Having lived through a childhood that held only cold, harsh and unhealthy boundaries which meant that as a little one I was ignored, neglected and continuously abused, I was only too happy to have found what I believed was my prince charming at the age of 21. I'd never heard of Narcissim or Narcissistic behaviours and had even less idea that I was jumping from one controlling, narcissistic environment to another. All I wanted was a family and this wonderful man walked into my life with a ready made, close knit family - a mum, a dad, a brother and a gran.
I put up with a lot of unacceptable behaviour from emotional abuse to alcohol dependency to having my needs ignored and belittled to infidelities. I did so because this was miles better treatment than my upbringing so I thought this must be acceptable and what people live through. It was mild to what I had suffered in the past and not too big a price to pay for the extended family I was gaining. I also thought that one day he would change, that one day he would agree to seek help and turn into that kind, selfless, considerate man that I had once dared dream of. It wasn't for want of asking for him to get help, that he didn't go, he just flatly refused, always accusing me of being the insane one, the ridiculous one, the demanding one. Again I didn't realise this is a normal pattern of behaviour for a narcissistic type personality - blame the other, demean the other, have non-sensical conversations, stone wall, amongst many other things.
Then his father passed away. This was the beginning of the end. It seemed like his father was the glue that held this family together as all the members just fell apart. His brother turned me into the black sheep of the family, attempting to outcast me. His mother - who had always been like a mother to me - suddenly went cold. And he took all our savings for expensive cosmetic surgery to really hit the ground running as a "player", something so freely afforded to the Dubai lifestyle unfortunately. I'd always been the main breadwinner for years, always bringing in more than him, always having the expat package that benefited him. It was around this time also that I decided that maybe he could now play his part as we had a child with very special needs that needed my attention. I decided to work part time. I decided to trust him with our finances. At this exact same time his infidelities grew. Rather than trust, he knew he had the upper hand, he knew he could keep his wife and children in Dubai summer after summer, claiming poverty, whilst he flitted abroad meeting other women. He became complacent and less secretive, thinking that we were financially dependent on him now so would never leave. Argument after argument, put downs after put downs, verbal abuse after verbal abuse he thought I would never leave. 23 years together. Then I woke up. I woke up to what is respectful boundaries in a relationship, I woke up to what is acceptable and loving behaviour, and I woke up to what I should be show casing as good role models for my children to witness. I found the courage to throw him out and throw him out I did, in spectacular style. I found the courage to respect myself.
Having lived through a difficult divorce that took place both in Dubai and the UK, I bring my vast professional emotional and practical experience of divorce in Dubai as well as my personal experience to these support group meetings. With a young teenager and a pre-teen and a vast experience in education and children's welfare, I also bring my point of view and opinions as regards how best to move forwards when children are involved.
I've been happy to share my story with you and am the first to say that that had this support group not existed many people I know would have gone ahead with actions based on fear. That's why running a support group such as this helps. Rash actions can be avoided when thoughts and feelings are shared and talked through.
We are here once a month to meet, share and give strength so that you can move forward with courage and dignity in this difficult time of life.
I may have already had professional experience in relationship and divorce guidance in Dubai, but whilst going through my divorce I discovered the hard way how to do all the other things that are so prominent during a break up, such as how to separate legally and amicably, how to deal with the many facets of the law, how to figure out financials and how to figure out the practical.
I learnt that unfortunately there are still quite a few people who are eager to take advantage of the emotionally vulnerable during this time and I decided that I needed to do something to help others avoid these pitfalls. My aim is to remove the fear, remove the urban myths, remove the false stories and scandals, so that people can make sound rational decisions about their futures and those of their children.
I've met some wonderful lawyers along the way who are trustworthy and willing to come offer free advice from time to time at our meetings. Although not a lawyer myself, I've learnt a lot about the many processes and have been invited to many meetings to do with family law. I've followed 100's of cases of Divorce in Dubai, be the jurisdiction here or in their home country, and have acquired a wealth of knowledge that goes hand in hand with my relationship and divorce guidance on the emotional level. I've also been able to use my training to become a mediator between couples so that they are not paying huge legal fees to decide who has access to which children or to which finances and how. Both peopel who come to the support group and my clients who see me on a personal level say that my greatest asset is combining the emotional support with the practical support which is not something normally offered - it's either one or the the other but never the two together.
An extremely dear and excellent lawyer that I've had the pleasure of being acquainted with had this to say:
" I am an international divorce lawyer based in London who visits Dubai regularly throughout each year. I have known and worked with Anne in Dubai for the last 5 years. Anne has looked after my clients with integrity and insight and has offered me guidance as well as introductions to many of the finest professional advisors in Dubai, with whom she has forged strong relations. Anne must be the first port of call for anyone needing solid back up as they experience or face the prospect of marriage breakdown in Dubai.”– Michael
To learn more about Dubai and UAE based relationship and/or divorce guidance, advice and support, or help with emotional wellbeing through these difficult times, please visit www.onelifecoachingme.com for all services available or call direct on 0505186821 or email firstname.lastname@example.org