By Sybil Cummin, MA, LPC, ACS
Do y’all remember that ridiculous spectacle of Charlie Sheen where he basically coined the term “Winning!” It shined a spotlight on his mental health state and was also annoying in my opinion.
And it feels remarkably similar to how a narcissistic ex acts after the relationship has ended and they have found ways to manipulate the family court system.
So, what does it mean in your ex’s world to win?
The difficult part about this entire situation is that the way that our family court system is set up allows and actually seems to encourage these behaviors.
As a fledgeling clinician working with survivors (including the youngest witnesses) I truly believed that truth would prevail in most cases and that the focus would be on the best interests of the children. I believed that if someone lied in a court setting that they would be held accountable and that evidence that showed the lying and deceit would be taken extremely seriously. Nope. This lack of accountability (and lack of true knowledge on what post separation abuse looks like in family court…this is a whole other soap box I will write at another time) basically gives abusive people permission to get better at their craft and do it in a public arena.
And look, I know this sounds completely pessimistic and I am not usually a Debbie-downer. So, I will leave you with some positive mindset shifts if you find yourself going down this Debbie-downer rabbit’s hole.
I have witnessed long-term court battles where, at times, nothing seems fair, and it feels like no one is looking out for your babies. And I have seen the tides turn, where the judge starts to see the patterns and can start making decisions that are more informed. I have seen shifts from 50/50 to families being able to relocate with their children. It is a tough road; I am not going to lie about that. But when well supported, you can have your win.
So, how can you increase the likelihood of getting the win; protecting you and your children?
By becoming proactive and prepared from the start (or for your next hearing).
I have created a simple, six-topic checklist to help you move from scattered and scared to confident and courageous as you go through the family court process. Learn some of the important things you need to put in place in order to have a more successful experience.
Click here to grab your copy of the Family Court Checklist.
Sybil Cummin, MA, LPC, ACS, is a Licensed Professional Counselor who specializes in working with victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse.