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divorcing a control freak

6 Strategies To Use When Divorcing A Control Freak

divorcing a control freak

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

6 Strategies To Use When Divorcing A Control Freak

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

Along that same vein…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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taking control of your divorce

Taking Control Of Your Divorce: Shouldn’t You Be In The Driver’s Seat?

taking control of your divorce

 

“He left with no notice. I had no idea he even wanted a divorce but I will be fine. I’ve hired a divorce attorney, one with vast experience in family law and I know he will take care of me and my legal rights.”

I recently heard these words from a therapy client I’m working with. She has an attorney and, in her mind, she will be “fine.” It’s a thought process shared by many going through the divorce process. It is also the first mistake most couples going through a divorce make.

Giving over control of their welfare to someone who isn’t an expert in them and their needs.

Divorce attorneys are experts in family law. They are not experts in finance, real estate, taxes, insurance, disabilities and any other issue that may be particular to your case. They are not experts trained in how to handle the personal needs of every divorcing client they contract with.

Every divorce has its own particular issues and if you, the client isn’t in the driver’s seat your future may wind up in the ditch.

In your everyday life, how often do you give over control of how your day goes to someone else? You don’t do it in everyday life, and you shouldn’t do it during divorce. To do so will mean negative consequences for you, your spouse and your children.

The LAST thing you want is a divorce attorney and Family Court judge deciding how you will live your life once the ink dries on the divorce decree.

Taking Control Of Your Divorce

Why People Give Up Control:

It’s a story I hear often. Someone has been left due to infidelity or, one or the other spouse drop the divorce bomb unexpectedly. People become angry, afraid and out to exact revenge and lose the ability to act in their own best interest.

They hire a divorce attorney; one they believe will be sympathetic to what they are experiencing and they wait for their “day in court.” In other words, most people give up control to an attorney because they are under the assumption that fairness wins out in Family Court.

If a divorce case goes to court a judge will make decisions on legally relevant facts of the case and not on what is important to you, the litigant, or what you think is right and wrong.

How To Stay In The Driver’s Seat:

1. Hire an attorney to advise you on the legal aspect of your case. Negotiate with your spouse on personal and financial issues that will affect you both post-divorce. As adults, you can drive the process and together decide what direction you go in with issues such as splitting marital assets, child custody and visitation and spousal support. It is possible to negotiate a fair divorce settlement without interference from your attorney or a Family Court judge.

2. If your attorney advises you on an issue you don’t have to take their advice. If your attorney suggests you accept a settlement offer that you don’t believe is in your best interest you have the right to explore other options. It isn’t uncommon for divorce attorneys to make mistakes or, encourage a client to accept a settlement that is not fair in an attempt to get the case off their desk. A divorce attorney is someone you consult with, they are not someone you have to allow to make decisions for you.

3. Seek outside help if you feel your attorney is in over their head. For example, if you and your spouse own a business you may want to hire a forensic accountant to advise you on how that marital asset should be split. There are many issues during divorce that may require input from an outside resource. Don’t be afraid to seek help if you aren’t sure and don’t be intimidated by an attorney who tries to limit your attempts to protect yourself.

4. Check your emotions! If you allow anger or hurt feelings to guide how you react to divorce you won’t make productive decisions. In other words, emotionally charged people rarely stay in the driver’s seat during divorce.

Take the high road, don’t allow your emotions to cause you to do anything that will one day reflect negatively upon you or have detrimental effects on your financial future.

The post Taking Control Of Your Divorce: Shouldn’t You Be In The Driver’s Seat? appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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people pleaser

Are You a People Pleaser? Here Are 6 Tips On How To Gain Control

people pleaser

While it’s admirable to be a caring person, learning to accept and respect myself has helped me to set healthy boundaries and to say “no” without feeling guilty.

For instance, I used to take on too much responsibility at work because I thought that others would “like” me and I’d feel better about myself. As it turns out, it was a quick way to burn out and I ended up feeling resentful and depleted.

