Category Archives: Emotional Journey

Divorcing a Narcissist

Divorcing a Narcissist

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Divorcing a Narcissist and Winning

While divorce is inherently overwhelming and emotionally challenging, those of us who are faced with divorcing a narcissist experienced a heightened level of fear and frustration.  By the mere definition of a narcissistic, self-absorbed, self-obsessed, self-centered, it is impossible to engage in a dialogue where both parties needs are heard and acknowledged.

I am divorced from a narcissist.  Often our ‘conversations’ are simply me listening to his monologue. His ability to dialogue, to hear my perspective and consider it is severely limited by his narcissistic personality disorder.  The other challenge is because their perspective is the only one they are capable of  seeing, they are 100% sure and confident that they are right.  A healthier person considers the other perspective and as a result might question and adjust their own.

An understandable question is how to divorce a narcissist and win when the narcissist is wired to need to win and often will fight to the detriment of the children and finances.  They may even feel like the victim throughout the process, again due to their single minded belief that their needs and opinions are right and are all that matter. They also see your concerns as unfair criticism and are unable to look at the possibility that they are part of the problem.  

So what can you do if you are divorcing a narcissist?

First, it is vital that you have a healthy sounding board.  You most likely have ‘lost yourself’ amidst your spouse’s certainty that s/he is right and you are wrong.  You also need to look at your ability to set boundaries…and uphold them as most narcissists are boundary oblivious.  Finally, you are well served to notice your own behavior.  

  • Are you surprised or angered each time he or she does not acknowledge your perspective or needs? 
  • How long has this been going on for?  
  • And why would you expect them to behave differently now?  

I am speaking about acceptance.  When you accept that a narcissist cannot and will not see your perspective (because that is how they are wired) you stop trying to shove a round peg into a square hole. By accepting the limitations of your narcissistic spouse, you free yourself to find new solutions.  He or she will continue to behave the same way.  

When divorcing a narcissist, notice your insanity…doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

It is up to you to change the dance you have been engaging with your spouse.

One thing I changed was I began to hang up on my ex (after numerous warnings that I have to do).  It stills feels bad.  However, I know that if I don’t I will be kept on the phone for hours.  It is my responsibility to set my boundaries and to uphold them.  

  • Where are you still feeling like the victim of your narcissistic ex?  
  • What is your role in your frustration?  

Find new ways of behaving to minimize the pain of divorcing a narcissist.

Finally, for those who feel deeply victimized by the narcissist, a shift in perspective is valuable.  Your narcissistic ex did not ask to be born with this personality disorder.  There is no talk therapy nor pharmaceutical drugs that can help him or her heal from this disorder.  When I learned this, I found my way to have compassion for my narcissistic ex.  It took a long time and it feels great to be rid of my ‘I am a victim of him’ mentality.  He must live with this disorder for the rest of his life and all the damage it does to his relationships.  I on the other hand, am healthy and free. He is my teacher, my Buddha, my Cross and I get to work on my patience, compassion, acceptance, expectations and boundaries  regularly because we will be connected for the rest of our lives through our children.  I no longer hate.  I no longer hurt. I am at peace.

You have a choice about how the rest of your life will be impacted by your narcissistic ex. Create a healthy support network, join a community of peers today.


Karen McMahon, Journey Beyond Divorce Founder

KM1 3_16Our team of coaches at JBD is passionate about helping men and women navigate the emotional difficulties of relationships, breakups and divorce. We work together with you to open the possibility that your current relationship challenges can lead to a rewarding voyage of self-discovery and an immensely more pleasing life experience. Together we create a path to clarity. Find out if Coaching is right for you, and accept my gift of one FREE session.

Divorce and Faith Divorce and Religion

Divorce and Faith

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How do you reconcile the differences between divorce and faith?

While navigating the Holy Land with Rabbis, Ministers and Imams the conversation turned to divorce and faith. The four who spoke (both men and women), recalled their reasons for divorce and the day they decided to take the first steps in the divorce process. While their paths and circumstances were different, they all agreed it was among the most difficult decisions they had made. The sense of failure was immense and palpable, old wounds reopened, scars not yet faded. However, all recovered and most had remarried, finding themselves in balanced, purposeful, and loving relationships. They survived without being shunned by the congregations they led, though that does not always happen.

Sometimes the reasons for divorce are clear and justified by your religion. These can include abuse, adultery, and faith based indiscretions. Though more often than not, the reasons for divorce are more subtle and less easily defined. Mistrust, an absent spouse, or a lack of emotional intimacy. Many times it is a confluence of factors that are not easily corrected, especially when both parties are not invested in doing so.

