Trish & her Family
Photo Credit: Kyley Faith Photography
Part 1: How did I get here?
Ever look at your life & wonder where it all went wrong?
Ever ask yourself "how did I get here?" or "how do I escape?"
I know I have.
For years my life had been spiraling out of control.
I couldn't seem to figure out why, much less fix it.
As a fierce, strong, independent, highly educated woman, this was baffling to me.
Then I had a life-changing moment...It was the moment where everything changed for me...and for everyone around me.
I finally recognized that, for over 25 years, I had been suffering covert narcissistic abuse.
That explained why, despite my best efforts, my life never seemed to improve.
I also began to acknowledge that over the years I had developed coping mechanisms that were not serving me well.
It was time to change.
What a relief it was to discover the reason for my suffering.
Imagine if you will, having a physical ailment plague you for years, one that impedes your ability to fully enjoy life.
One that no one can find a reason for, one that no one can find a treatment for.
Dealing with the negative effects of that physical ailment would be bad enough but not knowing what it is, what caused it, how to treat it, nor what the prognosis is, would not only be highly stressful but extremely terrifying.
Now imagine the exhilaration and relief you would feel when a Doctor is finally able to give you a diagnosis.
Even if the diagnosis is scary and there is a long road to recovery, there would be a sense of relief in knowing what was causing your suffering.
Now that you know what you are up against you can take all the energy once reserved and put towards worrying about your undiagnosable illness and channel it towards healing.
That is what happened to me…but my ailment was not physical.
My ailment was being an unwitting and unknowing victim of narcissistic abuse for over 25 years.
Part 2: Why can't anyone help me?
I've been blessed with a conscience and a capacity for empathy.
I'm not equipped with the ability to behave as a narcissist behaves.
I'm an Empath, with high emotional intelligence and as such, became a long-term target of narcissistic abuse.
Narcissists are extremely adept at deception & destruction.
They are blessed with a lack of conscience & a boatload of insecurities.
They have no capacity for empathy & severely lack emotional intelligence.
Never knowing what high conflict behavior was coming next made it impossible for me to prepare and to counteract.
Never knowing what would spark the narcissistic rage left me with a perpetual sense of impending doom.
I never knew what was coming next, I only knew that something was coming.
Walking on eggshells all the time put me at a severe disadvantage.
I naively went into my divorce thinking that as two rational adults, we would be able to split everything amicably and be able to agree on what was best for the children.
That was back when I had no idea what I was dealing with; no idea I was about to encounter the scary world of manipulation and coercion, the likes I had not quite seen before.
To say I was blindsided at every turn would be an understatement.
One of the most difficult aspects of my divorce was having to make decisions that would have long reaching effects on my life as well as my children’s lives while constantly being victimized by narcissistic abuse at the hands of my ex-husband.
No one I knew had experienced what I was going through so no one could empathize nor give me any advice.
Many found my ex's behavior so deplorable that they almost found it hard to believe.
They wanted to support me, but they couldn’t relate nor understand what was going on.
I soon recognized that conventional divorce wisdom has no place in the arena of high conflict divorces, it only makes matters worse.
I heard things like...
"Be the bigger person & just let it go"
"Why are you being so difficult? You are just making things worse?" and
"Just wait for the boomerang effect".
That last one was from a lawyer who, when my ex-husband violated our court order and refused to return the children to me, felt the best course of action was to wait it out and hope it rectified itself.
WORST ADVICE EVER!
If I had listened to that advice, I likely would never have seen my children again.
During my high conflict divorce I worked with every type of professional imaginable and not one was able to help me navigate the process effectively nor protect our children from the narcissistic abuse and subsequent mental damage they experienced.
Many of these professionals were, in fact, in my corner but none could pull it all together and help me protect myself and my children.
Over the years our team consisted of 29 professionals:
2 Parent Coordinators
1 Financial Advisor
1 Forensic Accountant
10 Therapists (some specifically for the children, some for myself, myself and my ex-husband, and some for all 4 of us)
2 Reunification Therapists
Part 3: Rising from the Ashes &
Helping Others Do the Same
The trauma our family experienced is indescribable but
I decided to do some good with it.
I began to educate myself on what could have and should have been done differently throughout my divorce and how I could have avoided some of the carnage that ensued.
It wasn't enough for me to just survive this traumatizing ordeal.
I wanted to learn how to do for others which I wish someone had done for me...and that is guide and help me strategize through my high conflict divorce to minimize the damage to myself, my children and the rest of my family.
So much was lost during the 12 years I struggled to keep my family afloat while my ex kept trying to make good on his promise of leaving me homeless, penniless and without the children.
He certainly left a path of devastation and destruction.
Despite this, I have been able to come out the other side more intact and content than before.
Never have I felt so alive.
Out of the ashes I have been able to discover new things about myself, determine what really matters to me and how I can contribute to the world.
Now is my chance to ensure some good comes from this experience!
It gives me great pleasure to use my acquired knowledge to help parents restructure their lives while facing opponents who are intent on destroying it.
Even when divorcing a high conflict individual, divorces don't have to be destructive.
But you do need to be prepared and ready...and that is where my story comes in - where I come in.
My job is NOT to prevent the trauma of dealing with high conflict individuals... I wish I had that kind of magical power.
My job is to arm you with all the tools and resources necessary to protect yourself, your children and your assets from ultimate devastation and destruction.