia, a sensitive fight or flight response, and issues with self-esteem and self-confidence.

Self-Regulation

 

When a child grows up with a parent who isn’t able to self-regulate, it can result in a disorganised attachment because a secure attachment is formed through consistent co-regulation with the caregiver, which leads to the child being able to self-regulate.  

 

Narcissists are unable to self regulate due to the breakdown of this system in childhood and so seeks out others to regulate for them (not co-regulation).  Their partner (and even children) become “regulatory objects” to them, a thermostat by which the partner regulates their own emotions in order to regulate the narcissists emotions.

NPRA

 

Now let’s piece all this together to create the NPRA so that you can predict future behaviours. 

 

I will state at this point though that most narcissists have one or two dominant NPRA’s but multiple agendas will appear at times of extreme stress.

 

Common NPRA include sex, money, success, admiration. The key to knowing if it is unmet is that despite appearing to have what they claim to want, it will never be enough and will remain unmet and so narcissist pathologically pursues it (affairs, stealing/fraud, taking the credit for others success, centre of attention).

 

Inconsistencies include demands faithfulness but cheats, spends money on self but is extremely frugal with others.

 

Clues to NPRA are their career choice, sexual history, attitude to money, need for attention.

 

Example 

 

Job is police officer (thinks can heal generational trauma of not being protected by protecting others, fits their schema of punitiveness and vulnerability, and meet their unmet need of safety).

 

Pathological behaviours can include:

 

  • neglecting safety of family in pursuit of recognition of protection of others
  • attempting to control every aspect of their environment (including people in it) to feel safe

 

NPRA is to create a false sense of safety but in reality they are unable to meet this need and so keep repeating the same unsafe patterns, refusing to show any vulnerability and seeing it as a weakness in others, and punishing others who do not make them feel safe or who express not feeling safe with them.

 

Example

 

Sexual history is promiscuity and failed relationships (unmet need for love and to belong, dysfunctional schema of enmeshment and abandonment, generational trauma of grandparent’s affairs).

 

Pathological behaviours include:

 

  • unsafe/risky sex
  • cycling through relationships quickly
  • affairs
  • uses sex to “make up” after arguments, to reward good behaviour or punish “bad” behaviour by withholding 

 

NPRA is to force “love” through sex.  They will measure the quality of a relationship by the frequency, nature and quality of the sex, creating an environment where consent becomes coerced because you know the consequences for not agreeing.

 

Predicting Future Behaviour

 

If you have just started dating someone and you have concerns, narcissists will reveal their agenda early on in the relationships as they will talk a lot about it and derive great pleasure from it or become angry/jealous about it.  They will also tell you in how they describe their previous relationships including the one with their family, particularly parents.  Listen and watch!

 

If you are in a relationship with someone who you suspect might be narcissistic please know that it is not your job to save them.  If they keep repeating the same behaviour and refuse to change, know that this is their NPRA and unless you can surrender to “groundhog day” existence of the same issues coming up again and again, GET OUT!

 

If you are co-parenting with a narcissist, identify the NPRA and in particular the underlying unmet needs, dysfunctional schemas and generational trauma, and help your child to build emotional security and resilience in these areas so they won’t be as susceptible to the pathological behaviours.  To protect them in the long term, heal your own attachment wounds and recognise when you are dysregulated and have the tools to regulate yourself.  This will create an environment where you can co-regulate with your child, leading them to be able to self-regulate which reduces the risk of them becoming a “regulatory object”.  We offer numerous treatment options for PTSD (which inhibits your to self regulate) as well as the Circle of Security Parenting Course, which is attachment based.

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Black couple upset with each other

What You Say Matters, Especially During Divorce

Black couple upset with each other

 

Does this sound familiar? You have every good intention of having a civil conversation with your ex, but then something triggers you, and just like that, you’re in an ugly back-and-forth you wish you could undo, accompanied by a nasty “I know better” pit in your stomach.

Unfortunately, those heated exchanges can harm your divorce process, especially if they happen often.

Here are five of the main reasons why it’s so important to communicate well during divorce, as well as some tips on how to get there.

Here’s why what you say matters:

Divorce requires compromise and negotiation.

