- by lifesdoorsmediation
- in Abusive Relationships, accusations, agreements, anger, Attitude, balance, Bias, Child Custody, Children, Children of divorce, Co-parenting, Communication, Conflict, Coparenting, Coparenting Help Minnesota, Coping, Court Authorities, Courts, custody, Dads, Dads, Discover Your Piece LLC, divorce, Divorce Coaching, Divorce Education Minnesota, Divorce Nastiness, Divorce with Children, Divorced Parent Mentors, Ex Spouse, Family Court, Family Court System, family law, Fear, fighting, High conflict consulting, high conflict divorce, High Conflict U, joint custody, joint custody conflict, Minnesota Courts, Minnesota Divorce Help, Minnesota Divorce Professionals, Minnesota Family Law, Moms, Parent Coordinator, Parent Coordinators, Parenting, parenting after divorce, Parenting Consultants, Parenting Coordinators, parenting sytles, Parenting Time, Relationships, struggles, Toxic Relationships, Triggers, Unhealthy Relationships
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As someone who has been working for almost 20 years to help parents navigate the very choppy waters of family court, I get a fair amount of calls and emails from parents who feel overwhelmed with how off track their case has become. High conflict cases snowball into unimagineable craziness and parents desperately want […]
- by lifesdoorsmediation
- in Abuse, Abusive Relationships, Assertiveness, balance, Battered Women's Groups, Child Abuse, Child Custody, Conflict, Coparenting, Coparenting Help Minnesota, Coping, Court Authorities, Court Orders, custody, divorce, Divorce Coaching, Divorce Education Minnesota, Divorce Nastiness, Divorce with Children, Domestic Abuse, Domestic Violence, families, Family Court, Family Court System, Fear, fighting, high conflict divorce, Minnesota Divorce Professionals, Parent Coordinator, Parent Coordinators, parenting after divorce, Parenting Consultants, Parenting Coordinators, Parenting Time, self care, Single parenting, Toxic Relationships, Unhealthy Relationships
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I have a personal experience of domestic violence. I am just putting that out there so that people know that I know what I am talking about. I understand domestic violence from your perspective. I lived it. I escaped it. I moved beyond it, and I went through trying to prove it in Family Court. I learned a lot from it and that is why I want to help you learn from my experience. The goal here is to help others understand where it is going to be beneficial to you in Family Court and where it is not.
Let me first caution you that if you are in an abusive relationship, tell someone about it. Find someone you trust, a family member, or a friend, and tell them. Do not be ashamed or afraid to do so. It is the first step toward a better life. If you don’t have someone in your life that you can go to, find a domestic violence organization such as the Domestic Abuse Project, the Battered Women’s Coalition, Cornerstone, Sojourner Project, Alexandra House, The National Domestic Violence Hotline, or do you own search to find an organization near you. They will help you.
My second caution is to know that the above listed organizations will help you and encourage you to tell your abuse story to court authorities. That is important. I just caution you to know when it will help you and when it will hurt you so that you who should hear it and how to tell it in a way that really will help you. Knowledge is power. Domestic Violence groups want to help you, but they may not always know how best to apply it in the Family Court situation.
My third caution is that if you are going through a divorce from an abuser, tell your attorney as early in the process as possible. I know it is hard to do because of the shame involved, but this is important for your children’s sake. You have put your children first all these years so you need to be brave just a little longer and put it all out there. Ask for help from an advocate so that you can be your bravest now. It is very important.
My fourth caution is to make sure your attorney understands abuse and when to apply it to your case. Not all of them do. They have to use it for maximum effect. If they don’t, they are going to talk you into making some really bad choices, and sign on for things that are not in your best interests, for example, a Parenting Consultant or Coordinator. If your attorney is not presenting your case correctly, find one who will. The Domestic Violence groups should know attorneys who get it. I also review pleadings to see if an attorney is presenting that aspect of your case for your best interests. If your attorney would consult with me on domestic violence, I’d be happy to help with strategy, too. While I am not an attorney, I know when and where they can best use this piece of your divorce story, and protect you from getting stuck in a big mess.
