Tips & Insight on Overcoming Domestic Violence: Getting Out & moving on DivorceSourceRadio http://ow.ly/7NDsm

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This beautiful, and chilling, video really hit home for me.  For years my oldest, a strong-willed, brave little girl, was afraid of of falling asleep at night. Thinking myself a progressive mom, as bibliotherapy I’d often read her Mercer Mayer’s There’s a Nightmare in My Closet to help her overcome her fear. Even so her fear persisted.

Little did I know her “monster” was Daddy thanks to his violent outburst towards me during the day … and in the middle of the night. Wish I’d figured it out sooner.

Please share this video because it’s an eye-opener.

Impossible... unless s/he takes on the responsibility to make the change you are wishing for. Today I received a heart-wrenching email from a  young man asking me how he can help his girlfriend change so they can save their relationship. He totally loves her and she can’t see it. I had to email back sorry, but unless she chooses to change, there is very little you can do.

Trust me, I know. My therapist was a saint, for nearly a year listening to me and all my attempts to get my then husband to change. I’d grasp at tiny signs telling her “I think I can save our marriage. Things are looking better.” Finally one day she looked me in the eye and said, “What’s it going to take? Is he going to  have to kill you?”  That one stopped me in my tracks.

There’d been all kinds of abuse from physical, to emotional to financial. Yet I was still holding on.  My stance had been it’s not his fault, he’s got a mental illness and if he just gets on meds he’ll once again become the man I thought I’d married. Besides, I wouldn’t leave him if he had brain cancer. I’d agreed to in sickness & health on our wedding day. And we had 2 beautiful daughters I didn’t want to abandon for a full time job, especially since I’d been out of the workforce for quite some time.

But the truth was, I was killing myself trying to pretend that if I only did “xyz” the happily-ever-after dream would become a reality. The stress at home was so bad I developed TMJ, a painful jaw condition that got so debilitating I couldn’t even open my mouth when I tried to order my kids food at McDonalds. My jaw had locked shut. Totally.

Yes, it was a nightmare but I kept looking for every flicker of light. I believed my husband when he said he’d given up his mistress and she was just using their baby as a way to get his money. Divorce simply wasn’t in the cards for me and I believed I could make my marriage work.

The next pearl of wisdom my therapist shared was: I couldn’t save our relationship all by myself. Despite all my efforts, nothing could change unless my husband faced his issues and took on the responsibility to change. I could not do that for him. He was making choices that suited him and making it loud and clear that his needs were way more important than our relationship and family life.

For a few more months I tried to prove my therapist wrong, but in the end she was right.

When your heart is broken, you need a loving community more than ever. It’s the key to healing and such a gift. One of the joys I’ve found in creating Brilliant Exits is seeing strangers, struggling through the pain of an ending relationship, find their power and self-worth by helping others in need. It is truly beautiful and I don’t know who glows more … the giver, the recipient, or me.

For example, I once coached a group of women struggling to leave long-term abusive marriages. They were all in crisis mode, fearful of being alone and penniless in their rapidly approaching golden years and beaten down by the roller coaster of living with an abuser.  As you can imagine, the mood was quite somber especially when one woman, whom I’ll call Alice, announced she was really fearful for her life as her husband had somehow found a way to break into the locked room where she lived in their home.

Wistfully, Alice explained how she needed to change her room’s lock for safety, but had no money for a locksmith. Then, with all the tact in the world, another woman, who was a part-time school crossing guard, brightened up and said: ” I know how to change locks. If you go to Home Depot today and buy a new door knob with a lock I’ll come over tonight at 7 pm and install it for you. And.. I’ll wear my crossing guard uniform so I look like a cop. That way, if your husband comes home while I’m there, you can address me as Officer Smith and we’ll be safe.”

The two women left excited, animated and empowered by what they were about to do that evening. They followed through and returned the next week delightedly sharing their triumph. They were transformed and their success brought hope and joy to the group. It was beautiful.

Love is Energy  and beautifully honored in the video below. I found it posted on  The Prosperous Healer™ Spread the Love and Prosperity Campaign a wonderful endeavor created by Canadian Mary C. Davis, whom I’m proud to claim as my very first coaching buddy.

Remember love comes in many forms. Enjoy, and may you be inspired to change someone’s world with love …

When our marriage is rocky, many of us wonder how it all happened. We married with the best intentions, and forever, but it’s just not working out well at all. Sometimes the reason is as simple as a power balance gone way out of control. It often happens so slowly and gradually that we are sucked in before we understand. We blame ourselves. We are cut off from family and friends and know no better.