Clear, reasonable dialogue helps your team advocate effectively on your behalf, which usually translates to you getting more of what you want. Respectful negotiations also keep the process moving forward, which is good for your wallet and your heart.

Everything costs less.

When you show up at your lawyer’s office with a summary of the situation, key points highlighted, tentative goals identified, and a prepared list of questions, you are efficiently using your time and theirs. You hired your attorney for their legal expertise. Maximize their knowledge by being as prepared as possible.

Your children benefit.

Children suffer when their parents disparage each other, fight in front of them and share too much. Clear messages of love and support, healthy boundaries and active listening will improve how your kids adjust to their new situation.

You benefit!

By focusing on efforts to tap into your best self, the person you really want to be when you look back on this time, you aren’t dwelling on the negative traits of your spouse (and you can’t control those, anyway!). Spend time creating a mission statement for your divorce, identifying your goals, and creating messages for children, friends, and family. Doing this work upfront will remind you of your priorities and help you focus on them when you’re stressed.

You set the foundation for healing and healthy co-parenting.

When communications during the divorce process are handled well, you increase the opportunity for long-term, healthy co-parenting. Sometimes your inner strength and resilience can be hard to access, but choosing the high road becomes easier each time, especially once you see the benefits.

Wondering how to do all this when you’re stressed, overwhelmed, and anxious? Try the following:

Focus forward.

Create a personal and a divorce mission statement. There are thousands of templates out there, but this one from best-selling author Andy Andrews is my go-to. Going through the process of writing your personal mission statement will remind you of the things you love, what inspires you, and your goals for the future. It can be a touchstone, aspirational, and grounding all at once. Importantly, it can also be updated as desired. You can even create a mission statement specifically for your divorce as another way to stay focused on the big picture.

Remove yourself.

Sit quietly and take some deep breaths. Close your eyes, put your phone elsewhere and just breathe. Envision yourself somewhere peaceful: by the ocean, on a hike or anywhere that calms you, and sit still for even five minutes. Giving yourself the benefit of those five minutes can often impact your entire demeanor and give you a new, more generous perspective.

Create a mantra.

I like to say the serenity prayer when I am overwhelmed. A client of mine calls herself “The Comeback Girl” and evokes it when she’s stressed. Use whatever motivates you to push through a difficult moment.

Any challenging situation is an opportunity to decide how we want to show up.

Ask yourself: Is this communication a demonstration of my best self? What is my true intention? Is this decision-based in love?

  • How would I feel if my child read/heard me say this?
  • How would I feel if my ex/spouse/partner showed this to their lawyer or to a judge? Would I show it to my lawyer?
  • What would I counsel my child to do in this situation?

Decide:

Do I have to respond to this at all? If so, what is the minimum amount of information I need to include? If you must respond, try stating, “I disagree with that characterization,” and nothing more.

Start a journal.

Just putting pen to paper can satisfy your need to vent without causing any harm.

Remember, it’s not unusual for communications between spouses to make an appearance in court, especially if they are hostile, offensive, or threatening. When the stakes are this high, a little preparation and thinking about the big picture before you respond gives you the best chance for success.

The post What You Say Matters, Especially During Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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couple sitting at a table having a debate

How To Encourage Your Soon-To-Be-Ex To Mediate Your Divorce

couple sitting at a table having a debate

 

I often get phone calls from women who want to avoid an adversarial divorce and all the associated legal costs.  We’ll discuss how mediation works and generally how much it costs.  Their next step is to approach their spouse to encourage them to mediate their divorce.  Knowing all the advantages of mediating your divorce can help convince your husband to go the mediation route.

Encourage Your Soon-To-Be-Ex To Mediate Your Divorce

Mediating your divorce is a whole lot less than the cost of a litigated divorce.  For one, only one neutral party will be examining the financial documents, budgets, and so forth.  The mediator can provide an estimate of their fee and their hourly rate.  Your spouse can take that knowledge when looking for an attorney and then he/she will quickly see that mediating is by far a less expensive choice.

