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Author: Penniless Parenting
Credit reports are a lot more than what they appear to be. It is not all about making sure that we can get credit if we need it. For others, it’s about making sure
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Author: Penniless Parenting
We have all heard of the narcissist. In fact, I have written an article recently on how to identify if you are married to one on this blog.
Throughout my years advising clients I have encountered many cases where the narcissist behaviours of one party have dominated the whole relationship leading to an unhappy and unhealthy marriage.
But what of the people married or in a relationship with a narcissist? It’s time to meet the echoist; not an officially recognised condition but a term that was popularised in the 2016 book Rethinking Narcissism by Craig Malkin and is gaining momentum.
Now, I shall start with the caveat that not all echoists are in relationships with narcissists. That would be too simplistic. However, the two personality types are intrinsically linked.
What is an echoist?
In a nutshell, an echoist is the opposite of a narcissist. Consider the following statements:
Narcissist: Look at what you did wrong? The narcissist copes by blaming everyone else.
Echoist: What did I do wrong? The echoist copes by blaming themselves.
An echoist is someone who puts everyone else’s needs and feelings first and at the expense of their own. People pleasers, they cannot bear praise and hate being the centre of attention. They don’t like to talk about themselves but are great listeners. They blame themselves when things go wrong regardless of where the fault lies.
All in all, a perfect mix for a narcissist who will seek out (consciously or subconsciously) people that verify their importance and allow them to dominate with minimal return required. A narcissist may often arrive on the scene as the rescuer, but this never plays out to be the case.
However, an echoist is not a doormat. Smart, intelligent, kind and warm-hearted people, they are often more emotionally sensitive and aware than others. They are the ones that always pick up on a bad atmosphere in the room or an underlying argument.
Many people root the development of echoist behaviours forming in childhood with a dominating narcissist parent or family member creating a learnt behaviour that they must repress their own feelings to be loved; that they must give everything and accept very little back. Imagine a parent that erupts over the smallest of things and it is never their fault. In the end, you would learn to anticipate the situation and change your behaviour to avoid it.
Echoists and relationships
An echoist can easily get stuck in an unhealthy relationship where they feel unworthy, unlovable and everything is their fault. This can quickly cause anxiety, depression and loss of hope as they struggle with connection and expressing their needs.
They can easily lose their voice, their sense of self. I have seen many clients at the start of the divorce process that try to take up as little space in the world as possible, ask for as little as possible and put themselves at a very long line of other people.
But it can change, and I have seen the results myself.
Before I turn to what can be done I would like to express that if you are in an abusive relationship you must seek help immediately. I have detailed some useful links at the end of the article.
Counselling can certainly help here. An echoist needs to start to understand feelings and feel them – not fear them. Emotions such as anger and resentment are all perfectly normal emotions. By accepting them, you learn to voice them and start to develop more equal relationships where you can say you are not happy and ask for things.
An echoist also needs to learn to question situations and break the default that it is all their fault, or they are too sensitive. Ask yourself what am I getting from this relationship? Why is it making me feel sad or lonely? Healthy relationships create a space for vulnerability.
You can unlearn bad habits with professional support, time and the desire to break the old relationship patterns to get your voice back.
If you are affected by anything in this article the following websites are useful resources:
The post Lost sense of self: When a narcissist meets an echoist… appeared first on Stowe Family Law.
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Author: Julian Hawkhead
Article 39, the charity that “fights for the rights of children living in state and privately-run institutions”, is launching judicial review proceedings against the government over its claims that some protections of children in care are “myths”. The charity is seeking to have Department for Education (‘DfE’) guidance to English councils responsible for vulnerable children removed from circulation. The “myth-busting guide” suggests that some duties around social worker visits, protections for missing children, and care leavers’ support can be cut back. Director of Article 39, Carolyne Willow, said: “This document overwrites key obligations within our children’s social care system, which were crafted over many years and subject to detailed public consultations. The protections the guide presents as mythical exist in our legislation and statutory guidance because of the real needs of children and young people.” The DfE would not comment directly on the case, but a spokesman for the Local Government Association said the guidance had provided helpful advice on where councils could able to do things differently if they felt this was in the best interests of children. However, he added: “But it is important that any questions around the accuracy of elements of this advice are clarified as soon as possible, so that councils and their residents can be confident that any action taken is fully in line with current legislation and guidance.”