Trust your gut. If things aren’t going well it just might not be your fault. The problem you can’t put your finger on might be your partner has stolen all the power in your relationship. When you try, oh so nicely, to take a kernel back you are thrown into a crazy crisis of threats, yelling, sabotage, or even bodily harm. So you stop trying. It becomes your way to keep things calm and stable for you and your children.

This is living in the cycle of abuse. It’s not like one day you are handed a billboard that announces: “Sorry lady, but you are a victim of domestic violence.”

Instead, you need to slowly figure it out your self, overcome the shock, and sorry to say…. leave. For yourself, your children, your legacy. It is what will ultimately stop domestic violence.

If one day all children grow up in a world of respectful parental relationships they will no longer know how to perpetuate violence. They will see violence as crazy wrong.

Watch this powerful, inspiring video about one woman’s brave exit.



Given the statistics, it’s likely you know someone stuck in an abusive relationship. What do you do? How do you help? These are tough questions.

I’ve personally called the National Domestic Abuse Hotline [1.800.799.SAFE (7233)] when I was so worried about someone that I wanted to drive her directly to a shelter. I needed to take action on her behalf ASAP, but that’s not what she needed.

Much to my surprise, and dismay, I was told that would be counterproductive. The hotline counselor, experienced at helping callers like me, calmly explained that the best thing I could do was have the “victim” call the hotline herself to talk out options.

Here’s what else I’ve learned. It’s important to listen to your friend and tell her how much you care. While you may want to bash the perpetrator, don’t. It creates 2 problems: your friend will shut down at a time she desperately needs a friend; and she will rebel against your advice because subconsciously she is tired of being ordered around. This requires a lot of patience, especially when your friend continually returns to her abuser.

Why does she return? When your friend entered her love relationship it was a safe place. Now she’s struggling to understand what’s really happening and, thanks to her abuser, she’s confused and her self esteem has been chipped away.

If she feels safe talking to you she may put the pieces together and, as she starts confiding in you, its okay to remind her she doesn’t deserve to be treated that way. It is this approach that will help her shift out of denial and break away. What a gift you will have given her!

Watch this msnbc video for some more tips. Visit this page of my website for more resources.

What’s Upscale Abuse?

July 25, 2009

I’ve worked with many clients who are struggling with Upscale Abuse. Smart, educated, beautiful, gifted women who are shocked to piece together the fact they are in an abusive marriage. Most don’t have the “victim” mentality and are mortified to find that yes, they are victims of domestic violence. These women succeed at most things, so it’s excruciatingly painful that they can’t make their marriage work.

Often they are married to powerful, high earning men. Many have given up promising careers at their spouse’s unrelenting urging. Compassionate moms, they do all they can to protect their children from the dad’s emotional and/or physical abuse. They create beautiful homes, become a super volunteer, and do whatever they can to “make their husband look good.” They are so busy they don’t see how their spouse is slowly, but surely, chipping away at their soul.

Then one day they wake up and realize they can no longer perpetuate the “happily-ever-after” myth. Perhaps their spouse has had an affair, cut them off financially, grabbed them by the throat, or their survival instincts tell them they better make a plan to get out before it’s too late.

When kids are involved, a new wrinkle is added. Many women stay to protect their children from time alone with an abusive parent. Others have extreme guilt at breaking up their family. What they don’t realize is that it is exposure to conflict, and witnessing abuse, that harms children not divorce or loosing a privileged lifestyle. When a child sees a parent get hit, yelled at or criticized the child unknowingly experiences it as something happening to him/her. So if you are staying for the children, studies show you are doing them more harm than good.

If you can identify, get a copy of Susan Weitzman’s book “Not To People Like Us:” Hidden Abuse in Upscale Marriages or check out nottopeoplelikeus.com. Knowing you are not alone is so crucial to getting out. In your world that swirls with “unreals”  and craziness, you’ll find this book/site a gift of validation. You’ll know you are not crazy.

Also visit The WeitzmanCenter and download the free Care Kit provided. It too will help you understand and safely plan for when you are ready to get out. And plan you must. When you leave a high earning, narcissistic professional you can be in for quite a rough ride through the legal system. Often the upscale abuser has the means, power and leverage to hire a legal dream team and use the courts to further the abuse.

I know. My ex was a surgeon and Ivy League grad. He used our money to hire a bully of an attorney and his credentials gave him status in the Courts. That’s a story for another day. In the meantime, visit these sites. If you can identify contact me. We need to talk. You are not alone.

FYI: Not sure if you meet the criteria? Then take this test and call me in the morning….   Upscale Abuse Test

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