Mediation makes it much less likely that you will turn into adversaries.  After all, when you file a complaint for divorce, suddenly you become “Jane Smith vs Joe Smith”.  When you each hire attorneys, it can turn into a contest very quickly, and sometimes it can escalate and get out of your control.  You have probably known people who ended up hating each other after their divorce and if you have children, this can put your children in between two warring parents.  That can leave emotional scars for life.

Mediation offers an opportunity to end your marriage with grace and mutual respect.  Raising children requires both emotional and financial cooperation.  Mediating provides an opportunity to talk about co-parenting and consider each other’s needs in a neutral controlled environment.  You make the decisions rather than attorneys or a judge.

Changing of perspectives

Each family is unique and mediating allows you to come up with solutions that better meet your needs.  Attorneys are bound by a cannon to work in your legal best interests which may not be conducive to a compromise that better suits your situation.  Judges will apply state guidelines that may not work for you, your spouse, or your children.  Mediating allows you to go over financial data together and engage in discussions that can change your perspective and allow agreements to be made that are more equitable and work better for your situation.

Finally, mediating keeps things private.  What goes on in court is on record and anyone can come into court and listen to your private matter.  Mediation is confidential and statements made can’t be repeated in court and in a mediator can’t be called to court testify or hand over his or her notes.

Mediating does not stop you from getting legal advice.  I encourage a consultation with a settlement minded attorney so everyone understands their legal rights.  This actually HELPS mediation because each spouse understands their strengths and weaknesses and an attorney can clear up misconceptions about dividing assets or support.

My mission is to help people divorce with grace, divorce in an emotionally healthier manner and in a financially smart manner.  Mediating with a Certified Divorce Financial Planner that will give you the financial guidance you need is the best move towards achieving all of those things!

The post How To Encourage Your Soon-To-Be-Ex To Mediate Your Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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woman breaking a chain

Are You Advocating For Yourself in Your Divorce?

woman breaking a chain

 

My Dear Divorced Moms,

 

My heart is as heavy for you as it is for me. Not only have you had to suffer through the loss of your relationship, but now you must determine your and your children’s future over maybe a three-hour mediation and face the long-term consequences of these quick decisions.

The caring for children while healing. The worry about their well-being. The constant waves of grief. And the anger.  And now you must plan while in this anxious state. Oh, the stress of it all.

Divorce: Do Not Do What I Did

Do not do what I did. My focus became the custody of the children and all the parenting plan details – not the finances.

While I researched and hired one of the best lawyers I could afford, the realistic economic outlook for my life after was a blip on the horizon.

I did find articles on how to plan financially after a divorce as a stay-at-home mother. I did advocate for him to keep paying the children’s insurance and acquire a life insurance policy to secure his child support payments if anything happened to him (note – this was not a suggestion from a lawyer but something I read about online from another divorced mother).

In the state where we divorced, it is 50/50 everything – parenting time, medical bills, private tuition, and extra-curricular activities.  I thought I understood what this meant.

The words from a former acquaintance after his divorce echoed in my head: “She calls herself a feminist but still wants me to take care of her after the divorce. We don’t have kids. We weren’t married that long.”

I would not be like her.  Ah, my feminist pride.

I also remember hearing others talk about that same divorcee’s recent vacation pictures on social media as her “alimony adventures,” as if to suggest her financial decisions post-divorce were still tied to how much he had to, unfortunately, pay to her.

My Divorce was Seen as “Equitable.”

My divorce was seen as “equitable” because the sale of our businesses and properties was split 50/50.

This is a limited perception. The profits went to pay off my house, and the rest went into a retirement account.

Yes, I am highly abundant in some ways. However, long term, I am distraught.

While I do wholeheartedly believe in the capabilities of women to work, to find meaningful, decently paid work while allowing flexibility for caregiving as a single mom is vastly limited.

I am a highly educated woman. I hold a Master’s degree and a certificate in Women’s Studies. Before staying at home after the birth of my first child, I was an adjunct English professor. And before that, I taught high school English full-time.

Educational professions are still highly gendered, meaning a career that is mostly dominated by females, which further means they are generally underpaid. There are not many opportunities without constant professional development demands (that require late nights, and weekend classes) to achieve, once again, limited roles and salaries for upward mobility.

