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Leavers vs. the Left from lessonsfromtheendofamarriage

This piece, about what happens to the people that leave relationships abruptly and/or with deception, caused quite a stir on Facebook recently. The comments fell into two camps: “Thank you for validating my experience” and “I’m the one who left my marriage and I’m tired of being painted as the bad guy.” The reaction got me […]

via The End of a Relationship: The Leavers and The Left — Lessons From the End of a Marriage

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A Poem for You

Image courtesy of Clare Bloomfield / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Clare Bloomfield / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

If I Had My Child to Raise Over Again

If I had my child to raise all over again,

I’d build self-esteem first, and the house later.

I’d finger paint more, and point the finger less.

I would do less correcting and more connecting.

I’d take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes.

I would care to know less and know to care more.

I’d take more hikes and fly more kites.

I’d stop playing serious, and seriously play.

I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars.

I’d do more hugging and less tugging.

I’d see the oak tree in the acorn more often.

I would be firm less often, and affirm much more.

I’d model less about the love of power,

And more about the power of love.

by

              Diane Loomans

Friday Song Post May 9, 2014

You know I cannot resist posting songs of meaning. Enjoy this song from Thousand Foot Krutch!

Saving Face

Image courtesy of Ambrose at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Ambrose at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

After divorce, some people play the victim.  It garners them attention and sympathy from others and helps them explain, in their own mind, that they are not at fault for the divorce.

Oddly enough, even though all US states are no fault divorce states, it doesn’t seem to matter.  Fault or no fault, divorce can be deeply wounding to someone’s ego.  In order to show the world (and make themselves feel better), they have to portray a false reality that their ex is to blame.  They will accuse their ex of having an affair, being mentally ill or turn it around in some other way.  They may tell others that they initiated the divorce instead of telling the truth, that it was their ex who initiated.

Typically, these individuals fear being alone and will enter into a new relationship quickly, long before they are ready.  They have done nothing to come to terms with the divorce or take the time to heal.  They grab hold of the first person who comes along and buys their story.  It helps them show the world: Hey, I am OK.  See?  Someone loves me.  That other person had something wrong with them.  That’s all.  I am not a bad person.  See how quickly someone found me?

The new relationship develops during their grieving process about the divorce.  These quick rebound relationships can interfere with, and may even  halt that grieving process all together.  Because they met their new significant other during the grieving process, they may have shared with their new mate how terrible you are, in order to explain their misery.  The problem is that they will have to keep this story going for the duration of the relationship.  This makes things very confusing to an ex spouse who has to try to co-parent with the person who is trying to keep a storyline going.

The ex spouse will struggle to understand why their child’s parent hates them so and cannot let go of it.  If you are the ex who is constantly lied about, you may become defensive.  You may also be very hurt and feel guilty about the divorce when you have to watch your children’s parent carry on with so much anger,  while you try to take the high road, as they continue to tells lies.  You may hope that they will come to terms with the divorce so that your co-parenting relationship will improve.  Unfortunately, you cannot make things better because it really is not about you.

This is all about your ex wanting to save face.  What does it mean to save face?  To put it simply, to preserve one’s dignity.  It has to do with how one sees him or herself and how he or she thinks the world sees them.  If a person finds divorce to be a highly negative reflection on their worth as a person, and is deeply wounded that their spouse, who promised to love, honor and cherish them no longer loves them, they often cannot see divorce as anything other than  an acknowledgment  that they are unlovable,  and a failure.

As the years go by, you may be shocked at how petty your co-parent is and stunned by their refusal to sit in the same room with you for the children’s extra curricular activities, doctor appointments and even mediation to settle a dispute about the children.  Try not obsessing about changing the other parent, and do not make yourself a door mat and try to appease them in an effort to build a better relationship.  If the other parent is saving face, nothing that you do will change the situation.  It is all about keeping their secrets safe.  Avoiding you, and making you out to be the bad guy,  is the basis of their new relationship.  They will move heaven and earth to keep the story going.

If the avoiding parent starts to repair the relationship with you, their new partner may start to see all of the lies and they cannot risk being exposed.   People who live a life based on lies will never risk a second breakup.  The first one devastated them.  Because they never took pause to heal from that, another rejection would be unbearable.  Eventually, the new partner may start to see that the story they have been told does not make sense, and your ex may possibly have to face their biggest fear, but again, you cannot change them, and it is not your responsibility to save them.

