Welcome to the narcissistic abuse recovery Podcast. I’m Caroline Strawson. And I’ll be sharing with you awareness, understanding and education about the devastating effects of narcissistic abuse to help you thrive. I want you to know that I’ve been exactly where you are now. And I believe you. And this show is all about taking you from trauma to transformation. So you found yourself married to a narcissist, ah, I can relate to all of this. And you may even still be married to a narcissist and thinking about leaving, or maybe you have started down that process of divorcing a narcissist and realising that it really is only just beginning. So the first thing that I want to say is if you’re still in that relationship with a narcissist, and you’re looking maybe to leave at some stage number one priority here for you is your safety. Okay? So make sure that if you are thinking about leaving, that you really make sure that you maybe get photocopies of bank statements, pensions, anything like that, keep it in a box or safe box somewhere that you know that your partner will not find, maybe start to put your passports in a place birth certificates. So you’ve got something that if you need to go at any stage, your safety is your priority. Because when we leave an abusive relationship, the stats say in that first seven days, that is actually where the most murders happen. It’s not when you’re in that relationship. So the reason why I wanted to say this just at the start here is it is vitally important that you take your safety seriously, and ensure that you have a team of people around you that you are safe and only do so when you know that your safety cannot be compromised. Okay, so I just wanted to say that at the start. So some of you now may find that you are divorcing a narcissist. And you are realising that it feels like you are walking in treacle and you are climbing Mount Everest. And I can relate to this. I know what it’s like, because divorcing a narcissist isn’t like divorcing anybody else. Sadly, it doesn’t just mean Hey, the relationship is over now and we can get on with our lives. Often the abuse will escalate, particularly if you have children. And I’ll talk a little bit about that as well in this episode for you today. So when we divorce a narcissist, okay, like I said, it’s not like just divorcing somebody else. You divorcing a narcissist, whether that be their decision or your decision means you know what they are, you know what they are like, and that is like a red flag to a narcissist. So you will probably find going through a divorce from a narcissist, they will set up this huge smear campaign to denigrate your character to other people. And that could even be your family as well. This is why it makes it really, really hard. So you will see in other episodes I’ve done particularly when I’ve spoken about the covert narcissist, who really acts like the victim in all of this, that they will be acting like Poor me. They are badly done to party here, it’s not you. Because at the end of the day, if you’re going to be sending all of these things then they need to defend themselves, they need to come back at you in some way. So they will often act like the victim in all of this, maybe certainly from if you’ve got the children, they might say, Oh, she’s stopping me seeing the children equally, what can happen is, maybe they have the children, and they are starting to create stories about how you were as a father or mother that you know, aren’t true. But they’re acting like the poor victim in all of this. They start talking to your friends and family, maybe crying, maybe saying I don’t know what more I can do. And creating this whole smear campaign that it is you you’re stopping them seeing the kids or you’re behaving like this or all you’re after is the money in all of this. And this can make it really really challenging because at the end of the day, there’s a lot of different lines that you go through when you divorce a narcissist so I always say there are three lanes when you go through a divorce with a narcissist, we’ve got the legal line. So we have to get a divorce. We have to get the children, any child contact sorted, and the finances so it’s like a triangle, the divorce aspects of this. It’s actually the easiest, it’s just paperwork at the end of the day finances and children a whole different ball game. And this is again where it can get really sticky and really, really hard. The overlay is the emotional line because again, narcissistic abuse is trauma. So the likelihood is you will be suffering with complex PTSD to try and to deal with the legalities whilst you’re suffering from it. This can be really really challenging because sometimes you just don’t even want to get out of bed. You don’t even want to see or speak to anybody. You know that if you want to move forward and go through a divorce and sort out your finances and the kids, you have to do that. But every fibre and cell of your body is saying I just want to stay in bed, don’t want to cry, because your body is in full blown freeze trauma response. The other line, the third line is about other people, because you start to recognize maybe who your friends are. And even more so who your friends aren’t. This, for me, was a huge cleanse, but it didn’t feel like it at the time. You know, I was involved with a group of three girls at the time, when I was going through my divorce. And one of them I would have classed as my best friend, and I thought she was there and being supportive of me. But little did I know at the time that there was actually a lot of covert narcissism from her, where she was starting to use my trauma, my train wreck of our life, to tell other people about and say how supportive she was being to me. So they of course, will be going, Oh, you’re such a good friend. Wow, you’re amazing. So I started to realise that I was fulfilling a need for her. That wasn’t my job, that wasn’t my job to make her feel better about herself by my train wreck of a life. So these three lines that you will have the legal line, your trauma, emotional labour, and other people may feel so challenging. And then I just want you to know that I know probably even as you’re listening to this, you’re kind of thinking, Oh, Caroline, it’s so hard. And I get it, it is hard. It is hard. But remember, it’s not forever. And again, surround yourself with people like me, so that I can help and support you and inspire you and educate you. So you’re not on your own. And again, I believe you I know what is real, just because nobody else might not right now, I want you to know that I believe you. Okay, and not only do I believe