This is important because although teaching provides flexibility like time off in summer, the disparity between a teacher’s salary and, let’s say, a CEO’s salary is massive.

Earning Power Should be a Factor in Settlement Negotiations

Nevertheless, instead of proclaiming an arbitrary rule of 50/50 in all finances, earning power should be a determining factor for financial decisions. If our main concern is the care of the children, then this idea isn’t shocking or anti-feminist.

So, I advise you: please look ahead. Pay attention to your financial future. Do not depend on lawyers to explain and advocate for your family’s needs. You must be discerning on this issue. You absolutely can ask for a different ratio.

Pay Attention to Your Financial Future

Frustratingly, this is something we as women must battle for instead of it being recognized innately by our exes and the courts.

If you were a stay-at-home mother for years before the divorce, your financial future is even more imperative.

The outlook that providing spousal support for half the amount of years you were married may look fair in the beginning. But the long-term view is clearly lacking.

I have applied to 127 various jobs in three years. I have tutored on the side. I have piecemealed adjunct positions, all the while being asked to pay half of private school education, medical bills, and other emergencies.

Perhaps you may have requested for the children to move schools or asked your ex to pay more tuition and then were told this was a clear manipulation tactic, that you were leveraging how much he cares about the children to make him pay for it, so you didn’t have to.

And let’s say perhaps your ex has a different “lifestyle” than you. Perhaps they drive luxury sports cars, or just built a new home, or have a house manager who does laundry and cooks and cleans, i.e., they have more than enough to provide a level of care for your children that you no longer can, a level they expect to be the norm.

Well, what is equitable here for all involved?

When does this get seen as an issue of earning power instead of an issue of revenge?

When does this become an issue based on seeing what each parent truly values instead of the well-being of their children?

When does this asking to look at finances differently stop being seen as highlighting excuses and victimhood instead of illuminating very real financial concerns for our children’s futures?

The economic warfare between divorced parents must cease.

The earning power of both parents must be a determining factor in the equality of the dissolution of marriage and the support of the children forward.

My retirement investment portfolio has substantially decreased in this post-covid economy. Teaching positions are few but have overwhelming numbers of applicants. Scouring the country to find a full-time professor job takes my children away from their dad.  This is my reality.  I wish I would not have been so short-sighted.

Stay-at-Home Mothers are Disadvantaged

But let me be clear – I do not believe stay-at-home mothers are financial victims.

Yes, systematically, we are disadvantaged (lower-waged careers, being the primary caregiver, breaks in work history seen as a negative, etc.)

But part of this is our own lack of financial knowledge and giving away our power as independent actors once married. We defer all financial decisions to our husbands. When half of the marriages end in divorce, we are clearly setting ourselves up for economic peril.

We have power by recognizing our part in the situation. Let me remind you; I said part. This is not all our fault. I am not victim-blaming here. I am looking for ways to support solutions to these issues.

But we have failed ourselves by failing to learn we have control from the beginning. We have control over the outcomes by what we advocate for in our divorce.

And I know I am giving you yet another concern on your already full plate. I hate that for us. And I recognize here I am asking us, women, to keep demanding we should be seen and heard, and understood in a world that doesn’t always do that.

Not only should long-term earning power be considered in divorce, but we must become soldiers in our personal war, developing financial due diligence as women.

We must learn. We must speak. We must advocate. We must. We absolutely must.

And I’m sorry, honey. Lots of work to still do. The only thing I can offer you to lighten the load is community.  I’m here. I am hearing you. I am seeing you. I am understanding you.

In solidarity,

Emily

The post Are You Advocating For Yourself in Your Divorce? appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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The 5 Painful Childhood Patterns That Make You Prone To Narcissists

Many of you are incredibly conscious and emotionally intelligent people – that’s why you love interacting in our wonderful Thriver Community!

I also know that many of you are aware, in many cases, that our childhoods are what sets us up for narcissistic abuse. This is not even necessarily about having a narcissistic parent – which of course is a contributor.

Rather, many of the childhood patterns I’m talking about today were all “normal” parenting, and our parents thought they were doing a great job. It wasn’t their fault – there has been very little emphasis or training in regard to conscious parenting.