The Judicial Executive Board (‘JEB’) has published its response to a consultation concerning possible reforms to the courts’ approach to lay individuals, commonly known as McKenzie Friends, who help individuals who litigate without the assistance of a lawyer. The consultation was first opened in 2016, following concerns over the rise in reliance by litigants on McKenzie Friends, as a result of cuts to legal aid. The response said that the JEB was “deeply concerned about the proliferation of McKenzie Friends who in effect provide professional services for reward when they are unqualified, unregulated, uninsured and not subject to the same professional obligations and duties, both to their clients and the courts, as are professional lawyers.” However, the response did not offer a view on whether there should be a ban on fee-charging McKenzie Friends, saying that that was a matter for government. The response only supported the production of a ‘plain language guide’ for McKenzie Friends and litigants-in-person, and updating the current practice guidance on McKenzie Friends. Hmm. I certainly share the JEB’s concerns, but wonder whether an opportunity has been missed to encourage a ban on litigants being charged for services from people who are unqualified, unregulated and uninsured.
The High Court has ruled that a sick 13-month-old girl should receive medical treatment, against the wishes of her parents. The girl was born with kidney failure and doctors said that her one chance for “ongoing survival” was hemodialysis, a process of purifying the blood of a person whose kidneys are not working. The girl’s parents, who Mr Justice Hayden described as having “a deep, profound and simple faith”, opposed the treatment, saying that their daughter’s fate should be left in the hands of God. However, Mr Justice Hayden gave doctors the go-ahead to try hemodialysis, ruling that the treatment would be in her best interests. Let us all hope that the treatment is successful.
And finally, I can’t end this post without mentioning the Sally Challen case, in which Mrs Challen killed her husband with a hammer. Sarah Jane Lenihan, Senior Solicitor at Stowe Family Law’s London Victoria Office, has already written a post here about the case, and I suspect that she may write another now that the outcome of Mrs Challen’s appeal is known (if she has not already by the time this post is published), so I will keep my comment brief. As Sarah explained, the case was about the issue of controlling and coercive behaviour, over a long period of time, and the effect of that upon the victim. The Court of Appeal has ordered that Mrs Challen’s murder conviction be quashed after fresh evidence was accepted, and that there be a retrial. Obviously, this is not exactly the result that Mrs Challen wanted (her barrister argued against a retrial), but hopefully the case will raise awareness of the devastating effect of controlling and coercive behaviour, and that issue will be properly considered in the retrial.
Have a good weekend.
The post A week in family law: McKenzie Friends, coercive control, and more appeared first on Stowe Family Law.
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Author: John Bolch
The Titan Arum lily, the Kurinji plant, and the Talipot palm
Although many years have passed since then, there are certain things I can remember clearly about the year 1986. That was the year of the World’s Fair, Expo ’86, in Vancouver, British Columbia, the year of the space shuttle Challenger disaster, and the year that Halley’s Comet (or Comet Halley) made its closest approach to the sun since 1910.
I remember being impressed at the time that I was going to witness an event that had last occurred so long in the past, before my grandparents were born, before the large-scale wars of the 20th century had taken place. In relation to the human lifespan, 76 years is a long time. When the comet finally did appear, it was not as spectacular as I’d hoped, but I didn’t want to miss it, knowing that it would not appear again until 2061, when I would most likely not be around to see it.
Although there are processes that occur on a time scale far too large for humans to observe (such as evolution and geological changes), we have a fascination for somewhat more common—but still extremely rare—natural events. They are not limited to the world of astronomy, but appear, for example, in the botanical world as well. In particular, consider the case of the Titan Arum lily, the Kurinji plant, and the Talipot palm, all of which bloom so infrequently that seeing them in bloom could be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The Stinking Lily
The Titan Arum lily, a relative of the calla lily, is a remarkable specimen on many counts. Native to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, it has been successfully cultivated away from the wild, but it is rare for it to bloom under these conditions. The first time it flowered in cultivation was in 1889 at the Royal Botanic Gardens in London, and in 1937, it bloomed for the first time in the United States at the New York Botanical Garden.
Since then, many other botanical gardens have repeated these successes, and have allowed more people to witness the incredible transformation that the Titan Arum undergoes as it blooms. One of the most notable things about the process is how large the bloom becomes; although it can grow larger in the wild, the tallest bloom produced in cultivation occurred in New Hampshire in 2010, and was measured at 3.1 meters (10 ft 2.25 in) tall.
The other especially striking characteristic of the Titan Arum bloom is its distinctive smell. Called bunga bangkai (“corpse-flower”) in Indonesian, when in bloom the Titan Arum emits a strong smell often compared to rotting flesh. Although it may put off human observers, the purpose of the smell is to lure in carrion-eating beetles and flesh flies (those that breed in flesh and produce maggots) to pollinate the bloom.