When you have a history of domestic violence, you have spent all of your time living under a cloud of worrying about what the abuser wants. You have lived your life trying not to make him or her mad. You know the hell it brings when you make them mad. You are now conditioned to be hypervigilant, always reading the behavior of others in an effort to protect yourself. In Family Court, this hyper-vigilance can be misconstrued as mental illness on your part. For this reason, you need to do Family Court divorce and then be done with it. Get your judgement and decree, and then get out. Do not sign up for any court authority to manage your case. While you may think you need a professional to make decisions because you and your ex will never agree on matters related to the children, you are better off going with professionals who cannot coerce you into situations that will make you relive the abuse daily. Stay away from any professionals who can court order you to do things that will interfere with your parenting, and your healing process, and who may completely misread your actions. Any on-going Family Court actions put you at further risk of abuse, and will not benefit your children. Your best hope for healing and raising healthy children is to seek help from a therapist and/or domestic violence groups. You can move beyond domestic violence in your life, but you will not move past it in the horrific world of Family Court.
The most beneficial times to get your story across in Family Court:
With your attorney, from day one
Domestic Violence is a reason why your attorney should look out for you when trying to settle financial and property matters to ensure that you are not intimidated into giving away too much of what you are entitled to.
Also, many states have custody and parenting time laws in regards to proven domestic violence. While it is an uphill battle to get sole custody in the “group think” of family court, a world where everyone is equal and parents should share custody 50-50, there will never be a better time to go for sole custody and keep your family out of the court clutches than in your original divorce proceedings. Post decree it is nearly impossible to make any changes if you have not made the initial plea. Abusers do not think of their children’s best interest and so it is my opinion that you should not have joint custody with an abuser. That is the reason why many states have laws about this in the first place. However, if you find your lawyer is too wimpy about this issue, and many are, be careful with this. Many people are afraid to use the court as it is intended. This includes lawyers. If in doubt, get a second opinion. We do it with medical care and we should do it with lawyers, too, when it seems that they are not being an advocate for us. Tread carefully, but confidently, when you can prove your claims.
Also make sure to follow your gut instincts. Most domestic abuse victims know that they will never get their ex to work with them on important decisions regarding the children, but legal professionals give you false hope that your ex will change. Haven’t you hoped for this for years? You couldn’t make it happen and neither will they. Trust your gut.
With court professionals, post decree.
This part is tricky business. First off, in my opinion, you should avoid getting a “case manager” type of court professional assigned to your case. These would be Parenting Consultants and Coordinators, but may also be a Guardian ad Litem or something else. These roles are not helpful for Domestic Violence and often increase the hostility and interactions between you and the abuser, turning your life and your children’s lives into a nightmare.
I have seen many parents push the abuse claims, when they cannot prove it after the fact. As I said, the best time to prove it and use it is during the initial divorce proceeding. Post decree, there is little that can be done about it, especially by the court professional. I have sat in many trainings with professionals who say, “we don’t care about domestic violence”. Personally, they will tell you that they do care and wish there was no such thing, but professionally, there is nothing they can do about it. Nothing. There is no place to report domestic violence of an adult and no one who could do anything about it if there was. What would you expect them to do? You would think that they could, at the very least, keep the abuser away from you, but instead, the frequently force you to come together “for the children”. This shows just how little they care about domestic violence.
Police can act on domestic violence. The problem for you is that they are part of the criminal court system. Criminal courts will address it and can go so far as to put an abuser in jail. Family court has very little in the way of remedies for domestic violence of an adult. Keep that in mind. Not all court systems are the same. Family Court deals with custody, parenting time, and division of property. They do not deal with crime. Something else you need to know is that criminal courts will rarely deal with an issue when you are actively involved with Family Court for that issue. That is a big problem. Family Court sucks all issues into it over other courts. If a crime is committed related to domestic violence, it must be very blatant and beyond a reasonable doubt, to be prosecuted in criminal court. The emotional abuse and harassment of parenting time and legal custody matters typically falls to the Family Court to deal with. In their eyes, with joint custody, the parents have equal rights to the children and as such, are expected to “co-parent”. Rather than protect you from an abuser, the Family Court often brings you more interaction with the abuser because they have an expectation that you and the other parent will work together to raise your children.