So what do you tell your kids when the other parent spreads lies and acts crazy?  Tell your kids the truth.  Tell them that you would like a better relationship with their mom/dad, and it is not possible right now.  Tell them that you do not understand why the other parent acts that way, but that you love them and will always be there for them no matter what. You may also want to tell them that you feel sorry for the other parent’s pain and hope that one day they will find a way to work through it.  That is all you have to say.  Then you must commit yourself to taking the high road and doing the best job of parenting that you can.

Hostile co-parenting relationships are not helped by seeking revenge or telling the other side what they need to do to make things better.  You are the last person they will take advice from.  Sometimes the best you can do is keep your own house in order and choose a healthier relationship for yourself, and leave your ex to battle their own demons.

Success Story!?

Well, praise be to God.  After many years, and many parents trying and failing to get the news media to do a story on parenting consultants, a couple of brave Moms were able to finally shine a spotlight on the process.  Information is power and so I do call this a success story.  The journalist also interviewed Karen Irvin, a long time PC, and I suppose they had to do so in order to be fair, but that seemed to put the criticism back on the parents more than the process itself.

Personally, having experience on both sides of the process, I know that there is enough blame to go around.  Parents can become quite hostile with one another.  That is a problem.  However, there is the problem of having a process that takes money away from the families who need it and having no way to get out of that process if you find it does not help your situation or it turns out to be much more expensive than you had anticipated.

The news story says that parenting consultant contracts are for two years.  I still hear from a multitude of people that have no end date in the contract or court order.  Much of what is wrong in the system is that the system does not educate itself on the latest recommendations, nor do they require any special education for parenting consultants.  It is available, but it is not required.  As Karen Irvin said, “We’ve developed a two-day training that we think should be four days, but I don’t know that we could get people to a four day training.” I’d like to challenge that thinking because many of these same people are willing to attend a three-day divorce camp!

Parents do share some of the responsibility for how bad the relationships are because there are times the PC is used as a weapon and just the presence of the court authority overseeing your life can invite nit-picky battles that probably would not happen without the presence of a court authority and the false sense of power that provides.  But the court would be wise to put in place some on-going training requirements and also to adopt standard language for a pc order that includes a time limit either across the board or an agreed upon term determined by the parties at the time of the court order.  Plus, I want to see attorneys required to inform clients that the court cannot order a parenting consultant if a party does not agree to have one.  That does not happen very often.

I do have some things coming that I think will help the situation.  I am just not at the point where I can make my announcements yet.  Just know that some things are coming…soon.

Watch the news video and let me know what you think.  Did this new story help to raise awareness?

http://www.clipsyndicate.com/video/play/3898036

:-( Sad News to Report


I am very sad to share the news I am going to share with you.  As soon as I saw the headline, I wondered if it was the same country star I had written about in a previous post.  I am very sad to say that it was.

The prolonged court battles take quite a tool on people.  I wish the court would know how much damage it really does.  I wish I had had a chance to speak to Mindy McCready.  It may not have had made any difference though.  There are some people who fall into addictions and cannot be helped, at least not without facing the addiction demon first.  
You will hear Mindy’s story and I already can see that the press is making it all about drug and alcohol issues and downplaying the effects of the family court nightmare.  I do not know which was a problem first.  All I know is this woman hurt and nothing the family court did helped those children.  Those children now have no opportunity to know their mother.
I have said before, I don’t have all the answers.  What I do know is how custody battles can shred people and destroy lives.  Liars win and protective parents are misunderstood and misjudged.
God bless all of you readers who struggle with this on a daily basis.  By the grace of God, I made it through.  I knew that because of the knowledge I had that I had to help people.  I swore to God that if he brought me and my children through, I would do just that.  If you are reaching the end of your rope, hold on and reach out to someone who will help you.  Please call me and let’s take stock of your situation and try to turn it around.  I really am in your corner and I know what it is like.  I am not one of “them”.





Like a Fly on the Wall


Every once in a while I hear a song that sounds perfect for the high conflict co-parenting situation and my own metamorphosis from victim to strong outspoken advocate.  These lyrics grabbed me.  See what you think if you apply them to your own situation.

If you could just see it all just like a fly on the wall, would you be able to accept what you can’t control?

The fights are exhausting and frightening, this I do know.  Can you start to separate your life from the high conflict court mind control and time that you hold with your children and not let it in?  Sometimes, we create our own prison.







Reflections From the Coach


My business is evolving and because of all of the recent opportunities coming my way, I have not had time to blog.