One of my greatest desires with this article is that we can all learn from this and adjust our parenting, so that we don’t repeat the same mistakes of our forebears.

So, what are the 5 EXACT main patterns which have made us prone to narcissists?

Today I want to share with you the specific patterns that I believe have caused us to unconsciously be attracted and be attractive to narcissists. These patterns are also responsible for our enmeshment with narcissists, why we remain with them and why we keep obsessing about them – no matter how badly they treat us.

Okay – let’s dive in!

 

Number 1 – Trained To Distrust Our Intuition

Even the most wholesome of households can teach their children not to trust their intuition.

Imagine this, you know that Mum and Dad are fighting and you are disturbed and ask a parent “What’s happening, what’s wrong?” and they look you straight in the face and say, “Nothing’s wrong.”

This parent is your “God” they are your barometer of “truth”. So, you learn you must have it wrong and start to distrust what you are feeling. You are being trained to believe what other people say, rather than what your inner voice tells you.

Clearly, in toxic families there are many lies, deceptions and manipulations which take this to an even worse level. How can you know what is real and what isn’t? You want to believe the lies, because they are more comfortable than the truth. You start lying to yourself as a means of emotional protection.

If there is a parent that is modelling refusing to own up, be honest and take responsibility for their behaviour then this is an even greater “teaching” about how to disconnect and lie to oneself.

Parents may have believed they were protecting us, by lying about the truth, or they believed that they needed to be the authority and should never admit that they may have been “wrong”.

All of this takes us away from our internal GPS which is our God Protection System – the inner wise voice that is our true authority.

In narcissistic relationships we ignore our inner GPS, assign the narcissist as the authority and we doubt ourselves when we know things are “off” and that we are being lied to.

Then we lie to ourselves with applied cognitive dissonance to try to make the false and traumatising realities bearable.

By not connecting with our Inner Truth, facing it and making decisions based on it, we can’t pull away, stay away and look after ourselves.

 

Number 2 – Having Our Uniqueness Ignored

As a child if we tried to have a voice and assert what did or didn’t feel right for us, or wished to express our unique and individual personality, we may have been invalidated and just told to be someone else’s version of what they believed we should be.

This is your parent not seeing you as a developing flesh and blood autonomous being – rather more as an extension of themselves.

The message we received is that we are not valid, important and worthy of being “ourselves”. Rather, we have to go along to get along, agree with someone else’s version of who we are, and if we don’t, we are bad, unlovable and defective.

Of course, children need boundaries, routine, and limits, but when they aren’t allowed to be a child, express, explore, play, and dream in age-appropriate ways, and are encouraged to develop a unique self – the deeper internalised message is “I am unacceptable”. Then toxic shame accumulates in our Inner Being, meaning we subjugate our truths, dreams, inspirations, and visions for other people at our own expense.

Narcissists love this – they want people who are not self-defined, who don’t stand in their own dreams, visions and life directions, and who are always trying to establish their love, value and worth via others.

This way the narcissist can demand more and more and more from you – effectively exploiting you and emptying you out, whilst never recognising you as a flesh and blood autonomous being – but rather a tool to serve their insatiable demands.

 


 

Number 3 – Shutting Down Our Negative Feelings

This is possibly one of the most disastrous patterns – being told not to feel and express negative emotions.

We were taught, “Don’t be angry”, “Don’t cry”, “Go away, I don’t want to hear about it”, “I’m too busy to listen to you”, “I’m too damaged myself to care about your feelings”, “If you want to cry, I’ll give you something to cry about” and, “You’re hurt! Look how much you hurt me!”

Even the seemingly benign message of, “Don’t think about it, just go and do something that makes you happy” is also intensely damaging.

What this all amounts to is unresolved inner trauma.

These painful emotions had nowhere to go; they were not met, held and validated, which means you haven’t been able to let them go. They built up and toxically affected you with anxiety and depression, and nervous system and physical illnesses, and painful emotional triggers that kept going off causing you to maladapt to try to avoid being triggered or lashing out to try to diffuse these triggers in other ways.

One of the most powerful attractors of negative and traumatising people in our lives is having unresolved negative and painful traumas wedged in our Inner Being.