What you can hope to achieve in Family Court in regards to domestic violence is direction on how to communicate and facilitate co-parenting. By telling your story, you can hope that a court authority will understand why you want little to do with the abuser, or why you are always worried about things that might happen because you have had to be hyper-vigilant for so many years, but there will not be much else that they can do for you. Many of them will ignore your claims entirely because the violence history is not relative to the role that they are fulfilling to bring about co-parenting. Even when a professional does believe you, you have to take action about it. Nothing comes on its own. You have to be the advocate for your healing and for the well being of your children. Here’s why it is your battle to fight, for example:
Parenting Consultants/Coordinators are like a mini court. You agree to use them to settle parenting disputes instead of going to the court. The Parenting Consultant/Coordinator is now basically the judge of your family to settle disputes about the children. In court, you must file a motion in order for a judge to make a decision. That is how it works. Courts are not just sitting around watching people and waiting for something to happen so they can jump in uninvited and decide an issue. In the Parenting Consultant process, you must ask the PC to make a decision and you should also give them an idea of how you want the matter resolved. This is similar to how you ask a court to decide an issue for you. You lay out the area of disagreement, tell the court how you want to see it decided, and ask the court to decide it. Since a Parenting Consultant is a mini court on their own, you want to approach issues the same way. The difference is that Parenting Consultants don’t have to know or understand the law. They are deciding the law of your family as is spelled out in your court orders, or agreements that the two parents have created over the years. In their role they are also supposed to “assist” the parents in co-parenting.
When you tell a parenting consultant about a history of abuse, you need to take it further than just telling your story. When you tell a court authority a story, they can really just determine if they believe it or not. They could also, I suppose, try to make the abuse stop, but when you tell your PAST story, to them, it has already stopped. Again, there is nothing they can do about something that happened in the past.
I see victims who have learned that domestic violence has an impact on custody and so they continue to tell their story repeatedly, hoping to get some kind of action out of the court authority, whether it is a PC or a judge, but you need to know:
- the difference between criminal court vs family court
- the role of the court professional on your case
- what are the expectations of co-parenting in joint custody
- the differences between sole and joint custody
- the differences between physical custody and legal custody
- how you have to take action for yourself and your children
- what is parenting time vs custody
- constant court interactions interfere with your healing process and that is not in the best interests of your child
In Family Court, the main reason that courts stay involved with a family is out of concern for the children. They care about the conflict because of the effect it has on the children. They don’t necessarily care about you. When a childless couple divorces, there is no continuing involvement from the court. If you are a victim of domestic violence, you need to look out for yourself. You can do this with the help of therapists and advocates who understand what you are going through and what you have been through. If you are going to tell your story in Family Court, it needs to be done strategically. You have to learn to tell your story in terms of making a request for a remedy, but also to balance if that remedy is doable under the parameters of the court orders in your case. I wish I could say with any confidence that you someone you can turn to for help in Family Court, but I can’t. Even when the court authority understands domestic violence, the professional’s role, and the court orders, dictate how they make decisions. It is going to be up to you to explain what it is you are asking for and why. Your history of abuse may come into play if you want separate meetings from the other parent, or if you want to put limits on communication between you and the other parent. It definitely comes into effect if you plan to file for sole custody, however, a Parenting Consultant cannot change custody so you don’t need to try and hammer that home to the PC. You will also need to understand how professionals must try to balance your needs as a victim with joint custody and co-parenting. It is my opinion that you will do better outside of the Family Court system, but when you have to use the system, do so strategically.
- by lifesdoorsmediation
- in Abuse, Abusive Relationships, accusations, Being punished, Bias, Child Abuse, Child Custody, Children, Co-parenting Classes Minnesota, Coparenting, Coparenting Help Minnesota, Court Authorities, Court Orders, custody, Divorce Coaching, Divorce Education Minnesota, Divorce Nastiness, Domestic Abuse, Domestic Violence, Ex Spouse, Family Court, Family Court System, judges, Parenting Time, Physical Abuse, Toxic Relationships
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After years of parents trying to expose the detriment to children in the Family court System, the news media is finally willing to cover this! I reached out to the news media after my own abusive case, but the media said, “This is not news”. Luckily, I proved my case in court.
Many other parents (moms and dads, I might add) have also tried to get media coverage, to no avail. I am not sure why the media is finally covering abuse and parenting consultants in the past year or so, but let us thank God for the blessing of exposure now!
Excerpts from http://www.safekidsinternational.org/
- by lifesdoorsmediation
- in Abuse, Abusive Relationships, Child Custody, Children, Co-parenting Classes Minnesota, Conflict, Coparenting, Coparenting Help Minnesota, Coping, Court Authorities, custody, Distrust, divorce, Divorce classes, Divorce Classes Minnesota, Divorce Coaching, Divorce Education Minnesota, Divorce Nastiness, Domestic Abuse, Domestic Violence, Emotional Expense, Ex Spouse, Faith, Family Court, Family Court System, High conflict consulting, High Conflict Diversion Program Minnesota, judges, Life Coaching, Life's Doors Mediation, negativity, Parent Coordinator, Parenting, Parenting Classes, Parenting Consultants, Parenting Time, personal growth, positive thinking, Relationships, self care, Systems, Toxic Relationships, Uncategorized, Unhealthy Relationships
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As a Life and Divorce coach, I am sometimes misunderstood and misinterpreted. Over the years, I brought myself out of a deep dark place and into a life of joy and happiness. I have successfully shown many others how to turn their backs on the darkness and move into their own piece of happiness, focusing on finding their way to the life they dream of. I’ve been able to help many people, but not everyone. Some people want to stay stuck. If an individual wants to stay stuck in something bad, there is nothing I can do. There is also nothing a psychologist, lawyer, or judge can do either. They may try, but ultimately they will have to leave you behind and move onto the people who will work with them to get where they want to be.
I work mostly with people in the Family Court System. These are parents who find themselves in a high conflict divorce situation, getting beaten to a pulp (legally) by the confounding judge, who is unable to understand what the heck it is that drives you to do the things you do.
I understand domestic violence. I understand parental alienation (which is not the same as Parental Alienation Syndrome). I understand Domestic Violence Organizations. I understand Father’s Rights Groups. I understand the parent who lives under a microscope for years. I understand the legal community. I understand the psychologists. I understand a lot of what happens in Family Court. I understand how people got into the mess they have gotten themselves into. Understanding all these things does not mean that I want you to focus on them.
I can lose someone’s attention and respect when I tell them that they and their attorney are putting too much emphasis on domestic violence in their family court case. I also anger people when I tell them that parental alienation syndrome is not real. That statement can be confused with not believing that parental alienation happens. I know it happens. I have even experienced it for myself. It happened to my youngest son and I, at the hands of a manipulative father, but my son and I are closer than ever now because I always trusted him to know truth and to figure out what was happening. I did what I could, left alone what I could not do, and put my energy into waiting for my son to be ready to restore our relationship. I had faith that I had raised him in a way in which he would see truth, and now, we are closer than ever.
It was a long way from being blind sided by the nastiness of Family Court to getting to where I am today.
More than believing in parental alienation, I believe that co-dependence and Legal Abuse Syndrome are likely driving the on-going family court nightmares. A good psychologist should tell you that as long as there is one strong parent, your child can overcome the trauma, regardless of what your ex throws at you. I have seen this to be true. In my own case, I stopped being the victim of domestic violence and stopped adding to the drama. I wanted a better life for my children and myself. That meant that I would have to pull myself up by my bootstraps, get healthy, and work with the professionals in the Family Court System on their level. They were not going to listen to me if I only spoke to them when I was at the point of hysterics. I was never heard when I screamed and swore at them, and you won’t get far with that either. They were not going to allow me to educate them. These were educated professionals and if I was so smart, how come I couldn’t put an end to this conflict in my family? Why did they have to make decisions about my children? They could not understand and I could not make them understand. I found them to be obstacles to moving on with my life. They were also, definitely, hindering my children’s development. I found that they were not the answer and they should not be my focus. Instead, my focus should be on myself, and my children. That is when I began to turn that ship around, and in doing so, I freed myself and my children of those professionals forever. No more obstacles. No more hindrances.
This is what I do for my clients as well. Please don’t think that this can happen overnight. It is a process. I help my clients through that process, too. Not every consult turns into a client though. Some people think I am nuts and they never come back. They do not want to give up that crutch of family court. That is sad because most people come to me due to their frustration with how the Family Court is not helping the situation, but is instead, making it much, much worse and they don’t want to refocus there energy anywhere else. It is a lot of work, and it is painful and ugly to peel back the layers of you, and so some people cannot stomach it.