Another distinctive flowering occurs in the Kurinji plant (sometimes called Neelakurinji), a native shrub of the southern mountains of India, the Western Ghats. Although the flowers are not particularly interesting individually, the phenomenon of their mass blooming is fascinating.
When the Kurinji are in bloom, the vast expanses of flowering plants produce a unique effect, a sea of blue and purple as far as the eye can see. This amazing sight is made all the more memorable by the fact that it occurs only once every 12 years (the latest blossoming was in the summer and fall of 2018). Children who see the Kurinji bloom will not see it again until they are grown; in fact, one tribe in the area traditionally calculates their ages according to how many of the flowerings they have seen.
While this rare event is a cherished part of the cultural and spiritual lives of local residents, it may not be around forever. The grasslands where the Kurinji grows are increasingly threatened by the encroachment of non-native species, such as wattle, acacia, pine, and eucalyptus trees, planted by British colonists in the 19th century to provide firewood. Vigorous efforts are underway to protect the vulnerable grasslands, but it remains to be seen how much of the Kurinji habitat can be saved.
The flowering of another native plant of southern India (and Sri Lanka), the Talipot palm, is truly a once-in-a-lifetime event—for the tree, at least. The Talipot palm is monocarpic, meaning it blooms only once, and in this case, at the end of its long life, which can last between 30 and 80 years.
While the Talipot palm can grow to enormous heights during its lifetime, as high as 82 feet (25 meters), it becomes even taller when in bloom. It grows a large stalk at its top, between 20 and 26 feet (6–8 meters) long, which produces smaller branches carrying millions of flowers. The stalk, branches, and flowers of the Talipot palm, known jointly as an inflorescence, is the largest of any plant in the world (the Titan Arum lily has the largest unbranched inflorescence).
Once the Talipot palm has flowered, it takes a year for the fruit to develop; it eventually produces thousands of round yellow-green fruit, each of which contains a single seed. After the fruit appears, the Talipot palm dies off.
It’s not surprising that the flowering of these three plants can draw hundreds, and sometimes thousands, to witness the process. While all three plants are noteworthy in other respects, it is the rarity of their blooming that can inspire awe and respect for the workings of nature as nothing else can. Like a comet streaking across the sky that will not return in our lifetime, there is a thrilling poignancy in the moment of witnessing something that we may not see again.
Note: This is an updated version of an article that originally appeared on Interesting Thing of the Day on October 9, 2006.
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Author: Morgen Jahnke
Since 1972, March 1 has been National Pig Day in the United States. There’s no deeper meaning here—it’s just a day to celebrate pigs. Whether you think of them as cuddly, intelligent, or delicious, pigs are certainly amazing (if occasionally rather messy) animals. Well, maybe not all pigs, but I’m sure you can think of Some Pig that’s radiant. Take whatever pig-honoring action you feel is appropriate today.
Note: Many schools also observe National Read Across America Day today, but we’ll cover that tomorrow, on Dr. Seuss’s birthday!
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Author: Joe Kissell
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There is something about the word forensic that makes my mind immediately go Silent Witness, white suits and crime scenes. But what of the ‘forensic accountant’ and why would you need one on your divorce team?
So I asked Suzanne Grant, a member of our in-house forensic accounting team to join us on the blog to explain what the team does and how they can help when the financial detail in a divorce is just not adding up.
“To start, I can assure you that there are no white suits or crime scenes in our office. Instead, you will find a much calmer, quieter place as we concentrate on investigating the financial elements of a divorce case.
Whilst it is always preferable upon marriage breakdown for the parties to reach an agreed financial settlement rather than leaving the matter for the court to decide upon, it isn’t always possible.
One of the most complicating/contentious factors in a divorce can be the division of assets, especially when tensions are running high and one party may not be willing to fully cooperate in the financial disclosure process.
It is often the case that one spouse managed the parties’ finances such that the other spouse is disadvantaged in terms of their knowledge as to the full extent of the financial ‘pot’. That’s where the skills of a forensic accountant come in.
The main role of the forensic accountant in divorce matters is to ensure financial transparency by investigating the parties’ finances, both personal and business, with the ultimate aim being to identify and investigate any discrepancies, including revealing hidden assets and income.
Assets can be hidden in any number of ways including by transferring them offshore or by giving them to a friend or another family member to hold until the divorce is finalised. For those spouses who have businesses, these are often used as a vehicle to hide assets and therefore the accounts must be reviewed for any inconsistencies and irregularities, particularly in the year(s) leading up to separation and continuing thereafter until an agreed financial agreement is reached.
