On THE Amicable Divorce Expert podcast this week we had Liz Merrill, Divorce Coach and Mediator, and a survivor of a narcissistic spouse. Liz had small children who came to her and encouraged her to leave the marriage for their sake. This is the complete opposite of what parents attempt to do for their children: Stay in an unhealthy marriage to benefit their children and continue to live in a home and in a family that doesn’t function well, isn’t happy, and doesn’t display sound judgment. Liz explained that engaging in all the behavior altering she could possibly do to gain the approval of her narcissistic husband never got her the approval she thought she would receive. Liz contorted herself into a person she wasn’t to please her husband and the father of her children, while completely losing her identity. Her children came to her rescue.
With her children’s blessing and guidance, Liz divorced. Merrill will take you through the steps she thought necessary and appropriate to divorcing her narcissistic husband, along with communication techniques and negotiating skills involved in the divorce process.
Liz went on to become a highly successful Divorce Coach and works with women going through divorces with high conflict personalities.
Here are the Steps:
- Plan the move carefully, strategically, and with your basic needs in mind
2. Communicate in ways that frame your requests and your needs so that it looks like you’re looking out for the interests of the narcissist while taking back control of your life
3. Conviction in your decision to leave
4. Choose the right attorney, mediator, coach who understands the ways of narcissists and can function as a solid team member for the divorce
5. Never badmouth the narcissist to anyone, including your children, for it gets you no where but in hot water
6. Compromise where you can but stay firm when necessary
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Biography of Liz Merrill, Open Space Mediation, Divorce Coach and Mediator
Liz Merrill is a Mediator and a Divorce Coach with a specialization in High Conflict and Narcissistic relationships. She lectures regularly on high conflict divorce strategies and is a sought-after speaker and podcast guest. She also engages in regular pro bono work for families who are experiencing financial hardship and offers pro bono services through various nonprofits and the Colorado Court system. Her understanding of psychological and physiological reactions to trauma, conflict, and anxiety brings a holistic approach to her work with families caught in the High Conflict cycle. After her own litigious high-conflict divorce, she saw the need for a holistic approach to divorce mediation, which included non-violent communication skills, managing trauma, and an understanding of how personality traits and personality disorders create high conflict in a divorce. When she started working as a mediator for the courts, she discovered how badly equipped most divorce professionals are to manage the specific needs of people in high conflict relationships and how damaging it can be to the individuals and, most importantly, the children and family systems. Now she helps hundreds of people in crisis find workable solutions so they can reduce anxiety, save money, and move on with their lives.