Think about this for a minute. Maybe it will make sense to you and maybe it won’t. I can only put it out there and hope that you can make some sense out of it. When you are a victim of domestic violence and look to the family court to help you with it, that is your focus. If you keep focusing there, and seek professionals who will understand, that focus is taking your time, energy and money away from having the life you want. You may think that you cannot have the life you want, but I am sorry to tell you, it is not true. You are the one keeping your life and your children’s lives in the family court. Your ex may stay there, and he or she may use it against you, but if you really get yourself strong, stay confident in your truths, and put your focus outside of the court, you will see miracles happen. The people I see who beat this system at its own game, refocus on their life and their children and slowly shift their thoughts and energies away from their nasty ex and the nasty court people, are the ones who succeed in getting their story told. The people who latch on to their domestic violence experience or try to expose parental alienation will find that they ramp up the conflict, get more deeply embedded in the Family Court System, and feel more and more stuck over time. I am not saying that domestic violence or parental alienation should be tolerated or ignored. I am not saying that at all. What I am saying is you cannot push those memes the entire time because there are only certain ways to successfully use those arguments in family court.
Not everything involved with the conflict is related to domestic abuse or parental alienation. Some things are communication issues and related to how you speak to or correspond with you ex. Some issues are related to those Mars-Venus, male-female issues, too. Some issues have to do with the stage of development your child is in, as well, and so you need to really consider what is driving the conflict for each particular issue that arises. You cannot blame everything on domestic violence or parental alienation because the professionals don’t always have any recourse.
This post may anger some people and intrigue others. It’s hard to really explain it all in one blog post! If you are interested in finding out how to free yourself of the family court, as much as possible, please contact me. I’d love to consult with you to tell you more. There is nothing more rewarding for me than to see a client who grasps these concepts and takes back their life!
- by lifesdoorsmediation
- in Abusive Relationships, anger, assessments, Child Custody, Children, Co-parenting Classes Minnesota, Communication, Conflict, Coparenting, Coparenting Help Minnesota, custody, Distrust, divorce, Divorce Coaching, Divorce Education Minnesota, Divorce Nastiness, Emotional Expense, Ex Spouse, Family Court, Family Court System, fighting, High conflict consulting, Life's Doors Mediation, Parenting, Parenting Classes, Parenting Time, personal growth, Relationships, Single parenting, Toxic Relationships, Triggers, Trust, Uncategorized, Unhealthy Relationships
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Have you had your fill of Family Court? Are you tired of the battle, and think or hope that your ex is sick of it, too?
Life’s Doors Mediation is looking for parents who have been at war for too long and want to find a new way to parent, whether that means co-parenting, parallel parenting, or something else that we come up with. I have been quite successful in changing the direction of parents who are looking to the family court for answers. I’d like to help you.
If you live in Minnesota, please give me a call. The first 2 parents who call me will get a free assessment to see if we can make a positive change to your situation. I will even contact your ex to see if they would be willing to call a truce. After that, I will work with you separately or together, as needed without charge. You have nothing to lose, but a lot to gain. Your children have a lot to gain also.
Can you be a little vulnerable and let go of the family court crutch? Find out today, 763-566-2282. You can also email me at email@example.com.
- by lifesdoorsmediation
- in Abuse, Abusive Relationships, assessments, Bad guys, Being punished, Bias, Child Abuse, Co-parenting Classes Minnesota, Coparenting, Coparenting Help Minnesota, Coping, Court Authorities, custody, divorce, Divorce classes, Divorce Classes Minnesota, Divorce Education Minnesota, Domestic Abuse, Domestic Violence, Ex Spouse, Family Court, Fear, fighting, Good Guys, High conflict consulting, Parent Coordinator Training, Parent Coordinators, Parenting, Parenting Classes, Parenting Consultant Training, Parenting Consultants, Parenting Time, Physical Abuse, Relationships, Single parenting, Toxic Relationships, Trust, Unhealthy Relationships
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When I created my first website, I had a page called, “Rate Your PC”. My plan was to collect information on all Parenting Consultants in Minnesota so we could find out if there were any good ones, and keep the good ones in business while weeding out the bad ones. At the time, my attitude about being a PC was, “Hell NO!” I NEVER wanted to inflict that kind of damage on a family. Period.
