Compassionate Eyes

Part of teaching the High Conflict Diversion Program is to help parents learn to have some compassion for their child’s other parent.  It is very hard to do, especially when they seem to go out of their way to make your life miserable, but learning to have compassion for them is not really about them.  It is about freeing yourself from the wounds of your past and moving into a new future.  You may not have control of the court battle, but you can control the future path you travel.

I know that many people enduring any prolonged conflict carry within them a lot of anger, hurt, resentment and pain.  Sometimes we lash out at other people because of those feelings and emotions.  It isn’t healthy to live life this way for very long.  Stress and anger have deep effects on our mental and physical health.  Those who continue living in the pain are more likely to repeat these patterns, or get stuck right where they are in life, waiting until something magical frees them.  What they do not know is that the key to their freedom is within them.  No one else can free you.  You have to be willing to learn and grow and move away from that pain and into the freedom of a new life.  It takes a willingness, some time, and an active effort to get there.

The following video is an awesome example of how to see people with compassion.  You cannot know what is going on within your friends, neighbors, coworkers, or even your ex.  We like to believe that we know the inner workings of our ex, and we may understand a great deal about them, but once we are no longer married to that person, we only think we know.  Deep down there may be reasons for their behavior or reasons why they cannot move forward with their own life.  You may never know what those reasons are.  By treating them compassionately, you can start to empathize with them.  You do not have to like them.  You do not have to help them, but it would serve everyone well, even your children, if you could say, I am going to move away from this bitterness and have a happier life, regardless of what the other parent does.  If you don’t know, the best revenge on an ex is to live a happy life.  Happiness comes from giving others the benefit of the doubt when they behave badly, seeing your part in any conflicts and taking steps to correct that, and to be the best person that you possibly can.  You will be an example for your children and you can teach them compassion by showing them how it is done.

Please watch this fantastic video from Fellowship Bible church in Arkansas.  Make it go viral, please!

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On the Move


Image courtesy of Ambro/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I have an announcement to make!  Life’s doors Mediation will be moving to a new location as of March 1, 2014.  As you may know, in March of 2013, I joined the Circle of Healing Arts Cooperative, and moved to Coon Rapids.  There were many great things about this move, but some were not the best for my clients or my plans to bring the High Conflict Diversion Program to Minnesota. 

This winter has absolutely stunk, to put it mildly, and crossing the river can be especially challenging any day, but this winter?  Almost hopeless.  You had to be extremely motivated to drive anywhere this year!  Thank you to those willing to make the journey to Coon Rapids for class.

There have also been expansion plans for me and others in the co-op, but the building we are in was starting to fill up.  It has left me without very good options for my classroom.

I love the people at the Circle of Healing Arts so this has been a difficult decision.  Still, what I want to offer to my clients and students made me decide it was time to change, sooner, rather than later.  I am a go getter and will do what I need to do to keep things moving forward for me and my clients.  You need help and I will bring you options.  I hope that Life’s doors Mediation becomes known for not only mediation and coaching, but also as a great place for education for families.  I have a lot of information to share with you!

As of March 1st, I will be back in Brooklyn Center.  Not in my old building.  This one is just down the road a couple of blocks from there.  This will be an exciting move.  I cannot wait to show you all the new classrooms there!  This place used to be a college so it is all setup for what I need and better able to accommodate my students more comfortably.

I may even be moved in earlier than the first.  Keep an eye out.  Once I get settled in, I will be making changes to the website and this blog.

I hope you will join me when you need mediation, coaching or classes that help you move forward toward your goals.  I do not have anything listed yet, but working on a class for Adult Children of Alcoholics, which is another area of my expertise.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, feel free to call 763-566-2282 or email me at susan@lifesdoorsmediation.com

Everything You Wanted to Know About Parenting Consultants/Coordinators, but were Afraid to Ask


Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Ever thought you might need to get a parenting consultant or parenting coordinator appointed to your high conflict custody case?  Do you wonder what a parenting consultant or coordinator is?  What they do?  Would you like to hear from people with first hand experience in utilizing someone in the role of PC?  How much do parenting consultants charge?  Can you get rid of a parenting consultant?  Why does the parenting consultant hate me?

All this and more can be answered if you attend my web even Q & A about parenting consultants and coordinators.  If you have read my blog and considered  conflict coaching, but were a little leery of this person who also offers services as a parenting consultant, now is your chance to check me out.  At a cost of only $10, you can get a sample of what I offer to my coaching clients.  Many of my clients deal with a parenting consultant or parenting coordinator and have learned how to turn things around.  If you were to spend 3 hours coaching, you’d pay $150, which is still a great deal.  Consider how much a retainer for a lawyer might cost, or how much a day in court will cost you?  Maybe coaching can help, and save you money in the process.  But on January 11th at 10 AM, you have a chance to ask your most pressing question about parenting consultants/parenting coordinators and you can also hear questions from the other participants, too.