There has been a lot going on with Life’s Doors Mediation.  I have kept my mediation business separate from the coaching that I do because both entities operate much differently and when I started out, I was judged harshly about things I posted on the blog.  There were even times when attorneys would dissuade their clients from attending mediation with me.  I was lacking the confidence to stand my ground at that time.  That is no longer true.  I am leaning toward putting both pieces back together again.  There is now a third piece, as well.

I sometimes struggle with my place in between people who are suffering and being involved in the Family Court System.  The parents are the ones I am most concerned about because the system is massive and can fend for itself.  No matter what happens outside the system, it will survive and evolve in the same way my business does.  I have no doubt that my business will survive because of the people I work with.  When they get spit on by the system, they need someone to turn to.  Often, the insights and support I provide gives them a place to go away from the court.  I offer a start to healing and building a new life.  I cannot offer them complete freedom from court if they have an ex who simply wants to attack them.  I cannot stop or fix their ex.  What I can do is offer them someone who will listen to them.

I am reflecting today because the family courts are much worse than they were when I went through court.  Custody is denied to parents who try to protect their children.  If one does not embrace the idea of co-parenting and honor the other parent’s role as a parent, the court will devastate you.  It is difficult to honor the other parent when they have abused you.  I want to impress upon you that family court starts with the idea that children need both of their parents.  Those who try to interfere with parenting time for any reason must prove endangerment. By that I mean, proving physical harm.  If you cannot prove that, you stand no chance of keeping the children away from the other parent and with good reason.  Parents are parents and should have the right to be with their children.  I do not want to go too in depth because I know there are cases where children have been taken away from a good parent because the parent was misjudged and misunderstood through out the process.  In cases like those, if you examine what happened to those parents, you can see where the parent went astray and where the officials involved with them failed them and their children.

This is not a system to trifle with.  I can help you navigate this system and get what you need and get out and stay out, if I get to you early in the process.  If the damage is already done, I can help you keep things from getting any worse and learning how to use the resources available to you in the way they were meant to be used.  This helps you keep court intrusions to a minimum.

When you read any of my old blog posts, take them with a grain of salt.  The family court system is an ever changing animal and what works today may not work tomorrow.  I am not an attorney or a licensed psychologist.  I am someone who understands the system from both sides.  Please tread very carefully when you seek help from the system.  It is rare that you will find help, peace or justice there.  Do not be the one to invite them into your life or your children’s life.  If you feel stuck in the system, I would love to meet with you and review the path of how you got there.  Where ever possible, we will look for other resources for you so that you can disengage from the system.  The longer you push the court system for help, the greater the risk that you will lose parenting time.  You have nothing to lose by consulting with me, but if you continue to look to the court system for help, you might just lose time with your children.





The Parenting Consultant Nightmare is Now Available!





Its here.  It’s here!!!  Much later than I had hoped, but it is here!  Editing is a tedious process and I have learned that for future books, but hopefully that makes this title user friendly. 

I am not a lawyer and I am not a psychologist, but this book has tips you need to avoid a Parenting Consultant Nightmare for your family.  If you read it and think that your parenting consultant should read it, do not give it to them personally.  Email me with their info and I will make them aware of the book and encourage them to read it.  You might get in trouble with your pc for implying they do not know what they are doing.  Allow me to take the risk for you!

Also, tell anyone you know who is living in Family Court hell that there is a guide to parenting consultants now available.

Buy it today on Amazon or Create space





Clarity about the Parenting Consultant Nightmare




I am a little baffled when I reach out to people to make them aware of my book and they vehemently decline to have anything to do with it, thinking that it is promoting the use of Parenting Consultants or Parent Coordinators.  That is absolutely the opposite of what my point of publishing this book was all about.

Is everyone missing the word “nightmare” in the title?  It is called, “The Parenting Consultant Nightmare” for a reason.  I could have called it, “The Parenting Consultant Myth”, or “The Parenting Consultant Lie”, too.  The purpose of the book is to try to get to people before they sign on with a pc so that they know the reality of what having a meddling court authority in your life entails.  I also made the book a user guide to pcs because one reality is if you have a high conflict divorce situation, then you most likely have had a pc appointed.  Pcs are handed out by the family court, judges and promoted by attorneys like candy to a child.  Heavily promoted as “help” when they are anything but help!

Anyway, there seems to be a great deal of misunderstanding about my book, so let me clear that up right now.