This doesn’t mean that you are a bad person, you could be a lovely individual with a really beautiful Soul and integrity, however if you have a lot of unresolved traumas within you because you didn’t receive the allowing and the validation of your negative emotions and weren’t taught how to self-sooth and let your traumatised feelings go, then you have not evolved beyond shaming and blaming yourself for your emotions.

Which means you disconnect from them, instead of supporting and loving yourself through them to completion, and you beat yourself up for having them.

This means you will have more people come into your life who blame and shame you, hurt you and invalidate your emotions. You will also struggle to accept people in your life who can see, acknowledge and support you emotionally – simply because you are not as yet doing this for yourself.

You can’t heal beyond your traumas and then continue to hold other people responsible for them. This is a total setup for victimhood without the shift to healing and breaking free from being victimised.

This is a major unconscious attraction force that occurs with narcissists and brings them into your life. They are the ultimate people to invalidate you, traumatise you and trigger you with negative emotions so that they can flip the script, vindicate themselves as “the good one” and accuse you of being the damaged, defective one.

 

Number 4 – Fear Of Abandonment

This is another biggie. It starts as a baby. Our much wiser tribal communities wrap up babies and swaddle them on their bodies continuously – allowing the child to disconnect and explore its own Life Force and environment, without the mother’s protection, when it’s emotionally ready to.

This creates an Inner Identity of safety, connection, wholeness and therefore confidence. The argument is that this makes the baby demanding and co-dependent on the mother.

Rather, it is a baby who is crying, left without support and contact and therefore intensely traumatised who establishes the powerful inner trauma programs of “No one is coming”, “I’m all alone” and, “Without someone else I may not survive.”

Then as we get older there are numerous ways the abandonment programs are increased.

Emotionally being invalidated. Not being heard and protected when something awful has happened to you. Not being believed regarding events and then not wanting to share trials and tribulations because you feel like you may be blamed for them – rather than be supported.

Or maybe as a child you were literally abandoned – left to fend for yourself because of having selfish, immature, sick or neglectful parents.

When we have unresolved abandonment traumas, we do not realise that we are still a broken, unsafe inner child trying to find a “parent” to do it differently this time.

This makes you naturally attracted to people who purport to see you, hold you and meet you intensely. People who you think won’t abandon you but are using your abandonment fears against you to bond quickly, enmesh with you and start extracting your Life Force and resources.

This is what narcissists do, and then they turn the tables and start punishing you with the terror of abandonment constantly – by threatening to leave you.

This rips these wounds horrifically open again – whilst we cling and try to force narcissists to stop doing it. We can’t pull away, stay away and look after ourselves because of our terror of disconnection from them.

Fear of abandonment is a deadly trauma bond with a narcissist. It makes you feel like without this person you may die. You can easily mistake this for love, but it isn’t.

It is fully ignited terror of unhealed abandonment wounds.

 

Number 5 – Destruction Of Boundaries

As a child if you were forced to eat everything on your plate and share your toys, and made to acquiesce regarding your space, property, or body, including what went into it, then your boundaries were violated.

Maybe your parents distrusted you and ransacked your bedroom. Did they read your diary?

These are simple examples. Naturally I could go on with much more. Many people in this community have had boundary violation at extreme levels personally, including sexually – from their parents, family members or other adults that they were told to trust.

There are many damaging patterns here – the first is to not grow up seeing yourself as a sovereign self-defined Being with rights. This can cause you to give away your personal autonomy and property easily, to anyone you see as an outside authority, against your will.

This plays directly into the hands of narcissists who are all about exploiting your Life Force and resources, and stripping you of your sovereign rights, for their gain.

Also, the violation of your Being, which boundary destruction is, causes intense inner trauma. This then makes you an energetic match for the familiarity of connecting with people who will disrespect your boundaries in the future – such as narcissists.

It also makes you fearful when trying to stand up for yourself and say “No”, risking disapproval from those who seek to exploit you – because as a child you were powerless to set strong and healthy boundaries, and suffered immensely when you tried to.

Narcissists are highly skilled at seeking out people with scanty, weak and non-existent boundaries, including people who have high levels of tolerance to boundary violating behaviour – because it is their childhood programming.

