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14 Comments

  1. Miriam L
    March 11, 2019 @ 8:44 pm

    Elizabeth: I think your clients are deeply fortunate. I found this summary useful and inspiring. In my own experience with a narcissistic ex-husband, my ability to detach was thwarted by co-parenting (and access allowing for parental alienation) and his ability as an attorney to manipulate the legal system to eventually gain custody of our daughter. Despite his death, the effects linger in the deeply affected relationship with my daughter in adulthood. Not all outcomes are those we would wish.

    Reply

    • Elizabeth Bader
      March 11, 2019 @ 10:10 pm

      Miriam, I am so glad this was useful and inspiring for you, a person I know is often useful and inspiring to me and many others….E

      Reply

  2. Laura
    April 4, 2018 @ 8:22 am

    Such a great blog, Elizabeth. I agree that a state of detachment is a great aspiration for those who struggle with letting go of the ending of toxic relationships…including intimate relationships, friendship relationships, and professional relationships. People often believe “love” and “hate” are opposites, but I would argue that they actually have a key component in common….they both involve strong emotions. I believe “love” and “detachment” are opposites, as the latter reveals that strong emotions are declining, or are no longer present. Getting to detachment is not an easy process, as it takes time, support, and hard work. As a mental health clinician, I suggest that a detachment mindset can be achieved with the assistance of a qualified, empathic provider (therapist) who is able to adapt to the client’s preferred style of treatment. The type of treatment is less important than the relationship between the provider and the client. The provider should able to effectively support and guide a client through this difficult process. For many, it is possible to establish an all new, amicable relationship with those whom we “once hated,” once we accept the notion of emotional detachment, also known as emotional freedom.

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    • Elizabeth Bader
      April 4, 2018 @ 9:49 am

      Thank you so much Laura for providing a clinician’s perspective. May it be so that emotional freedom comes to many or all…. Elizabeth

      Reply

  3. Stewart Levine
    March 5, 2018 @ 7:22 pm

    Thanks so much Elizabeth…right on the money….detachment seems like just the right intervention in the situation I was telling you about. My sense is that it would go a long way in dissolving the original trauma and trigger sequelae.

    Your work in connecting dots is as usual lovely to read and experience. The gift for your client of course was not only resolving the case but also the emotion of holding all that anger which clearly was attached to her father.It also likely served to spare Eric some of the anger she had toward her father that was projected onto him. A truly successful mediation at many levels. A great example of doing much more than resolving a legal case.

    Reply

    • Elizabeth Bader
      March 6, 2018 @ 12:35 pm

      Thank you so much Stewart. What I have learned from reflecting on these issues since posting this post is that working with hatred is quite different than just working with aggression. Aggression is the common denominator in the mediation of litigated cases, but hatred is much more difficult and challenging. Although it also co-exists with aggression. I plan to investigate this difference further…

      Another issue raised by feedback I received on social media is the question of how do people actually develop their new, nascent sense of self after detaching from a traumatizing situation, particularly one involving a traumatizing narcissist?

      Shaw discusses this development of the self as a natural outgrowth of psychoanalytic therapy. I think there are spiritual practices which encourage a truer, deeper sense of self. Unfortunately there are some that negate the ordinary sense of self before people are ready also.

      A big piece of this is that there are different aspects of the self and different ways we recognize the self. But on the very simplest level I would say that just having new experiences — away from the traumatizer or traumatizing group (as in a cult) — helps develop the new sense of self. As does healthy intersubjectivity, ironically…

      Lots to consider here.

      Very best to you…. Elizabeth

      Reply

  4. Cheryl Conner
    March 2, 2018 @ 5:11 am

    I so appreciate your thoughts, as always. As you said, by encouraging your client to detach, rather than rage, you offered her an alternative meaningful approach to the conflict. How amazing that she could be so responsive; for many, the process of healing from narcissistic abuse, requires considerable time to dis-identify as a victim, and titrate the hidden emotional wounds, which give rise to the triggers. Your skillfulness and the foundational relationship you had with her were undoubtedly strong. I would love to hear more about your perspective on how much the mediator says, beyond this. Would you share with this client, your wisdom about trauma? Would you refer her to a somatic experiencing counselor, to do the second stage of work, on reintegrating and becoming a coherent self? I would love to hear your perspective on that second stage. Perhaps the mediator doesn’t get involved in that, but it seems as if our whole culture may need it soon.

