TAKE A DEEP BREATH AND……

By | Unsolicited Opinions, Wellness

WARNING: This blog may be a bit long, but please read the whole thing slowly.

Effects of Sheltering in Place

My younger friends, who have children, have expressed they are very stressed and feel like failures. Lately, I been very critical of myself. I have repeatedly chastised myself for what I perceive to my gross inefficiency – it took me 3 weeks to reorganize my home office/yoga space – REALLY?.

Overnight, the world has shifted, but our expectations for ourselves and others have not budged. We still think we can and must do it all, which is not only ridiculous, but impossible.

Our responsibilities have shot through the roof, but each day is still only 24 hours long. Take a look at what is really happening in our lives as we shelter in place. All at once, without a break, while trapped in our homes we are:

1. Working from home
2. Caring for children
3. Educating our children
4. Spending way more time with our significant others
5. Cooking
6. Zooming
7. Spending more time cleaning because our houses are dirtier because we are home 24/7
8. Doing laundry
9. (Trying to find time to finish “Tiger King”)
10. Taking care of pets
11. WORRYING
12. Mowing the yard
13. WORRYING
14. Etc……..

Perfection is HOGWASH

Growing up, I was expected to be “perfect.” An A- on a report card was unacceptable; in fact, nothing was good enough. These expectations became deeply rooted in me and became a part of everything I did. As an adult, a well-intentioned friend once told me I was a juggler and I need to make sure none of the balls ever dropped. This advice fed my unending quest for perfection. Then, a tiny seed was planted by one of my mentors, Susan Paquet. Susan was an amazingly wonderful person and a highly respected attorney. She told me that sometimes you do not have to do an A+++++ job, it’s okay to perform at a B- or C level. WOW!!! What a concept.

As my life continued, perfection became more difficult to achieve, and my search for perfection left me very anxious, stressed out, and exhausted. Then, I found yoga (or maybe yoga found me.)* My yoga practice continues to be an experience through which I learn new and more effective life skills. All of which means, I am now calmer, happier, and more productive. Yoga may not be your answer, but my point is that if I can change, you can change.

Forming New Beliefs

Each of can make our lives easier now and post COVID19 by slowly changing what we believe. Based upon my personal experiences, recognizing and accepting the following truths will help us to shift:

1. We have created unrealistic and unattainable expectations for ourselves and others.

2. Because we are the ones who have created these ridiculous expectations, we have the power to replace them with more realistic and healthy goals.

3. With the idea that you will not accomplish everything on the list, each day, on an actual piece of paper, write out a to-do list. The list will help you prioritize and to feel confident you have not forgotten anything. Crossing out items on the list is rewarding.

4. We will never be perfect.

5. We all make mistakes all time, which is okay.

6. Mistakes are an opportunity to learn.

7. Feel grateful.

8. Stop judging and criticizing yourself and others.

9. Be gentle with yourself and others.

10. Recognize your accomplishments several times a day. For example – tell yourself “I made a great lunch for the family today.”

11. Things are not good or bad – they just are.

Importance of Quiet Minds

I am able to hear God when my mind is quiet. Needless to say, I have learned some awesome things during these times. For me, quieting my mind is like cleaning my house – I get rid of useless junk and make space to listen and to receive Divine information.
Our brains become clogged and stay on hyperdrive because we are busily trying to accomplish our unrealistic goals. We cannot focus, and we become stressed and inefficient, which leads to more stress. So, an important component of changing our beliefs is to quiet our minds.

Quieting our Minds

Meditation helps me to focus and to feel better. I encourage you to google “meditation” to learn the positive effects of meditation and different meditations you can try.

Breathing is another tool I use to quiet my mind. I know that throughout the day, when I become overwhelmed, I can calm my body and clear my mind by taking a few moments to 1) breathe slowly and deeply and 2) to focus on my breath.