After working as a coach, it turned out that most of my clients came to me for help dealing with their parenting consultant and hostile co-parent. I blogged about PCs and people would find me because of that. After a while, I decided that I really needed to write a book because all of the questions were the same: “How do you get rid of a parenting consultant (coordinator)?” “Why won’t they do something about my ex?” “How did I become the bad guy in all of this?” “Can you file a complaint against a PC?” All of these questions and more are covered in my book, “The Parenting Consultant Nightmare”
As part of my research for the book, I attending the training to be a Parenting Consultant. Don’t think for a moment that my stomach wasn’t queasy. It was. I attended the Parenting Time expediter training as well, even though it was facilitated by my former PTE and PC. I think she was much more intimidated than I was. Because the training was pretty good, I did decide to offer these services. It’s something I struggle with all the time. Is it the right thing to do? If you have any feedback on the question, I hope you’ll either comment after the post, or send in a contact form through the website. Many clients tell me they want me to offer those services because I “get it”. Still, if I am their coach, I cannot be their PC. Anyway, having attended the training, and offering PC services, made me rethink that “Rate your PC” page. Not because I felt hypocritical in collecting the data, and not because I have become “one of them”, but because I realized it was not giving me what I was looking for.
Being a friend to parents who deal with high conflict co-parenting situations is not easy. I can help you with many things, and I have succeeded in empowering people into making the system work better for them, but I cannot make the situation go away completely. If you have a co-parent who is always on the attack, they are going to stay on the attack, however, if you are empowered, their interest in you tends to decrease significantly. The less reactive you are, the less they continue to try. So I have had to rethink and shift gears as I learn more about the issue from the viewpoint of the parenting consultants or parenting coordinators, and what works for you and what doesn’t and have changed my approach somewhat. I decided to stop collecting that data and had good reasons to stop collecting it.
One reason was that I did not get any good reviews. If anyone has had a parenting consultant or parent coordinator on your case, that makes sense. You would not expect to find anyone who knows how to manage these high conflict cases. But are there really no good ones? Typically, people are willing to take time reporting a negative, but rarely will report a positive. I’d like to find out there are some good ones available, but it did not look like anyone would let me know that aspect.
Another reason I quit collecting data is because people are afraid. They are not going to turn in that information unless they know me and trust me. Let’s face it, those of you in high conflict cases involving a PC just do not trust anyone. You end up wondering where the information goes and who does it go to and worry that you may not stay anonymous? My clients do learn they can trust me, and that I am not “one of them (PCs)” so through my daily work I can learn who the good and bad PCs are. Again, no good PCs to report, but if you had someone who actually decreased the conflict, why would you be looking for a website, blog or coach to tell that story to? Most likely, you would just go about living life, quite happily, I might add. I still like to hold out hope that there are some out there.
Since I no longer collect information about PCs, I want to share with you a website where you can write a review of your parenting consultant, parenting coordinator or parenting time expediter. It has been around for a while, but the owner of the site is not really going through those court issues anymore, from what I understand, and so I don’t think the owner does much with the site anymore. That makes it harder to find when searching on the internet. You can help move it up in the searches by adding reviews. The reviews are listed as a Parenting Time Expediter directory, but most PTEs also work as PCs.
For anyone who wants to write a review of their court professional, please do so on that directory site. I think it would be an excellent resource for parents who need to choose a PC or PTE, whether the first time appointing one, or if the old one has left the case and they need to appoint someone new. If you have anyone to report on, please do it at:
I hope that we can raise awareness about that site so that people can come away with options for who to appoint and not to appoint. Remember, it is important to share who the good guys are. It’s not just about the bad guys!
- by lifesdoorsmediation
- in Abuse, Abusive Relationships, Child Abuse, Co-parenting Classes Minnesota, Coparenting, Coparenting Help Minnesota, Coping, Court Authorities, custody, divorce, Divorce classes, Divorce Classes Minnesota, Divorce Education Minnesota, Domestic Abuse, Domestic Violence, Ex Spouse, Family Court, Fear, fighting, Healthy Relationships, Parenting, Physical Abuse, Relationships, Single parenting, Toxic Relationships, Triggers, Trust, Unhealthy Relationships
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As someone who experienced the harsh world that is High Conflict Divorce, first hand, I have been helping others navigate the process for as far back as 2000. I was never prepared for the sheer lunacy of the family court system and, like most, was waist deep in it before I got a clue as to how unhelpful it was. I often had no recourse and even if there was some action that could be taken, I often did not have enough money to pay for an attorney, at the exact time I needed an attorney.