    Reply

    • Elizabeth Bader
      March 2, 2018 @ 11:30 am

      Thank you Cheryl for your profound questions.

      I am a big believer in staying in role. So while I have been looking into having one or more trauma therapists work with me directly in some kind of co-mediation or other approach, I don’t think I would urge clients to chose a particular type of therapy that I myself approve of unless they were interested on their own in this approach — or possibly I had advertised it in advance as part of my practice.

      In this case, the client already had a therapist. I recall a client I did suggest trauma work to; she was very sophisticated but very traumatized and it turned out she also had her own therapist. I could see that trying to add another therapist to the mix with a different approach could undermine her therapy. I didn’t like that idea…

      I don’t have fixed rules about what to say or not say. But I don’t think anything that could be construed as pushing my own views would be appropriate in mediation. And I don’t think broad categories are too helpful, often, in dealing with problems. Yet, there can be times when information about trauma might be welcome or useful. Everything depends upon the relationship, as you know so well from your own work. Respect is the key. The magic key which opens doors.

      Thanks again dear Cheryl.

      Elizabeth

      Reply

  5. Stu Webb
    February 26, 2018 @ 7:40 am

    Thanls for the Blog, Elisabeth. This approach is a modification of the great shift in consciousness that is taking place in the world today. We are discovering and exploring “who we are”–in the inside. When I know I am not my name, not my body, not my mind, not my emotions, not my thoughts, etc. then we can get down to seeing we’re Consciousness. or Awareness, and can detach from pain and trauma, etc. It helps to experience this when we know consciousness is not sourced in the mind/body, but the mind/body is sourced in Consciousness–which we are!!!

    Reply

    • Elizabeth Bader
      February 26, 2018 @ 10:26 am

      Thanks so much for your reply Stu. Wonderful to see you here! Yes, we are so much more than who we think we are… although sometimes the process of unraveling the layers of identity is necessary and difficult it is worthwhile and even, in a sense, our “job” to do it…

      Reply

  6. Peggy
    February 25, 2018 @ 5:37 am

    Hi Elizabeth!

    Thank you so much for this blog. I agree that hatred (and litigation) is a painful strategy to deal with the aftermath of a traumatic relationship and that leaving the relationship is a good first step. I also agree that healing the childhood wounding brings much inner resolution and lessens the hurt of the current- time betrayal. I would add a last step for myself, which is owning my part in the current relationship breakdown. When I accept my own humanness and culpability (even if I felt victimized), I am less likely to “cast stones” and true forgiveness for myself and other arises in the form of Grace. Having a mediator, mentor, or growth group witness with compassion the “owning” when its not possible to repair with the other can be a really supportive part of the healing process. I agree that litigation should be used sparingly, perhaps only to keep a repeat offender causing more harm to others, not for vengeance.

    I look forward to more of this kind of blog! Much healing is happening here since our last conversation!

    Reply

    • Elizabeth Bader
      February 25, 2018 @ 8:50 am

      Wonderful points Peggy. As you say, our communities or a mediator or mentor can play an essential role in healing trauma. Through positive “social engagement” our nervous systems heal.

      Alas, this is why when one does not have a community, or leaves a community, it makes the trauma so much more difficult as one is on one’s own. This is one of the difficult parts of leaving groups.

      Owning one’s own part in the breakdown is also very deep work. Perhaps not all can do it, but for those who do they area more likely to find the past will not repeat. This is such important work.

      Although I do not know, I like to think blessings may be a part of it too.

      I look forward to speaking again too…

      E

      Reply

  7. Elyze
    February 25, 2018 @ 12:06 am

    Thank-you Elizabeth. Very informative

    Reply

    • Elizabeth Bader
      February 25, 2018 @ 8:51 am

      Thank you so much Elyze. It means a lot to me when people respond to the posts. E

      Reply

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