Posts

truth about children and divorce: sad african american girl with face in hand

The Unvarnished Truth About Children And Divorce

truth about children and divorce: sad african american girl with face in hand

 

I’m not one of those experts who believe that divorce has little significant effect on a child’s life. I’m of the opinion that divorce can set a child up for lifelong emotional struggles. The divorce of a child’s parents leaves them with negative emotions they will deal with throughout their lives in one way or another.

Yes, they learn to adjust to the fact that their parents are divorced but, the sadness caused by the divorce lessens with time but never goes away. On top of the regret a child feels over a parent’s divorce there can be devastating consequences if the parents do not handle the divorce in a responsible manner.

The Unvarnished Truth About Children And Divorce

I bristle when I hear parents say that children are “resilient” and can “handle” their divorce. I’ve talked to adults who were devastated years after their divorce was finalized, yet for some strange reason they believe that their children are more capable of getting over and learning to live with a situation they, themselves are finding hard to accept and move on from.

It is this belief by parents that children are more flexible and pliant emotionally than they are that sets children up for disaster when their parents’ divorce. A child’s divorce experience is shaped by whether or not parents continue to put their children’s well-being and security first during the divorce process.

4 Reasons It’s Important To Put Children First During Divorce

1. Divorce means huge changes in the lives of children. It can also mean direct involvement in the conflict between parents, changes in where they live, economic hardship, broken bonds with a parent, loss of emotional security, and a multitude of emotional stressors.

2. Divorce means the loss of a child’s family, something that is the center of their universe. If a child is raised in a happy or low conflict family, that family is the base of their security. It is what allows that child to go out into the world and broaden their horizons because they know there is a safe place to return to.

The loss of an intact family is like a death to the child. There will be a period of grieving and a need to replace, with something new the security they had in the intact family.

3. Divorce increases a child’s risk of psychological, educational, and sociological problems. A parent’s divorce touches every aspect of a child’s life. A child’s relationships with friends will change and their ability to focus and concentrate in school will be affected. As a result, there is an increased possibility of problems with anxiety and depression.

4. Divorce causes children emotional pain. Regardless of how hard a parent tries and how well they parent, a child will feel sadness and loss during and after a divorce. Your divorce is going to hurt your children! And please, don’t fall for the nonsense belief that if the “parent is happy, the child will be happy.” I promise you unless your child is witnessing or a party to domestic abuse or high conflict the child could care less if Mom and Dad are happy.

Some parents have a misguided belief that their children are spending time and energy worrying about their parent’s happiness. Nothing could be further from the truth, children are concerned with their own happiness and security, as it should be.

So, please, don’t project your need to divorce so you can be “happy” off on to your children. You will do them no favor and it will free you up to ignore their pain due to a skewed belief that is not correct.

What Are The Negative Effects of Divorce For Children?

If you contrast children from intact families to children of divorce, children from divorced families are:

  • Twice as likely to have to see a mental health provider,
  • Twice as likely to exhibit behavioral problems,
  • More than twice as likely to have problems with depression and mood disorders,
  • Twice as likely to drop out of high school before graduating,
  • Twice as likely to divorce themselves as adults,
  • Less socially competent and tend to linger in adolescents before moving into adulthood.

Andrew Cherlin, a family demographer at Johns Hopkins University, said that even those who grow up to be very successful as adults carry “the residual trauma of their parents’ breakup.”

In other words, when we, as adults make the decision to divorce we are going against our natural parental instincts…protecting our children from harm. Some would argue that divorce in and of itself does not cause harm to children. They believe that it is the behavior of the parents during a divorce that determines how a child will fare or what the consequences will be.

I agree that as parents we can lessen the negative effects of divorce on our children. There are obligations that parents have during divorce that can help our children cope. The issue I have though is this, during my career as a divorce family therapist who has worked closely with divorcing clients and their children, the children seem to take a backseat to their parent’s needs during that time.