I have been helping people in regards to the truth about Family Court for 15 years.  My own case was fed by family court and its authorities, even though we had little in the way of assets to fight over and very little money to spend in the family court, but because of the relationship between my ex and I, we slipped into the family court quicksand looking for remedies.  I learned a little too late that the only real remedy in family court is the equivalent of a prison cell.  If you go down the path of third party “neutral” problem solvers, your life is no longer your own and the remedy of a parenting consultant/coordinator appointment means that you lose control of the legal custody of your children.  That is what you give up when you sign up with a pc or even a guardian ad litem.

So why the book?  When I work with parents who have a pc that they cannot get removed from their case, they learn the realities of what has been imposed on their life and their children’s lives.  From someone who has experienced it firsthand, who is not an attorney, they can hear the truth about the trap in terms that you and I can understand, rather than the legal lingo that doesn’t make sense to most of us court outsiders.  I cannot help them get rid of a pc, but if I can get to people prior to the appointment of a pc, I do help them avoid signing up for that kind of hell, but if they already have the court order, the most I can do is help them minimize the effects in their life.

Usually, people come to me when they are at their wit’s end.  They are emotionally, physically and financially exhausted and they do not know where to turn.  Attorneys do not offer anything helpful at this point.  They just refer people to the pc or tell them it is what it is, deal with it, and send people away with a nice bill for the advice they gave.  They have no idea how overwhelming the whole process is for someone who just wants their right to parent their child back.  After some straight talk with me, they feel better and they have some clarity.  They might be angry that no one stopped them from signing an agreement appointing a parenting consultant/coordinator, but they finally feel heard and understood.  They are also, hopefully, empowered after talking to me, even for just a couple hours.  Everyone I have worked with has suggested that I become a pc, a lawyer or that I write a book.  I took their advice on two of those suggestions.

The last thing I ever expected in my life was to have the crazy eight year battle I had in the family court.  The last thing I ever expected, in any way, was to be a part of this crazy system as a career choice.  I set out on this journey knowing that it is my calling.  I got the call from God to use this knowledge and not to waste all the truth I had and experience received from the school of hard knocks that is the family court system.  This knowledge was given to me so that I would be an active participant in life and appreciate the gifts I had and teach others to choose not to waste their lives or their parenting stuck in the system.  There has absolutely been some divine intervention that put me on the right path.

Ten years ago, I never would have put my thoughts on a blog for the world to read.  That would have scared me to death.  But I knew I had to help people who would come into the system after me.  I wanted to avoid like the plague including the role of parenting consultant in my business, but then my clients begged me to reconsider.  They felt that because I knew how meddling most pcs were, I could offer the services of a parenting consultant of a different breed.  I took it to heart. I am what some would call the reluctant pc, but I do know it is necessary.  I am hoping to build my practice so that I can train more pcs to act responsibly in the role.  No meddling, just decision making. I am working with the family innocence project to find a new way to lift up our families, rather than tear them apart, even when they must choose divorce. Some relationships are toxic and you should be able to correct the wrong choice in a partner, but you also must be protected from the injustice of the family court system.  Now, the person who I am today, can write a book to offer help and hope to those stuck with communication tips and coping strategies.  That is what my book is, a guide for you and I have put it out there without fear of the ramifications of doing so.

So, from the beginning, my clients encouraged me to offer pc services.  I offer that, but also try to dissuade people from starting down that path.  If they already are court ordered to have a pc, then I will take that case on without all the meddling and nonsense that goes with it.

Clients also encouraged, well actually, begged me, to write a book about parenting consultants and I have.  I do not understand the comments people give me against the book, thinking it promotes parenting consultants/coordinators.  It absolutely does not.  Read it and count how many times I suggest that if you do not have a parenting consultant, not to ever agree to have one!

The only thing I have not done that people have begged me to do is to become an attorney.  I am happy with where I am at in life and career.  As an attorney I would have to “play ball” and respect judges and other attorneys, court authorities when I would not truly have respect for them.  I will not do that.  I will not support this system that destroys families and children in that way.  As a coach though, I can be the one person on your side.  The one person to bring sanity to an absolutely insane situation.  So that is why I do what I do.

Consider buying the book so that you can learn the truth about my book and why I do the things I do.  And stay tuned, more books are on the way, exposing more reality about the family court system.  Just in case you are wondering, I am not one of them.  If you want to know more about me and why I do what I do, give me a call!




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