you, I believe in you. And I know you can heal because you deserve to live an amazing life. So if we take the legal lane to start off with. So there are many ways you can do this. Sadly, I have many clients all over the world. And it seems pretty much the same in most countries. The court system, when we’re dealing with a narcissist, is very, very broken. They don’t want to use the term narcissist, when you’re involved in court proceedings or anything else like that. What I would say is focus on behaviour, the behaviours are far more important, because that is what a court will take into consideration. If you go in saying, you know, my ex is a narcissist, they’re immediately not going to like that, because you’re labelling somebody, it’s not necessarily a diagnosis. This is just your perception, of course, you know what your ex partner is going to say? They’re going to come back and say, No, you’re the narcissist, because that’s what they do at the end of the day, isn’t it? So what we really have to look at here is behaviour, finding the right person to represent you. Now, I do understand some people, you don’t even have the money to get representation. So there are other ways that you can do this. Certainly here in the UK, there’s something called a McKenzie friend. And again, if you’re listening to this, and you want advice on where to go with a McKenzie friend, then you absolutely can drop me an email at any stage to find out who I would recommend as a McKenzie friend. So it’s an affordable way. But again, if you can afford that legal support, and somebody who knows what a narcissist is, because you can talk to your lawyer about that just not in the court. So you really need to have representation if you’re going to have it with someone who really understands psychological abuse, because they can be remembered as masters of disguise as a wolf in sheep’s clothing. So they can come across being this educated, kind, compassionate person in public, because that’s their public persona. But it’s very different behind closed doors. So you need somebody who understands that, so you feel validated with the person that you are working with, but be really clear at the start. Because often when we start to go down the legal route, there’ll be lots of letters going back and forth. So be really crystal clear with whoever represents you, you do not want to be drawn into any of this, do not have mediation at all. With a narcissist, it doesn’t work. So however much you feel like they are saying, let’s go to mediation. No, no, no, no, no, it is just another way for them to continue with ongoing abuse. And I know certainly here in the UK, before you even go to court, a lot of people think you have to have mediation, that is not true. What you have to have is what’s called a Miam. Here in the UK, that’s a mediation intermediary assessment meeting. You can have that with somebody on your own to let them know that mediation isn’t appropriate because there is historic abuse, they tick a box they put in their credentials and their qualifications that can then go straight to court. So wherever you are in the world, mediation does not work with a narcissist. The only time it will work is if you agree to what they want and what they say. So unless you are going to agree with what they want and say because what they’re offering is good. Then do not enter into a mediation. Do not enter into a Anything with a narcissist, okay, and I’ll talk to you about that emotional aspect in a moment to no mediation, really, ideally, you want to get it sorted as quickly as possible, ideally through the court. But if not, use your lawyers. But that moment, you realise that it’s not going anywhere, and you’re left waiting and waiting and waiting, just go to court, get it sorted, I promise you, it will be cheaper in the long run, if you do it like that. And it might feel scary going to court. But remember, you know, the court systems are set up. So that, again, I know, there’ll be lots of people listening, going, Oh, the court system is broken. And I do understand that. But you’ve got to understand how you need to be in our court systems around the world, for you to get the result that you want to get, okay. Sometimes it isn’t just about going in with the evidence. And being truthful doesn’t always work, you have to actually think about how you word the evidence, how you are in that court, because, again, you’ve got to think about the system that you are working in. So you know, if this is the result you want, this is the court system, what do you need to do with that court system to get that result? And that’s what we need to consider. So we’ve got to think of that legal level of going down that route. And that’s the same with finances. And with children, too. Do not be bullied into making any decisions. Don’t just think I’m thinking of the here and now financially, forgetting about what it might be like when you’re 5060 7080 years old, just because you want to hold on to say a marital home at that stage. Don’t rush into that. Really think about this as least emotionally involved in that legal aspect as possible. From the kids perspective, trust your guts with all of that trust your gut instinct. And that can be terribly hard when you know your children are going to have to have contact with analysis. But let me tell you and I can talk about this from personal experience, there is so much you can do. So don’t keep focusing on all the things you can’t or the things that you feel powerless about. Focus on what you can do, you have far more power of what you can give to your children than you think you have. And there are so many techniques. I do a lot of this with my clients about conscious positive parenting, really helping them learn tools and techniques to be the best parent they possibly can be knowing that their mother or father is a narcissist. So the emotional line one of the key factors for you in recovery after divorcing a narcissist is setting your environment to be conducive for healing. So the first thing for that is no contact or extreme modified contact that can feel really, really difficult to do when you have children. But you block on everything, you create a brand new email address purely for them that it is only for them, or use a third party application. And again, I always recommend our family wizard for that, too, because it’s a great third party tool where everything’s date stamped, time stamped, you know, when things have been read, no texts, no messenger, no WhatsApp, absolutely not. Because that is an opportunity for ongoing abuse, the only communication you need to have really