My high school history teacher told me on multiple occasions when considering what anyone says to “consider the source”. Wise words.
As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized many aspects them as I enter into year three of this divorce/alienation nightmare. I have been looking at all the things I can do, working with the legislature in my state, talking to local politicians, increasing awareness among friends—but of late looking at what I have the most control over… myself.
I have to live with my experience of what is going on every moment of every day and some days are tougher, much tougher than others. I have realized that there are more things than I considered previously to help my experience—some may be helpful to you. I don’t offer this information in any other capacity than as someone who has been trying things out— you should look to professionals for professional advice as appropriate.
And speaking of which, when considering the large amount of options for help I have come to two big conclusions so far:
- Where you have a choice, vet the professionals you deal with on an EXPERIENTIAL level.
Do NOT get drawn in by their title. Consider the source. Ask them what their experience has been. For example:
- I would never again deal a lawyer who doesn’t know what high conflict divorce means—and I mean has been though similar situations him or herself. Otherwise I believe they are going to get sideswiped over and over again and you will lose big time. When my original lawyer who did have a clue became unavailable and I went with someone else it ended up being a very expensive lesson, both emotionally and financially. He was technically good, but just didn’t “get” what was happening. And, at the end of the day it’s your life and not theirs.
- I would never again go to a therapist if I need or have been directed to find one who hasn’t had experience in this realm either. I was lucky enough to get fired by my former therapist last year when she decided my situation was too much for her to deal with. My current therapist has been through the wringer and started her career working with patients in the penal system so there’s just nothing I can throw out that phases her.
- Understand you are being traumatized repeatedly and DEAL with it. Dr. Childress has written a great article about coping with trauma—it was frankly the catalyst that got me started down this road. Dr. Childress gets this. He is a source you want to pay attention to. I myself have been doing something called EMDR which bypasses talking about traumatic responses and directly rewires them in the cerebellum and amygdala. These are the areas that generate fight-or-flight and fear responses. I think the hardest/most useful thing to get is that I have been wired for this most of my life. My ex was someone who has simply ratcheted up the intensity of it to an 11. I can tell you that after just a few sessions of EMDR in the last couple of months things that had been making me non functional are now much more manageable. I don’t simply mean that I can deal with them, I mean they aren’t nearly as intense and in some cases aren’t even issues for me anymore.
We need to get this response under control
The fight or flight response what the ex is counting on and the more it fires off the worse it is. It also leaves two really lousy choices for our children—either be the abuser or be the one reacting to the abuse. (Don’t think just because you may not talk about it or act out in front of them they can’t sense it). I hope you’ll check EMDR out.
It’s not the only thing I am working with, but I’ll leave that for other posts in this series. I certainly would love to hear about other things people may be having success with.