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How Do I Find the Right Divorce Coach?

I feel like every time I open any of my social media feeds lately, I'm seeing more and more ads for seemingly higher profile high-conflict type divorce coaches, with programs that promise to help you "Beat a Narc in Court" and "fight to win!". I know part of why I'm seeing so many of them is the algorithm based on things like this very blog I'm writing, but it also seems to be becoming a bit of an industry. I'm not sure how I feel about that.

On one hand, one of the reasons there are so many more of these types of coaches is because there actually is a huge need for them. The increased awareness around emotional abuse and personality disorders has made terms like "narcissist" mainstream. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean that the mainstream really understands what it means to live with and then try to divorce someone with those personality traits--diagnosed or not.

And on the other hand, anything that becomes an industry seems to inevitably be infiltrated at some point with people that are really just in it to capitalize on the current narcissistic awareness trend. I'm not making any judgements about any particular coach or services being advertised. I just know that when anyone leaves an abusive situation, they are still very much operating in a state of trauma response, and it can be very easy to be lured in with big promises of "winning big against a narcissist in court!".

It makes it sound like it's some kind of epic battle to be fought where you'll emerge from court with your fist in the air, smiling and cheering because YOU WON! And if you've ever been in the family court system with a narcissist, you know how ridiculous that is. Nobody wins. Ever. Seeing people that are promoting their coaching business from an aggressive perspective is kind of a red flag for me.

To be fair, maybe their definition of "fighting in court" is different than mine. For me it conjures harsh objections, cross examinations, a-ah moments proving someone a liar, or a thief, or an abuser--you know, all the things that people do when they're fighting. The last thing anyone wants to be doing in court in front of a judge that doesn't know either of you and quite frankly is probably sick and tired of seeing "this kind of bullshit" in their courtroom is to come in swinging.

I think the reason I'm writing this blog is to say "Be careful". If you're in the process of trying to divorce or thinking about divorcing someone who has been abusive and you believe custody will be an issue, or that your ex will continue to abuse you through the family court system, there absolutely are strategies that can help you get as favorable an outcome as possible. But there are also about to be a lot of people out there looking to capitalize on your vulnerability and fear about what's ahead. It may seem like aggressive tactics make sense, but that has not been my experience and I believe that approach can actually cause a lot of harm to your case.

Part of what I believe my role is as a post-separation abuse divorce coach is to help you with strategies that clearly demonstrate you are reasonable and not part of the conflict. You need to give them the rope. Most people who demonstrate narcissistic personality traits can't keep the mask on forever. Once you start to disengage and not allow yourself to get sucked into their nonsense (aka, boundaries), they usually begin to unravel a bit. The loss of control will get to them eventually and you know exactly what their buttons are--I'll just help you recognize opportunities to push them in ways that also show the court what a reasonable person you are and how well you're attempting to co-parent with a sociopath. Your calm and reason + refusal to engage = one crazy narcissist.

If you feel like coaching services would be good for you, or you think you might find value in a course you see advertised online, do a little research before you make any big commitments--especially financially (including with me--this is why I offer a free 20 min consultation). The internet is a big place these days and you should be able to find feedback on some of these programs--especially those that claim they've helped hundreds of people. Do your research and listen to your intuition.

I haven't helped hundreds of people in my coaching business and quite frankly, I'm not sure that is a milestone I want to reach. I'll be happy with tens of people, as long as I'm able to connect with and work with each one as an individual with a unique case and set of circumstances that can't be magically solved with an online course you can get for the $99. That's my .02 anyway.

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