is emergencies. Or if you’re sorting something out, maybe the kids have forgotten something or whatever. But it’s always via email or third party application. If they are then with your partner, ex partner at a certain time, my advice, go and buy one of those old brick phones, you remember the old Nokia brick phones, use that as almost like the hotline in an emergency. So on your phone, you will not be getting any phone calls or texts or anything. So when the children are with your ex partner, you have that other phone nearby, so if there was an emergency, they can still contact you. Or if there was something else they can email you. It has to be extremely modified. Now again, that’s what the courts are fine with. As long as you’ve got methods of communication, that is absolutely fine. So don’t feel like you’re being a bad mother or a bad father by creating that your mental health is the primary concern in all of this. So you’re still having communication at some level, but you’re doing it in a very, very controlled way. And it is absolutely key as the first step in healing. When you divorce a narcissist, if you don’t do this, or you don’t stick to doing this, you are making your life far more difficult than it needs to be. Because it is like an addiction. And when you do this, it will feel off really, really hard. Because it’s like you are breaking that addiction. Because in our brain, we have something called their hypothalamus which secretes all of these neuropeptides and we become addicted to feeling the struggle of being in that relationship with a narcissist. So we have to break that habit, we have to break that addiction. And it’s often been said it’s 20 times harder to break that addiction than the addiction to heroin. So it will be a challenge. But you have to set yourself up for success. It’s going to be hard and painful at the start. But if we don’t do this, then you’re making it even more hard and painful for yourself moving forward as well. So we really have to set up that starting point for us when we divorce the narcissist. So the third line is about everybody else. And again, what I want you to think about is to stop focusing on everybody else because remember, you will provide for them as well, just as other people are. And I’m a big believer in what goes around comes around. And I’ve had so that best friend that I was mentioning to you the other two that are involved in that, I’m now back in touch with one of them, because they now recognize what she was like, as well. So people might not know right now, and maybe they’ll never know. But some of them will know. And you will find that they will come back at some stage. And at the end of the day, I want you to see this, not as this devastating loss of these people in your life, I want you to see it, reframe it, this is your opportunity to cleanse the toxicity from your life, so that you can create new friendships based on trust, connection, love, that wasn’t there before, because you are going to be attracting different people into your life. My two best friends now, I didn’t even know back then, you know, they are completely different people because I’ve attracted different people into my life. Now, as I have healed myself with all of this. So know that yes, it’s going to be tough divorce the first year from anybody. The first year is always going to be tough. From a narcissist, it’s going to be really, really difficult. But you can do it, I trust and I believe in you. But you’ve got to get these things in place. Okay, your mental health, it’s about you getting your blinkers on. That’s what we focus on. We parallel parents with analysis, that is we disengage from them. So we’re still focused on the children at the heart of the relationship, but they’re not in the middle of it. Now your narcissist will want communication, they will want to be able to ongoingly abuse you, you have to set that up, they will not like it, but hold strong with it, because they can’t say anything about this. Because you are still being the best mother or father, you’ve got communication, but you are focusing on your mental health. And that in itself is the biggest gift that you can give your children in all of this, then from that legal perspective. So the finances, the divorce, and the children don’t get dragged into mediation or anything like that, it will not work to do yourself a favour. Now if you’re doing it, stop it, it’ll just be more expensive. Whatever a great mediator might say to you, you remember, they’re running a business at the end of the day, it does not work, it will make you feel even worse. If you start to enter into mediation with a narcissist it really, really well. This is about protecting you in all of this. But remember, if you’re still in that relationship with a narcissist safety as your priority, start to get your ducks in a row, get a little box, start getting photocopies of everything, get that support, get people around you, even if it’s just one person that you know that you can rely on. And you can stay safe in all of this too. Because it is tough. And know that if you’ve got children together, this could be ongoing for many, many years, then yes, they’re going to be a little thorn in your side. But if you can set this up as early as possible, then yes, you know, you’re going to have to have a semblance of a communication with them. But ultimately, this is about your mental health. You know, I still get the odd emails now from my ex husband, but it has no effect on me. I very rarely even reply to any of them. Even if I get these ranty ones down again, it means nothing, I just don’t reply. My children are older now. So they can communicate by messenger themselves. So it’s very, very rare. On the odd occasion, something’s obviously triggered with him and I’ll get this email, but I don’t need to justify and I don’t need to respond. But at the start, I’d get a text and I’d be shaking, and I’d be sending one back and then he would get another one back and I spent a whole evening being in these heightened trauma responses because I was addicted to feeling like that I needed to break that I needed to set myself up for success, not set myself up for failure. So really ensure that you’re getting things right from the get go so that you are really really setting yourself up for success in healing the trauma of narcissistic abuse. Thank you for listening to the narcissistic abuse recovery podcast. Karen find my warm, welcoming, free and private Facebook group called narcissistic abuse recovery for women only to help you heal the trauma and thrive

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