Take time to read struggling marriage scripture. The Mosque, Temple, Church, Synagogue or Cathedral you are a member of can be one of the best support groups for any kind of pain. Whether that is an illness, mental health issues, work challenges, and especially divorce. Do not be ashamed of your situation, speak privately with your religious leaders and gain their advice. You’ll often be surprised how relatable and understanding they are.

However, this is not always the case. Certain Christian denominations will ostracize divorced people, and others will prohibit remarriage. In Judaism, divorce is a better solution than a life of bitterness and conflict, though not to be taken lightly. In Islam, it is a step of last resort.  Hinduism also deeply discourages divorce while permitting it in some situations. Regardless of your religion, there is help and guidance available to you outside of your place of worship.

Only once you acknowledge and accept the wounds of marital strife, can you begin to heal. If you are uncomfortable seeking struggling marriage advice at your place of worship, please reach out to us. Our certified coaches come from diverse backgrounds and are available to help you navigate the turmoil of divorce and faith. Talk with us for free today.


Mary Burns Hoff, Journey Beyond Divorce Coach

Our team of coaches at Journey Beyond Divorce are passionate about helping men and women navigate the emotional difficulties of relationships, breakups and divorce. We work together with you to open the possibility that your current relationship challenges can lead to a rewarding voyage of self-discovery and an immensely more pleasing life experience. Together we create a path to clarity. Find out if Coaching is right for you, and accept my gift of one FREE session.

Domestic Violence Signs

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How you can help someone with domestic violence signs?

domestic violence signs

October is Domestic Abuse Awareness Month. Awareness being the operative word. That said, I wanted to share a personal story about domestic violence, and how you can help yourself or someone else. 

 

I was starting out as a young acupuncturist in Cambridge, Massachusetts when Eleanor, a lovely young woman in her mid twenties, came in to see me.  She complained of headaches.  Over the six week I treated her headaches I noticed bruises of varying colors on her arms, legs, and torso.  When I asked about them she offhandedly mentioned that she and her fiancé fought.  The bruises were byproducts of those fights. Eleanor explained that they hit each other when arguments got heated, which they often did.  Curious, I asked how she felt about the damage they inflicted on each other.  Her response was “if we did not get mad enough to hit each other it would mean we didn’t love each other.”  My response, “where did you get that idea from?”  Hers, “this is how my parents relationship was and they’ve been together for 28 years.” The behavior she was both experiencing and engaged in was what she was accustomed to. It was her norm.  

This is just one of the examples of domestic violence. What is your norm and how can you change it? How do you leave if you are told you’re told you or your children will be ruined, hurt, or killed if you try? How do you leave if you feel worthless, helpless, and pitiful? Fear, self-loathing, and exhaustion, while powerful barriers to freedom, are the very restraints keeping you captive. As hard as it will be, you do have the power to break them.

Domestic violence is physically, emotionally and spiritually damaging.  Leaving an abusive relationship without support, powerful support, is difficult at best, impossible at worst. The National Domestic Violence Hotline and  Center Against Domestic Violence can help you with temporary housing and financial guidance. Journey Beyond Divorce is here to help you create your plan, process the emotions, and support you in emerging from domestic abuse a renewed, strong, and confident person. There is help. There is support.  Reach out to our certified relationship coaches for free today https://journeybeyonddivorce.leadpages.co/emergency-lifeline-session-website/  

If you or your childrens’ lives are in immediate physical danger, please call 911 or contact your local emergency services.


Lisa Brick, Journey Beyond Divorce Partner

Lisa Brick

Our team of coaches at Journey Beyond Divorce are passionate about helping men and women navigate the emotional difficulties of relationships, breakups and divorce. We work together with you to open the possibility that your current relationship challenges can lead to a rewarding voyage of self-discovery and an immensely more pleasing life experience. Together we create a path to clarity. Find out if Coaching is right for you, and accept my gift of one FREE session.

Saving a Struggling Marriage Advice

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What makes for a successful marriage? How do I fix my struggling marriage and rediscover the magic?

Responses to these questions are as varied as the individuals who ask them. However, they have a commonality. The person asking them is a person who is experiencing a struggling marriage, yet remains invested in experiencing a rewarding relationship, and at some level feels it is possible.

Struggling Marriage Advice

What’s possible has a lot to do with imagination and innovation. Einstein is quoted as saying a variation of, “you cannot solve a problem using the same thinking that created it”. If you are interested in experiencing the magic rather than the muck of interrelating with your spouse, and are unwilling to shift your thinking, you’ll be stuck in a repetitive pattern that is impossible to escape.

Unless you are in a physically or emotionally abusive relationship there may be a way, if you have the will. This way necessitates you to take stock of the following:

● What you respect about yourself
● What you respect about your spouse
● What you appreciate about yourself
● What you appreciate about your spouse
● How healthy and productive are your reactions are when something occurs that upsets you?
● How you could respond that is healthier and more productive?
● How mindful are you of what you say BEFORE you say it since once it leaves your mouth it can’t be taken back?
● What is more important to you, the past or the future?