I have scheduled this event for 3 hours so that every participant should have time to ask a question or make a comment.  If by chance, we run out of time, I will have a way for you to ask a question behind the scenes.

I hope you’ll join me for the first Q & A about parenting consultants/parenting coordinators.  Remember, I also have a book out called, “The Parenting Consultant Nightmare” so it is fair for me to say I wrote the book.  I have utilized a parenting consultant with my own family and have trained as a pc who tries to do it better.  Let me know if this is something you’d like to see offered on going, or make suggestions for future web events from Life’s doors Mediation by sending an email to susan@lifesdoorsmediation.com.

Buy your ticket now!

Check It Out!!!


I have been waiting for a while to be able to announce this.  It is finally here!  The home site for the High Conflict Diversion Program has been revamped.  This is very exciting!  It should be much easier for people all across the USA find an instructor.  Check out the new website and sign up for a class!  Start the new year off right.  Sign up now to put a stop to the on-going co-parenting conflict.  Your kids will thank you for it!

Also, let me know if there are other nights, times or areas of the metro where you’d like to see classes offered.  We are currently working on getting new instructors trained and having classes offered through out the metro and possibly in the Duluth and Mankato areas.  If this interests you, please send me an email.  My new High Conflict Program email is s.carpenter@highconflict.net.  I cannot wait to hear from you.  Here is wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, with a new start from highconflict.net and Life’s Doors Mediation.

Piling it On



For the parent stuck in an on-going court battle with a hostile co-parent, life becomes all about the expense and the court documents.  I had one client tell me that while representing herself in her custody trial, for a dramatic affect, she paraded in some carts with boxes full of court orders and informed the judge, “This has been my life for the past ten years.”  She lost custody.

That kind of drama may work well in a movie, but it doesn’t play out so well in real life.  Representing yourself in a custody trial is NOT something I would recommend.  Custody of your child is a VERY important thing, well, at least in terms of decision making.  Physical custody, in my opinion, is not that important.  Physical custody is about the home the child sleeps in and also the home address put on forms.  As long as you have frequent parenting time with your child, physical custody is simply a label.  Although, I must add that it can affect child support and who pays it to whom. Legal custody is about important, and even not so important, decisions about your child.  If you lose that, no one cares what you want when an issue arises involving the child.  The other parent will decide where the child attends school, if they receive a medical treatment or not, by which doctor, etc.  You have no say in what happens to your child.  I always need to include that information about custody when I am talking about people representing themselves in court, but this article is about court orders.

I have had many discussions with people about the need for court orders and how they get caught up in a whirlwind as the hostility with their ex increases.  As a matter of fact, I was with a judge yesterday, talking about high conflict co-parents, and he said, “God love ya for trying to help those people.  Their actions just confound me.  I cannot for the life of me understand what they are thinking.”  It is confounding.  People trying to escape the court system get desperate.  The need to escape takes over their life and they do not know what to do.  The thinking is to look to the court system to “fix” a situation stemming from the court system.  So what happens is if a court order is not working people think I have to go back to court and get another court order to fix it.  We can look at someone’s pile of court orders and ask that age old question, “How’s that working for you?” (thanks to Dr. Phil).

Piling on a court order on top of court orders is expensive.  It also is usually not the answer.  Many court orders are sound and a solution to the issue that was brought forth at the time it was issued.  If a person is not following a court order, the order itself is not the problem.  The problem is the person who is not following it.  So I ask you, “If they are not following any of the current court orders, what makes you think they would follow a new one?”

If we could pile all your court documents up and look at how high the pile is, without knowing what they say in them, but only what the cost of getting them was, would you say it was worth the price?  Would you say it was worth the emotional cost to you and your children?

If you struggle with a hostile co-parenting situation, and you are coming to the realization that court is not, and has never been the solution, I’d welcome the opportunity to work with you.  I am not a lawyer, and I am not going to issue any court orders as a solution to your problem, but I can share with you some techniques that work to minimize the power of court and a hostile ex in your life and the life of your child.

You can enroll for the 12 week High Conflict Diversion Program, or schedule an appointment for coaching.  You might consider doing both!  No matter what you choose, I look forward to talking with you about your situation.  Give me a call today to find out more!

Life’s Doors Mediation is proud to be a member of the Circle of Healing Arts!

Image courtesy of scottchan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net