Income can also be hidden and/or manipulated in a number of ways including by delaying receipt or by not entering into lucrative business contracts until the divorce is finalized.
Put very simply, if an asset or income stream is excluded from the financial ‘pot’, it cannot be divided. Even if the existence of that asset or income stream later comes to light, it is by no means certain that the terms of the agreed financial settlement can be revisited and a share allocated to the entitled spouse. For that reason, it is vital that the full extent of the ‘pot’ available for the division is identified and the terms of the financial settlement agreed before Decree Absolute is granted.”
The post Here’s why you need a forensic accountant on your divorce team appeared first on Stowe Family Law.
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Author: Suzanne Grant
When I wrote about the case Saxton v Bruzas (or Bruzas v Saxton) here briefly back in June last year I speculated that we might be hearing a lot more about it, as it had the potential to be very significant. In the event, the case has turned out not to be as significant as it might have been. Nevertheless, it is still of interest, and it contains a lesson for anyone who thinks they may have had a bad deal from a financial remedy order made by the court.
The headline feature of the case is that it involved a paralegal employed by the firm of solicitors who had been acting on behalf of the husband ‘whistle-blowing’ by sending documents to the court which the wife suggested indicated that the husband and his legal team had committed perjury and perverted the course of justice. As one might guess, such a finding by the court would be quite significant.
The circumstances surrounding all of this were, briefly (and in simplified form), as follows.
The husband commenced divorce proceedings in 2013. Negotiations took place to resolve financial matters. The husband was represented by lawyers throughout, but the wife was not always represented, and did not have lawyers when a settlement was reached and a consent court order was submitted to the court, to give effect to the settlement.
A consent order is not simply ‘rubber stamped’ by the court, just because the parties agree to its terms. The court must be satisfied that the terms are broadly reasonably, before it approves the order. Here, the Deputy District Judge was not so satisfied, commenting that it was far from clear what the net effect of the order would be, nor was it clear that it was reasonable to dismiss the wife’s claim for maintenance, in view of the large disparity between the parties’ incomes.
The court sent a letter setting out these comments to the husband’s legal team, but the letter was not sent to the wife. The husband’s lawyers replied to the Deputy District Judge’s comments, and their letter was copied to the wife. The order was then amended and signed by both parties. The Deputy District Judge was satisfied, and the order was made, in March 2014.
In February 2016 the wife made an application to set aside the order, on the basis of an alleged failure by the husband to make proper disclosure of his financial circumstances. On the day before the judge, Mrs Justice Parker, was due to hand down her judgment on the application she received an unsolicited email sent anonymously to the court suggesting that the husband’s lawyers had deliberately withheld the letter from the court from the wife, for fear that its contents would cause her to withdraw from the agreement, and seek a more favourable settlement.
Mrs Justice Parker found that the wife had not seen the letter from the court, but concluded that it was not proved that that was as a result of a deliberate cynical and manipulative tactic by the husband’s lawyers.
The wife claimed that if she had been aware of the letter she would have thought twice about agreeing to the settlement. However, Mrs Justice Parker did not accept this, and said:
“In those circumstances, I have come to the conclusion that this is a case very familiar in this area of litigation where the wife has, for understandable reasons, come to the conclusion that she has had a bad deal from the financial remedy order made. That she has thought better of it and has in her own mind reworked the events so as to justify her application.”
Accordingly, the wife’s application was dismissed.
That was not the end of the matter, however. The whistle-blower then sent further documentation to the court regarding the alleged actions of the husband’s lawyers in relation to the letter from the court, and the wife applied to set aside the order dismissing her application.
This application fell to be heard by the President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane. In order to keep this post to a reasonable length, I will not go into the details of his judgment. Suffice to say that he found that even if the further documentation was admissible (which he did not think it was, as it was protected by legal professional privilege), it did not take the wife’s case any further, as it did not change the picture significantly, certainly not sufficiently significantly to justify reopening the case.
In the circumstances the wife had no new evidence, and her application was in reality no more than an attempt to reargue the same material as was before Mrs Justice Parker. Accordingly, the application was refused.
As I said at the outset, this case contains a lesson for anyone who thinks they may have had a bad deal from a financial remedy order. Such orders are meant to be final, and therefore they will not be re-opened by the court without good reason. Before seeking to have the case re-opened you must therefore be sure that you have such a reason, and not fall into the trap of manufacturing a reason (consciously or otherwise) by reworking the events surrounding the making of the order.
You can read the President’s full judgment here.
The post Wife fails to have financial order set aside in ‘whistle-blower’ case appeared first on Stowe Family Law.
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Author: John Bolch