The mind collects negative impressions. It’s a hard wired survival adaptation that is maladaptive for the long and complex lives we now live. Until we begin to consciously counter the negatives with the positives, we are stuck with a pattern that is neither beneficial nor constructive for ourselves, or our relationships.

Dr. Rick Hanson has an informative and engaging TED Talk on finding and accumulating “positive grapes” and changing our perception of ourselves and our world.

Getting beyond your martial problems is possible. It’s a process that takes inner work first and foremost. It’s time to clean up your side of the street so you can see the other side clearly. Until you do so, you are looking at your spouse through the filter of your garbage.

We all have garbage. You can all choose to own it and take it out, or wait for someone else to. When you do, you’re relationship has much better odds.

We offer a free questionnaire that will let you know if relationship counseling would benefit you, or if you should start seeking other alternatives such as separation or divorce. Click the link to find out. https://journeybeyonddivorce.com/what-is-divorce-coaching/


Lisa Brick, Journey Beyond Divorce Partner

Lisa Brick

Our team of coaches at Journey Beyond Divorce are passionate about helping men and women navigate the emotional difficulties of relationships, breakups and divorce. We work together with you to open the possibility that your current relationship challenges can lead to a rewarding voyage of self-discovery and an immensely more pleasing life experience. Together we create a path to clarity. Find out if Coaching is right for you, and accept my gift of one FREE session.

handling holidays post-divorce

Handling the Holidays as a Post-Divorce Parent

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Guest Post by Katie Vessel on the Elephant Journal


This last holiday season was hard.

This was the second round of holidays after what was a difficult divorce, following an even more difficult marriage.

Things have been processed for the most part, about as processed as they can be at this point. I have moved on with my life in many healthy ways, have discovered and renewed passions that have been in my blood since I was a young girl, have made many soul friends and am truly enjoying my life on the other side of what was nothing short of a life-changing experience.

But, something was different this year. Continue reading

De-escalate Divorce During the Holidays

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By Lisa Brick


This is the Holiday Season, the season that bombards us with songs of peace on earth and goodwill to humanity and images of happy, laughing families and perfect gifts to buy and receive. Rather than being able to retreat to a cave to figure yourself out and how you got where you are, you’re thrown into planning and appearing in social situations where conversations can go from neutral to crucial in the blink of an eye, destroying anything enjoyable.

This season can be different because you can be different.   Continue reading

10 things to consider before filing

10 Things to Consider Before Filing for Divorce

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By Lisa Brick


Ask yourself: Are you doing this?

Fast food, online shopping, and even drive-through weddings. It’s becoming easier and faster to do almost anything in the world today. Unfortunately, our quick and easy culture does not yet apply to divorce. The divorce process is still a long, difficult road.  But if it is the right decision for you, there are ways to make the journey easier. As with any major decision, there are things to prepare before you begin. You will be dealing with confusing emotions while trying to make decisions that will affect you for years to come.  Preparation is key.

You need to be mentally and financially prepared for new living arrangements, new daily routines, and all kinds of decisions about property and money. Continue reading

Stay Home Mom Survive Divorce Financially

5 Survival Tips for Divorcing Stay-at-Home Moms

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By Lois Brenner, Divorce Attorney

*Original title: Are you a Stay-at-Home Mom? Are you wondering how you are going to survive your divorce financially?


There are many women who married young or gave up lucrative careers to have children once they were married. They often spend most of their marriage helping to support and in some cases build their husband’s careers/businesses in the best interest of the family.

But what happens when divorce comes knocking at your door? Continue reading

musings of a recovering perfectionist

Musings of a Recovering Perfectionist

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By Karen McMahon


Perfectionism and divorce are a lethal combination.  We begin with an impossible task.  We are going to do this divorce thing right…the best…unfaltering.  What does that even mean?!

  • Make the best decisions
  • Handle everyone’s reaction perfectly
  • Say the right thing
  • Do the right thing…always
  • Pick the best attorney and expect perfection from him/her.
  • Negotiate the best deal
  • Be the perfect STBX…the perfect divorcing parent
    • no arguing,
    • no ‘bad’ choices,
    • no hurtful words spoken

OMG…as if divorce is not hard enough!!  We, the proud perfectionists of the world, will do this thing perfectly! Continue reading

calm within the storm of divorce

The Calm Within the Storm of Divorce

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By Lisa Brick


“It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.
When something happens, the only thing in your power is your attitude toward it;
you can either accept it or resent it”
– 
Epictetus, 55-135 AD

Present Moment Awareness is not some airy fairy New Age practice.  It is the eye of and the path to sanity during the hurricane of divorce.   Continue reading