Trish & her Family
Photo Credit: Kyley Faith Photography
Part 1: How did I get here?
Do you ever look at your life & wonder where it all went wrong?
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 a victim of coercive control. It explained why, despite my best efforts, my life never seemed to change for the better.
In response to being coercively controlled, I developed various coping mechanisms that helped me cope but ultimately were not serving me well.
What a relief it was to discover the reason for my suffering.
Imagine 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.
Now imagine the exhilaration & relief after you receive a diagnosis!
Even if the diagnosis was scary & the road to recover was long, there would be a sense of relief in knowing what was causing your suffering.
Knowing what you were up against would allow you to devote your energy towards healing instead of worrying about your mysterious ailment.
That is what happened to me…but my ailment wasn't physical...
it was emotional abuse that spanned over 25 years.
Why Can't Anyone Help Me?
Little did I know that this decision would determine the course of my life for at least the next 12 years.
I never knew would would spark his litany of criticism or snide remarks...remarks that left me me feeling crushed & ashamed.
I could walk into a room feeling like I was on top of the world & would end up leaving the room feeling absolutely worthless.
2 Ways my Body Reacted to this Abuse:
1) Walking on eggshells: I was always attuned to my ex's moods, facial expressions & silent treatment.
2) Whenever something good happened I would get a pit in my stomach as a warning of impending doom.
This cycle of not knowing what to expect put me at a great disadvantage & created a huge imbalance of power...one that continued beyond the divorce.
When I ended the relationship I was completely unaware of how dangerous it can be to leave a coercive controlling abuser.
Never did I think that the coercive control could get worse & I certainly never expected it to turn physical...but it did.
I entered the divorce process naively thinking that as two rational adults, we would split everything amicably & would agree on what was best for the children.
What a delusion that was...what was I thinking?
We never had the same approach to finances nor child rearing, so why would I expect that to improve once we were separated?
Clearly I didn't have a full grasp of the fact that an abuser does not stop abusing after you leave...quite the contrary.
I didn't anticipate:
years of post-separation abuse.
multiple court battles.
false allegations levied against me.
not seeing my children again.
The experience very isolating, despite being surrounded by loving family.
could relate to what I was going through.
could give me what I needed.
knew what I needed
But how could they know...even I didn't know what I needed!
Some did offer what I assume was well meaning advice but it only served to make matters worse.
"Be the bigger person & just let it go"- insinuating that I am making the conflict worse by standing up for myself.
"Tell him he doesn't have to pay you child support then he'll stop harassing you." - negating the fact that child support is the right of the child & making me wonder why the kids & I have to sacrifice in order to be treated like human beings.
"Just wait for the boomerang effect, the kids will come back." - lawyer's advice after my ex violated our court order & refused to return the children to me. WORST ADVICE EVER! If I 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 & not one of them was able to help me navigate the process effectively nor protect our children from my ex-husband's coercive control.
Many of these professionals were 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
2 Reunification Therapists
Rising from the Ashes &
Helping Others Do the Same
The trauma our family experienced is indescribable,
but it's become the inspiration for the work I do now.
I began to educate myself on what could have & should have been done differently throughout my divorce & 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...provide guidance & strategies for mitigating a high conflict divorce.
So much was lost during those12 years of struggling to keep my family afloat, while my ex was trying to make good on his promise of leaving me homeless, penniless & without the children.
He succeeded in leaving a path of devastation & destruction...but despite this, I've been able to come out the other side more intact & content than before.
Never have I felt so alive.
Out of the ashes I've been able to discover new things about myself, determine what really matters to me & determine 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's where my story comes in...where I come in.
My job is NOT to prevent the conflict from happening...I don't have that kind of magical power.
My job IS to arm you with the tools & resources necessary to protect you, your children & your assets from devastation & destruction.