The term “People Pleaser” is often used to describe people who go out of their way to make sure someone else is happy to the detriment of their own happiness. They seek approval from others due to unresolved issues with their parents or a need to be accepted.

Becoming a people pleaser is a way in which many individuals neglect to set boundaries and convey to others that they’re not good enough.

If you’re not sure if this description fits you, here are a few questions to ask yourself:

-Do you have a hard time saying “no” when you are asked to do something for others?

-Do you worry a lot about disappointing others or worry they’ll leave you?

-Do you bend over backwards for other people, often at your own expense?

-Do you do some things because of a feeling of obligation, and then feel resentful afterwards?

-Are you afraid that if you don’t take care of others, they’ll think you’re not “nice?”

-Do you avoid speaking up for yourself or voicing your opinion because you’re afraid of conflict?

-Do you let your other people “take advantage” of you?”

If you find yourself recognizing yourself in a lot of these, then you probably can benefit from being more assertive.

After all, although pleasing others at your own expense might gain you some recognition, it won’t be good for your self-esteem in the long run.

Letting Go of Being a Victim

Studies show that while some men may experience “People Pleasing” it appears more often in women. Over time, a lack of setting boundaries in relationships can damage a person’s sense of self-worth. The good news is that this damage is reversible with self-awareness and support from others.

Before you can begin to set healthy boundaries in relationships, you must have healthy self-esteem – which means evaluating yourself in positive ways and believing in yourself. Honestly take stock of your patterns of relating to others.

One of the first things to ask yourself is: how do I treat ymyself? No one is going to treat you with respect if you beat yourself up. Get rid of all those self-defeating thoughts in your head – such as calling yourself “stupid” that won’t help you get back on your feet.

The first step to addressing people pleasing behavior is to examine your attitudes and beliefs. Often people get stuck in the role of “People Pleasing” because they lack self-awareness.  The following 6 ways will allow you to gain control of your life.

How to Stop Being a People Pleaser

  • Embrace the idea that you can’t be liked by everyone. There will always be those who don’t agree or approve of your words or actions. Accept that you can’t control what others think of you. All you can really control is yourself.
  • Ask yourself: do I give too much in relationships? Do you ignore your own needs due to seeking other’s approval? Therapy, reading, and keeping a journal can aid you in this process.
  • Challenge your beliefs and self-defeating thoughts about your self-worth. You don’t need to prove anything to another person about your self-worth. You are just as deserving of attention and caring as other people are.
  • Put an end to playing the role of a victim. Make new decisions to change your life – such as taking time to do the things that you enjoy rather than deferring to the needs of others.
  • Practice compassion and self-approval by learning to set personal boundaries and saying “no”to unreasonable requests from others.  You will feel better when you give yourself time to replenish yourself rather than focusing too much on others.
  • Taking care of yourself doesn’t mean you are selfish. As you begin to care less about seeking the approval of others, you’ll find you have more energy – people pleasing can drain us of time and make us feel tired. Strive to achieve balance between your physical, mental, and emotional heath.

Take a moment to ask yourself: Am I able to freeing express my thoughts, wishes, and desires without worrying about my partner or friend’s reaction? If the answer is no, it may be time to consider working on freeing yourself from being a people pleaser.

By learning to be more assertive, you will no longer feel like a victim. Making yourself a priority isn’t the same as being selfish. You are worth the effort and deserve a freer, happier life.

I would love to hear from you if you have any questions or comments at movingpastdivorce.com. To find out more about my research, order my book Daughters of Divorce: Overcome the Legacy of Your Parents’ Breakup and Enjoy a Happy Long-Lasting Relationship.

My forthcoming book “The Remarriage Manual: How to Make Everything Work Better the Second Time Around” will be published by Sounds True in the February of 2020.

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

This article originally appeared on movingpastdivorce.com

The post Are You a People Pleaser? Here Are 6 Tips On How To Gain Control appeared first on Divorced Moms.



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