The following are some suggestions for breathing which can be done anywhere at any time:

1. Slow and Deep Breathing

a. Close your eyes
b. Start by inhaling deeply through your nose and exhaling an open mouth.
c. When you are breathing, concentrate on your breath – on the inhale picture your breath travelling up from your belly to your lungs and on the exhale picture your breath going down from your lungs to your belly.
d. On the inhale, your belly should expand and on the exhale your belly should contract.
e. A double exhale is very calming.

2. 4-7-8 Breath

a. Close your eyes
b. Inhale for 4 counts
c. Hold for 7 counts
d. Exhale for 8 counts
e. Repeat 8+ times

3. Alternate-nostril breathing.

a. See https://chopra.com/articles/nadi-shodhana-how-to-practice-alternate-nostril-breathing for instructions

Finally, please remember you cannot take care of other people unless you take care of yourself first.

* www.indrasgrace.com

PREPARE TO MEET WITH YOUR ATTORNEY

By | Child Support, Co-Parenting, Community Property, Custody and Conservatorship, Divorce, Just and Right, Marital Property Division, Separate Property, Wellness

I am here to help you.    Very simply, a large part of what I do is to ask questions and receive information.   Once I have sufficient information, I am then able to strategize with you and move forward to solve your problem.

Many of you have never met with an attorney, so you don’t really know what to expect.    I am going to tell you some things you can anticipate.  I hope that having this knowledge will put you at ease.  I want you to feel relaxed and comfortable for your first meeting.

Typically, during my initial meeting the first thing I want to do is to hear from you.    I want to know the good, the bad and the ugly of what has brought you to my office.   I want to hear about your children and about their relationships with you and the opposing party.  I want to hear about your property – what assets and liabilities do you have.

After you have told me about your situation, I will explain the legal process to you and strategize with you to develop a plan.   I will not have all of the answers at this point.

VERY IMPORTANT – ABSOLUTELY DO NOT WORRY IF YOU DO NOT HAVE ANY OR ALL OF THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION.   I have found that if you have made a list containing the following and have made copies of financial documents, we can spend less time talking about the basics and more time strategizing.

Information pertaining to your children

  • Full name, sex, and date of birth for each of your children
  • Names of school(s) your children attend and the name of the child care provider(s)
  • Activities in which your children participate
  • Special needs (if any) of your children

Financial Information:

  • Information about your income such as tax returns and/or most recent paystubs for you and the opposing party
  • Bank accounts (name of bank and account numbers)
  • Credit cards (name of credit card, account numbers, and amount owed)
  • Year, make, and model of all vehicles
  • Amount of mortgage or rent

Personal Information

  • Your full name, address, phone number, date of birth, and email address
  • Opposing party’s full name, address, phone number, date of birth, and email address
  • Name of your employer (if any)
  • Opposing party’s employer (if any)

I strongly encourage you to make a list of questions to ask.

If you are modifying a prior court order, please bring a copy of the court order with you to the meeting.

If you have been served with a lawsuit, please bring a copy of the papers to the meeting with you.

Remember, I am here to help you!

 

Mistakes people-pleasers make when divorcing a narcissist, from a divorce lawyer

By | Co-Parenting, Community Property, Custody and Conservatorship, Divorce, Domestic Violence, Just and Right, Marital Property Division, Separate Property, Trial Issues, Unsolicited Opinions, Wellness

So common is it that a potential new client tells me that they are married to a narcissist, that I actually have a specific knowing smile in response and I swear to myself I should create a YouTube channel about divorce and narcissists. I’d make a fortune even if I only charged $5 a viewing.

Note: I am not a psychologist, psychiatrist and I have zero training to be preaching about personality disorders. Everything I know, I’ve learned on the job. Take it with a grain of salt.

Did Tom Cruise really love Katy Holmes? Or, did he love how she looked when he was looking down on her from his stool in their wedding photos? He certainly made a fool of himself in the name of love but wasn’t it really more about the attention he got? Despite reports that Katy “won” their divorce (or at least did better than Nicole Kidman), I’d put money on Tom bragging that he was the one who outsmarted her and that the reason he has Suri most of the time is because “he let her.”

Divorcing one of these gems? Here are some common mistakes people-pleasers make divorcing narcissists. Drum roll please. . .