 

In Conclusion

Today I wanted to drill down into the 5 foundational childhood patterns which disconnect us from our TRUE Life Force and make us prone to FALSE Life Force (anti-life), which is narcissists.

These 5 traumatic childhood patterns create the fragmenting of the four foundational pillars of your Inner Identity – Love, Approval, Security and Survival.

What is your solution?

Healing yourself within … that’s the only solution.

But here is the big challenge with narcissistic abuse … we are so traumatised, incensed and devastated in our “proneness” that we remain hooked into narcissists. What I see, repeatedly (and I experienced this myself) is even if you get away, you can still suffer from unresolved obsession about the narcissist indefinitely.

It doesn’t allow the space or focus on yourself in order to heal within.

This is why I created a structured system for you to follow, to detach from the narcissist, turn your focus inwards and be supported to heal everything that I have talked about today, and so much more.

This is my Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program (NARP). It is the exact process that I used to quickly and powerfully heal these 5 childhood patterns (and many others).

You deserve a life without this trauma, so that like me and many other people in this community, you too can Thrive.

Let me know in your comments below …

Did this article resonate with you?

Can you think of the things in your childhood that set you up for narcissistic abuse?

Do you think that because these were the patterns in your childhood that there is no hope for you to have healthy relationships?

Do you know that in this community we have many Thrivers who are now living free of these wounds? Would you too like to put an end to these patterns once and for all?

I’d also love to hear from the NARPers reading this article who are checking in on these old patterns.

Are you feeling liberated now?

What is different in your life as a result of the inner work?

Where are you at now with these 5 patterns?

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Deal With Post-Divorce Conflict

6 Tips To Help Deal With Post-Divorce Conflict

Deal With Post-Divorce Conflict

 

If you are leaving a marriage that is full of conflict, that conflict will follow you into your post-divorce life. Divorce does not put an end to the crazy that went on during the marriage. You may no longer live in the same home but you can bet, if you were married to someone with anger management issues, you will continue to be the recipient of their anger after the divorce is final.

In some cases divorce can exacerbate the anger so for your sake it pays to have a plan for dealing with the conflict to come.

Even if you are lucky enough to have a civil relationship with your ex, there will be times when you don’t see eye to eye on issues such as child visitation, holiday schedules and such. Arming yourself with coping skills to use during periods of conflict is essential for those of you who have children and will be attempting to co-parent with your ex.

The following 6 tips can help you deal with post-divorce conflict that may arise

1. Try and respect your ex-spouse and his/her household. Find ways of being respectful rather than resentful. Do not personally criticize them, but don’t make excuses for their behavior either.

2. Live by the divorce agreement reached between the two of you or, handed down by a Judge that addressed financial arrangements such as child support, spousal support or division of property. Do not let your attitude towards it, after the fact; taint your relationship with your ex or your children. If you came to an agreement with your ex, live up to that agreement. If you have a court order, follow that order. No amount of anger over financial issues is worth contaminating your relationship with your ex or your children.

3. Hurt feelings from the past are the number one reason you and your ex engage in conflict with one another. Do your part by in keeping down conflict by letting go of the past and living in the present.

4. The two of you can make your children’s best interest common ground. If you are both focused on doing what is best for the children, there is less room for conflict. The bottom line, your children and their needs are more important than any anger either of you has toward the other.

5. Try seeing stressful situations from your ex’s perspective. Every situation will require some give and take and it is easier to give a little if you can view the situation from the other person’s point of view.

6. Always put your children’s needs before your own. You may not like your ex, may not want to be around him/her BUT your children love both parents and it fills their hearts to see each parent get along with the other. Parents who manage to put their children’s needs first during and after divorce help minimize the negative effects of their divorce on the children.

Effort on your part to build a new and productive relationship with your ex will help all involved in the healing process and move forward with their lives. If your effort is thwarted you should accept the reality of the situation…you do not have an ex that is interested in anything other than being angry.

Move on, cut ties, do not engage when your buttons are pushed and send him/her a clear and loud message…if you can’t behave reasonably, I will have nothing to do with you.

For your sake and the sake of your children though, you must put forth the effort to “get along.”

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