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Need help compartmentalizing

Old 10-08-2013, 08:40 AM
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Need help compartmentalizing

Ive been tasked with what I think is the hardest thing Ive had to do yet.

My lawyer wants a timeline of my life. My childhood, my family background, my education, my whole history from start to end with xAH, his good qualities and bad, and my good and bad...

I am having an exceptionally hard time doing this.

It is painful to think about the past year let alone the past 16 and to have to delve into my childhood (which I have dealt with in therapy and tried to lay to rest) and explain it all in detail for my lawyer is really really hard.

She wants it to be as detailed as possible and it's just painful to write. She wanted it a week ago and I am trying to get it done and it's just too painful.

Just needed to get it off my chest and share...

Thanks for listening...
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Old 10-08-2013, 08:54 AM
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I've never heard of this, so my first reaction is to question why a lawyer wants this? Your therapist, I would get it.
Your lawyer--I would think would only be interested in things that pertain directly to your divorce?
I just don't understand, so it's difficult to comment.
I can't understand why your distant past, pre-husband, would be relative to this. It seems this information could be used against you in court.
Are you paying for this lawyer, or is he?
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Old 10-08-2013, 08:59 AM
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I agree with Blueskies.
I felt my eyebrows raising questioningly when I read your post.
Has your lawyer given you a very good, appropriate reason for why anything that's not pertinent to the situation is required ?
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Old 10-08-2013, 09:09 AM
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It's probably homework. An exercise to help you place things in order and context. To keep you busy and focus your attention away from "the case" and onto how you can straighten out your part in this marriage-pending-dissolution.
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Old 10-08-2013, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by stella27 View Post
It's probably homework. An exercise to help you place things in order and context. To keep you busy and focus your attention away from "the case" and onto how you can straighten out your part in this marriage-pending-dissolution.
That's an idea...but when do lawyers work as therapists? And why would the lawyer want this evidence in their hands?
I wouldn't hand it over to them without very good reasoning. I'd also leave out lots of painful stuff. I can't see the point for the life of me. Lawyers, more so than anybody, deal strictly on the facts that are pertinent to a case.
This request makes no sense to me, unless...wanttobehealthy's husband is the one paying for the lawyer...lawyers work for whomever is paying them!

Lexie...we need you on this one!
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Old 10-08-2013, 09:54 AM
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I feel like the rest of you on this. Why? What does your childhood have to do with your divorce and why is it any of the lawyer's business?
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Old 10-08-2013, 10:01 AM
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Because xAH is engaging in a war about custody. He is alleging that my BPD mother who abused me as a kid is now someone whom I am exactly like. He is alleging HE gave up career opportunities when in fact I did for him. She wants to know the length of time that he's behaved as he does to show a pattern of behavior...

I guess my lawyer wants to know any and all possible crap that xAH can try and throw out there so she knows it first...

It kind of makes sense to me actually but it is just really hard to write...
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Old 10-08-2013, 10:11 AM
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If you're finding roadblocks writing it down, would it help to dictate it into a recording and give it in a different format (voice recording vs. written document)?

Sometimes just the translational step of moving information down one's arm through one's hand is enough to fatigue the process.
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Old 10-08-2013, 10:24 AM
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I agree about the pre-AH stuff except if it pertains to your sole property. That said, I made a timeline for my lawyer and it was very helpful. It was written in two columns - date or date range in the first column and the event in the second column. It included things like when we met, first started dating, got engaged, but also major financial decisions. And, it got more detailed the closer it got to the present day. Yes, it was painful making it, and it set me back for at least a week. I was sifting through a lot of email communications and bank records to try and get an accurate timeline. I came to SR to let out a lot of the feelings that process dredged up.

Here's how it was helpful... My lawyer never had to ask me any questions related to the timeline again. She had all that complicated info at her fingertips. When she sat down to write a brief, SHE was the one who got to summarize this chain of events and I didn't have to think about if she got those dates right. She had the timeline. While I was at it, I had also created a folder of all the communications listed in the timeline. I just gave her that folder as my supporting documents for the timeline. I've never had to open that folder again. She has that info. It's like cleaning house and putting out the recycling for someone else to deal with. She turned all those empty broken bottles into something much more productive. All I had to do was sort the brown glass from the green - time-consuming and bothersome, but doable.

Hugs, WTBH! It can be an overwhelming task, so try to separate it into manageable chunks. I started with making a bare bones skeleton of a timeline (major life events - births, deaths, marriages, etc) then filled in additional bits as I saw fit. You can stop and call it done anytime you want to. I could have put so much more detail in there, but I reached a point where I couldn't, and that was okay.