  1. Not filing first. Assuming you have made the moral decision to get divorced, be the first one to file for divorce. The person who files first gets to go first. That means that party gets their story out first at the hearing on temporary orders and at trial. It means that person’s lawyer will give the first impression of the case. The person who goes second or last has the hard job of disproving what has already been said or suggested and retelling the story in his or her own light. It’s a compromising position. Most likely the narcissist will have a “poor baby” approach, as in, “I really had no choice but to file, since he doesn’t bring me coffee anymore” and with this story line going first, it forces the people-pleaser to get defensive which drowns out the real story, that being that there was no room for another person (you) in the marriage to a narcissist.
  2. Be ready to fight the obvious. A people-pleaser would never sell a car to a friend for a premium price, but a narcissist would. A narcissist would never concede you broke up with her, but a people-pleaser would let you have the final word. Do not assume that just because you have always taken care of the kids or operated the business that your spouse will concede that you are primarily responsible for those items. This is especially important because you need establish the status quo to your judge. Be ready to defend the last two years of painful homework projects or to demonstrate you have prepared all the company’s tax returns and landed the biggest client.
  3. Trying to prove a point. Don’t. Even. Try. What does it matter if you have won every battle or even the war? It will make no difference to the narcissist, who is still clothed as an emperor. Narcissists will walk out of a courtroom having been ridiculed by a judge and want to celebrate with the local sommelier’s choice in wine with red meat. Therefore, don’t think if you could just “show her” or you could just get the “judge to tell him”, that it will be downhill from there. Nope. You married a narcissist, so don’t for a second think that all the granted motions in the world will humble him.
  4. Not carbo-loading. Here it is, here is your permission to go to a buffet in jeggings. A narcissist plans on his spouse complying with his plan for division of assets and custody arrangement. In the narcissist’s mind, the narcissist will simply prepare the decree and the spouse will sign it. Divorcing a narcissist will not be over and done in a couple of months unless you give him everything he wants including the things he demands at the last minute. Oh yes, to a narcissist, “what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine”. Awarding all of the assets to the narcissist is just papering what is already true to a narcissist. Since you can’t make the narcissist understand that your inherited money is actually yours, you will have to set the case for trial and plan on going. It’s like a marathon: it takes a year to prepare for and complete and you are delirious at the finish line (if you make it). The only difference is you have a lot less money now, hate your lawyer (at least a little) and you may have kid issues to deal with. Like the jungle, the tired animals get eaten. So, carbo-load because this is going to take a while, you might as well enjoy it.
  5. Expecting mediation to work. Where a people-pleaser might get worn down by the long hours stuck in a room with a lawyer (gag), a narcissist is just getting started and is appreciating how all the professionals have their day tied up in what she will not agree to. Picture the scone-eating narcissist being asked if she would like creamer or milk in her tea while she contemplates whether or not she can live without his grandmother’s diamond watch. Go to mediation but have a plan and listen to your lawyer.
  6. Self-infliction. A narcissist is the blade a people-pleasure cuts himself with. The people-pleaser mistakes the narcissist’s joy as love. The joy was getting attention, not being with their “person.” The people-pleaser really loves the blade, and misses the blade even when the claws come out in court. Loving your spouse is not a bad thing. Love is an exhibit of our humanness, as beautiful as the body’s ability to heal itself or birth a baby. Deal with the love, loss, rejection and sadness without cutting yourself on the blade. Cut the nerve instead and cooperate with your spouse but don’t inflict new wounds on yourself. You will end up with the wounds and the narcissist will only feel better about herself because you “did it to yourself”.
  7. Be ready for Karpman’s triangle. According to Karpman, the cycle of dysfunctional relationships involves three roles: victim, persecutor and rescuer. Pay very close attention to the role you are playing in the drama cycle so you can learn what it is when the narcissist plays victim or rescuer. If your spouse said you would never see your kids again, get ready for him to play victim of the year when you are awarded primary of the kids. Offer him a compromise and get ready to be the victim when he takes advantage of your kindness.