I have seen the shock on faces of those who have not experienced the system. When you tell your story to the lay person, they often stare in disbelief. They cannot fathom that your children are being treated the way they are and no one will step in to protect them.
I am in an interesting position because I have some connections in the legal field. Plus, I work with high conflict parents. The stories are similar, and I know that these parents tell the truth. Truth is a matter of perception and it can be misinterpreted or exaggerated, but the pain that high conflict parents experience is real. My belief is that if we can support those parents, no matter what anyone in the system perceives truth to be, we would then be able to help these families, but the problem is that very few in the system actually understand it.
I have had to work very hard to share what I see and what I believe. I work very hard because I am not an attorney, and I am not a licensed psychologist. I do not have the credentials to make those in authority listen to me, except for a rare few. The thing I have is personal experience, and a way of explaining things so that people can understand. They may never be able to understand completely, but they can get some of it, and that is what is important. Every little bit helps.
The most important thing though, is to help you get deeper into you, who you are, and why you have found yourself in this hellish place of the family court nightmare. So I want to share with you a commonality that High Conflict Parents have. This has been a common theme with almost every parent I have worked with. You have all had to live through having a parent who was an alcoholic, or a parent who was abusive, and there are some other common threads out there, but for the most part, you are an Adult Child of Dysfunction. You grew up in that relationship and when you grew up that is the relationship you knew. That is what seemed familiar to you, and the result was that you picked a mate who would repeat for you the relationship you had with one, or both of your parents.
When I learned this about myself, it was life altering. Wow! I was excited! You mean, I don’t have to be this way? I don’t have to feel lousy all the time because of people who suck the life out of me and give me nothing, but pain in return? I did not give into this very easily until the light bulb went off in my head and I was ready to look within.
A couple of years before my light bulb moment, a therapist had told me that people choose a relationship just like their parents had. I was perplexed and confused by what she said. My husband was an alcoholic, but my father was not. In my mind, I equated the similarity in my husband and my relationship with that of my parents’ relationship, but was not seeing the role reversal. It played out in my head numerous times. I did not choose the same because my dad is not an alcoholic, I told myself. The more I thought about it, the more I thought that therapist must have been crazy to suggest such a thing because my dad rarely touched a drop of liquor. But, finally, one day, it hit me! OMG, I did choose the same relationship, only I was my dad, my ex was my mom. That is when the healing began.
I don’t want to go into a long drawn out story about my mother’s drinking, and the affect it had on me, but I will tell you that I had no clue about what was not normal in a family who keeps secrets, speaks to each other through filters, or manipulates people into doing things for them or against another family member. I was surrounded by people like these. It was in my family. It was the same with friends. It was a learned behavior, a behavior learned from birth, no less. Birth! If this is what I was surrounded with, and what I learned by example, and I never got to experience a healthy relationship, then how could I know any different? How could I not have that experience repeat itself, especially in a system that is ripe for a higher level of that secrecy, lying and manipulation? This system wants to give you a court order saying that you will co-parent, but they give you no direction on what exactly that means. Court authorities lay this in your lap and basically say, “Now go co-parent for the good of your children”. Then, when you cannot accomplish this feat, the torture begins. You can never win at this game because they are asking you to do something you have never done, seen, or heard of in your life and you simply don’t know how to do it.
You try as hard as you can to do as they say and then get criticized. You are not even sure why, most of the time. You just know this is how it has always been. One person tries to hurt the other, the other person walks on eggshells trying not to “make them mad” and you still end up having everyone angry at you anyway. So how do we rectify this situation? I suspect that we cannot rectify it in the court setting because they will never be able to walk in your shoes and you will never be able to walk in their shoes. You cannot know what you cannot know! What is worse, we have no idea if the professionals on the case have their own Adult Children of Dysfunction issues or not. If they do, they will probably never go after the bully because they, too, learned to walk on eggshells and not make waves. You cannot know what you cannot know.
If no one ever teaches you what a healthy relationship is, you will never find one. As soon as you try, it would feel as foreign to you as if you were in a foreign land without a translator. You may find a table full of wonderfully kind people and sit down with them, hoping to fit in, but feel lost. And if you saw a table of people who speak your language, even if they were very mean and uncaring people, you would feel more at ease with them. At least in that instance, you understand them, and it is comfortable to you. You don’t have to try hard to fit in because you have always been surrounded by those types of people.