Peace,
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Old 10-08-2013, 10:31 AM
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Thanks Fathom-- that's what she wants and I am finding myself adding more and more and more and feeling like it's important to not forget anything... It's really overwhelming but helpful to hear that I'm not alone in doing this and finding it overwhelming.....
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Old 10-08-2013, 10:55 AM
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Ok, your explanation makes it a little clearer why she is asking for that. I don't think too many gritty details are necessary though. I believe that because...your lawyer's job is to make sure that your AH can't drag your childhood dirt into the court. Your lawyer's job is to keep the divorce on topic--and that means sticking to what happened during the marriage and how things could affect your children going forward.
Bringing your mother's issues into the courtroom seems so far off topic to me...it's manipulative and deflecting...and if your lawyer isn't able to shut your h's lawyer down trying this tactic, I sure hope the judge is smart enough to.
Certain family dirt isn't allowed into courts for very good reason, especially stuff that is ancient history before you were with your TBX.
If your lawyer doesn't shut your H's lawyer down when he tries to drag your family history mud out into the open, then your lawyer isn't doing their job.
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Old 10-08-2013, 10:58 AM
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I had to do a timeline for my lawyer, but it was only from the date of my daughter's birth onward. I wish someone had me do this for my first custody case with my xNPD, because he threw everything at the wall to see what would stick and I was so shocked I was like a deer in headlights.

It helps.
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Old 10-08-2013, 11:18 AM
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I think it will only benefit me since I have nothing to hide and was a great kid and successful in spite of my upbringing.

My lawyer wants to know about his upbringing and his past too and he has a long history of trouble w the law even well before I met him so if he wants to make this into who looks better I will easily come out on top
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Old 10-08-2013, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by BlueSkies1 View Post
That's an idea...but when do lawyers work as therapists?

Actually, it is my opinion that a good family/divorce lawyer is also a little bit of a therapist, too, because the situations are so emotionally charged. I agree that a lot of detail about your childhood isn't really relevant, but given your later explanation about the context, I can see why your lawyer might request it.
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Old 10-09-2013, 02:30 PM
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Given your explanation - sounds like a good idea, she's not going to have to ask you about anything he might throw or look wrong-footed, because it will all be at her fingertips - and yours too? I forget a lot of the important negative stuff and question myself over my perception of reality (the forgetting is probably a defence mechanism to stop me being overwhelmed). but it's not really forgotten - when I re-read things I've set down it opens the gates and floods back and I am amazed at what I've pushed into a locked box. It may help you in a court not get side-tracked into any of his crazy-making tactics, because you will not doubt yourself and recollections.
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Old 10-09-2013, 07:15 PM
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I am almost done with it and as horrible as it has felt to write it all and have to think about it all, I feel better having gotten it out.

I was afraid of my memories I guess and gave a lot more power to them than I should have.

I think I was and am fearful more of remembering the times that were good and feeling sad about those than I was fearful of remembering the bad...

Just editing it now and ready to send it off. I really like my new lawyer and I feel confident in her. If this is useful to her to take the wind out of his sails with the accusations and allegations that have NO basis in fact (remarkable how a judge can say "oh he's not an expert or a psychologist but he was married to her for 10 years so he can offer his opinion about her mental state") then I am all for her having every bit of history there is to have...

In the end it is only going to help me bc I have nothing at all to hide...
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Old 10-09-2013, 07:45 PM
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Sending hugs, WTBH, and wishing you peace and continued strength.
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Old 10-09-2013, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by wanttobehealthy View Post
I am almost done with it and as horrible as it has felt to write it all and have to think about it all, I feel better having gotten it out.

I was afraid of my memories I guess and gave a lot more power to them than I should have.

I think I was and am fearful more of remembering the times that were good and feeling sad about those than I was fearful of remembering the bad...

Just editing it now and ready to send it off. I really like my new lawyer and I feel confident in her. If this is useful to her to take the wind out of his sails with the accusations and allegations that have NO basis in fact (remarkable how a judge can say "oh he's not an expert or a psychologist but he was married to her for 10 years so he can offer his opinion about her mental state") then I am all for her having every bit of history there is to have...

In the end it is only going to help me bc I have nothing at all to hide...
That's wonderful, WTBH! It's great also that you have confidence in your lawyer. I think that made all the difference for my own self-confidence during this process, too.

Best,
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