Parents are more focused on the legal process of divorce and their own emotional needs than their children’s needs. Until I see a change in the way the majority of parents behave during divorce I will hold onto my belief that children are irreparably harmed by divorce and suffer due to parents who are unable to parent and divorce at the same time.

The post The Unvarnished Truth About Children And Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>

male victims of domestic violence

The Surprising Truth About Male Victims Of Domestic Violence

male victims of domestic violence

Domestic violence — and allegations of violence — can be one of the most toxic issues in contested divorces. Too often, rightly or wrongly, they are likely to result in fathers getting shut out of their children’s lives and men having to make larger child support and alimony payments.

The
standard scenario — from courtrooms to movies — is that the husband has been
physically and verbally abusive, scaring and hurting his wife, often in front
of their children. He’s the goon, and his wife deserves to be rid of him.

Certainly,
many women do tragically end up victims of domestic violence, but there are two
other scenarios that can be just as true, yet receive little attention.

The first is that allegations of domestic violence are what some family law attorneys call “the nuclear option.” Lawyers tell their clients to file papers to get an order of protection if they say they feel fear, and as a way to strengthen their case.

Similarly,
if their husband raises his voice — no matter who started the fight — divorcing
might call the police. Within minutes, a squad car will show up and, without
listening to both parties, an officer will tell the husband to get his shaving
kit and clothes and then escort him off the property.

It has been estimated that 85 percent of protective orders are entered against men, with most being used tactically to get the upper hand in a divorce. Aside from the effect that these orders can have on child custody, property division, and payments to an ex-wife, men who are innocent are stigmatized and records of these orders can be found by employers or when looking for a job.

But
it’s the second scenario that is the least discussed. This is when the wife is
the abusive or violent spouse, hitting their husbands, throwing things at them,
destroying their belongings, spewing so many four-letter words that a hardened
criminal would blush, and even pulling weapons on them. 

One in four men (compared to one in seven women) experience “severe physical intimate partner violence,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And this doesn’t include verbal or other forms of abusive behavior. The Mayo Clinic has also written about domestic violence against men.

While interviewing men for my book, “Man Out: Men on the Sidelines of American Life,” I heard many disturbing stories. A mother told me that her son had almost been killed by his ex-wife and fled to her house. One man recalled how his wife threw glasses and plates at him and was verbally abusive to his son from his first marriage; then, if it weren’t so troubling it would be funny, she smashed the cat’s water bowl by using it as a weapon.

Why
don’t we hear more about men who are victims — either in court or in the media?

There are a number of reasons: 1) Men are more likely to commit the most heinous acts. 2) Most advocates against domestic violence have been women’s groups. 3) Centuries of storytelling, from Othello to Hannibal Lecter, have reinforced the narrative that men are the attackers and women are the victims. 4) Law enforcement almost automatically makes this assumption. 5) Many a man feels like a “sissy” to report that the bruise on his face came from a punch by his wife, which also suggests that the CDC data may underestimate the real toll.

So,
what should men do? First, don’t be afraid to report to the police any
incidents or patterns of violence and abuse by your wife toward you or your
children.

Collect
evidence: Take photos of a bruise or scratch, a punched-in wall, or broken
glass. If possible, record the audio on your smart phone.

If
there are witnesses, ask them if they can describe what they have seen or heard
to the police or your lawyer. Write down in detail what happened (or has been
happening).

Get
your own protective order. If your children have been abused, gather any
evidence you can and protect your kids.

Evidence
is especially important since police and courts often disbelieve men who say
that they have been victimized by their wives. Tell your attorney, who can use
this information to help your case. 

Although
no man or woman should be a victim of violence or other abusive behavior, if it
happens to you, documenting and reporting it can be critically important to
your divorce case and can make a big difference when it comes to custody and
financial matters.

Andrew L. Yarrow, a former New York Times reporter and history professor, discusses these and related issues in his recent book, Man Out: Men on the Sidelines of American Life.