Undoing this damage from the dysfunctional environment you grew up in is not easy. First, you have to be made aware of how unhealthy the people around you are. You have to let that sink in and realize it is true. You have to learn this new way of doing things and then you have to practice at it. It will not happen overnight. It takes a lot of practice to break free and you also have to step over the fear of the unknown because again, you cannot know, what you cannot know.
If you are involved in a high conflict divorce, and just cannot understand why you cannot get out of it, I’d like you to consider the possibility that you are an Adult Child of an Alcoholic/Dysfunction. It may not apply to you, but it may lead you to other areas of understanding. Check out these resources:
There are many more. Do your own research.
Here are a few boo
ks that I highly recommend:
- by lifesdoorsmediation
- in Abuse, Abusive Relationships, Attitude, Co-parenting Classes Minnesota, Coparenting, Coparenting Help Minnesota, Coping, divorce, Divorce classes, Divorce Classes Minnesota, Divorce Education Minnesota, Fear, fighting, Healthy Relationships, High Conflict Diversion Program Minnesota, inspiration, judgement, Movie Clips, Parenting, Parenting Classes, Parenting Time, Relationships, Shining, Single parenting, Toxic Relationships, Unhealthy Relationships, Video
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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!
- by lifesdoorsmediation
- in Co-parenting Classes Minnesota, Coparenting, Coparenting Help Minnesota, Coping, custody, Dating, divorce, Divorce classes, Divorce Classes Minnesota, Divorce Education Minnesota, Ex Spouse, Family Court, Fear, High Conflict Diversion Program Minnesota, Life's Doors Mediation, Mediation, Parent Coordinators, Parenting, Parenting Classes, Parenting Time, Relationships, Triggers, Trust, Unhealthy Relationships
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org
- by lifesdoorsmediation
- in Being punished, Coparenting, Coparenting Help Minnesota, Coping, Court Authorities, custody, divorce, Divorce Education Minnesota, Ex Spouse, Family Court, Fear, fighting, Life's Doors Mediation, Parent Coordinators, Parenting, Parenting Consultants, Parenting Time, Relationships, Toxic Relationships
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Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Things appear to be happening all across the nation with regards to the unconstitutionality of many things concerning the Family Court System. Pennsylvania has banned Parenting Coordinators (Called Parenting Consultants in Minnesota). I have shared that info with a trusted attorney looking into how that could be accomplished in other states, too. Michelle MacDonald has filed her lawsuit against Judge David Knutson in Federal court, and is also seeking relief from the US Supreme Court, asking that courts correct injustices as swiftly as they inflict it. And now, we have Louisiana asking questions about court jurisdiction in regards to property matters. It is all very intriguing, but leaves this write feeling very hopeful about a new future with the way family courts decide divorce and custody matters, or more accurately, how they pass off and fail to do anything these days, leaving parents and children in limbo, or at the mercy of a third party court authority with now rules and a whole lot of power over parents and their children.
This one snuck by me. I did not realize that New Jersey has also banned PCS! It is coming folks. A new kind of freedom. I hope it is in time for some of you to get your children back so you can repair the damage done, like what happened to this parent and this parent.
As you may or may not know, I wrote a book that was self published last year, “The Parenting Consultant Nightmare”. I have recently had some attention regarding this book. Last Saturday, Michelle MacDonald, asked me to give a talk to her non profit Family Innocence, about my book and how it came to be. My talk was well received. The event was video taped so as soon as they get it up on the Family Innocence website, I will cross post it here. I will also publish the speech on my blog, so stay tuned. Some lawyers and a Judge are reading my book right now. If you’d like to buy a copy, it is available on Amazon and Kindle.
Keep an eye out boys and girls! It is just a matter of time. Can you feel it? Miracles do happen and prayers do get answered!
© 2010-2017 by Susan Carpenter and Life’s Doors Mediation. All rights reserved
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- Leavers vs. the Left from lessonsfromtheendofamarriage August 1, 2017
- Thoughts From High Conflict U August 1, 2017
- Trouble With a Parenting Coordinator? July 11, 2017
- Free E-Course: Parenting Time Expediter vs Parenting Consultant-What’s the Difference June 9, 2017
- Living Rent Free in Your Head September 4, 2015