As a mediator I talk a lot on this blog forum and in my day to day work about how to have a co-operative divorce, one which puts your emotional health and well being first.
Ironically during good divorce week which took place recently I attended a training course on narcissism in family law which often prevents the possibility of a divorce which is in any way co-operative. The term used for divorces involving a narcissistic partner was combative. I also started my journey into family law way back in 1999 in the field of domestic abuse. My day to day work was dedicated to helping those to seek the protection of the court and escape abusive relationships. I therefore have an in-depth understanding of relationships, abuse, power imbalance and personality traits which all too often prevent any possibility of a child focused, emotionally intelligent divorce. I therefore know all too well that for some it is just not possible to have the kind of divorce experience I advocate and talk about.
In many cases the other person is or has been abusive. You may be frightened of the other person. Your spouse may have threatened you or be intent on making life difficult for you.
You may have realised your partner has narcissistic tendencies which will make any kind of co operative parenting or divorce impossible. You cannot change that person, however much you may want to and therefore any process involving co-operation and mutual understanding often must be ruled out or very carefully tailored.
In these circumstances, it is vital that you have a safe divorce. One where you are protected from any further emotional, physical, verbal, financial, sexual harm and one where vitally your children are safe, protected from witnessing any emotional or physical conflict and supported.
If you are visiting this page in the hope of a co operative divorce but in the knowledge that deep down you know or feel this is not going to be possible, please still pick up the phone or email me. I know how hard it can be to make the first step and reach out for help. This is a safe space to take that step.
If I cannot help I will be able to put you in touch with the right professionals or support services who can. I can also, at any initial appointment, assess your circumstances privately to help you consider whether mediation might be suitable for you and your family situation. If it is, I will create a bespoke mediation to ensure you have a safe and structured process. If mediation is not suitable, I will tell you. In those circumstances I will guide you to the next step and explore with you the alternatives to mediation.
Particularly as we approach the Christmas season when things are not always joyful and can be incredibly stressful and isolating please do reach out if you need any help.
If your safety or that of your children is at risk, please get independent legal advice. The Courts are there to protect you so do not hesitate.
Here are some support telephone numbers:-
The 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0808 2000 247
Mankind – 01823 334244
GALOP for members of LGBT + community – 0800 999 5428
Samaritans – 116 123
If you are suffering with your emotional health, you are not alone. Talk to someone. If you are struggling to cope and need to talk, Shout 85258 is a free, confidential, anonymous text support service. You can text from wherever you are in the UK.
And most importantly, if your life is at imminent risk, please call 999 for immediate help.
With thanks to Stowe Family Law and Dr Supriya McKenna for their expert information on Narcissism in Family Law.