The post The Surprising Truth About Male Victims Of Domestic Violence appeared first on Dads Divorce.

Read More –>

Emotional abuse

Emotional Abuse: The Truth

Emotional abuse is the primary tactic used by a narcissist.  There may be instances of physical, sexual and verbal abuse but emotional abuse is often the reason victims stay attached for so long.

 

So what is emotional abuse?

 

One definition of emotional abuse is: “any act including confinement, isolation, verbal assault, humiliation, intimidation, infantilization, or any other treatment which may diminish the sense of identity, dignity, and self-worth.”1

Emotional abuse is also known as psychological abuse or as “chronic verbal aggression” by researchers. People who suffer from emotional abuse tend to have very low self-esteem, show personality changes (such as becoming withdrawn) and may even become depressed, anxious or suicidal.

 

(From: Healthy Place)

 

In relationships it can present as any of the following behaviours:

  • Neglect (emotional and physical)
  • Harassment or malicious tricks
  • Being screamed at or shouted at
  • Unfair punishment
  • Cruel or degrading tasks
  • Cruel confinement
  • Abandonment
  • Touch deprivation
  • No privacy
  • Having to hide injuries or wounds from others
  • Forced to keep secrets
  • Having to take on adult responsibilities as a child
  • Having to watch family members being hurt
  • Being caught in the middle of parent’s fights
  • Being blamed for family problems
  • Other forms of emotional abuse

 

(From: Betrayal Bonds)

 

These experiences are traumatic and have a lasting impact upon our mind, body and soul.

 

Body

 

Although emotional abuse is not physical, the connection between the mind and the body has long been established. Our bodies respond physically to abuse. The old adage “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” is sadly false. Words hurt. In fact there is substantial evidence that the long term impact of chronic emotional abuse is significantly worse than physical abuse. I am not by any means dismissing physical abuse, I am just stating that it is important not to underestimate the impact of emotional abuse.

Emotional abuse

 

When we are verbally attacked or feel threatened or scared, our body goes into a stress response. This triggers adrenaline and our fight/flight/freeze response. The above graphic shows how this impacts our bodies. Long term exposure to this is trauma and can cause PTSD and Complex PTSD.

 

Mind

 

Our emotions are our innate guidance system. They tell us whether we are in a good place or a bad one. Safe or not. They also connect us to other people and form the basis of relationships. When they are abused they impact both our cognitive and emotional processing skills.

 

This brain scan shows the impact it has on the brain and the areas most affected by abuse.

 

Brain scan

 

Victims of emotional abuse often describe the “fog” they live in. This is due to the damage abuse does to the frontal lobe. It numbs the emotions and slows responses. It is why trauma bonds occur. The victim seeks extremes to feel anything. Boundaries get pushed to achieve that emotional high. It is why victims can become co-narcissistic or unrecognisable to themselves and others. They are addicted to the abuser and behave out of character to keep that bond. Also known as Stockholm Syndrome.

 

Breaking that bond is like giving up heroin

 

Soul

 

Your emotions are your indicator of your connection to your true self. When you feel good, excited, happy, loving, flowing you are living your soul purpose. When you feel angry, sad, frustrated, hateful you are ego and fear based. Not only does emotional abuse separate you from your soul, it ruptures your navigation system. Victims struggle with knowing who they are and what they want. They can get stuck in those negative emotional states.

 

But it us do important to know that your true self never separates from you. Your alignment is available to you at all times. You just need to learn to listen and feel again. Take a moment to connect to your body. What are you feeling? Where are you feeling it? How can you move up that scale? So if you’re angry, what is a slightly better emotion? Determined? Focused? Keep going until you feel more positive. Don’t try to jump from anger to happiness. It’s too much of a leap. Small steps.

 

If you want to reconnect to your soul, book your Moving Forward session today.

 

 

Read More –>